The Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has applauded the commencement of online visitor visa applications for Chinese nationals as a positive reform that will help Australia remain competitive in attracting more visitors from this critical growth market.
Previously Chinese nationals had to wade through a quagmire of paperwork, often in duplicate and in English, to apply for a visa. The process has, to-date, been expensive and unduly time consuming.
“Chinese visitors are a gold-mine for Australia’s visitor economy – they stay longer and spend more than other nationalities which is fantastic news for our visitor economy,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.
“Bravo to the Tourism Minister Stephen Ciobo and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on announcing today that online visitor visa applications for Chinese nationals are now open for business. This is a great step forward to taking the pain out of paper-based visa applications especially when more than 1.2 million Chinese visitors travelled to Australia in the past 12 months.
“Any steps that Government can take to make it easier for Chinese visitors to choose Australia as their traveling destination is warmly welcomed by the industry. This is a clear sign that we are serious about making it easier for Chinese to visit and is a timely announcement for China Australia Year of Tourism.
“TTF has been a vocal advocate of the need to improve visa processing for what will shortly be our largest overseas visitor market. China is on track to overtake New Zealand as our biggest source of visitors some time later this year and there is so much more potential for us to capture with less than one per cent of Chinese tourists coming to Australia.
“We need to be playing every card in our hand because the international tourism market is cut-throat and we are up against destinations like Europe and North America that are aggressively targeting the Chinese market.
“Industry looks forward to working with the government to continue to develop and implement these types of smart reforms that will encourage more visas from China and the broader Asia-Pacific to visit Australia and support the continuing growth of our visitor economy,” said Osmond.