Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) CEO Margy Osmond told delegates at the Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE) about some of the crazy policies standing in the way of the Australian tourism industry’s progress.
Osmond, who spoke at AHICE held at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne yesterday, told delegates about the process that Chinese tourists currently need to go through in order to secure a visa. She said that they need to fill out a 16 page visa application form in Mandarin that needs to be submitted manually. This application then takes over a week to process and costs $130 to submit.
She said the US and Canada are both making great strides in attracting Chinese tourists by relaxing visa requirements. Since Canada made the changes, its inbound Chinese market has increased by 30 per cent.
Furthermore, she said that more regional airports need to be upgraded to international airports. For example, international travellers are not allowed to disembark in Canberra because it is not an international airport. Same goes for Hobart; international tourists are bused from the domestic airport to the overseas passenger terminal (cruising) to clear Customs and are then put back on the bus to go back to the airport to collect their luggage.
She also identified the welcome that tourists receive at the airport, infrastructure elements such as roads and rail links, the acknowledgement of the contribution of the private sector makes to destination marketing, and airport access, including curfews and landing policies, as being key areas that need state and federal government attention.