The Victoria Tourism Industry Council has today welcomed news that online visa applications for Australia will be accessible to international visitors from all countries across the world from 2013-14.
Previously, not all countries could apply online for a holiday visa.
VTIC Chief Executive Dianne Smith says, “This announcement means we are really rolling out the welcome mat to our international visitors, making it much simpler for visitors to come to our country.
“This is exciting for Victoria as we focus on expanding our international reach particularly to our Asian neighbours.”
In 2010-11 Victoria welcomed more than 265,000 overnight Chinese visitors in 2011 – a six-fold increase since 2000.
“Victoria is well placed to capitalise on future growth in outbound Chinese travel. We have close historical and cultural ties to the country as well as the obvious advantage of our close proximity to the region,” says Ms Smith.
“The government’s strategic approach to engagement with Asian markets is crucial to the Australian and Victorian economies.”
Under the current format it can take five to seven days for some travellers to obtain a visa for Australia. In some cases visas will now be granted instantly and the government is also looking at granting visas with longer validity, as well as multiple entry visas in some circumstances.
“While we welcome this announcement, it puts further into question the Federal Government’s announcement last week to increase Working Holiday Visa taxes by 25 per cent,” says Ms Smith.
“We look forward to continuing to work with both federal and state governments to best maximise on the opportunities Asia can provide the Victorian tourism industry.”
Media contact: Melina Walton, Senior Communications Adviser, firstname.lastname@example.org, 03 8662 5310, 0423 883 945