Calls for transtasman visa for tourists

Tourism bodies on both sides of the ditch want a transtasman visa in place for international visitors. Photo / iStock
Tourism bodies on both sides of the ditch want a transtasman visa in place for international visitors. Photo / iStock

Tourism bodies on either side of the ditch are calling for a transtasman visa that would allow international tourists to travel easily between Australia and New Zealand.

A temporary transtasman visa, put in place during last year's Cricket World Cup, allowed tourists with an Australian visa to automatically receive a three-month visa on arrival in New Zealand.

Tourism bodies have now called for a permanent transtasman visa to be implemented.

In a joint statement released today, New Zealand's Tourism Industry Association and Australia's Tourism and Transport Forum said a single visa would make long-haul flights to both countries more enticing.

The groups have written a joint letter to the Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, calling for a permanent transtasman visa by the end of 2016.

Tourism Industry Association chief executive Chris Roberts said the Cricket World Cup proved a transtasman visa had tremendous potential to bring more visitors to both countries.

"The New Zealand Government's review of the visa arrangements during the Cricket World Cup shows that during the 39 days it was in place, 7239 travellers from 77 nations entered New Zealand using the transtasman visa," Mr Roberts said.

"Approximately 40 per cent of the international visitors who used the arrangement were Chinese -- a non-playing nation in the World Cup -- which just goes to show the potential a permanent and cleverly marketed transtasman visa could have in the Asia-Pacific region.

"It makes sense to invest and market a joint Australia-New Zealand experience to potential international visitors."

Mr Roberts said the approach was already successful in Europe, where a single visa was required to visit 28 countries.

The Australian government needed to complete a review of the temporary visa arrangement and work with New Zealand to put a permanent solution in place by the end of the year, he said.

"The Cricket World Cup has shown it can work, we just need the will of our governments to bring down this travel barrier between our countries permanently."

Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive Margy Osmond said Australia and New Zealand were long-haul destinations, so it made a lot of sense for the two countries to package themselves together for prospective international tourists.

"The reality is that if you are coming halfway around the world to Australia or New Zealand you want to make it worth your while, just as travelling to Europe we visit a multitude of countries on that continent not just one.

"Seamless travel between Australia and New Zealand for our own citizens and international visitors is a goal we should be strongly pursuing to make our two nations a more attractive destination in what is a cut-throat, competitive tourism market."

In 2014, the forum completed a study on the benefits of streamlining the transtasman border. It found a joint visa scheme could increase the number of international visitors to the region by 141,300 by 2020.

NZH

[NZME-NZG-NZC]

-NZH

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 21 Jan 2017 06:26:12 Processing Time: 694ms