Tourism bodies are calling for a single Australia-New Zealand visa to boost international visitor numbers on both sides of the Tasman.
The trans-Tasman visa would make long-haul flights ot Australia and New Zealand more enticing and allow the two countries to be marketed as a single destination, say the Tourism and Transport Forum Australia and Tourism Industry Association New Zealand.
The two bodies have written to the Australian Minister for Immigration and Tourism in support of their call.
They want a regional visa that would allow international tourists to travel between both countries.
Sounds a great idea. Many tourists coming to one place do want to visit the other.
“A temporary Trans-Tasman Visa arrangement was implemented during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in which visitors travelling between 26 January and 5 April 2015 only required an Australian visa to travel over to New Zealand.
“A three-month visa was granted upon arrival in New Zealand to those holding an eligible Australian visa through the period,” the two industry groups said in a statement.
“Australia and New Zealand are long-haul destinations – it makes a lot of sense for us to package the two countries together in a joint regional visa to prospective international tourists who are weighing up the long flight to our countries,” said TTF chief executive Margy Osmond.
“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.”
A 2014 TTF investigation suggested a joint visa scheme could increase the number of international visitors to the region by 141,300 people by 2020.
Not sure how robust that number is, but am sure it would help boost tourists numbers.
The key would be to make sure that there is policy alignment on who can get a visa.