Chaos looms over cigarette ruling

Chaos looms over cigarette ruling
By admin

Chaos is expected at airports over the weekend as customs officials seize an estimated 400,000 cartons of cigarettes as new regulations kick in.

Travellers entering Australia from tomorrow will only be allowed to bring in 50 duty free cigarettes each, drastically less than the 250 previously permitted. Only by paying $100 in duty will they be allowed to keep their goods.

It is expected to lead to mayhem in the customs hall as confused and angry tourists are told to pay up for have their cigarettes taken away.

Advertising of the new allowances has been almost non existent with travellers from China expected to be affected the most.

Caroline Wilkie, chief executive of the Australian Airport Association, warned that severe delays are likely over the weekend travellers arriving into Australia will be oblivious to the changes.

“We know there will be no advertising of the change in Chain until November – two months after the restriction starts – and China is one of the highest tobacco user countries in the world,” she said. “The education campaign will not begin overseas until September 1 and will not involve radio, television or newspapers. Consequently people will arrive from other countries with no knowledge of this new restriction.”With customs under-staffed it will lead to long queues. There will be longer term impact on the tourism industry, Wilkie said.

The Tourism and Transport Forum said customs have estimated that 400,000 cigarette cartons will be seized.

“This change will cause an unprecedented level of confusion and mayhem in arrivals halls, frustrating and complicating the arrival experience for all international visitors,” TTF chief executive John Lee said. “This reform has bene rushed through with little or no concern for the impact on the tourism industry.”

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