Tourism body calls for visa reform

Tourism body calls for visa reform
By admin

Tourism bodies have called for the age limit on working holiday visas to be lifted or removed altogether and extended to cover emerging markets.

The Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) praised an initiative by Tourism Australia to target the youth market and insisted the government should overhaul the working holiday visa system to further stimulate the sector.

The Australian Tourism Export Council has also called for reform.

Tourists arriving in Australia to work bring huge economic benefits to the country which could be even better should changes be made, the TTF said.

"Ideally it would be expanded to cover more of our growth markets in Asia, like China and Vietnam, while caps on working holiday numbers from other Asian countries like Indonesia and Malaysia should be raised," acting chief executive Trent Zimmerman said.

"There is no reason older people shouldn't also qualify to come to work in Australia, especially since there are 36,000 job vacancies across the country in tourism and hospitality, so we'd like to see the age limit raised or even removed."

The TTF also said that those working in the sector should quality for a 12-month extension to their visa, a benefit already afforded those holidaymakers employed in agriculture, mining or forestry.

The call for reform came as Tourism Australia launched a $4m campaign to target the youth market.

Zimmerman said backpackers and gap year students not only stay longer but are social media savvy which has broader implications for the tourism industry.

"These visitors are well connected in the digital world and can create virtually instant interest in Australia through their social media networks," he said. "They will also return home as ambassadors for Australia, encouraging their family and friends to visit."

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