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Call for trans-Tasman visa for tourists

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 24/04/2016

The tourism industry is lobbying for a regional visa covering Australia and New Zealand, saying more tourists will come if there is one.

When the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 was on, visitors only required an Australian visa to travel to New Zealand. A three-month visa was granted on arrival in New Zealand to those holding an eligible Australian visa.

The temporary arrangement went well so the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) and Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) have written a joint letter to the Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton calling for a permanent trans-Tasman visa by the end of 2016.

"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," says TFF chief executive Margy Osmond.

A joint-visa scheme could increase the number of international visitors to Australasia by 141,300 people by 2020.

The New Zealand government's review of the visa arrangements during the Cricket World Cup found, during the 39 days it was in place, 7239 travellers from 77 nations entered New Zealand using the trans-Tasman visa, says TIA chief executive Chris Roberts.

About 40 per cent of them were Chinese - a non-playing nation in the cricket tournament.

This showed the potential a permanent trans-Tasman visa could have in the Asia-Pacific region, 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," Mr Roberts said.

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