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Australia launches online visa trial for Indian tourists

Posted on February 12, 2015
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Australia has launched a pilot programme for online lodgement of subclass 600 visas for Indian business and tourist visitors through select travel agents in India. Announcing the same, Andrew Robb, Minister for Trade and Investment, Australia, said, “India is one of the world’s fastest growing outbound travel markets. This trial will make it easier for Indian visitors to apply for visas to travel to Australia.”

Under the Australian government’s national tourism strategy, Tourism 2020, India has the potential to contribute between AUD 1.9 and AUD 2.3 billion annually to Australia’s tourism industry by 2020, Robb said. “That’s why in the first half of 2015, the Australian government is rolling out a trial of online visa applications to capitalise on this rapidly growing visitor market and create jobs,” he added.

Last month, Robb led Australia’s largest-ever trade mission to India for Australia Business Week. “The trade mission and this visa trial are putting runs on the board under the Australia-India Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tourism, signed by me during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Australia in November 2014,” he said.

Under the MoU, Australia and India will work together to encourage cooperation and information sharing on tourism policy, and encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders in Australia and India.

In the year ending September 2014, 189,866 Indians visited Australia, which is a 14.5 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2013. Indian tourists contributed almost AUD 800 million to the Australian economy. Tourism Research Australia forecasts arrivals from India will reach almost 300,000 by 2022-23.

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