The announcement in Shanghai (15 April) of simpler visitor visa rules for Chinese citizens has been welcomed by the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) as a move likely to make Australia more attractive to the international market for business events.
Federal tourism minister, senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck, this week officially announced the trial of online visa applications in Mandarin – the first time that applications have been made available in a language other than English.
The online forms will be accompanied by the introduction of 10-year multiple entry visas for Chinese nationals.
“The cost and complexity of visa applications is a core concern for the business events industry,” said AACB CEO Andrew Hiebl. “Ensuring that Australia’s visa processing arrangements remain competitive is a must.”
The announcement of the visa rule change comes off the back of the minister’s participation at Business Events Australia’s Greater China Showcase, 13-15 April, as part of Australia Week in China.
The showcase featured 30 Australian companies, including 10 convention bureaux, promoting conference and incentive travel to Australia. Sellers met with over 100 Chinese corporate buyers, business events agents and media during the three-day programme.
“International delegates are as good as it gets for Australian tourism. They spend, on average, 21% more than other international visitors over the course of their trip – and 77% more per day. They are exactly the kind of international tourists we need to be encouraging,” said Hiebl.
The AACB has also released a forward calendar of 296 international business events confirmed for Australia through to 2024. Sharing this intelligence with Tourism Australia and Austrade should help better direct delegate boosting and reserve trade mission initiatives.