15 Apr 2016

Simpler Visa Rules a Boost for Australia's Business Events Industry

The announcement in Shanghai today of simpler visitor visa rules for Chinese citizens is a welcome move that will make Australia more attractive to this key market for business events, the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB), said today.

Federal tourism minister, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, 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 10-year multiple entry visas for Chinese nationals, announced last year.

“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 news today that visas will be easier to obtain for Chinese delegates is very welcome. However, we still urge government to consider allowing high-spend delegates from China the same $20 electronic travel authorisation we extend to those from Hong Kong and Malaysia.”

This announcement 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 ten 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 program.

“These events in China show the federal government’s commitment to attracting business events to Australia and a recognition of the importance of the sector to the Australian economy,” said Hiebl.

“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.”

“The growth prospects for China are greater than any other market, especially now with the momentum of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. A focus on business events will only strengthen ties between the two countries, as they provide platforms for sharing knowledge, collaboration, networks and trade.

While most sellers will be focusing on the corporate incentives sector (reward travel) out of China, there is enormous scope to attract Chinese delegates to conventions and exhibitions hosted in Australia.

The AACB has just released a forward calendar of 296 international business events confirmed for Australia through to 2024. Sharing this intelligence with Tourism Australia and Austrade could help better direct delegate boosting and reverse trade mission initiatives.


Image: Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, Minister for Tourism and International Education 

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