AACB PUSHES VISA OVERHAUL
AUSTRALIA’S business events industry is calling for an overhaul of visa arrangements as part of reforms being considered by the Federal Govt.
On behalf of the sector, the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) has highlighted the significant contribution international business delegates make to the national economy, pointing out that typical conference attendees spend 9% more than leisure tourists.
It has lodged a submission with the Govt calling for a simpler system that benefits low-risk, high-yield visitors.
New AACB president and ceo of the Melbourne Convention Bureau Karen Bolinger said the current costly visa system meant Australia was losing out in the race to attract and host large business events.
“The price-sensitive incentive travel market is even worse affected, with Australia often written off as a destination, due to our visa costs,” she said.
Bolinger said NZ’s visa system allowed for greater flexibility where fees could be waived or offset for event delegations.
“Australia needs a visa system that is easier to understand... and flexible enough for Australia to remain a competitive destination”.
AACB ceo Andrew Hiebl said besides delegates being high yielding, they were also far more likely to be low-risk visitors.
“International convention delegates are far less likely to overstay a visa and have a higher visa grant rate than leisure travellers,” he said.
Hiebl said AACB’s proposal would streamline the process for delegates and encourage more attendance from Asia.
CLICK HERE to view the visa overhaul submission.