AACB tackles visa hurdles

AACB tackles visa hurdles

The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB)will give advice on streamlining Australia’s visa system to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

The AACB emphasised the high yield of business visitors, especially delegates coming to Australia for business events or incentive experiences.

AACB president and CEO of the Melbourne Convention Bureau, Karen Bolinger, says Australia is losing out globally in the race to attract and host the largest business events.

‘Australia is already losing major corporate incentives and association conventions due to its costly and complex visa system.

The price-sensitive incentive travel market is even worse affected, with Australia often written off as a destination, due to our visa costs.’

‘The trend towards governments offsetting the cost of staging a major convention is growing, particularly in Asia, where governments mitigate the financial risk associated with major conventions.

‘Even New Zealand’s visa system allows for greater flexibility whereby fees can be waived or offset for business event delegations.’

‘Australia needs a visa system that is easier to understand, better suited to the rapidly growing number of visitors, and flexible enough for Australia to remain a competitive destination for temporary visitors and the longer-term entrants Australia needs.’

The AACB submission was developed in consultation with other industry bodies including the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Restaurant & Catering Australia, and the Australian Tourism Export Council.