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13 Jan, 2015

New Australian online visa trial to increase numbers of Indian tourists

Canberra, Minister of Trade and Investment Media release, 12 January 2015 — A new pilot program for online lodgement of subclass 600 visas for Indian business and tourism visitors will be rolled out through selected travel agents in India.

Launching the pilot, Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb 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 $1.9 and $2.3 billion annually to our tourism industry by 2020. 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,” Mr Robb said.

Mr Robb is leading Australia’s largest ever trade mission to India for Australia Business Week in India from 9-16 January.

“The trade mission and this visa trial are putting runs on the board under the Australia-India Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism I signed during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Australia in November last year,” Mr Robb 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.

Australia is an attractive and popular destination for Indian visitors. For the year ending September 2014, Indian visitors to Australia reached 189,866, an increase of 14.5 per cent on the previous year. Indian tourists contributed almost $800 million to the Australian economy. Tourism Research Australia forecasts arrivals from India to Australia will reach almost 300,000 by 2022-23.