New visas for Singaporeans pave way for longer tours in Australia

Following the recently announced extended visas for Singapore travellers to Australia, tour operators are rolling out longer and deeper itineraries that extend beyond the usual pitstops Down Under.

A new multiple-entry visa, effective January 1, 2018, allows Singaporeans to enter the country for up to three months at a time over six years.


Between Cairns and Port Douglas, Queensland

The other Work and Holiday visa, which will commence on August 1 this year, allows Singapore passport holders under 30 years to work while on holiday in Australia for up to a year.

With these new visa schemes, tour companies are urging travel to off-the-beaten-path destinations, which often require longer time to explore.

Contiki plans to push its longer programmes, such as a 16-day trip traversing from Cairns to Sydney, as well as a three-day live-aboard diving and snorkelling package.

Meanwhile, Australia-based travel operator Flight Centre is continuing to curate itineraries for millennials to “go out of the way to explore and experience the unknown”, said general manager Callum Brown.

Brown added: “While a lot of Singaporeans have been to the big cities like Sydney and Melbourne, many are now branching out to the less-explored cities.” These include Tasmania and New South Wales’ Byron Bay, he suggested.

Director of sales and marketing at Contiki Asia, Sam Morrah, told TTG Asia that Singaporeans spend an average of seven to 10 days in Australia, but this is expected to increase with the new visa schemes.

Morrah said: “We believe that the new Work and Holiday Maker programme… will make it attractive for young Singaporeans to find part-time work and then take extended holidays.”

Tourism Australia’s regional general manager of South and South-east Asia, Brent Anderson, said: “We definitely hope that the enhanced Visitor (Subclass 600) visa will further boost return visitation. (It will also enable) business operators to conduct regular meetings or attend conferences in Australia.”

Anderson shared that Singapore visitors to Australia grew 7.4 per cent between March 2017 and last year, with a nine per cent increase in dispersed nights and three per cent increase in visitor spend from Singapore.

Similarly, Contiki recorded a 30 per cent growth from 2016 to 2017 amongst Singaporeans aged 25 to 35, while Flight Centre reported an 18 per cent year-on-year increase in its Singapore market.

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