AUSTRALIA will begin testing three-year multiple-entry visas for visitors from India, Thailand, Vietnam and Chile by July.
The trial, announced as part of the Australian government’s 2016-2017 federal budget unveiled last month, will allow entry into Australia multiple times, with each stay valid for up to three months.
In response, the Indian travel trade has given the thumbs up saying the new visa will lead to growth in repeat visitations to Australia.
“It is a forward-looking strategy and will effectively serve to catalyse demand for Australia, a destination that is already seeing strong uptake from Indians for leisure, in addition to bleisure and VFR travel,” said Rajeev D. Kale, president & country head – leisure travel, MICE, Thomas Cook India.
The sheer diversity of destination Australia calls for repeat visits, something the three-year visa enables. Moreover, its per-visit validity goes a long way to incentivise longer stays, Kale added.
Said Uniglobe Swiftravel chairman Rajji Rai: “India is already among the top ten tourism markets for Australia with both leisure and business travellers frequenting the destination. Many Indian students stay in Australia and this move will also benefit parents of such students who visit their children often.”
Australia issued about 233,000 visas to Indian visitors in 2015.