Press Release Summary = Indian nationals have embraced a new system which allows them to apply for an Australian Tourist visa over the internet.
Press Release Body = Indian nationals have embraced a new system which allows them to apply for an Australian Tourist visa over the internet.
'Since the programme started in August this year, more than 200 visas have been granted, the majority of them almost immediately,' Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Amanda Vanstone said today.
'In fact, 75 per cent of applicants using this service received their visa within minutes.'
Small Business and Tourism Minister Fran Bailey said the Australian Government was targeting the Indian tourism market as one our key emerging markets.
'India is a huge market for Australia. The Indian tourism market is forecast to grow to 550 000 tourists by 2025, with a value of more $2 billion,' Fran Bailey said.
'Eco-tourism, shopping and sports are key activities for Indian tourists in Australia. Through initiatives such as e-visas, we are making it easier for Indian tourists to turn their dream of an Australian holiday into reality.'
Visa applications are lodged through a certified travel agent, known as a Preferred Aussie Specialist, trained by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and Tourism Australia.
There are more than 100 Preferred Aussie Specialists in India helping to reduce the time it takes for Indian nationals to get visas to visit Australia. About 10 per cent of these agents currently have access to the e-visa service, with more expected to be granted access in the near future.
'To further improve access to Australian Tourist visas for Indian citizens, my department will be training more travel agencies in other Indian cities to submit applications online,' Senator Vanstone said.
The number of Indian tourists visiting Australia has grown by more than 36 per cent over the past year from 33 700 in 2004-05 to 46 025 during 2005-06.
- Senator Amanda Vanstone, Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs
Web Site = http://www.nationalvisas.com.au
Contact Details = National Visas Web site: http://www.nationalvisas.com.au Address: 3 - 118 Church Street Hawthorn, Victoria Australia 3122 Phone: +61 (0) 3 9697 4922 Fax: +61 (0) 3 9815 1544