Australian tourism industry wants easier Australian visa procedures

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Following US President Barack Obama's announcement to streamline the processing of US visa applications, the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) implored Australian immigration to take similar action.

Last week, President Obama signed an executive order stating the US State Department would increase US visas issued to China and Brazil by 40 percent this year.

ATEC chief Felicia Mariani noted that the changes in the US clearly addressed the significance of the tourism industry to the US economy by making it easier to obtain US visit visas. Australia should also make changes that will benefit their tourism sector. The current Australian immigration rules and procedures have a negative affect on the tourism industry.

"He is mandating to his government to get their act together and get these speed humps out of the road," Mariani said. "It's time for Australia to stop talking about how important tourism is to the economy and start taking action in the key areas that will remove the barriers to our performance and success."

A recent study has shown that Chinese tourists spend almost AU$6,000 (£4,000) per person on an average trip to Australia. According to experts, this amount more than justifies making it easier for Chinese tourists to obtain Australian visas.

"Australian tourism needs the same passion, fire and drive at the highest level of our government," added Mariani.

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