25 Apr 2016

Time for a trans-Tasman tourist visa?

8:19 pm on 25 April 2016

Tourism bodies are calling for a visa that would allow tourists to travel between Australia and New Zealand.

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Photo: 123RF

A temporary trans-Tasman visa arrangement was put in place during last year's Cricket World Cup.

The New Zealand Tourism Industry Association and Australia's Tourism and Transport Forum said a review by the New Zealand government showed it helped boost tourist numbers.

But the association said New Zealand might need to toughen its screening process before a trans-Tasman visa arrangement could be introduced.

The association's chief executive, Chris Roberts, said a permanent arrangement could increase the number of international visitors by more than 140,000 by 2020.

The arrangement would need the political will of both countries, but Australia might be more apprehensive, he said.

"New Zealand is more likely to accept Australian screening of visitors and if someone has got a visa that they will be let into New Zealand.

"We may have to work a bit harder to get Australia to accept New Zealand's screening of visitors and then letting them into Australia."

The association and forum have written a joint letter to the Australian government urging it to complete its own review and work with New Zealand to implement a permanent trans-Tasman visa by the end of this year.

Mr Roberts said it made sense to invest and market a seamless Australia-New Zealand experience to potential international visitors.

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