Slashing the ‘international passenger movement charge’ from $55 to $25 could see growing numbers of Kiwi travellers injecting as much as $370 million into the Australian economy, says the Tourism and Transport Forum.
That’s just one of four reforms being proposed to boost passenger numbers between Australia and New Zealand – both for local residents and for visitors from Asia.
A common Australia/New Zealand visa would help to encourage Asian travellers to extend their stay by visiting both countries, without the burden of making two separate applications to visit the two neighbouring countries.
Existing multi-city airline tickets such as SkyTeam’s ’Go Round Asia and South West Pacific’ pass already encourage travellers to visit both Australia and New Zealand on a single trip, while opening up more of Australia’s regional airports to Tasman-only flights would significantly boost travel outside of the country’s largest cities.
That could be achieved by keeping small teams of trained officers centred in capital cities but willing to travel to remote airports to oversee even a single daily flight – avoiding the expense of training local border staff to handle one flight a day.
“Removing the barriers to trans-Tasman travel would significantly enhance trade and relations between our two countries and would position both of us to do more business with Asia,” said Rod McGeoch, the former Australian Co-Chair of the Tourism and Transport Forum.
“We would urge action by the Australian Government to make these recommendations a reality.”
In Australia’s major airports such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, the customs, immigration and quarantine processes could also be streamlined to reduce overall travel times for passengers travelling across the ditch.
“Only those passengers profiled by customs or the Department of Agriculture as risks would be subjected to x-ray or physical bag searches,’’ the report suggests.
In 2013, more passengers travelled from Brisbane to New Zealand than to Dubai, Los Angeles, Nadi (Fiji) and Hong Kong combined.
Singapore remains the most popular international destination from Melbourne and the second most popular international route from both Sydney and Brisbane, with Singapore passport holders now able to use SmartGate to speed up their arrival in Australia.
Passengers departing from Brisbane to New Zealand can soon use eGates as an alternative to outgoing passport control when travelling on select Qantas and Air New Zealand flights, with the first stage of the technology trial already underway.
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