Easier trans-Tasman travel to boost trade, tourism

By Chris Chamberlin, August 18 2014

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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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

That $55 passenger movement charge is a joke, only in Aus! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

"As of May 2013, only Fiji's Airport Departure Tax, at F$150 (approximately US$85) and the three long-haul rates of the UK's Air Passenger Duty reduced rate at £67-£94 (or approximately US$105–143) for travel in lowest class or standard rate at £134-£188 (or approximately US$210–286) are higher departure taxes than Australia's."

Even european countries hit people $10 with every airport there far superior to our poor excuses we have here in Aus.

I find the biggest hindrance for tran-Tasman travel is the timing of flights for other ports besides AKL.

As a result there is fewer opportunities to do a long weekends in NZ without wasting much of it in transit. 

05 Jun 2012

Total posts 31

AIt's a but strange, a sort of half pregnant arrangement compared to the Schengen Area. I think it should move to domestic style arrangements with a common visa arrangement. I remember reading in the past that such an idea has been proposed but Australia was holding out. If still so, then NZ could copy Ireland, where foreigners who already hold a UK tourist visa can also travel to Ireland on that visa as long as they've already entered the UK. It'd be a good idea for NZ I think because many tourists to Australia probably would decide to skip NZ rather than go through the hassle of another visa application.

Also, the $55 departure tax needs to be slashed, especially for short haul flights.

Schengen Area?... Be careful what you wish for!

Next thing you'll know you'll end up in a common currency union, deprived of an independent monetary policy and with a straight jacket fiscal policy setting that serves no one!

05 Jun 2012

Total posts 31

A currency union has been mooted in the past. I don't think it'll happen though. On a slight tangent, I read on the Irish foreign affairs website last night that from September, there will be a single tourist visa for Chinese and Indian nationals for the UK and Ireland (presumably to be expanded as time goes on).


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 264

Jee Wiz this makes me laugh. I remember my late grandparents always boasting about how "back in the day" they would travel to and from NZ without the need of a passport... I can hear my them now "...auckland was just like going to Melbourne you know....".  So here we are in 2014.....

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