A new push is being made to make transtasman travel easier.
Australia's Tourism and Transport Forum (TFF) wants a
domestic flight style travel experience at international
airports in Australia and New Zealand by streamlining of
border formalities on exit and entry.
It is pushing the Australian government to more than halve
departure tax to $A25, open new points of entry at secondary
airports and and develop common visitor visas to encourage
more international visitors to combine both countries in one
The campaign launched today has the backing of tourist and
business groups in this country.
Easing rules around transtasman travel is frequently on the
agenda for bilateral talks between New Zealand and Australia
but there has been no public signs of progress recently.
New Zealand and Australia provide the largest single source
of visitors for each country with more than 1.2 million
Australians crossing the ditch in the year to June 2014 and
just over one million Kiwis visiting Australia.
New Zealand Tourism Industry Association chief executive
Chris Roberts said the implementation of reforms would unlock
further growth from Australia.
The current bilateral arrangements between Australia and New
Zealand lag behind border agreements elsewhere in the world,
like those for the 26 countries within Europe's Schengen
zone, between the United States and Canada, and between
Britain and Ireland, he said.
"Identifying and eliminating or mitigating facilitation
barriers are a key to improving the visitor experience at the
border while driving more value from the Australian market.
And a common visa, like the temporary one in place for the
2015 Cricket World Cup, is a catalyst to encourage visitors
from visa required countries like India and China to include
Australia and New Zealand on the same itinerary," he said.
Roberts said he agreed with the Australian TTF that next
year's Anzac Centenary represented a real opportunity to move
on the reforms and cement the Closer Economic Relationship
that has been in place between our two countries for more
than 30 years."
The TFF said direct flights could go from New Zealand to
Newcastle, Hobart, Canberra or The Whitsundays and this would
open up these cities as new destinations for leisure travel,
especially the short-break market.
"If all these three reforms were implemented, we would expect
to see as many as 200,000 additional New Zealanders visit
Australia by 2020, with a boost to spending of up to A$370
million." the federation said.
The Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum co-chair Rod
McGeoch said removing the barriers to transtasman travel
would significantly enhance trade and relations between the
two countries and would position both of them to do more
business with Asia.
- By Grant Bradley of the NZ Herald