by M&C Asia | October 10, 2017
Australia hopes to pull in a greater crowd of business travellers with easier visa processing (Credit: BWA_IMAGES/iStock)
The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) has submitted a proposal outlining a simpler visa system aimed at sharpening Australia's competitiveness as a destination for business travellers.

The proposal was submitted to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection as part of the call for submissions. Transformations to the present system intends to reduce the current 99 visas to approximately 10 and make it easier to understand and navigate.

In its proposal, AACB highlighted the need for a simpler visa system to benefit the low-risk, high-yield business travellers, a group which spends up to 9% more on average than leisure visitors.

A costly and complex visa system was highlighted as one of the biggest obstacles, which has contributed to Australia "losing major corporate incentives and association conventions," said Karen Bolinger, president, AACB, and CEO, Melbourne Convention Bureau.

"Many of our Asian rivals have made it easier on business travellers to attend conventions and business events. Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong, for example, have visa-free entry requirements for visitors from almost all Asian, European and North American countries. Even New Zealand's visa system allows for greater flexibility whereby fees can be waived or offset for business event delegations."

Andrew Hiebl, CEO of the AACB says that the revised visa system needs to "streamline the process for business events delegates and encourage greater attendance from growth markets such as China, India, Thailand and Indonesia." 

The AACB submission was developed in consultation with other industry bodies including the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Restaurant & Catering Australia, and the Australian Tourism Export Council.

The AACB's visa simplification submission can be viewed online via the AACB website.