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Electronic Travel Authority extended to Portugal.

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Electronic Travel Authority extended to Portugal MPS 070/2001

Portugal is the latest of 33 countries and locations to have access to Australia's world-renowned Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) system, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, announced today.

"Portugal is an important new source of foreign investment, trade and tourism for Australia and access to the ETA system will streamline entry arrangements for Portuguese citizens seeking to visit and do business with Australia," the Minister said.

"Arrangements for Portugal to come online with ETA are now in place and from 1 August, Portuguese citizens will be able to seek a travel authority for Australia through travel agents, airlines and over the Internet.

The ETA is an electronic authority, issued within seconds by computer links between the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, travel agents, airlines and specialist service providers around the world. It negates the need for visa labels or stamps in the traveller's passport.

More than 85 per cent of all tourists and business people visiting Australia utilise the ETA system. Since its introduction in 1996, more than 10 million visitors have taken advantage of the ETA with 3.6 million expected to be issued in the next 12 months.

"This is an exciting day for both countries and is an important step in the development of the bilateral relationship between Australia and Portugal - a relationship that has grown tremendously," Mr Ruddock said.

"The recent reopening of the Australian Embassy in Lisbon has helped improve the bilateral

relationship and the public profile of Australia in Portugal as well as broadening overall interaction in areas such as trade, investment, tourism and culture between the two countries.

"The new agreement has been reached on the basis of reciprocity so it will provide Australians with visa-free access to Portugal," Mr Ruddock said.

06 June 2001 Media Contact: Steve Ingram (02) 6277 7860

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