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Tourist visa records broken under the Approved Destination Scheme.

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Teresa Gambaro MP Assistant Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

Tourist visa records broken under the Approved Destination Scheme

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Australia has today passed an important milestone as an important destination for the booming Chinese tourism market, welcoming its 300,000th arrival in a scheme that assists the travel of Chinese tour groups.

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Teresa Gambaro said the Approved Destination Scheme (ADS), first introduced in August 1999, had grown significantly in recent years, with more than 55 000 ADS visa holders arriving in Australia in 2005-06 alone.

‘The ADS ensures that Chinese tourists have timely and convenient access to visas for Australia and that Australia can benefit from the more than 12 per cent annual growth expected in the Chinese tourism market,’ Ms Gambaro said.

Ms Gambaro said applications for the ADS had greatly increased since it was expanded to include the whole of the People’s Republic of China in August last year, resulting in about 23 per cent more ADS visas granted between August 1, 2006 and January 30, 2007 compared to the same period in 2005-06.

‘Over the busy Chinese New Year period, the Australian Embassy in Beijing received more than 1100 ADS visa applications in one day,’ she said.

Ms Gambaro said the scheme successfully provided an avenue for a large number of Chinese tourists to visit Australia, while ensuring high levels of integrity and compliance with visa conditions.

‘Despite such growing numbers, Australia’s ADS continues to be a success story in terms of compliance rates and is often cited as a model scheme globally,’ she said.

Ms Gambaro said the ADS had the support of the travel industry with a total of 74 Chinese and 57 Australian travel agents now taking part.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, and Tourism Australia work closely to ensure the ongoing success of the ADS.

Media Enquiries: Dean Savage 0438 171 330