Lonely Planet Writer

Could we be about to see a single visa for Australia and New Zealand?

Australia and New Zealand’s tourism industries are calling for a permanent Trans-Tasman visa that would allow international tourists to travel between both countries with a regional visa. Tourism operators in both countries believe the move would make long-haul flights to Australia and New Zealand more enticing.

Calls for single travel visa for Australia and New Zealand.
Calls for single travel visa for Australia and New Zealand. Image by Diana Parkhouse / CC BY 2.0

A Trans-Tasman visa arrangement was implemented on a temporary basis during the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015. Visitors travelling between 26 January and 5 April 2015 only needed an Australian visa to travel ‘across the ditch‘ to New Zealand. On arrival in NZ, a three-month visa was granted to those holding an eligible Australian visa through the period.

One year on tourism groups are calling for a permanent Trans-Tasman Visa by the end of this year. “Australia and New Zealand are long-haul destinations – it makes a lot of sense for us to package the two countries together in a joint regional visa to prospective international tourists who are weighing up the long flight to our countries,” said Margy Osmond CEO of Tourism & Transport Forum Australia.

“The reality is that if you are coming halfway around the world to Australia or New Zealand you want to make it worth your while, just as travelling to Europe we visit a multitude of countries on that continent not just one. Seamless travel between Australia and New Zealand for our own citizens — and international visitors — is a goal we should be strongly pursuing to make our two nations a more attractive destination in what is a cut-throat, competitive tourism market.

Tourism Industry Association New Zealand CEO Chris Roberts said the experience during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 proves that a Trans-Tasman visa arrangement has tremendous potential to bring more visitors to both countries. “It makes sense to invest and market a joint Australia-New Zealand experience to potential international visitors. This is already happening successfully elsewhere – for example the Schengen zone of 28 European countries, where a single visitor visa is required,” he said.