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Tourism chiefs call for one visa for Australia and New Zealand

Tourism chiefs have said that a tourist visa that allows visitors to gain entry into both Australia and New Zealand could help to encourage people to travel to both areas.

It's hoped that this is going to make more people keen to board long-haul flights to the region if they can stay for a longer amount of time in both places on one visa, reports Channel News Asia.

As these two countries are so close, it makes sense for them to benefit from this group travel pass. In fact, they have already trialled this visa idea during the 2015 Cricket World Cup, as they were joint hosts.

Both nations already enjoy combined work and travel rights within themselves, but this doesn't currently extend towards international travellers.

The trial in 2015 lasted 39 days and it saw more than 7,000 people enter New Zealand, according to official statistics from the country's government.

Of those who took advantage of the joint visa, 43 per cent were Chinese nationals, which was interesting considering that this country wasn't represented at the tournament.

The heads of Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) Australia and Tourism Industry Association (TIA) New Zealand released a joint statement, showing a unified front for the double-country visa.

Margy Osmond, TTF chief executive, said: "Australia and New Zealand are long-haul destinations - it makes a lot of sense for us to package the two countries together.

"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."

Both tourism bodies have written to Peter Dutton, Australian immigration minister, asking for the trans-Tasman visa to become a permanent fixture by the end of 2016.

Despite this, it's unclear whether or not this will become a reality, as it's mostly just a talking point between the two tourism bodies for the time being.

However, Chris Roberts, chief executive of the TIA, commented that the Cricket World Cup was an excellent example of how well the joint visa can work.

He stated: "We just need the will of our governments to bring down this travel barrier between our countries permanently."

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