According to Tourism Australia, international visitor numbers have been positive in 2012 with a three months to March visitor increase of 4.1 per cent on the same period the previous year. With rising inbound passenger numbers, the cuts to border staff announced in this week’s federal budget are troubling.
I can remember a trip I took to Canada several years ago. After a nearly 30 hour flight aboard three separate planes, I arrived in Vancouver and was excited to meet up with a friend I hadn’t seen in years, who had driven four and a half hours to pick me up. Arriving at the border control gate, I was confronted with the longest line I’d ever seen with at least 300 people lined up in front of me.
After a gruelling two hour wait, I was finally processed by one of the three border security staff and welcomed into Canada. After such a long flight, the wait to get into the country was a nightmare and was certainly the sour point of what was one of my most memorable adventures outside of Australia – Canada is amazing.
Heathrow is currently experiencing similar problems and big concerns have been raised that there will be large queues greetings visitors arriving for the 2012 Olympic Games due to not enough border staff.
Tourism is a vital part of the Australian economy and when we cut budgets for border staff AND increase passenger movement charges, we are insulting the international visitors who want to visit our wide brown land and return home with enjoyable memories.
Have you had a perfect holiday ruined by bureaucracy?