Premium fast track arrivals service to be introduced at Australian airports

by Ray Clancy on May 9, 2016

in Australia Immigration, Australia Travel

Airports around Australia have welcomed the decision to introduce fast track immigration services for those willing to pay a premium to avoid queues.

The premium border security service is aimed at business travellers, wealthier passengers and those who can afford a fee for a faster immigration clearance.

The Department if Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) said that the move will also help to attract more people to Australia and said it will be introduced first at airports in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne.

airport-arrival

Under the plan airports will pay the government fee to offer the premium service which would then be passed on to the airlines and eventually the passengers seeking a faster alternative.

A spokesperson for the DIBP explained that the “premium traveller facilitation service” would not allow passengers to skip the security process, but it would be significantly faster than what is currently available.

“The services would be on a user-pay basis and travellers using these services will be processed under established clearance procedure. They would not be exempt from customs, immigration, biosecurity or aviation security screening,” the spokesman added.

The airports and tourism officials pointed out that similar services are available at international airports around the world and it was about time that Australia introduced a fee paying fast track system.

Tourism and Transport Forum Australia chief executive Margy Osmond said that the system would appeal to wealthy visitors coming to Australia. “It is no different to an aeroplane having economy, business and first class,” she said.

“Australia must cater to the needs for all traveller demographics. For a growing number of Asian travellers, which is Australia’s key growth market, premium border facilitation is an integral component of the travel experience,” she pointed out.

The fee that passengers would pay for the premium service has not yet been confirmed. When asked, a spokesman replied that this was “due to commercial confidentiality”.

Osmond also called for political parties to get behind Australia’s visitor economy because it has been one of the great economic success stories. “The challenge for all our political leaders is to back up their strong words of support for the tourism sector. We need to see positive policies that will allow the industry to reach its full potential as an economic wealth and jobs generator for Australia,” she explained.

“This is an area that we have continued to see a gulf between words and action in recent times. Now is the time for political parties to get real about support for the visitor economy sectors and the jobs and opportunities they can generate,” she pointed out.

“Tourism is now generating $47.5 billion or 3% of the nation’s GDP and at 5.3% it is growing three times faster than the total Australian economy,” she added.

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