Australia continues to draw high levels of interest from international visitors according to the latest departmental Visitor visa program quarterly report for the period ending 31 March 2013.
The report shows there were more than 247 000 visitor visa holders in Australia at the end of March, an increase of 12 per cent compared to the same time last year.
The department has granted almost three million visitor visas this financial year to 31 March, which is about six per cent higher than last year.
Interest from Asia continues to rise with tourism visa applications from China up 19 per cent (more than 310 000 applications), Malaysia up 14 per cent (more than 149 000 applications) and applications from Singapore up almost 29 per cent (more than 107 000 applications).
The report also outlines the key initiatives for the visitor visa program in 2012–13, including the simplification of the visitor visa group to five new visitor visa subclasses on 23 March.
Further enhancements are planned for the visitor visa program with the expansion of online visitor visa applications later in the year. These enhancements will make it possible for visitors from a growing list of countries to apply for their visa online.