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Visa Traveler

Exploring the world one country at a time

Australia Visitor Visa: Requirements, Eligibility and Application Process

Updated: February 7, 2024

Australia Visitor Visa is the only option to visit Australia as a tourist for many nationalities. If you don’t qualify for either the Electronic Travel Authority(ETA) or the eVisitor Visa, then you will need to get a Visitor Visa.

Australia no longer accepts paper applications for the visitor visa. All applications must be lodged online through the Australian Government Immi Portal.

The Visitor Visa has subclass 600 in Australia’s visa documentation and the subtype we’re interested in is the “Tourist stream (apply outside Australia)”.

Quick summary:

  • Eligibility: All nationalities are eligible
  • Validity: Valid for 6 months, 1 year or 3 years with single or multiple entries
  • Duration of stay: Generally, 3 months allowed stay, but up to 6 or 12 in some cases
  • Visa fee: Visitors visa fee is 190 AUD
  • Processing time: 50% of applications are processed in 7 days and 90% in 21 days.

If you haven’t already, read the  Australia Visa Guide  to familiarize yourself with Australian tourist visa types, requirements, eligibility and entry procedures at the border.

Table of Contents

Understanding australia visitor visa.

Australia Visitor Visa (Subclass 600, Tourist Stream) Sample

Visitor visa validity

The Australian Visitor visa is valid for 6 months, 1 year or 3 years from the date of issue. The validity of the visa depends on your nationality and circumstances. For example, most Indian passport holders get a 3-year valid Australian visa, whereas Phillippine passport holders get a 1-year valid visa. Pakistan nationals get a 6-month validity.

You must visit Australia within the validity of your visa.

Duration of stay

Most Visitor visas granted allow for 3 months of continuous stay in Australia. Depending on circumstances, you might be granted a stay of 6 months or even 12 months.

Allowed number of entries

Most Visitor visas are multiple-entry , but Home Affairs also issues single visas in certain circumstances for certain nationalities.

When to apply

Since the tourist visas are valid for at least 3 months, it’s a good idea to apply well in advance. Most applications get processed in 3 weeks or fewer.

Visa extension

Australia Visitor visa is non-extendable . If you need to  extend your stay in Australia , you are allowed to apply for another Visitor Visa (onshore) from within the country.

Australia Visitor Visa Requirements

Australia Visitor Visa (Subclass 600) Required Countries

Who requires a Visitor Visa?

Australia Visitor Visa is REQUIRED for all nationalities to enter Australia as a tourist, except for the below.

  • New Zealand passport holders
  • Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)
  • eVisitor Visa
  • Those transiting in Australia for less than 72 hours and can get a Transit visa .

Documents required

To support your application, you can attach as many as 60 documents online. You don’t have to attach that many but the more documents you provide, the better your chances of approval.

You have to satisfy the Home Office that:

  • You are who you say you are
  • You are a genuine visitor who will not overstay or work illegally
  • You are of good character and not have a criminal record
  • You won’t be a burden to Australia’s healthcare system

To do this, attach as many of these documents as you can :

Identity documents

  • Valid passport (must be valid for the duration of the stay)
  • Valid National ID card (if from a country that issues them)
  • marriage or divorce certificate;
  • change of name documents;
  • documents that show other names you have been known by
  • Residence Permit/Visa (if residence and citizenship differ)
  • One passport-size photo

Genuine visitor documents

  • Itemized personal bank statements for the last 3 months. Aim to have at least 5000 AUD in your bank account. The money cannot be deposited suddenly and inexplicably – it should be from legitimate sources and savings over time.
  • Tax returns
  • Credit card statements
  • their relationship to you
  • the purpose of your visit and length of stay
  • if you will be staying with them
  • Proof of their funds (if they will be paying for your stay)
  • Your plans or travel itinerary while in Australia  
  • a letter from your employer stating you plan to return to your job
  • proof that you study at a school, college or university in your home country
  • proof that you have immediate family members in your home country
  • proof that you own a house or other major assets in your home country;
  • Confirmed return flight ticket;
  • Health Insurance

At a later date, you may be required to obtain and submit the following:

  • Medical Certificate
  • Police Clearance Certificate (PCC)

All non-English documents (except for police certificates) must be translated into English and all documents’ copies (both original and translations) must be certified.

Photo requirements

You need one passport-size digital photo for the Visitor Visa application. The photo must meet the following requirements. 

  • Taken in the last 6 months
  • Showing your head and shoulders against a plain background
  • Neutral facial expression with mouth closed, eyes open, and looking at the camera
  • Religious head coverings are allowed but must not obscure the face
  • Piercing is allowed but must not cause any reflections or shadows

There is no official guidance for the size and resolution of pictures uploaded online but the file type must be JPG. You will get to move the photo to position your face within a frame.

As long as the picture is clear, crisp, and not excessively big, it will be accepted.

Visitor visa fee

The Australian Tourist Visa application fee is 190 AUD , payable online.

You may also have to pay for:

  • Health checks
  • Police certificates

Processing time

Australian immigration reports that 50% of applications are processed in 7 days and 90% are processed in 21 days . These periods start after you submit your biometrics (if required).

Visitor Visa Application Process

Australia Visitor Visa (Subclass 600) Application on ImmiAccount Portal

How to apply

You must apply for your tourist visa online through the Immi Portal. Applying on paper is not possible for the visitor visa anymore. Follow the below steps:

  • Go to the ImmiAccount portal and create an account
  • Click on “New application” and pick “Visitor Visa (600)”.
  • Enter your personal information, passport details, employment details and financial information
  • Upload your documents such as passport, photo, etc.
  • Pay the required visa fee
  • Submit the application

The Visitor Visa is part of Australia’s biometrics program. If you apply for a Visitor Visa from any of the below countries, regardless of your nationality, you must give your biometrics.

  • Afghanistan
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Kazakhstan 
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • United Arab Emirates

If you apply from one of these countries, you will receive an email informing you that you need to visit an Australian Biometrics Collection Centre (ABCC) to have your biometrics collected. The biometrics are usually a face photo and fingerprint scan.

You must complete the biometrics procedure within 14 days of getting this email otherwise your application becomes void without a refund!

AABCs are typically managed by VFS Global. They charge a service fee for biometric collection. This fee depends on AABC and the country you are applying from.

For example, the biometric service at AABC in Dubai, UAE is AED 109.17. The biometric service fee at AABC in Manila, Philippines is PHP 557.

How to schedule biometric appointment?

Within 24 hours of applying for your Visitor Visa, you will receive an email with a biometric request letter from Home Affairs. Follow these steps to schedule your biometric appointment.

Find the nearest ABCC to you and follow the prompts to schedule your biometric appointment.

How to attend biometric appointment?

Follow the below steps to attend your biometric appointment at an AABC.

  • Arrive at the AABC at least 15 minutes before your appointment time
  • Original passport
  • Biometric appointment confirmation
  • Biometric fee receipt and
  • Biometric request letter received in the email from Home Affairs
  • Your facial photo is taken and your 10 fingertips are scanned

What if you can’t attend your appointment?

If you can’t make an appointment, you can reschedule your appointment up to 24 hours before your scheduled appointment date and time. You can reschedule up to 2 times.

What if you miss your appointment?

If you miss your scheduled appointment, you will lose the fee paid as the biometric fee is nonrefundable. You will also have to wait 24 hours to schedule a new appointment.

How to track status

You will receive the status of your application in your email. You can also track the status of the visa in your ImmiAccount.

How to download approved visa

When your Visitor Visa is approved, you will receive a grant letter in your email from Home Affairs. The grant letter is your Visitor Visa.

The Visitor visa is electronically linked to your passport, so you don’t need to download or print your Visitor Visa.

If you’re ever asked to show any proof, you can use the Grant Notification you received in your email. You can also download it from your ImmiAccount under “Visa Grant Details”.

How to check the validity of your Visitor Visa

The expiration date of your Australia eVisitor visa is indicated as “Must not arrive after” on the visa letter. If you lost your grant letter or don’t have a copy of your Visitor Visa, you can check the validity details on the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) portal by using either your Visa Grant Number or Transaction Reference Number.

Customer service

Refer to the Self-help Guidelines for information to troubleshoot any issues. If facing issues with your ImmiAccount or the Visitor visa application, contact customer service using the below webform

Web: ImmiAccount Technical Support Form

Procedure at the border

The Visitor Visa is digitally attached to your passport so you don’t need to print anything. When you enter Australia, simply present your passport and be ready to answer a few basic questions about your visit.

Eligible passport holders can use the Smart Gates for faster arrival and departure procedures.

All visitors including Australian citizens are required to fill out an Incoming Passenger Card on arrival.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take to get an australian tourist visa.

It can take up to 3 weeks to get an Australian tourist visa, especially if submitting your biometrics. It can be faster or slower depending on where you are applying from, your circumstances and the number of documents you submit.

How hard is it to get a tourist visa to Australia?

It is easy to get a tourist visa to Australia if you submit a complete application with as many documents. You must convince the Home Office that you won’t overstay or break the conditions of the visa.

How much bank balance is required for Australia tourist visa?

Australian Home Office doesn’t specify the minimum bank balance required for a tourist visa. Your bank account must show continuous cash flow and not a lump sum deposited recently. 

Based on the reports from travelers reports and recommendations from embassies, you should aim for at least 5,000 AUD in your bank account when you apply.

Can you get a 3-year visitor visa to Australia?

Yes, you can get a 3-year visitor visa to Australia if are from an eligible country and meet the requirements. Australian Visitor Visa is issued for 6 months, 1 year or 3 years depending on your nationality and circumstances. For example, Indian nationals can get an Australian tourist visa valid for 3 years.

WRITTEN BY THIRUMAL MOTATI

Thirumal Motati

Thirumal Motati is an expert in tourist visa matters. He has been traveling the world on tourist visas for more than a decade. With his expertise, he has obtained several tourist visas, including the most strenuous ones such as the US, UK, Canada, and Schengen, some of which were granted multiple times. He has also set foot inside US consulates on numerous occasions. Mr. Motati has uncovered the secrets to successful visa applications. His guidance has enabled countless individuals to obtain their visas and fulfill their travel dreams. His statements have been mentioned in publications like Yahoo, BBC, The Hindu, and Travel Zoo.

PLAN YOUR TRAVEL WITH VISA TRAVELER

I highly recommend using these websites to plan your trip. I use these websites myself to apply for my visas, book my flights and hotels and purchase my travel insurance.

01. Apply for your visa

Get a verifiable flight itinerary for your visa application from DummyTicket247 . DummyTicket247 is a flight search engine to search and book flight itineraries for visas instantly. These flight itineraries are guaranteed to be valid for 2 weeks and work for all visa applications.

02. Book your fight

Find the cheapest flight tickets using Skyscanner . Skyscanner includes all budget airlines and you are guaranteed to find the cheapest flight to your destination.

03. Book your hotel

Book your hotel from Booking.com . Booking.com has pretty much every hotel, hostel and guesthouse from every destination.

04. Get your onward ticket

If traveling on a one-way ticket, use BestOnwardTicket to get proof of onward ticket for just $12, valid for 48 hours.

05. Purchase your insurance

Purchase travel medical insurance for your trip from SafetyWing . Insurance from SafetyWing covers COVID-19 and also comes with a visa letter which you can use for your visas.

Need more? Check out my travel resources page  for the best websites to plan your trip.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER We are not affiliated with immigration, embassies or governments of any country. The content in this article is for educational and general informational purposes only, and shall not be understood or construed as, visa, immigration or legal advice. Your use of information provided in this article is solely at your own risk and you expressly agree not to rely upon any information contained in this article as a substitute for professional visa or immigration advice. Under no circumstance shall be held liable or responsible for any errors or omissions in this article or for any damage you may suffer in respect to any actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the information in this article. Please refer to our full disclaimer for further information.

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How and When to Get a Visa to Visit Australia

Katie Genter

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here .

US citizens can travel to many countries visa-free, but Australia isn't one of them. If you're thinking about traveling to Australia, you'll need to plan ahead and obtain valid travel documentation. Here's what you need to know before traveling to Australia as a US citizen with a US passport.

What Visa Do I Need?

The Australian government makes it easy to determine the visa you need with its Visa Finder website . This website asks three questions, the first of which is about the purpose of your trip (think: vacation, visiting relations, attending an event, doing business and seeking medical treatment, among others):

the australian tourism office needed

The next question asks the country of your passport:

the australian tourism office needed

And the final question asks how long you'd like to stay in Australia — either less than or more than three months.

the australian tourism office needed

Most travelers from the US will likely be eligible for an Electronic Travel Authority (Subclass 601) — also called an ETA — as I was for my most recent month-long trip.

the australian tourism office needed

This is because an ETA is available to US citizens visiting Australia for three months for reasons that fit into the following categories:

  • Holiday or vacation
  • Visit to see friends or family
  • Select business activities such as general business or employment inquiries; investigate, negotiate, sign or review a business contract; or attend a conference, trade fair or seminar

Since most US citizens traveling to Australia will be traveling for one of these reasons (and, as a result, are eligible to apply for an ETA) I'll focus on ETAs available to US citizens with a US passport.

What Are the Requirements?

To apply for an ETA, you must:

  • Have a valid passport from an eligible country (including the US).
  • Apply while outside Australia.
  • Wish to stay no longer than three months at a time (you must not study for more than three months, for example).
  • Be free from tuberculosis.
  • Not have any criminal convictions for which you have been sentenced for a total combined period of 12 months or more, whether or not you served the sentence(s).
  • Have paid back any debt — of either yourself or your family — or arranged to pay back any debt to the Australian government.

How Much Does It Cost to Apply Online?

The ETA is free, but there is an online application service charge of 20 Australian dollars (about $14) per applicant. As US passport holders -- along with seven other nationalities -- must apply online, there's no escaping the online application service charge. The fees for my recent ETA applications coded as "Bills and Utilities" on my Chase Sapphire Reserve statement, so don't expect the fee to code as "Travel."

the australian tourism office needed

How Long Does It Take?

The Australian government says "processing time for this visa is not available" and that the visa may take longer to process if:

  • You don't fill it out correctly
  • It takes the Australian government additional time to verify your information

Most ETA applications are approved immediately, and those that need additional processing are usually handled within 24 hours. This being said, the Australian government recommends travelers get an approved ETA before booking any nonrefundable travel. Once an ETA is granted, it is valid for one year and allows multiple entries up to three months each.

How Do I Apply?

The online ETA application takes about five minutes to complete. To start an application, click "Apply for an ETA."

the australian tourism office needed

Step 1 : Select whether you need a Tourist ETA or a Business Visitor ETA, and certify that you are currently located outside Australia.

Step 2 : Enter your personal details, whether you have an alias, answer a question about your criminal record and enter your passport information.

Step 3 : Enter your address, phone number and email. Select whether you wish to receive communications by SMS and declare whether you hold any passports issued by other countries.

Step 4 : Confirm your information.

Step 5 : Pay the online service charge of 20 Australian dollars (about $14) using a credit card.

How Do I Check My Status?

Once you have submitted an online ETA application, you'll receive a response. The response may:

  • Notify you that your ETA has been granted.
  • Advise you that your application has been referred for further assessment. You can then check the status of your application after 12 hours by logging back into the ETA system and selecting the option "Check an ETA."
  • Advise you to contact the nearest Australian visa office to make a new application.

My response came immediately in an email titled, "ETA Application for Australia [CLIENT-IN-CONFIDENCE] (PROD)" that confirmed my application had "been successful," my payment had been received, that I was now the proud holder of a "valid ETA for Australia" and that my ETA had been linked to my passport, so no additional documents would be required during the travel process.

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What Do I Need to Print Before Travel?

Nothing. When your ETA is linked to your passport, it becomes available to both airline representatives as well as Australian immigration authorities. So, there's no need to print your confirmation once your ETA has been granted.

Other Questions

If you have other questions about ETAs, or other types of Australian visas, take a look at the Australian government's Visa Finder website . Questions such as how to combine multiple visa types if the purpose of your trip changes and what to do if you get a new passport are covered on the website.

Traveling to Australia soon? Here are some TPG articles that might be helpful:

  • The Best Ways to Use Points and Miles to Fly from the US to Australia
  • TPG Readers Reveal Their Favorite Points Hotels in Australia
  • TPG Readers' Best Tips for Flying Around Australia
  • 8 Australian Islands You Probably Haven't Heard of But Need to Visit

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Entry requirements

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Australia set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact Australia’s High Commission in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

You do not need a pre-departure COVID-19 test to enter or transit Australia regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status. See the Australian government’s website for advice on COVID-19 and travelling.

COVID-19 quarantine requirements

Each state and territory determines its own quarantine rules. You should check requirements for specific states and territories .

Passport validity requirements

For entry into Australia, your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. If you’re transiting another country on your way to or from Australia, check the entry requirements for that country. Many countries will only allow entry if you have at least 6 months validity remaining on your passport.

Visa requirements

British citizens can usually get the following types of electronic visitor visa:

  • eVisitor visa . There is no visa application charge or service fee
  • Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) via the iOS App or Android App . There is no visa application charge, but a service fee of A$20 may apply

Information on all other types of visa is available from the Department of Home Affairs .

Working holiday visa

Thousands of Britons travel to Australia each year on a working holiday visa and the vast majority have no issues. Working conditions, accommodation and medical facilities are generally of a good standard.

You can find information about your rights as an employee in Australia and how to report any concerns about unfair or unlawful treatment on the Fair Work Ombudsman website , or by calling 131 394.

Get more information about working in Australia .

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If you’re a British national living in Australia with Australian citizenship, or a dual national, it is best to leave and enter Australia on your Australian passport. You could face difficulties and delays if you do not. See Australian government advice for dual nationals .

Vaccination requirements (other than COVID-19)

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in TravelHealthPro’s Australia guide .

Quarantine of goods

Australia has strict quarantine rules to keep out pests and diseases that could affect plant, animal or human health.

You must fill out an Incoming Passenger Card and either:

  • declare any risk goods including food, animal products and plant material (including wooden articles)
  • dispose of any risk goods in the bins at the airport or sea port

All luggage is x-rayed on arrival. Any items of concern are further inspected, treated and if necessary confiscated and destroyed. You can be heavily fined for breaches of quarantine regulations.

You can find more information on the Department of Agriculture website .

You will also be asked to declare whether you have ‘visited a rural area, or been in contact with, or near, farm animals outside Australia in the past 30 days’.

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ANZAC DAY Washington DC 2024

ANZAC Day Dawn Service 2024

H.E. The Hon. Dr Kevin Rudd AC, Australian Ambassador to the US gives commemoration speech at the ANZAC Day Dawn Service - 25 April 2024 - Washington, DC

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The Complex Challenges of Integrated Deterrence, China, and Taiwan

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Australia’s Ambassador to the United States, the Hon Dr Kevin Rudd AC, has recognised five outstanding Australians for their innovations and achievements at the inaugural Embassy of Australia Awards.

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Australia and California have announced a new Memorandum of Understanding to accelerate our shared efforts to deliver climate action and support clean energy transition.

Visitor Economy Facts and Figures

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Main content

The Visitor Economy Facts and Figures (VEFF) is a monthly report which brings together data relevant to the visitor economy from a range of different sources. The report provides a quick and easy reference for the major factors affecting Australia’s visitor economy.

Open the Visitor Economy Facts and Figures data in full-screen mode .

Data results

The main data in this report are:

  • monthly, quarterly and annual data on the number of domestic and international visitors. It also captures their reasons for travel and their total spend in Australia
  • total value of the visitor economy by its components
  • trends and source countries of international visitors and students
  • supply metrics such as tourism jobs and aviation data. 

Data sources

Data is sourced from:

  • Tourism Research Australia (Austrade)
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
  • Department of Education
  • Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE)
  • Department of Home Affairs.

Please note:

  • The VEFF data is updated on the same day that Tourism Research Australia’s monthly National Visitor Survey and International Visitor Survey are released
  • View this page on a desktop device for the best result

Contact TRA

mail   tourism.research@tra.gov.au

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Quality Tourism Australia

Quality Tourism Accreditation

Quality Tourism accreditation signifies quality assurance and the delivery of quality tourism experiences.

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Quality Tourism Accreditation signifies that a tourism business has made a commitment to exceeding customer expectations through best practice in service, safety, insurance, advertising practices, risk management and business operations. These standards have been adopted by more than 4,500 high quality tourism businesses across Australia.

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When you choose a business with the “tick” you can expect:

  • Reliability
  • Professional customer service
  • Accuracy in advertising
  • Sound environmental practices
  • An appropriately licenced and qualified operator
  • Adherence to a Code of Ethics

Scroll down to view the standards in more detail.

Meet the standard

Quality Tourism Accreditation certifies tourism businesses that meet specific quality assurance criteria ensuring they are committed to exceeding consumer expectations with great customer service and the highest standards of business practice. All Quality Tourism Accredited Businesses undertake regular onsite audits to ensure compliance. To be accredited, businesses must complete the following:

Licences & Permits

Ensures the business has all the required licences and permits.

Business Operating Systems

Ensures business has detailed & proactive operating systems ie: maintenance, health and safety and cleaning schedules.

Economic Sustainability and Financial Systems

Ensures business complies with accounting standards with up-to-date record keeping and complies with consumer laws.

Insurance Details

Ensures the business has all required coverage inc. at least $10million in public liability insurance.

Human Resource Management

Ensure management complies with legislation relating to employing staff along with comprehensive ongoing training and skill development.

Environmental Management

Business must demonstrate a documented and practical commitment to sustainable environmental practices.

Customer Service

Business must have documented customer service procedures, booking and cancellation policies and customer feedback processes.

Risk Management

Business must demonstrate documentation and implementation of risk management plans, as well as emergency and evacuation procedures.

Code of Practice

Business must sign industry code of ethics.

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NYC tourism still lags pre-COVID era amid crime concerns: report

T he Big Apple is still seeing fewer tourists than before the COVID pandemic amid concerns about crime, according to a report released by the state comptroller’s office Thursday.

The number of people who visited New York City last year — 62.2 million — was about 7% less than the 66.6 million tourists tallied in 2019, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found.

“Our city and state leaders need to focus on keeping New York a desirable and safe destination for individuals and families from around the world,” DiNapoli said in a statement accompanying the report.

DiNapoli’s analysis cited “high prices” as an issue that could be contributing to the slower recovery, too, including for business or trade conventions.

“Some visitors may also be hesitant to return amid perceptions of crime and public safety in the City,” the report said, noting Gov. Kathy Hochul deploying the National Guard in the subways in response to a series of highly publicized violent crimes, along with beefed up police presence on the rails.

The city has also seen a few recent high-profile attacks on visitors, including a Pennsylvania mom who was randomly stabbed in the chest while chaperoning schoolgirls on a class trip in Times Square earlier this month.

Two teens from Paraguay were stabbed in an unprovoked attack in Grand Central Terminal on Christmas Day, while a man from Brazil was knifed in the neck at a Queens subway station in February.

The lag was especially striking with international tourism, which, while up from 2022, was still 14% down compared to 2019.

That’s a concern because foreigners spend considerably more money than domestic tourists when they visit. Spending from international travelers is still down 20% from pre-pandemic era, the report found.

Tourists from China represented the largest share of global tourists in 2019, now visitors from the United Kingdom are the biggest share.

The report noted the COVID-19 lockdowns and travel bans were in place for a longer period in China, and that impacted the number of travelers from there.

Domestic travelers, especially those making leisure trips, fared better.

The 50.6 million US visitors to the Big Apple in 2023 were 7% more than in 2022 — but still 5% lower than visitors in 2019.

“Conference-based business return is also important for the City as this is one area where visitors have returned faster in other large cities,” DiNapoli said.

Revenue and spending from tourism are up overall, but that has more to do with rising prices for hotel rooms and other costs, the comptroller noted.

Meanwhile, there are still nearly 30,000 fewer workers in the tourism-related sector compared to 2019, with jobs down 10% in restaurants, bars, hotels and entertainment venues.

Tourism- related retail jobs are still down by 9,172 or 16.8%, with less foot traffic in tourist areas.

The lag in tourism contrasts with a total recovery of jobs Gotham lost during the coronavirus outbreak.

DiNapoli emphasized that the picture has improved the past few years and the city is close to recovering all the jobs lost during the pandemic, and could do so next year.

“The number of tourists is nearly back to pre-pandemic numbers in New York City,” DiNapoli said. 

“Visitor spending and the tax revenue this industry generates already exceed pre-pandemic levels, but the industry’s recovery won’t be complete until we see a full return of international and business travelers, and a full recovery of local jobs.”

The city hotel occupancy rate was 81.6%, highest among top markets in the nation — but still lower than 89.6% in 2019.

The analysis said the migrant crisis contributed to the hotel industry’s bottom line, boosting gross profits by 47% from 2022 to 2023.

Thousands of hotel rooms were taken off the market and the city paid hoteliers an average of $156 per room and provided full occupancy.

These were mostly small and medium-sized hotels, many in the outer boroughs. 

Meanwhile, the larger, popular hotels mostly in the Manhattan tourism sector, charged an average of $301 per room.

The head of the New York City Hotel Association said the city tourism market has a ways to go when looking at the global competition.

“The hotel industry not only lags its numbers of 2019, a benchmark year for most industries, but also lags its competitors in other major international gateway cities like London and Paris. Both of those markets surpassed their 2019 numbers in 2023,” said NYC Hotel Association CEO Vijay Dandapani.

He also said surveys show that New York City “scores low in the perception of safety” as well for high costs.

Dandapani also said 16,000 hotel rooms were taken off the market to house migrants and 6,000 hotel other rooms closed during the pandemic.

The city hotel occupancy rate would be lower without the significant reduction in marketable hotel rooms, he said.

NYC tourism still lags pre-COVID era amid crime concerns: report

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We acknowledge the Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owners of the land, sea and waters of the Australian continent, and recognise their custodianship of culture and Country for over 60,000 years.

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Australian judge rules that social media platform X must answer to hate speech complaint

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Australia X Corp FILE - The opening page of X is displayed on a computer and phone in Sydney on Oct. 16, 2023. An Australian judge has ruled that the social media platform X is subject to a state’s anti-discrimination law even though it does not have an office in Australia. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File) (Rick Rycroft/AP)

MELBOURNE, Australia — (AP) — An Australian judge has ruled that the social media platform X is subject to a state’s anti-discrimination law even though it does not have an office in Australia.

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Judge Ann Fitzgerald said in a decision made public Friday that her court has jurisdiction over X Corp. in a hate speech complaint.

The ruling allows the Queensland Human Rights Commission to hear an allegation that X breached Queensland anti-discrimination law by failing to remove or hide anti-Muslim hate speech.

The Australian Muslim Advocacy Network, which brought the case against Twitter in June 2022 before billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk bought and rebranded the platform last year, welcomed the decision as “precedent-setting.”

Fitzgerald’s decision “paved the way for social media companies to be held accountable for locally accessible content that may breach Australian hate speech laws,” the network said in a statement.

“This is the first such legal victory against a social media company under Australian vilifications laws, which may bear consequences to all social media companies operating in Australia,” it said.

X and its Australia-based lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.

X has refused to remove material that the network alleges denigrates, dehumanizes and demonizes the Muslim community, portraying Muslims as an existential threat.

The complaint deals with material including video and photos that can be accessed through a link posted on X by an alleged far-right anti-Muslim conspiracy blog authored by an American citizen. The material is then commented on, copied and shared.

The tribunal has accepted the network’s request that the blog and its principal author not be identified for fear of “adverse consequences” for Muslims.

X had argued that the tribunal had no jurisdiction over the company because it had no presence in Queensland and the “impugned conduct” took place outside Queensland.

Fitzgerald disagreed, ruling X was “present in Queensland because it provides a service in Queensland and in my view carries on business in Queensland.”

“The impugned conduct took place in Queensland whether one terms the impugned conduct an ‘effect’ or actual conduct,” she added.

Fitzgerald made her ruling on Tuesday but lawyers did not release her reasons to the public until Friday.

Musk is also fighting in Australian Federal Court a notice by an Internet safety watchdog to take down video of a 16-year-old boy allegedly stabbing an Assyrian Orthodox bishop in a Sydney church on April 15.

X agreed to geoblock from Australian users images of what Australian authorities have declared a terrorist act.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Tourists required to book to climb Mount Fuji as Japan struggles with over-tourism

Dozens of hikers walk up a steep hill high above the cloud level wearing headlamps

People wanting to climb an iconic trail on Mount Fuji will need to book in advance and pay a fee, as one of the most iconic volcanoes in the world struggles with over-tourism and littering.

Officials in Japan are also introducing the new measures because of concerns people are "bullet climbing" to the summit and putting fellow climbers at risk.

The Yamanashi prefecture said in a statement on Monday it introduced new rules for the climbing season from July 1 to September 10 for those hiking the Yoshida Trail on the 3,776-meter-high mountain, designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 2013.

Only 4,000 climbers will be allowed to enter the trail per day: 3,000 slots will be available for online booking at a fee of 2,000 yen (about $20), and the remaining 1,000 can be booked in person on the day of the climb.

A conical mountain capped with snow rises from clouds.

Mount Fuji is divided into 10 stations, and there are four "5th stations" halfway up the mountain from where the four trails — the Yoshida, Fujinomiya, Subashiri, and Gotemba — start to the top.

Under the new system, climbers need to choose whether they will do a day hike or stay overnight at the several available huts across the trail.

Once they input their information and the day of the climb, they are given a QR code to be scanned at the 5th station.

Authorities said those who have not booked an overnight hut will be sent back down and not allowed to climb between 4pm and 3am, mainly to stop climbers who rush to the summit without adequate rest, raising safety concerns.

Climbers can book their slots via Mount Fuji Climbing's official website, jointly run by the Environment Ministry and Mount Fuji's two home prefectures, Yamanashi and Shizuoka.

A climber wearing a green backpack looks at a mountain that has cast its shadow on clouds below

Yamanashi Governor Kotaro Nagasaki thanked people for their understanding and cooperation in helping conserve Mount Fuji.

The Shizuoka prefecture south-west of Mount Fuji, where climbers can also access the mountain, has sought a voluntary 1,000-yen ($10) fee per climber since 2014 and is considering additional ways to balance tourism and environmental protection.

Japan's Environment Ministry said the number of Mount Fuji climbers during the season in 2023 totalled 221,322.

The announcement came just as a town in Shizuoka was to set up a huge black screen on a sidewalk to block a view of Mount Fuji because of tourists overcrowding the area to take photos.

Over-tourism has also become a growing issue at other popular tourist destinations such as Kyoto and Kamakura as foreign visitors have flocked to Japan in droves since the coronavirus pandemic restrictions were lifted, in part due to the weaker yen.

Last year, Japan had more than 25 million visitors and the figures in 2024 are expected to surpass nearly 32 million, a record from 2019, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

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ELECTROSTAL HISTORY AND ART MUSEUM: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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WTOP News

Mexico’s poorest receiving less government funds under president who brought poor to the fore

The Associated Press

May 24, 2024, 12:28 AM

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — President Andrés Manuel López Obrador swept into office nearly six years ago with a simple motto laying out his administration’s priorities: “For the good of all, first the poor.”

His administration scrapped a host of existing social programs and installed their own, quickly increasing overall social spending to unprecedented heights for senior citizens, unemployed youth, students, farmers and people with disabilities.

But less noticed was that the new roster of social programs dramatically shifted who was getting that money. Suddenly, Mexico’s poorest citizens were receiving a smaller portion of the spending and less money than under previous administrations.

Meanwhile, some of Mexico’s wealthiest started getting money they didn’t really need.

The shift owed largely to a massive “universal” pension benefit for seniors that López Obrador launched on a chilly January day outside Mexico City in 2019, just weeks after taking office. He announced he was more than doubling the existing federal pension — it has since doubled again — and expanding it regardless of income to people who previously didn’t qualify, like those who received another pension from their former employer.

If much more money isn’t poured into the system, “universal programs spread benefits more thinly over the whole population with the result that the people who were most in need get worse,” said Robert Greenstein, a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “Poverty can go up. Inequality can be greater than it would be under a more targeted scheme.”

But López Obrador’s social programs have proven so popular that even the opposition candidates running to replace him in the June 2 election have promised to expand them. Some 28 million Mexicans will benefit from one of the programs this year. In Sunday night’s final presidential debate, candidate Xóchitl Gálvez said she would lower the minimum pension age to 60 from 65.

The pension is the largest social program by budget in López Obrador’s slate of handouts, far surpassing the also well known Youth Building the Future, which pays young adults who neither study nor work to apprentice, and Sowing Life, which pays farmers to plant fruit or lumber-producing trees on their land.

Combined with the elimination of predecessors’ more targeted programs that had focused on Mexico’s most in need, experts say the pension dramatically shifted the distribution of government funds.

Four months from the end of López Obrador’s six-year term, several million people have escaped poverty. But factors beyond the social programs are involved, including López Obrador’s nearly tripling of the minimum wage and Mexicans abroad continuing to send home record amounts of money to relatives.

Curiously, there are about 400,000 more Mexicans in extreme poverty than at the beginning of his term, according to government data.

A government report published every two years that divides Mexico’s population into 10 segments by income says the very poorest segment in 2018 received about 19% of social spending. Just two years later, that poorest group was receiving only about 6%, said Manuel Martínez Espinoza, a researcher at Mexico’s National Council of the Humanities, Sciences and Technologies. For reasons unknown the government has not published the 2022 report.

CASH TO FAMILIES, BUT WITH A CATCH

At a counter in a central Mexico City market, Arturo García leaned over a steaming bowl of tripe stew on a recent morning. The 73-year-old retired cab driver said he stopped taking fares during the pandemic.

Now the $362 (6,000 pesos) he receives from his universal pension every two months and some money he gets renting out a storage space in his home to street vendors are his only sources of income.

“You have money or you don’t have money, they give it to you,” García said of the pension. “The government is trying to make us all equal.”

One of the programs López Obrador ended when he took office was called Prospera. It had targeted Mexico’s poorest families for some two decades under various names with what were known as conditional cash transfers. Poor families received money, but it was restricted by income level and recipients had to meet some requirements to get it, like taking their children for medical checkups.

The president said the program was clientelist and suffered from systematic corruption, though instances of corruption have also been found in López Obrador’s programs.

Targeted social programs like Prospera attempt to be more precise in steering public funds to specific segments of the population. For that reason they tend to be less expensive than universal programs.

Critics, however, say they stigmatize the poor; have less political support, which makes them vulnerable to being cut; require more administration to determine eligibility and fewer people enroll, said Greenstein, the fellow at the Brookings Institution, adding that those risks are not inherent in targeted programs.

Mexico’s Welfare Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

Prospera’s funding was redirected to López Obrador’s programs, principally the universal pension, signaling an important shift from a means-tested program that largely benefitted poor children to one that provided cash to all senior citizens.

One of the more cynical criticisms of the shift is that children don’t vote, but seniors do.

PEOPLE WHO DON’T REALLY NEED IT ARE GETTING MORE

The other side of Mexico’s poorest receiving a smaller proportion of social spending under this administration is that people who don’t really need it are getting more.

One morning in late April, César Herrera brought his elderly mother to a branch of the Banco Bienestar, or Welfare Bank, in Mexico City to withdraw her pension payment. The bank was created by López Obrador as a vehicle to get payments from his administration’s programs directly into the hands of Mexicans.

Herrera said he and his mother had driven by in February when the last pension deposit was made and saw the line stretching down the street. But unlike many seniors who live payment to payment, Herrera said his mother didn’t need the money, so they left.

“However, it’s there,” he said when they returned a month and a half later. “Of course you have to take it.”

The ninth out of 10 income strata, or the second highest, analyzed by the government went from receiving about $4.40 of every $100 in social spending in 2018 to getting about $10 in 2020, said Martínez, the researcher at the humanities, sciences and technologies council.

Martínez said his field work in Chiapas, Mexico’s poorest state, found many people who were not receiving as much money as they had previously under Prospera, but who nevertheless fervently supported López Obrador.

“I’ve talked with a lot of people in my field work, they feel valued, they feel the president values them, which they didn’t feel before,” Martínez said.

Martínez hypothesizes that the growth in extreme poverty during this administration was due in part to the elimination of Prospera but also the fact that people in extreme poverty tend to work in the informal sector — which would not have benefited equally from the increased minimum wage. Another factor was the COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of families to exhaust their limited savings on health care.

Much of the back-and-forth between López Obrador’s anointed successor Claudia Sheinbaum and the opposition candidate Gálvez has been the president and Sheinbaum insisting that Gálvez will end the social programs if she wins — and Gálvez promising that she won’t. Much of that debate is unnecessary since the pension is now enshrined in the constitution.

Martínez said that even at the current 65 minimum age the program is burning through public funds too rapidly.

“In the short term, it’s a time bomb because it’s going to generate problems because it isn’t fiscally sustainable,” he said.

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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