New Zealand could attract more international airlines if transit visa requirements were relaxed for Indians, Chinese and Fijians, according to its aviation officials.
In fact, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) briefing paper said that the island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean had the potential to become a popular transit point if 24 more countries are added to the transit visa exemption list.
As of now, citizens belonging to 60 countries are allowed to transit via New Zealand without a visa. People from China, India and Fiji, among others, however, have to apply for the NZ$120 visa exemption. Citizens of these countries are allowed to pass only through transit security, but not immigration and they cannot leave the airport either.
Last year, 1471 transit visa applications were said to have been processed, of which most were from China, Fiji and India.
Although Immigration New Zealand told the MoT that there was no definitive proof that visas were hindering people intending to visit New Zealand, it was not sure as to how many transit passengers were put off to travel via the Oceania nation because of this prerequisite.
But it said that airlines, including airports, found that visa policy was acting as a deterrent for establishing routes that would make New Zealand a hub.
According to it, if an airline of Asia or South America introduced a service with either Christchurch or Auckland as a hub, additional passengers and visitors would be attracted to come to New Zealand.
Scoop.co.nz quotes the MoT report as saying that though the numbers of passengers currently travelling between Asia and New Zealand is not large enough, it presents a potential for growth.
Further, estimates of the International Air Transport Association show that air travel worldwide would double over the next 20 years, and significant numbers would be seen from the emerging economies of Asia and South America.
Norris Carter, aeronautical and commercial general manager, said that the measure of removing transit visa requirements benefit New Zealand’s economy greatly.
He was of the view that it becomes an impediment when people have to choose between a route having a transit visa and one which is not having any.
If you want to travel to New Zealand, approach Y-Axis to get able guidance and assistance to file for a visa properly from one of its 19 offices located in all the major cities of India.