Travel in Australia and New Zealand

About Australian Travel Agents
By:Charlie Gaston

National and international tourist groups have made Australia a top tourist spot in the southern hemisphere. With a land area equaling 2,941,283 square miles, Australia offers great destination locations like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth or Adelaide. If you want to travel to Australia and are in search of tourism and travel agent options, this is the guide for you.

Significance
Travel agents are available not just for flight and car rental services, but for train, accommodation, event planning, private tours and cruise ship packages. Tourism Australia, Australia's official tourism website, offers Indigenous tourism, business event tourism, trade events and other destination planning services. Established as a one-stop portal for the national or international tourist, Tourism Australia provides tourism services that specialize in Outback and natural landscape events as well as city festivals and other city events.

Geography
Travel agents like Australian Global Travel (Ballajura), 2M Travel (Sydney), Al Madinnah Travel (Lakemba) and AFTA Travel & Tourism College (Claremont) all operate under the regulations set forth by the Federation of Australian Travel Agents and are subject to training and testing under the Australian Travel Professionals Program. Each travel agent must successfully complete either specified college coursework (depending on his area of interest) or external coursework programs. Areas of study and specialization include: Sales/Office Operations, International Retail Travel Sales, Retail Travel Sales, Tour Wholesaling, Tour Operations and Visitor Information Services.

Features
Most travel agents operating in Australia or with servicing travelers entering the United States--including those registered with the Federation of Australian Travel agents--can assist travelers in obtaining a U.S. Pre-Departure Entry Clearance. Issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the document is required as part of the Travel Authorization (ESTA) system established for travelers entering the U.S. A visa is not required to enter Australia,which is an active participant in the visa waiver program.

Size
According to the Federation of Australian Travel Agents, Australia receives over 2 million international visitors yearly, with over 7 million Australians traveling within Australia.

Potential
Online travel groups like "Fab Travel Deals: Australian Travel Agents" work as an online pooling source for last-minute and discount travel arrangements. Working as an online travel agent, the website pools information from varying websites to compare amneties and costs across competitors. This, and other sites like it, is part of a growing number of Internet Australian travel agencies that have flourished over the Internet in recent years.

Benefits
Talk to your Australian travel agent about finding a "walkabout" adventure. Part of the cultural history of the Aboriginee nation, a walkabout can be arranged in advanced and as part of a larger intinerary. The trip will take you into the "bush" and allow you to explore scenic parts of Australia that you would otherwise not experience on a general tour.

Warning
Always contact a tourism board or official tourism group to avoid dealing with an inexperienced travel agent. This will ensure that you work with a travel agent who is able to serve international travelers wanting a more culture-specific vacation plan.






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