With tours fully booked for this year, Welcome to Travel is seeing a colossal rise in interest despite the difficulties facing many of those trying to secure a visa.
The Australian government reported a backlog of 900,000 visa applications at the beginning of September, as shared by Hotel Management.
The severity of these delays has driven the Australian government to now announce a $36.1 million investment into the processing of applications on top of hiring an additional 500 staff to accelerate the operation.
This news follows the Australian government scrapping all COVID restrictions this summer, now welcoming those unvaccinated and no longer requiring travellers to complete a Digital Passenger Declaration declaring their vaccination status.
And, despite so many applications on hold, Australia-based tour and gap year company, Welcome to Travel, has reported that the number of travellers on their tours each week is 200% higher than pre-pandemic.
Welcome to Travel provides group tours for young backpackers in Australia on the working holidaymaker visa, showing them all of the country’s top attractions as well as inviting them into a group of similarly minded individuals. Thus, the company is often young backpackers’ first point of call after arriving in Australia. With tours fully booked for this year, the company is seeing a colossal rise in interest despite the difficulties facing many of those trying to secure a visa.
Darryl Newby, co-founder of Welcome to Travel, said: “The government is currently completely overwhelmed by the number of visa applications from those wanting to enter the country.
“As many young people had no choice but to put travel plans on hold during the pandemic, we are seeing a backlog of customers who have been waiting to come over for over two years, as well as those who have come to the decision this year.
“Despite the visa delays, we are lucky enough to already be seeing a huge spike in interest, with sales figures already far exceeding those pre-pandemic.”
Once the government’s measures to tackle the backlog of applications come into effect, companies like Welcome to Travel are likely to see yet another surge in interest.
Following a UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement earlier this year, young Brits who have travelled to Australia on the Working Holiday Maker Programme before will be able to return regardless of whether they completed their farm work or not.
Plus, the upper age restriction is set to rise from 30 to 35. So, the popularity of the working holidaymaker programme is only set to rise.
Australia’s working visa, officially known as the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa, allows young people aged between 18 and 30 to work and travel through the country for up to one year.
Alongside providing tours around Australia to WHMs, Welcome to Travel also supports young travellers with employment advice and admin set-up including bank accounts, mobile phone and accommodation.