New deal could see tourism boost

A NEW agreement between Australia and the US allowing each country's young more freedom to travel and work in the other will boost tourism and fill labour shortages, tourism groups say.

Tourism Minister Fran Bailey today said the new agreement would allow American students and graduates aged between 18 and 30 to spend one year travelling and working in Australia, with up to four months of that time available for study.

Young Australians will be afforded the same opportunity to travel in the US.

Ms Bailey said regional Australia would benefit in particular.

"As well as the additional spending by these cashed up travellers and tourism in one locality, tourism and other small businesses will receive assistance meeting seasonal labour shortages," she said.

"A similar agreement with the UK has resulted in thousands of British backpackers visiting Australia."

Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) managing director Christopher Brown said the visa would plug serious workforce shortages in the tourism sector.

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