Passport-free “Anzac express paths” between Australia and New Zealand should be established in both countries, the peak tourism body says.
The Tourism and Transport Forum has proposed a “common border” between the two countries that would require only photo ID, similar to arrangements for domestic travel.
The concept was part of a detailed proposal timed to coincide with tomorrow’s Anzac Day celebrations.
It comes as the high Australian dollar takes its toll on the local tourism industry, with spending by foreign visitors near four-year lows.
In a letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday, TTF boss John Lee called for talks to be held between Ms Gillard and NZ PM John Key on express paths in Australian and New Zealand airports.
“We urge you to call a prime ministerial summit between yourself and Mr Key,” he said.
“The benefits of streamlining border arrangements and freeing up travel between Australia and New Zealand are manifold and extremely valuable to both countries.”
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd and Mr Key agreed at a bilateral meeting in 2009 to make the creation of a common border a priority.
Mr Lee’s letter to the PM said there had been “very little progress” on the issue.
Airlines argue the move would slash operating costs – and ultimately fares – by up to 30 per cent, and remove the administrative hassle of having to carry passports and go through immigration.