Aussie Visa Furor Grows – Tour Operators Threatening To Cancel Cricket World Cup Trips

Think about the business of being a travel agent or tour operator in Australia and working with airlines and Barbados hotels and other tourist venues on the island to put together packages for Aussies who want to attend Cricket World Cup. Maybe two years of work, planning, calls, preparing marketing materials and finally booking clients and taking deposits.

Customer: “Do I need a visa to go to Barbados?”

Travel Agent: “No, Barbados doesn’t require Australian citizens to have visas.”

Then Just Weeks Before Cricket World Cup – Australians Learn They Will Need An Expensive Barbados Visa

If the number of visits we’ve been receiving from Australia is any indication – Aussie cricket fans are livid. Whoever is responsible for this mess should fall on their sword, but that’s not the Bajan government way.

From The Nation News Aussies Angry Over US$100 Visa Cost

Previous BFP Story Australians Angry Over Cricket Visa Cost – First Time Aussies Have Needed Visa For Barbados 

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14 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking, Cricket, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism

14 responses to “Aussie Visa Furor Grows – Tour Operators Threatening To Cancel Cricket World Cup Trips

  1. RRRicky

    Trinidad & Tobago Consul to Sydney Australia Resigns In Disgust Over Visa

    Adding a new dimension to the furor is that T&T consul to Sydney has resigned after 25 years of service in disgust over the move.

    This is from the Caribbean Beat blog

    http://caribbean-beat.blogspot.com/2006/12/gdday.html

  2. The question is do Barbadians need a visa to visit Australia and how much do the Australians charge Barbadians for a visa? Whether Barbados needs more Australian visitors than Australia needs Barbadian tourists is moot (in my humble opinion)

    Like we say in Ghana, “hand go, hand come” or to say it in more familiar lingo, “whatever is good for the goose is……..”

    Apply and pay up ye Aussies, or settle in front of the television and watch the world cup, okay? While you are at it ask the Australian Foreign Office how easy it was for people from small nations to obtain visas for the Sydney Olympic games and ask the German Embassy what they did to Ghanaians who applied and paid for visas to watch the Soccer World Cup in Germany

  3. Do I have it straight? Normally Aussies don’t need a visa to visit Barbados, but to enable them to go without formality to other participating Caribbean states, the special $100 visa has been set up?

    Suppose they don’t want to go across to Port of Spain or Antigua, but prefer to lounge on the beach here until the next match. Can’t they still come here without a visa as usual? Have the customary arrangements been cancelled?

    Is it just the “package-deal visa” which is causing the uproar?

    If T&T is the only country which normally requires visae and matches in Trinidad are included in their package, Aussies would have no problem if they skip the Trini matches and dispose of those tickets?

  4. CURIOUS

    There is another element to this. It is a security issue. Now it looks like the plan is to screen everybody coming in hence visas. Question is didn’t people have to get visas for World Cup football in Germany and the Olympics in Australia. I am sure the security was just as tight. And don’t fool yourself there is going to be ‘nuf’ security on the ground as well once here. I can see why the Aussies might be annoyed if accustomed to coming to WI without visas but you know tourism or no tourism we are way too liberal and it is not returned because the rest of countries don’t forget to tell we have to have visas etc. And by the way it is Caricom visa not Barbados or Trinidad. We all want to feel safe here after all we live here and we want our guests to be safe as well. So it is better to be safe than sorry. So just get the visa people otherwise there is always TV.

  5. Environmentalist

    The issue for the Aussies seems not so much that there is a cost but it is only now at basically the 11th hour that they have been informed that they need this Caricom Visa. The fact that the long standing T & T consul resigned over the issue indicates that it was poorly handled.

  6. Justin

    On the last post….thats exactly it.
    It is your countries, you can do what ever you like with regards to visas. Just do it properly. Which clearly isn’t happening
    See my post in the Previous BFP Story Australians Angry Over Cricket Visa Cost – First Time Aussies Have Needed Visa For Barbados

  7. John

    AS an Australian travel agent and a visitor to Barbados, it is not so much the cost of a visa – but the impossibility of obtaining one in Australia – the Caricom site says it will take 3 weeks to get one, but there is no office in Australia and the regulations come into force 15 January.

    With Christmas and the New Year fast approaching, any Australians who want to visit before mid February are not going to be allowed to visit Barbados.

    This has now caused passengers to lose money on travel tickets and deposits – all for an event that does not even start until 2 months later.

    You wonder why there is anger?

  8. CURIOUS

    Ok John that is a valid comment. Seems the answer is either set up offices in Australia & New Zealand which I suspect is a problem of finance or let the travel agencies forward all the information so the security checks can be done before hand. Seems the problem is how to get the passports stamped in time. There has to be a solution to this.

  9. g-man

    John has hit the nail on the head. I am travelling other places before the Cricket World Cup and I had my application ready to go for December 11 which was the original date they said everything would be available. I was more than happy to pay the visa fee as Australia asks everyone else to pay, so it is only fair. Of the many people I have spoken to about this, no one is concerned about having to pay the visa fee, they are all just annoyed it came up at the last minute and it has been impossible to apply.
    The address for where to send the applications finally went up yesterday, but there are still no contact details. It is impossible for me to send my passport now as I do not have three weeks to wait, that is when my flight leaves so if it is late being sent back, I won’t be allowed on my first flight out of Australia. I have already booked my flights, accomodation and tickets, so I am basically at the mercy of the airport officials once I arrive as to whether they let me into the CARICOM space or not. Hopefully I will be able to get a visa on arrival however no one seems to be able to provide a definite answer as to whether or not I will be able to do this.
    If you read the article linked to above, there are definitely going to be some problems with processing times as per the figures outlined by Mike Agostini for the number of applicants, processing time, etc.

    PS. To naive – the visa applies to everybody, not just those visiting the cricket. Apparently there is an Australian who is boarding a cruise ship in a couple of weeks who has been told they will not be allowed to board the ship unless they have the visa but there has (until yesterday) been no opportunity to apply. This person is not going at the same time as the CWC.
    See http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/NewViewNewsleft.cfm?Record=29310

  10. Mark Arena

    I sent an email around about my situation with regards to the cruise ship which I assume is what is turning up in news articles. Here is the email I sent to the Jamaican Consul in Canada so hopefully its true and accurate and I can get my visa on arrival.

    I sent an email around about my situation with regards to the cruise ship which I assume is what is turning up in news articles. Here is the email I sent to the Jamaican Consul in Canada so hopefully its true and accurate and I can get my visa on arrival.

    On 12/22/06, Jamaican Consul General Toronto wrote:
    > Mark,
    >
    > I’m sorry for the delay in responding. In your case, I recommend that you
    > apply for the visa at your first port of call in the Caribbean. The
    > requirements will be the same and you would get the visa immediately.
    >
    > Have a good trip.
    >
    > Regards,
    >
    > Consul General
    >
    > —–Original Message—–
    > From: Mark Arena
    > Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 2:27 PM
    > To: Jamaican Consul General Toronto
    > Subject: Re: Turnaround time for an Australian to get a CARICOM SPECIAL VISA
    >
    > Thanks for your reply.
    >
    > My travel plans currently involve first heading to Whistler (will fly
    > through Los Angeles and Vancouver with a few hourly stopovers) for 8
    > days or so then heading to San Juan, Puerto Rico (stopovers through
    > Vancouver and Chicago) from where I will be starting a cruise that
    > goes around the Carribean islands. The stays in the countries
    > concerned are less than 24 hours at all times and only barely goes
    > over the 15th of January startup of CARICOM visas. To be honest I can
    > see no way people in my situation can obtain proper authorisation to
    > visit the required countries without being able to obtain a visa at
    > entry, to apply without sending in their passport (I may need it to
    > prove I’m legally in one of the countries concerned) or to have the
    > date changed to a later day when all the offices are up and running
    > implementing CARICOM visas properly. Please be advised that I am very
    > concerned by this problem and dont see any way around this and I feel
    > it is a problem that is affecting many peoples travel plans. With a 3
    > week guaranteed turn around and the CARICOM visas coming into affect
    > January 15th, with Christmas and the holidays around it and the
    > problems currently occuring I cannot see how anyone get a CARICOM visa
    > in the required timeframe required. This whole fiasco has definately
    > left me with a bad taste in my mouth with regards to the Carribean
    > region as I believe this is a badly organised system and I would doubt
    > that without some flexibility in it’s implementation that I would ever
    > attempt to travel to the region again for any reason as I do not
    > believe it’s worth the effort, stress and risk with cruise liner
    > policies dictating whether they will even like you on the vessel if
    > you do not hold the proper authorisation to visit the coutries it ends
    > up visiting and I would definately be communication this to others
    > regarding the Carribean as a holiday destination.
    >
    > Thank you for your time and I look forward to your speedy reply and a
    > rapid solution to my problems.
    >
    > Regards
    > Mark Arena
    >
    > On 12/22/06, Jamaican Consul General Toronto
    > wrote:
    > > Good morning Mark.
    > >
    > > The standard turnaround time is approximately 3(three) weeks for the
    > CARICOM
    > > visas. Much like the office in Australia we are experiencing a few minor
    > > setbacks in the setup of the CARICOM visas. However the issuing office
    > here
    > > at the Jamaican Consulate in Toronto has informed that while on your
    > > vacation in Whistler to contact us and inquire whether or not the system
    > is
    > > up and running. The visa officers advise to send the passport via fastest
    > > courier possible with a return, though the return is not guaranteed during
    > > your short stay.
    > >
    > > I am unaware of your other travel plans. The other issuing offices are
    > > located in London, England at the Consulate General of Barbados, India,
    > New
    > > York, United States at the Jamaican Consulate and Miami at the Jamaican
    > > Consulate. If you require any more information feel free to contact any
    > of
    > > the Consulates.
    > >
    > > Jamaican Consulate General Toronto
    > > Tel 416-598-3008
    > > Fax416-598-4928
    > >
    > > —–Original Message—–
    > > From: Mark Arena
    > > Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2006 7:05 PM
    > > To:
    > > Subject: Turnaround time for an Australian to get a CARICOM SPECIAL VISA
    > >
    > > Hello,
    > >
    > > Due to the Sydney office in Australia not yet issuing CARICOM visas
    > > and the fact that I’m leaving on the 2nd of January to fly to the
    > > US/Canada, I’m wondering what the turnaround time is for the CARICOM
    > > SPECIAL VISA. The longest time I will be in one place is 7-8 days and
    > > is Whistler in Canada. I’m wondering if I send it the fastest mail
    > > possible from Whistler that you are able to issue the visa in time for
    > > both myself and my girlfriend. We arrive in Whistler on the 3rd of
    > > January and leave on the morning of the 11th of January.
    > >
    > > I feel that the CARICOM visa is very difficult to get in my
    > > circumstances due to the fact that you need to send your passport to
    > > get the visa and if late we could be stuck somewhere without a
    > > passport.
    > >
    > > Regards
    > > Mark Arena
    > >
    >

  11. Jamaica has now announced it is breaking with the rest of the cricketing Caribbean and doing away with the need for visas for overseas visitors for the cricket. Not sure this means all countries, but Australia and New Zealand for sure because Jamaica fears massive cancellations otherwise.

    So much for Mia’s efficiency. What a mess!

  12. Chris

    Does Australia ask for visas for Carribean nationals when they want to visit Australia? What about the Olympic games? If the answer is Yes, then I shall say pay up Australia you can’t have it your way all the time.

  13. justice

    Chris, OK, but the US can!