Olympic Visitors a DIMA Dozen for E-Processing

The Olympics have so far had a minimal impact on the Australian Department of Immigration's Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) system, according to the department.

A spokesman for the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA), said the ETA system, which lets travel agents issue electronically-stored, short-term tourist and business visas for entry into Australia, is so far "coping well".

DIMA has seen a minimal increase in visa applicants wanting to enter Australia in 2000, he said.

The ETA system came under fire last year when DIMA announced it would conduct no further testing on the system in the lead up to the Olympic Games.

According to DIMA, the ETA system is designed to handle at least nine million visitors a year -- double the number of international tourists expected to visit Australia in 2000. The system is also able to process an estimated 300,000 additional visitors to Australia over the Olympic period.

The department has also set up an offshoot of the ETA system specifically designed to streamline issue of Olympic Travel Authorities (OTAs) to families of Olympic and Paralympic athletes. That system has so far enabled the issue of more than 90 per cent of the estimated 50,000 OTAs for athletes' families, the department spokesman said.

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More about Australian Department of ImmigrationDepartment of Immigration and Multicultural AffairsDIMAElectronic Travel AuthorityVisa

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