All nations should follow Australia's example

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 April, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 April, 1998, 12:00am

I have long despised the practice of countries charging a fee to issue a visa for a person to visit their country.

After all, what exactly do the consulate staff do to justify the fees they charge (up to $800, and sometimes more), apart from cause a great deal of inconvenience to the visa applicant? Australia is the exception.

When you apply for a visa for Australia, they do not charge you a fee and if necessary, they will process the application on the spot.

They obviously take the attitude, as I do, that it would be good for their country if I were to visit and spend some of my money there.

If only a few other countries would take the same attitude and stop this money-making racket.

Another cost in travelling which irks me is the airport departure tax.

Again, I believe that it is in the interests of the country I am visiting to make my trip as easy and cheap as possible, so that I can willingly spend my money there and thus generate revenue for them. And this brings me to the real point behind this letter.

I have just looked into visiting India. My research has uncovered that the Government has recently increased the departure tax by 66 per cent to 500 rupees (about $100).

What is more, it will charge my four-month-old daughter the same fee. Perhaps I am missing something, but I do not see what service the airport provides to my daughter to justify this, let alone the size of the increase to adults.

I will not be visiting India, because I do not like being ripped off.

If tourism really is important perhaps various governments might like to take a long hard look at their attitude to tourists.

People talk, and bad reports travel far and fast.

JULES TIDMARSH New Territories