While reports have indicated good loads of Chinese tourists arriving from Shanghai on the new China Eastern flights, we've had persistent reports that last-minute cancellations on this service are very high.
Further investigation has revealed the cause: While we in Cairns, and the Queensland Government, are fully on-board with this new travel bonanza, apparently the Australian Consulate in Shanghai isn't quite as switched on. Reports are coming in that dozens of valid visa applications are being knocked back by the Chinese who do much of the processing work - in order to push independent travelers into buying "package tours" to Cairns.
In one verified case, a Shanghai-resident couple, recently married and longing to visit Australia, have had their visa rejected in this scam. They were pointedly told to "go find a travel agent" after they booked air, hotel, and some tourist activities via the net and submitted this evidence with their visa application. This knock-back forced them to miss their flight, and it's unclear if they have plans to reschedule now with the holidays looming closer.
And this Chinese couple were blue-chip: Both Uni grads, her from Fudan, him with an engineering degree, and a passport already showing three trips abroad for his European employer. Clearly no risk for overstaying.
If Australian supervision of the local Chinese employed in this Consulate has collapsed, we could see the Shanghai flights end sooner rather than later. Even more damaging is the fact that it is the young, professional, independent traveler being rejected in favour of tour groups, who are the lowest-spending of the bunch.
However, judging from today's Cairns Post, the Chinese whores aren't having any problem getting here. The town is full of these young women, who've reportedly lied for their visas, claiming to be "students" and "visiting family". Instead they're being shuffled (or is the word "trafficked") around Australia by their whore-masters. And don't let the ads fool you - longtime Japanese in town confirm that even those advertising to be other Asian races (including Japanese) are Chinese, with the Cairns Post apparently disinterested in the concept of "truth in advertising", or even confirming identity documents for these ads, as the law would seem to require.
And while places like the Sunshine Tower and Southern Cross (Water Street) might have finally spruced up their outsides, they and a few other dodgy locations around the CBD are host to these dozens of "Chinese tourists", expanding the definition of "working holiday" on their backs. Many have opined that this business is so entrenched, they must have protection from the law.
But with the ads all in English, how are they going to be of service to our new flood of Chinese travelers?? Doesn't seem at all fair that the "bonanza" is going only to the hookers.