Free visas for WYD pilgrims

The Federal Government and the Catholic Church have agreed to waive visa fees for foreign tourists travelling to Sydney for next year's Catholic World Youth Day.

Under the agreement, pilgrims will be given a free, three-month visa and there will an unlimited supply for each country, The ABC reported.

It is designed to help organisers cope with the 140,000 overseas visitors expected for the Catholic festival next July.

Assistant Immigration Minister Teresa Gambaro says the event will bring huge economic benefits to the country.

"You'll have an enormous amount of visitors coming to Australia," she said.

"We will be able to showcase our country and will bring enormous tourism and other benefits to the economy."

The Federal Government has already committed $35 million to the event, which will be held at Sydney's Randwick Racecourse.

But the site of the event recently caused concern among racing officials with fears World Youth Day organisers could inadvertently spread equine influenza.

The last World Youth Day was held in Germany in 2005 and attracted more than one million people.

Free Visas for World Youth Day Pilrims

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
WYD org
Pell calls on youth to be spiritually prepared

4 Oct 2007