By Frank Carmine, Madolline Gourley

Members of the Australian Tourism Export Council have heard how making changes to working holiday visa requirements will make Australia a more attractive destination for visitors.

The Backpacker and Youth Industry Conference has been held in Airlie Beach, north of Mackay.

Dr Jeff Jarvis, head of the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University, has called for current visa requirements to be reformed.

His main proposal aims to increase the age limit for international travellers on a Working Holiday Visa from 18-30 to 18-35.

He said backpackers in this age group bring much needed skills to various regions of Australia.

“We could increase the stock of people who want to come here and effectively donate their skills for six months or a year, and take a holiday at the same time,” he said.

Tourism Victoria has been working closely with Dr Jarvis, hoping his initiative provides an incentive for young travellers to visit Victoria and extend their stay.

Backpackers contribute $3-billion to the Australian economy each year.