Visitors to Australia should expect delays on arrival at the country’s airports following a change in duty-free allowances at the weekend.
The Australian Airports Association and Tourism Transport Forum warned of delays as customs officials search passengers’ bags for cigarettes.
International arrivals are no longer permitted to bring 250 duty-free cigarettes into the country and are only allowed 50.
The change, announced in the federal budget in May, came into force on Saturday.
The head of the Australian industry’s Tourism Transport Forum warned of “confusion and mayhem” in arrival halls as a result.
Forum chief executive John Lee said customs officials expect to seize about 400,000 cartons of cigarettes from travellers between now and Christmas just at Sydney airport.
Australian Airports Association chief executive Caroline Wilkie said most passengers would be unaware of the change. She warned: “People will arrive with no knowledge of this new restriction.”
Wilkie said arriving passengers were already experiencing delays on arrival at several international airports following a reduction in customs staff last year.
The industry bodies had asked the government to delay the restriction until March.
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