Australia Welcomes Pope And World Youth Day Pilgrims

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14th July 2008, 04:51pm - Views: 1022

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14 July 2008

Australia welcomes Pope and World Youth Day pilgrims

As an estimated 100 000 international pilgrims continue to flock into Sydney

this week, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) extended a

warm welcome to all World Youth Day participants, including Pope Benedict


“DIAC has worked closely with World Youth Day event organisers in preparing

for this special occasion,” a departmental spokesman said. “Our staff have

been busy granting about 70 000 World Youth Day visas in the months

leading up to the event.

“In addition, there will be a large number of international pilgrims who have

obtained their visa through other means, as well as about 4000 pilgrims from

New Zealand – all bound for Sydney.”

International pilgrims representing 170 countries will converge on Sydney to

join an estimated 100 000 Australian pilgrims from July 15-20, when World

Youth Day celebrations are at their height.


“I would like to wish all pilgrims a wonderful celebration, and for our visitors,

an enjoyable and memorable stay in Australia and safe passage home,” the

DIAC spokesman said.

The heaviest day for airport traffic is today when up to 8000 extra arrivals,

which equates to 16 fully laden jumbo jets, will pass through immigration

clearance. Extra immigration staff have been working hard at the borders in

the lead-up to World Youth Day to ensure smooth passenger processing,

despite the large number of travellers. 

Thousands of pilgrims have already converged on Australia’s major airports to

participate in events across the nation leading up to World Youth Day on July

20, such as the Days in the Diocese (July 10-14). Airlines have reported all

flights are full with extra flights and charters being organised.


Numbers arriving for World Youth Day will more than double the 40 000 who

travelled to Melbourne for the 2006 Commonwealth Games and rival the

record 110 000 foreign tourists who attended the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Media Enquiries: National Communications 02 6264 2244

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