CANBERRA, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Australia's tourism industry on Monday criticized both sides of politics over plans to cut immigration numbers.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott have both said they would make cuts to immigration, which currently takes in 270,000 people a year.
But the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has cautioned both sides of politics to consider the economic consequences, especially if international student visa numbers are restricted.
ATEC Managing Director Matt Hingerty said more than 80 percent of all international students attract at least one other overseas visitor to Australia during their stay.
"Any changes to international student visa numbers need to be made with the knowledge of the flow-on effects this will have on other sectors of the economy," Hingerty said in a statement.
Hingerty said the international education sector was a vital component of Australia's 26 billion dollars (23.34 billion U.S. dollars) inbound tourism sector.