Australia becomes a favourite Indian holiday

Australia becomes a favourite Indian holiday

Australia is becoming one of the largest tourist destinations for traveling Indians, for whom, a multi-pronged strategy has been planned, involving uniquely Aussie experiences.

In June 2012, Tourism Australia — the Australian government agency responsible for promoting Australia to the world as a destination for business and leisure travel — unveiled the ‘India 2020’ specific plan, which envisaged doubling Indian tourist arrivals in Australia from 150,000 then, to 300,000 by 2020, and increasing annual tourist spend from A$725 million to A$1.9 billion, during the period.   

“India is one of the fastest growing markets and an economic powerhouse. Our geographic strategy for India 2020 involves banking of the top 6-8 cities, which are home to over 85 per cent of affluent households, who are aware and travel a lot. The cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru are priority markets for us, and we are also exploring other markets to attract potential tourists to our country,” Tourism Australia General Manager (South, South East Asia and Gulf Countries) Michael Newcombe told Deccan Herald, on the sidelines of the agency’s roadshow in Bengaluru on Friday.

“In the last 12 months, India has moved from the 11th to the 8th position among countries providing the most number of inbound foreign tourists to Australia. Around 220,000 Indian tourists had visited Australia by the year-end (June 2015), which will close at 230,000 tourists by December. Around 67 per cent of tourists seek leisure,” he said.

He added that the average spend for Indians in Australia was A$4,500 in June 2015, which was 35 per cent over the previous year. 

By the end of March 2015,  tourists from India contributed around A$960 million in foreign exchange to Australia, which is expected to touch A$1 billion by December, this year. 

Cricket craze
Indians know Australia largely from the country’s name on the cricket pitch. The 2015 cricket world cup saw between 9,000-15,000 Indians visiting Australia to catch the tournament live.

Goaded by the upsurge in outbound travel among Indians, the agency has begun proactively developing new products and experiences to invite more tourists to the island nation.

“We want to encourage Indians who come to Australia to disperse and see more of the country — the Outback, the Great Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock, and so on. People know Sydney and Melbourne, and it takes time for us to educate them about all the other wonders that span the vast nation,” Newcombe said.

According to Tourism Australia Country Manager (India and Gulf) Nishant Kashikar, “We are bullish on diversity and want to promote Australia’s unique offerings. Over the next 12 months, we are planning to promote Australian food and wine, self-driven tours through the country, and coastal aquatic tours to attract Indians. We have roped in 2,100 ‘Aussie Specialists’ (tour operators promoting Australian tourism in India), who will grow to 3,000 agents by the end of June FY16.”

The agency is also working closely with airlines to aid in travel between the two countries. “We are hoping for more capacity and load share on airlines flying to Australia, which will help in demand stimulation. Moreover, obtaining an Australian visa is quite painless for Indian tourists,” Newcombe added.

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