As Aussie dollar dips, Indian tourists spike

As Aussie dollar dips, Indian tourists spike

As Aussie dollar dips, Indian tourists spike
The depreciation of the Australian dollar has come as a boon for Indian tourists planning a holiday Down Under.

The significant devaluation of the Aussie dollar in the last 12 months has made it more affordable for Indian tourists to visit the country and spend, according to a top Australian tourism official.

"While the US dollar has appreciated, the Australian dollar has depreciated by 15 per cent. As a result, holidaying in Australia has become more affordable. Now travelling to Australia is 15 per cent less expensive," Tourism Australia Country Manager India & Gulf Nishant Kashikar told PTI.

Australia has witnessed a consistent growth in tourist arrival from India. Around 220,000 Indians travelled Down Under in a year since June, last year, Kashikar said.

"This is an increase of 19 per cent for the corresponding period the previous year. For the six months to June, Australia received 122,900 visitors from India, a 24 per cent rise relative to the same period last year," the tourism manager said.

India has moved up three places to become Australia's eighth largest contributor to tourism market as spends by Indian tourists have reached an all-time high.

"For the year ended June, 2015, visitor expenditure out of Indian crossed Aus$ one billion mark recording a hike of almost 39 per cent," Kashikar said.

China topped Australia's list of top five markets by spend with an increase of 22 per cent with Chinese tourists contributing around Aus$ one in every Aus$ five spent by international visitors, he stated.

Talking about tourists from West Bengal, the tourism official said, "Over the years West Bengal has emerged as an important and the fastest growing market in India for Tourism Australia. The state contributed about five per cent of the total Indians travelling to Australia for the year ended March, 2015.

"West Bengal recorded an 18 per cent rise in tourist arrivals and there is a staggering increase of 49 per cent in spends into Australia," the official said.

The official said the cricket World Cup in February-March helped in the rise of number of tourists from India, particularly West Bengal.

"From West Bengal around 15,000 fans travelled to Australia during the World Cup earlier this year. They actually contributed to around Aus$ 75 million during that period.

"On their future plans regarding attracting more tourists from West Bengal. We are committed to nurture this growth by working closely with our agents. We will continue to collaborate with Australia-specialist agents based in the city," Kashikar said.

In fact, Tourism Australia has started an online destination programme "Aussie Specialist Programme" for travel agents.

There was a rise of 23 per cent growth in number of travel agents on Australia specialist programme from the city, he said, adding that in India there were around 2,000 agents out of which 50 are from Kolkata.

Tourism Australia has also entered into a collaboration with Air India which would offer travellers exciting fares for a period of one month from September 30 to October 31, he said.

"With the festive season setting in, we are eyeing an increasing number of tourists heading to Australia. In fact, with the Australian Open and Indian cricket team's tour to Australia in January we expect a healthy number of Indian travellers in Australia for the year-end and January holiday season," Kashikar said.

"In terms of arrivals, we are looking for around 2.3 lakh tourists from India and in terms of spend we expect it to be over Aus$ one billion," Kashikar stated.
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