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Tourism Australia’s India Travel Mission 2013 witnesses record participation

September 9, 2013 Tourist Boards No Comments Email Email

Close to 100 top selling Indian travel agents for Australian holidays met with 50 Australian tourism representatives during Tourism Australia’s annual trade event held from 25 – 28 August in Goa.

Reinforcing the growing popularity of Australia as a holiday destination and the upward trend of leisure visitors from India, the event witnessed record participation from the Indian travel fraternity who assembled to strengthen ties with the Australian tourism industry and increase theirEGT_Artical Banner A 250x250 business prospects to Australia.

Tourism Australia recently completed year one of the India 2020 Strategic Plan that was launched in June 2012. Since the launch of the plan, leisure spends and arrivals from India have grown by 22 per cent and 16 per cent respectively. India is one of Australia’s fastest growing inbound markets and now sits amongst the top 10 source markets for Australian tourism. Visitor numbers to Australia from India grew 7.5 per cent in 2012, reaching 159,400 for the year, and worth A$ 786 million in overnight expenditure.

Tourism Australia Regional General Manager, South/South East Asia and Gulf Countries, Karyn Kent said, “Recent arrivals from India have been extremely encouraging, especially with the consistent growth in leisure visitors. The expected airline capacity increase by the imminent launch of Air India’s non-stop flights to Sydney and Melbourne is likely to provide a further boost to travel from India to Australia. To sustain our efforts in this market, in addition to the India 2020 strategy, Tourism Australia has undertaken comprehensive research initiatives for a greater understanding of our target audience in India to help us reach out to them in more effective ways. We are optimistic about India’s continued growth as one of Australia’s top ten inbound markets.”

The three day event featured scheduled appointments between each Indian buyer and Australian seller, in addition to round table networking sessions to facilitate interaction with Australia’s State tourism representatives. ITM 2013 also witnessed increased presence from airline partners such as Singapore Airlines, Silk Air, Virgin Australia, Malaysia Airlines and Air India who shared details of their increased frequency.

At the event, the Indian buyer delegates also received an audience with officers from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) at the Australian High Commission, to increase their understanding of the visa application process. DIAC and Tourism Australia run the ‘Preferred Agency Scheme’ (PAS) for easier facilitation of visas from shortlisted travel agencies. At June 2013, there are 108 PAS agencies in India.

Tourism Australia Country Manager, India, Nishant Kashikar said, “ITM is an important aspect of our distribution strategy and provides a fantastic opportunity for Indian and Australian travel trade representatives to meet and exchange business information and opportunities. We are very pleased with the response and feedback that the event has generated. As part of our trade initiatives ITM will be supplemented by our training program throughout six cities during September and October 2013, and our ongoing efforts to train agents through the online Aussie Specialist Program. On the consumer front our integrated brand campaign across high visibility media platforms and our co-op initiatives with travel and airline partners is expected to give Australia top-of-mind recall in the booking periods for the upcoming holiday seasons.”

Some light moments were witnessed at the opening event of ITM 2013, during which a team building cooking competition was held for all the participating delegates. The event, aptly titled OzChef, was judged by celebrity chef and Friend of Australia, Matt Moran, in his inimitable style that has been so popular on television shows such as Masterchef Australia. Matt emphasised the popularity and diversity of food and wine experiences in Australia and encouraged the Indian travel trade to send more Indian visitors to indulge in uniquely Aussie experiences including its culinary delights.

There were 14,300 visitors from India during June 2013, a 20% increase over June 2012, bringing the total for the year ended June 2013 to 164,000, an increase of 7.6 per cent relative to the same period previous year. The Tourism Forecasting Council predicts 176,000 arrivals from India to Australia in 2013/14, a growth of 7.3 per cent.

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