Maharashtra ranks first while Delhi ranks second among the biggest Indian markets for Australia in terms of tourist arrivals, reveals Nishant Kashikar, Country Head India and Gulf, Tourism Australia, who was in the capital recently and shared plans for the market and India at large.
Nishant Kashikar revealed that Tourism Australia started with a representation agency in Delhi before setting up its own office. “We have developed a very strong relationship with the travel industry here and we keep nurturing it. Also, given the aviation access, with the only direct connection between India and Australia being on Air India from Delhi to Sydney and Melbourne, as well as the embassy and High Commission being here, Delhi has become very important for us. We’ve seen some good growth from this market over the past 12 months. We had almost 32,000 tourists from the state of Delhi alone, who travelled to Australia last year and these tourists contributed almost (Australian dollar) AUD 165 million, which is an increase of 26 per cent as compared to previous years. Delhi is also important for us from a yield perspective, which means tourists from here tend to contribute quite significantly to the country’s economy through tourism activities under all segments including group travel, free individual travel and the honeymoon segment. In fact, this is the market that has helped us establish Australia as a great honeymoon destination as well. As per our Tourism 2020 strategy, our goal is now to drive yield and spend per person, and this market will play a very important role in helping us achieve that objective,” he says.
Talking about the Tourism 2020 potential, he says, “When we launched Tourism 2020 plan in June 2012, we had set out three objectives— to achieve 300,000 visitor arrivals by 2020; achieve AUD 1.9 billion in spend; and to achieve the top six out of region ranking from the Indian market. The good news is that we have made it to the top six in the region ranking and we will be achieving our arrivals target in 2017 itself. Thus, these targets are not far if we maintain the current growth momentum. For the third target of the AUD 1.9 billion spend, we are confident of achieving it well ahead of time. India is expected to be ranked amongst the top five markets for Australia by 2025, and we‘d like to bring that target closer and reach that mark by 2020 itself.”
On repeat visitation, Kashikar reveals that 50 per cent of visitors to Australia come back because it is such a huge continent that cannot be explored in one visit. “We are seeing an increase in dispersal where people are travelling to cities beyond the key traditional gateway cities. This is how it will help us to achieve our yield,” he shares. To propagate repeat visitation, they are focusing on the western part of Australia, the northern territory, Tasmania and other destinations which are also gaining popularity and awareness in the Indian market. “Content, advocacy and digital will be our three strong pillars and these will be supported by partnerships with agents, OTAs and airlines to achieve our objectives. In the last six-eight months, we have worked with a lot of television channels, both mainstream and regional. Thus, there is a lot of focus on content on TV. Advocacy is another element of our strategy and we have signed up with Parineeti Chopra as Tourism Australia’s friend of Australia. She recently travelled to Australia and posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and has around 30 million followers across all platforms. There is going to be an increase in investment on digital media as well. It’s not going to be pure display advertisements, but a lot of focus on search, programmatic search and videos,” he shares.
In terms of propagation through trade channels, he revealed that they have the Aussie specialist programme in India, for which they have around 6,000 registered members and almost 3,500 are certified Aussie Specialists. “We organise events like Indian Travel Mission, which was recently held in Pune, where we had 100 agents from across the country. We also have Australian Tourism Exchange, which is going to take place next year in the city of Adelaide, and we have good participation from Delhi as well. We have Dreamtime, which focuses on MICE, and is happening in December in Brisbane. Apart from that, my team trains almost 12,000 agents across the country in any given year. These are customised and bespoke training programmes based on the agency requirements,” he says.
Delhi’s Aussie link
Almost 32,000 tourists from Delhi alone, travelled to Australia last year and contributed almost AUD 165 million, which is an increae of 26 per cent as compared to previous years