Direct flight key to Oz business

Carolyn Turnbull, Managing Director, Tourism Western Australia, while engaging with the travel trade and airline partners in India, says that a direct air connection between India and Australia can help the Indian market climb from the current 11th position to be among the top six for the destination.

Hazel Jain

A delegation from Tourism Western Australia’s Perth office was in India recently as part of a seven-day India Trade Mission to highlight the diverse opportunities Western Australia has to offer. Tourism was part of a much larger Western Australia (WA) Government Trade Mission across many sectors and representing tourism was
Carolyn Turnbull, Managing Director, Tourism Western Australia. She engaged with key travel and aviation stakeholders.

Also part of the delegation was Western Australian cricketing legend Brad Hogg, promoting Australia’s largest state as a must-visit destination, ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Turnbull said, “Our key focus was to engage with our travel trade and airline partners. Our interaction with the agents was very valuable. It was a mix of premium and luxe agents specialising in experiential travel. It was about building on their expertise and knowledge of Western Australia. We are here to also to welcome back the return of world-class cricket to Australia this October.”

A direct connection key

Pre-COVID numbers from India made it the 11th largest market for WA internationally. She said, “India is a prioritised market for us. Moving forward, we want to re-instate AUD 62 million of tourism spend and grow it even more. We are also trying our best to secure a direct service between Delhi or Mumbai to Perth in WA. We believe that a one-stop connection, whether it is via Changi on Singapore Airlines or via Kuala Lumpur with Malaysian Airlines or via Bangkok on Thai Airlines, will stimulate the market by around 50 per cent, which is what we have seen in other destinations.”

Turnbull added that if India was sitting at 11th position before COVID, a direct service could unlock its true potential and we could see the India market fast-track to around fifth or sixth top market. “We have already started seeing a significant amount of tourist movement from India into WA since we opened up borders in March. This is predominantly the VFR traffic and we plan to gear it up even more as we inch closer to the T20 World Cup,” she said.

Focus on VFR and MICE also

Destination WA has a diversified strategy for India. “Obviously driving the initial VFR market is very important, building on that leisure visitation and really inspiring an aspirational traveller to come and explore WA. We are also looking at business and events segment to attract those high-end incentive groups from India. Our new global campaign will be launched in September this year,” she said.

Roger Cook, Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Jobs & Trade, Tourism, Commerce, says, “Following the return of international visitors to Western Australia, we have seen an influx of visitors from India with WA arrivals in May reaching more than 90 per cent of pre-COVID levels, and forward bookings are even higher. Securing a direct aviation route from India to Western Australia is a key aviation priority for the Western Australian Government.”

 

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