operahouse1Sydney Harbour provides the natural theatre for Vivid Sydney’s dazzling light display. Captain Cook Cruises has released an exciting program of Vivid Sydney cruises taking in the key

precincts of Darling Harbour, The Rocks and Circular Quay including Sydney Harbour Bridge and the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

Two of the hottest new releases for 2021 Vivid Sydney are onboard Sydney’s new ‘Harbour Bar & Restaurant’. First one is Vivid Harbour Bar experience by sitting in one of the comfy new lounges while lazing back and enjoying a distinctly Sydney cocktail range and live music, as the lights of Vivid Sydney sail by. Add a little luxe and a lot of bubbles come with upgrade to the Vivid Mumm Harbour Bar, iwhich includes 1.5hrs of bottomless Mumm Champagne and a seafood platter to share. The Vivid Harbour Bar prices range from $39 for cruise only, up to $99 per person including champagne and seafood.

Vivid Sydney’s most popular dinner cruises are back too. Family-friendly, 1.5-hour dinners depart at the earlier time of 5.00pm and are a great way to combine a spectacular Sydney Harbour sunset with the striking experience of seeing the Vivid Lights turn on from the water at 6pm. The 5.00pm dinner options range from $59 for a 2-course menu, up to $199 for a deluxe 4-course degustation menu with paired wines. The 7.00pm dinner departures give passengers three spectacular hours to be mesmerised by the Vivid Sydney lights. Massive viewing windows provide spectacular viewing from every table, while guests enjoy a superb dining experience. Prices range from $99 for a 3-course menu, up to $259 for a deluxe 6-course degustation menu with paired wines.

Short on time? One-hour Vivid Light cruises depart up to three times nightly between 5.45pm and 8.15pm, with spacious indoor and outdoor seating. Prices start from $29 per person and are a great option for family and social groups. “Captain Cook Cruises has been proud to partner with Destination NSW to provide on-water experiences for Vivid Sydney since its inception in 2009”, said Captain Cook Cruises’, General Manager, Nick Lester. “There is nothing better than seeing the world’s best harbour and its iconic landmarks illuminated at night from the water” continued Nick


vaccineIt’s reported that the Indian government is planning a mechanism to enable hassle-free domes-tic air travel and to do away with the mandatory RT-PCR report for those passengers who have received both shots of a Covid-19 vaccine amid significant fall in daily active cases across the nation.

With several international borders closed, this decision will help to boost domestic tourism and economy revival in India

Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri has said a joint team from several ministries and stakeholders, including the health department, are in discussion to take a final decision on

allowing travelling by air without an RT-PCR test for those who have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, news agency ANI reported.

The minister said the decision will be taken by the civil aviation ministry along with several nodal agencies including health experts who are working with the government to safeguard the interests of passengers.

At present, domestic passengers are mandatorily asked to produce RT-PCR report for travel-ling to other states.

The civil aviation minister said “health is a state subject, and to ask passengers for a negative RT-PCR report before they enter a state is solely the right of that particular state.”

The minister further said the Indian government has raised objections against the concept of ‘vaccine passport’ for international passengers and has termed it as ‘discriminatory’.

The minister said the Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has told the G7 countries that with vaccine coverage as a percentage of population in developing countries is still low com-pared to developed countries, such an initiative could prove to be highly discriminatory.


airindiaListed below some of the factors outlined by CAPA – Centre for Aviation, in India to under-stand the present and future of the airline industry in India and its effect on the travel and tour-ism sector.

CAPA – Centre for Aviation, part of the Aviation Week Network, is one of the world’s most trusted sources of market intelligence for the aviation and travel industry.

These in detail are included in their forthcoming Aviation Outlook Report

· Most airlines have a broken business case and will struggle to achieve viability.

· Airlines will require more than USD5 billion of recapitalisation just to survive the im-pact of the two COVID waves, let alone achieve solvency.

· India’s airlines are unlikely to return to profitability even in FY2023.

· Aircraft lessors will be reviewing their India strategies.

· A failure to successfully divest Air India could leave Indian taxpayers with a bill for closer to USD15bn

· Airports are critically placed, which may trigger strategic changes in ownership

· Airports will no longer be able to rely on debt

· The drivers of non-aero revenue are likely to experience structural change over the me-dium term

· Airport are heading towards historic levels of over-capacity for the next 5 years or more

· New policy responses are required for the sector post-COVID

· The government can take decisions to address the cost structure and make airlines more attractive to an investor, but is it too late for some?


vividsydneyVivid Sydney 2021 will transform Sydney into an extraordinary playground of the unexpected from Friday 6 August to Saturday 28 August, with more than 200 events, including 19 installations by international artists, and a virtual talk from British actor, star of The Good Place and body positivity advocate Jameela Jamil.

Staged over 23 nights, the 2021 festival will fuse mesmerising art displays and 3D light pro-jections with an eclectic line-up of musical performers, thought-provoking talks and work-shops from some of the world’s greatest minds.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said “This is the festival for Sydneysiders and visitors from around the country – and New Zealand – to immerse themselves in our city at its creative best, to leave feeling energised and inspired about the future.

“Vivid Sydney is a bright star on Sydney’s events calendar supporting the entire ecosystem of the state’s visitor economy during winter, from our artistic industries to entertainment and hospitality venues, accommodation provides and retailers,” Mr Ayres said.

Festival Director Gill Minervini said this year’s program offers a multitude of reasons for visi-tors to return throughout the festival, including a number of first-time program inclusions.

“This year, Vivid Sydney will deliver fresh experiences for our festival-goers to enjoy. For the first time ever, the waters of Cockle Bay in Darling Harbour will come alive as a floating Light Walk incorporating a large-scale artwork called Ephemeral from Sydney-based design studio Atelier Sisu.

“The façade of Customs House, one of the city’s most iconic heritage buildings, will be brought to life with VORAX – an epic 3D tale of a mischievous thief’s rise to greatness from Hong Kong’s Treacle Media. And in The Rocks, artist Brad Robson and Esem Projects pro-vide fascinating insight into the journey of creating Brad’s dynamic portraits through Point of View,” Ms Minervini said.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Steve Cox said: “Vivid Sydney is an annual festival that transforms Sydney’s CBD in winter into a playground of the unexpected, celebrating Syd-ney’s diversity, resilience, Aboriginal culture and vibrant creative community. “Although most of our overseas friends, apart from our neighbours in New Zealand, are unable to attend the festival this year, the 2021 festival is still a major international arts festival, featuring work from China, Italy, Peru, Spain, France, Belgium, Portugal, The Netherlands and the UK, alongside the amazing home-grown talent found here in NSW and Australia.


ate21Tourism Australia’s largest annual travel trade event, the Australian Tourism Exchange 2021 (ATE21), was held in Sydney, running across two weeks as a hybrid event incorporating both live and online elements for the first time.

This was the 41st edition of Australia’s largest tourism tradeshow, designed to connect tourism operators together with travel wholesalers and agents from Australia and around the world. This year’s event was particularly significant, as it is the first time the tourism industry has gathered on such scale since pre-COVID.

The live event, ATE Live, took t place from 6 to 9 June at the ICC Sydney, with more than 1,000 buyers and sellers in attendance from both Australia and New Zealand including in-bound tour operators, luxe buyers, and specialist buyers. ATE Online follows from 10 to 17 June and will facilitate connections with over 1,200 Australian sellers and international buyers who are unable to be in Australia in-person.

The demand for ATE has been extraordinary, and more than 57,000 meetings have been creat-ed across ATE Live and ATE Online with 99 per cent of buyer diaries being full.

Tourism Australia Managing Director, Phillipa Harrison, said that it was wonderful to look towards the industry’s future, after one of the most challenging years on record for tourism.

“The tourism industry was one of the hardest hit, first by the impacts of the 2019-20 summer bushfires and then the COVID-19 pandemic, and while we know it will take time for the in-dustry to fully recover, maintaining business connections is critical,” Phillipa Harrison said.

“Having the opportunity to bring together so many colleagues from the industry, both from within Australia and overseas, to make, maintain and develop invaluable links between Aus-tralian tourism operators and the global distribution network at ATE is more important than ever for ensuring Australia remains top of mind.

“While we look forward to the time when we can once again welcome back travellers from all our key markets around the world to experience our beautiful country, we continue to support

our tourism operators, who are the lifeblood of our offering, through events such as ATE,” Phillipa Harrison said.

There were several other new elements to the 2021 ATE event. ATE Luxe- a new luxury pro-gram being trialled for the first time, took place across both ATE Live and ATE Online. ATE Luxe is a bespoke opportunity for selected buyers and sellers who deliver high-end experien-tial product tailored to the luxury market.

The Aviation Program was also a new initiative for 2021, designed as an opportunity for air-line and airport stakeholders to participate and meet with each other at ATE Live. Senior air-line representatives was in attendance to participate in the Aviation Panel discussion, live re-cording of interviews with senior industry representatives hosted by CAPA. There was exhibi-tion space for airports and a lounge area for networking with 25 airlines in attendance, along with 14 Australian airports.

The ATE Live event was held under COVID-19 safety measures set by the NSW Government.

The impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry has been devastating, and Tourism Austral-ia’s focus is on supporting Australia’s tourism businesses as much as possible so they can maintain these valuable business connections, rebuild, and return to growth again once interna-tional travel resumes.


uluruThe next phase of Tourism Australia’s Holiday Here This Year campaign was launched recent-ly , with ambassadors Hamish Blake and Zoe‐Foster Blake showcasing some of Australia’s most epic holiday experiences.

The new $9 million Epic Holidays campaign urges Australians to travel further, book a longer stay, and enjoy the benefits of a bigger domestic holiday.

Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Dan Tehan, said now is the perfect time for Australians who have been holding out for a holiday, to take an epic one.

“This new campaign aims to get Australians to travel further afield, take a longer holiday, and visit those parts of the country typically reliant on international tourism,” Mr Tehan said.

“Australians typically spend more overseas than foreign tourists spend in Australia, so we want Australians to treat their domestic holiday this year like an overseas trip. The net impact of Australian tourist spending in Australia was a positive benefit to the economy of around $7.5 billion in the December quarter; and in 2019, holidays of five nights or longer contributed $31.8 billion to the economy.

“Every epic holiday that we take in our own backyard delivers a significant shot in the arm for our tourism businesses, workers and communities,” Mr Tehan said.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison said the new campaign sought to en-courage Australians to take the opportunity to book an epic holiday, especially when there had been limited opportunities to do so in the past year.

“This latest phase of our Holiday Here This Year campaign is focused on reminding Australi-ans of some of the big adventures that can be had when exploring the many destinations, land-scapes, and natural wonders that make Australia truly awe‐inspiring,” Ms Harrison said.

“With a backyard as vast as ours, Australians are spoilt for choice when it comes to epic desti-nations and holiday experiences. We have a reef so big you can see it from space, the world’s greatest rock formation, and mountain ranges that dominate over three states and more.

“To make the most of these epic holiday opportunities, we’re urging Australians to take a big-ger break of five days or more and explore those parts of the country that are especially reliant on international visitors. Taking a longer break is not only good for our personal wellbeing but also for Australia and the many communities and businesses that rely on tourism,” Ms Harri-son said.

Speaking about the opportunities for epic holidays in Australia, Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster‐ Blake said, “We feel intensely awed by this hugely varied and vast country we live in, and how lucky we are to have so many epic experiences in our backyard. So many of the reasons we travel for – wildlife adventures, forests and hiking, wining and dining, and epic family ex-periences – are right on our doorstep, and the best way to do them justice is on a big holiday. Go bigger! Stay longer! Eat more! Adventure more! Need we say more?”

The Epic Holidays campaign is aimed to be rolled out across a range of channels including TV, print, online, social media, content partnerships, search, radio, cinema and outdoor adver-tising. There is also a new online quiz to assist Australians in finding their perfect holiday match, which can be found on the official travel site Campaign assets are also being made available to industry to use in their own marketing initiatives.

The campaign is also being supported by a range of key partners including Flight Centre, Travel Associates, Big Red Group, and Klook.

Tourism Australia also continues to provide consumers with the practical resources and inspi-ration they need to book a holiday and travel safely around Australia, with tailored content, itineraries, and industry offers on This includes an online Australian COVID travel portal available at‐and‐planning/useful‐tips/coronavirus‐travel-safety. html that brings together key safety information, travel restrictions and guidelines from across the country.


manpreetAmbassador Manpreet Vohra arrived in Canberra on 25 April 2021 to assume his assignment as High Commissioner of India to Australia.

Ambassador Vohra joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1988. He was Ambassador of India to Mexico and High Commissioner to Belize (2019-21), Ambassador to Afghanistan (2016-18) and Ambassador to Peru and Bolivia (2011-15).Earlier, he was Deputy High Commissioner in Pakistan (2007-09) and in Nairobi (2005-07) where he was also Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations Environment Programme and UN-Habitat. Prior to this, he served in various capacities at the Indian Missions in Hong Kong, China, Mongolia and United Kingdom.

At the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, Ambassador Vohra was Additional Secretary (Administration; Consular, Passport, Visas; and Counter-Terrorism) during 2018-19, Joint Secretary (Development Partnership Administration-I) during 2015-16, and Deputy Secretary and Director (Disarmament & International Security Affairs) during 2000-02. From 2009-11, he was Joint Secretary & Officer on Special Duty in the Project Office to set up the South Asian University in New Delhi.

Ambassador Vohra was born in Amritsar on 28 December 1963. He has a BA in Economics and a Post-Graduate Diploma in International Trade from Panjab University, Chandigarh. He was a Chevening Scholar at Oxford University in 1999-2000 where he obtained a Certificate in Diplomatic Studies. He is married to Naseem. They have a daughter and a son.

Chairman’s Note

26-abhinav-gold1“When can we travel international again to any part of the world?” is perhaps the burning question in the mind of many Australians today.

I don’t think anybody has the answer to this other than making guesses.

Despite the pandemic going through ups and downs, few countries have opened doors to out-siders for tourism, progress with COVID19 vaccination being a catalyst. However, Australia at this stage is not at all thinking along these lines, though under pressure from different quarters to relax rules.

A positive step in Australia has been the start of the quarantine free travel across the Tasman since April 19, though it had a few setbacks when Aussie states had minor outbreaks like in Victoria at present.

So to keep the travel, tourism and hospitality sector energized the only feasible path is to in-spire domestic travel. In this context efforts of Tourism Australia needs to be highly applaud-ed. A good example is their recently launched Epic Holidays campaign urging Australians to travel further beyond known destinations, book a longer stay, and enjoy the benefits of a big-ger domestic holiday. Also needs highlighting is the revival of Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE21) in Sydney. After cancelled last year due to COVID , this time it was held in two modes – live at the International Convention Centre connecting local sellers and buyers fol-lowed by virtual for bringing in international buyers for future .

In India in certain states live tourism events are being held to update the industry on develop-ments and changes, but the nation’s current ‘second wave’ is of great alarm to the entire world. The daily infections and subsequent deaths reached record figures and forced the country into lockdown again. While sharing our concerned thoughts with the families of the affected, under these circumstances it’s not prudent to talk about tourism and holidays.

However to conclude, one thing I will say. For the world to come out from this pandemic, In-dia has to get better soon. We all know India is the largest manufacturer of the vaccines and generic medicines supplied to almost every corner of the world and technology back up for all important services like banking, telecommunications and transport. So if India gets further worse with catastrophes, possibilities are there to slow down and affect all of the above with an adverse impact throughout the world.

So let’s all pray for India’s speedy recovery from this pandemic.

Sandip Hor


South Australia can draw more tourists from India

sa-tourismAt present, India’s business connection with South Australia is mainly through International Education, the state’s largest export. In 2020, the enrolment numbers from India were 11364 – a 20% rise compared to the previous year. However, COVID19 has destabilized the market severely. Another connection of importance is wine.

 Australia continues to be one of the leading exporter of wines to India by value and by volume. According to Wine Australia, for the year ending December 2018, Australian wine exports to India grew in volume and value by 50% and 52% respectively. And a fair portion goes from South Australia – Penfolds and Jacobs Creek being pretty familiar names among the Indian wine connoisseurs.

 There can be further business opportunities with India in areas of resource and energy, argi-business, water and environmental management, aerospace, defence, advanced manufacturing and most importantly in tourism. During pre-covid time, the state received an increased number of visitors from India

South Australia today presents an ideal climate for business investment by virtue of which it’s home to some pioneering enterprises and exciting new industries in multiple sectors from space and health to artificial intelligence, innovative learning and renewable energy.  

 Worth noting some of the recent achievements.

 While Fleet Space – an agile South Australia based space company – made history by launching Australia’s first four nano-satellites,  entrepreneur organisations like Life Whisper in the health sector with its ground breaking technology   has gifted new hope to improve pregnancy rates with a cloud-based artificial intelligence system. Micro-X ,another ASX listed entity in the health sector has been drawing attention by driving the global revolution in medical and security imaging products using cold cathode x-ray sources.

 South Australia is leading the nation in renewable energy, growing from virtually zero renewable energy production in 2003 to approximately 2,000 MW of installed wind, and over 1000 MW of solar PV generating capacity in 2018-19. Renewable energy is making a valuable contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing a sustainable future for all South Australians.

 The state’s current Hydrogen Prospectus portray an epic future for renewables.
The three listed hydrogen hubs dot South Australia at the forefront of global clean hydrogen production and exportation.

 In this context the state’s battery storage system needs to be mentioned as being a pioneer in storage technology. At 100MW/129MWh, its Hornsdale Power Reserve is the largest lithium-ion battery in the world. The 50MW/ 64.5MWh expansion, currently under construction, will further showcase the complete benefits that grid-scale batteries can provide to the National Electricity Market (NEM) and Australian consumers.

South Australia’s two renowned education hubs – The University of Adelaide and University of South Australia is thriving with research activities. The Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources brings together the University of Adelaide’s collective exploration, mining, manufacturing and engineering research strengths to address the challenges faced by long term planetary exploration, while ensuring  the near term application here on earth.

 Any outsider, after noting all of the research and pioneering activities can possibly nick name the state as the ‘Research Hub’ of the nation.

 The South Australian government is motivating this research and innovation-driven business enthusiasm. Establishment of Lot Fourteen within the heart of Adelaide City and Tonsley Innovation District around 10km south of the city-centre demonstrates the government’s commitment to attract the world’s best talents.

Tourism Australia – Spotlight on India

au-tourismThe latest edition of Tourism Australia’s   ‘Spotlight on the Regions’ features India with Country Manager, Nishant Kashikar. Highlights from the report are:
Despite the increase in number of cases, consumer confidence index amongst Indians has remained high, with our latest consumer demand research results revealing that Australia has maintained its highest ranking for consideration and intention amongst Indian travellers. Whilst India is currently witnessing the second wave of COVID-19, it has also launched one of the world’s biggest vaccination programs and has immunized over 70 million people in just over 10 weeks.
Tourism Australia has aggressively protected its number one position as the most considered and intended outbound destination amongst our target audience, ensuring we remain top of mind amongst consumers as soon as travel can resume. The Border-Gavaskar cricket series and the Australian Open allowed Tourism Australia to reach out to over 35 million travel enthusiasts with branded content, advocacy and PR-led initiatives, involving Australian cricket legends David Warner, Brett Lee and Friend of Australia, Harsha Bhogle.

Tourism Australia’s Aussie Specialist team has delivered over 18,000 trainings during the pandemic and are engaging the trade through interesting workshops involving Australian Masterchefs and Indigenous artists. Aligned to our content, PR and advocacy activities, Aussie Specialist training has focused upon ensuring these highly engaged agents are able to recommend and sell the ultimate Aussie holiday to their customers.

The mid to long term opportunity offered by the Indian market remains high and given the young demography and rising economy, the market has the potential to deliver 1 million visitors to Australia over the next decade.

The Australia – India bilateral relationship has significantly strengthened and the same is evident through heightened engagements at the political, trade and investment level and the social media banter between the two Prime Ministers.

The Indian economy is already looking at a ‘V-shaped’ recovery, with GST collections in March 2021 recording an all-time high of 1.24 trillion rupees (A$22.5 billion), 27 per cent higher than March 2020. The GST collections were also 14 per cent higher in the January to March quarter of 2021 compared to the last quarter of 2020. Various economic sectors and industries are also showing signs of recovery.