Chairman’s Note

I hope the New Year has started well for everyone.

Looking back into 2017, I see many success stories in the Australia-India tourism circuit from growth in visitor numbers on both fronts to new tour operators in both countries including Australia and India in their respective outbound portfolios. Most remarkable in the scenario has been the increase in Incentive Tourism to Australia – many large Indian business houses had their annual business events in Australia, significantly contributing to the international spending figures. Australian state tourism’s have been pretty active in India with states like Northern Territory and Tasmania showing greater interest.

However we didn’t see much attention from the Indian state tourism’s to showcase products in Australia, other than some Kerala tour operators doing a scruffy roadshow in Sydney and Melbourne, under the banner of Kerala Tourism. Hopefully things will be better this year as now Madhya Pradesh State Tourism has appointed a representative in Australia and last month Dr Raman Singh, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh visited down under to showcase his state to the Australian market.

At AITTC front, the Round Table Conference in August on Opportunities & Challenges for Bilateral Travel bilateral has proven to be of value to the industry. Not only it identified some of the issues affecting bilateral journeys, but most significantly added ‘travel & tourism’ in the agenda for strengthening bilateral relationship. Australia Government is currently developing a high level India Economic strategy to which I had the opportunity to contribute as tourism from India being considered as a key economic factor for Australia.

However the bilateral relationship may possibly be affected if Ministry of Tourism, Government of India finally decides, as a part of its global re-positioning of international offices, to close its Australia office in Sydney. I haven’t seen any official notification other than noticing various reports in travel trade media about this intended closure. It’s surely a matter of concern for the industry, particularly with all India focused outbound agencies. It’s strongly felt by them that the closure will slow down the tourism numbers to India due to absence of the day to day contact which helps them to develop strategies, build promotions accordingly, gain destination knowledge and quickly resolve issues. AITTC has raised the industry’s concern with the Indian High Commissioner in Canberra. In this context it may be noted that India Tourism has been operating in Australia for over 50 years and growth in last five years has been around 60%.

It’s well known how madly India and Australia are connected with cricket. Good news – Indian cricket team will be touring Australia end of this year for test and one day series. So it will be a good opportunity for Tourism Australia and other state tourism to use ‘cricket’ as a major catalyst to increase numbers when India playing here. AITTC help is available to work out strategies and some campaigns for that.

 

Sandip Hor

Chairman

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