Australia is making a bid to capture some of the 50 million Indians who are expected to travel overseas by 2020 with a new plan to lure tourists.
Tourism minister Martin Ferguson revealed the new strategic plan at the Australia Tourism Exchange in Perth today.
It outlines plans to increase the number of flights between India and Australia, introduce new products and experiences which appeal to Indian tourists and adapt service.
India is Australia’s 10th most valuable inbound tourism market, with 148,000 visitors spending A$867 million last year.
The country is one of the world’s fastest growing outbound travel markets, with predictions it could rise in annual value to up to $2.3 billion by 2020 and deliver 300,000 annual visitors.
The move comes a week after Tourism Australia unveiled its new tourism campaign in China, which is Australia’s fastest-growing and most valuable market.
“India is a market of strong future potential for Australian tourism given this nation’s rapid rise through this Asian Century,” Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said.
“Tourism Australia understands both the potential and location of the desired, future Indian visitor to Australia, yet we also acknowledge this is a unique and complex market, that is becoming increasingly competitive and which needs a clear, strategic approach to build a platform for any substantive future success by our industry.”
Mr McEvoy said the plan would include a doubling of marketing spend by Tourism Australia in India in the 2013 financial year.
With more than 70 national tourism organisations active in India, Mr McEvoy said the time was right for Tourism Australia to invest more to maintain its presence and enable the industry to better leverage a future competitive advantage.
The plan will include a clear geographic strategy to focus resources on where there the greatest concentration of affluent households is – initially Delhi and Mumbai.
“The major cities of Delhi and Mumbai, and the affluent middle class travellers within them, will be Tourism Australia’s primary consumer marketing and distribution targets to sustainably grow Indian visitation to Australia,” Mr McEvoy said.
“Long haul holiday travel taken by Indians out of their country remains at relative small levels, but is developing fast as global travel is now appearing on many Indians life resume.
“By investing now Australia can strengthen its position to be better placed for the future when long-haul travel, in particular leisure, becomes more common, whilst also working to secure additional business event inspired travel from India.
At the moment the Singapore Airlines/Virgin Australia alliance, Malaysian Airlines, the Qantas Group and Thai Airways through their respective South East Asian hubs, support the bulk of existing air services on the Australia-India route.
Early analysis suggests Australia will need an extra 345,000 seats to meet the expected demand for Australia from India out to 2020.
Indian arrivals to Australia have grown at a compound annual growth rate of 12.3 per cent over the last decade.
An estimated 17 per cent of the worlds population (approximately 1.2 billion people) are from India.