Australia unveils eight-year plan to target more Indian visitors

16 Jun 2012  582 | World Travel News

INDIA is the next big focus of Tourism Australia’s 2020 ambition, with the NTO unveiling today a strategic plan to tap the market, which now accounts for only 10 per cent of its overall inbound visitor arrivals.

Announced at the opening of Australian Tourism Exchange 2012 by tourism minister, Martin Ferguson, this will see the NTO embarking on new research to help Australian operators understand the market better, and pumping in additional resources, including a doubling of marketing spend in India for the next financial year to more than A$5 million (US$5 million).

The plan will also be supported in the coming years under the A$61 million Asia Marketing Fund set aside for the first time in the 2012 national budget.

Four areas will be addressed: identifying the right customers, having a clear geographic strategy to focus resources, building the aviation market, and developing quality experiences and an aligned distribution strategy.

The lack of direct air links has been cited as a limiting factor, even though air service agreements are in place and sufficient capacity is available. It is estimated that an extra 345,000 seats will be required to meet the expected demand from India.

When asked how Australia intends to attract airlines to open up routes, Ferguson said: “Building visitation will build a case for direct flights. The best thing would to be succeed on our India 2020 plan.”

Tourism Australia has identified target customers as affluent, mid-life travellers, while in the short term, focus will be given to New Delhi and Mumbai. Even if the Australian dollar remains high against the Indian rupee, these visitors will still have the ability to travel, explained Tourism Australia managing director, Andrew McEvoy.

Having already rolled out a similar tourism strategic plan for China last year (TTG Asia e-Daily, November 21, 2011), McEvoy added that with “over 70 NTOs active in India, the time is right for Tourism Australia to invest more (in India) to both maintain our presence and enable our industry to better leverage a future competitive advantage”.

Sourced: TTG Asia