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Friday, 12 July, 2019, 16 : 15 PM [IST]

Tourism Australia hopeful of touching half-a-million mark in Indian visitations in 2020 riding on ICC T20 World Cup events

Plans special webinars on online visa facilitation and ICC-specific trainings for trade in India
Tourism Australia is hopeful of drastic rise in Indian arrivals next year considering the two major sporting events that the country is hosting.  Australia is hosting both Women’s and Men’s ICC T20 World Cups in 2020 which the nation is hoping to cash in to set new records in Indian inbound.  The tourism promotion agency is hoping to touch half-a-million-mark in Indian arrivals next year, which is way ahead of the India 2020 strategic plan that the tourism board had set in 2012.  Tourism Australia had set 3 lakh inbound arrivals target for India as per the strategic plan which the country has already achieved. 

While the Women T20 World Cup is scheduled between February and March, the Men ICC T20 is slated for October and November months next year.  
Taking into account the popularity of cricket in India, Tourism Australia would be commencing special educational and training programmes for the travel trade well in advance at both ends.   According to top source in Tourism Australia, special webinars on the advantages of the new online visa facilitation as well as specific trainings around ICC World Cup will be imparted to official ticketing agents, key distribution partners, sub agents, etc. on the Indian side.  At the same time, series of webinars, workshops, etc. will be conducted in partnership with Australia Tourism Export Council to make the Australian suppliers “India market ready”. 

Australia had received record 3.65 lakh Indian tourists for the year ended March 2019, which is a 15% growth over the same time in 2018.  They contributed AUD 1.7 billion, a 12% growth. The Indian arrivals recorded 16% growth on a CAGR basis in the last five years, while their contribution to the tourism economy of the country grew at a CAGR of 18%.  “When overall outbound growth for India was 8%, outbound from India to Australia grew 16%,” the spokesman of Tourism Australia said. 
He said that the national tourism promotion agency has achieved two out of the three goals set as per their India 2020 strategy plan three years in advance.  The country has already exceeded the 3-lakh-arrival mark from India, and out of the region market share grew from the 11th place in 2012 to the 6th place.  The only goal which is yet to reach is in terms of visitor spent set as AUD 1.9 billion, he added.  “India, today, is the fastest growing outbound market for Australia from the 15 key source markets,” he observed.

The spokesperson for the Australian government said that the priority is to “revamp the engagement and communication” with the travel stakeholders as well as the travellers to break many myths about the Australian visa processes.  Since the introduction of online visa services two years ago, getting an Australian visa has become quite easy and convenient. Aspiring travellers can apply online from the comfort of their home using their smart phones.  There is no need for passport, biometrics, or to appear for personal interviews.  ‘It’s a very convenient service offering.  Majority of the online applications are processed within 14 days, and 50% of them are processed within 5 days,’ the official said.  Considering the visas are issued with one-year validity with multiple-entry, Australian visas have become one of the most competitive one in comparison to other country’s visas. The official said that for business and incentive groups, there is a special facilitation system available whereby a visa officer will be assigned to expedite the process.

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