Australia India Travel & Tourism Council creates history at round table conference
Aviation capacity and lack of destination knowledge are two key factors affecting growth of bilateral travel betweeen Australia and India. This was a dominant view shared by most paricipants at the Round Table Conference , organised by Australia India Travel & Tourism Council (AITTC), on 9 August the Pullman Quay Grand Hotel in Sydney.
Attended by senior representatives from almost every quarter playing a role in bilateral travel – from inbound and outbound tour operators in Australia and India, hotels, airlines, visa office, travel insurer and airports to government, media and most importantly Tourism Australia and India Tourism, this excellent initiative of AITTC placed travel & tourism in the agenda for the first time in the chapter of Australia-India relationship.
According to Nishant Kashikar, Tourism Australia Country Manager in India, in the last three years there has been double digit growth in passengerr arrival to Australia and subsequent spending. For the year ending May 2017 over 275000 Indians arrived Australia recording an increase of 15% from the previous year. Similarly the spent has gone upto 1.34 AUD, an increse of almost 18%. From Australia to India, as per Kanchan K Kurkeja, Assistant Director India Tourism in Australia the numbers are inspiring as well. Introduction of E-Visa last year has surely made travel to India much easier for Australians. The Australian government has also launched online visa applications for Indian nationals since 1 July this year.
“Perhaps there is scope to do more, said Sandip Hor Chairman of AITTC. That’s why we organised this joint forum to identify further opportunities for growth and recognise the challenges and issues blocking the opportunities”.
Surely efforts of AITTC to organise this joint forum commands appreciation. The various presetations from leading tour operators -Insight Vacations, Insider Journeys, Travel Maestro Australia and Thomas Cook India and the subsequent roundtable discussion ,identified few more issues, from visa facilitation and pricing fluctuations to airport facilities and outdated ideas.
The Indian High Commissioner to Australia Dr A. M . Gondane inaugurated the proceedings. Some of the other key attendees were Indian Consul General in Sydney, B. Vanlalvawna, Phillipa Harrison Executive Gerneral Manager International and Leigh Sorenson General Manager Industry Relations from Tourism Australia, Kanchan Kukreja, Assistant Director India Tourism, Sally Fielke General Manager Corporate Affairs, Sydney Airport and Karla Juranek from DFAT. The roundtable session was moderated by Sheba Nandkeolayer, National Chair of Australia India Business Council. Phillip Boniface, Co Chairman & Treasurer of AITTC presented the vote of thanks.
This conference was well timed just a week before Tourism Australia’s annual India Travel Mission event to be held in Pune in India from 16- 19 Aug.