Demonetisation had no impact on Indian tourists in Aus

Melbourne: Demonetisation had no impact on Indian tourist arrivals in Australia with about 29,500 Indians visiting the country in December last year, the highest ever in any single month so far.

According to an official data released by Tourism Australia, the number of Indian tourist arrivals in Australia for December 2016 stood at 29,500 as compared to 26,100 in the similar period previous year.

“We have not seen any significant impact on tourist arrivals after demonetisation kicked off,” Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager, India and Gulf, Tourism Australia, told PTI.

“In fact, in December we saw the largest ever tourist arrivals in any single month from India to Australia which was 13 per cent increase as compared to the same period last year,” Kashikar said, adding that tourist arrivals for April and May this year were also looking strong.

The Indian tourist arrivals for November last year stood at 23,600 while for January, February and March this year it stood at 17,900, 25,800 and 24100, respectively.

“The Australian High Commission has already shared that there has been over 30 per cent increase in tourist visa applications for the first quarter of this year,” Kashikar said.

“We had three years continuous double digit growth in arrivals from India,” he said, stressing that 2017 will also show the similar growth patterns.

He said Australia has placed India among its top five markets and under its ‘Tourism 2020’ strategy, it is expected to potentially contribute between 1.9 billion Aus dollars and 2.3 billion Aus dollars annually.

Australia has several tourism products to offer with cruises in Queensland’s Great barrier Reef, theme parks in Gold Coast city, Sydney Cricket ground, Melbourne Cricket Ground have been doing very well in the Indian market, he said.

“Great Ocean road tours are also getting very popular among Indian tourists especially in the self driving community apart from that Kangaroo island tours awareness is pretty high which is also gaining popularity,” he said.

Direct flights and air seat capacity remained the main bottleneck for increased arrivals but Kashikar said despite capacity cutbacks by Malaysia Airlines two year back, the arrivals from India to Australia continued to grow.

“Air connectivity remains a key challenge so what we are doing now is getting eight airlines which run their flight services between Australia India to offer some spectacular air fares and we will promote those campaigns through digital and print mediums,” he said.

“We are working with to promote these campaigns and aim to target high spenders,” Kashikar said.

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