The Aussie Specialist Program, aimed at empowering travel agents to effectively promote Australia as a top travel destination, has been pivotal in achieving notable market success. Under the collaborative efforts of Tourism Australia and its partners, the program excels in showcasing new experiences and destinations in Australia, marking a resurgence in the tourism sector ready for new challenges and opportunities.
– Vartik Sethi
Aussie Specialist Program
The Aussie Specialist program aims to engage and educate travel agents, enhancing their ability to sell Australia as a premier travel destination effectively. Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager, Tourism Australia, acknowledged the critical role of the travel agent fraternity, particularly the Aussie Specialist Program, in recording significant market success. A collective achievement of ‘Team Australia’, which includes Tourism Australia and state and territory tourism partners, the program’s effectiveness is evident in the way new products, experiences, and destinations in Australia are being showcased, demonstrating a revitalised tourism sector ready to embrace new challenges and opportunities.
Fastest-Growing Market with Untapped Potential
Kashikar points out, is currently the fastest-growing market for Tourism Australia. The country has already matched pre-COVID arrival and spending numbers, a significant milestone setting a strong foundation for 2024. Signifying a commitment to fostering easier and more appealing travel for Indian tourists, Kashikar said, “We’ve seen a threefold increase in aviation capacity from India to Australia. This boost, from eight flights a week pre-COVID to almost 28 now, is set to strengthen our connectivity significantly.”
Strategic Achievements and Future Goals
Kashikar highlighted five key achievements that underscore the growth of the Indian market:
- Matching 2019 Visitor Numbers: With 385,000 Indian tourists in 2023, matching the pre-pandemic figures.
- Increased Spending by Indian Tourists: A rise from 1.8 to 2.2 billion Australian dollars, marking a 24 per cent growth.
- Improved Global Ranking: India has moved up to become the fifth-largest market in terms of arrivals and spending.
- Growth in the MICE Sector: A surge in incentive groups, thanks to increased flights and streamlined visa processing.
- Expanded Aviation Capacity: Enhancing connectivity and accessibility between India and Australia.
Prime Ministers Strengthening Bilateral Ties
Kashikar emphasised the strengthened Australia-India relationship, led by Prime Ministers Anthony Albanese and Narendra Modi. Their engagements have resulted in a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement, boosting bilateral trade and investment. The tourism Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a five-year period, alongside improved educational and geopolitical links, has created ideal conditions for a thriving partnership. This cooperation is likened to a perfect symphony, set to yield substantial results from this market.
Marketing Strategies and Campaign Success
The ‘Say G’day’ campaign, launched a year ago, has resonated well with Indian travellers, positioning Australia as a top-ranked destination. Looking ahead, Kashikar’s approach is to maintain and accelerate this growth trajectory. Eschewing specific growth percentages, Tourism Australia focuses on exceeding expectations, confident in the Indian market’s potential.
Embracing Sustainable Luxury Travel
Globally, Australia is uniquely positioned, ranked 48th in arrivals but 10th in spending and 1st in per-night spend per visitor. This high-yield strategy is complemented by a commitment to sustainable tourism. Kashikar shared, “Our focus is not just on attracting tourists but ensuring they experience Australia in a sustainable, luxurious way. This approach is embodied in our ‘Signature Experiences of Australia’, offering unique and eco-friendly experiences.”
The ‘Signature Experiences of Australia’ programme includes luxury lodges, golf, wine, cultural experiences, and luxury cruises, all delivered sustainably. Tourism Australia’s strategy encompasses sustainability, accessibility, diversity, inclusivity, and promoting indigenous tourism, differentiating Australia’s offerings globally.
Innovation and Growth in 2024
Tourism Australia aims for significant growth and innovation in 2024. The focus on the Indian market, combined with a commitment to sustainable and high-value tourism, is expected to set a prosperous course. The organisation’s adaptability to the evolving global landscape and strong international relations, particularly with India, demonstrates a dynamic and forward-thinking approach.