With India being one of Western Australia’s largest markets that remains unserved by a direct airline service, Hon Roger Cook, Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism, Western Australia, recently attended the CAPA India Aviation Summit in New Delhi to discuss establishing a direct flight from India to Perth. This move follows the state’s tourism body meeting with top airlines in July 2022 to develop direct aviation connections between the two destinations. Western Australia’s Deputy Premier highlighted various travel destinations within the state, promoting adventure, wildlife, and unique culinary experiences to attract Indian visitors.
– Vartik Sethi
The Western Australian (WA) Government is committed to expanding its tourism market by increasing its aviation capacity to India. Hon Roger Cook, Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism, Western Australia, recently attended the CAPA India Aviation Summit in New Delhi to discuss establishing a direct flight from India to Perth. The visit follows the Western Australia Government’s India Mission in July 2022, where the state’s tourism body met with key officials of top airlines to develop direct aviation connections between the two destinations.
Highlighting India as a priority market for Western Australia, Cook stressed that the state is working with valued airline partners to build and grow its aviation capacity between the two regions. The goal is to tap into the VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) market and encourage travellers from India to stay longer and explore more of Western Australia. Cook said, “In Western Australia, we see a big return of visiting friends and relatives and people wanting to reconnect with their families in the post-COVID world.”
With India as one of Western Australia’s largest markets that remains unserved by a direct airline service, the Western Australian Government is committed to working with the Indian tourism and aviation sectors, as well as Perth Airport, to secure more aviation connections to India. Minister Cook added that direct air connectivity would provide an uplift to both the Indian and Western Australian tourism industries.
Speaking to Travel Trade Journal on the sidelines of the event, Western Australia’s Deputy Premier, shared insights about various travel destinations within the state. While visiting friends and relatives is a popular choice, Cook highlighted the south-western region of the state as a great destination for adventure-seekers. Within a 2-3 hour car drive, visitors can enjoy wide open spaces and unique experiences.
Cook also shared his personal favorite, Ningaloo Reef, located on the coast of north-west Western Australia. He added, “You can literally swim with the wild sharks. We take our goggles, snorkels and flippers and literally fall into the waters with the most amazing coral reefs and marine life.” The reef offers the opportunity to swim with wild sharks and witness the stunning coral reefs and marine life. In addition, Cook also suggested heading south for great wine, food, and a crisp environment.
For the Indian diaspora, Cook stated that Western Australia offers a range of Indian and Asian restaurants. With fusion cuisine being a unique aspect of Western Australia’s culinary scene, Indian visitors are sure to have a memorable experience.
In terms of wildlife, Western Australia caters to both adventure and leisure tourists. On being asked about the happiest animal on the planet, Cook shared, “Just off the coast of Western Australia on a 30-minute boat ride, you can go to Rottnest island where they have marsupials called the Quokkas, which are very small kangaroo-like creatures and are supposed to be the happiest animal on earth.” Extreme adventurers can swim with wild sharks, while those seeking a more laid-back experience can visit Rottnest Island to see the Quokkas!
Cook emphasised the importance of social media in accessing markets for their strategy. Western Australia uses platforms such as Instagram to showcase the unique experiences the state has to offer. These platforms serve as a teaser, encouraging travellers to click on the links and explore further.
In recent years, the number of Indian visitors to Western Australia has grown significantly. In 2019, India represented Western Australia’s 11th largest tourism market by visitor numbers, with more than 30,000 travellers from India visiting the state. More recently, India has become Western Australia’s fourth-largest international market for visitor numbers in 2023.
Supported by the AUD $195 million Reconnect WA package, the WA Government, through Tourism Western Australia, is investing heavily in tourism and aviation to cement the state’s reputation as the Western Gateway to Australia.