Home/ News / World/  ‘India is critical for tourism in Victoria’

MUMBAI : For Victoria, the southeastern state in Australia, India is the second largest international market after China for inbound tourism. As per the latest International Visitor Survey by Tourism Research Australia, Victoria received 100,300 short-term visitors from India in the year ending September 2022 and it was back to 57% of its pre-covid levels, the highest of any international market to Victoria, said Visit Victoria CEO Brendan McClements. 

“India is a critical part of where we think the future of tourism is in Victoria. And it’s partly because Victoria also is home to Australia’s biggest Indian population. Now that the world’s opening up and things are happening, we’re very keen to reconnect with India and reconnect those people-to-people links. And we’ve been incredibly encouraged by what we’ve seen over first few months," he told Mint during his recent visit.

While Indians constitute 3% of Australia’s population, it is biggest community in Victoria with almost 235,000 Indians living in the state. Melbourne, state’s capital, has a packed calendar of food and wine, sport, art, lifestyle and multicultural events. While the famous Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is going on till 2 April, Melbourne Comedy Festival will kickstart on 29 March till 23 April.

McClements said Indian travellers, pre-pandemic, would come and stay for a long time. 

“The return of Indian travel has been extraordinary. And post-pandemic, we now have several airlines connecting Melbourne with India," he said. 

While there are no direct flights between Mumbai and Melbourne, he said talks are on with various airlines for the same and hopefully soon there will be direct connections too. 

“Air India and Qantas are flying direct—seven days a week and four times a week, respectively, between India and Melbourne. There is also an excellent network of flights connecting the two countries via Singapore, Sri Lanka or Malaysia. So for us to come to India and for Indians to come to Australia, it’s never been easier," he said.

Talking about the recovery, he said it will not be before 2024-25 when the full recovery is possible. “I think 2023 will be the transition year for us, where we settle back into a rhythm. Airlines are still bringing planes out of storage and getting the pilots trained. So we see this year as a sort of gradual return and 2024-25 is the big opportunity."

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Updated: 29 Mar 2023, 03:07 AM IST
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