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Demonetisation had no impact on Indian tourists in Australia

PTI | 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 touristarrivals in Australia forDecember2016 stood at 29,500 as compared to 26,100 in the similar periodprevious year.

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

“In fact, in December we saw the largest evertourist arrivals in any single month from India to Australia whichwas 13 per cent increase as compared to the same period lastyear,” Kashikar said, adding that tourist arrivals for Apriland Maythis year were also looking strong.

The Indian touristarrivals for November last year stood at 23,600 while for January, February and March this year it stood at17,900, 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 continuousdouble digit growth in arrivals from India,” he said, stressing that 2017 will also show the similar growth patterns.

Hesaid Australia has placed India among itstopfive markets and under its 'Tourism 2020' strategy, it is expected to potentiallycontribute between 1.9 billion Aus dollars and 2.3 billion Aus dollars annually.

Australia has several tourismproducts to offer with cruises in Queensland'sGreat barrier Reef, theme parks in Gold Coast city, Sydney Cricket ground, Melbourne Cricket Ground have beendoing very well in theIndian market, he said.

“Great Ocean road tours are also getting very popular among Indian tourists especially inthe self driving community apart from thatKangaroo island tours awareness isprettyhigh which is also gaining popularity,” he said.

Direct flightsand air seat capacity remained the main bottleneck for increasedarrivals but Kashikar said despite capacity cutbacks by Malaysia Airlines two year back, thearrivals from Indiato Australia continued to grow.

“Air connectivity remainsa key challengeso whatwe are doingnow isgetting eight airlines which runtheir flightservices betweenAustralia 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 totarget high spenders,” Kashikar said.