'Come and say G'Day and namaste'
Through the slew of new ideas and campaigns, and brand ambassadors, tourism ties between Australia and India are going through a celebratory phase.
A still from the Come and Say G'Day campaign to promote tourism in Australia.
India is one of Australia's most significant allies in the Indo-Pacific region. The two countries are working together at all levels of government and have strong people - to - people ties. The growing tourism between Australia and India will foster economic and cultural ties between the two countries.
In February 2022, the Australia-India Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tourist Cooperation was signed. This step taken by both the countries will further strengthen tourism and economic links. The agreement in the area of tourism will promote cooperation and growth of bilateral ties encouraging Indian tourists to visit Australia and vice versa. In addition, both governments will collaborate with airports and airlines to increase aviation capacity between Australia and India.
The Australia-India relationship is at a high point. A free trade agreement, The Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) has been recently ratified by the Australian parliament, which is a step forward to the growing relationship between the two countries. This agreement apart from the trade and economic benefits will also enhance the people-to-people ties and cultural interaction. The agreement will allow special visas to the chefs and yoga instructors and will provide them with temporary stay permits. Up to 1,800 qualified and experienced yoga teachers and traditional Indian chefs will be able to work in Australia for up to four years on a contract basis.Within two years of implementation, ECTA will allow eligible young Indian nationals to apply for a Work and Holiday visa. The young Indians will be able to travel to Australia for a year and do temporary work and study while traveling and visiting places in Australia. This historic agreement will provide a boost in tourism.
India has grown to become the second largest source market for international tourists to Australia. In July 2022, Australia removed all the COVID-19 entry restrictions and with this there has been a significant increase of Indian tourists. As per Australia’s tourism department, the number of Indian tourists traveling each year could reach a million by 2030. Australia’s tourist economy is expected to increase to $227.7 billion by 2027.
To encourage tourism, an initiative was announced by the Australian government. An opportunity was provided to Indian nationals to apply for a free visiting visa if they already had one but were unable to use it due to the pandemic. Additionally, the country is waiving the fee for applying for a visa for travelers whose visas to Australia have expired between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2022.
Australia's economy relies heavily on tourism, which also contributes significantly to the country's foreign exchange reserves. In the year 2020-2021, 1.6 percent of Australia's GDP was directly attributable to tourism.
Indian tourists have been going to Australia more frequently each year. Australia has a lot of potential in the Indian tourism industry. Tehan stated, “India was Australia’s fastest growing source of international visitors in 2019, with Australia welcoming almost 400,000 visitors from India. In 2019, India was our sixth most valuable market for spending, contributing $1.8 billion to our economy.”
A major area to boost tourism is higher education. As more and more Indians will study in Australia, they are more likely to invite their families to visit Australia. Over the years, the Indian diaspora communities have increased in Australia. In the year 2022, more than 90,000 students were enrolled in the universities in Australia, making education a key area of cooperation between the two nations. The recent ‘Maitri Scholars Program’ will allow Indian students to study in Australia. The Maitri Scholarship will give Indian students the opportunity to attend Australia's best schools and institutions for four years and will provide $11 million, which will further strengthen the bilateral and cultural ties between India and Australia.
Tourism Australia, a tourism promotion agency in Australia runs an initiative called Friend of Australia. Through this initiative, Tourism Australia helps to utilize the influence of influential people in India to boost tourism. The initiative features people from fashion designers, athletes, celebrities, chefs and artists, where each one vows to contribute their time, ideas, and public image to promote Australia as a vacation destination.
A famous Bollywood actress, Parineeti Chopra is the first Indian woman ambassador to serve on their Friend of Australia panel. Other famous personalities from India include celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor and renowned cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle in promoting travel to Australia among Indians.
Tourism Australia has launched a new global campaign called Come and Say G'day, to promote tourism. It has produced a short live film featuring animated characters. The campaign's mascots are an animated kangaroo named Ruby and a unicorn named Louie which shows the viewers the beautiful destinations of Australia. As a part of this campaign, Tourism Australia and Qantas Airlines have collaborated to offer a friendly invitation to visitors from India and other countries as well.
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