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Wednesday, 13 February, 2019, 17 : 00 PM [IST]

Tourism Australia to persuade Indian LCCs to look at Australian opportunity

Tourism Australia will be engaging low-cost carriers (LCCs) in India and persuade them to look at opportunities of connecting cities in the Southern part of the country with mainland Australia. The nation’s tourism agency feels that improvement in point-to-point air connectivity can really boost outbound from India to Australia in a big way. The only direct air connection between India and Australia is currently serviced by Air India with 5 weekly frequencies between Delhi and Sydney, and 3 flights a week between Delhi and Melbourne.

In Delhi to attend the CAPA Aviation Summit, John O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australia, told TravelBiz Monitor that he had meetings with SpiceJet in this regard. “There is a great opportunity waiting to be captured for airlines,”he said, adding,“India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in global terms with 17% growth. But we understand that there is lot more potential considering we only get just over 3.5 lakh tourists out of the total 25 million outbound travellers. The key to unlock that potential is direct connectivity.”

Sullivan said that hardly 11% of the air traffic between India and Australia is currently direct and rest is serviced through Singapore, Middle East, Hong Kong, mainland China, etc. He stated that Perth and Brisbane can be connected from gateway cities in South India like Chennai and Bengaluru with a flying time of six hours. “We want to put the opportunity before leading LCCs like IndiGo and SpiceJet, and it is up to them to decide. But we feel that they are quite excited and optimistic about it,” he informed. 
When asked about the prospects of Australian carriers opening India routes, Sullivan said that although they haven’t so far engaged with them, airline companies like Qantas which had previous stints in India and Virgin Australia understand the “importance of India” and might look at opportunities at some point of time.  

Sullivan said that Australia as a destination is only looking at tapping the “premium segment” of the travel market who “spend significantly” at the destination, visit often and has a predisposition to the experience on offer.He also said that Tourism Australia is also keen to attract large corporate incentive groups of the size ranging between 100 and 500 pax.  “Our strategy has found lot of success in other Asian markets.  We are looking for the same strategy in India as well,” he added. Sullivan said that they are also keen to promote Australia as wedding destination for India.  

As a source market, Tourism Australia has high hopes in India. Sullivan said that they believe that India has the potential to grow to the top three revenue generating markets in the near future. The Indian travel market is worth USD 1.6 billion currently, and Tourism Australia believes that it will grow to at least USD 3 billion worth market in terms of revenues by end of 2020. 

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