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Tourism Australia expects trade pact with India to drive student traffic, aims at 1 million visitors by 2030

The trade agreement also allows 1,800 qualified, professional, traditional Indian chefs and yoga teachers to enter Australia as contractual service suppliers for a period of up to four years. In addition, the post-study work visa for Indian students has been increased to four years.

May 11, 2022 / 04:36 PM IST

Australia is betting on Indian travelers to boost visitor arrivals down under, targeting a million Indian visitors a year by 2030.

It expects the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement with India, signed last month, to attract more Indian visitors to Australia.

Under the trade pact, 1,000 young Indians will be allowed to visit Australia every year to work and earn. Within two years, Australia will put in place arrangements to allow eligible Indian citizens aged between 18 and 30 to apply for a work and holiday visa; they will be allowed to visit Australia for a year and undertake short-term work and studies.

"The recent signing of the India-Australia Economic and Trade Agreement will expand work, study and travel opportunities for Indians through extended post-study work rights for STEM students, access to work and holiday visas for young Indians, and an annual quota for qualified Indian chefs and yoga teachers. Further details will be provided following implementation of the Agreement," a spokesperson for the Australian High Commission in New Delhi said.

STEM is short for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

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The trade agreement also allows 1,800 qualified, professional Indian traditional chefs and yoga teachers to enter Australia as contractual service suppliers for a period of up to four years.

In addition, the post-study work visa for Indian students has been increased to four years.

Fillip to tourism  

"...With Australia welcoming yoga teachers, chefs and students staying longer after their graduation gets completed, it is going to add a huge fillip to the tourism industry,” said Nishant Kashikar, country manager, India and Gulf, Tourism Australia.

Kashikar added that 115,000 students were studying in Australia in the pre-COVID era and that this number will go up significantly in the coming years.

"More students travelling to Australia will drive their friends and families to visit the country... Due to this we will be able to achieve a million Indian visitors in the next decade who can contribute A$5 billion by 2030."

Kashikar said potential huge pent-up demand existed for  Indian travelers to visit  Australia, which is experiencing strong traction in terms of bookings and visa applications.

"Visa applications with high commissions are already back to 2019 levels. We are also seeing strong demand from corporate travellers with Australia seeing corporate groups confirmed for the next three months."

Aviation boost 

Kashikar also pointed out that on aviation capacity on India-Australia routes will triple by December this year. "Pre-COVID, we had eight flights a week which will go up to 23 flights a week by September 14 when Qantas starts their Sydney-Bengaluru services,” he said.

Last month, Australia’s national airline Qantas announced its first direct route with four weekly return flights between Sydney and Bengaluru from September. The direct connection with southern India is expected to drive Indian visitors to Australia, with Bengaluru contributing significantly to overall India arrivals in Australia.

Pre-COVID, Bengaluru ranked number two for arrivals and number three for spending among Indian travelers to Australia. The market accounted for 41,000 visitors with 11 percent share of all India visitors travelling to Australia; they contributed A$186 million.

Pre-COVID, India was the fastest growing inbound market for Australian tourism for three consecutive years between 2017 and 2019, said Kashikar.

"We had 400,000 Indians who travelled to Australia each year and these tourists contributed to A$ 1.8 billion to Australian economy, pre-pandemic. India was the sixth largest market in terms of spends and seventh largest in terms of arrivals. India recorded six consecutive years of double-digit growth between 2014-2019."

"While the Indian outbound market grew by 8 percent during that period, arrivals grew by 15 percent. So we were growing at the rate which was double the Indian outbound travel market. Hence, our market share increased significantly," he added.

For Tourism Australia, the immediate task is to achieve 400,000 visitors and A$ 1.8 billion in spending by Indian tourists in Australia in the first full year of operations or by March 2023.

And Kashikar is counting on the upcoming T20 Men's World Cup, which will be hosted by Australia in October-November. He expects the cricket tournament to bring about 20,000 Indian visitors in 2022 to Australia. ​



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Maryam Farooqui
first published: May 11, 2022 01:02 pm
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