A new pilot programme has recently been launched with the purpose to facilitate the process of obtaining an Australian visa for Indians who are entering the continent for work or travel purposes. The online programme covers a subclass of 600 visas for Indian business applicants or those who seek to come as tourists. Australia’s Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb said that the programme was instituted considering that, “India is one of the world’s fastest growing outbound markets.”
Analysis under the Australian government’s national tourism strategy, Tourism 2020, predicted that India has the potential to contribute between $1.9 to $2.3 billion annually to Australia’s tourism industry by the year 2020. This estimate is incontrovertible proof that India is one market that the Aussie tourism industry would be wise to capitalise upon, hence the introduction of the new pilot programme.
Robb continued to explain the reasoning and logistics of the programme, noting that due to this revelation about potential income from the world’s second most populous country. He was put in charge of largest trade mission in Australian history. During Australia Business Week, Robb was the leader of 450 delegates on a trip to India that lasted from 9 January – 16.
Under the Australian-Indian Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism, the two countries will collaborate in order to promote cooperation and information distribution on tourism policies. They also seek to encourage cooperation from Australian and Indian shareholders.
Robb also explained that Australia holds a deep appeal for Indian tourists, and the facts stand to support his claim. For the year that concluded in September 2014, the percentage of Indian visitors to Australia increased by 14.5% from the previous year for a total number of 189,866 tourists. In that fiscal year, the tourists from India also contributed a hefty $800 million dollars to the Australian economy, a profound contribution that is only more likely to increase given the new ease of obtaining travel visas as a result of the programme. According to Tourism Research Australia, the number of Indian arrivals in Australia is expected to reach 300,000 by 2022/2023.
Although the programme has been initiated on a trial basis, it’s doubtful that it won’t be officiated within the next few years. Australia’s choice of India shows that they are seeking to invest in one of the most progressive and active tourism countries in the world. India pulls in millions of dollars from tourists each year, but its population also contributes to a great deal to countries around the world. U.S. President Barack Obama recently visited New Delhi and subsequently stated that he hopes to see the amount of Indian tourists in America reach over a million in 2015. Although the United States lost its title as the world’s most visited country in 2013 to France, it has begun to instate new tourism policies and targeted countries with the most potential to bring in revenue. Unsurprisingly, India was at the the list. Hopefully with the new programme in Australia, more and more people will be able to leave their home country and not only help stimulate the economy overseas, but also expose them to new and unique cultures and experiences.