Mumbai, Feb 26 (PTI) Australia, which is recovering from bushfires that burnt across the country for over six months, is betting big on sporting events like the ongoing women's ICC T20 Cricket World Cup and men's tournament later this year to attract Indian tourists.
'With the women's ICC T20 Cricket World Cup on right now and the men's tournament on later this year, we will be encouraging Indian cricket fans to book a ticket, watch a few games, and also get out into our regions to explore the incredible tourism experiences on offer,' Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said here.
'Ticket sales out of India have almost reached 20,000, and with six months to go until the men's tournament, there is huge potential to boost sales even further,' he said.
Birmingham also announced a funding boost of AUD 1 million (about Rs 4.7 crore) to Tourism Australia to further ramp up its marketing efforts in a bid to attract more Indian tourists.
Earlier, Tourism Australia had earmarked a budget of AUD 5 million for tourism promotional activities in India.
When asked about the impact of coronavirus outbreak on Australian tourism, Birmingham said tourism businesses are going through a tough time due to the spread of the disease, which is resulting in lower visitor numbers not just in Australia but across the world.
'That's why we're putting some extra resourcing encouraging Australians to holiday. At home we are trying to support the industry. But the fact that businesses might be struggling because of the downturn in Chinese visitation...hopefully that is making us see more opportunity to tap more visitors from other parts of the world, including India to fill those gaps created by the Chinese,' he added.
In 2019, Australia witnessed 12 per cent growth in footfalls from India with 3,99,200 Indian tourists visiting the country as compared with 3,52,000 in 2018, Tourism Australia Country Manager, India and Gulf, Nishant Kashikar told PTI here.
He said that despite general elections in India, closing down of one of the leading travel players Cox & Kings, Jet Airways going into liquidation, Australia witnessed double digit growth from India in 2019.
'Similarly, this year we are expecting at least 10-12 per cent growth from India following the sporting events. Overall we will witness some impact due to the coronavirus, but we have the capacity to bounce back as the year progresses,' he said.
Australia has a long term target of getting 1 million visitors from India in 2025-26 financial year (July-June), he added. PTI SM RVK