Spotlight on India
7 April 2021
HOW IS LIFE IN India AT THE MOMENT?
Despite the increase in number of cases, consumer confidence index amongst Indians has remained high, with our latest consumer demand research results revealing that Australia has maintained its highest ranking for consideration and intention amongst Indian travellers.
Whilst India is currently witnessing the second wave of COVID-19, it has also launched one of the world’s biggest vaccination programs and has immunized over 70 million people in just over 10 weeks. If you walk down the streets of India, you would feel that it’s business as usual. However, eight states of India that contribute to almost 85 per cent of the total cases have imposed lockdown measures until 30 April 2021.
A latest travel trends report by American Express suggests that 86 per cent Indians would like to travel to visit their loved ones and 87 per cent of Indian consumers are interested in extended trips to experience new destinations while working remotely, suggesting a pent-up demand for international holidays.
WHAT IS THE LATEST NEWS FROM OUR KEY STAKEHOLDERS IN MARKET?
Our key stakeholders are currently promoting domestic vacations, staycations and holidays to international destinations that have opened its borders for Indian travellers. We are actively engaged with our key distribution partners including Thomas Cook, SOTC, MakeMyTrip, along with our 40+ Premier Aussie Specialist agents who are geared up to promote Australia as soon as we enter the freedom of movement stage.
The Indian government has established air bubble arrangements with 27 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Holland, Japan, Seychelles, Russia, Kenya, Maldives and the United Arab Emirates. The bubble arrangements have been set up with relevant safety protocols and have resulted in an increase in visiting friends and relatives and student traffic to these countries.
Our trade, including Aussie Specialist Program agents, are confident of arrivals to Australia bouncing back strongly, once the borders open and airlines restore their aviation capacity.
WHAT ARE TOURISM AUSTRALIA’S KEY AREAS OF FOCUS IN THESE CHALLENGING TIMES?
Tourism Australia has aggressively protected its number one position as the most considered and intended outbound destination amongst our target audience, ensuring we remain top of mind amongst consumers as soon as travel can resume. The Border-Gavaskar cricket series and the Australian Open allowed us to reach out to over 35 million travel enthusiasts with branded content, advocacy and PR-led initiatives, involving Australian cricket legends David Warner, Brett Lee and Friend of Australia, Harsha Bhogle.
Our Aussie Specialist team has delivered over 18,000 trainings during the pandemic and are engaging the trade through interesting workshops involving Australian Masterchefs and Indigenous artists. Aligned to our content, PR and advocacy activities, Aussie Specialist training has focused upon ensuring these highly engaged agents are able to recommend and sell the ultimate Aussie holiday to their customers.
IN THESE TRYING TIMES, WE COULD ALL DO WITH SOME GOOD NEWS. WHAT HAS PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE RECENTLY?
The Indian economy is already looking at a ‘V-shaped’ recovery, with GST collections in March 2021 recording an all-time high of 1.24 trillion rupees (A$22.5 billion), 27 per cent higher than March 2020. The GST collections were also 14 per cent higher in the January to March quarter of 2021 compared to the last quarter of 2020. Various economic sectors and industries are also showing signs of recovery.
Based on IMF, Moody’s and Oxford Economics estimates, the Indian economy is likely to grow by up to 14 per cent in the next fiscal year starting Apr 2021, after an expected contraction of 8 per cent in the current year. The Indian government has laid out a vision to make India a USD5 trillion economy by 2025, in other words, the world’s 4th largest economy.
The mid to long term opportunity offered by the Indian market remains high and given the young demography and rising economy, the market has the potential to deliver 1 million visitors to Australia over the next decade.
The Australia – India bilateral relationship has significantly strengthened and the same is evident through heightened engagements at the political, trade and investment level and the social media banter between the two Prime Ministers.
FINALLY, WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY WANTING TO STAY ENGAGED WITH THE INDIA MARKET?
India will deliver and pay rich dividends in the mid to long term, as it has a young and an aspirational population. Australia continues to enjoy the highest awareness and holidays are now becoming an integral part of the Indian lifestyle.
We’d strongly advise the Australian industry to stay engaged, participate in virtual trainings and trade events organised by Tourism Australia, and facilitate the launch of new products, experiences and destinations that would resonate with the new-aged Indian traveller.
You may also enrol for the India Host program launched by ATEC to enhance your understanding of the Indian traveller and exceed the expectations of your customers.