MUMBAI, India - One of the indicators of the rise in number of Indians with disposable income is the fantastic statistics gathered by foreign tourism bodies on arrivals from India.
Not only do countries like Singapore, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates get a steady and strong surge of India tourists, but also those like South Africa and Australia which are fast emerging as popular destinations for the well to-do Indian.
About 50 million Indians are expected to travel overseas by 2020, according to estimates drawn up by Tourism Australia and one of the sectors that the Australian government has set its eyes on to attract the Indian tourist is the air travel market. Currently, the market between India and Australia is under-served with no direct, non-stop flights between these two countries.
"Preliminary analysis suggests that we'll need an additional 345,000 seats from our existing position to meet the expected demand for Australia from India out of 2020," said Tourism Australia, managing director, Andrew McEvoy. Currently, carriers like the Singapore Airlines/Virgin Australia alliance, Malaysian Airlines, the Qantas group and Thai Airways support the bulk of existing air services on the Australia-India route. Indian arrivals to Australia have grown at a compound annual growth rate of 12.3 percent over the last decade. India is currently Australia's tenth inbound tourism market with 148,000 visitors spending 867 Australian million in 2011. ``One of the world's fastest growing outbound travel markets, India could rise in annual value to up to 2.3 billion Australian dollars by 2020 and deliver 300,000 annual visitors,'' he added.