Tourism Australia & FCM host Australian Showcase in Delhi

Positioning Australia as ideal MICE destination
/ New Delhi
/ Events
Tourism Australia & FCM host Australian Showcase in Delhi
Tourism Australia & FCM host Australian Showcase in Delhi

MICE and corporate travel have been amongst the fastest growing segments of the outbound tourism market in India

Keen to tap the rapidly rising MICE and corporate travel segments in the Indian outbound travel market, Tourism Australia joined hands with Australian travel firm FCM and Singapore Airlines to organise an exclusive Australian Showcase in Delhi.
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MICE and corporate travel have been amongst the fastest growing segments of the outbound tourism market in India, which itself has been booming over the past two years since the reopening of Indian skies at end of Covid-19 pandemic.

Eager to tap this lucrative market further, Tourism Australia, the destination tourism promotion organisation of Australia hosted about 30 representatives of leading Indian corporates for an exclusive Australian Showcase that was organised in New Delhi on Wednesday, in collaboration with FCM India, a subsidiary of the Australian Flight Centre Travel Group, as well as Singapore Airlines.

Addressing the gathering which had some of the top names of Indian corporate world in attendance, including Mahindra Group, Hero, Jindal Steel and Edelweiss, Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager India of Tourism Australia enumerated key advantages that Australia possesses to attract MICE travel groups from India.

In his presentation, Kashikar spoke of extreme ease of visa for corporate travellers, very good connectivity from across India to various parts of Australia, a wide variety of hotels and event sites where large events can be organised as well as easy availability of Indian cuisine and a diverse collection of nature, adventure and sports-related products that could attract Indian corporate visitors.

Nishant Kashikar

Nishant Kashikar

‘‘This event is all about inspiring corporate decision makers to consider Australia as a next destination for meetings, incentives, conference and even what we call Business Events of Australia. And we have seen a significant surge in business events and arrivals from India. And given the fact that India is really the fastest growing large and emerging economy and all this has been driven by the performance that Indian corporates have witnessed. And this programme today is all about inspiring them so that they think about Australia as a next business event destination,’’ Kashikar tells India Outbound.

‘‘And because we have seen a significant surge in business events, we would like to capitalise on this opportunity and and inspire more Indian corporates. So we have about 30 to 40 corporates here in Delhi and we are doing a similar event in Mumbai. We will focus on these these two primary markets for now,’’ adds Kashikar. 

Listing the advantages that Australia has and which would bring corporate travel planners to choose Australia, Kashikar highlights that a generous incentive plan, not just at the national level, but also for each state and even many cities, can make it worthwhile for many decision makers to choose Australia. 

‘‘If you come to us at the bidding stage and with groups of over 700 passengers, we offer a suitable financial subsidy offered for groups that achieve a minimum threshold in terms of economic impact. And if you take cities and state incentive schemes, then even smaller groups can become eligible for the incentives,’’ says Kashikar.

He also highlighted the relative ease of obtaining a visa for Australia for Indian travellers, saying that for business visas there are no need for biometrics or interviews. ‘‘You don’t have to stand in long queues and the entire process is 100 pc online and fully digitised. Plus, there is no need to submit your passport and about half the applications are processed today in under 10 days. So that is the biggest advantage that that corporates have. Also, given the fact that these dealers and staff are located in different parts of the country, they don’t have to travel for their visa applications, which saves time and money for them,’’ says Kashikar.

A very high level of connectivity from India to Australia is another positive factor for Australia, says Kashikar, adding that there has been a tripling of direct aviation capacity from India to Australia, from eight direct flights a week in 2019 to 28 flights per week now. In addition, Kashikar says that the extensive penetration of the Indian and Australian markets by Singapore Airlines, makes travel to Australia that much easier. 

Another advantage highlighted by Kashikar relates to the Australian hotel industry, with the addition of about 20,000 more hotel rooms in Australia ever since the borders reopened. 

‘‘Another factor going for Australia is our capability to handle a large range of events, whether it is a 10-member group or 10,000-member.

We have the experience, we have the wherewithal, we have the infrastructure to handle such large sized groups. So organising events at the Melbourne Cricket Ground or in Sydney with an Australian master chef or an Australian cricketer is very simple. And a lot of these teambuilding activities come with ‘money can not buy experiences’ that Australia has to offer. This ensures that people keep coming back to Australia,’’ adds Kashikar.

Manpreet Bindra

Manpreet Bindra

Manpreet Bindra, Meetings & Events Leader, Asia of travel firm FCM, which specialises in corporate travel and MICE travel, says that Australia is one of the top destinations that Indian corporates are always glad to consider. 

‘‘Australia has a lot to offer as a destination. There are not many things that can not be done and it cannot be covered in one visit. So we thought it is a good idea that we bring our partners, namely the tourism board and our airline partner. That’s Singapore Airlines, because Singapore Airlines has the largest inventory to support and to take clients to Australia and of course our clients to know more about the destination and so that they can plan and of course how FCM is also building the capabilities around meetings and events,’’ Bindra tells India Outbound.

He adds that Australia’s diversity in all senses, landscapes, culture, adventure as well as its cuisine and experiences are key factors. “What the destination has to offer and if the destination has the capability to host a large movement in terms of venues, right attractions and visas come the first and foremost in the conversations. How we can plan that airline connectivity is also one of the preferred things, and corporates prefer that if these boxes are ticked, then they are good to then analyse the destinations that fit their budgets and other requirements,’’ add Bindra.

For the evening, Singapore Airlines was the preferred airline partner invited by Tourism Australia, largely because of its massive footprint in both the countries and a high level of brand awareness amongst Indian travellers.

Robyn Cheng King

‘‘The Indian corporate travel market is growing larger over the past few years and it has gone beyond the pre-Covid levels. We expect it to continue growing and we want to be part of the growth,’’ Robyn Cheng King, Manager, Karnataka and Telangana at Singapore Airlines tells India Outbound.

Cheng King, Manager, Karnataka and Telangana at Singapore Airlines adds that the deep penetration of both Australia and India by Singapore Airlines means that it offers the best options for travel between any two points in the two countries. He goes on to list other advantages that Singapore has over other carriers.

‘‘We have always focused on differentiating our product, positioning ourselves as a premium carrier. And even though we have a stopover in Singapore, we practice a hub and spoke model. So what we have done is position flights in such a way that it minimises the connection time,’’ he says.

During the course of the evening, many of the corporate travel decision makers present on the occasion seemed inclined to consider Australia as an option for their future travels. 

Shhrrey Virmani

Shhrrey Virmani

“Australia looks to be very interesting, actually. A lot of times we have thought post-COVID especially of doing our main conferences in Australia. We were also considering it pre-COVID, but we would definitely want to think about doing it in the coming financial year or pretty soon. The interest in Australia is quite high,’’ Shhrrey Virmani, Lead, Events and Brand Activations at Hero Fin Corp, a subsidiary of two-wheeler giant Hero Motors, tells India Outbound.

‘‘Australia has a lot to offer. It has a lot to offer in terms of nature and beauty as well as in terms of hotels that can actually take in large size of conferences. And that is what we ideally try to aim for because the incentives are not just complete fun, but also some some discussions that we do with a group. So the hotels are pretty good, the connectivity is pretty good. Also, what I have heard this evening is that visa is also becoming easier and welcoming Indians more than what they have done earlier,’’ Virmani adds.

He says that on an average his company organises about 30 MICE travel trips every year and his expectations are that the number could increase by about 30 pc this year.

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