Victoria is set to benefit from significant economic growth and tourism opportunities following the first of Air India’s direct flights between Melbourne and Delhi, Premier Denis Napthine said.
Dr Napthine said the Victorian Coalition Government was committed to increasing air services from priority markets like India because it was one of the State’s most important international source markets for tourism, business and education.
“Air India’s flights between Delhi and Melbourne will open up significant opportunities for Victoria, and are perfectly timed to capitalise on the momentum gained from the Victorian Government’s Super Trade Mission to India in March this year,” Dr Napthine said.
“India is one of Victoria’s fastest growing international trade partners and Victoria has strong capabilities in many of India’s priority areas including; urbanisation, clean technologies, education and training, health and food and beverage,” he added.
The inaugural direct Air India service to Melbourne, the result of the combined efforts of Tourism Australia, Tourism Victoria, Melbourne Airport, Destination NSW and Sydney Airport arrived on 31 August 2013.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner service will operate daily on a triangulated route operating three times a week Delhi-Melbourne-Sydney-Delhi and four times a week Delhi-Sydney-Melbourne-Delhi.
Dr Napthine said securing the new air service complemented the Victorian Government’s India strategy, Victoria and India – From Engagement to Partnership, which was released in 2013 to build strategic relationships, facilitate trade and attract investment between Victoria and India.
“Our five-year strategy will facilitate a comprehensive partnership between Victoria and India, based on strong government, business and cultural ties,” Dr Napthine said.
Joining Dr Napthine at the event at the MCG, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Louise Asher said Victoria welcomes the increase in airline seats which will lead to increased education, business, and tourism opportunities between Victoria and India.
“India is one of Victoria’s fastest growing inbound tourism markets with 73,000 Indian visitors travelling to Victoria in the year ending March 2013 — a 17 per cent increase over the previous year,” Ms Asher said.
India is expected to be Victoria’s fastest growing market for international visitors with an annual average growth rate of 7.2 per cent forecast up until 2021-22. India is also one of the largest source markets for Victoria’s international education sector.
Over the past decade Indian companies have committed to the creation of more than 4500 jobs in Victoria through proposed investments of around $300 million.
“The recent Super Trade Mission to India showcased Melbourne’s credentials not only as a world class tourism destination and Australia’s major events capital, but also promoted Victoria as a key place to do business,” Ms Asher said.
The mission saw more than 100 Victorian companies and organisations travel to India in March 2013.