Western Australia is witnessing a significant surge in tourism numbers from India, elevating it from the 11th to the 7th largest market. Rita Saffioti BBus MLA, Deputy Premier; Treasurer; Minister for Transport; Tourism, Western Australia, led the delegation to India to strengthen ties, explore new avenues of collaborations, and discuss challenges, including the prospect of securing a direct flight.
During their mission in India, Saffioti along with Carolyn Turnbull, Managing Director of Tourism Western Australia, engaged with the travel trade and media to gather feedback for refining their marketing strategies and facilitating investments and engagements.
“We see India as a key market for us. And we’re very keen to support further development while continuing our efforts to promote tourism and grow the awareness of Western Australia in India,” said the minister.
“One of the purposes of our trip to India this time is to talk to the airlines. Glad to share that we’ve had a couple of meetings already,” Saffioti shared while discussing the aspirations related to securing a direct flight.
The minister expressed optimism that the ongoing discussions with airline partners will yield positive outcomes in the near future, without divulging specific details.
Speaking further during a roundtable discussion held at The Leela Palace New Delhi yesterday, Western Australia’s Managing Director also emphasised the significant growth in the Indian market for Western Australia. “We are working very closely with our trade partners on quality marketing activity to most importantly, grow the awareness of destination, our unique offerings and the wonderful regions within Western Australia. We’re so lucky to be surrounded by beautiful, wide open spaces and the rich culture that WA offers,” stated Turnbull.
In terms of the unique experiences that Western Australia offers for the Indian tourists, she mentioned about the Swan Valley’s brilliant wine-growing region, Rottnest Island, the Swan River, Fremantle, and various cultural and sporting opportunities.
During the meeting, Turnbull also highlighted that even without that direct service, Western Australia has seen the Indian market’s robust growth from strength to strength. “What we’re doing on behalf of the State Government at Tourism Western Australia is putting a lot more time and dedication and contribution into our marketing efforts and we hope to notch up our efforts this year to be able to get more numbers from India. The jump showing India at the 7th largest market position for WA is extraordinary,” she stated.
Adding to this, the minister also underscored the need to seek direct feedback from the Indian travel trade fraternity on how to raise awareness further and support increased travel between the two regions.
The Indian travel trade professionals present during the meet unanimously agreed on the need for a concerted push in overall and consumer marketing for Western Australia tourism. They advocated for increased awareness of the destination, aggressive promotional campaigns and the creation of segment-specific packages to cater to diverse traveller interests.
To this, Saffioti reiterated the importance of staying true to Western Australia’s unique selling points (USPs) and suggested a more targeted approach to specific target segments. She stressed the need for strategic marketing initiatives that align with the preferences and expectations of the target audience.
Minister Saffioti, who also expressed having a deep connection with India, said she had fallen in love with its energy and warmth many years ago, reiterating the importance of the Indian market for Western Australia. Saffioti, who assumed the role of Minister for Tourism six months ago, emphasised the multifaceted relationship between India and Western Australia, supported by the fact that Western Australia has a strong presence of the Indian community.
She also expressed her interest in fostering relationships through sports and cultural exchanges as well, with a particular focus on cricket and other sporting events.