In an exclusive interview with EVENTFAQS' Kate Fernandes, Huzan Fraser, India Representative - Tourism Victoria, discussed the rise in Indian travelers to Melbourne and Victoria, as well as Tourism Victoria's strategy to market the area to the Indian audience as a MICE destination.
What has the Indian participation at these events been like in the past? How has it increased over the years?
Over the years, Melbourne and Victoria overall have grown as a popular tourist destinations for the Indian traveler. Today, Victoria has come to be known as a tourist destination that offers an array of things to do such as shopping, experiencing sporting events, great beaches and amazing food and wine. There were 58,000 Indian visitors to Victoria in 2010, a 15 per cent increase over the previous year.
What is the response Tourism Victoria expects from India this year?
Indians today are aware that Melbourne and Victoria overall are great places to visit with family, friends or alone and we are noticing a rise in the number of Indian visitors to the region. Indian overnight visitation to Melbourne has grown at an annual average rate of 21.3 per cent, whereas Victoria overall is estimated to receive 129,000 overnight visitors from India by 2020.
How is Tourism Victoria promoting these events among the relevant audience in India?
Tourism Victoria proactively shares information regarding events and activities happening in the Victoria region of Australia with travel agents and tour operators across India. Melbourne has always been a very popular sporting destination and is known for international cricket tournaments and sporting events like the Presidents Cup and the F1 Grand Prix. In addition, there are a series of initiatives that take place on a regular basis in the state of Victoria such as Salami-making in the King Valley, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, the Melbourne Boat Show, the Good Food and Wine Show and The Presidents Cup to name a few.
Are there any initiatives that have been taken up to promote the destination in the MICE segment? If so what are they?
The Victoria trade body along with Tourism Victoria has focused on 2011 as a year to attract international meetings, incentive travels, conventions, and events or exhibitions to the state of Victoria. Many large corporations are looking at Melbourne and Victoria overall as destinations for MICE activities. Amway is holding a conference in the state with over 5,000 attendees in December 2011. The state of Victoria has experienced a strong year-over-year increase in overnight business of 32.3 per cent visitors from India. Tourism Victoria, along with the trade body, will continuously introduce many attractions which make the state of Victoria a top destination for international conference organisers, meeting planners and incentive tour planners.