India-Sydney flights “before Christmas"

India-Sydney flights “before Christmas"
By admin

Destination NSW boss Sandra Chipchase has predicted Sydney will beat rivals to become the first Australian city to welcome direct air services from India.

Speaking to Travel Today at the Australian Tourism Exchange in Perth, Chipchase said she was “very confident” Sydney Airport would offer a direct Indian air connection “before Christmas”.

She confirmed talks were taking place with major carriers, although she declined to reveal who was among the frontrunners.

Tourism officials flagged direct air links as a critical element of realising India’s potential as they launched a plan last week to develop the market.

Destination NSW has just appointed Paramjit Bawa, formerly of VisitBritain, as the inaugural manager of its new Mumbai-based India office to tap into the growth,.

“That shows we’re very serious about the market,” Chipchase said. “We’ve really committed to the Indian market by opening an office there but we’ve been in the market for a long, long time out of our Singapore office.”

She reported “enormous interest” from India for Sydney and NSW’s regional areas as both a holiday and an incentive travel destination.

In addition, she revealed Destination NSW was making a play for the Indian youth market, promoting sporting events and music festivals to what she described as a “big market”.

“Surfing is growing in popularity in India,” she added. “That represents a really big opportunity for us.”

The tourism body also expects “big numbers” of Indians to descend upon Sydney for its hosting of the Maharashtra Cricket Cup in November,a collaboration between the Indian and New South Wales state governments to be attended by Indian cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar.

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