'Direct flight to trigger Indian tourists flow to Queensland'

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 29, 2012 03:50 hrs

Kolkata, Nov 28 (IANS) Queensland, a favourite leisure destination for tourists visiting Australia, expects an "exponential growth" in Indian travellers to the Australian state after Air India starts direct air service down under, hopefully next year, an official said Wednesday.

"We are keeping our fingers crossed that they (Air India) will start the air service from next year. If Air India starts that operation, then they would also invest in marketing destinations and that will be good for all of us as it will create a lot of awareness among Indian tourists on Australian destinations," Paul Buggy, international director, Tourism Queensland for India, Korea and Middle East, said here.

Tourism Queensland is the destination management organisation responsible for marketing the Australian state's tourism.

Air India (AI), which earlier planned to commence flying Dreamliner aircrafts on the Delhi−Sydney−Melbourne route from October this year, postponed the plan till the first quarter of 2013.

The India−Australia route doesn't have a non−stop flight from either an Indian or Australian carrier.

"If we had direct flights it would improve the business. So, it will be good if Air India do launch direct air service," Buggy said.

According to Buggy, there would be an "exponential growth" in Indian travellers visiting Queensland if AI starts the Delhi−Sydney−Melbourne operations next year.

"It takes one hour by flight from Sydney to Brisbane (state capital of Queensland). Most Indian visitors, who come to Australia, want to visit Sydney or Melbourne and after that they want to go to a leisure destination. And Queensland is the major leisure destination Down Under," he said.

The Australian state, whose economy depends mostly on tourism, saw about 30,000 Indian visitors last financial year, which starts from July.

Tourism Queensland expects there would be at least 20 percent growth in Indian leisure tourists during this financial year compared to the last year.

Buggy said about 40 percent of the state's total tourism business comes from leisure travelling.

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