29 per cent surge in Oz tourists to India

Goa

India is fast emerging as a favourite travel destination for Australians with a 29 per cent surge in tourists from Australia to the country, according to official figures.

According to 'Herald Sun' report, the latest radical reshaping of Australian tourist and business travel has put India at 10th most visited destination with 17,400 visits a month which was mere 4,000 tourists ten years ago.

Country's Bureau of Statistics figures have disclosed that in February this year more Australians visited China or India than the conventional UK.

India, Thailand and China are by far our fastest growing destinations with annual growth rates of 15, 14 and 13 per cent respectively.

Australia has 47,000 visitors a month from China (and a further 15,000 from Hong Kong), well in excess of the 40,000 that come from the US and close to the 49,000 who come from Britain. China was on track to replace the UK as the biggest source of visitors to Australia after New Zealand.

According to Tourism minister Martin Ferguson, "New aviation agreements mean there are now 900,000 seats per year between China and Australia, and we are funding businesses to become China-ready through the 'Welcoming Chinese Visitors Project'.

"The number of Australians visiting India surged by 29 per cent while the Philippines increased by 26 per cent.

Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive John Lee said, Asian destinations like Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines have been investing in new accommodation and are able to provide high levels of service to visitors.

"We need support for investment in accommodation and other tourism products in Australia to help us remain competitive or we risk being left behind by our regional rivals," he said.

"New hotels and attractions can help to attract international visitors and encourage more Australians to holiday at home.

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