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Australia, New Zealand leverage ICC world cup for better innings in tourism

Religiosity towards cricket among Indians is
a well-known fact, but when coupled with their enthusiasm to travel, the result
can well be a historically significant phenomenon.

Religiosity towards cricket among Indians is
a well-known fact, but when coupled with their enthusiasm to travel, the result
can well be a historically significant phenomenon.

No wonder then that ICC Cricket World Cup
2015 host countries- Australia and New Zealand- began padding up for this grand
event well in advance, aiming to leverage the opportunity to increase their
presence in Indian outbound tourism market.

In fact, New Zealand has identified India as
one of the key strategic markets and for the first time ever the country launched
India specific brand campaign targeting various segments in 2014.

It expects a 33% growth from Indian market
triggered by the upcoming World Cup season.

“The World Cup will improve our profile
as a tourism destination. For the tournament, we expect 5,000-10,000 if India
does well”, said David Craig, Tourism New Zealand General Manager for Asia.

Tourism Australia, on the other
hand, is expecting about 5000-6000 Indian cricket enthusiasts and hopes to
attract no less than 2 lakh Indians this year.

Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager, India
& Gulf, Tourism Australia said, “In addition to the vast number of Indian
fans anticipated to travel to watch the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, the
opportunities are expected to have a halo effect to encourage and drive future
travel.”

In line with the expectations, two months ago
Indian tour operators reported about 25-50% increase in the number of travel
enquiries, and said that they expected the number to double as the countdown
begins.

Faring well on the
predictions, the Australian High Commission has disclosed that in the month of
January the applications received for tourist visa was 37% higher than that of the
same month last year.

It is a well-established idea now that major
sporting events drive tourist inflow. But never before has India featured so
prominently in the promotional campaigns of a tourist board as it is in the
initiatives of both Australia and New Zealand.

To make the most of the attention and
viewership that the month and a half long sporting event is expected to receive
in India, both the hosts have been lining up robust promotional campaigns and
tie ups to increase visibility and facilitate easy travel.

Four days before the mega sports event, i.e.,
ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, we look at the major initiatives taken by
Trans-Tasman countries to lure as many Indian tourists as possible and also
pave the way to make India a major source market beyond the event.

Visa and Connectivity

A joint visa for Australia and New Zealand,
valid between January 26 and April 5, 2015, has been introduced for cricket
fans. 

In addition, New Zealand will also provide a
visa on arrival to the travelers with an existing Australian visa. This was
decided under the Trans-Tasman agreement signed by both World Cup hosts.

In fact, people holding almost any type of
Australian visa can avail the benefit of visa on arrival to New Zealand.

Furthermore, Australia has launched pilot
programme for issuing online visa facility to Indian tourists on trial basis
following a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by Prime Minister Modi
during his visit to Australia in November last year. 

“India is one of the world’s fastest
growing outbound travel markets. This trial will make it easier for Indian
visitors to apply for visas to travel to Australia,” Australia Trade and Investment
Minister Andrew Robb had said while announcing the development during his
visit to India earlier last month. 

On the connectivity front, Tourism Australia has
roped in several key airlines including Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines
and Air India to promote attractive airfares during the event

In fact, Air India has
been highlighting its direct flight to Melbourne as a selling proposition and
has also come up with World-cup inspired menu to be served during flight in
order to attract cricket enthusiasts.

Looking
forward, Tourism Australia and Singapore Airlines have signed a three-year
strategic marketing deal worth A$12 million to promote Australia in seven key
markets, including India.

The agreement will see the two parties
jointly fund a range of tourism campaigns and promotional activities in
Australia’s key inbound markets – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, UK,
Germany and China.

New
Zealand, on the other hand, may seem to be at a disadvantage in relative terms since
none of the domestic carriers fly directly to any of its cities, but that hasn’t
affected its promotional campaigns.

Making the
most out of the available resources, the tourism board has inked partnership
with Thai Airways and Malaysia Airlines to be able to offer attractive airfares
to Indian travelers.  

Speaking
about the agreements with the two airlines, Craig said, “We are very happy
about our new partnership especially since it is open to travellers right
before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. India is a priority emerging market in
South and South East Asia and is central to the long term strategy of both
Tourism New Zealand and the airlines.”

Engagement with Travel trade

To add
to the strategic airline partnerships the two countries have also signed up a
number of tour operators to provide a strong call-to-action and attractive
packages for potential travellers to book their holiday.

Travel
driven incentives, as Kashikar puts it, for employees and clients work
extremely well when combined with sporting events as it is a once-in-a-lifetime
experience that is sure to be regarded very highly by the attending delegates
thereby adding substantial value to the incentive program objectives.

Tourism Australia has associated with
Yatra.com to specially curate a portfolio of 30 travel packages showcasing the
Best of Australia experiences for travelers planning their trip Down Under
during the current & upcoming cricket season. 

Also, the board has plans of hosting senior
management of leisure travel companies to experience the destination and watch
the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 finals at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, to
encourage them to step up their sales of Australian holidays. 

In order to boost Business Events during ICC
Cricket World Cup 2015, Tourism New Zealand, on the other hand, has tied up
with six key travel agents to allow easy corporate visa processing for
Indian business travelers. 

More specifically, Tourism New Zealand tied
up with Fanatic Sports to promote luxury cricket tours in December last
year. 

The official Travel Agents appointed to sell ICC
Cricket World Cup 2015 packages are Cutting Edge Events Pvt Ltd, Fanatic,
Sports Konnect, TUI-ICE. 

In order to strengthen its position as a
possible tourist destination alternative, the tourism board has aligned its
first brand campaign in India with airline and travel trade partnerships. 

Consumer-oriented
Campaigns:
 

During a trade event, Guldeep Singh Sahni,
President OTOAI was quoted as saying that a significant surge in traffic is possible
only if end consumers come to the travel agents with a request to visit a
particular destination. That, he says, is the ultimate parameter to gauge the penetration
of a given destination in the market.

Not quite surprisingly therefore, the two host
countries have come up with a number of campaigns directed specially towards
end consumers. 

In October 2014, Tourism New Zealand launched
its first brand campaign in the Indian market for the year 2014 – 2015 ‘Every
day a different journey’ which is supposed to highlight diverse experiences
that New Zealand offers to its visitors. 

On the other hand, backed by consumer
research which corroborates the new-age trend in India of people travelling on
their belly, Tourism Australia evolved their marketing campaign, ‘There’s
Nothing like Australia’ to include a strong focus on exceptional food and wine
experiences ‘Restaurant Australia’.

Moreover, in order to make the presence felt,
the board has enhanced focus on content and tied up with a number of media
groups to create a sustained media presence for destination Australia.
 

However, these initiatives are not only
restricted to national tourism organization. In fact, regional boards as New
South Wales which ran the very successful ‘Jhappi Time’ in Sydney campaign in
India has roped in former cricketer Ajay Jadeja to promote Adelaide, which is
the battleground for the much awaited Indo-Pak match. 

In addition, famous cricket commentator
Harsha Bhogle will also be seen promoting Australia during the World cup
season. 

The story of celebrity cricketers promoting
destinationst to Indian audience’s delight doesn’t end here.

Tourism New Zealand roped in former BLACKCAPS captain,
Stephen Fleming to invite Indian corporate travelers for the mega sporting
event. 

Addressing a gathering of
Indian corporates, Fleming said, “If there is one thing that is exactly the same between Indians and
Kiwis, it is their love and passion for cricket. We got the opportunity to
experience Indian hospitality during the previous Cricket World Cup and it is
now our turn to amaze our guests from India.” 

Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart,
Melbourne, Perth and Sydney in Australia and Auckland, Hamilton,
Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin in New Zealand are the
fourteen host cities and the respective tourism boards have left no stone
unturned to keep them in the limelight.

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