New South Wales (NSW) witnessed a whopping 21.2% increase in Indian tourist arrivals in the year ending August 2014. This feat was attributed to the state’s Jhappi Time campaign by the state.
Commenting on the achievement, Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism and Major Events Troy Grant said, “Tourism from India is currently worth an estimated $182 million to the NSW economy.”
Additionally, Sydney, the state capital of New South Wales, has year after year emerged as the most popular destination among Indian tourists. India Tourism Review talked to Sandra Chipchase, CEO, Destination NSW, which is the statutory authority taking care of tourism in the region, to know more about the response that the campaign received from Indian outbound market and their future plans.
1. New South Wales is the only Australian state to create an exclusive campaign to attract Indian tourists. What was the motivation and how has the response been so far?
India is the tenth largest inbound tourism market to New South Wales (NSW). The state is also the most visited region in Australia by the Indian market while Sydney is the Indian markets’ most visited region in the year ending September 2014. Tourism from India is also currently worth an estimated $192 million Australian dollars to the NSW economy. (Source IVS YE September 2014)
With Australia featuring high on Indian travellers’ “wish list” of places to visit, we wanted to come up with a concept that would differentiate ourselves from other states in Australia. We brought Director Anupam Sharma on board to get the concept and the cultural authenticity right and worked together as a team to create the Jhappi Time Campaignto promote travel to Sydney and the State of New SouthWales.
During the first phase of the campaign, four 60 second videos were developed around the theme of family and friends missing loved ones that have moved NSW. The campaign was designed to connect emotionally with the Indian market’s strong sense of family values andmotivate travellers to visit Sydney to reconnect with loved ones. The creative approach was developed tocapitalise on the strong family/VFR ties among Indian families, with the aim to drive conversion to travel.
The response has been very promising with the latest ABS data showing arrivals from India to NSW increased by 21.2 per cent for year-end August 2014, and the hugely successfulJhappi Time campaign no doubt contributed to this result.
Already, the Jhappi Time campaign videos, have achieved more than three million views online – more than double the original target.
The Indian travel industry has also recognised the enormous potential of the campaign, with seven key travel trade partners promoting and selling travel packages and airfare offers to the Indian market. To date, our industry partners in India have sold travel packages to NSW worth more than $3 million to the State.
2. 'Jhappi Time' primarily targeted families. How about other segments? How do you plan to target them?
As you have noted the Jhappi Time campaign, is the only tourism campaign developed by an Australian state tourism body specifically targeting the VFR market in India. Families are definitely a key target, however the benefit of targeting this market is that it covers all ages from young people visiting their friends to older couples visiting their grandchildren.
The marketing campaign was also launched to appeal to both potential visitors in India (VFR)and the interstate Indian VFR market in Sydney andNSW.
Destination NSW also partners with airlines, trade partners and online travel agencies to target the Indian market more widely to promote travel to Sydney and NSW.
In September last year, Air India commenced direct flights from India to Sydney and this development has been a vital part of our push to encourage Indians to travel to Sydney.
3. What are your expectations from the Indian outbound market to Australia, in terms of number of tourists?
Indian visitors to Australia are expected to increase from 160,000 in 2012-13 to 298,000 in 2022-23,anaverage annual growth rate of 6.4%. In 2022-23, India will move from its current ranking of Australia’s eleventh largest single source visitor market to number eighth in ranking.
Source: Tourism Forecasts, Autumn 2014, TRA (includes children less than 15 years).
The NSW Government’s goal is to double visitor expenditure to NSW by 2020. In order to achieve this Destination NSW is developing a long term strategy for India to further develop the market.
4. What are the major destinations that are/could be of significant interest to Indians visiting New South Wales?
The Indian market visitsseveral areas of NSW with Sydney attracting 95% of all Indian leisure (Holiday and VFR) overnight visitors. For Indian leisure visitors to NSW, the most popular destinations outside of Sydney, typically for a day trip are the Blue Mountains (72%), the North Coast including Port Stephens and the Hunter Valley (21%) and the South Coast including Wollongong attracting 15% of Indian leisure visitors.
The Jhappi TimeCampaign also promoted Sydney and Regional NSW including the Blue Mountains.
As far as activities go, there is a growing interest in self drive, luxury and the honeymoon sectors along with our great food offerings including seafood, vegetarian and halal options. Destination NSW also has a comprehensive guide on halal dining options on the website.
5. How do you plan to promote New South Wales among travel trade? Can we look out for some incentives or roadshows or FAM trips or training programs in the near future from New South Wales tourism?
Destination NSW is always working to build awareness of what Sydney and NSW has to offer for travel trade in India, and the Jhappi Time campaign is a great example of this. In addition to consumer advertising, objectives of the program included targeted travel trade advertising - increasing the awareness and appeal of Sydney/NSW, while educating trade and customers on the range of experiences, events, and products on offer.
Destination NSW also conducts regular familiarisations and training programs for the Indian travel trade to educate the industry and develop new programs to promote Sydney and Regional NSW.
6. What are the roadblocks you are facing/have faced in promoting New South Wales as a prime destination amongst Indian travel agents/tourists?
India is a late booking market, with travellers planning their holiday about 2-3 months (or less) prior to departure. This makes it challenging to plan and provide introductory offers and itineraries in the market.
Long haul outbound travel is generally expensive from India and there is a perception that Australia also fits into this category. Interestingly, as a long haul destination Indian travellers have actually ranked Australia as number 1 in value for money travel according to Tourism Australia’s Consumer Demand Project May 2014.
Awareness and knowledge of NSW’s wide variety of experiences from stunning beaches to coastal drives and world heritage listed rainforest is a challenge. In order to showcase the undiscovered parts of the state, Destination NSW is committed to engaging with trade and providing training to raise awareness of the wonderful regions of NSW that are still waiting to be discovered by the Indian traveller.
7. How well connected is the state with India?
Destination NSW has strong ties with India. In November 2012, NSW entered into a sister-state agreement with Maharashtra, which was an important step towards the relationship between the two economies.
Destination NSW is also the first State Tourism Organisation in Australia to open a dedicated office in India. The Mumbai office is run by Country Manager, Paramjit Bawa and supported by a Business Development Manager and Marketing Coordinator. Their core focus is to develop the Indian inbound tourism market to NSW. The office works closely with airlines, travel trade, media and business event organisers to develop and promote Sydney and NSW for both holiday visitation and as the preferred destination for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.
Destination NSW has also invested in the film industry in India, most recently the new film UNINDIAN, which stars former Australian cricketer, Brett Lee, from Wollongong NSW who plays opposite internationally acclaimed Indian actress, Tannishtha Chatterjee. Directed and produced by Anupam Sharma, UNINDIAN has been filmed exclusively in New South Wales to showcase our state to audiences worldwide.
The Jhappi Timecampaign videos were also shown in cinemas in several Indian cities as part of The Australian Film Festival, which Destination NSW supported in India, further displaying our commitment to the Indian market.