India, Australia ink pact to boost pandemic-hit tourism sector

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New Delhi: India and Australia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tourism cooperation in the field of Tourism on 11th February 2022 in New Delhi. The MoU on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, was signed by Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, and Textiles, and on behalf of the Government of Australia, it was signed by The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister of Trade, Tourism, and Investment.

The MoU in the field of tourism will enhance cooperation and encourage Expansion of bilateral relations in tourism. The MoU will facilitate the exchange of information and data related to tourism, Cooperation between tourism stakeholders, particularly hotels and tour operators, Cooperation and exchanges between training and education providers in tourism and hospitality, Investment in the tourism and hospitality sectors, Visits of tour operators, and wholesalers, media and opinion makers, High quality, safe, ethical and sustainable tourism development, Interest in major cultural, artistic and sporting events, Opportunities for traveler education on applicable laws, rules and instructions in each other’s country and Enhanced tourism engagement in multilateral fora.

Australia is one of the most important tourism generating markets for India (ranked 4th in terms of Foreign Tourist Arrivals to the country in 2019 and contributing 3.4% in the total tourism share of foreign tourists in the country). The signing of MoU with Australia will be instrumental in increasing tourists’ arrival from this important source market.

India and Australia had previously signed a Memorandum of Understanding on tourism cooperation in the field of tourism on 18.11.2014.  Under the framework of the said MoU three meetings of the Joint Working Group meetings on tourism between India and Australia were conducted. The above MoU had expired in the year 2019.

The MoU facilitated the promotion of tourist traffic between the two countries. The number of Australians visiting India has increased consistently in the last few years. In 2016, there were 2,93,625 Australian tourists who visited India which increased to 3,67,241 in 2019, and the Number of Indians who visited Australia also increased consistently from 2,62,250 to 5,89,539 in 2019.  From 27th November 2014, India is offering Electronic Tourist Visa to the citizens of Australia.

Presently, the Ministry of Tourism has MoUs in 45 countries. The present MoU between India and Australia in the field of Tourism is expected to give a fillip to tourism promotion post-pandemic between two countries.

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