Visa application ease fuels Indian event recovery for Australia

Despite pricier airfares to Australia, Indian business event planners say clients are still clamouring for corporate incentive trips to the land Down Under.

Planners told TTGmice that airfares to Australia have gone up 30 to 40 per cent compared to pre-pandemic times.

BEA Asia Mega Famil Showcase kicked off on March 30

Yet, Nirav Desai, head – domestic and international MICE business, WE Events, said “future demand for Australia is looking healthy”, with strongest interest emanating from banking, insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

“At present we have three to four queries of 200 pax each from corporates considering Australia as a destination, said Desai.

He pointed to Australia’s quick visa processing system for giving the destination an edge over European alternatives.

Desai is a one of eight Indian planners who attended the recent Business Events Australia (BEA) Asia Mega Famil Showcase.

“Even though airfares have gone up, this is not a deterrent for insurance, banking and pharmaceutical companies which were not badly affected by the pandemic,” said Sajin Nawshad, director, Akbar Holidays, who added that pent-up travel demand is also helping to grow Indian outbound numbers to Australia.

“Australia has been proactive in its visa processing system for MICE travellers while visa delays in many European countries are creating a challenge (for Indian groups). We expect to close a few MICE groups that will travel to Australia later this year,” shared Bindeshwari Prasad, associate vice president of FCM Travel Solutions India.

Another participant, who requested for anonymity, told TTGmice that his company closed a 900-pax incentive group that would visit Melbourne in July 2023.

He noted a “huge increase in incentive movement to Australia” this year. While his company handled some 15 corporate events to Australia in 2019, he expects the numbers to double this year.

Like his peers, Australia has become both a big hit and easy sell due to the trusty visa processing system for business travellers.

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