KOLKATA: The depreciation of the Australian dollar has come as a boon for Indian tourists planning a holiday Down Under.
The significant devaluation of the Aussie dollar in the last 12 months has made it more affordable for Indian tourists to visit the country and spend, according to a top Australian tourism official.
"While the US dollar has appreciated, the Australian dollar has depreciated by 15 per cent. As a result, holidaying in Australia has become more affordable. Now travelling to Australia is 15 per cent less expensive," Tourism Australia Country Manager India & Gulf Nishant Kashikar told PTI.
Australia has witnessed a consistent growth in tourist arrival from India. Around 220,000 Indians travelled Down Under in a year since June, last year, Kashikar said.
"This is an increase of 19 per cent for the corresponding period the previous year. For the six months to June, Australia received 122,900 visitors from India, a 24 per cent rise relative to the same period last year," the tourism manager said.
India has moved up three places to become Australia's eighth largest contributor to tourism market as spends by Indian tourists have reached an all-time high.
"For the year ended June, 2015, visitor expenditure out of Indian crossed Aus$ one billion mark recording a hike of almost 39 per cent," Kashikar said.
China topped Australia's list of top five markets by spend with an increase of 22 per cent with Chinese tourists contributing around Aus$ one in every Aus$ five spent by international visitors, he stated.
Talking about tourists from West Bengal, the tourism official said, "Over the years West Bengal has emerged as an important and the fastest growing market in India for Tourism Australia. The state contributed about five per cent of the total Indians travelling to Australia for the year ended March, 2015.