Issue: 19                                                                          January - February 2016
Chairman's Note
Greetings from AITTC!


We welcome you to the first issue of Cuppa Chai for 2016, hoping the New Year has started well for all.

The big news is AITTC and OTOAT (Outbound Tour Operators Association of India) signing a Memorandum of Understanding to work together, sharing collective knowledge and experience of two organisations to boost bilateral tourism. This milestone event demonstrates AITTC’s presence building up in India. We have now been approached by TAAI ( Travel Agents Association of India) to sign a similar Memorandum of Understanding for mutual benefits. These relationship management in India is being spearheaded by our Vice Chairman Shankar Dhar.


Our Cuppa Chai is proving to be very effective as a medium for interaction with the industry both in Australia and India. It’s not only inspiring membership increase but also providing a platform for AITTC members and others to communicate with the industry. Please contact us if you have any special news to pass on through Cuppa Chai. We are also in the process of upgrading our website ( to make it more dynamic and informative. One important addition will be publication of media stories on Australia and India. So travel writers, feel free to submit your relevant media stories to us for listing.


We are continuously planning events and forums to showcase Australia and to identify issues and potential solutions for growth of bilateral tourism. In this context we also invite our members and stakeholders to make suggestions on future AITTC events that may be beneficial to the industry. Opportunities for sponsoring any of our events are available, so if interested to contribute then please do not hesitate contact us.


Finally a note of thanks to Ms Beena Thakur who recently carried 40kg of clothing from Sydney to Chennai for the city’s rain affected victims. AITTC supported her noble initiative, this being the organization’s maiden work of humanitarian nature. We are keen to do more of these in future to get connected with the people. 


Sandip Hor


Strong momentum in international arrivals and expenditure

International arrivals to Australia increased seven per cent in the 12 months to September 2015. A strong performing leisure segment has aided the growth with Holiday arrivals up four per cent and Visiting Friends & Relatives (VFR) arrivals up eight per cent over the 12 month period. Key markets saw particularly strong growth in Holiday purpose arrivals, with an increase of 21 per cent from China and India, and a seven per cent rise from the USA.Strong momentum in international arrivals and expenditure  International arrivals to Australia increased seven per cent in the 12 months to September 2015.

A strong performing leisure segment has aided the growth with Holiday arrivals up four per cent and Visiting Friends & Relatives (VFR) arrivals up eight per cent over the 12 month period. Key markets saw particularly strong growth in Holiday purpose arrivals, with an increase of 21 per cent from China and India, and a seven per cent rise from the USA.  Total international expenditure grew at an even greater rate than arrivals, up 13 per cent in the year ending September 2015. China continues to be one of the fastest growing markets, with spend up 43 per cent reaching $7.7 billion. Similarly, Indian visitor expenditure was up 34 per cent. Growth in total visitor expenditure was also recorded for New Zealand, the USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Germany, Canada and France. Leisure spend recorded growth of nine per cent, made up of seven per cent growth in holiday spend and a 14 per cent rise in VFR spend.

Tourism Australia and Chris Hemsworth
Chris Hemsworth: There's Nothing Like Australia

Aussie superstar Chris Hemsworth backs the latest in There's Nothing like Australia. 

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has just unveiled Tourism Australia's latest advertising campaign at an event in New York, with the new promotion highlighting Australia's world-class aquatic and coastal experiences.

The launch, hosted by Aussie chef Curtis Stone with a Luke Mangan-designed menu, included the unveiling of a new TV commercial voiced by newly anointed Tourism Australia global ambassador, Hollywood hunk Chris Hemsworth.

"Already 70% of our international visitors enjoy an aquatic or coastal experience as part of their trip to Australia, so this is a campaign we know will resonate strongly across all our key markets," said Tourism Australia md John O'Sullivan.

He said Hemsworth's voiceover would provide an "authentic an influential voice to help tell the country's story". The campaign will complement existing Tourism Australia marketing activities including its current Restaurant Australia and Indigenous experiences focus.

The newly filmed campaign features around a dozen distinct experiences representing all Australian states and territories, with Tourism Australia chief marketing officer, Lisa Ronson, saying the destinations would be brought to life using the latest virtual reality technology and compelling user-generated content "on a size and scale never before seen in destination marketing".

Hemsworth himself said it was the natural beauty of Australia that drew him to the role. 

“In Australia you’re surrounded by the most incredible natural beauty. Being in the water or near to it is a way of life for us," Hemsworth said.

$40 million will be spent over the next six months rolling out the campaign, starting out with a joint promotion with Virgin Australia in the USA and then across other key international markets including the UK, China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and New Zealand.

Legendary Asha Bhonsle in Sydney!

Legendary queen of Bollywood Asha Bhosle will return to the Sydney Opera House on Monday 14 March and at the Melbourne Arts Centre on the 17th March as part of her 2016 global farewell tour, taking fans on a joyous journey through her seven-decade career.

Ben Marshall, Head of Contemporary Music at the Sydney Opera House, said: "It's not every day we get to welcome a giant of the last 70 years of music and the undisputed queen of her musical world - we are genuinely honoured to present the remarkable and wonderful Asha Bhosle. A monumental natural talent, Asha's incredibly distinctive voice, crystal clear tone, phenomenal range and ability to convey deeply felt emotion will resound brilliantly in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall." Bhosle is best known as a singer in Hindi cinema, but she has worked in many genres, drawing a diverse range of fans and collaborators including REM’s Michael Stipe, the Kronos Quartet and A.R. Rahman, as well as inspiring Cornershop’s chart-topping ‘Brimful of Asha’.

Arguably the most recorded artist in history, Bhosle was named one of the top 20 global music icons of the past 50 years by CNN and honoured for lifetime achievement at India’s prestigious Filmfare Awards. She is also a celebrity chef, restaurateur and critically acclaimed actress, who starred in the 2013 film Mai.

Conde Nast names Australia as the destination of 2016

Condé Nast Traveler (CNT) has named Australia as the destination of 2016.And this is a very special tribute, as CNT have taken the unprecedented step not to present a list of multiple countries and cities as a 'best-of' roundup for the year. No top 20, no hot lists - just one country travellers should focus their attention on for 2016. That is Australia. Dave Prior, a contributing editor to Condé Nast Traveler, is constantly on the road and is always thinking about a global edit of the very best destinations for the year. An expat himself, Prior has been back to Australia four times last year for the magazine on trips that have spanned the entire country. The US magazine is one of the foremost travel publications in the world and being named 'Destination of the Year' for 2016 is a huge honor for Australia.

The magazine has also revered Aussie cuisine as 'inventive and influential' - and not just because Rene Redzepi’s Noma is headed our way. "There are many reasons we've elected Australia, but the primary one is the energy in the country's food scene right now. Wherever you look in Australia, there is a democracy to dining and a fresh, global approach to cooking that traverses the globe but is resolutely Australian in its relaxed yet sophisticated execution.", said Prior

Conde Nast has also applauded Australia’s unique hotels for celebrating their 'Australianess' rather than just replicating hotel chains across the rest of the world.

Australian Open Tennis and Accor!

Accor Hotels, an Official Partner of the Australian Open tennis in Melbourne, had former Champion Serena Williams as its Official Ambassador in Australia until 29 February 2016. The new high-profile partnership was timed to coincide with the Australian Open, which commenced on 18 January.

Serena, recognised as the greatest female tennis player of all time, was the public face of Accor Hotels in all consumer advertising including billboards, digital assets and social media. The new alliance with the celebrated and world-renowned player positioned AccorHotels on the global stage amongst the best of the best.

With 200 hotels Accor Hotels is the largest hotel operator in Australia and Australian Open is one of the world's greatest sporting events, attracting over 700000 to Melbourne Park reaching a global viewing audience of around 370 million worldwide.

Partnership Agreement with China-Southern to promote new services

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the agreement has been secured by the State’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, and will promote new direct flights from Shenzhen to Sydney starting this week as well as Sydney and NSW travel packages.“We are delighted that this new partnership agreement will give us the opportunity to further showcase our beautiful city and State, award-winning restaurants and outstanding regional attractions to our largest inbound international tourism market,” Mr Ayres said.

“In the year ended September 2015, NSW welcomed more than 536,000 Chinese visitors who spent a record $2.1 billion in NSW.

“China is NSW’s largest tourism and trade partner, greatest source of international students and an increasingly important source of investment into NSW, and this new partnership will continue to highlight Australia’s premier tourism and events State.”

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said Destination NSW has enjoyed a long standing relationship with China Southern.

“We are delighted to welcome even more Chinese visitors to our attractions and busy events schedule as a result of our new partnership,” Ms Chipchase said.

“With the growth in fly/drive packages for the China market, visitors can experience NSW’s stunning mountains, lakes, rivers, beaches and national parks, our burgeoning food and wine scene and wonderful local events and festivals.”

President of China Southern Airlines Shenzhen Branch, Mr. Liu Guo Jun said, “We are very excited to begin flying services between Shenzhen and Sydney this week, and it is fantastic to have signed this agreement to work closely with the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

“This partnership ensures we will be highlighting the best of Sydney and Regional NSW to our customers and we look forward to continuing a long and healthy relationship with the NSW Government for many years to come.”

The China Southern marketing campaign is planned to commence at the end of January and will run through the end of June 2016.

Extraordinary International Art in Sydney

Two extraordinary exhibitions showcasing works by Picasso, Auguste Rodin and Tatsuo Miyajima have been secured for the Sydney International Art Series in 2016-2017.Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the exhibitions, opening in November, will see Nude: Art from the Tate Collection presented at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and a major exhibition from renowned Japanese contemporary artist, Tatsuo Miyajima, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

“These exceptional exhibitions further the impressive reputation of the Sydney International Art Series which brings the most outstanding art exclusively to Sydney each summer. Since its creation by Destination NSW in 2010, over 1.4 million attendees have enjoyed the world-class exhibitions,” Mr Ayres said.

In a partnership between Tate, London and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Nude: Art from the Tate Collection will present over 100 powerful works including paintings, sculptures, photographs and prints.  At the heart of the exhibition is Auguste Rodin’s sculpture The Kiss 1901-04 as well as Pierre Bonnard’sThe Bath 1925, Picasso’s Nude Woman in a Red Armchair 1932 and Ron Mueck’s Wild Man 2005.

Art Gallery of New South Wales Director, Dr Michael Brand, said, “Visitors to Nude: Art from the Tate Collection will encounter images of love, desire, heroism, pathos, anger, tenderness and protest – the full spectrum of human emotion – across many of the major art movements of the past 200 years.”      

Tatsuo Miyajima is known for his immersive, technology-driven sculptures and installations. Presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art, this will be Miyajima’s first major solo exhibition in Australia.

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, said, “The reputation of our curatorial team for working closely with artists has enabled us to attract the likes of Anish Kapoor, Yoko Ono, Chuck Close, Grayson Perry and now Miyajima.

New Australian High Commissioner to India

Harinder Sidhu has been appointed the next Australian High Commissioner to India, the latest in a growing list of Indian-origin diplomats being posted at top positions in New Delhi by leading nations. The other two Indian-origin ambassadors here are Richard Rahul Verma, Ambassador of US and Nadir Patel, High Commissioner of Canada. 

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop Wednesday announced the name of Ms Harinder Sidhu, whose father was born in India, as Australia's envoy. She arrives in New Delhi next week. 

Ms Sidhu, who replaces former High Commissioner Patrick Suckling, continues a tradition of Australian representatives with strong connections to India. “Both sides of my family are from the Punjab – my father was born in India,” she said.

Ms Sidhu was born in Singapore and settled in Australia with her family as a child. She speaks a little Punjabi and Hindi but is looking forward to the opportunity to become more fluent. Sidhu is also eager to indulge her passion for Bollywood movies.

Sidhu is not the first Australian of Indian origin to be posted as envoy to New Delhi. Peter Varghese was the first India-origin High Commissioner here from 2009 to 2012. Varghese, whose parents were from Kerala, later rose to become Foreign Secretary, the highest post in the Australian diplomatic service.

NSW's first Tourism Workshop unveiled!

The 2016 'NSW First' Workshop program has been launched, providing tourism operators in Sydney and Regional NSW with product development advice and industry resources to help grow tourism across the State. 

This year's program, delivered by the NSW Government's tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, will include five new workshop categories, provide new content through Market Ready and Export Ready streams, reach more destinations, include online webinars, and extend across the calendar year.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the 2016 workshops represent an enhancement of previous NSW First Workshop programs, providing more targeted content to more tourism businesses across the State.

“Building on the successful NSW First programs in previous years, even more workshops will be offered this year, with more diverse content,” Mr Ayres said.

“For the first time, we will deliver 30 workshops in 21 locations around NSW, in addition to six new Digital Webinars. The new Market Ready and Export Ready streams provide more tailored content than ever before with a growing emphasis on export ready development.”

The five workshop categories include hands-on Industry Development, bite-sized Digital Webinars, Export Ready 101 seminars, Inbound Strategy workshops and Seller Training for operators attending upcoming trade events.

To view the NSW First Workshop program for 2016 and to register go to:

NSW's shines at the Australian Tourism Awards

NSW has once again shown it is home to some of the country's best tourism products and experiences after it was awarded in 12 categories at the Australian Tourism Awards held on Friday evening. 

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres welcomed the accolades and said that this achievement would shine a light on NSW destinations and provide visitors with another compelling reason to discover what's on offer. 

“I am delighted NSW received four Gold Awards and three Silver Awards, an achievement to be celebrated,” Mr Ayres said. 

“In the year ended September 2015, the tourism industry contributed more than $24.0 billion in international and domestic overnight visitor expenditure to the NSW economy, up 7.8 per cent compared to a year ago. 

“Through our tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, the NSW Government is committed to growing tourism across Regional NSW and these phenomenal figures demonstrate the significance of recognising the thousands of individuals who have worked tirelessly to ensure that NSW remains the number one tourism and events State.”  

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase said the results showed the range and quality of experiences on offer for visitors in NSW. 

“Our State has so much to offer visitors of all ages, from spectacular scenery to world class dining and accommodation. I congratulate all our NSW finalists and Award winners, and encourage everyone to get out and experience everything NSW has to offer.” 

For a full list of NSW winners, go to:

Melbourne goes Event Mad in March

March into Melbourne for 31 days of fashion, flowers, food, fast cars and world-class festivities as the city plays host to multiple major events. The World’s Most Liveable City is renowned for its year-round calendar of events, its sporting prowess, its love of food and its passion for fashion, and in the month of March the city reaches fever pitch. The line-up includes Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show and many more.

In the sporting arena, after the Cricket and Australian Open, Melbourne is now buzzing with the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix fever due to kick of on the 21st March. 

Indigo gets its 100th Airbus A320!

IndiGo, India’s largest and fastest growing airline and favourite on-time performer drew the year to a close with a truly Merry Christmas. IndiGo celebrates a significant milestone taking its fleet size to a 100 Airbus A320 aircraft. IndiGo took delivery of the ‘VT – IDR’ aircraft to join its ever growing fleet on 23rd December, 2015. The aircraft puja was done on 24th December 2015, at Terminal 1D Delhi.

With 653 daily flights connecting 39 destinations, IndiGo promises its customers the best experience that the aviation industry has to offer, with its hassle-free, matchless and on-time performance the airline is synonymous with.  These new flights will allow travellers to experience the matchless on-time performance IndiGo is synonymous with, thus further consolidating the airline’s position as the fastest growing airline in India.

New Incredible India Brand Ambassadors

Celebrated Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra have been chosen as the brand ambassadors for the government's 'Incredible India' campaign. The selection of the two actors follows the Centre's decision to discontinue the contract of actor Aamir Khan who had promoted Indian tourism for a decade as the brand ambassador. Chopra won the People’s Choice award for her performance in the American TV show “Quantico”, becoming the first Indian to win at the People Choice Awards

A Spotlight on Industry Stalwarts
Abhijit Das Gupta - Snr. General Manager, Indian Holiday Pvt. Ltd. 
Abhijit has been in this industry for over 20 years . He started his career in MICE industry and has been associated with IHPL for last 16 years mastering in the Leisure and MICE tourism for India destination . Traveling everyday with his passport in his handbag, traveled mostly all over the globe, exhibited in all the noted tourism exhibitions in different markets globally. His experience in the industry is as old when the industry started to find its ground with recognition in India as pilgrimage was only travel considered at that time. His main focus now is to develop South America and Australia market and make it a major tourism source for India.. The company IHPL is a National Tourism Award Winning company dedicated in the Travel & Tourism trade for the past 25 years. The focus of the company is to provide niche tourism with personalized and value added services.  The main objective of the company is to create unique programmes for pan India highlighting the glimpse of culture, history, heritage, nature etc and other main attractions.
Emma Sturgiss - Global Manager PR, Tourism Australia

As Global Manager PR, Broadcast and Advocacy, Emma is responsible for the strategic development, management and operation of the global PR function within Tourism Australia. This includes the effective and efficient operation of the organisation’s media and opinion leader hosting programs, its advocacy and global broadcast programs as well as providing PR and communications direction for global marketing campaigns. Emma also provides strategic advice and support to Tourism Australia’s regional PR teams in 15 international offices to assist them develop and roll-out their own public relations activities including our India office.
Our mailing address is:
Australia India Travel and Tourism Council
PO Box 921
Strathfield, NSW 2077

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Editor: Raka Mitra

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