Air India flights land in Melbourne

MELBOURNE, Sep 2:  Victoria is set to benefit from significant economic growth and tourism  opportunities following the first of Air India’s direct flights between  Melbourne and Delhi, Premier Denis Napthine said.

Dr Napthine said the Victorian Coalition Government was committed to  increasing air services from priority markets like India because it was  one of the State’s most important international source markets for  tourism, business and education.

“Air India’s flights between Delhi and Melbourne will open up significant  opportunities for Victoria, and are perfectly timed to capitalise on the  momentum gained from the Victorian Government’s Super Trade Mission to  India in March this year,” Dr Napthine said.

“India is one of Victoria’s fastest growing international trade partners  and Victoria has strong capabilities in many of India’s priority areas  including; urbanisation, clean technologies, education and training,  health and food and beverage.”

The inaugural direct Air India service to Melbourne, the result of the  combined efforts of Tourism Australia, Tourism Victoria, Melbourne  Airport, Destination NSW and Sydney Airport arrived on 31 August 2013.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner service will operate daily on a triangulated  route operating three times a week Delhi-Melbourne-Sydney-Delhi  and four  times a week Delhi-Sydney-Melbourne-Delhi.

Dr Napthine said securing the new air service complemented the Victorian  Government’s India strategy, Victoria and India – From Engagement to  Partnership which was released in 2013 to build strategic relationships,  facilitate trade and attract investment between Victoria and India.

“Our five-year strategy will facilitate a comprehensive partnership  between Victoria and India, based on strong government, business and  cultural ties,” Dr Napthine said.

Joining Dr Napthine at today’s event at the MCG, Minister for Tourism and  Major Events, Louise Asher said Victoria welcomes the increase in airline  seats which will lead to increased education, business, and tourism  opportunities between Victoria and India.

“India is one of Victoria’s fastest growing inbound tourism markets with  73,000 Indian visitors travelling to Victoria in the year ending March
2013 – a 17 per cent increase over the previous year,” Ms Asher said.

India is expected to be Victoria’s fastest growing market for  international visitors with an annual average growth rate of 7.2 per cent  forecast up until 2021-22. India is also one of the largest source markets  for Victoria’s international education sector.

Over the past decade Indian companies have committed to the creation of  more than 4500 jobs in Victoria through proposed investments of around  $300 million.

“The recent Super Trade Mission to India showcased Melbourne’s credentials  not only as a world class tourism destination and Australia’s major events  capital, but also promoted Victoria as a key place to do business,” Ms  Asher said.

The mission saw more than 100 Victorian companies and organisations travel  to India in March 2013.