Over the years I have participated in many international trade shows and since starting a family shared these opportunities abroad with my colleagues so that they too can gain a deeper understanding of our international markets and gain experience in business to business commercial agreements and relationship building.
This trip to India was my first international assignment in over five years and I was quickly reminded in the first minute of networking with our Indian friends the level of collaboration required to be successful when we go in market. Regardless if we are at a local, domestic, or international event like this mission we are not here as individual products, we are here as a collective, promoting in this instance Australia, funnelling down to Victoria, our Melbourne and the beauty of the regions that surround this great city in any direction they choose to take.
When I first arrived I was overwhelmed. Mumbai alone has a population of well over 20 million people, that’s an equivalent to our entire nation. In 2013 the total population for the entire nation was 1.27 billion. This means on a global scale every 6th human being is an Indian…wowser!
Obama shared in a speech addressing Indian parliament representatives “India is not emerging – India has emerged“.
We met over 200 travel agents and wholesalers and had the honour of travelling with cricket royalty, Brett Lee. Speaking of cricket it really is a religion over there and Brett Lee was a rockstar helping us promote Melbourne and Surrounds for visitors coming to the Cricket World Cup which will be see two major games including the final at the 'G' in Melbourne in February 2015.
It is a land of beauty and diversity of religions, subcultures and customs and considerable regional differences. To understand the layers and complexities of this nation would take us a lifetime of discovery.
All eyes are on India and the competition is fierce. From a tourism perspective it is the fastest growing tourism market which is predicted to see 20 million outbound tourists by 2015 with a frequency of travel every 12 – 18 months.
In the words of the father of this nation Mahatma Gandhi we need to ‘be the change we seek in the world’. Our industry would not survive without collaboration and that does not does not stop when this mission is over, continuing to work together with our new Indian friends, with each other, with our regional and state tourism organisations and with our neighbouring states we can do just that and 'be the change'.
Other Victorian tourism businesses included: