The new Modi government in India should provide more impetus for bi-lateral trade, judging from the positivity shared by Associate Minister for Tourism, Hon. Todd McClay, Grahame Morton (NZ High Commissioner to India) and Richard White, NZTE Trade Commissioner for India. All three were speaking at two separate events held by the India New Zealand Business Council (INZBC) recently.
All three speakers had shared their optimism, that the new government would bring the necessary impetus in the economy and boost International trade.
Speaking at the Business Beyond Barriers seminar Todd McClay emphasised that "with New Zealand hosting about 32,064 visitors from India annually, tourism with India features as a top priority for the government" [figures for the year ending March 2014, up almost 7 percent on the previous year]. "This is recognised in the additional funding that Government provided to Tourism New Zealand in Budget 2013 to establish or strengthen its presence in emerging markets."
The Indian visitor spends on average NZ$3680 per person (excluding airfares) whilst in New Zealand.
"Emerging markets, such as India, offer substantial growth opportunities given their increasing wealth and closer proximity to New Zealand compared with many of our traditional source markets." McClay also confirmed that the upcoming 2015 Cricket World Cup will be a priority to boost tourism.
The Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand have agreed that people travelling to both countries for the event will only need to apply for one visa. This visa will streamline procedures for genuine Cricket World Cup spectators and participants.
NZTE trade commissioner for India, Richard White also advised Kiwi companies to make best use of the 2015 Cricket World Cup to increase their influence in India.
"We've got firms doing really good things in food and beverage including important horticultural products like kiwifruit and apples, and in the past year, thanks to great work by MFAT and the Primary Industries Ministry, access for lamb and avocadoes has also improved.
"These products and others like wine, chocolate, ice cream and cheese are mostly high end, premium products for which there is increasing demand thanks to the rapidly growing number of wealthy and well-travelled Indian consumers."
According to White, other firms that are active and enjoying success in business with India are: agritech, ICT, medical devices, aviation and advanced manufacturing, as well as the important primary sector commodities such as coal, timber and wool, which are still the major contributors to our export figures.
Sunil Kaushal, chair INZBC, feels that to grow the tourism number to 5 million by 2025, we need to look at India seriously. "Indian middle class, which is growing at a rate of 50 million people a year, is among several 'high opportunity targets' in Asia."
The recent TripAdvisor survey in India indicated that New Zealand was the top destination for Indians, surpassing countries like France and Switzerland – the ideal holiday destination for many Indians over the years.
Sunil said that INZBC also lobbied with Immigration NZ to allow one visa for the Indian tourist during the 2015 World Cup and this will certainly help boost our tourist numbers.
However, he feels that more could be done on the aviation front. "While major airlines have connectivity to India, a direct flight or code share will certainly help boost the number of inbound and outbound tourists. INZBC supports the current Singapore/Air New Zealand code share agreement which is being worked upon and call upon both the governments to expedite this for the economic benefit of both countries."
The new NZ High Commissioner to India also met India-NZ industry members and the members of INZBC at a breakfast event on 23 May.
Grahame Morton was of the opinion that the new government will be helpful in driving the engine of growth and expand bi-lateral ties.