India, Australia agree to increase direct connectivity

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New Delhi, Nov 6 (UNI) India and Australia today decided to increase direct connectivity between the two countries after the present situation of global meltdown improved.

In a meeting here the visiting Australian Resources and Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson and Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni discussed matters relating to bilateral cooperation in tourism sector.

Stressing the need for closer contact between the two countries in the tourism sector, Mr Ferguson emphasised the need to increase connectivity between Australia and India by having more direct flights between the two countries. India endorsed the idea. The Ministers also felt that carbon tax on aviation was not good for tourism. Besides, they also agreed that clean technology must be made available to the developing countries for a better response to climate change.

In the hour-long meeting, Mrs Soni conveyed her concern over the issue of travel advisories being issued by different countries from time to time which were against the growth of the tourism sector.

Agreeing over the view, Mr Ferguson assured Mrs Soni that he would convey her sentiments over the issue to his Government.

About 1.36 lakh Australians travelled to India in 2007, while more than 83,000 Indian tourists visited Australia in 2006.

Both the leaders stressed on the importance of interaction within the tourism stakeholders in the two countries for better understanding of the tourism products in each other's country.

Referring to the MOU signed between the two countries, both the leaders felt that India and Australia were important tourism markets for each other.

Mrs Soni briefed her Australian counterpart about the steps her Ministry was taking to promote eco-tourism, rural tourism, budget accommodation and requirement of more than 2 lakh trained manpower in the tourism sector in India for 2010 Commonwealth Games.

She proposed that both the countries can work together in the area of providing training to stakeholders in the tourism sector. Mrs Soni also conveyed the feelings of Indian film industry for incentives by Australian Government in case Bollywood producers want to shoot their films in Australia.

UNI KAS BDP HT1850

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