Tourism Australia has yet again witnessed noteworthy growth statistics from Maharashtra, retaining the State’s position as a key tourism source market in India. As of year ended (YE) September 2016, Maharashtra has recorded an increase of 25 per cent in tourist arrivals, and a remarkable increase of 18 per cent in spend. The state witnessed 53,800 visitors to Australia, contributing A$232 mn (Rs. 1,160 crores) to the Australian economy, with an average spend of Rs 2.15 lacs per person. Total arrivals from India for the year ended November 2016 were recorded at 256,400, an increase of 11.5 per cent relative to the same period the previous year, making India the 9th largest inbound market for Australia. Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager, India & Gulf, Tourism Australia, said, “We are extremely delighted that all our focused consumer and distribution initiatives in Maharashtra have paid off, resulting in a stupendous increase in arrivals and spend from the state. Going forward, we are positive that our extensive analysis of the market, in tandem with our key distribution partners and airlines, will provide us with the requisite insights to modify and transform our approach to cater to the requirements of travellers from Maharashtra. We will continue to reach out to our audience through a mix of traditional and evolving communication platforms. Maharashtra has undoubtedly been our fastest growing market and we will put in our best efforts to keep up the momentum and further drive visitation to Australia.” Tourism Australia has undertaken several focused activities in Maharashtra. One such successful association was that with Veena World. As part of the collaboration, eminent Marathi television and film stars who travelled to Australia for MAAI (Marathi Achievers and Awards International) 2016, urged the viewers of Marathi television’s most popular talk show ‘Chala Hawa Yeu Dya’ to take a trip ‘Down Under’. An exclusive package was launched on the show, offering customers a road trip along the Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne route starting at Rs. 150,000. The association was a huge success and the package reeled in over 2,000 bookings to Australia for travel during the months of August and September 2016.