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New Government in India brings hope for better trade ties with New Zealand
26 May 2014
The new Modi government in India seems to be getting positive impact 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 2 separate events held by INZBC just last week.
All the three speakers had shared their optimism, that the new government would bring the necessary impetus in the economy and boost International trade.
Tourism Seminar by INZBC
Speaking at the Business Beyond Barriers seminar, organised by India New Zealand Business Council on 19th May, 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 per cent 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", said Todd.
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." Todd 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 NZ companies to make best use of the 2015 Cricket World Cup to increase their influence in India.
He said, "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 Richard, 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 Trip Advisor survey in India indicated that NZ was the top destination for Indian surpassing countries like France and Switzerland - the ideal holiday destination for many Indians over the years. Sunil said that INZBC also lobbied with INZ 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 NZ code share agreement which is being worked upon and call upon both the governments to expedite this for the economic benefit of both the countries", said Sunil.
Grahame Morton speaks to INZBC members
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 was of the opinion that the new government will be helpful in driving the engine of growth and expand bi-lateral ties.