The Minister for Resources and Energy, and Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP, will today travel to India to meet with industry and government representatives and reaffirm Australia's commitment to strong bilateral relationships in the resources, energy, and tourism sectors.
Resources and energy represent around 90 per cent of the value of total Australian exports to India and were worth more than $A9 billion throughout 2007.
Resources and energy will continue to be the cornerstone of the bilateral trading relationship between Australia and India; however, very strong growth within the tourism sector is also predicted.
Minister Ferguson will officially open Tourism Australia's first office in India (in Mumbai) during his five-day visit. India is one of Australia's fastest growing tourism markets and it provides Australia with a fantastic opportunity.
India is already Australia's 12th largest market in terms of visitor numbers and 10th largest in terms of Economic Value.
Visitor numbers are increasing at 20 per cent per annum, but forecasts suggest double-digit growth will continue throughout the next decade and that India will be Australia's 5th largest tourism market by 2017.
Minister Ferguson will also deliver the Opening Address at the 2008 International Mining and Machinery Exhibition being held in Kolkata, where more than 50 Australian organisations will be represented.
He will also address the Geoscience Australia/Austrade Mining and Investment Seminar, attended by representatives of some of India's largest mining and mineral companies, and Central and State Governments.
Minister Ferguson said: "There is already a very strong association between our nations and it is the Australian Government's view that for both nations, the Australia-India relationship is one of the great opportunities of this century.
"India has experienced remarkable economic growth in recent years and India's emergence as an economy of global significance is of the greatest importance to Australia's resources, energy, and tourism sectors."