New South Wales is hoping to attract more Indian visitors with the simple promise of some "jhappi time", Hindi for "hug time", with their loved ones.
Australia's biggest ever tourism campaign targeted at the Indian inbound tourism market, launched by Destination NSW on Tuesday, is using the concept of "jhappi time" to increase Indian visitor numbers by at least 10 per cent over the next 12 months.
The campaign, which has been a year in the making, entices Indians to visit family and friends living in Australia. It features four 60-second commercials, in which Indian families fly to NSW for some "jhappi time" with their loved ones.
The commercials were directed by the famous Australian-Indian Bollywood director Anupam Sharma, and include scenes at Manly Beach, the Hunter Valley and the Blue Mountains. They will screen in cinemas in Delhi and Mumbai, promoted on billboards, and will be accompanied by print, online and social media campaigns in India and Australia.
"We are hoping to see a 10 per cent increase over the next 12 months as a minimum," chief executive Sandra Chipchase said at the campaign launch. That's an increase on the more than 77,000 Indian arrivals to NSW in the year to September 2013, which is worth an estimated $183 million a year to the NSW economy.
Arrival numbers from India have increased since Air India launched direct flights between Delhi and Sydney in August last year, says Chipchase, and is expected to rise with the growth of the Indian middle class.
Premier Barry O'Farrell, who also attended the launch, said the campaign is "as important to NSW today as throwing another shrimp on the barbie was for Australia a number of decades ago".
"India is a young country with an expanding middle class and so trying to tap into that tourism stream is incredibly important," Mr O'Farrell said.
He said he believed the Indian community had moved on since a series of much-publicised attacks on students tarnished relations between the countries in 2010.
"We've all got over it," Mr O'Farrell said.