'India to be among top 5 markets for Tourism Australia'

New Delhi: India is expected to be among the top five markets for Tourism Australia by 2025, said officials on Wednesday during an event here to celebrate the issue of the 150,000th visa in the last 12 months. "By 2025, we expect India to be among the top five markets for Tourism Australia," said Tourism Australia country manager Nishant Kashikar. This is the first time the Australian mission here has issued 150,000 visas in 12 months.  "It is a significant and a momentous occasion for Tourism Australia today because we are celebrating this huge number of 150,000 visas. Within a year, we've achieved a remarkable 50 percent increase in visa applications," Kashikar said. "We also have Indians spending and contributing significantly to the Australian economy that went up by almost 38 percent and touched 1.1 billion Australian dollars. Indian tourists have contributed around Rs 5,500 crore to the Australian economy over the last 12 months," he added.  There has been extraordinary interest in the Visitor programme from the Indian market, which has led to this achievement. "It is a landmark achievement. This is the first time ever that we have reached the 150,000-mark in visitor visa approvals in India for a year," said Australian High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu. "More and more Indians are travelling to Australia for business, tourism and to study in our universities, as well as visit family," she added.