Ram Kapoor and Sakshi Tanwar
More than 25 million Indian viewers are expected to tune in to eight episodes of 'Bade Achhe Lagte Hain' ('I Love Him a Lot'), which began airing this week and features content filmed in Sydney and its surrounds.
Tourism Australia hopes that these sequences, shot against a backdrop of some of Sydney's most iconic tourism attractions, will woo more Indian newlyweds to choose Australia as their honeymoon destination.
Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy believes the size and profile of the hugely popular show will help tap into India's rapidly emerging middle class of experience seekers.
"We’ve made no secret of the fact that we see exceptional future growth prospects for India. This is a market which could double in size and nearly triple in value for Australian tourism by 2020, to as much as A$2.3 billion a year aided by our recently announced 2020 Indian plan," Mr McEvoy said.
“These colourful productions are all about visual impact, and I’d argue there are few destinations that can compete with Australia when it comes to the striking beauty of our country and the iconic backdrops of our contemporary cities," he said.
|The BAHL Team in Austrlia|
“Sydney is the most visited region in Australia by Indian visitors. In the year ending June 2011, NSW welcomed an additional 10,000 visitors from India – a 17 per cent growth from the previous year. In the same period, total overnight expenditure from visitors from India reached $219 million,” Ms Chipchase said.
Bade Acche Lagte Hain is produced by Balaji Telefilms and only started airing in India six months ago. It features Indian television superstars Ram Kapoor and Saakshi Tanwar and has quickly become one of the country's top ten rated TV shows.
"By linking up with one of India's highest rating TV shows we get a fantastic opportunity to showcase Australia to huge audiences and, importantly, to exactly the type of Indian experience seeker who we know has a genuine desire to visit our country," Mr McEvoy said.
Portions of eight separate episodes were shot as part of a whirlwind filming schedule which included Bondi beach, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Botanical Gardens, Darling Harbour, the Grand Pacific Drive and the Blue Mountains, amongst others.
“We’ve worked with Balaji Telefilms before on other Indian TV productions and this is another great opportunity to target the hugely important Indian market through one of the country's highest rating flagship shows," he said.
The Australian episodes are due to go to air as the traditional Indian wedding season begins, presenting an ideal opportunity to showcase Australia as an aspirational honeymoon destination for Indian newly-weds.
“India is about fashion, fun, adventure, youth, vibrancy and a global outlook. We get that, and the way we promote ourselves now and into the future needs to reflect this, by tapping into Indian popular culture - whether that be Indian TV or, indeed, India’s upcoming cricket tour to Australia," Mr McEvoy said.
Tourism Australia’s involvement in Indian TV series first began in the early 2000’s. In January 2003, Australia hosted India’s number one rated TV drama series Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi (“Because a mother-in-law was once a daughter-in-law too”) and its associated production Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki (“The Story of each home”).
India is Australia's 11th largest inbound market for international visitors, with 137,800 arrivals last year, up 12 per cent, and spending $0.8 billion. Tourism Australia believes there is potential to grow this market to between $1.9 billion and $2.3 billion by 2020.