Chirag Shah discusses his internship experience at Tourism Australia

In 2017 a number of students studying at Victorian education providers were chosen to participate in the newly created Victoria India Internship Program. The program, hosted by the Australia India Institute in Melbourne and the Australia India Institute @Delhi and supported by the Victorian Government’s Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources gave students the opportunity to work for Indian organisation based in Melbourne and India.  To learn more about internship opportunities, please email marianna.sarris@unimelb.edu.au

Chirag Shah, a Masters of Tourism student at Monash University, interned at Tourism Australia’s Mumbai office over his summer break from December 2017 to March 2018.

Tell us a little about your internship, your duties and how you heard about it?

I was looking for an opportunity to explore the tourism industry in Australia, particularly in the area of destination brand management. My housemate knew of the internship program at Aii and he encouraged me to apply.
I interned in the marketing and PR department at Tourism Australia (TA) for 12 weeks. TA is an Australian Government agency responsible for attracting international visitors to Australia, both for leisure and business events. During the internship, I had various opportunities to attend client and vendor meetings and obtain insights into emerging trends in the industry. I submitted a report on wedding tourism in Australia, which concentrated on identifying and exploring opportunities to promote Australia as an alternative destination to the Indian market. The report studied how Indian destination weddings could contribute to the Australian tourism industry and what their implications would be for the Australian economy. I also had the opportunity to explore and analyse potential opportunities for Indians to Ski and Self – drive in Australia.

When you talk to people about your internship what’s the first thing you tell them?

First thing that I talk about is the positive work culture and friendly nature of the staff at TA Mumbai office. Furthermore, learnings that I gained while working within the team were phenomenal. Not only were the team members well experienced in the industry but, at the same time, they were open to the ideas and suggestions I proposed, which motivated me to learn and contribute more and thrive.

What was the work environment like at your internship?

Being a satellite office of TA, Mumbai branch has a small workforce. They are young and fun-filled, which made the office environment lively and friendly at the same time. Even in the short time I was there, I had the opportunity to collaborate with people from various departments, such as business relations, Aussie Specialist Program and training and admin. The open office culture here encouraged new ideas being openly discussed and all staff members are empowered to speak up at all forums.

What surprised you about the internship?

The warm, welcoming nature of the TA staff, positive work culture and working environment. I was surprised by the way the team involved me in each and every meeting. As an intern, I had the mindset that I would be given a particular task and made to sit in a corner and work on it. Well, this internship did prove me wrong in that and changed my entire perception. Also, I was surprised by how quickly I was able to get such a great internship. I didn’t expect to end up in a great organisation like TA.

What skills did you gain from the internship?

This internship was my first experience exploring the wedding industry so closely from a tourism perspective. Representing a tourism board gave me an upper hand from the primary data collection point of view. I also learned about how to interact with various stakeholders and vendors involved in planning a wedding and, most importantly, how to deal with various restrictions and following a code of conduct, being a governmental organisation.

What’s next for you in your career?

My focus now is to take the learnings from my stint at TA and apply it in my research paper that I will be writing for Monash University. This will not only help me master the learnings but also allow me to apply them in a more effective manner throughout my career in tourism.


If you’re interested in undertaking an internship, visit the programme page here.