Attacks cost economy $78 million
A SPATE of attacks on Indian students last year, including one on former Tweed Heads resident Sachin Surendran, will cost the national economy $78 million.
The Tourism Forecasting Committee released its new forecast for tourism demand in 2010 this week, predicting a 21 per cent decline in education arrivals from India.
This has been attributed to a number of assaults on Indian students in the past year.
Mr Surendran, 22, a former student at Southern Cross University, left Australia after he was viciously attacked in Coolangatta in June.
He told the Tweed Daily News this past week the beating was the reason for his departure.
Federation of Indian Students of Australia spokesman Gutam Gupra said the forecast is not as bad as his organisation first thought.
“We were predicting a drop of about 50 per cent,” he told ABC Radio on Wednesday.
Forecasting committee chairman Bernard Salt said it is the first time anyone has put a figure on the impact of concern about the treatment of Indian students in Australia.
“I suppose the query is whether, in fact, this is a structural issue that will be with us for some time, or whether, this is a knee-jerk, one-year reaction,” Mr Salt said.
Southern Cross University was unavailable for comment yesterday.SMS: 0428 634 025 (Type TWEE followed by a space and then your comment) or E-mail: letters@