Anil Mohan

Indians to Ras Al Khaimah grow at 81%

The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority conducted a press conference in New Delhi on January 12, 2016, in an attempt to target the Indian tourism market. “India is currently the fourth largest inbound market for the emirate, after Germany, Russia and the UK,” said Haitham Mattar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. Ras Al Khaimah witnessed 16,000 Indian tourist arrivals into the emirate in the previous year. “We have seen an incredible 81 per cent year on year growth in tourists from India. By the end of 2018, the sub-continent is expected to be a big contributor to the emirate’s vision to attract one million visitors. We are working towards spreading awareness and conducting events to increase our partnership with the travel trade in India,” added Mattar. Ras Al Khaimah is primarily a family destination which also offers business, MICE, leisure, adventure and luxury travel.

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Thomas Cook India to dissolve brand Kuoni; discontinue brand Thomas Cook after 2025

Thomas Cook will discontinue with brand Kuoni and rebrand it as SOTC India, which will operate independently, revealed Madhavan Menon, Chairman and MD Thomas Cook (India). Also, he revealed that Thomas Cook (India) will not be using the Thomas Cook brand after 2025. Talking of the new structure post the acquisition of Kuoni India, Menon said that the company has started the process of discontinuing the Kuoni brand in India. He said, “The Kuoni brand is available to us in India for one year and we plan to migrate to SOTC.” Kuoni’s outbound business will be known as SOTC India Pvt Ltd. SOTC will have an independent management team. It will continue to run the outbound business – packages holidays, corporate travel, MICE and domestic travel that will be launched. Thomas Cook India will de-merge SITA – Kuoni India’s inbound brand – and merge it with TCI. This company will be known as TCI, which will be headed by Dipak Deva , incorporate the three brands– TCI, SITA and Distant Frontiers. Further, he disclosed that The Thomas Cook India Group is allowed use of the Thomas Cook brand till 2025.  As part of its Brand Transition Strategy, the plan to hence leverage the strengths of these brands and draw up a strategy to replace the Thomas Cook brand in the long term.

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AI passengers to report 3 hours prior to departure

In view of the recent security alert in the country, Air India has requested passengers to report at the counter at least three hours prior for check-in to allow passengers and their baggage to undergo more stringent checks at airports and avoid any delays to the flight departures owing to these procedures. Though the minimum reporting time for domestic flights is 75 minutes and for international flights it is 150 minutes before the scheduled departure of flights, the airline has advised passengers to report three hours before the scheduled departure of flights. Currently, check-in counters for domestic flights close 45 minutes before scheduled time of departure. For international flights, counters close 60 minutes prior to departure. Counters for flights (both domestic and international) operating from International Terminals like in Mumbai close 60 minutes before scheduled departure of flight. Boarding gates in both cases close 25 minutes prior to departure.

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National Medical and Wellness Tourism Promotion Board’s 1st meeting on Jan 13

The first-ever meeting of the National Medical and Wellness Tourism Promotion Board will be held under the Chairmanship of Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation on January 13, 2016 at Hotel Samrat, New Delhi.  The meeting will draw short-term and long-term road maps and strategies for marketing and promotion of medical and wellness tourism, both within India and abroad. Future activities aimed at creating synergy between the tourism sector and the healthcare sector will be outlined. Key members other than stakeholders and the representatives of related government departments, tourism and hospitality sector and experts in various disciplines including Wellness and Yoga will be participating in the meeting. The National Medical and Wellness Tourism Promotion Board was constituted by the Ministry of Tourism in October 2015 to provide leadership of the Government within a framework of prudent and effective measures, thereby enabling promotion and positioning of India as a competent and credible medical and wellness tourism destination.

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India, fastest growing market for SW Germany after China

India continues to remain the second-fastest growing market for Southwest Germany after China in percentage terms. India recorded a growth of 23.3 per cent for the period January to October 2015 with 27,615 visitors. Hector Dsouza, Director – India, Southwest German Tourism, says, “India is miles ahead. It is still has the highest number of overnights per visit, currently its 5.9 days per visit. The international average for Southwest Germany is 2.3 days. For the period ended October 2015, we recorded 162,843 overnights from India. By the end of 2015 we will have 2,00,000 overnights, which we targeted at the beginning of 2015. We are now expecting 40,000 Indian visitors in 2016 doing 2,50,000 overnights, an increase of 25 per cent from 2015.”

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India, 8th key source market for Australia

India is the eighth best source market for Tourism Australia, said Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager, India & Gulf, Tourism Australia. He added, “We crossed the 200,000 arrivals landmark in 2015, A$ 1 billion spend, and improved our ranking to be the eighth-largest inbound market for Australia from 11th rank in 2014. The Tourism Forecasting Committee (TFC) is predicting 245,000 visitors from India for 2015-16 and a 12 per cent increase over 2014-15.” There were 187,000 visitors from India in the first 10 months of 2015, bringing the total for the year-ended October 2015 to 2,27,000; an increase of 18 per cent relative to the same period last year. For the year ended September 2015, Indian visitors contributed A$ 1.1 billion to the Australian economy; an increase of solid 34% over the previous year. Tourism Australia has unveiled its latest advertising campaign in collaboration with its key distribution partners – Cox & Kings, Mercury Travels, Kesari, MakeMyTrip, Yatra, TUI, Vacations Exotica, Kulin Kumar Holidays and SOTC. The integrated advertising campaign will retain the brand theme ‘There’s Nothing like Australia’ and put the spotlight on the country’s attractions.

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40% rise in Indian arrivals to the Philippines

Registering a huge surge over last year, the Philippines has recorded a growth of 40.54 percent in visitor arrivals from India in October 2015. According to the Department of Tourism (DOT), Philippines, there were 6590 visitor arrivals in October 2015 against 4689 in October 2014. Between January-October 2015, 61,155 Indian tourists travelled to the Philippines, recording an increase of 24.13 per cent. The India has jumped up to the 12th position for tourist arrivals in the Philippines in September 2015 and is consistently maintaining the position in the top 12 markets. SanJeet, Tourism Attaché, Philippines Tourism Marketing Office India, has attributed the showing to be in line with DOT’s plan of achieving 100,000 Indian tourist arrivals by 2017. He said that the double-digit growth in arrivals can also be attributed to major metros as well as feeder markets. “One of the main reasons is the increase in disposable income for leisure and travel related pursuits amongst middle and affluent class travellers. There has also been a steady increase in MICE movements as well as FITs and small groups travel from India,’’ he said. Travel agents credited continuous efforts made by the Philippines Tourism Marketing Office for increase in visitor arrivals. Samina Munshi, Director, N Chirag Travels, said, “We have seen an increase in demand and more people are willing to visit the Philippines as a holiday destination. Due to the increase in awareness, we get many queries on a daily basis. We are quite hopeful that 2016 would definitely double the visitor arrival numbers for the Philippines.” Agents also mentioned that there is a definite requirement of new destination matching features such as sightseeing, shopping, entertainment, friendly, economical and safety. …

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Indians prefer travelling international over domestic in winter: survey

According to the annual winter survey by Yatra.com, which showcases the outlook of Indian travellers planning their holidays this season, 30 per cent people are willing to opt for an international destination while the remaining looked at domestic travel this winter. One of the key findings was that the propensity of Indians to spend on travel has clearly increased with more than 30 per cent people willing to spend above Rs. 50,000 as against 25 percent last year. Kashmir and other hill stations topped the list for domestic travel showcasing that winter destinations are not off the list during this time of the year. South East Asian countries were international favourites and were pitted at the same percentage as Goa for a holiday this season. Sharat Dhall, President Yatra.com, said, “Vacationing in winters has become an accepted norm similar to summer travel. We have seen a number of takers opting for not only domestic but also international destinations for their winter vacations. Indians are holidaying more frequently and that’s a trend that has been on an increase over the past few years. Mobile bookings and budget accommodation are two areas where we made tremendous progress in the winter season.”  This year has been about budget accommodation and the survey also brought forth similar facts. Budget Hotels were the obvious choice of accommodation with almost 60 percent opting for lodging options under Rs. 4,000. The rest were divided between star properties, friends and family, home stays and ultra-luxury hotels, in the same order. Contrary to last year’s winter survey, family was the more obvious choice as travel partners followed by spouses, friends and solo travel. With the smart phone revolution, there …

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Goa Carnaval from Feb 6-9, 2016

The Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) is gearing up to celebrate its annual festival–the Goa Carnaval 2016 from February 6-9, 2016–that draws a huge amount of international and domestic traffic. This year Goa Tourism is working on a European commission project entitled ‘Destination Carnaval’ to improve the standard and quality of the float parade and performances. The main float parade will be held in the capital city – Panjim on February 6, followed by float parades in the other cities of Margao on February 7, Vasco on February 8 and Mapusa on February 9. GTDC will also organise its annual wine festival called ‘Grape Escapade 2016’ from February 4-8, 2016 at the DB Bandodkar Grounds, Campal.

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Global Hospitality Conclave 2016 concludes

Around 120 delegates made the 3rd Global Hospitality Conclave 2016 (GHC) a full house. Delegates not only reminisced fond memories of Oberoi Centre of Learning & Development (OCLD) days, but met up with old friends as well. Different sessions deliberated new ideas to better hospitality in India. Ajay Bakaya, Chairman, Organising Committee, GHC, 2016 said, “It’s an Oberoi alumni event, which started in 2014, and has grown in size and stature in last three years. We have people who are going to come in from all over the world. Wine expert from Toronto, Financial expert from US, we have a professor from Cornell in the USA. Also, there are people who have come in from Kenya and Uganda, and are handling hotels in these regions.  It’s a great gathering of people who have graduated from OCLD. The first batch graduated in 1966. It is now 50 years of graduated batches. In fact OCLD is celebrating fifty years this year. It’s a wonderful event, for us it’s a great event to interact with people who were our superiors, our peers or our subordinates. All come together to exchange ideas, camaraderie, exchange bon-homie.”.   The conclave saw three panel discussions. The discussion on ‘Competing on Analytics: The Power of Big Data’ conducted by Chekitan S. Dev, was very well received. The panellists for the same included—Sanjay Rishi, President, One India, Partner Consulting Group and Network Partnerships, ANZ       American Express; Sukanya Misra, Group Head, Advisors South Asia, Centre of Excellence, Mastercard; Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman , Microsoft Corporation India,  and Prasanjeet Baruah, Head Auto, Financial Services & New Businesses, Facebook. The power of Big Data was very well received. Presence of Rakesh Sarna, MD …

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