Tourism Breaking News

10.4% growth in FTA in Oct 2016 over 2015

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during October, 2016 were 7.54 lakh as compared to FTAs of 6.83 lakh during October, 2015 and 6.68 lakh in October, 2014. There has been a growth of 10.4% in October, 2016 over October, 2015. FTAs during the period January-October, 2016 were 69.62 lakh with a growth of 10.5% as compared to the FTAs of 62.98 lakh with a growth of 4.5% in January- October, 2015 over January- October, 2014. The Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during October, 2016 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (16.67%) followed by  USA (12.83%), UK (11.03%), Canada (3.73%), Australia (3.50%), Sri Lanka (3.45%),  Germany (3.38%), Russian Fed (3.20%), France (2.91%), China (2.70%), Malaysia (2.65%),  Nepal (2.16%), Japan (2.12%), Singapore (1.54%) and Thailand (1.44%). The Percentage share of  Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during October 2016 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (34.06%) followed by Mumbai Airport (15.69%), Haridaspur Land check post (9.22%), Chennai Airport (7.19%),  Bengaluru Airport (5.50%), Kolkata Airport (4.10%), Hyderabad Airport (3.01%),  Goa (2.90%), Cochin Airport (2.72%), Ahmadabad Airport (2.14%), Gede Rail (1.86%), Amritsar Airport (1.71%), Trivandrum Airport (1.28%), Ghojadanga land check post (1.16%) and Gaya Airport  (1.03%). Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from Tourism in India during October, 2016 were Rs. 12,303 crore as compared to Rs. 10,549 crore in October, 2015 and Rs. 10,041 crore in October, 2014.

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IndiGo connects Lucknow to Ahmedabad & Guwahati, Bengaluru-Indore & Raipur-Patna

IndiGo has announced the launch of 28 new flights on its existing domestic network. The new schedule will see maiden flights on the Guwahati-Lucknow, Lucknow-Ahmedabad, Bengaluru-Indore and Raipur-Patna sectors. With the new flights and frequencies and induction of two new Airbus A320 aircraft, the airline’s frequency will increase to 890 daily. Effective November 2016, these flights will provide enhanced connectivity on the key sectors thus strengthening IndiGo’s existing network within India. With 890 daily flights connecting 41 destinations, these new flights will enable both corporate and leisure travellers to experience IndiGo’s unmatchable on-time performance. Speaking about the latest network expansion, Aditya Ghosh, President and Whole Time Director, IndiGo said, “We are absolutely delighted to announce 6E’s new flights connecting the metro cities with the regional destinations. In the exciting times for Indian aviation, we are hopeful that these flights will prove to be popular among our customers.”

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eTV a hit with 86.4% growth in October 2016

As many as 1,05,268 foreign tourists arrived in October 2016 on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 56,477 during the month of October 2015 registering a growth of 86.4 per cent. The UK continues to be biggest market availing the services with a 22.9 per cent share, followed by USA (12.1%), France (6.6%), China (5.8%), Russian Fed (5.6%), Germany (5.5%), Australia (4.5%), Canada (3.6%), Spain (2.3%) and Netherlands (2.1%). New Delhi Airport served the most number of eTV applications with a 51.67 per cent share, followed by Mumbai Airport (18.65%), Dabolim (Goa) Airport (6.20%), Bengaluru Airport (5.18%), Chennai Airport (4.97%), Kochi Airport (3.15%), Amritsar Airport (2.42%) Hyderabad Airport (2.18%), Kolkata Airport (2.08%) and Trivandrum Airport (1.28%). During January-October 2016, a total of 7,80,570 tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 2,58,182 during January-October 2015, registering a growth of 202.3 per cent.

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MTDC’s Agri Tourism Conclave in Nagpur on Nov 20

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has taken a step towards boosting agriculture tourism with its Agri Tourism Conclave 2016 in the Vidharba region will take place on 20 November 2016, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development in Nagpur, during the Kalidas Festival 2016. The motive of this conclave is to increase employment and investment opportunities in agro tourism in the region. The conclave will be inaugurated by Pravin Datke, Mayor, Nagpur followed by a presentation on encouraging people to take up agri-tourism as a profession by enterprising speakers from Baramati, Washim, Pune, Nagpur and Satara. This will serve two purposes i.e. boosting the farmer’s income and also bringing rural India closer to the cities. Dr. KH Govinda Raj, Managing Director, MTDC said, “As tourism is becoming increasingly important to the economy. Agricultural tourism is one alternative for improving the incomes and potential economic viability of small farms and rural communities. The objectives for promoting rural and agri-tourism is to educate the public and promote the products of the farm and generate additional farm income; provide rural experience to urban residents and allow diversification of income opportunity to farms and ranches that can help buffer fluctuating markets.”

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Rhätische Bahn hosts travel trade in Mumbai

Leading travel trade agents from Mumbai gathered at the Magazine Street Kitchen to an event hosted by Rhaetian Railways. It was a close-knit dinner, which was attended by 35 travel trade partners, including the Consul General of Switzerland, Martin J. Bienz. Sonal Salian, Market Manager India, Rhätische Bahn, said, “We are extremely grateful to our travel trade partners who have supported us all through the year; this event was a token of appreciation and also to give everyone an experience of Swiss opulence and precision which is synonymous with the brand.” The guests were greeted with fine European wine, a wide range of home-made cheese and freshly baked bread. Special care was taken that every element at the evening had a Swiss connect, as Rhaetian Railway is a Swiss mountain railway network, operating the well known Glacier express and Bernina express in the Graubünden regions.

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Thailand hosts 4-city luxury roadshow in India

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) offices in Mumbai and Delhi took its the fourth edition of its B2B event ‘Luxurious Pleasure’ to four cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Kolkata. First held in 2013, Thailand’s ‘Luxurious Pleasure’ roadshow series is an addition to its staple annual roadshow and focuses on high-end holidays such as holidays on private islands and helicopter rides. Explaining Thailand’s focus on luxury, Soraya Homchuen, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand – Mumbai, said, “Our two-city initiative is now a four-city show with Bengaluru, Kolkata and Ahmedabad now in the fray. We have noticed visible changes in buying behavior. This includes a growth in the number if travellers opting for five-star hotels and villas and a good response to market promotions with prices in the range of Rs 80,000 to Rs 150,000 for a week-long holiday. Today about 25 per cent of the Indian market is checking into luxury hotels and above (villas, private islands and yachts) and this is up from barely 10 per cent when TAT first launched its campaign to target the luxury segment. It is about strategy, sustainability and streamlining the industry with quality as a focus.” Thailand welcomed 1.06 million Indian travellers in 2015 and expects to cross 1.1 million in 2016, having hit over 700,000 Indian arrivals by August already. Homchuen added that TAT wants to grow high-end’s share of the pie by another five per cent. A change in the ratio of men: women travellers is also part of the goal. “Women comprise 23 per cent of the market currently and for this year we would like to bring this up to 30-35 per cent,” she said.

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Bollywood Parks Dubai officially opens

Dubai Parks and Resorts, the Middle East’s largest integrated theme park destination, announced the opening of Bollywood Parks Dubai on Nov 17. It is a first-of-its-kind theme park that showcases rides and attractions based on some of Bollywood’s biggest blockbusters. Unlimited access Annual Pass costs AED 755.00, while Single Park Ticket for a day full of fun and excitement start at AED 285.00 and Multi Parks Tickets offering access to more than one amusement park at AED 480.00. The park opened today with a ceremony that included various live entertainment shows performed by the talented Bollywood artists and dancers. Raed Kajoor Al Nuaimi, CEO of DXB Entertainments PJSC, the owner of Dubai Parks and Resorts said, “Following the successful opening and commencement of operations at LEGOLAND® Dubai and Riverland™ Dubai, we are very excited and eager to witness our guests’ reactions when they experience Bollywood Parks™ Dubai. Today we celebrate the opening of the first Bollywood inspired theme park in the world, and we’re confident that it will appeal to a large segment of fans due to its popularity in the region”. “We’re extremely proud to see this magnificent entertainment destination revealed to the world after 3 years of hard work and perseverance. Dubai Parks and Resorts is paving the way for future entertainment destinations, and shall forever change the face of family tourism and entertainment in the region” he added. Bollywood Parks™ Dubai will recreate the Bollywood experience through themed attractions and rides spread across five zones: Bollywood Boulevard, Mumbai Chowk, Rustic Ravine, Royal Plaza and Bollywood Film Studios. Visitors will experience bold action, colourful story-telling and captivating dance sequences inspired by nine popular films: Rock On!!, Don, Lagaan, …

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Airbnb forays into travel services with Trips

Airbnb moves beyond accommodation with the launch of Trips. Trips is a people-powered platform designed to make travel both easy and magical. Trips launches with three key areas – Experiences, Places and Homes, with Flights and Services to be added in the future. “Until now, Airbnb has been about homes,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO. “Today, Airbnb is launching Trips, bringing together where you stay, what you do, and the people you meet all in one place. We want to make travel magical again by putting people back at the heart of every trip.” Airbnb has also struck an exclusive partnership with Detour to offer access to experiential audio walking tours allowing people to discover neighborhoods in a totally unique and authentic way. At launch, audio tours will initially be available for Los Angeles with San Francisco, Paris, London, Tokyo and Seoul to follow by Spring 2017. With Trips, Airbnb also wants to make travel more social, helping connect the thousands of Airbnb users in a city on any given night. The launch of Trips also sees the introduction of a new identity authentication process that the Airbnb Experiences Community will be using. Hosts and guests will be asked to scan an official government ID (for example a passport, or driving license) and then take a simple selfie. After the ID is authenticated, the ID and selfie will be reviewed to confirm that both pictures appear to match. Having a more robust standard of authenticating identity will make the Airbnb community stronger and reaffirms Airbnb’s ongoing commitment to authenticity, reliability, and security. This new identity authentication step is required for all Experiences users, and is also currently being tested for …

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‘Illegal implementation of BSP Link charges in India’

IATA-accredited travel agents all over India will soon be receiving invoices from IATA for the annual additional amount of $360 towards usage of the 2-tier BSP Link Access that is being implemented effective January 1, 2017. IAAI has contended that, though it is required under IATA Res. 818g, the new BSP Link charges in India have not been listed through the agenda and neither discussed or approved nor recommended by the APJC-India as per the IATA procedures. Hence IATA’s decision to charge $30 per month is totally illegal, arbitrary and unacceptable to the Indian Travel Agents Fraternity, said Biji Eapen, National President, IAAI National Board in an official release. Eapen affirms that IAAI will go “the whole nine yards” and attempt to get a reversal on this unwarranted action by IATA. On November 15, IAAI has communicated to the IATA Regional Director at Singapore requesting to take suggested actions immediately. The Government of India authorities and Ministry are also being alerted and notified on this subject matter. IAAI has been the only Travel Trade Association that has risen to the occasion on behalf of the IATA-accredited Travel Agents in India – as in the matter of getting the Rs.20 lakhs Minimum Guarantee withdrawn in 2002, in getting the High Court of Kerala and the DGCA to issue Orders mandating Travel Agency commission, in getting IATA to invoke force majeure for the BSP payment by Tamil Nadu Travel Agents during the thunderstorm calamity in Nov/Dec 2015 and, recently, in retaining the Insurance Guarantee system actively as the only alternative to the Joint Bank Guarantee system.

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Lack of policies stifling potential growth of Indian tourism: WTTC

India’s Travel & Tourism sector has a huge potential, but growth remains largely untapped due to a lack of a co-ordinated approach to tourism policies, said David Scowsill, President & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Speaking at the Hotel Investment Forum India in Mumbai, Scowsill highlighted that India’s Travel & Tourism sector has extraordinary potential and is forecast to grow by 7.5% per annum over the next decade. In 2015, Travel & Tourism contributed 6.3% to India’s GDP, which is well below the global average of 10%. Additionally, international arrivals were around 8 million visitors per year, which is substantially lower than other countries. China receives 57 million visitors annually and Thailand 30 million. “Travel & Tourism is growing in India, but it comes from a low base compared to other countries in Asia. With the forecast growth for domestic and international tourism, we now stand at a crossroads. Now is the time for India to take off and fulfil its potential,” Scowsill added. Scowsill stressed six priorities which WTTC believes the Government should address urgently, to boost domestic business and leisure travel and to dramatically increase international arrivals: 1. Put tourism at the heart of its economic agenda: the government must deliver on its 2014 manifesto promise to prioritise the sector as a driver of economic growth. 2. Agree a responsible rate of GST: rather than implement a level of 18% tax, a range of 9-14% would certainly boost the social and economic potential of the sector. 3. Invest more into the ‘Incredible India’ campaign: look at other sources of marketing monies, whether from visa fees or private sector matching funds. 4. Continue the electronic visa programme …

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