Tourism Breaking News

India 3rd largest growth market for visitor arrivals in Singapore

India ranked third among the top growth markets for international visitor arrivals in Singapore in terms of absolute growth in 2016, registering a growth of 8 per cent. While China (+36%) topped the growth markets, Indonesia (+6%) finished a close second. The growth was due to more visitor arrivals from Tier-I and Tier-II cities in China, India and Indonesia, where STB had intensified its marketing efforts. India also overtook Australia to become Singapore’s 4th largest source market for visitor arrivals. The largest declines in visitor arrivals were posted by Hong Kong (-12%), Malaysia (-2%), Australia (-2%), South Korea (-2%) and Japan (-1%). From January to September 2016, there was good growth in tourism receipts across Singapore’s top ten source markets. For the second consecutive year, China (+41%) ranked top in tourism receipts, followed by Indonesia (+14%) and India (+37%). Both visitor arrivals and tourism receipts exceeded forecasts to hit historical highs in 2016. While visitor arrivals grew by 7.7 per cent to 16.4 million, tourism receipts rose even higher by 13.9 per cent to $24.8 billion. The strong tourism receipt results came on the back of visitors spending more on Food and Beverage, Shopping and Accommodation. On the business tourism front, STB supported more than 410 business events held in 2016, a 15 per cent year-on-year growth. These events garnered around 343,000 visitor arrivals, and generated approximately $611 million in tourism receipts, a 20 per cent and 28 per cent increase year-on-year respectively.

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Singapore Airlines launches 4th weekly flight from Ahmedabad

Singapore Airlines has announced the launch of its fourth weekly flight from Ahmedabad to Singapore, starting March 26, 2017. All flights will be operated by the Airbus A330-300 wide-body aircraft. David Lim, General Manager India, Singapore Airlines, commented, “Travel to and from Ahmedabad has steadily increased over the years. Singapore Airlines is pleased to offer an additional frequency to meet the growing market demand. The new service will provide travellers a much sought after weekend departure window, to travel to Singapore and to onward destinations.” Furthermore, travellers from India can redeem a complimentary S$20 Changi Dollar Voucher for use at all participating shops, restaurants and lounges when they transit at Singapore Changi Airport. Indian nationals can also avail of one-way, Visa Free Transit Facility for up to 96 hours in Singapore with a valid onward ticket and a valid visa from selected countries. The transit facility will be provided at the discretion of the immigration authorities.

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U&I Holidays to add Tier II cities in 2017 Bali roadshow

Having grown its annual roadshow from five cities to six now, Mumbai-based U&I Holidays is keen on adding Tier-II cities from next year. Shyam Upadhyay, Director, U&I Holidays, says, “This time, we wanted to include a new city so we added Kolkata, which to our surprise was a hit. Most of the participants found good potential there. Every city got more than 100 attendees but Kolkata was at 150 which is really good for a city like that.” The six cities were Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Mumbai. The roadshow had 32 participants from Bali of which 31 were hotels plus one caterer. Speaking about Kolkata, Ashish Indulkar, Director, U&I Holidays, adds, “Although we have been doing some activities in Kolkata, we never ventured full-fledge into the market. We were very happy with the turnout. It is a very interesting market because there are whispers that AirAsia India is planning to launch a direct Kolkata-Bali flight via Kuala Lumpur.” Upadhyay adds that next year’s roadshow will continue to travel to six cities but a new set of cities which will include a Tier-II city like Nagpur, Jaipur or Pune. U&I Holidays sent 15,000 Indian pax to Bali last year. “In 2015, it was 12,000, and this year we are expecting bigger numbers. We are focusing more on MICE as well,” Indulkar adds. U&I has its own office in Bali and they are also a DMC for Maldives. Last year, U&I Holidays entered the wellness segment by opening Ashoka Spa outlet in Mumbai. It opened another one in Bali in December 2016. It will now focus on hotel spas in Mumbai and parts of Maharashtra and are already in talks …

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IATO welcomes new batch of guides in Mumbai

After a long spell of dearth of good quality guides in Maharashtra authorised by India Tourism, the Western Chapter of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) is happy to welcome the new batch of guides who have just graduated. N.S. Rathor, Chairman, Western Region IATO and Regional Chapter Chairman, shared, “The good news is that we now have a new batch of guides after their course got over. About eight of them will get their licenses by around middle of February 2017. However, the trouble is the students from western India were made to sit with those from the north. So they have only studied monuments in north India. We have now requested the Ministry of Tourism, Regional Director, Vikas Rustagi, to give them an orientation here once they graduate and get their licenses. We also want them to interact with the older, more experienced guides so they also understand and learn how to converse with the foreign tourists when they ask questions about India, its economy, culture, etc. Many times, the foreign travellers, specially Europeans have more knowledge about India than us.”

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Air India becomes latest A320neo operator

Air India has become the latest A320neo operator after taking delivery of the first of 14 aircraft leased from Kuwait headquartered ALAFCO Aviation Lease And Finance Company, becoming the first CFM powered NEO operator in India. The delivery is also the first NEO for ALAFCO from an order for 85 A320neo Family. The A320neo will join Air India’s existing fleet of 66 A320 Family aircraft. Through a network of over 45 Indian suppliers, more than 6,000 professionals in India contribute directly and indirectly to all Airbus programmes and every aircraft produced today is partly made in India. The A320neo Family incorporates latest technologies including new generation engines and wing tip devices, which together deliver more than 15 percent in fuel savings from day one and 20 percent by 2020. The A320neo Family is the world’s best-selling single aisle product line with over 5,000 orders from 92 customers since its launch in 2010 capturing almost 60 percent share of the market. Thanks to their widest cabin, all members of the A320neo Family offer unmatched comfort in all classes and Airbus’ 18” wide seats in economy as standard. To date over 70 A320neo have been delivered to 18 customers.

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HRAWI organises seminar on direct taxes for members

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) recently organised a seminar on direct taxes for its members in Mumbai. Addressed by Anil Harish, an expert in tax matters, the seminar enabled the hoteliers and restaurateurs to understand implications of the Union Budget, introduction of new policies, and the taxes levied among others. The seminar also specified the Government’s investment plans for allied sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, education, and tourism, and discussed concerns regarding overlapping taxes. Dilip Datwani, President, HRAWI says, “Taxes form an important and integral part of any establishment. The seminar was conducted in order to brief our members and clarify their doubts on the proposed taxes in the Union Budget 2017-18 and its impact on the hospitality sector. Besides this, there were a lot of queries from the food and beverage operators regarding GST. The seminar in many ways proved to be an eye-opener for the attendees. We are glad to get such positive response from the members and plan to conduct more such seminars frequently in future.”

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Now, free SIM cards for tourists on e-visa

Welcome kits with preloaded SIM cards have been launched by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Tourism & Culture, Govt. of India, in collaboration with BSNL and Telco for the benefit of foreign tourists visiting the country. He announced, “We are glad to be launching this initiative and hope it is a success. Our aim is to make the tourists’ stay in India a good one and their safety and security is our utmost concern. Hence, the sim cards have been preloaded with about Rs. 50 talktime and 50mb data so that they can connect with their loved ones after landing in India.” The kit is currently available at T3, Indira Gandhi International Airport and will subsequently be rolled out to 15 other airports where e-visa facility is accepted. Tourists can avail the free sim card from the Bureau of Immigration at the airport after filling out an information form.

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ETAA conducts first agent meet in Hyderabad

Enterprising Travel Agents Association (ETAA) organised its first travel agent meet in Hyderabad on February 10, 2017, at Hotel Royalton. The event received an overwhelming response from its members and others from the travel trade. The event was attended by Carl Dantas, Chairman Emeritus, ETAA; Jagat Mehta, President, ETAA; Abhijit Khadilkar, National General Secretary, ETAA; Dipti Thakoor, National Jt. Secretary; Dharmesh Advani, Treasurer, ETAA, and M P Joy, South India Chapter Chairman. More than 70 travel agents from various associations attended the event from Hyderabad and other surrounding cities. There was a brief knowledge session by TrawellTag Cover-More conducted by renowned trainer Aman Koushik. The ETAA National Board and Regional Chapters are all gearing up to welcome members to its upcoming ETAA Convention at Leonia Resorts, Hyderabad from March 3-5, 2017.

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Thomas Cook promotes Mahesh Iyer as CEO

The Board of Thomas Cook (India) at its meeting on February 14, 2017, announced the elevation of Mahesh Iyer as Chief Executive Officer. Prior to his elevation, Iyer was Chief Operating Officer of the company. He assumes direct responsibility for the company’s P&L, day to day operations, strategic planning, management of key relationships, as well as building a sustainable growth oriented organisation that maximises value for all its stakeholders. Madhavan Menon, Chairman & Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India) said, “I am delighted with Mahesh’s elevation as Chief Executive Officer. A Thomas Cook veteran of 22 years, he will now lead Thomas Cook India. He joins the leaders of the group’s other travel namely Dipak Deva of TCI-Sita, Vishal Suri of SOTC and Maria Ng of Kuoni Hong Kong who will have the freedom in managing their respective companies and will report to me as part of the larger group structure.”

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Tourism Australia embarks on an integrated marketing campaign

Tourism Australia has commenced a fresh phase of its marketing initiatives across the television, digital and print platforms. At the helm of the campaign is a television commercial (TVC) featuring a glorious montage of stunning locales, scenic coastline and incredible tourism experiences Down Under. The TVC showcases the pristine Great Barrier Reef, Kangaroo Island, Great Ocean Road, Sydney Harbour Bridge and much more with its enchanting visuals highlighting the beauty and natural landscape of Australia. The commercial will be rolled out across 30 television channels including English entertainment, infotainment, lifestyle, news and select Hindi General Entertainment channels. Tourism Australia will also capitalise on the upcoming India – Australia cricket test series through various media initiatives. In addition to television, high impact advertisements will be featured in the print space in collaboration with key distribution partners, including SOTC, Mercury Travels, TUI, Flightshop, D Pauls, Kulin Kumar Holidays, among others. Another major focus of the tactical, offer-driven campaign will be on digital, consisting of regular display ads and content, with aspirational destination imagery and creative renditions, all inviting travel enthusiasts to book a holiday to Australia at unbeatable prices. Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager – India & Gulf, Tourism Australia said, “Our latest campaign showcasing Australia’s aquatic and coastal scenery has truly captured the attention of the Indian traveller, and reaffirmed our research indications that international visitors enjoy our aquatic or coastal environments in some way – from snorkeling to simply going to the beach. In our upcoming marketing activities, we will leverage uniquely Australian experiences to entice more travellers to choose Australia as their next holiday destination.”

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