Tourism Breaking News

APTDC signs MoU with O2 Spa to create employment opportunities

O2 Spa has announced it has signed an MoU with the Government of Andhra Pradesh that will see an investment of $1.75 million for a period of three years starting from October 2017. This investment is aimed at setting up of O2 Spa facilities across Andhra Pradesh wherein youth from the state will be trained and absorbed thus creating employment opportunities. This agreement was signed between O2 Spa and Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation at the Second Sunrise Andhra Pradesh Investment Meet that was held in Vizag. Girija Shankar, Managing Director of APTDC, was representing the Government. Ritesh Mastipuram, Founder and Managing Director, O2 Spa said, ”We will set up facilities across cities like Amravati, Vijaywada, Vizag to name a few within the next 3 years. The training aspects for the youths will be undertaken by O2 Skills Academy, an initiative of O2 Spa, primarily conceptualised to help meet the shortage of quality and skilled manpower in the spa and hospitality industry This collaboration will aim to provide employment linked, market oriented vocational training that will enable filling in the gaps.” O2 Spa is investing $15 million in expanding its operations in the country and aboard. The company will grow from its current base of 82 outlets in 18 cities to 150 outlets across 30 cities by FY 2016-2017. The expansion plans include addition of about 30 outlets in Tier I and 60 outlets in Tier II cities in India and more than 10 outlets abroad.

Read More »

UNWTO hails Kerala’s Responsible Tourism initiatives

Kerala’s award-winning ‘Responsible Tourism’ (RT) initiatives has come in for further recognition with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) describing them as a model for other destinations to replicate. The world’s foremost international tourism organisation also called for the development of closer ties between Kerala Tourism and UNWTO, emphasising the importance of further association to help take the message of sustainable tourism forward. In a recent meeting held at UNWTO headquarters in Madrid, Kerala Tourism Director, U.V. Jose presented a report on the RT campaigns – the heart of Kerala’s tourism story for nearly a decade – to Xu Jing, UNWTO Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. The report contained details of the RT policies and practices implemented in the state and the campaign’s success in giving stakeholdership to local communities and empowering them economically through activities that prioritise cultural and ecological conservation.

Read More »

MoCA’s budget up by 22%, Air India to get Rs 1800 crore

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) received an increase of over 22 per cent in budgetary allocation at Rs 5,167.60 crore in the Union Budget for 2017-18. Out of the ministry’s total allocation, a good chunk will be for Air India, which is to get Rs 1,800 crore. The amount will be extended to the national carrier as part of the bailout package announced by the then UPA government in 2012. Apart from that, the airline will be given Rs 508 crore as part of investment in public enterprises. National airports operator AAI has been allocated Rs 2,543 crore, apart from a budgetary support of Rs 100 crore. The budgetary funds for aviation watchdog DGCA has been stepped up significantly to Rs 230.56 crore for 2017-18. The amount is at Rs 29.67 crore for the current fiscal.

Read More »

India’s domestic aviation market records highest growth in 2016

The domestic India market topped the growth chart for the second year in a row according to IATA’s full-year global passenger traffic results for 2016. Passenger volumes surged by 23.3 per cent in 2016 – twice as fast as the next fastest growing market, China. Although the trend slowed down due to demonetisation, airlines are scheduling strong flight frequency growth in 2017, which will translate into time savings for passengers and will have the same stimulatory impact on demand as a cut in fares. India recorded revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) expansion of 23.3 per cent and has been underpinned by additional routes and increasing flight frequencies. “Air travel was a good news story in 2016. Connectivity increased with the establishment of more than 700 new routes. And a $44 fall in average return fares helped to make air travel even more accessible. As a result, a record 3.7 billion passengers flew safely to their destination. Demand for air travel is still expanding. The challenge for governments is to work with the industry to meet that demand with infrastructure that can accommodate the growth, regulation that facilitates growth and taxes that don’t choke growth. If we can achieve that, there is plenty of potential for a safe, secure and sustainable aviation industry to create more jobs and increase prosperity,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. Asia Pacific carriers recorded a demand increase of 8.3 per cent in 2016 compared to 2015, which was the second-fastest increase among the regions. This pace is considerably ahead of the five-year growth average of 6.9 per cent. Capacity rose 7.7 per cent, pushing up the load factor 0.4 percentage points to 78.6 …

Read More »

IATO convention in Bhubaneswar from Sept 7-10, 2017

The 33rd Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) Convention will be held from September 7-10, 2017 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Revealing this was N.S. Rathor, Chairman, Western Region IATO and Regional Chapter Chairman, who said, “The Minister Tourism and Culture, Government of Odisha, Ashok Chandra Panda, had attended our previous convention in Chennai and he was very keen for us to have our next convention in Orissa. As soon as he returned to Orissa, he spoke to his CM and they suggested the dates. It will be held either at Hotel Swosti or Mayfair Lagoon. Our team will visit the city soon for a recce. We had done our convention in Orissa in 2008 as well and since then the state has seen tourism grow. So the government is very keen to have the convention again.” He added that the main selling point in Orissa has been its tribal tours which is very niche and will appeal only to a few tourists who are interested. “Moreover, the accommodation available is basic, requires a lot of travelling and accessibility isn’t that great. For us though, it was an eye-opener. The people in Orissa are very nice, very warm. We travelled extensively in the area during our past convention and realised the destination has a lot of potential,” Rathor said.

Read More »

India’s air passenger volumes to reach 310 million by 2018

The overall air passenger volumes (pax) have been consistently increasing and are likely to reach 310 million by FYE18, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). This will be driven by the aspirations of the middle class to travel in flights and a reduction in price differential between air travel and rail journey, including the recently increased cancellation fees for train tickets. The slowdown in economic growth during the first half of the current decade had minimal impact on pax growth. However, the 2008 global economic crisis and fuel and currency crises in FY13 had a pronounced impact on air traffic growth. The gradual increase in private final consumption expenditure has been buttressing India’s pax growth since early FY14. Ind-Ra’s sensitivity on economic growth also underlines the strong underlying fundamentals and continued growth in pax volumes. Ind-Ra’s also reports that large gateways such as Mumbai and Delhi airports and mid-market airport hubs such as Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports have displayed strong volume resilience, despite unfavourable macroeconomic trends.

Read More »

GBTA predicts 11.6% growth in business travel spending in 2017

Double digit business travel spending growth continues for India, despite fears of fallout from the country’s demonetisation efforts, according to the latest Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) BTI™ Outlook – India report. “India continues to position itself to become a world leader in business travel for decades to come,” said Gaurav Sundaram, GBTA India’s regional director. “Despite fears surrounding the demonetisation efforts, India saw a 10.9 percent growth in year-over-year business travel spending for the second quarter of 2016 – even higher than our last report projected.” The GBTA Foundation report forecasts 11.4 percent growth in business travel spending in 2016, followed by another 11.6 percent in 2017 – both increases over our previous forecast – reaching $36.8 billion USD. India continues to climb the world rankings of business travel markets, moving up five spots during the early 2000s to become the 10th largest global business travel market at the end of 2015. Forecasts predicted India would pass Brazil last year and will likely surpass both South Korea and Italy in 2017. GBTA projects India will become the 6th largest business travel market in the world by the end of 2019. GBTA forecasts domestic business travel spending will continue to grow at consistently high rates, 11.8 percent in 2017, reaching $33.8 billion USD. India’s international outbound (IOB) business travel spending has shown subdued growth in the 5-6 percent per year range. GBTA’s IOB forecast for 2016 has been revised upward from 3.1 percent projected previously to 5.4 percent. It seems commodity prices may have finally found their footing and bottomed out, and the brightening prospects for increased trade activity, especially with the oil-rich MENA region, should help to push IOB …

Read More »

1.5 million visitors expected at Surajkund Mela

The 31st edition of Surajkund International Crafts Mela is being held from February 1-15 and has gone cashless to cater to the 1.5 million crowd expected this year. The event has Jharkhand as theme state and Egypt as partner nation, as was inaugurated by Manohar Lal, Chief Minister of Haryana in the presence of Ram Bilas Sharma, Haryana Tourism Minister; Amar Kumar Bauri, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Jharkhand and Hatem Tageldin, Ambassador of Egypt to India amongst other dignitaries. This year, the organisers have tied up with BookMyShow for booking entry tickets and Mobikwik for hassle-free payment. Partner Bank – Dena Bank has also provided card swiping machines to every seller making it easy for visitors to shop. This year’s edition has an increased space of 2.5 acres with 145 more stalls this year, up from 865 last year to 1010 this year. Six ATM machines and mobile ATMs have also been facilitated, informed V S Kundu, Additional Chief Secretary, Haryana Tourism.

Read More »

Taxing outbound tourism will kill the industry

Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI, says, “We were very disappointed with the budget, especially when the government has been talking about tourism being a major pillar of growth. I don’t understand how it cannot be important when budget is concerned, except for the fact that the passports can now be applied in the GPOs.” He took a poignant view on the taxation. “While this is a good move on one side, on the other hand taxing outbound tourism would make us less competitive than people sitting overseas. This will kill the industry, which is making 20 million people travelling outside India, which is not using infrastructure available across the country and still generating revenue,” he adds.

Read More »

Inbound sector completely ignored

Rajan Sehgal, Chairman, TAAI- Northern Chapter, has a stern opinion on Union Budget. “For the last so many years, there has been no mention of tourism. This time as well, tourism was mentioned only for two minutes. We cannot think of growth and promotion of tourism internationally without having our house in order. No monument in India is of international standard, and people only know of the Taj Mahal, which is the only monument we can sell, which too is not tourism friendly.” On how the Budget ignored the inbound sector, Sehgal says, “Tourism brings in foreign exchange as well as creates employment. Very cleverly, the government has seen outbound tourism where they have seen two crore people are travelling, and thus they should come in the tax bracket. But they have not emphasised on inbound, which would bring the foreign exchange. They are just trying to collect tax, but they have not understood the potential of tourism. We have to have direct interaction with the Prime Minister’s Office. Tourism needs to be a very easy industry, and the tax should be simplified in this sector. Other countries follow this and are booming.”

Read More »