Tourism Breaking News

Tourism Minister invites trade to share out-of-box ideas on Sept 18

Alphons Kannanthanam, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, Government of India, has said that he is very happy to meet and exchange “radical” ideas on tourism with the travel trade in New Delhi. He said, “I am going to have a meeting at Transport Bhavan in New Delhi on Septmber 18, 2017, and I invite the travel industry to come and share their ideas. But they need to come with radical ideas, not the time-tested, overdone suggestions. Please get in touch with the Secretary Tourism with these ideas. Not suggestions like GST has to be abolished, etc. No, that all we know. Please come up with something new and imaginative.” He announced this at his first official event that he attended after taking on the role as the tourism minister – the 33rd IATO Annual Convention held in Bhubaneshwar from September 7-10, 2017.

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World’s longest zip line to open in RAK by December

Adventure seekers are in for some thrill as Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority is all set to launch the first phase of the longest zip line in the world at mountain Jebel Jais this December. According to Shaji Thomas, Director-Destination Tourism Development, Ras Al Khaimah, this muti-million dollar flagship tourism attraction of the UAE will be longer than 28 soccer pitches. He announced on the sidelines of OTOAI’s 3rd Convention being held in Ras Al Khaimah. The tourism board also plans to open an Observation deck at 1300 metres above sea level, which will be one of the highest in the UAE. This deck will offer viewing platforms to experience the awe inspiring vistas, bird life, flora and fauna of the emirate’ Al Hajar mountain range. It will also feature a multi-purpose events arena picnic area walking paths and food trucks.  

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Zurab Pololikashvili is the new UNWTO Secretary General

Zurab Pololikashvili, current Ambassador of Georgia to Spain, Morocco, Algeria and Andorra, has been appointed Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the period 2018-2021. Pololikashvili’s candidature was presented by his country, Georgia, in accordance with the UNWTO statutes. He was elected by consensus at the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly being held in Chengdu, China, following the recommendation of the 105th UNWTO Executive Council. Pololikashvili was Minister of Economic Development of Georgia (2009-2010) and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (2005-2006).

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Czech Republic opens tourism office in India

Observing the immense growth and potential in India’s outbound traffic, The Czech Republic has decided to open its tourism office India. The Czech Tourism India office will be located in Mumbai and will be represented through VFS Global. Present at the opening was Monika Palatkova, Managing Director, Czech Tourism Board, who said, “We have been working with VFS for visa processing since the last two years but it is only now that we decided to open an office in India. In the last five years, the volume of Indian arrivals to Czech Republic has almost tripled and we want to increase this further. From 66,000 Indian tourists that we received in 2016, we have a target to cross 1,00,000 Indian tourists by 2019.” The Czech Tourism India office will be led by Arzan Khambatta, Head, Czech Tourist Authority – Czech Tourism India. The tourism board is currently in the midst of a three-city roadshow – New Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai. The delegation consists of 10 sellers from the country, including Prague Airport, who will meet the Indian trade in these cities.

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3rd OTOAI Convention in RAK begins with 180 delegates in attendance

The third Annual Convention of Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) kicked off in Ras Al Khaimah with 180 delegates. The Convention was inaugurated by Shaji Thomas, Director-Destination Tourism Development, Ras Al Khaimah; Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI; Riaz Munshi, Convention Chairman and Vice President, OTOAI; Mohamed Khater, Senior Tourism Development Manager, Government of Ras Al Khaimah; Gurdeep Gujral, Joint Secretary, OTOAI; SanJeet, India Representative, Ras Al Khaimah, and Mahendra Vakharia, Chairman-Western Chapter, OTOAI. Sahni said, “Amidst the challenges in outbound tourism, there are growth opportunities and we need to seize them by raising our game and gearing up for growth. We need to up our value proposition and rise above the competition.” Thomas informed that India is the fourth largest source market for Ras Al Khaimah with Germany being the largest followed by UK and Russia. “India is a very important market for us. Earlier Indians used to stay 1.9 nights in RAK but now they stay for 2.25 nights which means they have explored more things to do at the destination. We have become a popular destination for weddings. This year we have 17 Indian boutique weddings and we hope to increase this number steadily.”

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Maharashtra to promote its tourism products in New York

Maharashtra’s Minister of Tourism Jaykumar Jitendrasinh Rawal met H.K Mauder Kakkur, Managing Director, NYC & Company New York, to discuss the prospects of tourism in Mumbai and Maharashtra in order to promote ‘The Brand Maharashtra’ in the City of New York. Vijay Waghmare, Managing Director, MTDC and Aashutosh Rathod, Joint Managing Director, MTDC, were also present at the event.

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Punjab Tourism and MMT to promote farm stays

Banking on its agricultural heritage, Punjab tourism department has authorised 60-plus properties for the purpose of farm stays. They signed an MoU with MakeMyTrip so all these farm stays and B&B are available online. Punjab has been so far one of India’s best-kept tourism secrets, believes Shivdular Singh Dhillon, Special Secretary and Director, Department of Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Archeology, Museums & Archives, Punjab and CEO, Punjab Heritage & Tourism Promotion Board. In order to tap experiential travellers who visit Amritsar, the tourism board is promoting farm tourism. “We have come up with farm stays in the outskirts. Agriculture has been Punjab’s backbone so what better place than here to create this experience. The department has so far authorised 60-plus properties for farm stays. For this, we have just signed an MoU in August 2017 with MakeMyTrip so all these farm stays and B&B are online for everyone to book. Travellers don’t look at Punjab as a tourist destination and this perception will change now,” Dhillon adds.

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PATA Travel Mart 2017 takes off in Macao

The 40th edition of PATA Travel Mart 2017 (PTM 2017) kicked off with ‘Travolution Forum Asia: Redefining Travel Experience’ at The Parisian Macao. Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA, moderated a session on ‘The Importance of Reviews and Personalised Marketing’ at PTM 2017. The Mart will be held in Macao SAR from September 13-15 and is being hosted by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO). PTM mobilises a relevant contingent of travel trade stakeholders from the Asia Pacific region and around the world and provides a first-hand update about the significant developments in Macao. Last PTM in Macao was held in 2010. Langkawi is the venue for PATA Travel Mart 2018 (PTM 2018) with this signature Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) event being hosted by Tourism Malaysia and Langkawi Development Authority.

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Odisha plans investment of Rs 20,000 crore in tourism by 2021

In an attempt to boost tourism Odisha Government has set a target to attract new investments to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore in the tourism sector by 2021. The tourism sector is one of the six focus sectors that the Odisha Government has identified for attracting new investment. The state has also set a target of 23.84 million tourist arrivals and the creation of 2,500 star-category hotel rooms by 2021. According to tourism officials, more than 12 million tourists visit Odisha every year and this number is growing by 9-10 per cent per year. The state aims to create 200,000 jobs, set up five convention centres and establish direct flight connectivity to five international destinations. It also aims to create a land bank of 2,000 acres to facilitate investors to get land for tourism projects. “According to Economic Survey done by the state government, the state has the potential to attract Rs 20,000 crore new investments in the tourism sector. We are making concerted efforts to achieve the target by 2021″, Nitin Bhanudas Jawale, Director and Additional Secretary, Department of Tourism, Government of Odisha reportedly said. Adding to the same, J K Mohanty, Chairman, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha and Chairman and Managing Director of Swosti Group, reportedly said, “Odisha has much more tourism potential compared to its neighbouring states to develop its tourist spots and pilgrimage places to showcase before the world. But, the state has the lowest number of star category of hotel rooms. We are sure that with the new tourism policy of the Odisha government announced in 2016, we can add about 5000 hotel rooms in the next three years.” Source: Business Standard

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IT spends of airlines and airports to touch $33 billion in 2017

According to the SITA 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights, airlines and airports are estimated to spend nearly US$33 billion on IT this year. The report says that the airlines and airports are focusing their technology investments on similar priorities. Top of the agenda for CIOs at both airlines and airports, are investments in cyber security and cloud services. In addition, they are prioritising investments in passenger self-service. SITA’s research of the world’s airlines and airports shows that IT spend remains strong. Airlines’ spend as a percentage of revenue will rise to an estimated 3.30 per cent or US$24.3 billion in 2017. For airports, the rise is to an expected 5.05 per cent for this year or US$8.43 billion. Looking ahead to 2018 over 70 per cent of airlines and 88 per cent of airports are expecting IT spend to increase or remain at the same levels as today. With increasing IT spend, both airlines and airports say that the number one priority for their investments is cyber security. Nearly all of them – 95 per cent of airlines and 96 per cent of airports – plan to invest in major programs or R&D on cyber security initiatives over the next three years. This shows alignment across the industry on the importance of investing in this area. Ilya Gutlin, President, Air Travel Solutions, SITA, said, “The air transport industry is going through digital transformation and focusing its attention on protecting the business and passengers; making it more efficient; and improving the passenger experience. Cyber-attacks are a very real threat in the highly interwoven air transport industry so building solid defenses is essential. Cloud services provide important efficiencies which play a …

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