Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

Saudi aims to attract 3.9 million Chinese travelers by 2030, showcases tourism prowess in China

Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) has successfully concluded its first roadshow in Beijing with 13 partners including DMCs, hoteliers and airline partners in attendance. The roadshow celebrated key milestones for Saudi’s tourism growth story and showcased the country’s rich cultural and heritage offerings and, why Saudi is the perfect travel destination for Chinese travelers. A series of events, meetings, round table discussions and networking events were hosted, culminating in over twenty strategic partnership announcements. During the highly anticipated roadshow, Saudi Tourism Authority held meetings with over 100 trade partners and travel buyers in China to promote Saudi as a leisure destination, sharing insights into the emerging trends in MICE tourism. Facilitating seamless group travel is Saudi’s inclusion in the ‘Approved Destination Scheme’ alongside China’s participation in Saudi’s e-visa program along with 48 other nationalities and inclusion in the brand new 96-hour Stopover Visa – where guests flying onwards on SAUDIA can avail a complimentary one-night hotel stay in Saudi. Saudi’s presence in China is an indication of how important the tourism industry is for the Kingdom and the incredible growth the country has witnessed since opening to tourism in 2019. Saudi’s post-pandemic tourism recovery has outpaced G20 countries. Last year, Saudi Arabia welcomed 93.5 million visits and saw total tourism spend amount to SAR185 billion – an increase of 93% compared to 2021. China is a key source market for Saudi. As part of Saudi’s ambition to achieve 100 million visits annually by 2030, China represents immense potential as it is expected to be Saudi’s 3rd top source market by then. Alhasan Aldabbagh, President-APAC, Saudi Tourism Authority, said, “We are delighted to showcase the beauty of Saudi and its diverse tourism …

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Get insights on cruise and MICE travel

Poised for exponential growth after a pause, these two segments of travel are evolving like never before, with new expectations from ever-discerning customers. Listen to industry leaders from across the travel and tourism industry in both India and Singapore about what the industry needs to be equipped with in pursuit of travellers of tomorrow, at this exciting conclave organised by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), to be held in Mumbai on March 10, 2023.   WTTC President Julia Simpson famously announced last year that “the recovery of global tourism is going to be so stellar that it’s going to recover really powerfully”. According to forum, the global travel and tourism sectors are projected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023. It is expected to post an annual average growth rate of 5.8% from 2022 to 2032 versus the 2.7% increase in global GDP.  Focus on cruise and MICE segments Businesses in the MICE travel sector have also pinned their hopes on 2023 as the year it truly bounces back. According to a GBTA survey, over three-fourths of global travel managers expect the number of business trips taken by employees to be higher, with 85% of travel suppliers expecting their corporate client bookings to be higher this year. Some travel industry experts from India say that it could account for well over a third of the total outbound travel from India. Singapore has been one of the earliest beneficiaries of the outbound revival in the region; India has been a very important MICE source market for Singapore, especially in the M&I space. Requirements of MICE travellers are also evolving, and they are looking for new ways to conduct their meetings, and …

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New air corridors to boost Israel’s airline industry; to augment tourism and business travel to Israel

The recent decision by Saudi Arabia and Oman to allow Israeli civilian overflights is a significant regional development that is already having a positive impact on the Israeli airline industry. Flights from Israel to the Far East will be much shorter as a result of the new air corridor, allowing airlines to offer more direct and efficient routes. El Al’s decision to fly over Saudi Arabia and Oman en route to Thailand is a historic moment for the Israeli national carrier, cutting the flight time from Tel Aviv to Bangkok from about ten and a half hours to just eight. This is expected to open up new opportunities for the airline in the region. El Al is expected to re-launch its route to India, which was closed during the pandemic. Arkia also announced plans to re-launch its routes to Goa and Cochin, which were closed in 2019, and is considering expanding its service to India and Sri Lanka. Israir has also announced its interest in opening a route of just five hours flight time to India. Overall, the new air corridor over Saudi Arabia and Oman is a boon to the Israeli airline industry, and it is expected to spur growth and innovation in the region’s aviation sector. The two-and-a-half-hour reduction in flight times from Israel to the Far East will also shorten flights on Israeli carriers to India, Sri Lanka, and Australia, among other destinations. This will almost certainly increase tourism and business travel to and from Israel. According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “Israel has, in effect, become the main transit point between Asia and Europe. Israel is opening up to the East on an unprecedented scale.” Commenting …

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First MICE FAM trip of the year in Oman

The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, The Sultanate of Oman organized its first MICE FAM trip for the year for important MICE trade partners from all over India. The participants included representatives from travel agencies in Mumbai, Delhi, Cochin, and Hyderabad. Several places in and around Muscat, including Wahiba Sands and Jebel Akhdar, were visited by a delegation of six key MICE partners. The objective of the trip was to showcase the top attractions and the hotel properties to the MICE agents, and therefore, the agenda was to do multiple inspections of hotels and the sites suitable for the Indian MICE movement. The site inspections were done in the top properties, including Al Falaj Hotel, Al Bustan Palace, Sheraton, Jumeirah Muscat Bay, W Muscat, Kempinski, Hotel Sur Plaza, DusitD2, Alila, Anantara and many more. The diversity of options for MICE in Oman which included the beaches, mountains, wadis, desert among others were discussed during the visit. The team was very happy to visit various sites of Omanؙ—Dolphin watching tour, Museums, Nizwa Fort, the famous souqs and a visit to the Mall of Oman. The trade partners were impressed with the options available in Oman for the MICE groups with a combination of luxury and budgeted properties. The agents found Oman to be a delightful place as they enjoyed the Sultanate’s hospitality, landscape, and culture. The trade partners were thrilled to see the culinary options available and its similarity with the Indian cuisine. A big thank you to our DMC partner Zahara Tours for flawlessly planning everything and hosting at the magnificent Arabian Nights Resort & Spa! On 4 February 2023, the FAM trip came to an end, leaving the guests …

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Oman: A haven of underwater heritage

The Sultanate of Oman abounds with various underwater/submerged cultural heritage, which is witness to its role as an axis of the human civilizations since the early prehistoric periods. Since several ships, coastal human settlements and aircrafts containing collectibles with cultural and economic significance sunk in the Omani territorial waters, it prompted the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism (MHT) to establish a directorate for the underwater antiquities, the first unit of its kind in the GCC region. Ayyoub Nagmoush Al-Busaidi, Director, Directorate of the Underwater Submerged Antiquities, Ministry of Heritage and Tourism (MHT), said, “The underwater archaeological sites and ships are a source of precious historical information as they contain antiquities of human existence. The archaeology aims to analyze the antiquities, identify the origins and the development of civilizations.”  “Underwater archaeology is a scientific discipline that deals with the studying sites, man-made objects, human remains, and submerged landscapes. This science should be placed within its broader framework of marine archaeology, which studies human relationships with oceans, lakes, and rivers, while complementing it with navigation,” he added. In 2012, the MHT has launched a program aiming to identify the resources and components of these antiquities, enumerating them, and determining their nature, and protecting them from illegal trade/natural factors, he added. The department is now working on formulating rules for protection, management, employment, conducting surveys, excavations, restoration, preserving, documenting archaeological sites, analyzing the results, and presenting them to the local and international community. It may be noted that Oman’s maritime history dated back to the 3 BC, when commercial activity flourished in Mesopotamia and the Nile Valley. After Omanis gained good expertise in navigation in the 18th century, Muscat emerged as one of …

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Join the webinar about Swiss Schengen visas for Indian tourists today at 3pm

Switzerland Tourism invites the trade to attend this exclusive webinar in partnership with the Embassy of Switzerland Visa Section. This webinar will highlight the latest information and guidelines regarding the Swiss Schengen visa and the application process. Attend all webinars for a chance to win a trip to Switzerland in 2024! For more information, write to or 9650196532.

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