Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

Switzerland witnesses 23% increase in overnights from India

Switzerland witnessed a 23.4 per cent increase in the overnights spent by Indians in Switzerland in 2017. Indian tourists are increasingly looking at Switzerland as a travel destination because of the plethora of options it offers to each traveller. In order to showcase these diverse options, Switzerland Tourism has taken its multiple offerings across Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata and Delhi through its recently-concluded annual roadshow. Switzerland’s increasing number of Indian overnights can be attributed to Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh coming on board as the brand ambassador. “This year has also been a very exciting one for Switzerland Tourism with Ranveer Singh continuing as our brand ambassador. He has showcased Switzerland in a very attractive and diverse light, be it adventure, sports, culture, food, new destinations or experiences. Each year, we see a growing interest among Indian travellers but 2017, thanks to Ranveer, the overnights have been extremely high. Our numbers this year are also encouraging – we are up 10 per cent in hotel overnights in the period January to August 2018 as compared to the same period last year. Besides this campaign, we also continue our travel trade campaigns – with regular webinars, training sessions in tier two and tier three cities as well our new e-learning modules on the Switzerland Travel Academy,” said Claudio Zemp, Director–India, Switzerland Tourism. The roadshows in all the four cities had a B2B session where Indian travel agents met and discussed business prospects and ideas with the Swiss delegation.

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Sri Lanka targets millennials with new brand platform

The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) has announced a new brand identity under the platform ‘So Sri Lanka’ which targets millennial travellers who select holiday destinations based on what they can hope to experience there. Revealed at World Travel Market in London, the new brand platform is grounded on the insight that Sri Lanka is more than just a destination, it’s a feeling. The brand platform has a contemporary, social and engaging design to reflect the heart and individuality of the country. It will roll out across all tourism promotion materials in a multi-channel, international campaign starting early next year. Madubhani Perera, Director—Marketing, SLTPB, says “There has never been a better time for a rebrand. Sri Lanka has just been named Lonely Planet’s Number One Destination for 2019. For us ‘So Sri Lanka’ symbolises our evolution with the digital revolution. The modern traveller goes online to seek inspiration and to find the next life-changing travel experience. ‘So Sri Lanka’ helps us evoke the inimitable feeling of our beautiful, vibrant, authentic and generous country through the smartphones of potential travellers.” Sri Lanka is the essence of a people renowned for their hospitality, a stunning landscape, rich biodiversity and a wealth of immersive experiences on offer for travellers. The rebrand marks the start of Sri Lanka’s fresh approach to destination marketing.    

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Tourism Australia launches Premier Aussie Specialist Program in India

Tourism Australia has introduced a second tier to its specialist program in India with the introduction of the Premier Aussie Specialist Program. Membership in the Premier Aussie Specialist category is an acknowledgement of the destination expertise, insider knowledge and strong ties with the Australian travel industry of Aussie Specialist agents with an established record of selling Australia. As part of the launch, 70 agents from across cities like Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Ludhiana, Mumbai and Pune have been inducted into the Premier Aussie Specialist Program in India. The programme offers professional validation for retail agents selling Australian holidays to discerning consumers. As part of the membership, Premier Aussie Specialists are invited to attend exclusive travel industry workshops, market updates and training events hosted by Tourism Australia and Australia’s States and Territories. Speaking at the launch, John O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australia said, “The Premier Aussie Specialist Program seeks to recognise the invaluable advocacy that travel advisors, who have been selling Australian holidays for many years, deliver for the destination. This group of elite agents are important contributors to our efforts to make Australia a destination of choice for travellers from India and it is a proud moment for us to congratulate and show our appreciation to these industry friends for their incredible passion and dedication to selling Australia.” Tourism Australia’s distribution strategy for India includes an enriched trade engagement programme. As one of the pioneers of the online destination training, Tourism Australia’s Aussie Specialist Program has recruited more than 2,981 travel agents across India.

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Sweden witnesses 23% increase in tourists from India

According to the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, the number of bednights by Indians in Sweden in 2016 was 175088 nights which went up to 216058 nights in 2017, a 23 per cent increase from the previous year. Michael Persson Gripkow, Chief Brand & Communications Officer, VisitSweden says, “We have noticed a rise in ‘bleisure’ travel trend. In addition, according to Statistics Sweden, 17,000 Indian passport holders resides in Sweden today. This along with other factors has led to an increase in tourism from India.” Today more than 170 Swedish companies are registered in India among the likes of Ericsson, Volvo, H&M, Scania, DeLaval, Tetrapak and the latest entrant being global home furnishings giant IKEA. This growing bridge between India and Sweden has impacted tourism positively. Ruth Dolla, Project Manager – India, VisitSweden adds, “We look forward to further growth this year. Air India’s direct flight from Delhi to Stockholm completed one year since its first flight in August 2017 and continues to bring incoming traffic from India to Sweden.” In addition more and more airlines are launching new routes to Sweden. Qatar Airways is slated to launch a direct flight in December 2018 from Doha to Sweden’s second largest city – Gothenburg that will provide better connections to passengers from India.  

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Scandinavian countries witness tremendous growth in Indian arrivals

In an attempt to engage the travel trade and provide a platform to meet Scandinavian partners from Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the Scandinavian Tourist Board organised a roadshow in Delhi with 28 Scandinavian partners and seven DMCs from the Nordic countries. The annual event will be held in Bengaluru next and conclude in Mumbai. Briefing about the development of tourism in Scandinavian countries, Mohit Batra, India Representative, Scandinavian Tourist Board said that there has been a tremendous growth in the number of Indians travelling to Denmark, Norway and Sweden. “We are closely approaching 500,000 room nights in 2018 looking at the figures we have till now. We have seen a surge in every segment, be they FITs, groups or MiCE,” he informed.  

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Turkey hosts Fam for Indian wedding planners and agencies

In an initiative to promote Turkey as a preferred wedding destination for Indian weddings, Turkey Cultural & Tourism board, India, recently organised a familiarisation trip for top Indian wedding planning agencies. Agencies were selected on the quality of their work as well as their experience in planning weddings abroad. The visit offered the Indian contingent with the opportunity to view and experience Turkey as a unique destination for holding Indian weddings. The week-long trip had wedding planners travelling to cities of Antalya, Bodrum, Istanbul where they had the opportunity to visit more than 25 hotels and resorts and interact with the representatives of these luxury hospitality chains. In addition, a city tour was also organised in each city where the Indian delegation had the chance to visit some of regions most popular tourist attractions. Special cultural events, culinary galas and B2B sessions also kept the delegation busy. The trip helped wedding planners understand the current offerings in Turkey and how it could be explored as a destination for lavish Indian weddings. Talking about reasons to promote Turkey as a wedding destination, Deniz Ersöz, Culture and Tourism Counsellor, Turkish Culture and Tourism Office in India, said, “Weddings in India are becoming larger than life and destination weddings are getting more and more popular among Indians. Turkey has great potential to become a wedding destination and the feedback we got from the wedding planners after the Fam trip was very encouraging. It is a destination with the most amazing and diverse topography, which is perfect for an Indian wedding as you could have every event set against a unique backdrop.”

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France welcomes 89 million global tourists and 600,000 Indians in 2017

The year 2017 continued to be a record year for tourism in France, highlights Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India. The country had the honour of welcoming 89 million global tourists last year whilst retaining the position of being the most popular choice in the tourism industry. France also welcomed over 600,000 Indian visitors, being the number one destination in Europe for Indians.  Indian arrivals to France have doubled in the last four years and grew at approximately 20 per cent each year. The figures for 2018 already look very positive especially with the support of the embassy and visa efficiency. Two years back, the French embassy committed to take a visa decision within 48 hours of receiving an application and this has helped further promote the destination in India.  

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Seychelles conducts destination trainings in Surat and Nagpur

Seychelles Tourism Board recently completed destination trainings in Surat and Nagpur. The workshops were conducted to engage a new set of tour operators who have the potential to promote the destination and equip them with information and details about Seychelles. The events were attended by 25-30 companies in both cities which included a destination presentation followed by question and answer and networking sessions. While the training was conducted by Shakambri Soni from Seychelles Tourism Board, Neeti Bhatia, GM—Marketing and PR at Blue Square Consultants orchestrated the networking sessions ensuring quality meetings. Seychelles has seen a steady growth in inbound tourism from India with more than 10,000 passengers till September 2018. India is the top sixth source destination for Seychelles and is seeing an increase in traffic from Tier-II cities of India. Commenting on the success of the workshops, Lubaina Sheerazi, COO, Blue Square Consultants, Seychelles Tourist office India said, “The workshop gives a common platform for all to get information and support from the tourism board. Limiting the presentation to around 30 companies ensures good one to one interaction between the tourism board representative and invited operators and leads to more serious business meetings between the two. Seychelles is now a choice of destination for target audiences beyond honeymooners and metro cities, and penetration into Tier-II cities through this format provides a larger stage to initiate and nurture quality B2B interaction.”

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Tourism from India to Russia grows 27.5 per cent

At the recently-concluded Round Table on Tourism on the sidelines of the Russian Indian Summit 2018, Ivan Breganov, Regional Manager of IFS (Russian Visa Center) confirmed that the number of tourist visas issued from January to September 2018 has already surpassed the total number of visas issued in 2017, pegging the YoY growth around 27 per cent. The round table was organised by Russia Expo Center, Moscow along with Russian Information Center, Mumbai (RIC) with more than 120 trade professionals from India attending along with TAAI MC Member Rajan Sehgal and EEMA Executive Vice President Sanjiv Pasricha making the keynote address along with Timur Vekilov, Chief Representative in India of Russ Expo Center. The round table moderated by Paresh Navani, Director, Russ Information Center discussed the needs and special services required by Indians and ways to address the same. In this regard, Russ Information Center announced the pre-launch of Ural Airlines set to begin operations from March 24, 2019 connecting Mumbai to Yekaterinburg and Moscow along with some tourism products to take advantage of the new airline service between the two countries, further RIC presented its ‘Indian Friendly’ programme to the Indian travel trade, the Indian friendly programme trains Russian hotels on Indian culture, cooking Indian dishes and ensure that other specific needs are provided to Indians in Russia. Another point noted by the attendees was that tourists from Russia to India has also grown over the last years by around 29 per cent, showing good recovery of arrival compared to the past few years.

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Jeju Tourism conducts two-city roadshow in India

Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and Jeju Tourism Organization recently held a joint roadshow in New Delhi and Mumbai to present the destination to travel agents. This was their second tourism presentation in India since 2015 when they made their India debut. Park Hong Bai, President, Jeju Tourism Organization, led the Korean delegation that comprised Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and three domestic businesses that were participating in the roadshow. About 100 tour operators attended the show in each city. Indian nationals do not require a visa for visiting Jeju Island. Hong Bai, said, “This roadshow is a very important first step for Jeju to tap the Indian market. Jeju will be working with Korea Tourism Organization and Hong Kong Tourism Board to boost promotion of each region in India and to increase the satisfaction of Indian travellers who plan to visit Jeju.”

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