Tag Archives: Suman Billa

Over 125 delegates at FICCI Digital Summit

FICCI Digital Travel, Hospitality and Innovation Summit opened with over 125 delegates. The attendees from various verticals of the travel and hospitality industry like technology providers, travel management companies, hotels, airlines, online travel agencies, GDS, etc., attended the event. The FICCI-Avalon knowledge paper-Travel 2.0-The Next Generation of Travel, was released at the event which details suggestions on mapping the travel industry better and trends that can offer insight to grow the industry. Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, said, “Travellers are moving away from exploring routes to exploring experiences. Social media is a legitimate research source and reviews are becoming increasingly important. Bloggers as a marketing channel have become important as they turn around niche products and create interest groups. The digital space has opened avenues for not just big players but even the smaller players in the industry can position themselves through digital platforms. Going digital is imperative and we have to see how fast we can become digital and at the same time look into what different we can offer in order to stay relevant in the market. The brick and mortar agencies have to embrace the technology curve and take on the challenge.” Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson, FICCI Tourism Committee and Chairperson and MD, Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, said “Adapting and adopting technology is the need of the hour and at FICCI we are happy to take on this vertical and offer a platform for thoughtful discussions and deliberation on the future of travel.”

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Now, e-visa extended to film tourism

The e-visa facility for film enthusiasts has now been principally approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The visa can now be availed under the category of film tourism. This was informed by Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism. He further added that the procedure of availing this facility will be similar to those for eTV for business and medical tourism. On the need to increase accommodation facilities in the country, Billa said, “The last time we counted, we are short of almost 200,000 hotel rooms in India and this gap has to be filled at a faster rate than the time it takes to build these properties. I believe homestays can play a big role in this aspect and alternative accommodations like OYO Rooms, Airbnb etc., can also fill the gap. A regulatory framework will be introduced by the Ministry of Tourism to uphold acceptable standards and quality of service and open lucrative accommodation choices for the travellers. We will accredit these accommodations as per the standards required.”

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ITB Berlin 2017 opens with 10,000 exhibitors

Around 10,000 exhibitors from 184 countries and regions in 26 fully-booked halls set the ball rolling at the ITB Berlin Convention, being held from March 8-12, 2017.  The Indian pavilion was inaugurated by Gurjit Singh, Ambassador of India to Germany, along with Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, and Jaykumar Rawal, Minister of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra. Dr. Christian Göke, Chief Executive Officer of Messe Berlin GmbH, says, “As the world’s most important gathering place for the tourism industry ITB Berlin above all brings people together. A million face-to-face meetings at ITB Berlin will do one thing in particular, and that is build trust, trust on which we increasingly depend in our business dealings, in a digitalised and globalised world that has become more and more difficult to understand. Over 80 per cent of our exhibitors are from abroad. The organisers again expect more than 100,000 international trade visitors as well as many thousand members of the public on the weekend, who will be able to book their holidays directly at the show. The convention features key topics such as ‘Safety & Security’ and ’Artificial Intelligence’. This year, on March 9, at ITB Berlin, two Speed Dating events will give buyers and bloggers an opportunity to meet with exhibitors from around the world, enabling them to establish valuable contacts all in one day. This year at ITB Berlin, for the first time the important growth segment of medical tourism will receive its own platform. Medical service providers, hotels and destinations will be able to exhibit their products and services In the Medical Tourism Pavilion in Hall 3.2. On Thursday, 9 March from 3 to 4 p.m., …

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Incredible India Global Tourism Mart to be rescheduled

The Incredible India Global Tourism Mart that was scheduled to take place from February 1-4, 2017 has been postponed until further notice, confirmed a senior government official. “The new dates will be decided hopefully next week after a consultation with the associated bodies,” the source said. This is the second postponement of the mega travel mart which was initially proposed to be held in January 2017.

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TAFI launches new logo

The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has launched a new logo with a tagline “The Way Forward” at The Ashok New Delhi. The new TAFI logo was unveiled by Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism Govt. of India along with Dr. A.K. Manocha, Chairman & Managing Director, IRCTC, in the presence of TAFI President Praveen Chugh, TAFI Immediate Past President Zakkir Ahmed, Vice President Pradip Lulla, National General Secretary Aditi Bhende, Managing Committee Member and Convention Chairman Bharat Shah and Managing Committee member Teddy Thomas among others.

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Tourism Policy gets PMO nod, awaits cabinet approval: Billa

The highly-anticipated National Tourism Policy has been approved by the Prime Minister’s Office and is waiting for a formal cabinet nod, revealed Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. “The tourism policy has been concurred to by all the ministries. It has been to the Prime Minister’s Office and they’ve approved it too. Now we are just waiting for the process of placing it before the cabinet for formal approval,” Billa informed on the sidelines of the Kerala Travel Mart, being held in Kochi from September 27-30, 2016.

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Italy next on eTV list

The Ministry of Tourism has confirmed that they are looking to extend the e-Tourist Visa (eTV) facilities to 36 other countries, among which Italy is one of the key countries. “The e-Tourist Visa has been the biggest game-changer for the industry,” commented Suman Billa, Joint Secretary-Tourism, Government of India. “Initially, we began with a handful of countries which were our eight major source countries. We now stand at 150 countries and are looking to expand the list. Most of our most important source countries have already been included but Italy is one of the other major markets that will receive this facility after approval.” During January-June 2016, a total of 4,71,909 tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 1,26,214 during January-June 2015, registering a growth of 273.9 per cent. A total of 36,982 tourists arrived in June 2016 on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 15,557 during the month of June 2015 registering a growth of 137.7 per cent.

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MOT proposes medical e-visa for attendants

Ministry of Tourism is pushing for medical e-visa for attendants who will accompany patients travelling to India for medical purposes, revealed Suman Billa, Joint Secretary-Tourism, Government of India. “There are several aspects that are being looked into to develop medical tourism facilities in the country. Currently, the patient has to report to the FRRO within 15 days of entering the country. However, we are trying to empower the hospital to file the FRRO clearance for the patient.” Billa added that MOT is also trying to simplify the requirement of providing medical certificates from local doctors – a mandate applied for several African nationalities who travel to India for medical purposes.

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20% of MOT’s budget for NE: Billa

The Ministry of Tourism (MOT) has been allocating 15-20 per cent of their budget every year to the North East region, crossing the earmarked 10 per cent by the government, said Suman Billa, Joint Secretary – Tourism, Govt. of India at the ‘Destination North East 2016’ meet. He said, MOT is also planning to organise a major Investment Summit around June-July. How to drive private investment into the Northeastern states to further the participation of private sector and help encourage growth will be one of the main components of the summit, he said. The event was organised by the Ministry of Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) and the Ministry of Culture.

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