Another year has gone by and with the new year, comes a new list of public holidays. Many of you probably start chalking out your travels right at the beginning of the year. However, tourism in 2019 is going to be more exciting, and we will take a look why.
Due to an amplified need of traveling more frequently, travel agencies in India have noticed a surge in bookings, especially on long weekends. This year, there was a sudden increase in the number of bookings for the weekend following the Republic Day.
A lot of us now prefer to travel more often for a shorter duration, as opposed to one or two vacations for a very long duration. This way, you get to visit more places, take breaks more often, and feel rejuvenated without it affecting your work while also benefitting the tourism industry since the demand is spread out evenly.
The technology has been proving to be beneficial for the global tourism since the last 50-60 years. Television has played a major role in the breakthrough of tourism in 2019. Various television ads, special travel channels like TLC, and many travel shows which would dedicate a whole program to one country- all these things introduced the tourists with the new places they can explore in their future trips.
How can the technology help in reviving Indian tourism in 2019?
Indian Tourism can go a long way with the new advances in the technologies. Today, the social media works as gasoline in spreading the word out there much more faster just like the fire.
The International Conference on Tourism Technology in Kochi
Keeping in mind the vital role that technology can play in increasing the tourism in India, The International Conference on Tourism Technology (ICTT) will be held in Kochi, Kerala from June 8 to June 10, 2017.
This three-day conference is being organised by the Association of Tourism Trade Organisation of India (ATTOI) in association with the Tourism of Kerala.
In this conference, tourism experts are invited from seven countries around the world namely Andre Chow from Singapore, Billy Taylor from New Zealand, Lauren Cleland from the US, Nicky Kriel from the United Kingdom, Pierre Marechal from Belgium, Christopher Tock from Malaysia, and Donna Moritz from Australia.
The president of ATTOI, Anish Kumar P K., has told the sources that it is high time to accept the power of technology and adapt to the changes it brings to the tourism sector.
Social media will play the key role
The power of social platforms helps the tourism operators to reach out to maximum people. The people will share their experiences and hence, will encourage others to visit these places.
The new technologies and platforms will help the Indian tourism industry by using strategies that will attract more people towards India.
What do the travel agencies have to say about this?
Tourism in 2019: Bookings Shoot Up
Yatra.com’s COO, SharatDhall, said there are 11 extended weekends coming up in this year and this will definitely give a boost to the tourism industry in India.
Expedia’s Manmeet Ahluwalia revealed that the number of bookings has gone up by 37% year-on-year. He also said that travelers have become more technologically advanced and increasingly discerning while making their travel arrangements. They normally book much in advance and use these long weekends for quick getaways, exploring nearby places as well as international destinations.
The WTTC has estimated an average annual growth rate of seven per cent in the Indian tourism sector, over the next 10 years.
A large number of travelers are opting for brief trips to hill stations like Coorg, Mahabaleshwar, Munnar and event-focused trips to places like Rann of Kutch for RannUtsav and Pushkar (Rajasthan), for the Pushkar Fair. While many other travelers flew to international destinations close to India, like, Thailand, Dubai, Singapore, Honk Kong.
There is a growing trend of vacationers choosing to explore an offbeat destination or taking a trip which is more interest specific. For example, wildlife lovers are booking wildlife tours to the Kaziranga National Park and Ranthambore.
Karan Anand, Relationships Manager of Cox and Kings, said that one of the possible reasons why so many people booked a getaway on the Republic Day weekend is that flights and hotels were much cheaper compared to peak periods like Diwali or New Years’. He also mentioned that this trend is fueled by the fact that airlines offered heavy discounts throughout last year and will continue to do so this year.
Dhall added that the domestic passenger traffic numbers in November and December last year exhibited a 23% year-on-year growth. This proves that the dip in economy hardly affected the tourism industry.
Tourism in 2019 for Russia: More Focus
Russia is known for its vintage architecture and natural beauty- the meadows, mountains and the snow-capped lands around. People throng to places like Moscow and St. Petersberg that have a variety of churches, castles and attractive spots to offer.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has become well-liked and accessible to support its economy. The subsequent fall in the Ruble has made it much cheaper to travel in Russia and the scope of unexplored, untapped sights only makes it more exciting.
There are grasslands, snow clad landscapes, hermitages, cathedrals and The Golden Ring of Russia which includes major cities like Suzdal, Vladimir, Sergiev Posad, Yaroslavl which are very rich in their tourist appeal. The cruises with their transits via Volga, Lena and Yenisey rivers and the resorts being located near the Caspian Sea and Black Sea, are extremely popular as well.
The truth is, Russia’s old castles and palaces need a lot of maintenance work, but the natural bounty and dilapidated charm is intriguing indeed. This is what has made Russia rank high when it comes to culture-driven tourist sites. The Russian authorities are trying to utilise this source of revenue to the fullest. With electronic travel guides, friendlier visa policies, generation of more mountaineering avenues and setting up of ski resorts in the higher altitudes are all ways to invite maximum foreign tourists,
Russia can be a difficult spot to navigate as not everyone is well versed with the Cyrillic alphabet format of the language and so there exists a rampant language barrier.
However, Russia is a competitive tourist destination, as it has cheaper accommodation now and is thus more accessible for all strata of society. If you plan to go to Russia for this holiday, you can be assured that it will be a trip worth remembering.
Reduced Tourists in the US after Trump’s Election
The existing awkwardness after the election of Donald Trump as President coupled with his statements and introduction of changes to immigration and visa policies has led to what might be referred to as a Trump Slump-a major setback in the tourism industry caused by a significant dip in the tourist influx in the US.
With a travel ban imposed by the Trump cabinet on the 7 countries, many foreign nationals are cancelling and re contemplating their plans to visit the US.
There is a stark decline in travel bookings to the US owing to Trump’s rhetoric and his immigration ban which has generated an environment of insecurity for foreign nationals in the nation. This is a big blow to the economy of the US, with a large number of its citizens relying on hospitality-based jobs for a living. This also stands to hurt the economy of the US as a large amount of revenue, on an average of 5000 dollars per capita, is generated through tourist inflow.
Another factor that may have led to a decline in leisure-based travelling to the country is the rise of the US dollar, making it an expensive destination unless it is meant for an indispensable purpose like education or medical care. While many forums had predicted a surge in tourism for the US this term, the actual scenario is seeing a decrease of about 300000 tourists, which surely is alarming news for the economy.
According to statistics from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), an average loss of $185 million dollars has been incurred by the US due to cancellations of reservations by foreign nationals who were supposed to travel there just for business purposes. Some feel that this state of affairs is a direct result of the unwelcoming and unfriendly image of America that is being projected by Trump to the world.
With the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States and his consequential travel ban, airline bookings to the United States have dropped by an astounding 6.5% in just a few days.
Trump’s controversial order was effective from January 27, and there has been a marked difference in flight searches to the United States before and after this date. Search numbers collected by the app Hopper from 122 countries show that the differences rise up to 17 percent.
Seven nations have been banned in this order—Syria, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan. The ban was temporarily lifted on February 3, and this resulted in a slight increase in the number of flight bookings, especially from Iranian travelers.
But the overall numbers still remain significantly low. The ban resulted in an immediate decrease in flight searches and flight bookings.
Even though the ban may be lifted, the effects of this ban won’t be ending anytime soon. In fact, the future of tourists traveling to the U.S. will continue to be negatively impacted. Many people are now hesitant to travel to the United States.
Tourist numbers, especially from Middle East, Africa and Asia have dipped in the U.S. Tourism from the seven explicitly banned countries have dropped by 80%, which is not at all surprising, taking into consideration the present scenario. Visitors from other countries to the U.S. are also very low in number.
This change has, in turn, affected the U.S tourism industry, and if such trends continue, the industry will suffer a loss of almost 3 billion. Many travel agents in the U.S. are worried because their clients have lost interest in traveling to the country. Thus, this ban is a huge cause of concern.
But as the situation unfolds, we may see some favorable changes which again makes the USA a preferred destination.
Medical Tourism in 2019 on the Rise
Health services all over the globe cost a great deal and with the advent of so many lifestyle disorders and hazardous health conditions, primary and emergency healthcare is a must. Conditions like cancer, liver damage, heart disease, various blood disorders and obesity are getting common, and with the continuing financial strain on families in first world nations, the importance of affordable healthcare has gained utmost priority.
Medical Tourism in 2019 is broadly described as travelling to another country in order to get treated for serious health conditions and concerns due to cheaper health services and a lesser waiting period for non-emergency surgeries.
The medical industry in developed nations has a backlog of patients to attend to, and with the surge in their prices and the long waiting period, medical tourism has become all the more relevant today.
The most common surgeries for which medical tourism is beneficial are
- elective cosmetic surgery
- bariatric surgery
- organ transplantation
- cardiac surgery
- orthopedic surgery
Reproductive procedures like surrogacy, abortion etc. are illegal in some regions and so the presence of medical tourism makes it easier to avail these services elsewhere.
The factors making this a lucrative market are the discrepancies in the economies and standards of living in other nations, the lesser waiting period, availability of cheaper flights for the same, and the more efficient marketing strategies, available online portals and enhanced awareness about the facility.
In terms of quality and risk assessment, it is difficult for western patients to stay away from communicable diseases due to a different disease epidemiology and the overall deficit in immunity buildup in certain countries which makes it a risky business. However, if you choose your destination wisely you will hopefully not face any problems.
These are the popular destinations for high quality medical care at affordable prices:
Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United States.
US-India Travel and Tourism Partnership Year launched by Brand USA
There may be a new relationship between India and the USA. The Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) and the Government of India’s Ministry of Tourism have together helped in the creation of this partnership year. Opening celebrations were held in New Delhi, India and was conducted by Brand USA. The ceremony took place around the same time as SATTE, the 3-day widely popular travel program.
The US-India Travel and Tourism Partnership Year will hopefully increase various travel opportunities in between the two countries. India forms a large section of USA’s inland tourism and Christopher L.Thompson, President, and CEO of Brand USA hopes that this partnership year will help them capitalize on this fact. He hopes that the partnership year will inspire even more numbers of Indians to visit the United States.
The United States have always been a choice destination for Indian tourists. India provides the seventh-largest number of inbound tourists in the US, according to data and statistics provided by NTTO.
In 2015, there were more than 1.1 million Indian tourists who spent almost $12 billion. This number is expected to double in the coming years, and thus it is a ripe time to launch the US-India Travel and Tourism Partnership Year. It will create better travel opportunities and connections between the two countries and increase the level of tourist satisfaction in the US, which will, in turn, make more Indians look forward to travel there each year.
Expanded cooperative marketing programs and B2B marketing initiatives, product development, and our on-going consumer marketing are some of the exciting programs to be undertaken with the help of this program which will promote even more successful tourism between the two countries. This partnership will also create newer opportunities for the US to expand their tourist base in India.
Indian Tourism on the Rise in 2019
Anyone who is looking forward to visit India in the summers will have to pay less visa fees. The government of India is planning to keep concessional rates all year round. This idea was given by a young group of CEOs during a recent Niti Aayog event. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs had a talk with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the out of the box idea.
India’s peak tourist season is during October to March. Around 7.12 million foreign visitors visited India during this season in 2017. The country gets most visitors from the US, Bangladesh, the UK, Sri Lanka, Russia and Canada. The count of foreign visitors reduce during the hot and sweaty summer and monsoon season from April to September. Around 3.66 million foreigners visited India during the off season.
The ministry of external affairs wants to promote places that can be visited during the off-season like Himachal Pradesh and North-east India. An anonymous official said that concessional rates during the off-season can promote initial tourism. It will also create jobs all year round and not during some particular seasons.
Costly Indian visa
The cost of Indian visa changes as per the country. A six-month visa with multiple entry costs $32 for Singapore nationals, $67 for Americans, and $137 for United Kingdom residents. The official said that people from the Middle East choose colder places of India. They find it cool enough to visit. And that is why efforts should be taken to keep these places attractive and clean all year round.
Champions of Change was organized by Niti Aayog in August last year. The event had invited over 200 budding CEOs for an informal talk with PM Modi. These CEOs were divided into six groups and each was given one concern. The groups had to come up with solutions for the allotted issue.
The Indian Tourism Department is on an uphill climb. Both domestic and foreign tourism is growing exponentially in the past few years. The Ministry of Tourism has stated that outbound trips have increased by 8.7% and inbound trips have increased by 6.8 % in the last five years. These statistics are definitely hopeful and an indication of even greater successes in this field, which is one of the largest fields globally. Yes, tourism in 2019 is definitely on the rise.
One of the most significant factors that need to be taken into consideration while thinking of tourism growth is demonetization which occurred in the late months of 2016. This had changed the way the tourism industry operated because now the budget should also work toward providing sustainable cashless payment options and other convenient digital payment modes. The budget should implement measures that will not only aid cashless payments but will actually boost cashless payment methods.
The main concerns in the tourism industry are those of paying taxes and ensuring safety for each and every traveller— whether local or foreign. The new budget seems to be working effectively to meet these concerns and mitigate any obstacles in the way, helping promote tourism in 2019.
To promote Indian tourism, there needs to be reinforcing of the “Incredible India” brand through effective marketing strategies that will also help to bring new tourist spots to peoples’ notice.
With increasing popularity of homestays and village stays, these modes of accommodation need to be taken into consideration. These innovative schemes will help to increase the success of Indian tourism which is already popular all over the world.
Tourism is also closely interconnected with travel. Hopefully, this year’s Railway budget will help to fund high-speed trains to various tourist destinations so that tourists can spend less time in traveling.
Thus, the 2017 budget presents a lot of opportunity for travel and tourism growth in India.
Vietnam and India collaborate to Leverage Tourism
Although the number of Indians visiting Vietnam has grown by 32% in the past five years, the figures are still small compared to that of Indians traveling in other places abroad.
In order to promote Vietnam as a safe and attractive tourist destination, Ton SinhThanh, Ambassador of Vietnam in India, has sought out the help of travel agents of New Delhi and NCR.
Organization of road shows, participation in fairs exhibitions and organizing FAM trips are some of the strategies employed to promote Vietnam tourism in India.
There is also a plan to arrange a direct JetAir flight from New Delhi to Ho Chi Minh City, a city located in southern Vietnam. This is planned to be operational from July 2017 and will help in increasing the ease of travel between these two countries, thus increasing the number of tourists visiting Vietnam from India.
Vietnam is a country with a rich culture, and 8 of UNESCO’s world heritage sites are located in the country. There are beautiful beaches, historical relics, and even numerous Hindu temples. Ton SinhThanh believes that Indians will be able to feel their own culture even while visiting Vietnam contributing to tourism in 2019.
There are also strong bonds of friendship and cordiality between these two countries, which are celebrating 45 successful years of diplomatic ties. This bond is further strengthened by a common history steeped with the struggles for independence from foreign rule. The great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Ho Chi Minh have guided the people of their respective countries to freedom.
All these factors are bound to lead to an increase in Indian tourists which is what the Ambassador of Vietnam to India is confident of. He believes that these strong ties coupled with effortless traveling are bound to tip the odds towards increasing Indian tourist traffic. The currency value of India is also higher, which forms another favorable factor.
International Tourism Expedition in Malawi
In a bid to enhance the tourism industry of Malawi, its Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism will be hosting the Takulandirani Malawi Tourism Exposition International at the Bingu International Convention Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe from August 30 to September 1, 2017.
The international expo will focus on the implementation of the recommendations of the first National Tourism Conference and will look at ways to promote tourism as one of the key factors for pulling up the economic growth of Malawi. Moreover, the expo aims to promote the indigenous products of Malawi to buyers from various regions and nations via pre-expo tours for attracting people to the sought-after sights of the country. The Expo will be open for public viewing from the 3rd day.
The Director of Tourism Malawi, Isaac Katopola affirmed the aim of the expo being the promotion of tourism-based products in centrally arranged settings for attracting domestic as well as international tourists and regional visitors. They will also arrange a one-on-one interaction between the product creators and the people so as to best showcase what Malawi tourism has to offer.
He also asserted that the Tourism Department would be organising these expos every year as this is what helps countries with high tourism potential to boost this particular avenue which will then have a positive effect on the economy. Moreover, he also said that Malawi is the only one of the two nations in the Southern Africa Development Community which does not organise expos.
The owner of Misuku Expeditions- a company organising tours, safaris and mountain expeditions-John Kabwilo, asserted that such expos would create opportunities for smaller ventures to market themselves and promote their enterprises as it becomes challenging to attend expos organised outside the country due to the exorbitant participation fees. This is a venture that might be extremely successful.
Ireland Becoming a Go-To Destination for Indian Travellers
This year saw a rise by 20% of Indian travellers applying for Irish visas. In the past year more than 27,500 travellers arrived from India and Tourism Ireland is welcoming India as an emerging market. Tourism Ireland recently visited Mumbai and New Delhi to strengthen mutually beneficial travel and tourism links between the two countries. The Irish tourist board’s India Sales Mission had a theme of Screen Tourism this year as many major films and TV series have been filmed in Ireland including Star Wars and Game of Thrones. There are many beautiful locations in both Northern and Southern Ireland for tourists to visit and self-drive tours are becoming very popular with Indian travellers particularly the Causeway Coastal Route and The Wild Atlantic Way. Other activities that are proving popular with Indian travellers are soft adventure sports, experiential travel and the Irish Whiskey Trail.
On average Indian holidaymakers stay for 8 nights and with increased flights scheduled to Ireland from India by Emirates, this looks set to increase as people travel to Ireland for holidays, study, business conferences and work, particularly in the tech industry. Asian markets in general account for 7% of visitors to Ireland, and the emerging Indian market has increased by double digit growth every year.
Good universities and a welcoming culture also make Ireland a popular destination for foreign students, and as Ireland is home to many large tech companies such as Apple and Google, it attracts a lot of highly skilled workers working in the STEM subjects. The smooth visa process and regular flights as well as the country itself, make Ireland a popular destination for Indian business travellers. The 20% increase in the last year is only set to increase year on year with the availability of more direct flights from India to Ireland.
Kerala Now to Host Vietnamese Visa Processing Centre
This month the Vietnamese Ambassador to India, Ton Sinh Thanh, announced that Vietnam was opening a processing centre for visa applications in Kerala in partnership with a road show to attract Indian tourists and entrepreneurs to Vietnam.
Vietnam already has two other visa centres in India, in Mumbai and Delhi, but that increased tourism and business investment from India had meant that Vietnam were now in the process of adding more visa processing centres to India. The Kerala centre at Kochi is only the first of more centres planned to meet increased demand. The Ambassador announced that the economy in Vietnam was increasing by nearly 8% a year, and that the country was actively looking for investment from other countries and individual business entrepreneurs. The seafood industry in Vietnam is expanding greatly and Kerala leads the way of all Indian regions in trading in seafood with Vietnam. India seafood importation industry is worth around $4 billion each year, of which Kerala accounts for $1 billion of this alone.
Ambassador Thanh stated at a trade meeting in Vietnam attended by the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the Embassy of Vietnam that he hoped that the KCCI would arrange a business delegation from Kerala to discuss trade opportunities with Vietnam. Indian citizens who get a business visa to Vietnam are allowed to stay in Vietnam for up to one year, which allows for time to set up businesses within the South Asian country or to develop meaningful links with businesses that are already on-going in Vietnam.
The country also offers many attractive options for Indian tourists with some astoundingly beautiful landscape encompassing scenic beaches and warm tropical waters as well as ancient temples, extreme sports such as kite surfing and motorbike trails across the Hai Van Pass and cave exploration at Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park to luxury spas, busy cities and of course war memorials dating from the US-Vietnamese war in the 60’s-70’s. Vietnam offers the Indian traveller fantastic opportunities for tourism and for business.
New Zealand to Build Economic Growth through Migration, Tourism
Looking to move to New Zealand? It is important to note that New Zealand has been tightening its immigration policies for a while, but that might soon be about to change.
New Zealand’s economy did not have a great start as expected this year, however, NZIER mentioned in its quarterly report that they are hoping for a better economy for the second half of the year.
Christina Leung, who is the NZIER Principal Economist stated that though inflation wasn’t as high in the last year’s first quarter, the second six was looking up, as quoted by radionz.co.nz. She also said that although the construction business was not doing well in the first quarter, the year is now seeing a lot of tourists coming in to the country including people looking for migration, leading to the requirement of more constructions. Spaces are required for offices, housings and hotels.
By the first quarter, the economy of New Zealand is expecting an annual growth by 3.7%. This would remain stable until around 2020 before a decline in the economy is expected again.
An improvement in on-farm investment is expected in 2018, although farmers still keep paying off their own debts, added Leung.
The yearly average migration is expected to stabilize at about 70,000 in early 2018. The count may moderately drop to around 44,000 by early 2021. This, according to Leung, is going to create a solid labour market for foreigners and immigrants wanting to go to New Zealand and invest in the country. New Zealand would become a more attractive economy with the opportunities that would be available.
The Reserve Bank’s midpoint band target is looking at an inflation growth of 2%, although the inflation had dropped at just over 1% and that is a low point.
The Central Bank had approached to not make changes in interest rates for a long period of time and Leung said that the low-key inflation pressures supported it.
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