Log in Register

Login to your account

Don't have an account yet? Register now!
Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Create an account

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
Name *
Username *
Password *
Verify password *
Email *
Verify email *
Akshay Kumar

Akshay Kumar

The WTO has predicted that India will receive close to 25 million tourists by year 2017. India holds a special place in the international world of hospitality and gets a lot of domestic and international visitors every year. With the growth in travel and tourism industry in the recent times, there is ample scope for various tiers of hospitality chains to grow and prosper. The western region in India has always remained a frontrunner for hospitality business in the country. With the changing trends and pattern, hotels in western India region are upbeat about the growth story in 2016.

Speaking about the hospitality scenario, Rohan Sable, General Manager, Novotel Goa Resorts & Spa and Novotel Goa Shrem Hotel said, “Goa is a premium holiday destination in India, and attracts around 2.5 million travellers annually, including both domestic and foreign tourists. This region is well connected to the national capital and the financial capital. The changes from the state governments in this region will further propel industrial, tourism and hospitality industry.”

Stating similar opinion Sameer Sud, General Manager, The Leela Mumbai added, “The Indian hospitality industry has emerged as one of the key industries driving growth of the services sector in India. Not only has it recorded healthy growth fuelled by robust inflow of foreign tourists, but is also emerging to be a leading player in the global industry. The tourism and hospitality sector is among the top 15 sectors in India to attract the highest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). During the period April 2000-September 2015, the hotel and tourism sector attracted around US$ 8.48 billion of FDI, according to the data released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). 

With the rise in the number of global tourists and realising India’s potential, many companies have invested in the tourism and hospitality sector and this coupled with Government’s initiatives like , Make in India, issuance of e- visa, speedy implementation of tourism projects, emphasis on infrastructure development etc., which the hospitality industry feels shall only fuel further growth.

Traditionally, Russia has been one of the largest source markets for Goa. In 2015, there was a dip in the number of Russians visiting Goa. Geopolitical crisis in Russia coupled with weak business sentiments in the Eurozone resulted in decline in charter and foreign individual travel to the state.

 Sable said, “In 2016 we are expecting a revival of few European markets and Russia CIS. However, the quick shift to the ever buoyant and high paying domestic cushioned this situation and grew the RevPar for the market. Domestic trends are sending strong signals of an ever growing market and that is here to stay at least till 2021. Goa in general has maintained a steady occupancy of about 3.5 per cent growth in average rates (HVS) and a 2.3 per cent increase in occupancy over 2013/14. With the overall demand and supply dynamics remained in line with historical trends, what was noticeable was the change in nature of demand and its segmentation.”

In 2015, trends in the Mumbai region revealed that there was a growth in the overall FIT business. Sud said, “Financial year 2015-16 has been an encouraging year as it has demonstrated stability and has shown growth in overall FIT business. Despite increased inventory within five kms radius, we have grown our overall market share with increase in rooms share and at a commendable ADR leadership. The next financial year too is forecasted to grow exponentially and we are determined to maintain our RevPar leadership.”

In 2016, hotels in the region are expected to focus more on introducing novel initiatives to further grow and consolidate brand loyalty and market dominance.

flydubai, a Dubai-based carrier has witnessed a load factor of 90 per cent from the India market. Currently, the carrier flies 13 weekly flights from India across eight cities. The airline is also in talks at the Government level to increase the capacity from India market, as they have exhausted their bilateral. Recently, flydubai also announced its latest onboard services including; WiFi connectivity, live television streaming and a new seatback in-flight entertainment interface to enhance the overall experience.

Speaking about the India market, Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President-Commercial Operations (Indian Sub-continent/ GCC/ Africa), flydubai said, “India is an extremely important market for us. It has a lot of potential as we have seen an excellent load factor of around 90 per cent. As of now we only have 13 flights per week from India which is spread across eight cities. In India market the only problem is we are constrained of seats. We have exhausted all our seats. As of now we are in talks with the authority for more capacity, soon this bottleneck will be resolved.”

“By design we are meant to go to the underserved markets. Today we operate to 89 destinations across 43 countries. Out of those 89 destinations, 59 were previously underserved. Indians are now exploring more of these unexplored destinations. But as of now this has not been capitalised as we don’t have enough capacity from India,” he added.

The airline is also focusing to promote its Business Class facility. As a pricing points the carrier falls between a LCC and a full service carrier. Speaking about the Business Class Sreedharan said, “We fly to maximum underserved markets. When you operate in such a diverse network, people want to experience something more; this is where Business Class adds value. In the already served markets flydubai ensures that we add capacity and frequency. So again for that audience who wants frequency and premium products we are adding value for them. Our business class has got an excellent response from India. With the new WiFi connectivity and the live television streaming product the customer can find more value.”

Speaking about the tremendous potential of India Sreedharan said that from India any number of seats is not enough and we are ready to serve any airport in India. If we have more flights from India, it can do very well in Europe, East Africa and CIS countries. As of now India is still underutilised.

This year flydubai is planning to increase its fleet size to 57 with an addition of eight more aircrafts.

Globally the MICE market, which includes around 400,000 conferences and exhibitions, is estimated at a size of US$280 $300 billion. Many nations’ tourism economy thrives on this sector. Asian MICE market has been one of the biggest growth stories with a rate of 38 per cent rise since 2006 which accounts for US$60 billion. Despite these phenomenal figures, India is one nation which is yet to tap the potential of this huge MICE business. Some of the key reasons behind this failure are lack of world class exhibition and conference infrastructure in the nation. Another major challenge is the higher taxation policies by the governments, due to which we lose the MICE business to the neighbouring competitors.

According to the ITB World Travel Trends Report, MICE contribution to the total travel market is 54 per cent. According to the figures from 2015, North America has the largest market share, followed by Europe and Asia Pacific which is further bound to grow.

 But, when it comes to India, it only shares as low as one per cent of the global market share. In 2012, India as a MICE destination ranked 25th, but according to the 2015 statistics India has been downgraded to the 35th position. One of the most important features of the MICE business is that it is not sensitive to the seasonality factor. In that case, India needs to develop itself as one of the most lucrative destinations with its world heritage sites, culture and ethos.

Policy Initiatives

Tourism is one of the segments which the new government is looking at to boost the nation’s economy. Having realised that the MICE segment can be a game changer for tourism growth, the Ministry of Tourism had adopted an aggressive approach to promote this segment. In fact, the new Tourism Policy which is to be released anytime soon has identified MICE as a major growth driver for the Indian tourism industry. The Ministry is also looking to extend the e -Tourist Visa initiative to the MICE sector.

“The new tourism policy, which is just a matter of time, is going to highlight and emphasise a lot on the possibility of increasing MICE into India,” Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India said at the inauguration of a ‘Thought Leadership Meet on MICE Tourism in India,’ organised by industry body ASSOCHAM. The Ministry is also pushing the case that the facility of e Tourist Visa should be extended to MICE segment as well. “We had a meeting with the Ministry of Home Affairs a few days ago, we insisted on MICE e-visa as well, we have been trying very hard for e-visa for MICE and medical and we are hopeful to have this e-visa to see the light of the day, particularly for business tourists to begin with but we are insisting that ultimately the conference visa should also be done, which we have been assured that it will be, step-by-step.” Talking about India’s weakness in international bidding, he said, “We need to introspect and see what can be done, we tried in the last budget, as a pre-budget measure, we made a proposal to the Ministry of Finance to have a corpus by which we can be more aggressive while doing international bidding for MICE events, unfortunately it could not see the light of the day, but we will keep making those efforts.”

Speaking on the occasion, Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India and Chairman, India Convention Promotion Bureau said that the new policy aims at pushing the current 0.68 per cent share of all MICE traffic to one per cent by 2020. “We further hope to double that share to two per cent by 2025,” he noted. He opined that India has all the ingredients to make it a fascinating destination. He argued that a friendly tax structure is the need of the hour to grow MICE. “Taxes have been a huge issue when it comes to MICE travel. In order to promote tourism in the sector, tax rates should be brought down to global standards.” He also said that single window clearance is required and online facilities to submit documents, for this dedicated desk is required at MEA to provide permissions related to international events. He said that central and state governments’ needs to work together to create a corpus of fund to engage in marketing and branding push in a major way.

Speaking about the new initiatives Chander Mansharamani, Vice Chairman, India Convention Promotion Bureau added, “There are number of steps that have been taken by MOT in the form of greater participation in MICE related shows in the world. We at ICPB have drawn a plan to market India as a preferred convention destination. The other good news is the new additional infrastructure coming up in various part of the country. To further tap this market, it requires very aggressive marketing and promotional activities. We are sure with the new approach; we will be able to achieve the target.”

Overcoming infrastructural woes

Presently, India lacks an integrated world class facility which can meet the requirements of global exhibition-cum-convention operators in terms of space, project facilities, and logistically, etc. Only a few centres in terms of organised space are available in the country. The lack of world-class convention centre coupled with other infrastructural challenges has been a major hurdle for the growth of this segment. Ironically, the Govt. of India itself is facing challenges to organise a mega global summit as was seen during Indo –Africa Meet which was organised in a stadium rather than a convention space. This prompted the government to expedite the process of developing convention centres across the nation.

“The infrastructural build-up to augment MICE has been nothing short of spectacular. We have noteworthy convention facilities in a number of cities like Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, and Greater Noida,” Billa said and added that the failure to promote MICE lies in our inability in connecting the dots. “I believe, where we are missing is connecting these singular efforts into a more meaningful chain. We need to be forthcoming in our pitch, story-telling, and bringing together all those who form an intrinsic part of the value chain,” he suggested.

The good news is that the Centre has now geared up to develop global standard convention centres. According to the Ministry of Commerce, India’s most noted venue Pragati Maidan is all set to go under re-developed and will be transformed into a world class convention centre. The proposal is to develop 326,065 sq. mt of built-up area including 119,445 sq. mtrs of exhibition space into a Convention Centre with seating capacity of 7,000 pax. The re-developed convention centre will have a number of different sized meeting rooms, space for public circulation, support facilities and parking space for about 4,800 passenger cars in the first phase. The second phase envisages further development of 86,255 sq. mtrs. of exhibition area.  The project at Pragati Maidan is proposed to be implemented on EPC (Turnkey or Design Build) mode. The period for completion of the project in phase-I is envisaged as 36 months from the date of award of the project to the executing agency, subject to the statutory clearances.

Under another proposal of Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, creation of a world class state-of-the-art Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre is planned in Dwarka, New Delhi. This proposed Centre will comprise a host of independent facilities like exhibition halls, convention centres, banquet halls, auditoriums, arena, financial centre, hotels, food & beverage (F&B) outlets and retail services.  The project at Dwarka is being developed in Public-Private Partnership mode, utilising, if necessary, viability gap funding of the Union Government. Completion of the project is dependent upon confirmation and approval of various activities needed to be undertaken with regard to implementation of the project by respective authorities/agencies. Apart from these, the Centre is also encouraging state governments to set up convention centres in their respective states to draw more tourists.

The moot question here is that do we essentially need the mega convention centres to grow MICE tourism? Experts of the industry do not think so. Globally, it has been noted that around 90 per cent of the MICE business are small in nature with a maximum of 200-250 pax. In this scenario, India seems quite well equipped with a lot of large hotels covering up for these spaces. Still these hotels have not been successful in convincing these MICE groups. Roni Madhvani, Director, Marasa Sarovar Premiere, Tirupati explains, “For some of the key MICE feeder markets internationally, India is a long haul destination and therefore costs become prohibitive for effectively tapping this segment optimally. Lack of infrastructure has been the greatest challenge for the growth of MICE Tourism in India. The country is in need of additional convention destinations for both large as well as small meeting spaces. Currently, choices are restricted to a few destinations. The government should also roll out strict measures in place for the safety and security of the tourists and its people alike.”

Focused marketing key for hotels

With all the global hospitality majors eying the India market, the nation has an array of hotel with good MICE infrastructure. Despite, these facilities the hotels are not able to tap the inbound MICE business. One of the key issues is the lack of MICE focused marketing. On the other hand, hotels are witnessing a good footfall in terms of domestic MICE business. Hotels are also using the potential of MICE to cover up the lean season period.

Dipak Haksar, Chairman – Tourism Committee, ASSOCHAM and Chief Executive Officer, ITC said that that MICE tourism is natural extension of leisure and perceived as a ‘clean’ industry which drives “entire gamut” of economic activity. “MICE Tourism supports development in other sectors of the economy and bring dividends to the local community and the society at large,” Haksar said.

Mani Ravi, Director of Sales, Leisure & MICE - India, Hilton Worldwide claims, “The proliferation of large-scale Meetings and Events facilities within hotels and a corresponding increase in room inventory has instigated demand for events at hotels. Specifically, conferences as well as weddings and wedding-related events are productive segments for leisure destinations during shoulder and off season period. This has, to an extent, alleviated the significant disparity in occupancies between off season and peak months. Hotels in locations like Jaipur, Agra and Goa offer extensive facilities and services and are geared to host such gatherings.”

Recently, Hilton Worldwide introduced the Conrad brand in India with the launch of Conrad Pune. This hotel has been projected as a luxury MICE destination. “Cities like Pune and Chennai have seen an increase in demand from this segment, and specifically from the IT industries. Given the extent of upscale options that Pune offers and at exceptional value, the demand from conferences in the city has grown significantly. Our hotel in Pune that opened last month, Conrad Pune has all the ingredients to become the most sought-after address for exclusive business meetings and social gatherings,” added Ravi.

 

 

Echoing Ravi’s opinion Madhvani added, “Some recent hotels openings are focusing largely only on MICE. Sarovar Hotels & Resorts itself has significant numbers of hotels that are concentrating on the MICE offerings. But for the MICE market to grow, the states and MoT needs to work in tandem with the industry associations. MICE can be termed as a very niche product and needs to be marketed in a focused manner”. He also believes that although there is no hard and fast rule on attracting MICE clients, it is essential to form a proper team with airlines, hotels, transport companies, cultural organisations, boutiques, and travel agents to target markets potential MICE clients.

Tour Operators speak

Specialised MICE tour operators are extremely optimistic about the growth in this sector in 2016. Most of the tour operators have witnessed that MICE tourism originating from Indian corporate was encouraging in fiscal year 2015 for domestic destinations. Speaking about the challenges in this segment, MICE expert Om Prakash, Director, In ORBIT Tours states, “MICE targets are certainly on the increase and Indian travel industry is marching ahead to increase its share. The set back in India’s world rank can be also due to the aggressive promotion by some other countries and the increase in their numbers. To recover, India needs aggressive marketing. India also needs to be more competitive destination. Indian land operation cost is higher than our neighbouring countries, maybe due to higher taxation. Hence, Tourism Ministry needs to be pro-active to provide incentives to MICE Inbound to enable to compete with our neighbouring countries.”

Another challenge which the tour operators foresee is the fact that Indian restaurants are easily available in all European cities, USA, Japan, Korea and even in China. Whereas specific countries food are not easily available when their groups travel for various sight-seeing across India.

“The average expenditure by a delegate is US$ 278. A conference delegate spends 2.5-3 per cent more than an average traveller,” said Marsharmani. Talking about steps to promote MICE tourism, he added, “There is need for better infrastructure facilities and we shall recognise the potential of the cities based on their economic value. ICPB suggests that 20 per cent of the global budget should be dedicated to MICE and there shall be ease in the visa process for conference delegates.”

 

Overall, with the recent developments by the ministry for this segment, industry expects MICE to be the next big game changer for the Indian economy. Also, with a intent to develop this segment hotels are initiating novel innovations and developing focused marketing strategies.

Zambia, a southern African nation known for the world famous Victoria Falls, is all set to attract the Indian travellers and investors to this African nation. Recently, Zambia organised a road show in Mumbai and in New Delhi to meet the local travel trade fraternity and showcase their products. Currently, the tourism footfall from India to Zambia has been less than 50,000.

Speaking about the importance of India market for Zambia, Felix Chaila, Chief Executive Officer, Zambia Tourism Agency said, “India is a very potential market for us. Indians are looking for untapped new destination and we are unveiling our destination to this market. Zambia is trying to remove all constrains for the India market, so that Indians can travel comfortably. Earlier a traveller had to produce a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate as a visa requirement, now we have removed this document. We have also introduced electronic visa for the Indians. Also, the Indian travellers are not only looking for an untapped destination but also a safe destination in Africa and Zambia can provide this.”

Globally, Zambia has witnessed a 300 per cent growth in terms of MICE footfall. From the Indian market the destination is yet to welcome a MICE movement. Chaila said, “We have showcased a lot of new products in India and have received a good response for our wildlife, facilitation, adventure product, cultural products, and MICE. We invite the Indian outbound to come to Zambia. At the moment we don’t have any MICE travellers from India. The Indian MICE travellers are travelling to South Africa as of now. We are growing by around 300 per cent in MICE every year from the global market. So without any doubt soon we will see MICE traffic from India to Zambia. We have the right infrastructure, facilities and conference centres for MICE in Zambia.”

Zambia has a long history and ties with India. In the 1900’s many Indians settled in Zambia. Due to which Indian travellers can find similarities in culture and food. Apart from this, Zambia is also very keen to tap the investor fraternity from India to enhance their tourism offerings. Chaila said, “India is a very strategic market for us, as India is doing extremely well in the field of tourism. There is a lot of common things in India and Zambia, historically there is a lot of link with Mahatma Gandhi. We have a huge Indian community in Zambia. Indian food is not a hassle in Zambia.”

Zambia is also looking for tourism investments in Zambia. “We want to develop some of the white sandy beaches with world class infrastructure. We want investors to come forward and look at these untapped areas for investment. With the growth in tourism, there is also room for hotel and lodge investment. We also have an extremely friendly investor policy. There is no currency restriction in our country; foreign exchange regime is one of the most liberal in Zambia. There is free trading of currencies in Zambia,” he added. 

St. Moritz, located in the Engadin Valley of Switzerland, is all set to tap the Indian market. Presently, St. Moritz receives about 5000 overnight stays from India and it is popular for its winter sports activity. Regarded as the birthplace of Winter Tourism, last year this destination celebrated 150 years of winter tourism.

Speaking to T3, Ariane Ehrat, Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Organisation Engadin St. Moritz said, “India is one of the key markets which we want to target, as it has enormous potential. One of the main challenges with this market is that our destination is not very popular amongst the Indians. Moreover, there is a general perception about St. Moritz being an expensive destination. We want to make the Indian travellers aware that this destination is affordable for every type of traveller.”

Globally, film tourism, especially Bollywood tourism has played a major role in increasing tourist footfalls to many destinations. Some of the destinations have already started incentivising film tourism. Ehrat said, “We would love to increase film tourism in St. Moritz. Many films have been already shot in the various regions of Switzerland; we are not competing with our own regions. But we are surely open to facilitate, if Bollywood wants to foray our region.”

Previously, this Alpine skiing resort has been a host for various skiing events. St. Moritz has hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships in 1934, 1948, 1974 and 2003. In 2017, St. Moritz will once again host this championship for the fifth time. Around 50 teams will be participating in the event and the destination expects around 80,000 more overnight stays during this championship.

Speaking about winter tourism activities, specifically for the Indian market, Ehrat added, “Nowadays Indians are showing more interest towards sports tourism, but extreme adventure activities are still not popular in India. We offer various soft adventure activities and also customise our extreme adventure activities to suit the taste of the Indian travellers. Recently we have launched a niche product called ‘Yoga on Snow’. This attraction can go well with the Indian audience as Yoga is extremely popular in India.”

Currently, the biggest source markets for St. Moritz are domestic tourists from Switzerland itself, followed by Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, USA, Belgium, Luxembourg and France.

St. Moritz, located in the Engadin Valley of Switzerland, is all set to tap the Indian market. Presently, St. Moritz receives about 5000 overnight stays from India and it is popular for its winter sports activity. Regarded as the birthplace of Winter Tourism, last year this destination celebrated 150 years of winter tourism.

Speaking to T3, Ariane Ehrat, Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Organisation Engadin St. Moritz said, “India is one of the key markets which we want to target, as it has enormous potential. One of the main challenges with this market is that our destination is not very popular amongst the Indians. Moreover, there is a general perception about St. Moritz being an expensive destination. We want to make the Indian travellers aware that this destination is affordable for every type of traveller.”

Globally, film tourism, especially Bollywood tourism has played a major role in increasing tourist footfalls to many destinations. Some of the destinations have already started incentivising film tourism. Ehrat said, “We would love to increase film tourism in St. Moritz. Many films have been already shot in the various regions of Switzerland; we are not competing with our own regions. But we are surely open to facilitate, if Bollywood wants to foray our region.”

Previously, this Alpine skiing resort has been a host for various skiing events. St. Moritz has hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships in 1934, 1948, 1974 and 2003. In 2017, St. Moritz will once again host this championship for the fifth time. Around 50 teams will be participating in the event and the destination expects around 80,000 more overnight stays during this championship.

Speaking about winter tourism activities, specifically for the Indian market, Ehrat added, “Nowadays Indians are showing more interest towards sports tourism, but extreme adventure activities are still not popular in India. We offer various soft adventure activities and also customise our extreme adventure activities to suit the taste of the Indian travellers. Recently we have launched a niche product called ‘Yoga on Snow’. This attraction can go well with the Indian audience as Yoga is extremely popular in India.”

Currently, the biggest source markets for St. Moritz are domestic tourists from Switzerland itself, followed by Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, USA, Belgium, Luxembourg and France.

The Government of Indonesia are in talks with their Indian counterparts to establish direct air connectivity between both the nations. Indonesia recently witnessed a 10 per cent growth in tourist footfalls from India. With this discussion Indonesia plans to fly its national carrier, Air Garuda between Jakarta and Delhi, Bali and Mumbai.

Speaking exclusively with T3, Saut Siringoringo, Consul General, Consulate General of The Republic of Indonesia said, “One of the major challenges in the India market is connectivity and visa. Recently, we have made it visa free for Indians visiting Indonesia. To address the connectivity challenge, we are in talks to fly our national carrier Air Garuda in India. This can happen anytime in 2016.”

To further promote destination Bali in India, Bali Tourism has appointed Representation World as its representatives in India. Speaking about the new development, Vineet Gopal, India Head for Bali Tourism said, “India is one of the biggest source markets for Bali. With the new development, we will aggressively promote the destination in India. We will be closely working with the travel trade fraternity and ensure to educate them about Bali. Currently, Bali receives around 88,000 tourists from India. By December 2016, we want the figures to go up to 1, 20,000. For the same, we will be planning roadshows, fairs and trade engagement programmes in India.”

Also, Bali Tourism plans to introduce specialist programme for B2B as well as B2C in India. The new programme is expected to be rolled out before March 2016.

 

.

UBM Travel Portfolio

  • slider-logo4.png
  • slider-logo3.png
  • slider-logo1.png
  • slider-logo2.png

  1. Events
  2. Webinars

World Routes 2019

From: 21 Sep 2019 To: 24 Sep 2019

WTM London

From: 04 Nov 2019 To: 06 Nov 2019

PATA Travel Mart

From: 18 Sep 2019 To: 20 Sep 2019

ITE HCMC

From: 05 Sep 2019 To: 07 Sep 2019

ITB Asia

From: 16 Oct 2019 To: 18 Oct 2019
  • Yas Island : A Holiday Destination Like No Other
    Date : 24th January 2019
     
  • Experience Macao- Magical Blend of Traditions, Festivals & Culture
    Date : 11th December 2018
     
Webinar Archives
  1. Appointment