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Murari Mohan Jha

Murari Mohan Jha

Mahesh Sharma, the Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism & Culture and Minister of State for Civil Aviation today launched “Swachh Parayatan Mobile App” today. This project is being implemented by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India through DeGS and NIC. This Mobile App is available on Google Search Engine as ‘Swachh Paryatan’ and initially it is available on Android Phones and very soon it will be available on Apple and Microsoft also. This mobile app shall be monitored by the Project Monitoring Unit of Swachh Bharat Mission in Ministry of Tourism.

Addressing on the occasion, Sharma said that since the general public and the tourists are the largest stakeholders in keeping the monuments clean, the Ministry of Tourism has decided to facilitate the general public to communicate their complaints about any unclean area/garbage piles in and around tourist destinations. Hence as a part thereof, the Ministry of Tourism is launching this Mobile App. He opined that till all stakeholders don’t contribute, such project will not succeed.

Sharma informed that the recently launched Tourist Infoline is getting 18000 responses daily and is very successful. He dwelt upon many initiatives launched by his Ministry for the benefits of Tourists. He said that the Domestic Tourism has also immense opportunities like International Tourism. That is why the suggestions from public and tourists are solicited on this Mobile App.

Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, M/o Tourism in his address said that year 2016 has begun with good news in tourism sector. A Mega Tourism Summit is expected in July-August this year which will boost the Tourism Sector. He said that M/o Tourism and M/o Culture will work together to make this Mobile App a successful one.

To start with, 25 Adarsh Smarak Monuments protected by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have been identified for inclusion in the app. The application would be scaled up to include more monuments as the campaign expands.  This mobile app enables a citizen to take photograph of garbage at the monument and upload the same along with his/her remarks. The application then sends an SMS to the ASI Nodal Officer concerned with the monument upon receipt of which the Nodal Officer gets the garbage cleared/removed. The Nodal Officer thereafter sends confirmation about the redressal of the complaint through an SMS to the complainant.

It’s this potential of the outbound travellers from India that brought the U.S. Ambassador to India, Richard R Verma and Kelly Craighead, Executive Director, National Travel and Tourism Office, U.S. Department of Commerce, to inaugurate the Brand USA pavilion at SATTE 2016, held from January 29-31, 2016, in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

Tourism from India to the United States has been rapidly increasing. In 2014, more than 900,000 Indians applied for visas to travel to the United States. In 2015, that number surpassed one million. Over half of these visitors travel to the US for leisure: visiting friends and family and as tourists. In addition to the important leisure sector, the U.S. Embassy and four Consulates in India have implemented a coordinated effort to encourage more MICE travel to the US.

Verma while welcoming Kelly to India, to participate in SATTE appreciated the fact in an official release that Indians represent one of the fastest growing groups of visitors to the United States. “President Obama is committed to a national strategy to encourage travellers to choose the United States as a travel and tourism destination, and Kelly’s visit reinforces the U.S. government’s commitment to welcoming more Indian visitors to our country,” he added.

Echoing similar views Craighead in a similar fashion highlighted the fact that visitors from India spent US$9.8 billion experiencing the United States in 2014, representing its seventh largest international market for visitor spending in an official statement. “As such, I am thrilled to be in India for SATTE to celebrate the importance of the Indian travel and tourism market to the United States and to encourage more travel in the future,” she added.

For the uninitiated, SATTE is one of India’s major annual travel and tourism shows with more than 750 exhibitors from nearly 35 countries. Here, Sheema Vohra, Managing Director, Brand USA India further added, “As a year round destination, the USA offers countless experiences for discerning Indian travellers. We look forward to using SATTE to continue our interaction with the Indian travel trade and to educate them on the latest products and offerings that the U.S. has to offer.”

Speaking exclusively to T3, Norbert Simon, Senior Market Manager, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment confirmed that the quality of buyers has improved in all the four editions that Brand USA has attended here at SATTE. Adding on Larry Friedman, Deputy Director, Tourism, Nevada Commission on Tourism, said, “Brand USA witnesses demand for many new attractions at SATTE 2016. Discerning Indian tourists want to visit the popular tourists attractions like the Las Vegas, but are equally keen on exploring new less known attractions across the U.S.”

Further, Robert Y. Graff, Vice President of Marketing, Papillon Group in his own unique style explained that SATTE is a brilliant opportunity to witness the world of Indian travel market. “I look at the Indian demographic, dividend Indian as a brilliant opportunity to draw outbound travellers to the U.S.,” he added.

Excitement was palpable on face of Wilfred Whatoname Jr., Media Relation Ambassador, Grand Canyon Resort Corporation, who patiently explained the tribal concept of regalia. “It was important for us to come to India and witness the dynamics of the market that supplies literally speaking at times busloads of travellers to our resorts,” said Wilfred.

Sharjah based low-cost airline, Air Arabia has witnessed a healthy load factor of 97 per cent from the India sector in 2015. “Today, Air Arabia is a well recognised and well established brand in India, people get value for money and on time performance. The load factor was well over 97 per cent from India in 2015. Also, our Indian team worked very closely with the travel trade to promote the airlines along with a few exciting destinations like Georgia, Armenia, etc in India where we have our network. Sharjah is also getting more and more popular amongst the Indians. So we enjoy a good response from this market,” Shalini Rajan, Head of Sales, Air Arabia said.

Currently, Air Arabia operates 112 weekly flights to 13 cities in India. “As of now, we don’t have any plans to expand the geographical network in India, but in future we will be happy to tap more Tier II and III Cities,” she added.

Speaking about the overall aviation industry in 2016, Rajan added, “2016, overall for the aviation industry in this region is going to be very challenging. There are a lot of political issues happening in this region, which will create a lot of ups and downs in the aviation market. But, India still remains a very strong network for us. We have around two million Indians living in UAE, which itself proves the point. UAE is also now looked upon as a destination wedding place; we see a lot of Indian weddings happening here. To further tap this segment, we are working very closely with a lot of destination wedding planners, as we can bring a lot of tailor made things for the wedding segment.”

Apart from India, Air Arabia is working very closely with countries like Turkey, Jordan, Oman, Armenia and Georgia to promote the airline as well as these destinations. Rajan said, “We are working with a lot of tourism boards in the Middle-East and GCC. These countries encourage the travel trade and media from India to visit their destinations and bring people to these new and unexplored destinations. In this recent visit, I have met a few tour operators in India and have witnessed a good response.

Speaking about the plans for the Indian travel trade in 2016 Rajan added, “We work very closely with Sharjah tourism and we conduct intense workshops throughout India. We recently concluded a successful workshop in India. There is a whole series of roadshows and workshops planned for 2016. Sharjah being very strategically located people can visit other cities like Ras-al- Khaimah and Fujairah also.”

Air Arabia recently appointed Cozmo Travel as their General Sales Agent (GSA) in India. Speaking about the appointment, Jamal Abdulnazar, CEO, Cozmo Travel said, “Since we are the GSA in rest of GCC for Air Arabia, we probably know the business better than any third party. Apart from this, the decision will bring more synergy to the entire business.”

Using the just concluded SATTE 2016 platform, Indian Union Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (I/C) and Civil Aviation, Mahesh Sharma, addressing the industry stakeholders from across the world made an impassioned plea for tourism to be considered as one of the key policy areas, for its potential for global peace, economic growth and regional integration. 

In a passionate appeal, Sharma said, “Tourism’s multi-fold results, multi-fold effects need to be weighed and need to be discussed at such forum (SATTE). Tourism is not just about visiting one part of the world to another part of the world, or one country to another country. It is a science and we need to explore it. It’s an industry where we need inventions and experiments. It is a platform for international peace.”

Identifying tourism as an important channel of ‘communication’ during strife and differences, Sharma said that most of the time when there is international barrier or some kind of resentment between two communities or two countries, the problem has been lack of communication. “I think we can take this strength of tourism where we increase communication and before taking any decision, at least we use this platform of communication with our counterparts,” he said recognising tourism as an important channel to promote people to people interaction and social and cultural amity.  

Sharma while complementing UBM India, organiser of SATTE, said that it is platforms like SATTE that not only facilitate exchange of ideas but also create conducive atmosphere of global peace through right ‘communication.’

“This is high time that, in the wider interest of international community and peace and international businesses and economy where the majority of the world is facing economic crisis, we need to explore the potential of tourism as an industry, tourism as its strength,” he stressed.

 The Minister also highlighted tourism’s intrinsic nature in enhancing people to people connection and closer social-cultural integration between countries and communities as well as facilitating new learnings. Sharma said that it is not possible to explore and promote tourism in isolation or with singular effort of just one country, be it India or any other destination. “India has lot to learn and a lot to give to the tourism industry. We have to share our experiences in different fields. Tourism is a joint effort between countries. All of us especially, countries in South East Asia need to work together to create a win-win situation. We don’t have to talk in terms of inbound and outbound but in the wider interest of tourism industry, the multi-fold benefit of tourism as a tool of economic driver for the world. Tourism has to integrated in the world fora,” Sharma said

Sharma further said that in our country, we believe that tourism has not been given that push which it should have been given. “The Prime Minister considers tourism as an engine of economic growth that can also take perception of the country to the different corners of the world. The Prime Minister has given me the three ministries of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation. And I am using them in an integrated manner. But the ultimate effect has to come through tourism,” he said.

We have to showcase the great culture of this country starting from spirituality, yoga, ancient history and the monuments, coastline, snow clad mountains, natural beauty, wildlife, golf and MICE potential and country’s potential in medical and wellness offerings.

Sharma lauded the key role played by stakeholders from the Indian tourism industry. He said, “This industry is not possible until and unless we have the stakeholder together. We have taken all the initiatives with our stakeholders’ advice. They are our partners in showcasing India.”

Sharma also used the occasion to highlight the new initiatives being taken, implemented as well as those being considered. “We are still lagging behind. And we are trying to address the issues of weaknesses and strength of the tourism and hospitality industry such as the cleanliness, the security part, among others. We are trying to address them,” informed Sharma.

Jet Airways, one of India's premier international airlines, is expanding its operations to Bangkok with the launch of new daily flights from its hubs in Mumbai and Delhi. With the introduction of these new frequencies, Jet Airways becomes the largest Indian airline flying between India and Bangkok.

With effect from March 27, 2016, Jet Airways will launch a third daily frequency from Mumbai to Bangkok, making it the airline with the maximum number of daily frequencies between the two cities. Jet Airways will also launch a second daily service from Delhi to Bangkok from March 27, 2016, offering greater choice to guests travelling between the two capital cities.

These new services from Jet Airways’ hubs in Mumbai and Delhi will further strengthen the Airline’s growing network and significantly enhance flight options and connectivity for guests.

Gaurang Shetty, Senior Vice-President - Commercial, Jet Airways said, "Jet Airways is delighted to introduce additional frequencies from Mumbai and Delhi to Bangkok providing greater choice and convenience to our guests on these popular routes. Bangkok has been a popular destination for business and leisure travellers and demand on routes from India to Bangkok continues to grow. By adding more capacity to this key destination from our hubs in Mumbai and Delhi we aim to provide easy connectivity with convenient schedules linking to our wider domestic network.”

The expansion of Jet Airways’ operations to Bangkok is in keeping with the Government of India’s ‘Look East-Act East’ policy. The new connections will further boost the business and leisure traffic between India and Thailand. Moreover, guest will be able to avail convenient onward connections from Bangkok to destinations in the ASEAN region with Jet Airways’ codeshare airline partners.

Jet Airways will deploy Boeing 737-800 aircraft on the new services, offering Premiere and Economy guests, a best in class in-flight product, warm service, and award-winning in-flight entertainment and cuisine.

In a time of global upheaval when the travel and tourism industry worldwide is seriously grappling with challenges emanating from various geopolitical and financial crisis such as a Middle east turmoil, struggling European or slowing Chinese economies, the just concluded South Asia’s biggest travel show SATTE 2016 showed an unprecedented industry faith in India as a travel market place from across a cross-section of travel verticals including outbound, inbound and domestic.

SATTE 2016 was almost there offering that crystal ball that the India and International tourism requires to gauge the mood of travellers. Hailed as South Asia’s most vibrant show, SATTE 2016, organised from January 29-31, recorded an unprecedented growth breaking all previous landmarks in its 23nd edition. Spread over an area of 17,000 square metres, the exhibitors’ number grew from 650+ last year to well over 750 exhibitors in 2016 recording a growth of more than 15 per cent this year. The event was attended by companies from 35 countries and 28 Indian States and Union Territories and included from NTOs and State Tourism Boards to Hotels, DMCs, airlines, theme parks, cruise lines and a host of other suppliers. Furthermore, with a record attendance of 20,000 SATTE 2016 grew by over 28 per cent in business visitors’ participation.

Welcoming guests on the opening day, Michael Duck, Executive Vice President, UBM Asia, said, “India is today one of the world’s largest and fastest growing travel markets. It has been a constant endeavour of ours to provide a platform for the inbound, domestic and outbound segments and thus meeting the larger industry needs of India. Being the only composite travel and tourism show in this part of the world, SATTE provides platform to domestic and international buyers and professionals from across the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.”

Duck also informed that SATTE’s buyer programme is well supported by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. “We are proud to partner with Ministry of Tourism, all major travel and tourism associations in India, state tourism boards, national tourist offices and all the sectors of hospitality and travel trade and the UNWTO. Together we are poised to raise the benchmark and fuel trade for the travel industry in India,” he added while welcoming the delegates from all over the world at the three-day event.

Hailing SATTE as a “comprehensive travel event” and “one of the leading networking and business platform for the tourism in South Asia,” UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, in his video message said, “The coming days (at SATTE) will prove an ideal opportunity to address the issues and innovations that are currently shaping our sector. This will surely set the scene for years to come and open immense opportunity in terms of inter-regional co-operation and inclusive business development.”

Reiterating UNWTO’s ongoing commitment to SATTE, Rifai said, “The thriving Indian economy has produced an ever growing affluent Middle Class that combined with travel liberalisation and facilitation has made India one of the fastest growing outbound travel markets in the world. Regarding India as a destination there have been equally important achievements. One just has to think about landmark Incredible India tourism marketing campaign in addition to several others such as a clear commitment towards regional integration and development. It is needless to say that such action have an immensely positive impact on the country’s tourism sector and consequently on the society and the economy as a whole.”

Complementing UBM India in strong terms Mahesh Sharma, Union Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, said that it is platforms like SATTE that not only facilitate exchange of ideas but also create conducive atmosphere of global peace through right ‘communication.’

Sharma further said that in our country, we believe that tourism has not been given that push which it should have been given. “The Prime Minister considers tourism as an engine of economic growth that can also take perception of the country to the different corners of the world. The Prime Minister has given me the three ministries of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation. And I am using them in an integrated manner. But the ultimate effect has to come through tourism”, he said.

Complimenting SATTE and his Ministry for actively participating in the event, Sharma requested UBM India to share the outcome of the deliberation during the various SATTE conferences that his ministry can make use of in order to “upgrade, update and strengthen” itself. Sharma also used the occasion to highlight the new initiatives being taken, implemented as well as those being considered.

Congratulating UBM India for putting up another successful edition of SATTE 2016 and bringing together both buyers and suppliers on a single platform, Secretary, Tourism, Government of India, Vinod Zutshi, said, “As a home grown initiative, SATTE has come a long way. Considering the range of participation and interest which SATTE has been evoking over the years, it is today a major travel industry event in the South Asian region. Undoubtedly SATTE has enabled to form useful synergies and effective networks in travel and tourism sector across the sub-continent and is largely driven by the composite will of the tourism industry. Ministry of Tourism has given its full support to this prestigious event and Incredible India is a built in partner of SATTE.”

Thailand witnessed record arrivals of both Indian and International tourists reaching an all time high of 29.8 million in 2015. Attending SATTE for the eighth time with a 56 member strong delegation, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) identifies India as one of its top priority markets.

“Our mission is how to spread our tourism and share with all. This time we would like to introduce new destinations. I do hope we have brought to you many new places, smaller cities, community based tourism. We hope that the income coming from tourism will not only benefit the very few but to more,” said Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister for Tourism & Sport, Kingdom of Thailand, while inviting delegates at SATTE to explore the myriad hues of Thailand.

One of India’s youngest states and carved out from the central Indian state of MP, Chattisgarh is a picturesque state with a large part of it covered with forest, hills and flora and faunas. While sharing a brief run down on Chattisgarh, Dayal Das Baghel, Minister of Tourism, Government of Chhattisgarh called his state home to the ‘Niagara of India’ for its massive ‘Chitrakoot Fall.’ Baghel not only used the platform to effectively highlight Chattisgarh’s diverse tourism offering but also invited the Indian and international delegates attending SATTE 2016 to explore the state.

IATO President, Subhash Goyal, who’s association with SATTE dates back right to its first edition 23 years ago said that since UBM’s took over the show a few years ago, SATTE has made ‘international dimension’ and has kept both ‘buyers’ and ‘sellers’ happy. “It is the event which every travel agent, every tour operator, every hotelier and every state tourism board looks forward to. And it’s growing day by day,” he said with enthusiasm.  

Earlier, while welcoming guests to the 23rd edition of SATTE, Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, UBM India, said, “Backed by proven expertise of growing businesses in India’s travel, tourism and hospitality sector, SATTE 2016, New Delhi, is poised to grow and be the ideal platform for the key players of this sector to showcase their products, services and innovations, exchange knowledge and congregate for business. Over the years SATTE has witnessed a magnanimous response from both, the exhibitors and buyers, launches by different tourism boards and also in overall increase in visitors.”

Emphasising SATTE role in growing India Tourism, Mudras further added UBM India has been successfully able to play the role of catalyst in promoting tourism in India. “This year we are glad to host more than 750 companies from 35 different countries and also 28 Indian states. They will showcase their latest offerings and also provide access to further strengthening the partnership for business in this region,” he informed. 

Pallavi Mehra, Portfolio Director, UBM India, while delivering the vote of thanks, announced  that SATTE 2017 will be held from February 15-17, at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, India.

Also attending the inaugural function was a galaxy of who’s who of India’s travel, tourism and hospitality sector that included Sarab Jit Singh, Vice Chairman, Federation of Associations of Indian Tourism & Hospitality; Sunil Kumar, President, Travel Agents Association of India; Zakkir Ahmad, President, Travel Agent Federation of India; Biji Eapen, IATA Agents Association of India; Jyoti Kapur, President, Association of Domestic Tour Operator Association of India; Guldeep Shani, President, Outbound Tour Operator Association of India; Jagat Mehta, President, Enterprising Travel Agents Association; Rajan Sehgal, President, India Golf Tourism Association; Anish Kumar, Association of Tourism Trade Organisations, India and Sanjay Dutta, President, Skal Delhi, among others.

Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel and JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar have partnered to launch a curated upscale business service, ‘Sphere’. This premium service will be a by-invitation-only club specially designed for the elite guests. The club is planning to tap the top level corporate as their members. As a member, guests can select their venue at the executive lounge of any of the two properties for business networking.

Saeid Heidari, General Manager, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar said, “Both, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel and JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar are one of the largest hotels in the country. We have the space to cater to numbers. As established properties, both the hotels do 50 per cent business with corporate, 30 per cent groups and rest FIT’s. With the launch of Sphere, we will take the service to business clients to the next level. Membership to the club will provide an array of benefits to the clients in both the properties. The new club will be a great networking opportunity and help to build relationships with like-minded people. Business is growing rapidly in Mumbai and in India, so the Sphere will surely be successful in this market.”

The membership for the club will be a paid service. The club will initially invite members from Mumbai and later on include pan India members. Heidari added, “Currently we are looking to start with these two hotels, as they are one of the largest hotels in the country. In future, we will add more properties from Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata, after its success in Mumbai market.”

Rex AG Nijhof, General Manager, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel and Lakeside Chalet – Mumbai, Marriott Executive Apartments said, “Membership is by invitation only; this is to have a mix of members from all the different sectors. We also need a lot of women leaders in this club. Mumbai will be the first point for us, later on we will expand our membership pan India. We will be targeting the top CXO’s and CEO of different MNC’s and other companies for this programme, who frequently travel. Our aim is to improve and bring innovation to our business. The top criterion is that we want leaders of established businesses. We will tap the top and mid level companies for the same. Today, corporate entities are looking out for good networking platforms, with Sphere we will bridge this gap.”

Speaking about the marketing strategy of this exclusive club, Megha Ajgaonkar, Director of Sales and Marketing, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel and Lakeside Chalet - Mumbai, Marriott Executive Apartments said, “As it is an elite service, we will not do any major marketing and promotion. Meetings Imagined is one of our modules which we have blended with this club. Networking, socialising and meetings is what we want to achieve with the Sphere.”

SATTE Mumbai West, the companion event of SATTE New Delhi, has grown from strength to strength. Now in its 5th edition, the event will be held on August 9-10, 2016 at the World Trade Centre in Mumbai. Bookings for the same have commenced.

SATTE Mumbai is the perfect platform for buyers and suppliers of the western region to interact with travel trade from across Western India in the financial capital of the country.This year the event will witness over 100 exhibitors including; International tourism boards, Indian State tourisms, hotels, DMCs, airlines, theme parks, cruise lines and a host of other suppliers. Niche product and service providers from the industry will also participate to connect with potential business aides and build stronger partnerships within the region through this platform.

Last year, the show witnessed the participation of Rajasthan Tourism, Maharashtra Tourism, Chhattisgarh Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir Tourism and Madhya Pradesh Tourism, Turkish Culture and Tourism Office, Tourism Malaysia, Tourism Fiji, Uzbekistan Tourism, Neemrana Hotels, OyoRooms, ZO Rooms, Interglobe Aviation (Indigo), Internet Moguls, Tea Estate India, Grade One Events, United Travels and Tours from Singapore, amongst others. The event also witnessed an overwhelming response and a record breaking growth in terms of footfalls.

In an attempt to attract domestic tourists from Western region, the Department of Tourism (DoT), Government of Odisha, recently organized its roadshow in Mumbai. The objective was to promote the state and its variety of tourism products in the western part of India.   The Department has been focusing to woo domestic tourist from across India. “It has already organised various roadshows last year and this year we are organising 10 roadshows. It is a happy coincidence that one of such roadshow is being organised in this great city of Mumbai,” stated a release to media.

According to release, a progressive and investment friendly Tourism Policy has been in operation since April 2013. “As per the policy a State Level Single Window Committee has been created for speedy implementation of the projects; several incentives have been announced for the Tourism stake holders as part of promotional initiatives. In August last year, the Light & Sound Show (SEL) has been started at Dhauli and to follow in at Konark and Khandagiri-Udayagiri,” the release said.

Apart from these, the DoT is also organized a number of events like Konark Festival (1st – 5th December), International Sand Art Festival (1st – 5th December), Parab Tribal Festival (16 – 18 November), Dhanu Yatra Festival (Dec – Jan) Rajarani Music Festival (18 – 20 January), Mukteswar Dance Festival (14 – 16 January) etc. to attract more of domestic and international tourists.

Odisha Tourism Development Corporation has also been playing a key role in the promotion & development of Tourism in the state. It covers a wide range of facilities to the tourists and visitors with its 22 strategically located hotels & restaurants with fine Odia delicacies, boat riding in Chilika Lake, tour & travels and transport facilities. Above all Odisha is a peaceful state and the people are hospitable. The state capital Bhubaneswar is a modern city having good connectivity (both rail and air) to all major cities of the country. The Airport has opened to international sector and will definitely give a surge in tourist traffic. Hope your journey to Odisha will be a memorable one.

Travel buyers are forecasting a confident outlook for business travel in 2016, despite broader economic challenges, according to new research from the ATPI Group and the Institute of Travel and Meetings (ITM).

For the next 12 months, 55 per cent of ITM travel buyers surveyed predict that their people will travel more, and a significant 72 per cent feel very or quite confident about their business outlook and growth opportunities for 2016.

When asked to think about the next five years, 58 per cent of research respondents stated that the amount of travel required by their business will increase. Only seven per cent see a reduction in business travel when looking towards 2020.

Confidence is also seen in travel patterns that the sector expects to see in the next five years – almost half (47 per cent) are anticipating that their people will be travelling to more new destinations.

“The economic recovery of 2015 has increased confidence amongst businesses, despite a background of uncertainty in some sectors and regions of the world. We are seeing business travel professionals feeling more optimistic about the longer term future than in recent years, and are planning to be travelling more, to a wider choice of destinations,” Adam Knights, Managing Director, UK, the ATPI Group, said.

However, it’s clear that the terrorist events of 2015 have changed attitudes for business travel professionals. When asked about their biggest concerns for 2016, the safety and security of travellers comes out as the most important factor when managing the business travel plans for 65 per cent of respondents. The next most important factor is reducing overall travel costs for just under a third (31 per cent) of business travel professionals.

“Strong, robust travel policies are a clear theme as businesses look to plan for growing travel requirements. This makes complete sense as controlling spend will always be an important factor for any business. Despite a more positive outlook for business travel in the longer term, the message for TMCs is clear – be transparent and supportive of client priorities in order to help them deliver the growth that will bring yet greater need to travel further afield, and more often,” he added.

The factor that is dismissed as not at all important by the most research respondents is offering flexibility in travel policies – 58 per cent regarded it as the least of their concerns looking to 2016. Conversely, in similar research conducted by the ATPI Group amongst business decision makers in February 2014, flexibility was in the top two priorities for the year which shows a major shift in just two years.

The disregard of flexibility in travel policies is mirrored in addressing where business travel professionals may look to make cost savings over the next 12 months. Just over half – 52 per cent – state that managing traveller behaviour is essential to delivering greater financial efficiency, suggesting that a closer reign on travel programmes is a trend for the coming year.

When asked what could greatly improve their business’ approach to travel management in 2016, if money was no object, the top response was visibility of the total cost of trips (29 per cent), with a strategic approach to duty of care and risk management coming in second (27 per cent) and enhanced preferred supplier deals with air/rail/car/hotel providers in third place (21 per cent).

 

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