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Karishma Sen

Karishma Sen

In a bid to promote the Visegrad Four (V4) area in India, the European Quartet (EQ) including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia recently organised their annual road show. The road show was a great opportunity for these four countries to present new tourism products, to open a new platform for new business ties and to strengthen ongoing collaborations. The representatives from the EQ shared that each of the four destinations received 30,000-35,000 overnights from India in 2013.

“The increased interest about the Visegrad area has led the EQ to aggressively tap the Indian market by organising annual workshops and campaigns. This year we have seen progressive growth and we hope that this trend will continue in the upcoming years as well. Presenting all four countries in the wider perspective of the Central European region will definitely help to improve the awareness and to intensify the ongoing promotion of the destination,” said Jan Herget, Director- Foreign Office Departments, Czech Republic Tourist Authority.

The Quartet has been working together to ensure long-term success in the fields of common interest through continued and reinforced internal cooperation. “All four countries share both historical roots and cultural traditions. However, each of the member countries has its own unique identity, in the field of architecture, art, religion, folklore and traditions or landscape,” opined KrisztinaBasca, International Market Development Manager, Hungary Tourism.

Speaking about the highlight of the campaign ‘European Quartet – One Melody’, Emilia Kubik , Project Leader- ‘I like Poland’ Campaign, Poland Tourism said that together as the Visegrad area the four countries want to promote the art and culture offers several unique UNESCO monuments, world famous spas, authentically preserved historical towns and places of natural beauty. “We are mainly targeting FIT’s, groups, honeymooners as well as business travellers,” she added.

The basic instruments for tourist promotion of the V4 countries include presentations at trade fairs, workshops, FAM and press trips, printed brochures and promotional websites. “For the Indian market in 2014, we have decided to concentrate on our annual workshops and trade training rather than consumer ad campaigns and trade fairs as we are yet to see results from this market,” he added.

In a bid to promote wedding, MICE and golf tourism in India, the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) recently organised a road show in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru for the travel trade and event organisers. The roadshow witnessed the participation of 15 suppliers from Mauritius. For 2014, MTPA will focus on the young Indian travellers and educate the travel organisers on how to package and sell the destination.

“The main purpose behind this road show is to meet with our Indian trade partners as well as the event planners and organisers who deal in wedding, MICE and golf events. Statistics suggest that Indians between the age group of 18-45 are more likely to travel; this makes our target audience fairly young,” said Vijaye Haulder, Deputy Director, MTPA.

The three metros are MTPA’s main source markets. “Delhi is huge for our wedding segment, Mumbai for honeymoon and we get maximum MICE business from Bengaluru,” Haulder said and added that promoting these three segments will boost visitor arrival numbers.

Despite the economic slowdown, Mauritius is expecting one million visitors from across the world by the end of 2013. Between January and October 2013, Mauritius received 60,000 Indian visitors, reflecting a 7.8 per cent increase in Indian footfall compared to the corresponding period last year. “Our target is to increase the growth rate to 10 - 15 per cent per year,” Haulder informed.

Elaborating more on the Authority’s decision to focus on these segments, he opined that India is one of its most important source markets and with the upcoming trend of destination weddings and organising events abroad Mauritius wants to cash in on that market. Mauritius is looking at welcoming quality travellers wanting to have a destination wedding. “In a year, we host a maximum of 10 high profile Indian weddings. We will continue to work in tandem with the Indian travel trade to create awareness about Mauritius as a wedding destination,” he said.

According to him, 10 - 15 per cent of MTPA’s total tourism revenue comes from MICE, which makes this segment an important. “We have included golf as our major tourism product to attract business travellers and the MICE,” he informed.

MTPA also plans to enter the tier-II cities such as Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Pune and Chandigarh to promote Mauritius as a MICE destination, “These cities have shown positive financial growth and are home to some of the largest business sectors in the country,” he said and added that in 2014, MTPA plans to hold roadshows in tier-II cities.

SuperStar Virgo recently arrived at Kaohsiung on the first call of its Hong Kong deployment this year, with more than 1,600 passengers from Hong Kong, China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Korea.

To celebrate this landmark deployment, Michael Goh, Senior Vice President of Sales, Star Cruises and Blondel So, COO, Genting Hong Kong along with heads and representatives of tourism bureau and tourism boards across the region including Philip Yung JP, Commissioner for Tourism, Hong Kong Tourism Commission; Anthony Lau, Executive Director, Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), Wayne Liu, Deputy Director General, Taiwan Tourism Bureau (TTB) and Lee Yung Te, Deputy Mayor, Kaohsiung were present to welcome the vessel.

The 75,338-tonne 13-deck SuperStar Virgo carries up to 2,500 passengers in its 935 cabins and 1,870 lower berths. During the six-month deployment, it will offer weekly 4D/3N cruises from Hong Kong to Kaohsiung and Taichung, 4D/3N cruises to Sanya and Halong Bay and 1-night high seas cruises to South China Sea. Once a month, passengers can visit Taiwan’s three biggest cities—Taipei (Keelung), Kaohsiung and Taichung—on a 7D/6N itinerary.

Speaking on this occasion, So shared that the first Star Cruises voyage from Hong Kong to Kaohsiung dates back 20 years. “From April to October, SuperStar Virgo will be offering 28 cruises from Hong Kong to Kaohsiung, bringing approximately 50,000 international visitors to the city, further boosting the economy of Taiwan.”

Sharing his expectations, Goh informed that Star Cruises expects an increase in the number of tourists from India, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia, as well as from Southeast Asia. “This deployment serves as a lead up to the two 150,000-tonne mega cruise ships we have recently commissioned to build for the Asian market. It will pave the way for their respective deliveries in 2016 and 2017.”

In March this year, HKTB and TTB jointly launched the Asia Cruise Fund to encourage cruise lines to increase ship deployments to Hong Kong and Taiwan. The HKTB was pleased to see the return of SuperStar Virgo to Hong Kong after six years. With demand for cruise travel on the rise, Hong Kong has been aggressively fostering partnerships with other ports in the region and international cruise lines to tap the potential of the Asian cruise market, said Lau.

“We have already invited other Asian ports to join this co-op fund to increase the overall appeal of cruise travel in Asia. The Board is also dedicated to developing our target source markets, including more mature markets like the US and the UK, and short-haul markets which promise high potential, such as South China, India and Southeast Asia. We are confident that with the support of cruise lines and other ports in the region, we will be able to step up the development of cruise tourism in Asia and turn Hong Kong into the region’s cruise hub,” Lau added.

Agreeing with Lau, Liu said, “We hope Star Cruises will continue to take advantage of the initiative by the TTB and HKTB to enhance the exposure, raise the capacity and give a further boost to the Asian cruise industry as a whole.” The 28 Hong Kong/Taiwan itineraries planned for SuperStar Virgo’s Hong Kong deployment will be beneficial for attracting foreign visitors, he added.

“As a cruising market India has grown leaps and bounds. India is an important market for Star Cruises and is one of the biggest contributors to the business. Travel patterns have changed, Indian travellers want to spend lavishly and understand the need for quality services. Today we sell more of three night cruises than two-night ones and more of balcony cabins than inside cabins. With the new Hong Kong route and new destinations we expect a rise in Indian footfall. This evolution has not been sudden but gradual over the years. Moving forward, I foresee a growth of 35 – 50 per cent in our business. We will continue to focus on leisure, honeymoon and families but we will also push a lot of MICE and group activities on-board the ship. Besides that we are targeting weddings at sea.”   - Naresh Rawal, Vice President - Sales, Star Cruises

What’s new?

SuperStar recently underwent a lavish makeover with upgraded cabins, retail, hotel, dining, and recreational facilities. To give cruisers the leisurely shopping experience, the total retail floor area of SuperStar Virgo has tripled to 562 square meters.

The expansion and addition of duty-free operator China Duty Free, jewelry and watch specialist Canopus, luxury leather goods retailer Milan Station and souvenir shop Ports O’ Call will offer passengers even more choices of perfume, cosmetics, fashion accessories, luxury and lifestyle products from around the world.

The SuperStar Virgo offers an extensive array of on- board entertainment, leisure, shopping, F&B offerings and renowned Asian style hospitality. SuperStar Virgo is complete with 11 award-winning F&B outlets, a world-class theatre showing acclaimed production shows every day, lounges, karaoke, swimming pools with a mega waterslide, Jacuzzis, a video arcade, a fitness centre, a beauty salon, a business centre and many more leisure, entertainment, wellness and MICE amenities.

With international tourist arrivals reaching one billion in 2012, the industry is gearing up to welcome the growth drivers of tourism in the world - Asian Millennial Travellers. Asia represents the potential for travel and tourism, stating that supremacy is shifting to the East. According to a report released by WTTC, by 2020, two out of every five travellers are expected to be from the region and will account for nearly half of global tourism expenditure. The UNWTO predicts that India will account for 50 million outbound tourists by 2020, and the ‘Kuoni Travel Report India 2007’ predicts that total outbound spending will cross the US$28 billion mark in 2020. This proves Asia’s dominance in the industry.

Asia Pacific has become the world’s largest travel market and is expected to reach US$351.9 billion this year according to industry research by PhoCusWright. These latest figures were released at the sixth edition of ITB Asia. “Backed by economic powerhouses such as China, India and Southeast Asia, the region has established itself as one of the powerful forces in world travel. The APAC travel market ousted Europe to become the world’s biggest regional travel market in 2012, earning gross bookings of US$326.2 billion and the impressive figure is expected to grow another 8 per cent in 2013,” said Chetan Kapoor, Research Analyst Asia Pacific, PhoCusWright.

The Pacific Asia Travel Association’s (PATA) Forecasts 2013-2017 records that the visitor arrivals to APAC will continue to grow with an average annual growth rate of 4.1 per cent over the period 2013-2017, and reach 581 million by 2017. According to Martin Craigs, CEO, PATA, outbound travel out of Asia has not experienced a lull despite the economic slowdown. “I firmly believe that China, Cambodia, the Maldives, Chinese Taipei, Bhutan, India and Mongolia are the fastest growing destinations in terms of outbound travellers. Northeast Asia will maintain a dominant position in the inbound market of Asia Pacific, and its market share will reach 53.52 per cent by 2017. By 2015, India might surpass China’s progress,” he stated.

After recording encouraging results and marginal growth in the first quarter of 2013, the Asian tourism and hospitality industry has experienced a average first half of 2013, said Madhavan Menon, MD, Thomas Cook (India). “The end result will definitely show a positive shift in numbers. Asia is a continent with a wide spectrum of travellers and with the largest population. Asians today are more tech savvy and have a sizeable population of higher middle class who have disposable income. I am expecting a 15-20 per cent rise in the number of outbound travellers out of Asia in the last two months of the year.”

The sudden shift to the Asian markets is expected to fuel roughly 47 million new jobs in Asia by 2023, and these figures are expected to grow till 2050. “This will be a period when China and India are expected to be the world’s largest and third-largest economies respectively, with an estimated three billion people having the financial means to travel,” said Deep Kalra, Founder, Group Chairman & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip.

Kalra further shared that despite low internet access and infrastructure challenges, the growth of online travel has not witnessed a downfall. He revealed that, in 2012, online travel sales in APAC accounted for 23 per cent of the total travel market in the region with a value of US$68 billion.

According to a research by PhoCusWright, Asia Pacific has become the world’s largest travel market and is expected to reach US$351.9 billion this year. Reflecting this growth, Gruettke, said that China and India’s large populations and growing middle classes make them key source markets for the global travel industry.

“With a vast number of potential travellers coming from both of these markets, it is essential that the global travel industry understands Chinese and Indian travellers and manages the shift in customer profiles to ensure that they take advantage of new opportunities that may emerge.”

Gruettke believes that, owing to this, the exhibitor demand from Europe, Asia and North America has been particularly strong at ITB Asia 2013 as tourism industries focus their attention on the Asian travel market. “This year, ITB Asia sold out on exhibitor space four months prior to the event, and this is a sign of the growing interest in Asia’s travel market,” he opined.

Elaborating on the India market Gruettke stated that India is a key market for the global travel industry. “With a fast growing middle class and a rapid rise in both inbound and outbound travel, it is one of the world’s fastest growing travel markets. In terms of outbound travel, World Tourism Organization has predicted 50 million outbound travellers from India by 2020. International tourism expenditure by Indians has grown from US$ 1.3 billion in 1997 to US$ 14 Billion in 2010. These statistics illustrate the tremendous opportunities in this market for the rest of the world.”

He also believes that, as more and more tourists worldwide look to India as a holiday destination, tourism players should also acknowledge the growing trend of hotel groups and travel services increasing their presence there.

This year, ITB Asia introduced the Medical Tourism Association. Speaking about this initiative Gruettke, said, “At ITB Asia, we recognise the importance of delivering the latest industry insights. With the health and medical tourism market currently worth over US$100 billion and still growing, this year we partnered with the Medical Tourism Association for their inaugural session to help delegates understand the opportunities in this sector. With such a timely and relevant topic, we received a very positive response from delegates on this session.”

ITB Asia took place in Singapore in October this year.

Tourism boards across the world have used festivals for generating opportunities to promote tourism. India is following a similar trend and slowly making its mark as a premier ‘Land of Festivals’. In a nation as diverse as India, several cultures have, over the centuries, made India a land of everlasting festivals. Every small occasion, from welcoming the spring or rain and the harvesting of crops, to seeing the full moon, lends itself to joyous celebrations splashed with colours, music, folk dances and songs. Festivals will take you for a holy dip in one of its numerous rivers, or cover you with scented colour, swing you sky high, give you elephant or camel rides, and invite you to joyous day and night-long singing, dancing and feasting.

Realising the potential of festivals and learning form the achievements of world renowned festivals such as the Rio Carnival in Brazil, La Tomatina in Spain and St Patrick’s Day Festivities in Ireland, State Tourism Ministries have, in the recent time, shifted its focus to promoting and showcasing Indian festivals to the world, as well as upping their marketing initiatives for increased domestic footfall.

Every year, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) seeks to present the myriad facets of Maharashtra’s rich heritage through a series of festivals such as the Elephanta Festival, the Pune festival, Ganesh Utsav, the Ellora Festival and the Kalidas Festival. Adding a new feather to its cap, MTDC recently organised the Konkan and Strawberry Festivals.

The Elephanta Festival 2013 witnessed an increase of 10 to12 per cent in foreign tourist attendance as compared with last year. This number was shared by Jagdish Patil, Managing Director, MTDC. He further stated that festivals play a huge role in defining the state’s culture. “We at MTDC are always thinking of newer festivals and events to make the state more attractive. Last year we had international artistes who participated in the Elephanta Festival, which proves that international markets are aware of Maharashtra.”

To further penetrate the western market, MTDC promoted Diwali at Times Square, USA. Patil revealed that the celebration was a huge success and it helped build curiosity among the public, not only for our state but also the country. The coming years will see an increase in promotion for Fairs and Festival Tourism.

Gujarat is state that has made its mark on the international tourism map by predominantly promoting its fairs and festivals. With an array of celebrations, including the Navratri Festival, International Kite Festival (Uttarayan), Modhera Dance Festival, Bhavnath Fair, Chitra Vichitra Fair, Tarnetar Fair, Bhadrapad Ambaji Fair, Navratri Festival, Lili Parikrama Fair, Shamlaji Fair, Vautha Fair, Kawnat Fair, Rann Utsav, Tanariri Festival and Dangs Darbar Festival, Gujarat is a delight for art and culture lovers. Lauding the efforts and the support given by the Government, Kamlesh Patel, Chairman, Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd (TCGL), said that they were successful in building a tourism product so impactful with the help of quick clearances, development of infrastructure and increase in connectivity.

“Today we can proudly say that tourism is one of the major source of income in the state. The Navratri festival and the Rann Utsav of Kutch are the most important and internationally renowned festivals. We are paying aggressively promoting fairs and festivals in the state as we have seen an increasing interest and footfall for the same in the state. Every year we launch new and attractive packages designed around the festival circuit for both inbound and domestic tourists,” said Patel.

Known for its elaborate carnivals, music festivals and food festivals, Goa is the ‘It’ place to visit from international as well as domestic tourists. Touted as the Rio de Janeiro of India, Goa is on everybody’s bucket list. This year Goa Tourism will only focus on promoting its festivals, carnivals and events, shared Dilip Parulekar, Minister for Tourism, Woman & Child Development, Government of Goa. “Goa is much more than just a beach destination and moving forward we want to establish it as an events capital of India. The Carnival is the highlight of our state. Our vision is to see that the Carnaval here becomes as popular as the legendary Brazilian Carnival.”

He further stated that, buoyant by the success of festivals in Goa last year, the state is also promoting and packaging festivals and events such as the Cashew & Coconut Festival and other festivals such as Shigmo, Sao Jao, Bonderam and Tirpurari Purnima. “We expect more than 2.5 lakh tourists to participate in the Carnaval this year, which recorded nearly two lakh tourists last year,” he added.

An annual celebration of Indian classical dance and music, the Konark Festival is one of the biggest dance festivals in the country. M R Patnaik, Director Tourism, Govt. of Odisha shared that this festival has established its own unique identity in the sense that eminent artistes of national and international repute participate and perform classical, folk and tribal dances/music of India in the monumental Sun Temple, Konark. “This is a major attraction for international tourists, and we are majorly cashing in on it. Last year, across the five days of the festival, we witnessed a footfall of five lakh people visiting from around the world. I have plans to host many international festivals in other parts of the country,” he added.

Moving forward, the state tourism board will also promote Nava Kalebara festival that is held once in every 12-19 years according to the calculation of the year and date. “It is an ancient ritual associated with most of the Jagannath Temples when the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan are replaced by a new set of idols. The last festival was held in 1996 and the next will be held in 2015,” said Patnaik.

India’s tourism has been growing at a fast pace. The recent measures taken by the Government, such as FDI in aviation and the intention of extending Visa-on-Arrival to more countries, are further going to provide impetus to the Indian tourism industry, giving tourism industry more than enough reason to be at SATTE 2014. SATTE 2014, which will be held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, from January 29-31 and SATTE Mumbai West from February 3 – 4, 2014 will witness a vast participation of many major Indian and global players. SATTE continues to receive immense support from national tourism boards, Indian states, hotel chains, airlines and tourism products from across the globe.

As the Industry gears up for South Asia’s leading B2B travel and tourism event , State Tourism Boards and NTO’s see SATTE as a key channel to expand their business. Manoharan Periasamy, Director, Tourism Malaysia, believes SATTE is the right platform where the tourism board can update and quip the travel agents in India with all the relevant information they need to market Malaysia to their customers.

Echoing his sentiments Jay Gray, Vice President, Global Partnership Development, Brand USA said that they are confident that their participation in the events will make a constructive and long-term impression. Brand USA will also develop a series of activities during the travel fair to further strengthen tourism marketing efforts in the region.

Lavasa Corporation will be participating for the first time at SATTE this year and through SATTE the company plans to position Lavasa as preferred weekend and MICE destination, “We are looking forward to SATTE in January. We are very keen on meeting quality buyers who will help us leverage the business. Through the travel expo we want to be the leading destination among the domestic market,” said Rajiv Duggal, Senior Vice President – Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure, Lavasa Corporation.

Tourism players who have confirmed their participation at SATTE 2014 are: Abia Tours, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, Accor India, Agri Gold, Aitken Spence Hotel Management, Aman Travels, Anantara Spa, Anatolia Hotel , Argentina Tourism, Ark Travels, Ascot hotels, Astamb Holiday, ATD India, Backwater Ripples Kumarakom,Bangladesh Tourism, Banyan Tree Resorts, Bodoland Tourism, Bonton Travels, Booking.Com, Brads International, Brand USA, Carzonrent, Central Asia Guided Tours, Chariot Singapore, Classic Hotels, Colonel’S Retreat, Cox & Kings Outbound, Cox and Kings Global Service, Crimson hotels , Cruise Professionals, Discover The World, DTCM, DMC One, Duggal brothers, Ellbee Hotels , Ethiopia Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Europcare, Exotel, Fast Track Tours, Fiji Tourism, Frasers Hospitality, Gaurav Travels , Globe 1 (Amari), Globus & Cosmos (group Voyagers), Gold Coast Tourism, Goa, Gujarat, Grand Mumtaz, Guideline Travels, HHR , Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corp, Holidays Vista, Hotel Ganga Kinare, Hotel Picasso, Hotel Regent Continental, Hotel Royal Orchid, Hotel Sealord, Indian Travel Promotion, Indigo, Indonesia, Infinity Wildlife Resorts, Internet Moguls, Israel, Iween Software Solutions, Japan, JC Residency, Jetwing Travels, Kadambavam, Kerala , Kenya Tourism, Korea Tourism Organization, Lavasa Corporation, Lemon Tree Hotels, Lohagarh Resorts, MTDC, Maldives Tourism, Manu Maharani, Marasa Africa, Maxim Tours, Malaysia, Ministry Of Tourism, MSC Cruises, Muthoot Leisure & Hospitality, My Guest House, Nepal, Neemrana Hotels, Niche Indiam, Nidhivan Hotels , Oman Ministry Of Tourism, Pathfinders, Poppy Hotel (Aquatic resort), Purvi Discovery, Pushkar Palace/Jagat Palace, Raj Hospitality, Rangmahal Jaisalmer, RARE, Room Book Pro, RoomsXML Solutions Limited, Seychelles, Shahpura House, Sharmila Travels, Skywaltz Ballooning, Somatheeram Ayurveda Group, Sri Lankan Airlines, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Taiwan, Tamarind Tours, The Accor Group of Hotels, ThinksynQ, TI Infotech , Toga Hotels, Tourism Council Of Bhutan, Tourism New Zealand, Tourism Office Of Spain, Travel Designer India , Travelconsol, Travelz Factory, Trip Advisor, TSI , Tux Hospitality, Venetian Macao - Resorts - Hotels, Vie Travels, Visit Britain, Viva Voyages, World of Vacation, Xenious hotels , Yayavar travels, among many others.

Brand USA has participated in ITB Asia 2013 for the first time and is increasing stall space at the upcoming SATTE 2014 in India. This proves Brand USA’s growing interest in the Asian continent. The Asian economies, including India, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, have been recording steady and consistent growth and USA has seen 7-10 per cent outbound from some of these markets.

Judging from past experiences the response from Asian markets, especially India, has been exceptional according to Christopher L. Thompson, President and CEO, Brand USA. “The travel trade have been very supportive and the turnout, be it at our road shows or trade events have been great. India ranks 12th among the top 20 countries in the number of visitors to the US with 7, 24,433 arrivals in 2012, an increase of 9.2 per cent over the previous year. In the first quarter of 2013, we witnessed a growth of 14.7 per cent. We are expecting a million Indian visitors in 2015.” In 2012 Indian visitors also ranked 10th in terms of money spent with a total spend of US$4.9 billion, Thompson added.

The Asian market is an emerging but rapidly growing one, and Jay Gray, Vice President, Global Partnership Development, Brand USA, has observed a consistent demand for travel to the US. Trade events such as SATTE and ITB Asia provide a key channel for Brand USA, enabling the marketing entity to reach out to the increasingly discerning consumer base. “We are confident that our participation at the events will make a constructive and long-term impression. We also develop a series of activities during the travel fair to further strengthen tourism marketing efforts in the region,” he added.

Apart from trade shows, Brand USA has been regularly conducting various campaigns and outreach programmes with the travel trade, consumers and media in India’s tier I and II cities. Commenting on participating at SATTE, Gray said, “Through SATTE, we look forward to showcase and educate the Indian travel trade about our products. Our participation last year helped us create and maintain relationships. At SATTE 2014, we want to gain good business through established contacts. Also, the interest has been very strong and we are very optimistic that SATTE will be a success for us.”

The major American presence at trade shows usually includes exhibitors such as Florida, Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco, Caesars Entertainment, Grand Canyon, Universal Orlando, Utah’s Canyon Country, Tour America, among many others. “We are pleased to participate in trade fairs as a part of the Brand USA pavilion. India is among the fastest growing travel markets for California with the projection of 208,000 visitors from India in 2012, up by 7 per cent over 2011. The city expects 38 per cent growth between 2012 and 2016,” a Visit California representative shared on the sidelines of the Brand USA press meet at ITB Asia, Singapore.

In keeping with its annual promise of providing the industry with the best of travel and tourism and mapping the latest trends in the sector, SATTE has announced an exciting line-up of conferences for this year’s event focusing on building partnerships in tourism and adapting and thriving in this ever-evolving travel industry. The conference agenda will also analyse trends, bottlenecks and future opportunities for the tourism industry in India.

The 2014 programme will have over two days of sessions, including high powered content during which high profile speakers and industry experts will present and lead discussions on a range of topics covering all aspects of the travel industry.

“As the leading travel event in the industry, SATTE recognises the significance of being the forerunner in delivering the latest industry insights to keep our partners well informed. Delegates attending this year’s conference will have the opportunity to attend a variety of strong content driven sessions that will address the latest developments, challenges and trends in travel. Through the SATTE Conference we want to constantly deliver practical knowledge and concrete learning points that our delegates can apply to their businesses to elevate success,” said Sajid Desai, Group Director, UBM India.

Recognising SATTE’s contribution in the growth of travel and tourism in India and South Asia, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), continues to extend its support to SATTE 2014.  This is the third consecutive year that UNWTO has partnered with SATTE. Apart from the welcome message by Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, UNWTO, the agency is extensively participating in the SATTE India Conference. The UNWTO perspective at the conference will feature senior representatives addressing topics such as ‘Setting the Scene: Tourism Towards 2030’, followed by ExpertSpeak on  'Global Marketing for Ecotourism’; and a panel discussion on  'Tourism for National Development' engaging senior representatives from the government and private sector.

The first panel discussion on ‘Inventing new approaches to forge a stronger partnership within the industry’ will touch upon understanding the changing market dynamics and developing a PPP model to create a holistic atmosphere that enhances profitability of the tourism Industry in India.

The SATTE conference will also critically evaluate the concepts of Ecotourism and Responsible Tourism in its panel discussion on ‘Incorporating global best practices to make India a responsible and sustainable tourism destination’. Tourism takes place in the destination where tourists mix and interact with those who live and work there. The panel discussion will discuss how tourism can help the sustainable development of urban and rural areas and communities.

Not forgetting the most important facet of travel and tourism, the Aviation industry, the SATTE 2013 Conference session ‘Aviation– Challenges, opportunities and the way forward’ will focus on explaining the growth opportunity in Indian aviation and inviting foreign airlines to invest in Indian aviation. The panel discussion will also touch upon topics such as, ‘Evaluating the impact of current economic scenario on the Indian aviation sector and forecast about the next phase of growth’ and  ‘Current state of airport modernisation and need for regional connectivity’.

Addressing the hospitality industry woes will be the ‘Developing Innovative Partnership Model for Tourism in 2020’ session. The session will highlight trends, challenges and future opportunities for the hospitality and tour operator segment in India. The panellists will also debate on how OTAs and Social Media can help SMEs travel agents in their business growth

Among the topics addressed at the conference, ‘Making tourism a vehicle for inclusive growth while conserving the environment’;  ‘Unearthing opportunities, predicting trends and overcoming challenges in Domestic Tourism in Asia and the Pacific’; ‘Developing strategy-focused alliances that create better experiences for tourists and local people’; ‘Establishing transparent and mutually beneficial relationship for tourism growth ’; ‘Creating opportunities which encourage young people to continue to live in remote rural areas’; and many more will also be discussed.

Compagnie du Mont-Blanc, the France-based ski lift and cable car service provider, in association with Chamonix-Mont Blanc Tourism (CMBT) is planning to promote Chamonix-Mont Blanc in the Indian market as a leisure and adventure destination. “In 2014, we want to highlight the province as an ideal destination for travellers of all age group especially the young travellers and adventure lovers. We are in India to tap the travel trade segment of India and educate them about the product as well as the destination,” said Antoine Burnet, Director – Marketing, Compagnie du Mont-Blanc.

Elaborating on the product offering, Burnet opined that India is one of the most promising markets for us. “We are keen on promoting Chamonix-Mont Blanc as a luxury destination. The Chamonix valley is home to more than 80 peaks, two of which are the world famous: Mont Blanc peak and Auguille du Midi. We are planning to focus on leisure activities like cable car riding, wine tasting and local tours, along with promoting adventure activities like skiing, mountaineering and paragliding. For the adventure segment, we will be primarily targeting the youth.”

Apart from the leisure and adventure segments, CMBT and Compagnie du Mont-Blanc also want to target the growing Indian MICE market. Burnet further informed that Chamonix Mont-Blanc welcomed a large incentive group from the TATA Group in India in 2012. She opined that this just proves that corporate are taking a keen interest in the province.

Sheetal Munshaw, Representative to Chamonix Mont-Blanc Tourism Board in India, further added, “The concept of skiing and ski lifts are gaining popularity in India. Chamonix is surrounded by mountains on all sides and experiencing the destination via cable cars is a different experience altogether.” Moreover, Chamonix, being located close to the border of Switzerland, offers opportunities to explore both France and Switzerland. The province has received a footfall of approximately 7,000 tourists from India this year and their target for next year is to raise this number to 15,000 tourists per year in the next two to three years, she said.

Compagnie du Mont-Blanc and CMBT also plan to create more awareness about the destination among the travel trade and strengthen ties with them by conducting meetings and organising FAM trips. “We have recently entered into collaboration with French tourism development agency, Atout France and Cox and Kings India. The collaboration with Atout France entails CMBT participating in upcoming roadshows by the tourism board next year while that with Cox and Kings India entails including Chamonix in its French itineraries along with mentions of the destination on the company's blog,” informed Burnet.



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