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INDIA TOURISM, DUBAI

INDIA TOURISM, DUBAI

1. The Ministry of Tourism, under the “Incredible India” banner, would be showcasing the immense tourism potential of the country – business, leisure and medical value travel in Dubai. More than 20 participants from India, representing the travel trade, diversity of Heritage, Nature, Culture and Wellness tourism are participating in the India Pavilion set up by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India at ATM – 2018.
2. India Pavilion has participants representing the State Tourism Departments of Kerala, Air India, Tour Operators, Travel Agents, Hoteliers/Resorts, Wellness, Spas and Ayurveda Centres, who would be showcasing innumerable tourism products of ‘Incredible India’
3. The theme chosen for ATM-2018 is “Adventure, Yoga & Wellness Tourism”. One of the highlights of the ‘Incredible India’ being showcased at ATM-2018 is the depiction of India as a multi-faceted tourist destination for Luxury, Wildlife, and Wellness / Medical Tourism. India has 36 World Heritage Sites which include historic monuments and natural wonders and are being promoted by the tour operators.
4. The Indian tourism outlook is very promising with an upswing in the growth of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India in the recent years. In 2017, India received 10.18 million FTAs with a growth rate of 15.6%. The Gulf and the Middle East region are an important market for India. There has been a consistent and positive growth of Foreign Tourist Arrivals from this region to India over the last 3 years with the year 2017 having registered an overall growth of around 10% over the previous year. The aim is to maintain the same pace of growth rate in international tourist arrivals over the next 3 years including Middle East through a multi-pronged approach, including proactive marketing strategies in partnership with our tourism stakeholders. Some of the countries, particularly the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sultanate of Oman, Egypt, Turkey and Sudan have registered a significant growth and are emerging as major tourism generating markets for India from this region.
5. India has emerged as a Destination for Medical / Wellness Travel in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The percentage of Foreign Tourist Arrivals visiting India for Medical Treatment has been increasing over the years and growing rapidly since year 2000. India is poised to become a hub for medical tourism because of several factors viz. world class hospitals with latest technology; highly skilled Indian physicians and surgeons; cost effective treatment; excellent quality of care and nursing; less waiting time for availing of medical services; traditional healthcare therapies like Ayurveda & Yoga combined with allopathic treatment providing a holistic wellness destination.
6. India has a rich and diverse Natural, Cultural and Religious Heritage which provides a unique opportunity for tourism, from the architecture of India’s temples, palaces, forts, to the grandeur of its sculptures, and the beauty of its paintings, from mountaineering to meditation, yoga to white water rafting in the Ganges, Brahmaputra, or in any of India’s mighty rivers, all offer an unparalleled experience to the visitors. Seventy Three percent of the Himalayas are in India. The Indian Himalayas are a complete destination in themselves and span across six states of India namely, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and the hill regions of West Bengal To improve infrastructural facilities in the country, the Ministry of Tourism has launched a new scheme for the integrated development of thematic circuits.

7. The Ministry of Tourism has also taken the initiative of identifying, diversifying, developing and promoting nascent / upcoming niche tourism products viz. Golf Tourism, Adventure, MICE & Cruise Tourism. India’s advantage in respect of promoting cruise tourism is the long coastline from Gujarat to West Bengal and strong positioning of ports that has natural advantage to the country in attracting international cruise liners. Another advantage for India is its proximity to already popular cruise destinations in the South Asian region. There is enormous potential in the country to develop cruise tourism, both international and domestic and the Ministry of Tourism is making all efforts to promote this segment by developing required world class cruise infrastructure. With the aim to promote India as a year-round destination, attract tourists with varied interests and ensure repeat visits, it was recently decided to do away with bio metrics for e-visa passengers at the sea ports to ensure that passenger movement out of the ship is expedited.
8. To promote Adventure Tourism to India and to create awareness about the varied adventure options available, the Ministry of Tourism has decided to celebrate the year, 2018 as ‘The Year of Adventure Tourism’. Dramatic Himalayan landscapes in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, each dissected by raging rivers, provide the perfect geography for adventure sport such as white water rafting, rock climbing, skiing, low and high altitude trekking, canyoning and paragliding and horse polo, and water sports such as scuba diving, parasailing, kayaking and canoeing in Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Lakshadweep and Andamans.
9. One of the regions in focus is the North Eastern region of India which comprises the eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. Promotion of tourism of the North Eastern States of India with its rich and diverse tourism products viz. a variety of attractive flora and fauna and also home to the unique Asian one horned Rhino, is being given special emphasis. This area is also becoming popular with tourists for River Cruises. The rich natural beauty, serene landscapes and rare flora and fauna are the main attractions in these areas.
10. The Ministry of Tourism promotional website www.incredibleindia.org is available in Arabic, Chinese (simplified), French, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish languages. Other IT related initiatives include availability of guided, multimedia and interactive walking tours. The Ministry of Tourism is also active on Social Media with its own popular Face book, Google Plus pages, YouTube channel and Twitter handles, Instagram, Pinterest, Vimeo, Periscope and LinkedIn.
11. One of the priorities of the Government of India is the Safety and Security of both Domestic as well as International Tourists traveling in India and accordingly, several measures have been taken in this regard. The launch of a 24×7 Toll Free Tourist Helpline in 12 International languages including German is a big step in this direction. This Helpline is available on the existing Toll Free Number 1800111363 or on a short code 1363 for dialing in India. Ministry of Tourism has also taken steps to sensitize drivers, guides and other stakeholders to highlight the theme of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ which means ‘Guest is God’.
12. The Government of India has taken path breaking initiative to liberalize the Visa Regime by providing easy access to visitors to the country in the form of e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) which was launched in November 2014. The e-Tourist Visa facility, now extended to 163 countries (including Jordan, Oman, Palestine & UAE), has led to the ease of travel to India. During the year 2017 total of 16.97 lakh tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 10.80 lakh during year 2016 registering a growth of 57.2%. E-Visa is now available under three sub-categories i.e. ‘e-Tourist Visa’, ‘e-
Business Visa’ and ‘e-Medical Visa’. The window for application under e-Visa has been increased from the existing 30 days to 120 days and the duration of stay in India under e-Visa has been increased from the existing 30 days to 60 days. Complete list of countries is available on https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html and 18599 & 34134 visitors travelled from UAE to India and e-visa in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The total number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals from UAE saw a rise from 67165 during 2016 to 68045 during the year 2017 (provisional) with an increase of 1.31%.
13. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India is taking new initiatives with a new marketing strategy. With the launch of “Incredible India 2.0 Campaign”, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India is engaging with all stakeholders to ensure widespread publicity to offer maximum support to its tourism industry and to highlight India’s diverse range of tourism products.
14. A new Incredible India website is being developed with a view to provide an enhanced experience to visitors. The new Incredible India website will have a range of features, such as personalization, responsive designs, social media marketing, content creation and management. Google through their Arts and Culture initiative is partnering with the Ministry of Tourism in enriching the new website with 360 degree videos, museum views, etc.
15. Diverse tourism products are our strength and India Tourism along with all our tourism stake holders will be working hand in hand to take Incredible India to greater heights.

Orlando First to Surpass 70 Million Annual Visitors

A New Record for U.S. Travel: Orlando First to Surpass 70 Million Annual Visitors
– Solidifies Rank as America’s Most-Visited Destination –

ORLANDO, Fla. – Tourism officials announced today a historic milestone in the travel industry as Orlando became the first U.S. destination to surpass 70 million annual visitors. In 2017, 72 million visitors traveled to Orlando, an increase of more than 5 percent over the prior year, once again making it America’s most-visited destination.

Visit Orlando, the region’s official destination tourism and marketing organization, shared the number today at a special gathering of more than 1,000 tourism and community leaders.

“Our record-breaking year was achieved despite international headwinds and the statewide effects of Hurricane Irma,” said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. “In 2017, our destination launched new consumer experiences on a significant scale and our marketing efforts leveraged increasing consumer confidence in the United States. We also continued our focus on communicating the unique emotional connection visitors have with Orlando.”

“Orlando’s record-setting visitation affirms the city as a leader in the U.S. travel industry,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “The success in Orlando is great, not just for this iconic destination, but for travel as a whole. As the U.S. overall looks to regain its share of the global travel market, this new milestone in Orlando is a welcome reminder of the resiliency of this industry.”

Orlando reached a host of new milestones in 2017 including:

  • Record number of U.S. visitors
  • Record convention attendance: The Orange County Convention Center welcomed an unprecedented 1.53 million attendees (+5.0 percent).
  • Record airline arrivals: Orlando International Airport became the busiest airport in Florida, with 44.6 million passengers (+6.4 percent).

In addition to the openings of new attractions, resorts and dining venues, Orlando’s visitation benefited from new and adjusted destination marketing strategies from Visit Orlando.

  • Domestically, Visit Orlando recognized the potential of the country’s growing positive economic indicators and increased marketing initiatives focused on U.S. audiences, with a special emphasis in the important Northeast region. Domestic visitation for 2017 grew to an all-time record total of 65.86 million.
  • Internationally, with several key markets facing uncertainties, Visit Orlando maintained its extensive marketing, brand and publicity programs to retain Orlando’s leading position as a top international destination, with 6.15 million visitors.
  • Swiftly addressing potential concerns after Hurricane Irma struck in September, Visit Orlando quickly launched initiatives to demonstrate how Orlando tourism areas rebounded. This was accomplished through social media and publicity campaigns that used authentic visuals of real guests, in real-time, enjoying and commenting on the status of the destination.

flydubai increases its Europe connectivity

flydubai has announced the launch of two new European routes for next year. The Krakow route will commence on 8 April 2018 and flights to Catania will start on 13 June 2018. The airline becomes first UAE carrier to operate direct flights to these destinations, offering weekly flights.

With the launch of these new European routes, flydubai’s network grows to over 100 destinations in 47 countries.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer of flydubai, said: “Our latest route launches demonstrate our efforts in offering our passengers more options to explore our network especially as we see more connecting traffic onto our network as a result of our interline and codeshare agreements.”

Flights to Krakow will start in April 2018 and will further grow the carrier’s Eastern and Central European network, which includes Belgrade, Bratislava, Bucharest, Prague, Skopje, Sarajevo and Sofia. The airline’s European network includes 24 destinations.

Emirates will codeshare on both routes and as part of the Emirates flydubai partnership, each airlines’ passengers will have the opportunity to connect in Dubai to hundreds of destinations across the world.

The new routes will be operated with a brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Emirates, flydubai announce new code-share destinations

Emirates along with flydubai announced 16 additional destinations to which Emirates’ passengers will be able travel on a single ticket. The new, expanded network now includes destinations such as Zanzibar, Kathmandu and Kilimanjaro.

Emirates President, Sir Tim Clark said: “Nearly 14,000 sectors have been ticketed during the first week of operation, surpassing our expectations. We have witnessed strong demand for travel from Europe and the United States to South Asian destinations. The partnership is an unprecedented opportunity for both airlines to unleash combined power of their networks.”

The new codeshare destinations include Bratislava (Slovakia), Chittagong (Bangladesh), Djibouti (Djibouti), Dushanbe (Tajikistan), Hargeisa (Somalia), Istanbul – Sabiha Gokcen (Turkey), Kathmandu (Nepal), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Mattala Rajapaksa (Sri Lanka), Makhachkala (Russia), Podgorica (Montenegro), Sylhet (Bangladesh), Ufa (Russia), Voronezh (Russia), Yerevan (Armenia) and Zanzibar (Tanzania).

For bookings under the codeshare, Emirates passengers will receive complimentary meals and the Emirates checked baggage allowance on flights operated by flydubai in both Business and Economy. Skywards members can earn miles and Skywards Tier Miles on codeshare flights as per existing Skywards mileage programme.

An overview of the latest aircraft efficiencies, orders and deliveries

flydubai performance dips for H1 2017

The financial results announced for flydubai’s half-year results for 2017 state that the airline witnessed a dip of AED 142.5 million (US$ 38.8 million) for the period ending 30 June 2017. However, total revenues have shown positive signs at AED 2.5 billion (US$ 689 million) resulting in an increase of 9.9% compared to first six months of last year. Historically, the trend for the second half has been stronger than the first half.

Passenger numbers increased to 5.4 mn; an increase of 10.5% compared to first six months of 2016. The number of passengers carried per departure saw an increase of 13.7% for the same period. Subsequently, the number of business class passengers carried per departure saw an increase of 22% compared to 2016.

In addition, flydubai contributed 19.4% to total growth at Dubai Airports compared to first half of 2016. During first six months of 2017, flydubai contributed 12.4% of all traffic in Dubai. The airline also faced comparatively higher fuel expenses during the reporting period with fuel costs accounting for 24.8% of operating costs compared to 23.5% in the previous reporting period. In addition, the airline added eight aircraft to its fleet since July 2016.

The closing cash and cash equivalents position including pre-delivery payments for future aircraft deliveries remained robust at AED 2.1 billion.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive officer of flydubai, said, “We will continue to manage our cost performance and balance this with our long-term view of the potential for air travel in the region.  We know that we need to remain flexible to market dynamics across our network. We will continue our disciplined approach to increasing capacity while pursuing our broader goal of firmly establishing flydubai at the center of the global travel industry.”

During the first half of 2017, the airline took delivery of the last of the Next-Generation Boeing 737- 800 aircraft receiving one aircraft in February and a second aircraft in April. The average age of the fleet is four years. flydubai also started twice-weekly flights to Sylhet on 15 March 2017 increasing to six flights per week in May. For the first time, flights for the summer season were launched to Batumi in Georgia, Qabala in Azerbaijan and Tivat in Montenegro. Due to demand, direct flights to these new holiday destinations services have been extended to October.

The airline is set to receive six new aircraft by December 2017 with entry into service during the fourth quarter. flydubai has been operating flights to Russia since 2010 and will further expand its network to 10 destinations. Twice weekly flights from Dubai to Makhachkala and Voronezh will operate from the end of October 2017. In addition, flights from Dubai to Ufa, operating three times a week, will relaunch on 31 October 2017.

Finally, the airline is building a new headquarters office located on the Emirates Road and is expected to be available for occupation from 2019.

Azerbaijan Tourism on a high

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of culture and tourism released a report on the surge in flow of UAE tourists into the country in 2017. The country welcomed an overall number of 1,199,667 foreign citizens, 24.5% more people compared to 2016.

It is undoubtedly that UAE and Saudi Arabia drove volumes and set the stage for a healthy first half of 2017. This period resulted in a 338% growth in overnight tourists from UAE with March alone peaking at 86% while attracting 44,196 UAE visitors.

The other markets which showed substantial percentage increase were Russia, Iraq, Iran and other countries visitations jumped 17% compared to 2016. Georgia had 254,425 people visit Azerbaijan resulting in a four percent increase; the number from Iran were at 180,103 people resulting in an 89% increase; Ukraine pushed 27 342 people to Azerbaijan capturing a 14% growth and finally, Iraq had 19 355 people visit Azerbaijan resulting in a 75% increase. During this period, 138, 692 people also visited Azerbaijan from Turkey.

The flow of arrivals from Arab countries, including Oman grew 16-fold, Kuwait eight-fold, Saudi Arabia six-fold, Morocco five-fold, Al-Jazeera 3.5-fold, Jordan 2.2-fold and Turkmenistan two-fold.

International tourist numbers were also on the rise with CIS states by 12%, EU by 13%, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East by 117%, Asian countries by 64.4%, African countries by 72%, and America and Australia by 22.8%.

Rashid Al Noori, chairman of the Representative Office of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan in GCC said: “We have worked together with travel companies as part of our tourism activity, to boost awareness and heighten visitor figures. We look forward to higher growth by end of 2017.  The Government’s planned mega projects will also contribute to market growth. We regard the steady developments of Azerbaijan’s infrastructure and establishment of the Baku shopping Festival as efforts that will bring in corporate visitors besides GCC leisure tourists.”

Al Noori also highlighted increased air links to Azerbaijan, mentioning that Air Arabia now operates flights to Azerbaijan five times a week; Azerbaijan Airlines introduced flights from Kuwait every Thursday, Jazeera Airways presently operates two flights a week (Monday and Friday) to Baku and finally, Wataniya Airways operates flights to Baku on Wednesday and Saturday. Etihad Airways will soon be joining this list. These flights are besides the current six flights per day from Dubai by flydubai and Azerbaijan Airways.

The country is also looking to introduce infrastructure dedicated to kids’ and teens’ events and activities.

flydubai expands its Russia network

flydubai has added three destinations to its Russian network, bringing total connectivity to 10 points in the country.

This autumn, the airline will launch flights to Makhachkala and Voronezh and resume services to Ufa. Flights from Dubai to Makhachkala and Voronezh will operate twice a week, starting 31 October 2017 and 29 October 2017, respectively. Services to Ufa will re-launch on 31 October 2017 with three flights a week. flydubai will be the only UAE-based carrier offering direct air links on these routes.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive officer of flydubai, said: “Russia has been a key part of our network since an early stage in operations. We entered the market in 2010 and focused on markets that were previously underserved from Dubai. Russian passengers recognise benefits of direct air links and have helped us to successfully grow our service.”

Along with the new additions, flydubai’s network in Russia includes Kazan, Krasnodar, Mineralnye Vody, Moscow, Rostov-on-Don, Samara and Yekaterinburg.

The free 30-day Visa on Arrival for Russian traveller in the UAE has prompted a 140% growth in travel numbers from Russia to Dubai within the first month since its introduction, according to the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

The airline operates flights to over 90 destinations in 44 countries, including popular routes among Russian travellers, such as Dubai, Male (Maldives), Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Kathmandu (Nepal).

Emirates, flydubai strengthen partnership

Emirates and flydubai announced an extensive partnership which will see both airlines join forces to offer customers unmatched travel options.

Both airlines will continue to be managed independently, but will leverage each other’s network to scale up operations and accelerate growth. The partnership goes beyond code-sharing and includes integrated network collaboration with coordinated scheduling. The new model will give flydubai customers connectivity to Emirates’ worldwide destinations spanning six continents. For Emirates’ customers, it opens up flydubai’s regional network.

The two airlines will also further develop their hub in Dubai, aligning their systems and operations to ensure seamless travel.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Group and chairman of flydubai, said: “This is an exciting and significant development for Emirates, flydubai, and Dubai aviation. Both airlines have grown independently and successfully over the years, and this new partnership will unlock immense value to Dubai.”

Emirates today has a wide-body fleet of 259 aircraft, flying to 157 destinations (including 16 cargo-only points). flydubai operates 58 new-generation Boeing 737 aircraft to 95 destinations. The current combined network comprises 216 destination points.

The partnership is working to optimise networks and schedules of both airlines, to open up new city-pair connections. Additionally, this will help both airlines feed more traffic into each other’s complementary networks. By 2022, the combined network of Emirates and flydubai is expected to reach 240 destinations, served by a combined fleet of 380 aircraft.

The partnership will be rolled out over coming months, with first enhanced code-sharing arrangements starting in last quarter of 2017.

Flydubai relaunches Tanzania service

flydubai recently announced the reaunch of flights to Kilimanjaro effective 29 October 2017.

The relaunched service to the carrier’s third point in Tanzania, along with Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, will see flydubai’s network in Africa expand to 12 destinations.

flydubai began operations to Tanzania in 2014 and has seen a steady growth in passenger numbers. Kilimanjaro will be served with six flights a week three of which are via a stop in the capital, Dar es Salaam. In addition, the carrier will increase direct flights to Zanzibar from three to eight flights a week.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive officer of flydubai, said: “With the additional service, flydubai will operate 14 flights a week, marking a 133% increase in capacity to the market compared to previous year. This is a healthy indication of the rising popularity of Tanzania as a preferred tourist destination.”

The airline has seen a 3.5% increase in passengers numbers travelling between the UAE and Africa in 2016 compared to 2015. flydubai has built up a comprehensive network in Africa with flights to Addis Ababa, Alexandria, Asmara, Djibouti, Entebbe, Hargeisa, Juba, Khartoum and Port Sudan, as well as Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. The 12 points will be served with more than 80 weekly flights for the summer period.