Kanchan Nath

Penang four-city sales mission focuses on business events

The Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) launched its annual roadshow to India in Mumbai as part of the Penang Roadshow to India 2020. The objective is promoting Penang as the preferred destination for corporate and association meetings, conferences, and incentives, and leisure travel. Capitalising on Penang’s rising popularity in India, the Penang Roadshow to India will host, in each of the four cities, a B2B engagement session with participating Business Events and leisure travel buyers from India. Led by Hon. Yeoh Soon Hin, Penang State Minister for Tourism, Arts, Culture and Heritage, and Ashwin Gunasekeran, Chief Executive Officer of PCEB, the roadshow is supported by a Penang delegation of 14 partners, including hotels, destination management companies, attractions, professional conference organisers and event experts. Also accompanying the Penang delegation is Hon. Satees Muniandy, Penang State Assemblyman for Bagan Dalam. Also joining the roadshow is PCEB’s strategic airline partner, Malaysia Airlines. PCEB is also launching the Penang Specialist Programme designed for the Indian market. The Programme will equip select outbound travel, MICE, wedding and filming agencies with first-hand knowledge of Penang through a full day workshop conducted in each city concurrently with the B2B engagement session. Among the incentives that the Penang Specialists can qualify for are special incentive for group sales of 100 pax and above, famil opportunities to Penang, opportunities to attend PCEB’s training and networking programme in Penang and India, and much more. The certification of the Penang Specialist Programme is valid for three years upon which qualifying members will be invited for recertification. The workshop is conducted by Ms. Katharine Chua, the Managing Director of Penang’s Tropical Spice Garden. “The number of Indian travellers to Penang has …

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South Africa tourism minister announces e-visa regime for India on pilot basis

In a bid to stimulate the India market and achieve its new milestone of doubling numbers by 2030, South Africa has announced an e-visa regime for the India market on a pilot basis. Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, Hon. Minister of Tourism, South Africa, who was in Mumbai to interact with key travel trade partners said, “We want to remove the barriers for the India market to visit South Africa and for this we will introduce an online visa application system from the third week of January this year. This will be on a pilot basis for now and we will look at introducing it formally by April this year.” About 32 key agents attending the morning session where they discussed ideas on how they can push numbers from India.

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ICPB to organise international roadshows

Elaborating on their promotional plans this year, Amaresh Tiwari, Vice Chairman, ICPB said, “This year we are planning our roadshows just before IMEX and then we will be participating there. We will be taking the roadshows to London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and coming back to Frankfurt. We are also planning four domestic roadshows, the details for the same will be made available soon.

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Accor to manage 571-room Star Convention Centre in Thailand

Accor has signed an agreement to manage the 571-room Star Convention Centre in Thailand. The Star Convention Hotel will be rebranded to Novotel Rayong Star Convention Centre in 2020. Located in the city centre of Rayong province, the hotel will undergo a major renovation of its public areas, dining outlets and 235 guestrooms in the first phase followed by another 336 guest-rooms in the second phase over the next two years. “We’re very excited to have the Star Convention Hotel join the Accor network and to grow our portfolio in a city like Rayong. We believe that the Eastern Seaboard, including provinces like Rayong, Chonburi, Trat, with the upcoming high-speed train route will offer excellent development opportunities in the future. Guests can look forward to the natural and intuitive design of the Novotel brand and relax in the comforting and energizing spaces,” said Patrick Basset, Chief Operating Officer of Accor for Upper Southeast & Northeast Asia and the Maldives. The hotel is situated in the hub of one of Thailand’s major agricultural and industrial provinces. Also a popular beach destination for locals, the hotel is approximately 2.5-hour drive from Suvarnabhumi International Airport and 1-hour drive from U-Tapao International Airport. “We are pleased to join Accor and we believe that the group’s expertise and experience in hospitality will add to the success of our hotel. The signing of our partnership with Accor also reflects our confidence in Rayong’s tourism industry and the East Economic Corridor (EEC) Policy. We look forward to working with the Accor team to unfold a new chapter of Star Convention Hotel’s legacy,” said Phisamai Supanuntaroek, Director of Star Convention Hotel.

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First-ever Nepal India China Expo in Kathmandu from 22- 25 Feb

To promote MICE, Nepal is going to host the first-ever Nepal India China Expo (NICE) from 22- 25 February 2020, Climate Change and Sustainable Tourism Investment Summit, World Trail Conference 2020 (2-5 September 2020. Nepal will be focusing on M!CE tourism from India, revealed Lila Bahadur Baniya, Officiating Director, Nepal Tourism Board, while addressing the delegates at the Nepal Sales Mission, organised by Nepal Tourism Board, the National Tourism Organization (NTO) of Government of Nepal, in Amritsar). Nepal Sales Mission is travelling to nine Indian Cities from 6th January to 1st February 2020. The event has successfully concluded in Amritsar, Chandigarh and Jaipur, it is taking place in Indore today. Further it will go to other Indian cities of Surat, Pune, Trichy, Trivandrum and Kochi. The mission is aimed at bringing all the travel trade partners together to update about various destination of Nepal and educate regarding the recent developments in Nepalese tourism. The sales mission is important for Nepal as Nepal is celebrating Visit Nepal Year 2020 with an objective to bring 2 million tourists in Nepal. The Nepalese delegation is led by Lila Bahadur Baniya, along with Robin Regmi, Officer-India & South Asia Unit. The delegation has 9 private companies/DMCs representatives and is looking forward to interacting with 80 agents and 20 Media Person from each of the 9 cities.

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There is a 10-point agenda for ICPB: AmareshTiwari

Elaborating on his agenda, Amaresh Tiwari, Vice Chairman, ICPB said, “We need to target top five destinations in India and create world class venues and bring them in the top 100 destinations in the world for M!CE, as of now only Delhi is mentioned with 43rd rank. We need to have a global bidding fund, so we need get the government of India to create a global bidding fund for international conferences, do the lobbing and make India as a fine global MICE destination. At ICPB, we need to have a single point contact for all the NOC permissions. Create an internal bidding system, to help the members, associations to bid for the country.” He further added, “ We need to liaison with the Ministry of Tourism. We need to create a sub brand within Incredible India 2.0 for M!CE like Incredible Meetings or Incredible M!CE and focus on the same. We are creating chapters and involving states as stakeholders. We need to reach out to all the M!CE specific trade shows, attend the same and promote India.”

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Indian M!CE outbound market to GCC set to surpass US$ 5bn by 2025

According to a report by ResearchAndMarkets.com titled ‘India Outbound Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (M!CE) Tourism to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries – Market Trends and Opportunities to 2025’ released in December 2019, UAE is the top destination for Indian MICE tourists. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain accounted for more than 15 per cent of the share of the total outbound MICE spending by Indians in 2018. The India outbound MICE market to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is set to surpass US$ 5 Billion by 2025. The report uses a country-focused analysis to explore India outbound MICE tourism market to GCC countries. The report includes historical data from 2014-2018 and forecasts until 2025. It covers six GCC nations: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain.

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Genting’s Global Dream 2021 to accomodate 9000 pax

Genting Cruise Lines will be launching their new cruise ship- Global Dream in 2021. The bookings for the same will start this year. Michael Goh, President, Dream Cruises & Head of International Sales at Genting Cruise Lines, revealed that the new ship has been made in their own building facility in Germany and can accommodate as many as 9000 guests. He says, “The Global Dream will allow the guests to open the cabin doors via their smartphones, has many configurations for luxury guests, the biggest roller-coaster ride ever built on a ship and many more features that will make it as one of the most unique and biggest cruise ships ever.”

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Visit Nepal 2020 Sales Mission starts across 9 Indian cities

Nepal Tourism Board, the National Tourism Organisation (NTO) of Government of Nepal, is organising Nepal Sales Mission-2020, a B2B event in 9 Indian Cities from 06 January to 01 February 2020. The event starts today, January 6, 2020 in Amritsar and continues in Indian cities of Chandigarh, Jaipur, Indore, Surat, Pune, Trichy, Trivandrum and Kochi. The Nepalese delegation is led by Lila Bahadur Baniya. Officiating Director, Nepal Tourism Board along with Robin Regmi, Officer-India & South Asia Unit. The delegation has 9 private companies/DMCs representatives and is looking forward to interacting with 80 agents and 20 Media Person from each of the 9 cities. The sales mission is important for Nepal as Nepal is celebrating Visit Nepal Year 2020 with an objective to bring 2 million tourists in Nepal. The Visit Nepal Year 2020 (VNY-2020) campaign was formally launched on January 1, 2020 by Rt. Hon. President of Nepal Bidhya Devi Bhandari

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Saudi Arabia grants visa on arrival to tourists with valid UK, US and Schengen visa

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to allow entry for holders of Schengen, UK and US visas as well as those having entry visas to European Union countries, irrespective of their nationalities, as long as they fulfil two conditions. Firstly, the visa shall be valid for use at the time of arrival at any of the Kingdom’s entry points, and continues to be valid after the end of the period of visiting the Kingdom. There are 26 countries that come under the Schengen visa regime.

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