Category Archives: Incentives

UK sees a surge in Indian arrivals


British visas issued to Indian nationals in 2017 increased sharply over the previous 12 months, according to the latest quarterly report from the UK’s Office for National Statistics. Over 526,000 UK visas were issued to Indian nationals between January and December 2017, a jump of nearly 10 per cent from 2016. The increase was driven by a surge in visitors and students with visitors increasing by 11 per cent to 427,000 and students 28 per cent to 14,500. Indian nationals still receive more employment visas for than all other nationalities combined, with 59,000 Indians choosing the UK to further their careers. The British High Commissioner to India, Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG, said, “These statistics illustrate the continuing strength of the UK and India’s relationship.  I am delighted that more Indians than ever before are choosing the UK for work, study, tourism and business travel.  Particularly welcome is the 28 per cent increase in Indian students, showing that our world-class universities are again attracting more of India’s brightest and best young people. Our visa service for Indians is as good as any other.  Almost 90 per cent of applicants are issued visa, in line with global norms.  Some 99% of Indian applicants get their visa within our 15-day service standard and we have more visa application centres across India than we do in any other country.”

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India records highest growth rate in visitor arrivals for Singapore

Singapore Tourism Board's cruise forum last year (002)

The visitor arrivals from India to Singapore has witnessed a huge increase of one million mark, reinforcing it as one of the most preferred destinations for Indian travellers. The Singapore Tourism Board announced that India moved up from fourth to third place (ahead of Malaysia and behind China, Indonesia) as a visitor arrival source market for Singapore. It recorded the highest growth rate of 16 per cent among all markets. Six  others out of the top 15 markets, including China (+13%), Vietnam (+13%) and USA (+9%) also saw record high visitor arrival. GB Srithar, Regional Director – SAMEA, Singapore Tourism Board, said “We thank the Indian travelers and our travel trade partners for the record 1.27 million Indian visitors to our country in 2017. We will continue to showcase Singapore’s diverse offerings and connect with key audience segments including families, early and established careers, cruise travellers, meetings and incentive groups and travelers from the key metro and secondary cities. With overall tourist outbound from India on the rise, we look forward to another successful year of Indian visitorship to Singapore.We warmly welcome them to live up their passion for exciting travel experiences in our city.” While Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Bangalore continue to remain their top VA source cities, STB’s efforts to engage travellers from cities like Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata and Pune have resulted in double-digit VA growth from these cities.

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RoomIt by CWT launches new loyalty booster programme


RoomIt by CWT, the hotel distribution division of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, have announced the RoomIt Loyalty Booster programme. Available free to all RoomIt customers, the programme rewards travellers with additional points and miles, while also increasing hotel attachment rates and compliance with their company’s travel policy. “Instead of penalising travellers for being non-compliant, we are taking a different approach that is more proactive and much more powerful,” said David Falter, President, RoomIt by CWT. “We have run several campaigns and the success rates have been very good and our clients are extremely happy with the higher compliance rates.” The programme allows travel managers to partner with CWT to run promotional campaigns where travellers are incentivised with either points or miles for booking within their corporate travel program. In testing mode with several clients, the RoomIt Loyalty Booster programme delivered a 12 per cent higher compliance rate during campaigns (typically 60-to-90 days in length). Additionally, the program often achieved continued compliance with compliant bookings increasing three percent after campaigns concluded. “Business travellers want to feel empowered when they are booking their travel,” added Falter. “We are giving the ability to feel like they are getting something out of the experience other than just having to travel for work. They now see an opportunity where they can get to their next vacation by accumulating points much faster than before.”

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Avalon Waterways to offer India river cruise in 2019

room_Viceroy (002)

Avalon Waterways will expand into India in 2019, offering cruise tours that visit the country’s Golden Triangle and sail on the Ganges River. Avalon’s 13-day India itineraries will begin in Delhi and also visit Agra — home of the Taj Mahal — as well as Jaipur. Passengers will then fly to Kolkata, where they’ll board their ship and travel north on the Hooghly, a tributary of the Ganges. The river portion of the cruise will visit small cities such as Kalna, Matiari, Murshidabad and Mayapur. The line will charter Ganges Voyager, a 36-passenger vessel formerly used by Vantage Deluxe World Travel for its India trips. The cruises begin in February 2019 and will also run in September, October and November 2019.

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West Bengal lays focus on adventure and homestay tourism policy


West Bengal tourism department is currently focusing on homestay tourism policy and has also started promoting adventure tourism in different destinations of the state, said Gautam Deb, Tourism Minister, Government of West Bengal, on the sidelines of the Bengal Travel Mart (BTM) in Siliguri. Deb inaugurated the third edition of BTM along with Bratya Basu, Information Technology Minister, Government of West Bengal, and James Kujur, Tribal Development Minister, Government of West Bengal. The three-day travel mart was attended by buyers and sellers from across the country and abroad to establish partnership. The event was organised by Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tour Operators Association  (EHTTOA) in association with North Bengal Development Department and West Bengal Tourism. “Bengal has immense potential. We are currently working to develop each sector of tourism in the state – from forest to hills to coastal areas. We are also preparing our integrated tourism policy along with homestay and adventure tourism policies,” he said. Deb also pointed out that the Bagdogra airport’s instrument landing system (ILS) will start operating from March 29, as per an AAI notification. He informed that in the previous year, the passenger growth at the airport touched 22 lakh.

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Banyan Tree Samui introduces Portier smartphone at check-in


Banyan Tree Samui is now offering its guests a Portier smartphone along with the room keys at check in. The mobile phone allows the guests to make free and unrestricted international telephone calls and surf 4G Internet. It also offers its guests the access to a host of resort features including restaurant menus, daily activities, and tips for sightseeing around the island of Koh Samui. The Portier smartphone is user-friendly and delivers all of its features in English, Russian, Chinese, German or French. Banyan Tree Samui strongly feels that the innovation will offer its guests a great level of security and comfort. Remko Kroesen, General Manager, Banyan Tree Samui, said, “We always aim at enhancing the stay experiences of our guests with ultimate comfort and security.” Kroesen says the most popular feature of the smartphone at the resort is the “Villa Host” function. Each guest is assigned a Villa Host – a personal butler-cum-concierge – who will contact them ahead of arrival to take requests and lay the groundwork for their vacation. All the hotel information is downloaded onto the smartphone — menus for each of Banyan Tree Samui’s three restaurants; spa treatments; speedboat tours; daily kids’ club activities. It also features novel ideas such as a nature trail around the rolling 38-acre property, where guests can use their phones to identify some of the resident flora and fauna.

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Emaar Entertainment launches Virtual Reality Park in Dubai


Emaar Entertainment has announced a first-of-its-kind VR Park in Dubai due to open in the first half of 2018 at The Dubai Mall. Combining Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and experiential attractions, VR Park is designed to blur the lines between perception and reality through game changing experiences, spanning wholly immersive rides, educational journeys and interactive games. Focusing on the concept of ‘Shared Escapism’, many of the attractions offer a multi-player experience – allowing visitors to interact with one another and live the experience with family and friends.

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Mexico aims for 200,000 Indian tourists by 2022


The Mexico Tourism Board plans to target over 200,000 Indian outbound visitors to visit Mexico by 2022. In 2017, Mexico received 64,900 Indian visitors by nationality, a 10 per cent increase compared to 2016 and 22,431 Indian visitors by country of residence, 9.5 per cent increase compared to 2016. Melba Pria, Ambassador of Mexico in India, said, “We are extremely delighted in targeting the outbound tourists from India by focusing on the vibrant, multi-faceted experiences that keep visitors coming back to Mexico and its hundreds of destinations.” Guillermo Eguiarte, Regional Director – Mexico Tourism Board, shared the campaign of ‘A world of its own’- it embodies Mexico to be the world that awakens the drive to explore, to imagine, to feel. He said, “Mexico’s sustained, fast growth is testament to the incredible quality and diversity in the tourism offering, both internationally and domestically. The Indian outbound tourist is expected to be around 50 million globally, and Mexico is targeting a 4 per cent market share of this.  

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flydubai unveils advanced Business Class in 737 MAX

flydubai - Boeing 737 Max 8 Business class (1) (002)

Dubai-based flydubai has recently unveiled its brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 8, the technologically-advanced Boeing 737 Max aircraft. The latest addition of the fleet is the Business Class which has been customised by flydubai, keeping in mind the needs of its business class passengers. The newly designed business class takes comfort to a whole new level to offer an exceptional travel experience. Some of its features are: Space and privacy – The first-of-its-kind ’Throne’ seat in the flydubai business class provides utmost privacy and space in the cabin while mid-air. High, curved Shell seat – The curved shell surrounds the seat and provides a sense of seclusion. Convertible seat – For a perfect snooze, the seat can quickly and easily be converted into a bed, 78 inches from top to toe. Spacious entertainment – Every MAX Business Class seat has a 15.6-inch 1080p HD built-in touchscreen for an immersive in-flight entertainment experience.

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American Express Global Business Travel to acquire HRG


American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has announced acquisition of Hogg Robinson Group (HRG). The combined group will offer clients and travellers a more comprehensive range of travel management products and services.  Doug Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, American Express GBT, said: “The technology roadmaps of each business provide a powerful platform from which to drive future innovation. We will deliver a superior client and traveller experience through fully-integrated travel management solutions, including booking and expense management products.” The acquisition shall offer the following services: Utilising complementary footprints and solutions Create the ability to combine two advanced travel technology and development platforms Deliver synergies through cost savings and scale benefits; and Leverage each company’s existing infrastructure and technology capabilities

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