Tag Archives: Joint Secretary

ITB Berlin 2018 kicks off


The Indian delegation, led by KJ Alphons, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, Govt. of  India, highlighted the  country’s tremendous tourism potential at the 52nd edition of ITB Berlin which kicked off at the Messe Berlin fairgrounds. The three day event will go on until March 11, 2018. Addressing the media, Alphons spoke about the country’s 5000 year-old civilisation, beautiful beaches, backwaters, desserts, coastline, Himalayas, and immense possibilities for millennials who are looking for adventure. The minister also apprised the audience about the growing yoga and ayurveda related activities and centres in the country, exploring the North East and the great potential of religious tourism, with emphasis on Buddhist tourism. “In terms of general numbers, India has done considerably well last year. 2017 was fantastic! We recorded 15.6 per cent, when the global numbers went up by 5 per cent. Our international tourists arrivals were 16.5 million last year. Are we happy with the numbers? No. We have so much to offer and we want to double the numbers in three years or less, double the revenues in three years or less. India’s tourism contributes about 8 per cent to the GDP of India. We have 14 million people employed in the tourism industry,” Alphons said. In terms of domestic tourism, close to 24 million Indians travelled last year. “In 2017, 1.8 million trips were made by Indians within the country and which will go up to 2 million in 2018 and we want this number to increase dramtically, its not just about international arrivals but also Indians visting India,” he said. The minister also stressed on the growing use of new technologies and methodologies in tourism, specially social media. Suman …

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Delhi to witness Adventure Sports Expo Asia from Jan 27-29


The first ever Adventure Sports Expo Asia is going to be held in New Delhi from January 27-29 at Four Points by Sheraton. Some 15000 visitors and sports enthusiasts are expected to attend the show. Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, informed that the government has declared 2018 as the Year of Adventure and the ministry is going all out to promote the country as an important hub for adventure tourism. Ajeet Bajaj, Senior Vice President, Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) and the Managing Director of Snow Leopard Adventures, said, “The mission behind the Expo is bringing together all stakeholders to make India an adventure powerhouse while keeping risk management, sustainability and responsible tourism at the forefront. ATOAI is the backbone as far this industry is concerned in India and our aim is to make India a global hub for adventure tourism. Internationally, the adventure sports industry is a $400 billion industry. According to industry estimates, the Indian inbound industry for adventure tourism in growing by 5-7 per cent annually and domestic tourism for this segment is on an upswing, growing by 20-25 per cent annually.” The expo will host many sessions addressing the various issues of the adventure sports industry with luminaries from across the globe. Commenting on the Expo, Rishi Narain, Founder and Managing Director, RN Sports Marketing, said, “India already has huge potential as an adventure sports destination with so much diversity from mountains to rivers and desserts. ASEA 2018 will market India as an iconic destination for adventure to the world with the support of ATOAI. The event will also recognise individuals/groups and companies in the field of adventure on the opening night of the …

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India MICE Awards debuts in Delhi


A first of its kind, India MICE Awards made its debut at The Lalit New Delhi on November 27, 2017. The event honoured the achievers of the Meetings, Incentive, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry. Alphons Kannanthanam, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism and Minister of State, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, graced his presence at the event as the esteemed Chief Guest.  Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, was the Guest of Honour. India MICE Awards is a token of appreciation, more than mere acknowledgement, of the dedication and toil that people of the industry have put in. The awards were divided into four categories: 1. Personal Awards: These awards lauds the legends and leaders, who have established themselves, and the youngsters, who need the encouragement. 2. Business Awards: These are for those organisations who have been outstanding in their respective fields and deserve the recognition. 3. Trending Awards: Decided by the critics, these are individuals who have done extraordinary work. 4. Partner Awards:  These are for the Partners, who have contributed to make the event a grand success. The voting is carefully monitored to avoid duplication and ensures transparency. The MICE industry in India is a big revenue earner and contributes a major share to the tourism and hospitality industry of the country.  India MICE Awards in a formal black-tie ceremony recognises the achievements and contribution made by the MICE industry players in boosting the tourism and hospitality industry in India. The awards are supported by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, and other esteemed trade bodies. The event was graced by the who’s who of the MICE fraternity.      

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Chander Mansharamani to continue as Vice Chairman, ICPB


Chander Mansharamani has been re-elected as Vice Chairman of India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB) for another two-year term. Amaresh Tiwari and Girish Kwatra will also continue on their respective posts of Hon. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer. This was declared during the association’s 30th Annual General Meeting and Elections for the Governing Board held at The Ashok in New Delhi, which was also attended by Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Chairman, ICPB. New appointments were made in the Hotel, Tour Operator and Congress / Convention Centres categories. The two new appointments in the hotel category were Hemant Mediratta and Saurabh Bhargava & Abinash Manghani (due to a tie for the second post). Gunjan Suri and Naveen Chibber took up the two new posts in the travel agency category while Ajay Vinayak and Anuj Wadhwa took the two posts in tour operator category. The post for the Congress / Convention Centres went to Sudeep Sarcar. Talking about the key priorities for the bureau now, Mansharamani, Vice Chairman, ICPB, said, “The government has been looking at us as the frontal organisation for marketing India as a convention destination. Keeping that in mind, we are completely invested to take things to the next level. Currently, we have outlined three core areas to focus on; first is market creation wherein creating our chapters and bidding of international conferences will be a part of that. Market creation will involve conducting roadshows both in India and international markets. The second priority is visa, lobbying and making the entire process easier to get a visa for delegates attending conferences in India and thirdly, we want to sensitise the central and state governments on the benefits, financial …

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3rd OTOAI Convention underway in Ras Al Khaimah


The third Annual Convention of Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) is underway in Ras Al Khaimah. The Convention was inaugurated by Shaji Thomas, Director-Destination Tourism Development, Ras Al Khaimah; Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI; Riaz Munshi, Convention Chairman and Vice President, OTOAI; Mohamed Khater, Senior Tourism Development Manager, Government of Ras Al Khaimah; Gurdeep Gujral, Joint Secretary, OTOAI; SanJeet, India Representative, Ras Al Khaimah, and Mahendra Vakharia, Chairman-Western Chapter, OTOAI. Thomas informed that India is the fourth largest source market for Ras Al Khaimah with Germany being the largest followed by UK and Russia. “India is a very important market for us. Earlier Indians used to stay 1.9 nights in RAK but now they stay for 2.25 nights which means they have explored more things to do at the destination. We have become a popular destination for weddings. This year we have 17 Indian boutique weddings and we hope to increase this number steadily.”

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275 foreign buyers and 288 exhibitors at GITB 2017


The Great Indian Travel Bazaar saw a conglomeration of 275 foreign buyers and 288 exhibitors at The Lalit Jaipur. The inbound show, which is underway until April 25, was inaugurated by Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, and Krishnendra Kaur, Tourism, Art and Culture Minister, Government of Rajasthan, Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson, Tourism Committee FICCI, Nihal Chand Goel, Additional Chief Secretary (Tourism, Art & Culture), Bhim Singh, President, Federation of Hospitality and Tourism of Rajasthan, and Rahul Chakravarty, Senior Director and Head-Tourism, FICCI. Addressing the show, Billa said, “India is truly on a growth path. All of you here are at the right place to lay the seeds for what will become a great engagement for a market that has huge potential.”

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E-visa services extended for business, conference and medical purposes


The e-tourist visa (eTV) has been revised to include travellers visiting India for business, conference, tourism, and medical purposes under one category, confirmed Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism. “It will now be termed e-visa and will be valid for 60 days, as opposed to the earlier duration of 30 days. Travellers will also be able to apply for the e-visa four months in advance and will be granted a double-entry for tourism and business, and three entries for medical purposes,” Billa said. As per the Cabinet decision, the e-visa scheme will be extended to eight more countries, taking the total number of nations that avail the facility to 158. The liberalisation of visa services is expected to stimulate economic growth, increase earnings from export of services like tourism, medical value travel and travel on account of business and to make ‘Skill India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Make in India’ and other such flagship initiatives of the government successful.

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