Plenty of new entrants — some of them like FCM or TUI are foreign majors, others like Kesari and Club7 or Akbar Online are Indian companies — are stepping up the value chain, unveiling new foreign tour packages. And, by all accounts, many new entrepreneurs continue to flock to the outbound-travel business. All this, even as dark clouds hovered over the industry in the year gone by.
For a second straight year, Tamil Nadu saw the most tourist arrivals despite having one of the lowest expenditures on tourism, finds a study by World Travel and Tourism Council — India Initiative. India at present ranks 34 out of 140 economies in terms of travel and tourism competitiveness. Though the government has introduced the e-visa scheme and made efforts to increase India’s rank in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index, it is still a long road to becoming a major destination for international tourism. Tamil Nadu accounted for 21% of all tourist visits in 2018, followed by UP at 15%. In 2018, India had nearly 2 billion tourists, both domestic and foreign. A look at how states performed
“A single unfavorable advice can initiate spiraling effect causing wide spread impact in eastern India as dependency of this region on tourism is quite high,” said veteran tourism adviser Raj Basu. “Now flow of cancellation calls from overseas clients has started making us worried,” said many tour operators. Foreign tourists form large chunk of tourism biz in the region.
Business to Kashmir is very slow, both for Indian and foreign travellers. Comparing it to last year's records which was not good either, this season witnessed a dip of 50%. Although hotels are operational, there have been hardly any bookings. Internet blockade continues to be a huge detterent, putting off the visitors.
There’s been a 15-20% jump in advance bookings for destinations such as Goa, Udaipur and Jaipur from the year earlier as an increase in winter schedule capacity has resulted in a decline in some domestic fares. Advance bookings for international destinations like Singapore, Colombo, Bangkok, Dubai, Mauritius and Malaysia are up 10-12%.
As representatives of governments work to develop an international policy to tackle climate change at the ongoing UN climate talks in Madrid, there’s an effort to identify sectors and actions that help meet the goal. Tourism figures prominently in this list. For experts, tourism’s contribution to climate change presents a conundrum.
SAP Concur India managing director Mankiran Chowhan said: “I believe there is great potential in the Indian market for the adoption of latest automated travel technologies. Since India is an evolving and fast-growing business travel market, it’s imperative for us to ensure a safe and secure environment for all business travellers.”
"A social audit has been conducted in the Swadesh Darshan scheme and there is a lot of room for changes. We have moved the cabinet for the same. We have discussed whether we should work on select circuits or one circuit at a time or should include circuits on all states at the same time," the minister said.
However, ‘regional tourists’ from India, Bangladesh and Maldives were not subjected to the SDF and visa fee. Bhutan is now going to introduce SDF and a permit processing fee for the regional tourists as well and a draft policy on the matter may be receive approval by the end of December.
UK, France and NY top attractions as big brands offer huge discounts, logistical support. La Vallée Village in France, which is home to brands such as Armani, Jimmy Choo, Givenchy and Versace, has been organising trade events in India and saw visits by Indians increase 40% last year.
Looking to develop high-value tourist destinations, Niti Aayog has prepared a Rs 1,500 crore water and land villa project in the lagoons of Lakshadweep and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Along with the villas, infrastructure would be developed, including the building of new airports, the introduction of sea planes to these destinations
But things may be changing for the better: more millennials are opting for ‘greener’ holidays, and many resorts, homestays and hotels across the country from Gir and Bandhavgarh to Andamans and Kerala are working to build a conscious client base.
Delhiites appear to be moving out of the city on short holidays to nearby hill stations and other cities such as Bengaluru and Mumbai not affected by severe deterioration in air quality. Bookings for other north Indian cities seemed to have declined, travel operators said. Airline bookings to Delhi have fallen 17% for travel between Oct 27 and Nov 5.