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 EDITORIAL
Optimistic Outlook
The year 2014 was an eventful year for the travel and tourism industry in India. The recognition of the tourism sector as a significant pillar for future development by the current political leadership even before they came into power made all the difference for an industry, which had been craving for attention for years on end.
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 COVERSTORY

Opportunities and Challenges in Tourism in India - Cruise Tourism
The travel and tourism industry has emerged as one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors globally. The growth in the Indian travel and tourism industry is driven by a combination of rising income levels and changing lifestyles, development of diverse tourism offerings, and policy and regulatory support by the government authorities. Over the past year, this growth has reflected over all segments of tourism. TravelBiz Monitor speaks to industry experts about the top Opportunities and Challenges they currently see in individual segments of Inbound/Domestic Tourism, MICE Tourism, Outbound Tourism, Aviation, Hospitality and in the rapidly growing Online Travel Agents (OTAs) space. This is the second in the two-part series of Opportunities and Challenges in India tourism
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 SPOTLIGHT

DTCM conducts largest ever tourism industry FAM trip for Indian delegates
In order to provide its Indian trade partners a first-hand experience of all that the emirate has to offer as a business and leisure destination, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) organised a FAM tour from December 6-9, 2014, hosting travel operators, wedding planners, MICE operators, niche segment specialists, and media experts. A total of 16 cities of India were represented on the tour. TravelBiz Monitor shares her experience
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 TRACK RECORD

ATOAI: Striving to position India as an adventure destination
An association that believes in Safe, Honourable, and Sustainable Tourism was founded 20 years ago by a handful of like-minded adventure tour operators. Today, it is not only considered as one of the most respected associations in the travel trade industry in India, but its members are also looked up to as reliable operators. Akansha Pandey tracks the journey of Adventure Tour Operators` Association of India (ATOAI)
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This Week's Top Headlines
Increasing number of rape cases in India hitting tourism industry: Union Tourism Minister
  According to a report by Amy Kazmin, Jyotsna Singh, and Kana Inagaki for Financial Times, Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Tourism and Culture and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India, has described the alleged rape of a ...read more>>
Indian airports on high alert after hijack warning for Kabul-bound Air India flight
  According to a report on NDTV, airports across the country are on high alert and anti-hijack measures are in place after intelligence agencies warned of a possible hijack attempt on an Air India flight to Kabul in Afghanistan. ...read more>>
M Sathiyavathy becomes first woman DGCA Chief; will assume charge on Jan 5
  According to a report by P R Sanjai for Mint, the government has appointed M Sathiyavathy as Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), replacing Prabhat Kumar, according to two government officials. Sathiyavathy, who will be the first woman in India to assume the ...read more>>
Number of foreign visitors to Taj Mahal declined in past two years: ASI
  According to a report by Aditya Dev in The Times of India, data compiled by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) through ticket sales at the Taj Mahal show that there has been a constant fall in the number of foreign visitors in the last three years. ...read more>>
VFS Global appoints Vinay Malhotra as COO for South Asia region
  VFS Global has appointed Vinay Malhotra as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for South Asia region, effective January 1, 2015. South Asia is an important region for VFS Global and his key focus areas include evolving business strategy, managing key client relationships, and ...read more>>
MoCA welcomes recommendations of states on Draft Civil Aviation Policy
  The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) conducted a meeting of the Civil Aviation Minister of states and representatives in New Delhi yesterday. The MoCA officials noted down the feedback of the delegates from the state governments on the Draft Civil Aviation Policy and other issues ...read more>>
VFS Global announces revision of UAE visa fees
  As per directive from the UAE Immigration Department (www.dubaivisa.net), visa fees have been amended from January 4, 2015 onwards. The revised fee for Tourist Visa is Rs 5,810; 96 Hours Visa is Rs 4,150; 14 Days Visa is Rs 5,810; Express Tourist Visa is Rs 7,245; Express ...read more>>
Air Arabia acquires 49% stake in Petra Airlines; to open international hub in Jordan
  Low-cost carrier (LCC) Air Arabia will open a new international hub at Amman Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan, its fifth fixed-based operation globally, following the acquisition of a 49 per cent stake in Petra Airlines. RUM Group, the principle shareholder of Petra Airlines, will maintain a stake of 51 per cent. ...read more>>
CAPA India Aviation Summit to be held in Mumbai on Feb 3 & 4
  CAPA has announced a line-up of events for this year, which will be held in different countries across the world. The Summits will see over 150 airline CEOs and more than 2,500 senior industry executives in attendance. In total, CAPA will offer seven industry leading events ...read more>>
MTDC ranked No 1 tourism board among India’s best performing public sector enterpises
  Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has been recognised as the number one tourism board among India’s best performing Public Sector Enterpises (PSEs). In the quarterly review of India’s PSEs, held in New Delhi, MTDC ranks number one. ...read more>>
TAT to promote Muay Thai boxing in India through videos featuring Mary Kom
  Noted Indian female boxer Mary Kom visited Thailand last month as part of a campaign to promote the sport of Muay Thai boxing, stated a release. She was filmed visiting several popular Muay Thai stadiums, interacting with Thai boxers and sightseeing in Thailand. ...read more>>
Goa govt not in favour of closing existing casinos: CM
  According to IANS, Laxmikant Parsekar, Chief Minister (CM) of Goa, has said that the government was not in favour of stopping the operations of five existing casinos "in one go". Addressing a press conference, Parsekar said offshore casinos were generating ...read more>>
Govt grants Vistara 3-month exemption from flying to North East, J&K, Andamans
  According to a report by Tushar Srivastava in Hindustan Times, in a special dispensation granted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India to Tata-Singapore Airlines-backed Vistara, the full-service carrier will not have to comply with the mandatory Route Dispersal ...read more>>
ITDC presents dividend of Rs 3.73 cr to government
  India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) presented the dividend cheque of Rs 3.73 crore to the government. Girish Shankar, Additional Secretary – Tourism & Chairman-cum-Managing Director, ITDC, handed over the cheque to Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of ...read more>>
IndiGo announces additional domestic services starting this month
  IndiGo will launch its fifth daily non-stop flight between Delhi and Ahmedabad, Delhi and Pune, and Pune and Bengaluru. In addition, the airline will fly its sixth daily non-stop flight between Mumbai and Ahmedabad from January 5, 2015, as per a release. ...read more>>
R K Srivastava takes over as AAI Chairman
  According to a PTI report, R K Srivastava has taken over as Chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI), replacing Sudheer Raheja. The government had announced Srivastava's appointment on December 19 for five years. ...read more>>
5 key airports continue to record y-o-y profit in FY14: India Ratings and Research
  As per a PTI report, five airports operated under Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi — are expected to continue to 'limit traffic decline' despite adverse economic conditions in FY15 and first half of FY16, rating agency ...read more>>
Royal Caribbean orders 2 cruise ships from STX France
  As per a report by Dominique Vidalon for Reuters, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has ordered two cruise ships from STX France and expects delivery of the first ship in the fall of 2018, with the second vessel to be delivered in early 2020. ...read more>>