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 EDITORIAL
Carrot & Stick
The only solace for the tourism industry from the Union Budget 2015-16 was the proposal to extend Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) to 150 countries. But, the industry’s expectations from the Budget were quite high. It was hopeful that the government would consider some of its long-pending demands like rationalisation of taxes, infrastructure status to the hotel industry, etc., in the Budget. But, disappoint writ large at the end, as usual.
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 SPOTLIGHT

TAFI Convention 2015 focuses on adoption of technology to boost business
With ‘The Challenge of Change’ as its theme, the TAFI Convention in Israel was aimed at creating awareness and educating its members on how to cope with the changing times. The Convention highlighted the need to channelise resources and energies in the right direction, and adopting technological changes. Diksha Singh presents an overview
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 IN CONVERSATION
‘India is an important emerging market for Israel’- Oren Drori, Deputy Director General & Head of Marketing Administration, Israel Ministry of Tourism
With Indians looking to explore newer destinations overseas, Israel Ministry of Tourism is looking at gaining its share of pie of the Indian outbound segment. On the sidelines of the TAFI Convention 2015, which concluded in Israel last month, Oren Drori, Deputy Director General & Head of Marketing Administration, Israel Ministry of Tourism, spoke to Diksha Singh about their target segments and marketing strategy to penetrate the Indian market
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 IN FOCUS

VisitBritain makes an impactful debut of ExploreGB int'l B2B forum
Explore GB, the first-ever B2B market place organised by VisitBritain on February 25 & 26, brought together over 260 buyers from 40 countries and an almost equal number of tourism suppliers from Great Britain and partner regions of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The two-day event at Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire was followed by 13-odd FAM trips, which were outstanding due to the meticulous planning and seamless organisation. P Krishna Kumar reports
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This Week's Top Headlines
MoT to launch Tourism Policy 2015 on May 15
  Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Tourism and Culture and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India, has said that the new Tourism Policy 2015 will be launched on May 15. ...read more>>
TravelBiz Monitor launches ‘Dream Drives: India Outbound - Self Drive Experiences 2015’
  Over the years, the Indian Outbound traveller has matured and evolved a great deal, and akin to his counterparts from mature markets, is increasingly seeking adventurous and experiential holidays. ...read more>>
PM announces 3-month free visa, VoA for Seychelles
  According to a report by Naz Asghar on United News of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced three months’ free visa and Visa on Arrival (VoA) to the people of Seychelles. ...read more>>
India records 1162% growth in TVoAs enabled by ETA in Feb this year
  During February this year, a total of 24,985 tourists arrived in India through Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) enabled by Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) as compared to 1,980 tourists who visited the nation through TVoA in February 2014, registering a growth of 1161.9 per cent, ...read more>>
India-Sri Lanka sign four key pacts including Visa on Arrival
  As per The Economic Times report, India and Sri Lanka on Friday signed four pacts - agreement on visa, customs, youth development and building Rabindranath Tagore memorial. ...read more>>
Air Arabia starts bi-weekly flights to Tbilisi, Georgia from Sharjah
  Low-cost carrier Air Arabia, connecting its primary hub Sharjah to 13 destinations in India, has introduced Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia, to its route network, stated a release. With this connection, Air Arabia now connects Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai, Coimbatore, ...read more>>
USA welcomes 11.9% more Indian travellers in 2014 v/s 2013
  USA welcomed 961,790 Indian visitors last year, marking a growth of 11.9 per cent over 2013. As per U.S. Department of Commerce figures, in 2014, India was the 11th largest Inbound Tourism market for the US. ...read more>>
Himachal Pradesh to simplify Aero-Sports Rules to make the state an Adventure Tourism hub
  Presenting the annual Budget for 2015-16, Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister (CM) of Himachal Pradesh (HP) said that his government is committed to promote Sustainable Tourism in the state. ...read more>>
Kerala Budget proposes setting up Tourism Investment Promotion Board
  The annual budget presented by K M Mani, Minsiter for Finance, Government of Kerala, in the Assembly proposed constitution of a Tourism Investment Promotion Board under the Chairmanship of the Chief Minister. ...read more>>
DVPC now offers 30- & 90-day Multiple Entry visas to UAE
  Dubai Visa Processing Centre (DVPC) has introduced two visa categories for passengers travelling to Dubai with Emirates—Short Term Visit Multiple Entry Tourist Visa - 30 days and the Long Term Visit Multiple Entry Tourist Visa- 90 days. ...read more>>
Stark Tourism Associates unveils India Outbound Report at ITB Berlin 2015
  The first-of its-kind tourism intelligence and marketing study, India Outbound Report 2014-15, conducted by Kerala-based Stark Tourism Associates (STA) corroborates United Nations World Tourism Organisation's (UNWTO) prediction that Outbound Tourism from India will ...read more>>
Kerala plans tourism circuit with Sri Lanka & Maldives
  Kerala is exploring the possibility of creating a tourism circuit in partnership with Sri Lanka and Maldives. The same was discussed by G Kamala Vardhana Rao, Secretary - Tourism, Government of Kerala, with Navin Dissanayak, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Sri Lanka, at ...read more>>
Tourism Ireland aims to attract 10% of UK-bound Indian tourists in next two years
  Feilim McLaughlin, Ambassador of Ireland to India, said that they are foreseeing a surge in the number of inbound tourists with the recently launched British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS), and out of the 360,000 annual visitors from India to Britain, ...read more>>
Mandip Singh Soin to be the 1st Indian recipient of Explorers Club ‘Citation of Merit’
  Mandip Singh Soin, Founder of Ibex Expeditions in India, Founder President of Ecotourism Society of India, and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, UK and the Explorers Club, USA, will be honoured with the ‘Citation of Merit’ at the 111th Explorers Club Annual Dinner on ...read more>>
Lufthansa to soon launch budget carrier Eurowings in India
  According to a report by K Giriprakash for The Hindu Business Line, Lufthansa will soon launch its long-haul budget carrier, Eurowings to destinations in India, even as it grapples with increasing competition from Gulf carriers. ...read more>>
IndiGo to operate flights on Kolkata-Dimapur-Delhi route from April 15, 2015
  With a view to enhance connectivity to the North East region of India, IndiGo is set to add Dimapur as the 33rd domestic and 38th overall destination to its route network, stated a release. ...read more>>
Air Arabia launches loyalty program ‘Airewards’
  Low-cost carrier (LCC) Air Arabia has launched ‘Airewards’, a rewards program in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, which makes earning and redeeming points effortless, stated a release. ...read more>>
Lavasa wins PATWA Award for 'India’s Smart City in Tourism’
  Lavasa has been conferred with the International Council of Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) award for 'India’s Smart City in Tourism’ at ITB Berlin 2015, which concluded earlier this week. ...read more>>
SAT’s Hanneli Slabber wins ‘Women Achiever's Award 2015’
  Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager, South African Tourism (SAT), has been conferred with the ‘Women Achiever's Award 2015’ by Young Environmentalists Programme Trust on the occasion of International Women's Day for her work and achievements in the travel industry. ...read more>>