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Boosting India-Filipino tourism As OTOAI kickstarts its first convention here in Manila, catches up with Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI to get a perspective about strengthening the partnerships of Indian and Filipino travel trade… M E G H A PAU L

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ust a month before the Convention, the Philippines was struck by Typhoon Haiyan and earthquakes. This did not deter Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) that is now hosting its first convention in Manila. Tourism is the best possible way to help the

vention is to introduce Philippines to OTOAI members and give Indian travellers another new destination to explore. “The scale of the storm has made international headlines, frightening away tourists across the central Philippines and trigger mass cancellations at resorts. We want to alter this and help the Philippines recover as soon as possible. The conven-

We expect a new level of partnership between India and the Philippines. The Convention brings pan-India tour operators on one platform and creates a common cause Guldeep Singh Sahni President, OTOAI Philippines recover and OTOAI will support the country through its first convention here. According to Sahni, the main motto of the maiden con-

tion opens a new level of partnership between Philippines and India,” the OTOAI President says. Currently there are 50,000 Indian arrivals to

Win-Win Deal N The Philippines is expected to benefit from the convention by receiving a sizeable number of tourists after the convention N Currently there are 50,000 Indian arrivals in the Philippines Philippines and through this convention, OTOAI hopes the footfalls will increase. “The convention brings panIndia tour operators onto one platform and create a common cause. Keeping in mind the evolving profile of the travel agents in India, the theme for the convention has been aptly selected as – The Changing Face of Indian \Outbound,” he adds. The destination is also being showcased to the travel trade through a fam trip to islands like Boracay, Palawan and Cebu. Also, currently there are no direct flights to the Philippines from India. “In case we can generate an overwhelming response and create the needed numbers, the association could also later on pitch for direct flights,” he affirms.

Indian travellers should continue visiting the Philippines as this can help speed up rebuilding efforts following the the recent calamities. Ramon Jimenez, Jr., Tourism Secretary, Philippines talks more on building tourism. India’s upward outbound travel trajectory.”

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n the aftermath of natural calamities in The Philippines, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. sees the OTOAI convention as a breather. Philippines Tourism is open for muchneeded business and this convention is a step in the right direction. Tourism continues to be one of the major contributors to the Philippines economy and thus, plays a significant role in rebuilding lives and businesses in communities. Supporting the OTOAI Convention in Manila, Jimenez Jr says, “We welcome the participants of the first international convention of OTOAI. It is an honour for our country to have been chosen as the host destination for this maiden convention. This event is much welcomed by the local travel trade counterparts who are raring to take advantage of

Come one, Come all N The Department Tourism appeals Indian tourists continue visiting Philippines

of to to the

With the impending ASEAN Economic integration and existing bilateral and regional cooperation initia-

calamities that hit the country, he adds. Despite these unfortunate incidents, the Philippines remains a safe and fun destination for all tourists. “A great majority of tourist

It is an honour for our country to have been chosen as the host destination for this maiden convention. This event is much welcomed by the local travel trade counterparts Ramon Jimenez, Jr. Tourism Secretary, Philippines tives, Philippines expects improved inter and intraregional visitor flows that will yield more robust economies, stronger business relationships and better lives in communities. The Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT) is also appealing to Indian tourists to continue visiting the Philippines as this can help speed up rebuilding efforts following the devastation caused by the recent

products are available, whether one is looking for a beach vacation, historical trip, gastronomic tour, or one of the many other possible travel opportunities. The country is home to some of the world’s great tourist and adventures sites with its unparalleled natural wonders, spectacular beaches, world-renowned heritage sites, modern shopping complexes, rich biodiversity, culture, and history,” he affirms.


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TRAVTALK

INTERVIEW

Special

‘India will grow as a source market for us’ The first international conference by OTOAI is expected to enhance the volume of Indian tourist arrivals in the Philippines substantially. In fact, the way the Indian outbound market has emerged, the Philippines has several old and new travel attractions that India, as a source market, will more than love. VIVEK SETHI

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s per Daniel G Corpuz, Under Secretary, Tourism Development Sector, Philippines, the best part of the OTOAI Convention is the opportunity to permanently install Philippines as the best outbound destination in the mindset of Indian tour operators. He said, “The conference of the Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) is very impor-

tant to Philippines Tourism. Since this is also the first time that OTOAI will do an international conference, we, at the DOT, must ensure that we get positive results from the same. We believe that with OTOAI holding their conference here in the country, the results would be increased volume of tourist arrivals from India.” “In my opinion, the OTOAI Conference has two important features that will

Daniel G Corpuz Under Secretary, Tourism Development Sector, Philippines

We believe that with OTOAI holding their conference here in the country, the results would be increased volume of tourist arrivals from India Makati Business Centre (Tapan)

carve the Philippines into the tour operators’ mindset: the series of topics with the best possible resource speakers and the two-day business-to-business meeting between OTOAI and their Philippines counterparts. The series of topics will bring clarification to a lot of questions for the Indian traveller. The B2B meetings will ensure that there would be more business for both the Indian and the Philippines travel sector participants,” he added. In fact, the way the Indian outbound market has emerged, the Philippines has several old and new travel attractions that India as a source market will more than love. Here Corpuz said, “We will continue to focus in bringing more group travel into the country by offering more destinations that will cater to incentive and family

Verna Covar-Buensuceso, Director, Group Head for Europe, India and the Middle-East, Department of Tourism, attributes the impressive growth to the similarities between India and the Philippines, pointing out Verna Covar-Buensuceso, Director, Group Head for Europe that English is a common India and the Middle-East language, that both nations love Department of Tourism festivals, and that currency values are almost the same. “Like Indians, Filipinos are extremely family-oriented. In fact, we offer homestay programmes for Indian tourists,” says Verna. Besides this, there is a significant Indian population in the region, including Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. A visit to the Philippines can be combined with trips to these places. groups. For the gateways into the country, Manila and Cebu will continue to be the main gateways. We have introduced Clark with Subic as an alternative gateway during the Routes Asia in Mumbai this year. Clark

and Subic are also new incentive travel and meetings destinations. We will continue to introduce new destinations like Palawan and Davao which were introduced during the OTM this year.”


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TRAVTALK

INTERVIEW

Special

Battling technology and change The Convention will also aim to further the resolve of making the outbound tourism industry a more meaningful, ethical, profitable and equitable place to do business… M E G H A PAU L

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iaz Munshi, Vice President, OTOAI and Convention Chairman feels OTOAI is the platform where all the countries who are targetting India as source markets can do their promotions. “India’s outbound tourism can impact the Gross Domestic Product of countries who get visitors from India. Hence the future of India’s outbound tourism also sounds bright,” he affirms. However, there are many challenges and the business sessions during the convention are aimed at tackling these roadblocks. Elaborates Munshi, “There are many forces like suppliers, customers, new technology, competition and new entrants that are acting on the outbound industry as of now. All these forces can negatively impact the outbound tour operators. We need to

Riaz Munshi Vice President OTOAI and Convention Chairman

Our business sessions will help the trade in sustaining the external shocks and events. The session will also address issues related to technology

work together to ensure stable and growing business environment and help the tour operators develop and restructure their businesses into sustainable and profitable enterprises.” Unfortunately, people in India think about problems more than finding solutions, he laments. “Our business sessions will help the trade in

sustaining the external shocks and events. The session will also address issues related to technology and help us in battling internal transformation with the increased use of technology and changing market dynamics.” The convention will also aim to further the resolve of making the outbound tourism industry a more meaningful, ethical, profitable and equitable place to do business. There will be B2B sessions to get first-hand contact about Philippines during the convention. We will have panel discussions and experiences of what Manila has to offer and beyond. There will be product training and our own topics of discussions as well

Visa facilitation to create 2.6mn new jobs in APEC  A new report by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) during APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Travel Facilitation in Indonesia shows that visa facilitation could create up to

to obtain a traditional visa prior to travel under current visa policies. Facilitating visas for these tourists could create as much as 2.6 million additional jobs in the APEC economies by 2016. Taleb Rifai, SecretaryGeneral, UNWTO said, “This report clearly shows that placing visa facilitation as a national priority can translate into socio-economic benefits.” Here David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC,

Taleb Rifai Secretary-General, UNWTO

2.6 million new jobs in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies by 2016. The report, ‘The Impact of Visa Facilitation’ in APEC economies indicates that although there has been advances across the APEC region to facilitate visas, 21 per cent of expected international tourists arriving into APEC over the period 20142016 would still be required

David Scowsill President & CEO, WTTC

said, “Encouraging freedom to travel is a key strategic priority for WTTC. It is a simple step for Governments which create jobs, economic growth and incalculable social benefits.”


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INTERVIEW

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5 biz sessions to develop strategies Topics like new product opportunities; the ongoing ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines’ campaign; how and why make DMCs your partners; the difficulty in dealing with international hotels – all these will be discussed in the convention. T T B U R E AU

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s the dedicated travel trade association for outbound tourism in India,

Vineet Gopal Joint Secretary of OTOAI and Convention Vice Chairman

We also aim to enhance the integrity and quality of the travel trade and create an environment of collaboration with various partners OTOAI will address different national and global issues through its business sessions,

Business Sessions at OTOAI Convention The following are the business sessions to be held at the first OTOAI Convention in Philippines

Day 1, Session I: Difficult or Simple: Dealing with International Hotels

Session II: Tourism – Is More Fun In The Philippines

Session III: Is the current structure of NTOs optimal?

Day 2, Session IV: How And Why To Make DMCs Your Partners

Session V: New Products / New Opportunities

Vineet Gopal, Joint Secretary of OTOAI and Convention Vice Chairman informs. “Outbound tourism from India has grown leaps and bounds in the last few years. The first convention is addressing the future of this Indian outbound industry. We are looking at various aspects

from domestic as well as international perspective. Also we are discussing issues related to the industry like recognition by the government of India, taxes and changes expected in future,” Gopal pointed out. A major component of the five business sessions is how the out-

bound tour operator can innovate and utilise various marketing strategies as well. The association’s mission is to lead the outbound travel industry by setting high ethical principles of tourism, excellence and professionalism. “We also aim to enhance the integrity and

quality of the travel trade and create an environment of collaboration with various partners,” he adds. Topics like new product opportunities; the ongoing ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines’ campaign; how and why make DMCs your partner; the difficulty in dealing with international

hotels – all these will be discussed in the convention. The convention will also focus on promoting specific regions in the Philippines like Boracay, Palawan, Cebu and Manila. The OTOAI is a good single point of contact for engaging the Indian outbound travel market, he adds.


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ANALYSIS

Bottlenecks & solutions talks to OTOAI members to understand the bottlenecks of the outbound sector and the way forward for the same. A few excerpts… TT B UREAU

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espite the outbound sector facing plethora of challenges such as falling rupee and steadily rising airfares, the industry shows

signs of optimism. The Indian outbound refuses to give up and charters new growth strategies to continue moving on. Here, the OTOAI members share their views and

opinions on the burning challenges faced by the Indian tourists and travel agents, such as visa hassles and the paucity of direct flights, and how to counteract them with innovative solutions.

Shravan Bhalla General Secretary, OTOAI OTOAI has been looking into common grievances on matters such as passports, visas and taxes. The association highlights the challenges confronting the sector and ensures higher standards of service delivery to the growing outbound market. Also, we are constantly monitoring the quality standards of our members. One of the objectives of the association is to promote a culture of transparency so that customers get timely and accurate information about destinations and deals. The association’s core philosophy is based on the belief that the travel industry should be equitable and efficient, giving every stakeholder a chance to earn a fair return.

Rajeev Sabharwal Treasurer, OTOAI For the past one year, we are really working to ease visa restrictions for Indian tourists. And in this regard, we have witnessed remarkable breakthroughs. Philippines Tourism has granted us a special status and an OTOAI member can apply for a visa directly. Also, we took up the proposal for UK cash bond issue seriously and opposed it tooth and nail. It has now been revoked and this step from the UK government is a welcome step. We are also trying to get ‘industry status’ for the outbound segment. The convention will surely boost Indian arrivals to tourism. Apart from honeymoon, leisure and adventure segments that will lure outbound to The Philippines, casinos will also attract Indian clientele. Currently, Indians usually head to Singapore or Macau for casinos, this is a new unsaturated market for the segment.

Sidharth Khanna Head IT, OTOAI OTOAI is a very new association and my primary concern was to make it prominent in the online space. The association has now geared up to become visible in the social media platform. Through our dedicated website that was created around ten months earlier, we have seen an increase in engagement of members here. But we are not fully functional yet. We aim to make the site more interactive from January-end. We will give our OTOAI members a password and login id. Once they log in, they can view all the recent happenings in the industry. They will also be able to post discussions about the outbound industry here.

Himanshu Patil Head-West Chapter, OTOAI The West chapter is a very active OTOAI chapter. We are looking at increasing our membership base here. The primary focus of OTOAI has been to bring the smaller travel agents on one platform and educate them about new trends and help them facilitate their business. In this regard, we see a great potential in the Tier-II and III cities of Western India. Cities like Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Ahmedabad and Surat are great source markets and generate a huge outbound traffic. Going forward, the chapter will tap travel agents and tour operators in these areas.

Bengaluru Airport to be renamed  Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), the airport operator for Bengaluru International Airport said they would change the name of the airport to Kempegowda International Airport,

Bengaluru with the opening of the new terminal 1A on December 14. The new name honors Kempegowda, the founding father of Bangalore. The expanded terminal, which spans over

150,500 sq meters, will more than double to floor space area of the current terminal. In addition, the new terminal will have a Code F aerobridge to accommodate an Airbus A380 aircraft.


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TRAVTALK

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DESTINATION

Palawan The City of Puerto Princesa in Palawan offers powdery white sand beaches. With the coves and bays of Puerto Princesa’s coastline, the islands on the nearby Honda Bay offer beach lovers an uncrowded haven. Dive sites are located from five to 40 minutes away from the beach by speedboat inside Puerto Princesa Bay. These are preferred sites for open water training dives as they offer slopes and walls. Colourful reef fish are common and various colonies can be observed in one dive.

Philippines for countless experiences As the national campaign for tourism – ‘It's more fun in the Philippines’ – rightly states, the Asian archipelago offers some myriad experiences. The country where the rich Spanish and American culture blend with the true Filipino hospitality, checks out what the destination has in its kitty for the discerning and demanding travellers. Boracay Located approximately 315 km south of Manila and 2 km off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines is the Boracay island. Known as the beach that never sleeps this island with its pristine waters offer a plethora of water sports. Be it scuba diving, helmet diving or snorkelling, Boracay is a must visit for adventure enthusiasts. And the fun in the island doesn’t stop when the sun sets. Known for a pulsating nightlife, one can hop from bar to bar and the beach shack restaurants.

Manila A joyride on the vibrant colourful jeepney, a walk by the Manila’s Roxas Boulevard or the popularly called Baywalk, an exploration of the Spanish walled city of Intramuros... are a few of the unique experiences that Manila has to offer. Erected on the ruins of a Malay settlement at the mouth of the Pasig River, Intramuros was the centre of Spanish political, religious and military power. Literally meaning the walled city, visitors can experience Spanish-era Manila through the walled city’s churches, restaurants and museums. The major attractions inside Intramuros include Fort Santiago, the oldest Spanish fortress in the Philippines and Casa Manila, a museum in Intramuros depicting colonial lifestyle during Spanish colonisation of the Philippines. Adjacent to this walled city is the historical urban Rizal Park.


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AGENTS

TRAVTALKSpecial

The incredible history behind Incredible India Who branded India as Incredible India? Not we the Indians but long back in the 10th century the Arabs and Iranians were so much impressed with India’s civilisation and culture, that they appreciated using adjectives for India such as ‘Ajaib-ul Hind’. It is the exact meaning of ‘Incredible India’. Buzurg-bin Shahryar, an Iranian navigator who navigated his ships from Iraqi ports to Indian coasts, islands, China and Japan was specially impressed with India’s culture. His own experiences and the experiences of his other colleagues were penned down with a title, ‘Ajaib-ul Hind’. This book had been translated from Arabic to French in 1886 AD and subsequently it was also translated into English.

‘Outbound biz to be back on track’ At present, Outbound Konnections manages DMCs for Canada-based DMCi, Mumbai-based Akquasun Group and Mille Tours-based in Reunion Island; and represents The Residence Resorts and the GSA for Crystal Beach Resort & Spa. The company is positive about the outbound tourism growth in the coming months. T T B U R E AU

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o doubt that the Indian outbound travel, at present, is slow due to multiple reasons, but Anjum Lokhandwala, Director, Outbound Konnections is positive that the coming months would bring the outbound business back in action. At present, Outbound Konnections manages DMCs for Canada-based DMCi, Mumbai-based Akquasun Group and Mille Tours-based in Reunion Island; represents The Residence Resorts and GSA for Crystal Beach Resort & Spa. According to Lokhandwala, the Indian outbound travel market growth is inevitable, despite the fluctuating currency or the slowdown in economy. The company – Outbound Konnections was launched

due to the opportunity offered by the growth of Indian outbound travel sector. She elaborates, “Seeing the growing demand of the Outbound Tourism, we have kickstarted a new venture called Outbound Konnections. The company has an aggregate working experience of 15 years with highly-learned professionals and a complete understanding of the travel & hospitality industry to the core. We are an organisation which offers its services in the fields of representation and marketing of tourism products and various support activities required in this regard. Outbound Konnections is highly dynamic and proactive in its approach as a tourism solution provider.” “With major developments in the pipeline, we plan to choose, specialise

and channelise our professional approach,” adds Lokhandwala. Talking about the organisation’s vision and mission, Lokhandwala said, “Our

and ensuring that the product is well-tuned at all times.” Representative Companies need to roll out well-formatted plans directed at the relevant target audiences with

What we believe is that the basic success of a well-organised company lies in marketing, sales, good customer relationship management and ensuring that the product is well-tuned at all times Anjum Lokhandwala Director, Outbound Konnections Mission is – ‘A clearly defined brand will “shout above the crowd” and stand accountable for excellent results.’ What we believe is that the basic success of a well-organised company lies in marketing, sales, good customer relationship management

technology playing a pivotal role in the process, Lokhandwala said. According to her, the Indian outbound travel segment has tremendous potential for growth and has space for every kind of product to fit

in. She observes, “The waters are choppy, but the resilient Indian continues to sail to faraway shores. Halfway into 2013, travel agents have their hands full. From 12 million Indians travelling abroad in 2011, the India outbound market is estimated to touch approximately 16 million by 2013 in the year end. As per United Nations World Tourism Organisation, India will account to 50 million outbound tourists by 2020.” Adding further on the challenges faced by this sector, she adds, “Personally I feel India has a market for each and every product and it is easy to find a solution as it is so diverse. But yes, of course, the currency fluctuation and the bureaucracy in obtaining a visa for a destination can always prove to be deterrent to a destination/product promotion.”


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NOSTALGIA

It is indeed more fun in the Philippines It was ‘work meets fun’ for agents from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai, who were on a familiarisation tour of the Philippines. The group visited Boracay, Cebu and Manila and also participated at the Philippines India Travel Exchange organised from November 22-28, 2012.


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NEWS

TRAVTALKSpecial

Canadian Signature Experiences for India The Canadian Signature Experiences Collection is made up of over 100 products and experiences throughout Canada, of which approximately over 20 products are available for sale and ready for travellers travelling from India to Canada. T T B U R E AU

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he India office of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) officially launched the Canadian Signature Experiences (CSE) collection in the giant South Asian market. Siobhan Chretien, Regional Managing Director, Emerging Markets, says, “More and more of our key

accounts are hearing from clients who want to visit Canada. The CSE collection will help us promote Canada by showcasing Indian travellers what they can enjoy in our beautiful country”. The CSE programme is an ideal way for the travel trade to sell Canada, especially in India, where the rapidly expanding affluent middle-

class population is expected to pass the 500-million mark by 2025. That segment will then hold 60% of the country’s purchasing power.

CTC India is now targetting cities such as Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru, in addition to Mumbai and New Delhi.

The statistics are reinforced by data from CTC’s Tourism Snapshot 2012 YearIn-Review where Indian consumers spent $173 million on their Canada travels last year, a 6.4 per cent increase. Keeping this in mind,

“The Canadian Signature Experiences Collection is made up of over 100 products and experiences throughout Canada, of which we have selected approximately over 20 products that are available for sale and ready for travellers travelling from India to Canada. There are products across Canada, hotel chains, experiences like taking the railway, to very unique experiences in the wilderness like polar-bear watching. It offers a great medley of adventure; unique, exotic and compelling experiences that will surprise the Indian public and they'll love them and share them with their friends and family,” says Chretien.

(L-R:) Stewart G. Beck, Canadian High Commissioner to India; Siobhan Chretien, Regional Managing Director, Emerging Markets, Americas/Asia for Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) and Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI

Talking about the process that makes a particular experience a Canadian

Working together with agents Global Destinations was recently appointed as an India Wholesaler for Heathrow Express - London’s airport rail-link between Heathrow Airport in London and London Paddington station. T T B U R E AU

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umbai-based Global Destinations intends to continue and support the travel agents’ community which is currently facing multiple challenges for survival. According to Pranav Kapadia, Co-Founder & Partner, Global Destinations; the company has no intentions of going B2C directly, which will create competition for its trade partners. The company was recently

sents Tsogo Sun Hotels, Boscolo Hotels, Kenya-based Safari Trails, Spain-based Century Incoming, Italybased Amanda Tours, Greece-based Grecian Dreams, New Zealand-based General Travels, US-based Grand Tours, Latin Americabased Greyline, Europebased Prime Travel and Fiji Tourism in India. Kapadia said, “Travel agents are our core strength and we intend to further help

We are representing multiple products from across the world and are ensuring that our partners and travel agents work on mutually beneficial business models appointed as an India Wholesaler for Heathrow Express - London’s airport rail-link between Heathrow Airport in London and London Paddington station. Apart from this, it also repre-

ly beneficial business models. There is no use to going directly to end-consumers and create competition for our travel partners in India. We follow a pure B2B model and will continue to do so. However, if con-

them grow their business and enhance bottom-lines. We are representing multiple products from across the world and are ensuring that our partners and travel agents work on mutual-

Pranav Kapadia Co-Founder & Partner Global Destinations

queries. This train is perfect for travellers who intend to save time and reach the city centre of London in just 15 minutes, instead of an hour through other modes of transport.” It has provided its travel partners free access to the booking engine of the train for efficient and faster mode of booking. Additionally, it is also going to organise a multi-city India roadshow starting January 27 in Delhi and moving on to Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Bengaluru. During the roadshow, it will showcase various products offered by Latin Amerciabased Greyline Travels and will also have participation from countries like Argentina, Columbia, Chile and Ecuador.

sumers want to, they are welcome to come directly to us.”

Future Plans

Talking about the latest addition in the product line, Kapadia said, “We just started with Heathrow Express and are receiving a good response and excellent number of

N It is also going to organise a multi-city India roadshow starting January 27 in Delhi and moving on to Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Bengaluru

Signature Experience, Chretien explains that there is a procedure wherein owners and operators of the companies must apply to become a CSE member. “There are very rigorous criteria involved and the ones that are being promoted for India are experiences the Indian

and unique? There are lots of attributes to fit into the criteria and these are then reviewed and scored accordingly,” she explained. CTC does a lot of agenttraining programmes. As Chretien says, “The travel trade programme is the

The CSE collection will help us promote Canada by showcasing to Indian travellers what they can enjoy in our beautiful country Siobhan Chretien Regional Managing Director, Emerging Markets, Americas/Asia for Canadian Tourism Commission travel trade are already selling to the travellers. We have a group of individuals who review that process. There are many criteria - How long have you been in the field? What makes you compelling

biggest element of the work that we do within India. This will be an important component of the Canada specialist programme. We have a sales team who travel throughout India training agents.”

Indian cities taste fun in the Philippines The Department of Tourism, Philippines (DOT), with the Philippines Tourism Marketing Office in India, recently held a series of roadshows. AHMEDABAD

HYDERABAD

CHENNAI

BENGALURU


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NTO

Special

Tourism & NTOs: New laws of attraction spoke to several NTOs to find out what are they doing to attract the Indian travellers for the upcoming year. From fam trips to taking the expertise of the travel trade, this is what they have to say. Runjuan Tongrut

Vassilis Theocharides

Miloslav Stasek

Director Tourism Authority of Thailand

Director, Dubai Office, Cyprus Tourism Organisation

Ambassdor of Czech Republic to India

Tourism Authority of Thailand, New Delhi, recently hosted a luxury road show, which saw the participation of 17 sellers, including hotels, resorts, spas, airlines and catamaran cruise and sailing services. This was attended by over 90 travel trade partners. The road show has been held to update Indian travel trade partners about the luxurious products and activities that Thailand has to offer.

India is the biggest potential market among the developing nations for Cyprus. Thus, Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), the official Tourism Authority for Cyprus, aims to aggressively tap the Incentives and Wedding segments in the Indian market with niche product offerings and packages. For the same, CTO will focus on promoting MICE and Wedding Tourism for FITs, groups and corporate segments through the travel trade channel in the country.

We, along with the Ministry of Culture, have decided to call 2014 as the year of the Czech-Indian Culture. We are also planning to set up the tradition of the Czech Film Festival in Mumbai and Goa next year and will be signing an agreement for collaboration with the film industry. Our minister of culture is here to prepare the groundwork for the agreement. We would like to encourage Bollywood to come to Czech Republic and shoot movies in our country.

Ozgur Ayturk

Li Qianguo

Vineet Lal

Culture and Tourism Counsellor, Turkey

Dy. Director, China National Tourist Office

International Marketing Manager– Long Haul and Emerging Markets, Visit Scotland

The Turkish Culture and Tourism Office recently launched a new website, specifically for the Indian audience. We had been using our global tourism portal www.goturkey.com for our Indian market, but we wanted something specific for Indian travellers and the travel trade. This India-specific website will give detailed information, according to the expectations of the Indian travellers and the travel trade community.

We have many plans to further tap the Indian market. The CNTO office in Delhi will be hosting events, including travel fairs, seminars and of course FAM tours for the Indian travel trade community. We also plan to come up with a new roadshow of China Tourism next year.

India is an important market and for the last three years, Scotland has received 19,000 Indian visitors annually. These are mainly leisure and visiting friends and relatives (VFRs). However, a small portion is contributed by MICE as well. The travel trade medium in India is indispensable. In India, all our activities are focused on B2B promotions. India has the highest number of Scots agents (1,800) after the US.


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NTO

Special

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Luring the savvy Indian traveller Arturo Ortiz Arduan

Fred Dixon

Tourism Counsellor, Embassy of Spain – Tourism Department, Tourism Office of Spain – Mumbai

Executive Vice President- Market Development, NYC & Company

With 60,000 Indian tourist arrivals in 2012, which is a 50 per cent increase compared with 2011, Spain Tourism is betting big on the Indian outbound market this year as well. The primary objective of Spain Tourism in 2013 will be to tap the MICE segment and Incentive groups. Spain is the third most popular destination in the world for meeting, according to the ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association). Last year, out of the 60,000 Indian tourists in Spain, almost 15 per cent comprised of Incentive clients. Hence, we are concentrating on MICE and Incentive groups this year through our road-shows in India.

NYC & Company will launch the new version of its online training academy in 2014 to facilitate the training of Indian travel agents as well. This year the primary goal is to educate the travel trade in India. With so many new products along with existing itineraries, NYC can be a complex destination in many ways. Hence, we have an online training academy and its new interactive version will become operational in 2014. Currently, we have 2,000 travel agents across India enrolled in the programme. Around 1,000 have graduated to become New York specialists. We are expecting the number to double from 2,000 to 4,000 by the end of 2014.

Aneta Ksiazek Chief Conference Expert, Polish Tourist Organisation

In India and Japan, we will be concentrating on wooing the travel trade. From less than 9,000 Indian arrivals in 2006, Poland received around 20,000 Indian visitors last year. As part of improving the engagement with the Indian travel trade, PTO has plans to launch Poland Specialist Programme in this market soon. In addition, we will conduct FAM trips for the travel trade.

Zimbabwe launches E-Visa for India has  Zimbabwe launched an e-visa platform for China and India in line with the increased tourist arrivals and investment from these countries. As per Karikoga Kaseke, Chief Executive, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority; both these countries have the largest populations in the world which makes them the best potential tourism markets for Zimbabwe. Indians can now apply for visas online and get response in time since the Department of Immigration will only take less than four days to response. The country received 9000 Indians in 2012. Post the E-Visa initiative, the government will put in more efforts in India channeled towards marketing the destination among Indian travellers


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TRAVTALK

HIGHLIGHTS

Special

Philippines looks ahead to more flights With the rising number of inbound tourists from India to the Philippines, the latter is looking forward to start direct flights for the Indian travellers to Philippines. gives details. Philippines; direct air-connectivity is one of the major hurdles to attract Indian passengers to the country. The department is now in talks with few network partners from India and Philippines to start direct connections between both the countries. It is also in process of further liberalising the visa norms for Indian travellers. The plans for this year include introducing a destination

A N I TA J A I N

A

fter relaxing visa norms for Indian travellers with specific valid visas, Philippines Tourism is now in the process of adding direct air connectivity on the India – Philippines route. According to Benito C Bengzon Jr, Assistant Secretary, International Tourism Promotion, Department of Tourism,

We intend to get actively engaged with South-East Asian markets and improve on intra-Asia traffic as there is a huge potential there Benito C Bengzon Jr. Assistant Secretary, International Tourism Promotion, Department of Tourism, Philippines

specialist programme for trade to enhance their knowledge on Philippines

Benito C Bengzon Jr. Assistant Secretary, International Tourism Promotion, Department of Tourism, Philippines

and start focussing on the Tier-II cities in India which have tremendous growth potential. The Philippines is recording a flat growth from

recorded growth of over 30 per cent in January 2013 over last year and an eight per cent growth in 2012 over 2011. To improve tourism traffic from India, the biggest hurdle is direct air-connectivity. We are positive about adding more direct flights between India and Philippines. If we are successful in roping in low-cost carriers with legacy carriers in the scene, it will be a great boost in stimulating the market with exciting air fares, options for passengers and reducing the entire tour package cost to certain extent.”

Western markets, while Asian markets are performing well. Explaining the growing importance of intra-Asian tourism, Bengzon said, “We intend to get actively engaged with South-East Asian markets and improve on intra-Asia traffic as there is a huge potential there. For instance, Thailand receives 60 per cent of tourists from Asian region, while Malaysia receives over 40 per cent. On the other hand, we have a share of just eight per cent from South-East Asian market and we intend to increase this further this year.”

Apart from working on improving the direct air-connectivity; the department is also underlining the destination with multiple products for all kind of travellers. It is currently catering to leisure trav-

Talking about the growing potential of India as a tourism source market, Bengzon said, “India has been identified as a major source market this year as we

ellers, honeymooners, FITs and groups and intends to attract families, incentive groups, DINKS and even experiential travellers. On the product side, apart from highlighting its famous beaches, nightlife and shopping; it will be promoting heritage, culture, historical sites and even adventure.

Wooing Indians O The department is

also underlining the destination with multiple products for all kind of travellers

O It is currently catering to leisure travellers, honeymooners, FITs and groups and intends to attract families, incentive groups, DINKS and even experiential travellers

Indians to have Fun in the Philippines The country will soon introduce a destination specialist programme for travel partners as part of the business strategy for India.

I

n charge of the mission to increase Indian arrivals in Philippines, Glen Agustin, Head, Team India, and Chief Tourism Operations Officer, Department of Tourism, Philippines is keen to apply the findings of the study that points out the viability of introducing new tourist attraction in the Indian market. “We are increasing the lure of attractions in the

India is a strategic market for us and we are working on meeting more agents and organising more roadshows Glen Agustin, Head, Team India and Chief Tourism Operations Officer, Department of Tourism, Philippines Philippines in a gradual manner with the help of travel

partners. The key here is to get the Indian market ready

Selling shopping to Tourists The malls in the Philippines sell some of the biggest international designer brands, but shopping there opens doors to a whole world of designer knock-offs at the greatest prices…

Vikramajit Chairman SanJeet Editor & Publisher Deepa Sethi Editor-in-Chief

Editorial Ratan Kr Paul Vivek Sethi Megha Paul Devika Jeet Anita Jain News-Editor Peden Doma Bhutia Desk-Editor Archana Sharma Sr. Sub-Editor Hritvick Sen Photographers Simran Kaur-Delhi Bharat Dangiya-Mumbai

Advertising Gunjan Sabikhi Asst. Vice President Aarti Nagrath General Manager Karishma Khanna Sr. Manager Marketing Udit Pandey Sr. Manager Marketing Geetika Pathak Manager Advertising Amit Sarkar Asst. Manager Marketing Advertising (Mumbai) Suchita Saran Branch Manager Harshal Ashar Deputy Genral Manager

(Mumbai) Priyanshu Wankhade Asst. Manager Advertising Rishika Karra Sales Coordinator Advertisement Designers Vikas Mandotia / Nitin Kumar Aarushi Agrawal Design: Nityanand Misra Sudhir Mudgal Production: Anil Kharbanda Circulation: Ashok Rana

to explore new destinations. In fact, based on the finding of our study, we now try to take along a destination, when we travel to India for travelrelated event, or fair. Further, we are focussing on building the group and MICE movements. Last year, we had about 25 groups with an average of 40 people,” said Glen. “India is a strategic market for us and we are working on

meeting more agents, organising fam for the agents and roadshows that will include Tier-I and Tier-II cities. The detailed programme in this regard is presently being worked by our Indian office,” he added. In fact, to find ways and means to foster air connectivity, the Philippines participated in the Routes Asia, which is the key event for stakeholders in the Aviation

Glen Agustin Head, Team India, and Chief Tourism Operations Officer, Department of Tourism, Philippines

industry and brings together key players in the airline and airport industry from Asia and also from Europe for strategic networking on air service development.

Greenhills Shopping Center, Manila

SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Bay City

Hot deals: Here you can get Gucci bags for less than Rs 1,000 or TOMS shoes for Rs 500. Also, if you manage to pull in some bargaining power you get to take home the whole deal for a few hundreds cheaper.

SM Mall of Asia is the 3rd largest mall in the world. Here, you get to shop for everything under one roof, from clothes, accessories, cosmetics to gadgets, furnishings, and much more.

With over 2,000 stores, Greenhills Shopping Center is a flea-market type air-conditioned shopping centre that has branded clothes, bags, shoes and other accessories. The clothes and accessories may be knock-offs, but go further inside and you may lay your hands on some real antique ware and of course, the best selection of genuine pearls.

Our Tip: The mall provides a package pick-up service. After you finish buying at a store, ask them to send it to the mall’s Package Pick-up Service. You can then pick all your purchases from one place later on! There is no bargaining at these shops.

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OTOAI Special Issue 2013