AN ECONOMIC SURGE in the growing ranks of the educated middle class in India has turned the spotlight on more outbound travel to Asian destinations that are nearer home than those in the West and are just as exciting.
China and Asean countries including Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia are making a determined bid to woo tourist traffic from India with focus on adventure, weddings, honeymoons, health and wellness, and family and single-woman travel.
Indonesia has decided to do away with visas for 93 countries including India before the end of this year. In addition, emphasis is being given to green tourism along with shopping and golf to woo the new breed of Indian traveller who wants to try everything including different cuisines.
In keeping with this objective, tourism boards and authorities from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia made detailed presentations at the “Pacific Asia Travel Association Mart” in the Indian city of Bangalore on Tuesday, the concluding day of the three-day event.
More than 1,000 delegates from 61 countries participated in the meet, the third such event to be held in India after New Delhi and Hyderabad.
The international meet decided to hold the 39th PATA Travel Mart in Jakarta from September 7-9 next year. Before this, Thailand will host the “PATA Adventure Travel” event, and a responsible-tourism conference and mart next year. The three-day event in Thailand will run |from February 17 in Chiang Rai with the theme of “Creating Experiences, Sharing Opportuni-ties”.
Indonesia’s deputy minister of tourism, Igde Patana, said Jakarta had been chosen for next year’s PATA travel mart considering the huge potential for tourism that the archipelago of nearly 13,000 islands presents with 150 international-standard golf courses in addition to the ethnic diversity of the country and its cuisine.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said the PATA Travel Mart would help connect buyers and sellers, giving a major boost to tourism in general.
He said Indonesia wanted to target nearly 10 million tourists this year, with the traffic from India alone accounting for about 240,000. The country now hopes to raise this number to more than 270,000, focusing also on further promotion by allowing Indians to celebrate and hold their weddings in exotic locations such as Bali.
Meanwhile the Tourism Authority of Thailand said that notwithstanding the recent issues in the country, tourist inflows had shot up 31 per cent year on year to 17.5 million in the first six months of 2015, generating revenue of more than US$23 billion (Bt829 billion). TAT deputy governor for marketing Sugree Sithivanich added that Indian tourists were among the major revenue generators.
Tourism Malaysia deputy director-general Azizan Noordin announced that special tourist packages had been developed to boost traffic from India during the Malaysian Year of Festivals. In addition, special packages had been developed to coincide with the Malaysia year-end sale from November 14 to January 3.
India is a significant contributor to Malaysian tourism, he added. In fact, it was the No 6 tourist market. Last year, more than 770,108 Indian visitors flocked to Malaysia, up 18 per cent over 2013. Shopping, leisure and luxury holidays were being promoted to woo Indians.
As far as China was concerned, it was also making a bid to boost traffic from India, with the country already receiving more than 710,000 Indian tourists in 2014, up by 5 per cent from 2013. In the first six months of the current year, the tourist traffic from India to mainland China, according to Li Qianguo, director of the China National Tourist Office in New Delhi, touched the 410,000 mark, up by 4.2 per cent over the corresponding period last year.
He said the trend was very encouraging and the tourism links between the two countries were continuously strengthening.
The Chinese National Tourism Office is promoting China as an attractive destination in such Indian cities as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune, Amritsar and Ludhiana.
Besides, 2015 is the “Visit India” year in China. It was launched in February in Beijing. Next year, India has to reciprocate with a “Visit China” campaign. Under the programme, the two sides carry out a series of promotional activities to boost two-way tourist traffic and people-to-people contact.
Source: The Nation
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