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Tourism Boards report increased arrivals from India in 2014, upbeat about 2015
05 Jan 2015

2014 was a good year for tourism, especially for Indian outbound travelers who found themselves pampered by various tourism boards. Tourism Boards have geared up to leverage the opportunities presented by Indian market and grab a bigger share in the pie. There are now exclusive campaigns, marketing initiatives and events being planned to attract Indian tourists.

India Tourism Review talked to the official spokesperson of some destinations to know about their experience in the bygone year and expectations from 2015.

Australia:

Story so far: For the year ended (YE) September 2014, Tourism Australia witnessed record arrivals from the Indian market, and saw the highest growth in tourist arrivals over the past six years. There were 14,200 visitors from India during September 2014, bringing the total for the nine months to September to 140,440, an increase of 17.6 per cent relative to the same period previous year. Leisure arrivals during this period increased by 23 per cent. 

This makes India the 10th largest inbound market for arrivals as at YE September 2014. 

 Target set for 2015: The Tourism Forecasting Committee (TFC) is forecasting190,000 visitors from India for 2014-15, a 6.4% increase over 2013-14.  With the upcoming media activities and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 opportunity, we aim to achieve over 200,000 arrivals during 2015. 

Arrivals from India are expected to perform well with an average annual financial year growth rate of 7.2 per cent through to the financial year 2021-22. 

Planned Events: To leverage the attention and viewership that these sporting events are slated to receive in India, Tourism Australia has planned a robust integrated media campaign, to increase visibility for the country as a tourism destination.

Some key initiatives planned by Tourism Australia during the first quarter of 2015 are: Content Integration with Star Sports, Advocacy by Harsha Bhogle, Media FAMs, Business Events familiarisation, Travel trade familiarization, Partnerships with key airline & trade partners etc. 

Select representatives of corporate companies with a potential to host large scale Business Events in to Australia will be invited on an exclusive itinerary, in association with Business Events Sydney, to showcase the destination, and watch the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup at the hallowed Sydney Cricket Ground. 

Senior management of leisure travel companies will also be hosted, in association with Tourism Victoria, to experience the destination and the lifetime opportunity to watch the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 finals at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, to encourage them to step up their sales of Australian holidays. 

Planned Campaigns: Tourism Australia will leverage its marketing campaign ‘There’s Nothing like Australia’ with a strong focus on exceptional food and wine experiences. The 'Restaurant Australia' campaign featuring dining experiences against spectacular locations, will be continued with a strong tactical focus on media vehicles including television, print, out-of-home and digital platforms, to coincide with the planning periods for Indian summer holidays. 

Roadmap: We’ll continue to build our partnerships with our key aviation and distribution partners, as well as drive advocacy through our Public Relations initiatives and our International Media Hosting Program. 

Destinations to watch out for: There is rising trend of Indian travelers opting for non-traditional destinations like Hamilton Island, Hayman Island, Kangaroo Island, Ayers Rock, Perth & Surrounds, and Tasmania. We have also seen a growing interest for culinary and sports tourism.

Another interesting trend is the increase in preference for self-drive holidays that allows flexibility and ease of travel. We have also seen a growth in the number of travelers opting to move beyond city experiences and venturing into the surrounds which offer a variety of experiences including winery visits, nature and water based activities amongst others. 

While Indian travelers are extremely value-conscious, they do not mind splurging on travel experiences that are of top quality and unique. Australia has a beautiful array of luxury lodges ranging from wilderness lodges to vineyard retreats and dining destinations; island hideaways to luxe outback camps that display high levels of innovation and quality. These products are highly demanded by the Indian traveler who love to pamper themselves in ultra-luxe and niche experiences.

Mauritius:

Story so far: 2014 was a great year for us, as the footfalls from India were far more than last year and we are on track to achieve the targeted growth.  Mauritius, which was already famous as a Honeymoon destination has now become a preferred destination for Weddings and MICE. The MICE movement increased and we saw about 10 Indian Weddings in Mauritius.

As part of the marketing initiatives, MTPA (India) has actively taken part in Trade Fairs like IITM 2014, Holiday Expo, Wedding and MICE Fairs like Celebrating Vivaha, Wedding Asia, MILT and MTM. MTPA has successfully conducted Trade Presentations & Seminars in all major cities to increase the visibility of Mauritius to the trade partners and are regularly updating them with relevant information through e-mailers and Facebook updates. It also conducted 4-city Roadshow, a B2B event with participation by 25 stakeholders from Mauritius including Hotels, DMCs and Activity companies. ​We hosted familiarization trips for Wedding Planners, Travel agents and media to give them a first-hand experience of the destination. 

MTPA India also has been one of the sponsors of some Golf Tournaments and Asia Spa Awards to position Mauritius as a Golf and wellness destination.  

We also organised Food festivals to promote the unique gastronomical offerings of the island. Mauritius has also bagged the Best All-Season International Destination award instituted by Today’s Traveller Magazine.

Planned Campaigns: Our branding - Discover Mauritius has a lot of experiences to offer such as Discover Luxury, Discover Adventure, Discover Romance and Discover Heritage. In 2015 we will focus on luxury travel and MICE, which includes destination weddings. We will also undertake activities to increase awareness amongst travel agents and consumers.

We shall announce the marketing plans, which are likely to be finalized early this year.

Planned Event: We will focus on activities which will drive up consumer demand of Mauritius and engage more with agencies to increase the knowledge of the destination. In 2015, MTPA will participate in SATTE to increase the visibility of Mauritius to Travel Trade. We will continue promoting Mauritius as a MICE, Wedding, Adventure, and Luxury destination.

USA: 

Story so far: The year 2014 has been a good year for us. We have already witnessed encouraging figures so far. As per the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 2013 India was the 11th largest inbound tourism market for the U.S. with 859,000 arrivals, an increase of 18.6% over the previous year. From January to August 2014, 702,031 Indians traveled to the U.S., an increase of 10.5% over the same period last year.  Our projection for the year 2014 is 962,000 arrivals which is an increase of 12% over 2013. 

Awareness: We have organized a series of educational programs, “DiscoverAmerica” in major Indian metropolitan and second tier cities which was attended by over 1000 travel agents. These educational programs are a great platform to provide a holistic view of this exciting destination and enable travel agents to understand the diversity of the country and effectively market holidays to the U.S. 

Annual India Mission: Our annual India Mission has grown rapidly over many years which shows the levels of interest amongst U.S. tourism stakeholders in the Indian market. In 2014, Brand USA in its third year witnessed the participation of 41 representatives from 30 U.S. companies. The India Travel Mission extended its reach this year by including Bengaluru in the program besides the major metro cities of Mumbai and New Delhi. Over 800 travel agents attended the third India Mission. 

Important Visits: We also welcomed our President & CEO Christopher Thompson who was on his maiden visit to India.  His visit reinforced the importance of the growing Indian outbound travel market to the USA.  

Also, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley visited India and introduced the state and its destinations in Indian market. 

Culinary guide: We also unveiled our culinary guide, “Discover America: Great American Food Stories” aimed at promoting gastro-tourism in the USA and showcasing the U.S. as a top culinary destination for world travelers. It brings together some of the best-known American chefs and showcases the culinary highlights of each region of the country. 

Campaigns: We have launched a couple of new initiatives specifically for the Indian market. We launched the highly successful USA Discovery Program for Indian travel agents - an online training program in September 2014. Till date over 500 Indian travel agents have completed this program and over 700 have registered. The program is hosted at www.usadiscoveryprogram.in. The program is a great online resource that presents detailed information about destinations, attractions and experiences in the United States through a series of training modules. 

Roadmap: Our major focus is to continue educating and updating the travel trade on various products, destination information, attractions and experiences in the United States.

New Zealand:

Story so far: As of year ending October 2014, 36,144 Indian arrivals in 2014 out of which 17,248 were holiday arrivals. Hence we have witnessed a 19.1% rise in total Indian arrivals and 20.2% rise in holiday arrivals. 

The cricket tournament ‘India tour of New Zealand 2014’, helped the destination to gain a lot of attention from Indian travellers, which gave a great start to the year. The tournament became a launch-pad for all cricket related activities that we had planned for the year. In addition to this David Craig and Stephen Fleming’s India visit to highlight the host cities from New Zealand for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 gave the destination additional limelight among Indian travellers. 

Kiwi Link India 2014 that took place in Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi helped us strengthen our engagement with the Indian travel trade. This was the biggest ever Kiwi Link that we have hosted in the Indian market and we witnessed more than 500 participants across cities. 

We also announced multiple airline partnerships for the Indian market with Thai Airways and Malaysia Airlines. 

Target set for 2015: New Zealand will be co-hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 across seven regions and India is one of our core target markets. We are expecting a hike in Indian arrivals during the event. Travellers visiting New Zealand will be able to experience the world famous Kiwi hospitality at every corner of the country. 

As India’s outbound tourism is experiencing a rise in business travellers, MICE will be another focus area for us in 2015. We have already hosted many Indian incentive groups in 2014 and aim to build our profile in the sector and look forward to hosting more Indian incentive groups in New Zealand in 2015.  

South Africa:

Story so far: According to the latest arrival statistics report, the first three months of 2014 welcomed 24,556 Indian travelers to South Africa.

We saw a good mix of luxury travelers, adventure seekers, wildlife watchers, budget travelers and MICE tourists visiting South Africa year-on-year. 

Challenges: This year we had a few challenges but we streamlined and fast tracked our visa process. 

Planned Campaigns: The winners of our biggest consumer outreach initiative, Take Me To South Africa with Jonty Rhodes have just returned from South Africa after an exciting two weeks in the country with our Brand Ambassador as their personal guide and host. The journey of these four winners will be showcased on Discovery and TLC next year highlighting varied, fun-filled, adrenaline pumping adventures and experiential holiday offerings available in South Africa for Indian travelers.

Our OOH and television campaign is also in the pipeline, more details of which will be revealed closer to the launch.

Planned Event: South African Tourism’s annual roadshow will be back in 2015 and will travel across four cities in India. Starting from Mumbai on 2nd February 2015, we travel to Ahmedabad on 4th February, Bangalore on the 5th before concluding in New Delhi on the 6th of February. The roadshow is going to be bigger and better this year with a lot of new South African suppliers participating at the multi-city event.

Roadmap: We are investing heavily in the Indian market to popularize South Africa and we have been constantly adapting to the changing consumer interests.

South Africa aims to become one of the world’s top 20 tourism destinations by 2020 and the tourism board is determined to increase the number of global foreign tourist arrivals to 15 million by 2020. We have identified our core markets, investment markets and tactical markets across the world and we plan to effectively deliver the destination marketing message, with a wider reach than ever before.   

Destinations to watch out for: The best-selling South African provinces in India have always been Gauteng (Johannesburg), the Western Cape (Cape Town and the Garden Route) and KwaZulu Natala (Durban) but we would love to see Indian tourists exploring lesser-known regions on the Wild Coast, small quaint towns on the Garden Route and hide-away on the Drakensberg Midlands Meander.

Indonesia: 

Story so far: 2014 has been a very good year for us. We witnessed an upward trend in terms of tourist arrivals from India to Indonesia. Till date we witnessed a growth of over 15% as compared to last year. Indian travelers to Indonesia mainly come for Leisure and Meetings, Incentives, Conferences/Conventions, Exhibitions (MICE)

Indonesia has received great response from travel agents as a result of training programs which were also conducted in primary and secondary cities to give in-depth information. 

On the destination and the tourism products front, we managed to position Indonesia as an affordable luxury destination to the target segments. We have been very active in our trade activities and support from our trade partners has helped us achieve our success.

The achievement has been that places beyond Bali are also popular now such as Bintan, Batam, Bandung, Lombok, and Yogyakarta. 

Challenges:  The challenge has been that the destination is perceived to be expensive destination due to no direct air connectivity. 

Planned Campaigns:  There are a few things in the pipeline. We are still working on them.

Planned Event: Our focus will remain to undertake activities which will result in destination awareness among travel agents covering various aspects. We plan to organize travel agents seminar in multiple cities. Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Indonesia will also plan multi city roadshows to educate travel trade partners. Some consumer driven activities are also planned.

Roadmap: The focus will continue to be on the leisure and MICE segment; more focus will be given to leisure travelers and on showcasing Indonesia as an ideal destination for weddings.

Destinations to watch out for:  Primarily our focus in 2015 will be on destinations beyond Bali and new activities to excite the visitors.

Korea:

Story so far: In the year 2014, Korea has received 129,500 Indian travellers till October. Korea Tourism Organization expects a record number of Indian tourist arrivals in 2014.. Comparing it with the year 2013, we foresee growth of approximately 18 %. 

In the year 2014, we organised 5 roadshows, participated in trade exhibitions, organised FAM Trips for Media & Travel Agents and launched many packages with the potential Travel Agents in India. 

To educate Indian Travellers we run massive Media campaign and online activities through our Korea Tourism Organization India Facebook page. 

To woo the Bollywood and Tollywood Industry, we participated in International Film Bazaar during International Film Festival in Goa.  We met many Indian Producers and Directors during International Film Bazaar and we are very confident that there will be Bollywood Film Shooting in Korea next year.  

Target set for 2015: Korea Tourism Organization is aiming for higher growth in terms of Indian travellers arrivals from India. We are hoping to start with big movement from Indian families, Honeymooners, young groups, FITs and MICE in 2015 and we are targeting 25% growth to cross 181000 in the year 2015. 

Destinations to watch out for: Our focus is to promote Gangwon-do &Gyeonggi Province during the first quarter as both places offer beautiful world famous skiing resorts. We have launched packages for families and honeymooners& adventure tourists with TUI, Thomas Cook and Ezeego. Tourists can enjoy not only skiing but also take pleasure in a variety of ski – related facilities such as Gondola, Snow Sculpture Village, Snow Sled and snow activities.

Another destination we will be promoting is Mt Hallasan which is home to a variety of flora and fauna in Jeju Island. We have launched the package for Mt. Hallasan Festival, held during December and January, along with other attraction in Jeju Island with Mercury Travels 

And, for rest of the year we will be bringing attractive packages combining Seoul, Jeju Island and Busan. 

Planned Campaign: This year we will be launching stopover packages for Indians travelling by Korean Carriers, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines. Also, we will be launching many packages with other tourism boards and Indirect Airlines combining Seoul, Busan and Jeju Island. 

France:

Story so far: Figures for 2013 indicate that France welcomed an estimated 3,49,000 Indian visitors to its shores. We are expecting a reasonable increase in these figures as the summer season has shown good results despite the fact that the season started late due to national elections.

The biometrics suspension has been well received by the travel trade fraternity as was reflected in the making of itineraries for 2014. There has been a staggering 97 % increase in the number of packages programmed for France and a 77 % increase in the number of bed-nights allotted to our destination.

Embassy driven initiatives also include the launch of a travel application Chalo Paris which has been specially created keeping in mind the needs and requirements of the Indian traveller. Available for smart-phones, this application provides useful information on subjects such as tourist attractions, entertainment, shopping, eating out besides others

Target set for 2015: We are targeting an annual increase of 5-10 % Indian arrivals for the coming year. 2015 seems to be a promising year with a lot of positive developments slated to take place. Effective 1st January 2015, visas shall be issued within 48 hours which should inspire more of our Indian guests to plan a French holiday.  

Planned Campaign: We will continue promoting our current campaign, "Be There! Do That!" that focuses on experiential travel for the next year. Through this powerful slogan, we shall essay to  introduce new ideas and concepts inspiring more Indians to plan an experience-oriented French sojourn.

Planned Events: We shall welcome a delegation of suppliers from the Champagne-Ardenne region who are showing a keen interest in this market. The region has been very active on this market since the past few years and have partnered with us on both B2C and B2B activities.

In addition to Champagne, we will look at establishing partnerships with other regions such as the Midi-Pyrenees who has also made a foray into the market and whose association with the movie - The Hundred Foot Journey has created an aspiration for a holiday in this picturesque region.

We are also looking at promoting our regions through campaigns and activities. A potential partnership with a famous French brand may result in a promotion of Provence, whereas the Riviera will be in the spotlight thanks to collaboration with the perfume brand All Good Scents. This project is based around an online contest and a lucky winner stands to win a trip for two to Paris, Nice and Grasse.

An ambitious event Goût de / Good France will celebrate French gastronomy in various locations worldwide on March 19, 2015. A total of 1000 chefs on all five continents are expected to join the event on the eve of spring. Dinners served simultaneously in participating restaurants will honour the merits of French cuisine, its capacity for innovation, and its values: sharing, enjoying, and respecting the principles of high-quality, environmentally responsible cuisine. Countries have been allotted a quota of 20 restaurants. The project has been enthusiastically received in India with 26 restaurants already registered to be a part of this project.

Roadmap: In addition to promoting different facets of France, we are very keen on promoting France's appeal as a family, MICE and a wedding /events destination with the eventual objective of increasing the influx of Indian tourists to our shores.  

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