New global tourism campaign for Singapore to bring more visitors

With visitor numbers in the decline Singapore has cause to worry and has set updated tourism campaigns to present a better tourism picture for lucrative tourists. The global marketing campaign will be launched in June, which will mark Singapore’s Golden Jubilee.

Visitation to Singapore has fallen by 7.4 percent since last year according to the readings taken in March which registered 1.2 million visitors coming to the city.

To draw more tourists from its largest source markets China and India and also with intentions of wooing more global tourists, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is investing about S$20 million in the campaign to provide tourists with the best of Singapore experience. The city has been observing a consistent fall with visitors decreasing by 6.1 per cent to 3.64 million in the first quarter of the year.

There has been some positive growth from new markets like South Korea and UK.  China and India continue to be top markets for Singapore. The city has suffered losses in the number of visitors but has seen a gain in the length of stay from visitors in the first quarter of the year.

STB will team up with airlines, hotel, retail and F&B partners for promotions and special deals to attract tourists and making staying in Singapore convenient and attractive for tourist.

Experts however feel that Singapore should change its focus from just promoting the city to promoting the entire ASEAN. That would help Singapore gain more visitors.

This year 2015 is expected to be a challenging year for the Singapore tourism feels the STB. Visitor arrival and receipts will increase only by 0 and 3 percent and 0 to 2 per cent respectively.

Thai tourism on upswing

BANGKOK :Kasikorn Research Centre estimates international tourist arrivals will reach 6.20 million during April to June this year an increase of 21.6% over the same period last year.

The bank’s think-tank unit said tourism was one of the few engines functioning well enough to drive the Thai economy during the first quarter of this year.

Inbound tourism has been on an upswing since the last quarter of 2014 and this trend has continued into Q1 this year. Foreign tourist arrivals have surged 23.5% to reach 7.88 million, in contrast to a 9.0% drop during the first quarter of last year.

“The low season for Thai tourism starts in the second quarter and lasts until the third; then more visitors arrive during the fourth quarter when the high season begins,” the bank stated.

inside no 3Songkhran was a massive driver that caused a big increase in tourism to the country and the positive benefits continue the bank noted.

To keep the momentum going, other activities are being staged, including the annual ‘Thailand Great Grand Sale’ that offers substantial shopping discounts at shopping malls across the country.

The Q2 tourism outlook is looking bright, thanks to short-haul tourists from Asian states, particularly China, India and ASEAN, who visit Thailand regardless of the season.

Considering the positive tourism climate and other favourable factors, the centre projects tourist arrivals will reach 6.20 million during Q2, growing 21.6%, as opposed to the 15.9% year-on-year contraction during the same quarter last year.

Kasikorn Research Centre is a subsidiary company of Kasikorn Bank, which conducts tourism and business research mainly on Thailand’s economy including tourism with reliable recommendations and indicators on business prospects.

SOURCE :TTR weekly

AirAsia India set to launch flights from New Delhi

No-frills carrier AirAsia India on Monday announced spreading its wings to the national capital which would serve as its hub for the north India market.

The airline would connect New Delhi with Bengaluru, Guwahati and Goa from May 21, AirAsia India said in a release.

The carrier has offered an all-inclusive fares of as low as Rs 1,500 for the New Delhi-Guwahati sector and Rs 1,700 for the New Delhi-Goa and New Delhi-Bengaluru sectors.

“We are very excited about coming into New Delhi and setting it up as our north region hub. Our entry into New Delhi market is a sign of confidence in our business model and in our performance that we can come into a highly-saturated market and help expand the market by providing connectivity to the undeserved,” AirAsia India chief executive Mittu Chandilya said.

It would be an opportunity AirAsia would have to work hard for, but one where the passengers should be the distinct winners with more choice and lower fares, he said.

The new sectors will allow more people to experience air travel in India, he said, adding “we will continue to build our network throughout India through both our northern and southern hub”.

Online Travel Dominates Tourism Market In India

Smartphones have tangibly changed the way world operated before their arrival. Earlier, when the market operated through Internet connection on personal computers, things were a tad bit slow since that category came from a different class altogether. But today, things are available at a cursory glance, and literally at fingertips. All the best things are happening on the Internet, and guess what they are ensuring—is that consumer is truly the king of the market!

An average Indian earlier travelled within the confines of his country, and those travels were mostly to relatives or to places of religious/spiritual importance. But today, an average Indian is well-travelled, adequately informed about different cultures and has a huge appetite for adventure tourism; no matter what it involves.

A wary traveler today has transformed into an informed traveler, thanks to the Internet. Potential of online travel market is the highest in India, which has broken all barriers, and will continue with its winning spree for more time to come.

Get this. Travel market comprises a total of 71% of e-commerce in India. That means this is the decisive share of market that would change the rules of e-commerce game and its success in the coming days. It is important to note that this business has grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32% between the years 2009 and 2013. Online travel sales that were studied from the beginning of this decade, projected that the sector would grow at a rate of 30% in India. Among all other Asian countries, India is on top of the list of nations that would open its doors to travel and tourism in the online segment.

This is followed by South Korea, with growth projection at 19.8%, and Brazil at 18.2% and China ranking fourth at 14.1%.
Though, India is much behind US and China in terms of numbers, the increased Internet penetration and number of smartphone users on the rise hold some hope for the days to come.

Some of the popular names such as Makemytrip.com, Cleartrip.com, Yatra.com hold more than 85% of the total market share in the sector.

What drove this growth at a lightning speed that has managed to get the domestic and international travel market into its kitty? Some of the predictable and understandable aspects are increased penetration of computers, smartphones and other gadgets that aid the use of technology/Internet. Perhaps, it would be interesting to note that India, of all the other third world countries—despite its rising population, inflation and other challenges—has remained steadfast on economy with no tangible threat.

The most trusted government agencies such as bus and railways have also been riding on this wave, having set up user-friendly online platforms that can help people with both information and travel plans. Aviation industry, despite being in the red for the last few years, is still witnessing a great time with economy holding up.

Private players are leveraging on the trend that indicates high disposable income, reduced age of average travelers, and adventure tourism that is gradually catching up against the conventional travel patterns.

Though medical tourism cannot be considered as a significant part of the travel segment, it does contribute well into the travel and tourism revenues generated by the sector. In fact, it brings two kinds of returns that are significant and substantial since people travelling in this category are usually from upper middle class.

Only if the travel and tourism segment pays adequate attention towards nullifying commission costs on airlines, introduce better perks and tangible benefits, while cutting down on high operating costs, the segment will turn into a huge revenue generating arm for the government’s exchequer.

Sports tourism is another off-shoot of tourism market that is beginning to catch fancy of the Indian middle class. However, as a note of caution, it is important to remember that the sector right now, that is exclusive for online presence of travel and tourism, is highly fragmented and distributed unevenly in only urban areas.

If the technology can get into tier-II cities and get down further into untapped markets, it can sure reap heavy benefits from sections of the society that have remained untouched so far.

source : business insider

IIFA AWARDS 2015 to be held in the Malaysian capital in June

KUALA LUMPUR: A gala screening of Zoya Akhtar’s “Dil Dhadakne Do”, power-packed performances and three days of true blue Bollywood fever — the 16th edition of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend and Awards, to be held in the Malaysian capital in June, will bring all this and more.

The enthusiasm and interest in the mega event was palpable when Hindi film actors Anil Kapoor and Bipasha Basu arrived here on Thursday to officially announce Kuala Lumpur as the host city for the IIFA celebrations, scheduled for June 5-7.

The city is gearing up — as Sabbas Joseph, director, Wizcraft International Entertainment, the organisers of IIFA, quipped — “The Petronas Towers simply need an ‘FA’ to complete the acronym in the city’s skyline.

Excited to be in Kuala Lumpur, Anil, whom Joseph addressed as ‘Mr. IIFA’ courtesy his longstanding and close association with the event, is hoping that the forthcoming edition contributes to tourism from India here doubling in the year to come.

Anil, who plays a pivotal role in the ensemble cast of “Dil Dhadakne Do”, is confident that the audience will enjoy the movie, which will be screened here just a day after its release.

“It’s a film which we have enjoyed making, and we are sure you all will enjoy it,” said the actor, who came into prominence globally when he starred as a quizmaster in Oscar-winning Hollywood film “Slumdog Millionaire”.

The film’s cast — Anil, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar — apart, the 16th IIFA Weekend will have Bipasha, Ayushmann Khurrana, Dia Mirza, Boney Kapoor, Sridevi, Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Alia Bhatt, Shahid Kapoor, Fawad Khan, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Jacqueline Fernandez and Sonakshi Sinha.

Joseph says “this is just the first confirmed list”. “We have held back some names, but we will be revealing them soon. We are expecting about 50-60 celebrities from the Indian film industry to be here,” he told IANS.

Bipasha, looking graceful in a gown, recollected how she had won a Best Debutante Award at IIFA the first time it had happened in Malaysia — at Genting Highlands — in 2002. Now after 13 years, the event is returning to the culturally diverse country.

Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau CEO Zulkefli Hj Sharif is confident IIFA will draw several tourists to Kuala Lumpur in June, and says they are working hard with the event organisers to put up a sparkling show.

The fact that it complements their initiatives to boost tourist arrivals during what is being celebrated as Malaysia Year of Festivals celebration, is a win-win situation for them.

IIFA celebrates the magic of Indian cinema in international territories. The aim is to establish mutual benefits for both India as well as the host destinations by boosting tourism, economic development, trade, culture, cross-border investments and film co-productions.

Every year, the show travels to a new destination, taking the film fraternity with it to amalgamate and celebrate the best of both cultures.

Tour and travel agencies unable to do business over the last three days

KUALA LUMPUR: The tour and travel industry is upset with the implementation of the GST because they say they are getting contradictory comments from the Customs Departments and some issues they had raised are still pending until now.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Hamzah Rahmat said the travel industry was unique and complex with different components and many parties involved.

“Don’t get me wrong. We are in favour of the GST but right now we are getting contradictory comments from the airlines, from our suppliers so everyone is at a loss. The Customs Department tells the airlines one thing and the travel industry something else,” he said, adding that his phone was ringing non-stop as travel agencies seek answers and clarity but there are none to give.

He said this was badly affecting the travel industry with most agencies unable to do business over the last three days because they were busy looking into the GST problems.

He said amid the confusion, one foreign airline had started charging the 6% GST for international flights which are not liable for GST.

Only domestic flights are liable for the GST but it is levied on the airport tax charged for the passenger.

He said the Customs Department should implement the GST sectorally so that they can properly understand the issues and complexities of each industry adding that MATTA’a last engagement with the Customs Department was two weeks ago where they received some answers.

“But they couldn’t answer all our questions because they have to study the whole things all over again because it is not straightforward when it comes to the documentation aspect, so none of the software is 100% GST compliant for the industry because of the updates.

“The Government should have given us leeway of three months. If the Customs doesn’t listen to the industry, they’ll get ‘rubbish reporting’ at the end of the day,” he said.

Japan Airlines accounts supervisor Adrian Cho had gone several times to the GST headquarters for answers on some peculiarities.

He said the airlines needed to collect GST for the airport tax on behalf of Malaysia Airports Bhd “but we are collecting it on behalf of somebody and it is not our revenue. Do we have to report it?”

“The airline industry is quite unique and there are a lot of grey areas including pre-paid tickets bought before April,” he said.

“We are selling tickets everyday. What if we’re not charging the customer correctly? Will we be fined?” he asked, saying Customs should have implemented the GST sector by sector so that problems could be sorted out promptly.

source: the star

Martial law lifted in Thailand

Martial law lifted in Thailand

Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha

On May 22, 2014 the Thai military took control of the government. Martial law has been in place across Thailand until April 1, 2015 when it was lifted, except for the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, the Sadao district of Songkhla province and some border areas which are not known and visited by British & Irish tourists.

Article 44 of the interim constitution continues to give General Prayuth Chan-o-cha, current acting Prime Minister and head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), wide powers to take action to enforce law and order, and restrictions remain on freedom of assembly and expression. This will continue to discourage demonstrations which, before Marital Law, had taken place on varying scales in Bangkok and other cities.

Martial Law has had little affect on travel and tourism over the past 10 months with all businesses, facilities and attractions in the industry continuing with business as usual. For some travellers, travel insurance may have been invalid depending on their providers policy, but the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) assisted with this and launched ‘Thailand Travel Shield’ to provide visiting tourists with valid travel insurance options.

The removal of Martial Law this month is a positive step and does not impact on tourists planning a visit to Thailand in 2015. They should continue with their travel plans as normal, all tourist resorts are ready to welcome visitors.

Since Martial Law was imposed, British and Irish tourist arrivals have remained consistently good and we are pleased to report growth year on year in 2014 for British arrivals (0.4%) despite a challenging year and a particularly positive start for the Irish market in January 2015 (+2.21%).