ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Asean bid to draw tourists from India
An economic surge in the growing tribe of the educated middle class in India has turned the spotlight on more outbound travel to Asian destinations which are nearer home and are as exciting as those in the west.
Asean countries, including Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and China, are making a determined bid to woo and boost tourist traffic from India with focus on adventure, weddings, honeymoon, health and wellness, family and single woman travel.
In fact, as a first step, Indonesia in particular 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 traveler who wants to try everything including cuisine of different flavors and countries.
In keeping with this objective, tourism boards and authorities from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, made detailed presentations at the Pacific Asia Travel Association Mart 2015 here on the concluding day of the three-day event.
Over 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 also decided to hold the 39th PATA Travel Mart at Jakarta from 7 to 9 September next year. Before this. Thailand would host the PATA Adventure Travel; and Responsible Tourism conference and Mart 2016. The three day event in Thailand will begin from February 17 next year at Chiang rai with the theme being “Creating Experiences, Sharing Opportunities.”
Indonesian deputy minister of tourism, Igde Patana, explained that Jakarta had been chosen for the PATA travel mart 2016 considering the huge potential for tourism that the archipelago of nearly 13,000 islands present with 150 international standard golf courses in addition to the ethnic diversity of the country and its cuisine.
A Yahya, tourism minister, said the PATA Travel Mart would help connect the buyers and sellers , giving a major boost to tourism in general.
In this context, he said that Indonesia wanted to target nearly ten million tourists this year with the traffic from India alone accounting for about 240,000. The country now hopes to raise this number to over 270,000 , focusing also on further promoting by allowing Indians to celebrate and hold their weddings in the country in exotic locations such as Bali.
Speaking in the same vein, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said notwithstanding the recent issues in the country , tourist inflow into Thailand had shot up to 17.5 million .This figure was realized in the first six months of the calendar year, up 31 per cent over the same period last year besides generating revenue exceeding $23 billion. Deputy governor for marketing , TAT, S Sithivanich added that Indians were among the major revenue generators in terms of tourist traffic.
Malaysia’s deputy director general , tourism, Datu H Azizan Noordin, announced that special tourist packages had been developed to boost traffic from India even during the Malaysian Year of Festivals. In addition, special packages had been developed to coincide with the Malaysia year end sale from Nov 14, 2015 to Jan 3, 2016.
India was a significant contributor to Malaysian tourism, he added. In fact, it was the sixth top tourist market .Last year, over 770, 108 Indian visitors flocked to Malaysia, up 18 per cent over 2013.Apart from shopping,leisure and luxury holidays too were being promoted to woo Indians.
For the record, Malaysia received 27 million tourists , up 6.7 per cent last year. This number is expected to go up to 29.4 million soon. .
As far as China was concerned, it was also making a bid to boost traffic from India with the country already receiving over 710,000 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, China National Tourist Office, New Delhi, touched the 410,000 mark, up by 4.2 per cent over the corresponding period last year.
He told The Statesman that the trend was very encouraging and the tourism links between the two countries were continuously strengthening. The tourist traffic between the two countries was expected to grow further because of the arrangements like the "Yunnan province and West Bengal" have forged recently for example, Li Yan, deputy chief cooperation and exhibition division said.
The Chinese National Tourism Office is promoting China as an attractive destination in metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, not to forget Pune, Amritsar and Ludhiana.
Besides, 2015 is the "Visit India" year in China. It was launched in February this year in Beijing. In 2016, India has to reciprocate with "Visit China" campaign. Under the program, the two sides would carry out a series of promotional activities to boost two-way tourist traffic and people to people contact..
Travel and tourism are expected to work as a significant bridge between the two countries to boost friendship and cooperation, sources said.
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