New Member – Saravanna Bhavan

sarvanabhavanWorld’s number one Indian vegetarian restaurant chain now have several branches in Sydney and Melbourne. They proudly serve irresistible vegetarian food created under extremely hygienic condition with choicest ingredients.

They will be an ideal choice for tourists from India who with preference for vegetarian Indian cuisine as well as for local Aussies keen on a shift from typical butter chicken and lamb rogan josh. For more information on Saravanna Bhavan check

Popular hotel for Indian origin Aussie tourists in Singapore

singaporehotelLocated in the heart of Little India quarter in Singapore the PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road – a member of the Pan Pacific Hotels Group – is a landmark hotel with a unique locale, ideal for both corporate and leisure guests alike. Unveiling a full transformation in 2020, the family-friendly hotel boasts 542 spacious guestrooms and suites, alongside enhanced MICE facilities and natural day-light function rooms, integrating technology and sustainability for an elevated hospitality experience.

It’s a popular staying place for tourists from India and for some Aussies of  Indian origin who finds it nostalgic when walking along the Serangoon Road lines with saree stores, jewellery shops, temples and mosques and several curry houses.

singporefood While Spice Brasserie, the hotels all-day-dining restaurant serve a tempting selection of Asian food including many Indian delicacies from southern and northern India, Si Chuan Dou Hua is a pioneer of Sichuan cuisine. The hotel is ideal for shopaholics as it stands next to the 24 hours open Mustafa Shopping Centre where it’s possible to find everything that human mind can think of.

Singapore Airlines cutting 96% capacity because of COVID19

singaporeSingapore Airlines which has the largest market share in the Australia – India sector has announced cutting 96% of the capacity that had been originally scheduled up to end-April, given the further tightening of border controls around the world over the last week to stem the Covid-19 outbreak. This will result in the grounding of around 138 SIA and SilkAir aircraft, out of a total fleet of 147, amid the greatest challenge that the SIA Group has faced in its existence.

The Group’s low-cost unit Scoot will also suspend most of its network, resulting in the grounding of 47 of its fleet of 49 aircraft. The SIA Group diversified its network and set up Scoot to spread its risks and cater to a wide range of passenger and market segments. However, without a domestic segment, the Group’s airlines become more vulnerable when international markets increasingly restrict the free movement of people or ban air travel altogether.

It is unclear when the SIA Group can begin to resume normal services, given the uncertainty as to when the stringent border controls will be lifted.

The Hon Barry O’Farrell AO is Australia’s next High Commissioner to India

barryForeign Minister Senator the Hon Marise Payne recently  announced the appointment of The Hon Barry O’Farrell AO as Australia’s next High Commissioner to the Republic of India. He will replace Ms Harinder Sidhu.

Mr O’Farrell will also have non-resident accreditation to Bhutan. Australia and Bhutan enjoy a warm relationship, built on strong people-to-people links and cooperation on international education.

Mr O’Farrell served in the Parliament of New South Wales from 1995 to 2015, including as the State’s 43rd Premier between 2011 and 2014. As Premier, Mr O’Farrell initiated and led annual trade missions to India to promote economic, cultural and social links between New South Wales and the states of India. He has also served as NSW’s Special Envoy for India and has made a significant contribution as the Deputy Chair of the Australia India Council Board.

Mr O’Farrell has a Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University, Canberra. Born in Melbourne, Mr O’Farrell grew up in Darwin. He is married to Rosemary and they have two adult sons.

I thank outgoing High Commissioner Ms Harinder Sidhu for her significant contribution to advancing Australia’s interests in India since 2016.

Ministry of Tourism is promoting India as a holistic destination under the Incredible India brand-line

ministry of tourismMinistry of Tourism undertakes promotional activities in domestic and international markets through its schemes of ‘Domestic Promotion & Publicity including Hospitality (DPPH)’ and Overseas Promotion & Publicity Including Market Development Assistance (OPMD). Under these schemes, Ministry of Tourism promotes India as a holistic destination under the Incredible India brand-line. As part of its on-going activities, the Ministry releases print, electronic, online and outdoor media campaigns in the international and domestic markets, to promote various tourism destinations and different types of tourism including health tourism, adventure tourism, cultural tourism, heritage tourism and wildlife tourism of the country.

The Ministry of Tourism has recognized Medical and Wellness Tourism as Niche Tourism Products and offers various facilities to promote India as a preferred destination as well as facilitate the visit of medical tourists to the country. A National Medical and Wellness Tourism Board has been constituted to provide a dedicated institutional framework to take forward the cause of promotion of Medical and Wellness Tourism including Ayurveda and any other format of Indian system of medicine covered by Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH).

The Ministry of Tourism has recognized Adventure Tourism, as a “Niche” tourism product in order to promote India as a 365 days’ destination and attract tourists with specific interest.  The Ministry has issued guidelines for the approval of Adventure Tour Operators, open to all bona-fide Adventure Tour Operators. A Task Force on Adventure Tourism has been set up to act as a forum for resolving issues related to development and promotion of Adventure Tourism in the country. The Ministry of Tourism has formulated ‘Indian Adventure Tourism Guidelines’ (Version 2.0) on Safety and Quality Norms on Adventure Tourism as Basic Minimum Standards for Adventure Tourism Activities covering 31 verticals involving land, air and water in respect of adventure tourism activities. These Guidelines have been forwarded to the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations for compliance.

The Ministry of Tourism under its schemes of Swadesh Darshan, PRASHAD and Assistance to Central Agencies provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) to State Governments/UTs/Central Agencies for development of tourism infrastructure in the country. Submission of project proposal by the State Government’s/Union Territory Administrations and its sanctioning is a continuous process. The projects under the scheme are identified by the respective State Governments/UTs & then taken up for development in consultation with the State Governments/UTs and are sanctioned subject to availability of funds, submission of suitable Detailed Project Reports, adherence to scheme guidelines and utilization of funds released earlier.

For integrated development of Theme-Based Tourist Circuits in the country, Ministry of Tourism has launched Swadesh Darshan Scheme in 2014-15 with a vision to develop theme based tourist circuits in the country. Since its launch in January 2015, the Ministry as on date has sanctioned 77 projects worth projects for Rs.6035.70 Crores to 30 States and UTs covering the thematic circuits under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.

Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned following two projects under Wildlife Theme Circuit under Swadesh Darshan Scheme: (i) Development of Wildlife Circuit at Panna-Mukundpur-Sanjay-Dubri-Bandhavgarh-Kanha-Mukki-Pench in Madhya Pradesh during 2015-16 & (ii) Development of Manas – Probitora – Nameri – Kaziranga – Dibru – Saikhowa as Wildlife Circuit in Assam during 2015-16.

Since its launch in January 2015 the Ministry has sanctioned 29 projects under PRASHAD Scheme in 18 states with estimated expenditure of Rs. 889.54 crore from FY 2014-15 to FY 2019-20.

Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance for celebration of fairs and festivals to various States and UTs under the relevant guideline. Financial Assistance was provided to State Govts/UT Administrations under this scheme for organising 149 Fairs and Festivals between 2014-15 & 2019-20.

This information was given by the Minister of State (I/c) of Culture and Tourism, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel in a written reply in the Parliament recently.

Australian Tourism Exchange 2020 in Melbourne Cancelled

ATETourism Australia has cancelled its flagship trade event showcase, the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE), due to take place in Melbourne in May.

The decision follow’s earlier announcement by Australia’s Prime Minister and Chief Medical Officer no longer permitting non-essential organised events of more than 100 people, in addition to recently introduced travel restrictions requiring that everyone arriving into Australia must self-isolate for 14 days.

“Whilst the decision to cancel this year’s ATE is obviously deeply disappointing, and a further blow to our industry, the health and welfare of attendees has to be our primary concern,” said Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison.

“We’ve been monitoring the evolving coronavirus situation very closely and our scenario planning has of course included our forthcoming program of trade and industry events.

“We have made the decision to cancel ATE20 due to the situation unfolding globally and the effect it is having on travel.

“We will be providing a full refund of registration fees to all buyer and seller delegates,” Ms Harrison said.

Tourism Australia will continue to review all future events on an ongoing basis.

Corona Virus Update from Tourism Australia

coronaOver the past week, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has continued to escalate throughout Australia and around the world. The Federal, State and Territory Governments have responded by implementing further restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Australia.

All non-essential domestic travel has been advised against and most States and Territories have closed their borders to interstate travel. These measures are constantly under review, so we will continue to update you with new information as it occurs.

For more detail on travel restrictions, please visit the Australian Border Force website, and for more information on health and safety measures, please visit the Department of Health’s website.

The Australian Government has also announced measures to support jobs, businesses and the economy through the crisis. Tourism Australia has created a page on their corporate site to help industry navigate all the various forms of financial support available.

As the situation continues to evolve quickly, with a number of announcements and measures being made to support industry, Tourism Australia has decided to start hosting weekly webinars, with the first one started on Friday 27 March.

Chairman’s Note

chairmenDon’t think, I can begin my note on any other subject other than COVID 19 pandemic – an unprecedented disaster that has brought the world almost to a standstill.

As of 5th April as per World Health Organisation (WHO) data, there has been 1133758 confirmed cases and 63784 deaths globally. These respective numbers in Australia are 5635 and 34 while in India its 3374 and 70.

The numbers testify how grim is the situation affecting in every country all industries including travel and tourism.

Lockdown in many countries, closure of international borders, visa withdrawals, reducing the number of domestic and international flights to the bare minimum, cancellations of all travel in the imminent future – this leading to in some cases shutting down of airlines, hotels and tour operators – tells how badly tourism is getting affected. All major tourism trade events in the near future are cancelled, this includes ITB Berlin. ATE2020 in Melbourne and GITB in Jaipur. Even the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for July has been postponed by 12 months.

During these unfavourable circumstances, as a travel and tourism expert I am being regularly asked “Shall we be able to travel again?”

“Yes of course”, I say knowing travel is an essential urge in humans since time immemorial.

What I am not sure is the timing of when the situation will normalise, so until that happens let’s think and plan on how to regain the lost regime. Tourism Australia is taking the breathing space afforded by this downturn to look at a possible revamp of its marketing of business events. While speaking at the first of a series of weekly industry webinars being convened Phillipa Harrison, Managing Director Tourism Australia said as flight networks start up again, Australia is one of the key destinations included in the plans of resurgent carriers.

As a result of forced isolation, many innovative ideas are coming out to keep the industry energized and connected like regular webinar sessions from industry bodies, virtual fam trips for travel agents, tour operators and media and flooding social media with photos of exotic sites to keep people hoping to be there one day.

In this context I have a request to producers of television travel  shows and publishers of all travel related print and digital publications around the world. Please don’t discontinue travel shows on television and don’t stop publishing travel pages as because travel is restricted now. In today’s difficult times, possibly these footage or pages can create a sense of hope – can energise the reader’s mind, bring positives in their thoughts and at times provide a route to escape from reality as it’s needed also to survive.

Early March I was in India for work and while there had a meeting with Andrew Ford, the Consul General of Australia at the newly opened Consulate in Kolkata. We have agreed to work on opportunities to make Australia more known in the nation’s eastern zone and to see growth in numbers of leisure tourists travelling to down under.







En-route to India I stopped over in Singapore and had a meeting with G.D Bairwa Assistant Director India Tourism and responsible for Australia market. We discussed avenues of how AITTC can effectively work on initiatives in partnership with India Tourism to increased tourism traffic from this part of the world.

Sandip Hor