INDIA GETS TWO NEW WORLD HERITAGE SITES

heritage

UNESCO recently included Dholavira, the Harappan City in the Rann of Kutch,Gujarat in their prestigious World Heritage list. It’s one of the very few well preserved urban settlements in South Asia dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE.

Being the 6th largest of more than 1,000 Harappan sites discovered so far, and occupied for over 1,500 years, Dholavira not only witnesses the entire trajectory of the rise and fall of this early civilization of humankind, but also demonstrates its multifaceted achievements in terms of urban planning, construction techniques, water management, social governance and development, art, manufacturing, trading, and belief system.

heritage2UNESCO also conferred the World Heritage inscription to Rudreswara Temple, (also known as the Ramappa Temple) at Palampet, Mulugu district, near Warangal in the state of Telangana.

The temple was constructed in 1213 AD during the reign of the Kakatiya Empire by Recharla Rudra, a general of Kakatiya king Ganapati Deva. The presiding deity here is Ramalingeswara Swamy. The sculptural art and decoration specific to the time and Kakatiyan Empire have an outstanding universal value. European merchants and travellers were mesmerized by the beauty of the temple and one such traveller had remarked that the temple was the “brightest star in the galaxy of medieval temples of the Deccan”.
India now has 40 world heritage properties overall, which includes 32 cultural, 7 natural and one mixed property.

NEW DATES FOR VIVID SYDNEY

vividsydneyDue to the surge of Covid 19 cases in Sydney Vivid Sydney has been rescheduled now from 17 September to 9 October 2021 in the interest of community health and safety.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said NSW must work together to contain the current outbreak to allow the State to stride into recovery.

“We all want to see Sydney shine through the spectacular show of creativity and innovation that is Vivid Sydney in September and October this year,” Mr Ayres said.

“The recent outbreak has presented a new challenge for everyone, and the health and safety of our citizens and entire event community involved in Vivid Sydney is our foremost concern.

“Destination NSW will continue to work with NSW Health and other agencies to deliver a COVID-safe Vivid Sydney later this year, with support from our event partners, artists, sponsors, and suppliers.

“Vivid Sydney will only proceed if it’s safe to do so.”

Full details of the revised Vivid Sydney 2021 program will be available online in the coming weeks as venues and event owners finalise logistics. Ticketholders will be able to transfer their ticket to the new event date or request a refund via the relevant ticket agent.

TRAVEL VACCINATION CERIFICATES FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL FROM AUSTRALIA

vpassportIt’s understood that the Federal Government is planning to roll out a new QR code-based vaccination certificate system by October 2012 based on the Visible Digital Seal technology backed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

This will be aided by a deal Services Australia has reached with Apple and Google to allow digital wallets on both iPhone and Android devices to show Australians’ COVID-19 vaccination records from their MyGov accounts.

Qantas is said to roll out a digital health pass for international flights, which will confirm passengers have clearance to fly. The airline said many countries now required either proof of vaccination or a negative test result in order to enter without undergoing quarantine. These include Britain, the United States and Canada.

A vaccine passport system domestic travel in Australia is also thought about, but industry sources said there was doubt any airline would be able to efficiently implement a domestic system.

The vaccine certificates, which are being developed by Services Australia and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, would also link with a new technology being developed by the Department of Home Affairs called the Digital Passenger Declaration, which will allow for the collection of health information. The government is still trying to work out how to link the three services.

While DFAT is the department that issues passports, it has no legal basis for collecting Australians’ vaccination status under the Australian Passports Act, which may mean the data has to be stored by other agencies such as Services Australia or Home Affairs.

RECOVERY OF TOURISM & HOSPITALITY SECTOR IN INDIA

indian-policyArvind Singh, Secretary, Tourism, Government of India recently stated that the pandemic caused severe setback to the tourism industry and the biggest challenge is to accelerate recovery of the Indian tourism sector. It requires strong collaborations and engagements with the industry as well as with the state governments, he said.

Addressing the virtual plenary session of the ‘2nd Travel, Tourism & Hospitality e-Conclave: Resilience & The Road to Recovery’, organized by FICCI, Singh said that the government is working on various areas and themes for the recovery of the sector- fiscal and regulatory relief measures, confidence-building measures, domestic tourism, opening of international travel, digitalisation of the tourism sector, and a new tourism policy and other sectoral strategies. “Domestic tourism is showing signs of recovery in many parts of the country. Some states have reported an uptake in domestic tourism. Under the Dekho Apna Desh campaign, we are trying to create awareness about and promote unknown tourism destinations, and lesser-known facets of popular destinations. We are working with different states for a uniform policy for all states regarding COVID-19-related travel protocols to lift travel restrictions and to boost domestic travel,” he said.

Speaking on the recovery of international tourism, the Secretary said that the government is working with other ministries for a calibrated opening of international travel. “We are in the process of finalising a media plan for overseas markets, and as and when it opens, we will release our media campaigns. We are also working with Indian missions abroad in promoting inbound tourism. The ministry is planning to appoint market representatives in certain markets,” he added

Further, the Tourism Secretary informed that there have been a lot of proactive steps that have been taken by various state governments. “States like Karnataka and Maharashtra have already given industry status to the hospitality and hotel industry, which gives substantial relief in water and electricity tariffs. Other states have also given some relief depending on their financial resources. The general mood and trend is that the state governments are broadly supportive of the hotel and accommodation industry in this financial year,” he noted.

 

INDIAN GOVERNMENT DRAFTING NATIONAL TOURISM POLICY

indiaRecently read that G Kishan Reddy, Indian Cabinet Minister of Culture, Tourism and Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Govt of India announcing the government’s intention of drafting a new National Tourism Policy in India with all stakeholders urged to participation in its development

Addressing the ‘2nd Travel, Tourism & Hospitality E Conclave – Resilience & The Road to Recovery’, organized virtually by FICCI, the Minister said, “Once we adopt the new policy it will be helpful, particularly for the stakeholders. Through this policy, we will get proper response, investments and support from village gram panchayats to governments.”

The Minister also mentioned a draft strategy for the development of MICE tourism and all stakeholders should come forward and share their opinion. “Stakeholders must also impress upon the state governments to give industry status to tourism as this will greatly help in developing the sector, particularly the infrastructure. To achieve the true potential of tourism, the fundamental requirement is to ensure coordination at every level of the activity. We need to have pro-active approach from every stakeholder including the industry, state government and central government,” he said.

Speaking on the various initiatives taken by the government, Reddy said that the central government plays an important role in developing a strong visitor economy which is evident from the fact that the Ministry of Tourism has also undertaken a slew of initiatives, such as the Incredible India 2.0 campaign focusing on niche tourism products including wellness and adventure tourism, as well as investment into the industry through schemes, such as PRASHAD and Swadesh Darshan along with extension of e-visa to 169 countries, which have proven to be successful in increasing the number of foreign and domestic visitors in India.

Globally, he said, the entire tourism industry is going through the transition phase. “Today, there is a need to focus our energies on not just reviving the sector but making this sector one of the drivers to revive the economy. Digitalization can be the way forward to make tourism sector attractive,” he commented.

AUSTRALIA 365 ON DEMAND

uluruTourism Australia’s new ‘always on’ Australia 365 On Demand virtual event platform was launched recently enabling Australian industry, global distribution partners and Aussie Specialists the opportunity to share, train, update and connect direct throughout the year.

Australia 365 On Demand is a new “always on” platform providing Australian industry, global distribution partners and Aussie Specialists the opportunity to share, train, update and connect throughout the year.

In partnership with State and Territory organisations, Australian tourism industry members have been invited to participate with a featured company or destination listing.

Global distribution partners and Aussie Specialists will be able to search and review all Australian industry company listings including biography information, product updates, brand assets and social media links

The platform will further support Tourism Australia’s efforts to keep global distribution partners focused on Australia, building vital business connections to support recovery.

The platform is now live, accessible via the Trade Resources Hub and Aussie Specialist Program.

TOURISM AUSTRALIA – SPOTLIGHT ON INDIA

nishantRecently Nishant Kashikar, Tourism Australia’s Country Manager for India has provided an informative situational update on India.

According to his report life is starting to get back to normal in India, with the number of COVID-19 cases rapidly reducing, following a massive surge during the second wave between April to June 2021.

Vaccination efforts have significantly ramped up with over 450 million Indian people already receiving the first vaccine dose and over 100 million who are fully inoculated. Over 90 per cent of India’s adult population is expected to be fully vaccinated by the end of this calendar year.

Signifying the importance of the Indian outbound travel market, several key competitors including Switzerland, France, Germany, South Africa, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Iceland and The Maldives have opened their borders for fully vaccinated Indian travellers, without the need to quarantine or provide any COVID test report on arrival.

India has also established air travel bubbles with over 27 countries including USA, UK, Canada, Holland, Japan, Seychelles, Kenya and The UAE with relevant safety protocols, which has resulted in visiting, friends and family, business and student traffic to these countries.

There is rising optimism amongst Indian travel trade who have seen an increase in enquiries and bookings, not just for domestic holidays and staycations, but also for international trips to countries that have opened their doors to fully vaccinated Indian travellers.

Most National Tourism Organisations are now investing heavily into their marketing and distribution efforts to gain a larger share of the Indian outbound travel pie.

Aussie Specialist agents in India are confident of arrivals to Australia bouncing back strongly, provided Aussie borders are opened along with their key competitors.

Kashikar further reports that Australia has maintained its top ranking against competitors and is the most ‘Considered and Intended’ outbound destination amongst the target audience in India. While short-term weakening of this position is obvious as competitors open before Australia, Australia will continue to remain top of mind and inspire high value Indian travellers to visit Australia as soon as the borders open, through various social and content amplification and public relation initiatives.

Tourism Australia is continuing with their efforts on the distribution front and engage with Indian Aussie Specialist Agents through various immersive and experiential workshops aimed at promoting new products and destinations, including the Signature Experiences of Australia collective, preparing theses agents to launch as soon as international travel resumes.

The Australia – India relationship across a number of sectors is at an all-time high and will only strengthen from here on. India is estimated to deliver over a million visitors per annum to Australia and will feature amongst top five inbound markets over the next decade.

India will continue to be amongst the world’s fastest growing economies, with the economic think-tank at the National Council of Applied Economic Research predicting a growth of 8.4 to 10.1 per cent for FY22. The Indian economy will deliver and pay rich dividends in the mid to long term, as it has a young and an aspirational population. Australia continues to enjoy the highest awareness and holidays are now becoming an integral part of the Indian lifestyle.

Tourism Australia continues to develop platforms for the Australian industry to stay engaged, participate in virtual training and trade events, and facilitate the launch of new products, experiences and destinations that would resonate with the new-aged Indian traveller. The Aussie Specialist Program number of qualified agents has increased by 64 per cent since COVID-19 began, showing the strong belief from our agents that Australia will represent a significant opportunity in the post COVID-19 world.

TRANSITION PLAN TO AUSTRALIA’S NATIONAL COVID-19 RESPONSE

trans-planRecently the Australian government has announced a four-phase pathway to transition Australia from its first phase of virus suppression to a fourth phase of life as it was pre-pandemic, with each new phase triggered when Australia hits a threshold of vaccinated people.

The current phase, phase one, is about vaccinating, preparing and planning. The pathway will transition Australia from its current pre-vaccination settings, focusing on suppression of community transmission, to post-vaccination settings “focused on prevention of serious illness, hospitalisation and fatality and the public health management of other infectious diseases”.

Australia will trial and pilot a home quarantine scheme for returning Aussie travelers.

The second phase of the roadmap out of the corona virus will kick in when reaching specific target of vaccinations, based on “scientific evidence”.In that phase, lockdowns will only be used in extreme circumstances and vaccinated people will have eased restrictions when lockdowns or border closures occur.

More students and economic visitors will be allowed in then.

The third phase will be the consolidation phase and will mean the virus will be managed like any other infectious disease. Vaccinated people will be able to travel abroad at will at that point.

National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID Response

Chairman’s Note

manpreetIn order to address the Covid 19 pandemic, the government in almost every country are trying to achieve a compromise among three key things – people’s health and safety, national economy and votes to stay in power. Now after 18 months through this catastrophe we have seen how hard it’s to make headway in one without affecting the other two. That’s why the approach to the spread control is varied in different countries. While in many European countries, Israel, UAE and India the tact has been to reach a certain stage of herd immunity through mass vaccination, in Australia the tact so far has been to eradicate the virus through zero community transmission – contact tracing being one of the key tools. This method proved to be successful until the recent Delta strain hit down under severely affecting the progress made so far, once again hitting the tourism and hospitality sector the most.

While tourism, particularly the domestic version, is incrementally opening up  in countries with high vaccination rate, in Australia we are now back to square one with lockdowns, closure of state borders, cancellation of flights with tourism industry losing its motivation to stand again.

The two positives currently emerging from this are speeding up the vaccination and the Federal Government announcing its staged road map from recovery to normalcy.

AITTC totally supports both the initiatives and urges all residents to get their jabs sooner than later so that Australia like some of the other countries can open up for tourism, initially domestic with overseas following once international borders are opened and more travel bubbles formed with countries which are deemed safe to travel. Hope India falls into that category.

As per a report from Tourism Australia’s Country Manager in India life there is getting usual with the number of COVID-19 cases rapidly reducing with vaccination efforts significantly ramped up. Countries like Switzerland, France, Germany, South Africa, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Iceland and The Maldives have opened their borders for fully vaccinated travellers. India currently have air travel bubbles with over 27 countries. Hope an India-Australia bubble finally materialise to once again boost bi-lateral travel

As the day of independence from the British rule, August 15 is red-lettered in the calendar of modern India. This year the day is more special to rejoice the start of the 75th year of this hard-earned freedom. On this momentous occasion AITTC salutes the contribution of all freedom fighters and pays homage to all associated with India’s Independence Movement. Jai Hind.

 

Sandip Hor

Chairman

NEW VIVID SYDNEY ON-WATER EXPERIENCES

operahouse1Sydney Harbour provides the natural theatre for Vivid Sydney’s dazzling light display. Captain Cook Cruises has released an exciting program of Vivid Sydney cruises taking in the key

precincts of Darling Harbour, The Rocks and Circular Quay including Sydney Harbour Bridge and the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

Two of the hottest new releases for 2021 Vivid Sydney are onboard Sydney’s new ‘Harbour Bar & Restaurant’. First one is Vivid Harbour Bar experience by sitting in one of the comfy new lounges while lazing back and enjoying a distinctly Sydney cocktail range and live music, as the lights of Vivid Sydney sail by. Add a little luxe and a lot of bubbles come with upgrade to the Vivid Mumm Harbour Bar, iwhich includes 1.5hrs of bottomless Mumm Champagne and a seafood platter to share. The Vivid Harbour Bar prices range from $39 for cruise only, up to $99 per person including champagne and seafood.

Vivid Sydney’s most popular dinner cruises are back too. Family-friendly, 1.5-hour dinners depart at the earlier time of 5.00pm and are a great way to combine a spectacular Sydney Harbour sunset with the striking experience of seeing the Vivid Lights turn on from the water at 6pm. The 5.00pm dinner options range from $59 for a 2-course menu, up to $199 for a deluxe 4-course degustation menu with paired wines. The 7.00pm dinner departures give passengers three spectacular hours to be mesmerised by the Vivid Sydney lights. Massive viewing windows provide spectacular viewing from every table, while guests enjoy a superb dining experience. Prices range from $99 for a 3-course menu, up to $259 for a deluxe 6-course degustation menu with paired wines.

Short on time? One-hour Vivid Light cruises depart up to three times nightly between 5.45pm and 8.15pm, with spacious indoor and outdoor seating. Prices start from $29 per person and are a great option for family and social groups. “Captain Cook Cruises has been proud to partner with Destination NSW to provide on-water experiences for Vivid Sydney since its inception in 2009”, said Captain Cook Cruises’, General Manager, Nick Lester. “There is nothing better than seeing the world’s best harbour and its iconic landmarks illuminated at night from the water” continued Nick