India recorded 2.5 million tourist arrivals on e-Visa in 2018

e-visaThe Bureau of Immigration, under the Home Ministry, India had issued over 2.5 million e-Visa last year, a five-fold jump from 2015, and reduced the main category visa from 26 to 21. Reportedly, the number of e-Visas issued by the Bureau of Immigration has risen from 5.29 lakh in 2015 to 25.15 lakh last year. On the other hand, the number of regular or paper visas issued by Indian missions abroad has come down from 45 lakh to around 35 lakh in the same period. Sub-categories of visa has been reduced from 104 to 65, thus rationalising and simplifying the visa regime and removing confusion. The e-Visa facility covers 166 countries and foreigners can obtain online visa within 72 hours for travel related to tourism, business, health, medical attendant and conference purposes

Queensland’s Room Boom

qld-room-boomQueensland is a key destination for Indian visitors. So this room boom will surely boost the market penetration.

Eighteen major hotel openings in just over 12 months – not including the major revamps and overhauls – is enough to make a worldly traveller giddy with choice. And, it looks like the pace of hotel openings is set to continue as Queensland brings its R-game (that’s Resort Game!) to the world this year with the reopening of three icons; the much-loved Daydream Island Resort, the iconic Hayman Island Resort by Intercontinental and the ultra, low-key exclusive Wilson Island Retreat. Oh, and there’s also a convention centre to boot. Read on to learn more about the classic rebrands, the reboots, and the shiny new kids on the Queensland block.

Some of the hotels in the pipeline are Novotel Twin Waters Convention Centre (May, 20190, Hayman Island Resort by InterContinental, Whitsundays (July 1, 2019), Wilson Island, Southern Great Barrier Reef (August 2019) and Westin Coolum Resort & Spa, Sunshine Coast (Opening 2021)

Worth mentioning about the recently reopened Daydream Island, Whitsundays (April 10, 2019 offering 277 revamped guest rooms and suites (with garden, pool and ocean views), three new signature restaurants, a gin bar, and a swim-up bar serving classic poolside cocktails. The reopening follows an extensive US$71 million redevelopment. Central to the island’s re-design is The Living Reef, a free-form coral lagoon that wraps its way around the resort and plays home to 100 species of animals, corals and invertebrates, all sourced from a 20 km radius of the island and gathered by licensed collectors. A new underwater observatory in the main building provides a window directly into the lagoon extended to four metres deep and filled with aqua water straight from the surrounding seas.

Luxperience 2019

After a successluxpirienceful 2018 program, Luxperience will return to the International Convention Centre, in Sydney Australia, from 7-10 October, 2019.

Now in its eighth year, Luxperience remains at the forefront of the high-end experiential travel market, bringing together industry leaders for three days of inspiring, meaningful connections.

It has been a great platform for  buyers and sellers from India for B2B meetings with Australian and other international attendees.

In 2019, Luxperience attendees can expect an innovative program, new products, glittering events and insights into luxury travel trends impacting Oceania and the rest of the world

“After fine tuning our event within the Diversified Communications fold, we were delighted with the success of this year’s Luxperience,” says Michelle Papas, Event Director of Luxperience. “Each year we survey all attendees about their experiences at the show. The results for Luxperience 2018 were outstanding and demonstrate our commitment to year on year improvements and showcasing the regions premium experiences to luxury travel specialists from around the world.”

In 2018 the Luxperience program was reimagined and enhanced to create what is now widely acknowledged as a must-attend event. With an expanded team, a new home and a revitalised events program, the seventh edition of Luxperience has set the standard for future events . Hundreds of exhibitors and buyer delegates from around the world, thousands of one-on-one meetings and millions of dollars worth of new business all come together in the only trade show of its kind in the South Pacific region.

Luxperience’s focus remains on building meaningful business opportunities and relationships and is currently seeking expressions of interest from suppliers of luxury and experiential travel. Premium travel specialists who service the needs of discerning clients are also being sought from both around Australia and around the world.

If you are interested in exhibiting opportunities or attending as a buyer, please contact a member of the team today on +61 (0) 2 9275 9200 or

Vivid Sydney 2019 opens a new era of innovation and creativity

vividsydneyVivid Sydney, the largest festival of light, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere, will ignite the Harbour City this winter from Friday 24 May to Saturday 15 June 2019 as it enters a new decade of innovation and creativity with an inspiring and star-studded program of events.

Destination NSW CEO and Executive Producer – Vivid Sydney, Sandra Chipchase said, “Australia’s most loved and awarded festival, now in its eleventh year, will bring together light artists, music makers and brilliant minds to showcase Sydney as the creative industries hub of the Asia-Pacific. “This year’s Vivid Sydney program is bold, exciting and diverse, offering something for everyone so I encourage those who want to experience this unmissable event to start planning their trip now.”

Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency, and in 2018 attracted 2.25 million attendees, delivering $172.9 million in visitor expenditure into the NSW economy.

“I am proud to say our marketing activities saw a record 185,887 travel packages sold to domestic and international visitors for Vivid 2018 – an increase of 37 per cent over the previous year.

Vivid Sydney is a must-attend event for travellers and motivates people to visit Sydney and beyond,” Ms Chipchase said. “It doesn’t matter your age or interests, whether it is your first time to Sydney or if you are a local – Vivid Sydney has universal appeal.

The Vivid Sydney 2019 program offers inclusive and accessible installations, events and experiences that you can enjoy for one evening or over 23 nights.” Ms Chipchase also announced the inaugural Vivid School for High School students in years 9-12 to assist students to learn more about the creative processes involved in imagining, designing and delivering light-based artworks for this huge global event. “This initiative will enable students and their teachers to meet the professionals behind Vivid Sydney’s iconic building projections and light walk installations, and to hear from artists, designers and technicians about their career paths and how they harnessed opportunities to build their skills for future projects and employment,” Ms Chipchase said.

Popular precincts Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour, Chatswood, Barangaroo and Luna Park also light up in 2019.

This year’s Light Walk sees over 50 radiant works curated into the largest outdoor gallery of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, stretching for more than three kilometers.

Vivid Ideas brings to Sydney 23 days and nights of talks, hands-on workshops and industry shaping forums delving into the meaning of love, loneliness and belonging in our fast-paced, ever-connected lives.

Vivid Sydney spotlights the city’s live music culture by both bringing in influential overseas acts and placing a firm focus on local talent, this year’s line-up is set to impress.

For more information please refer to

FICCI reports India’s inbound tourism to touch Rs 35 trillion by 2029

fcci-rptThe recently released FICCI-Yes Bank Report at the Great India Travel Bazaar (GITB) in Jaipur, which is titled ‘India Inbound Tourism: Unlocking the Opportunities’ has underlined India as tourism powerhouse. It revealed that by 2029, Indian tourism sector is likely to grow at 6.7 per cent per annum to reach INR 35 trillion with 9.6 per cent of GDP. The report claims that the tourism sector in the country has generated USD 247.3 billion (INR 16.91 trillion) in 2018, with a growth of 6.7 per cent and accounting for 9.2 per cent of the total economy.

Currently, it is the 8th largest country in terms of contribution to travel and tourism GDP and the largest market in South Asia. The report also highlights that the tourism sector generated 26.7 million jobs in 2018. By 2029, the sector is expected to provide employment to nearly 53 million people, directly and indirectly. Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) crossed 10 million in 2017 and the growth trend is expected to continue. Consumption by domestic tourists remains the key strength of the sector in India, much stronger than the global average. Growing disposable income, increase in new millennial tourists, new travel destinations as well as new themes of tourism will further propel the growth.

FICCI-Yes Bank report also states that the systematic growth, maintenance and sustainable development of tourism destinations as well as focus on promoting the emerging avenues of tourism will be essential towards unlocking its true potential. The growth in Indian travel and tourism sector has largely been driven by domestic tourists. Foreign tourists still account for a limited share as compared to some of the top-ranking countries. The government intends to achieve the ambitious target of 1 per cent foreign tourist arrivals in world’s international tourist arrivals by 2020 and increase it to 2 per cent by 2025.

Jewels of India Tour

jewelsJewellery may be the oldest art. It has always meant something important—as money, as a prayer to the gods, as a status symbol, as fashion—almost always a reflection of character and a contribution to beauty. Jewels take their name from the Italian “joy”, as a result they tend to be more enjoyed than studied.

This unique offering, the fully escorted “Jewels of India Tour” with maximum 12 guests start 23 November and cover Mumbai ~ Hyderabad ~ Jaipur ~ Delhi on a 14-day journey through the heritage and significance of Indian gems and their craftsmanship, both historical and con-temporary. The tour offers unprecedented access to some of India’s leading contemporary de-signers, jewellery historians, museum curators and families that have been involved in the gem trade for centuries. The program of lunches and dinners will bring together speakers from dif-ferent disciplines to explore the manifold facets of adornment past, present and future. True to our commitment to excellence we will be experiencing the best of Indian regional cuisine and using exclusively Taj Hotel group properties.

The tour will commence in India’s vibrant commercial capital Mumbai, home to the country’s largest jewellery bazaar. There we will meet some of the city’s leading designers such as Viren Bhagat, whose work is coveted by connoisseurs many of whom count him among the greatest jewellers of our time. You’ll be taken through the bustling streets and laneways of Zaveri Ba-zaar, home to thousands of wholesale and retail jewellery outlets and workshops where di-amonds and precious stones are still cut by hand. A specially curated tour will take us inside the Prince of Wales Museum to view the extraordinary decorative arts sections. There will also be a visit to Saffronart, India’s leading art and jewellery auction house where experts will dis-cuss the significance of jewels in Indian history and the contemporary market. From Mumbai we travel to Hyderabad, once the capital of the greatest and wealthiest princely state in India. Its Golconda mines produced the largest and most famous diamonds in the world. These were traded beneath the ramparts of the mighty Golconda fort on the outskirts of the city. Today Hyderabad is famous for its pearl markets, palaces and ancient Islamic tombs. As well as ex-ploring Golconda and the adjacent.

For Sydney-based clients, there will be dinner prior to departure with world-renowned expert and collector Anne Schofield to discuss Indian tribal gold and silver jewellery.

Tourist sites to be redeveloped in India

indiatoursAs per recent reports , Ministry of Tourism has identified 17 sites in 12 clusters in the country for development under Iconic Tourist Sites Development Project, pursuant to Budget Announcements of 2018-19. The sites that will be redeveloped are- Uttar Pradesh- Taj Mahal & Fatehpur Sikri; Maharashtra- Ajanta & Ellora; Delhi- Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort & Qutub Minar; Goa- Colva beach; Rajasthan- Amer Fort; Gujarat- Somnath & Dholavira; Madhya Pradesh- Khajuraho; Karnataka- Hampi; Tamil Nadu- Mahabalipuram; Assam- Kaziranga; Kerala- Kumarakom; Bihar- Mahabodhi.

Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism says, “One of the big plans that we are working on is to develop our iconic sites. We have picked out the 17 most iconic sites in India like the Taj Mahal, Kaziranga and we are working backwards to make them world class. We think that all the first-cut master plans are done, so I think that will be a big push as to how we can really make these most iconic sites as truly world-class tourist experiences.” Speaking on the growth of tourism in the country he said, “There is no doubt that tourism will emerge as an economic engine for growth for this country and I don’t think there will be any confusion on that politically. Whatever work that we have been doing and the way that the tourism sector has been pulling together that will continue strongly.”

Oberoi Group now to be represented in Australia

oberoiInspired Luxury has been appointed as the sales and marketing representative within Australia and New Zealand for The Oberoi Group – India collection, internationally ac-claimed for all-round excellence

Inspired Luxury’s role will be to ensure The Oberoi Group’s portfolio – Oberoi Hotels & Resorts and Trident Hotels, are positioned firmly in everyone’s mind.

Commenting on this partnership, Mr. Sanjay Rai, Executive Vice President – Corpo-rate Sales, The Oberoi Group, said, “We are delighted to work with the team at Inspired Luxury again. With this initiative, we want to take the Oberoi Brand to luxury travellers from Australia and New Zealand. Inspired Luxury’s network and expertise in the luxury sector; and their passion for The Oberoi Group and India as a destination is well documented. We look forward to a strong partnership, showcasing our extraordinary experiences to all sectors of the travel community.”

Adding to this, Ms. Lynne Ireland, CEO and Founder, Inspired Luxury said, “It’s superb to be working with The Oberoi Group. Our relationship dates back to the opening of The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur in 1997. India has been a true passion for me over twenty years. The depth of experiences and genuine hospitality are extraordinary and of course, The Oberoi Group has always been at the forefront of such. I’m looking forward to injecting both my passion and my team’s passion for The Oberoi Group – India Collection, and India as a destination, into the Australian and New Zealand markets.”

The Oberoi Group, which was founded in 1934, presently operates 32 five star hotels and three luxury river cruisers under the luxury ‘Oberoi’ and five-star ‘Trident’ brands in six countries.

For further information, please contact: Ms Lynne Ireland  +61 419 789 786

AirAsia to add 13 new aircraft in India this year

airasiaIndustry reports say that AirAsia Group has plans to add 13 new aircraft to its fleet during 2019 in India. Adding more to its fleet, Indonesia will get five, Philippines will get three and Malaysia, Japan and Thailand will get one aircraft each. India is a strategic market for AirAsia and the airline will soon start its Ahmedabad-Bangkok direct flight from May 31.

AirAsia Thailand has recorded a positive load factor of up to 87 percent on its India routes, with guests travelling between Bangkok and existing destinations in India increasing 7% on-year, translating into economic benefits for both countries.

John O’Sullivan leaves Tourism Australia

JohnSTourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan, is leaving the organisation to take up a new role as CEO and Executive Director of the ASX-listed company, Experience Co.

He will leave the organisation in June, handing over to Tourism Australia’s Executive General Manager International, Phillipa Harrison, who will act as interim Managing Director until a permanent replacement is found.

Mr O’Sullivan joined Tourism Australia in March 2014.

He said the time was right to step down.

“I’ve had five terrific years at Tourism Australia, leading an incredibly talented team who do such a wonderful job promoting Australia to the world. The opportunity to lead an ASX-listed company such as Experience Co. is an incredibly exciting prospect and keeps me in an industry I really did not want to leave.

“It’s with mixed emotions that I now move on, but I feel I’m leaving the organisation in a really good position. Australian tourism is performing well, with international arrivals and spending both at record levels. We’ve reshaped our marketing narrative. Our Tourism 2020 journey is nearly complete, with the $115 billion target set back in 2009 already achieved, and I firmly believe Tourism Australia is driving the right strategy to take the industry to new levels.

“I’ve always felt that the role of Tourism Australia is to provide a platform for our industry to better tell its stories. Through our campaigns and our other activities, I think we’re doing that better than ever,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Tourism Australia Chairman, Bob East said Mr O’Sullivan was leaving the organisation with clear strategic direction, forward momentum and strong industry backing.

“Tourism Australia and the Australian tourism industry have gone from strength to strength under John’s stewardship. From the beginning, John has set a clear direction for Tourism Australia – value over volume – and has systematically set about executing that strategy.

“Targeting high yielding travellers who stay longer, do more and spend more when they come Down Under has become a mantra for the tourism industry, helping deliver record spending and tangible results for thousands of Australian tourism businesses,” he said.

A search to find Mr O’Sullivan’s successor is underway.

Tourism Australia has also announced appointment of Susan Coghill , currently General Manager Creative, Content and Campaigns as Chief Marketing Officer replacing Lisa Ronson who left the organisation in March.