New Australian High Commissioner to India

barryReplacing Ms Harinder Sidhu, former New South Wales (NSW) Premier Barry O’Farrell AO will be Australia’s next High Commissioner to  India. Since quitting politics, Mr O’Farrell has served as NSW special envoy for India and as deputy chairman of the Australia India Council. Currently, the bilateral trade between Australia and India is worth around $30  billion, however, the government’s India Economic Strategy forecasts the growth to be significant in the coming years. It’s assumed the High Commission will play a significant role in implementing the strategies which include many in the tourism sector.

Air India News

airindiaAs reported by Travel Daily in India, the divestment of Air India has restarted with the government seeking to sell 100% of its equity share capital in the state-owned airline, including Air India’s shareholding interest of 100% in AI Express and 50% in Air India SATS Airport Services. The sale will be implemented through the open bidding route, with 17 March being set as the deadline for interested parties to submit their bids. Unlike the previous failed bid to sell AI, this time the government has decided to off-load its entire stake. The government has also clarified that the net working capital is zero, which means that the Maharaja’s current assets are equal to its current liabilities. In addition, potential bidders are to be provided with the draft share purchase agreement. To provide greater confidence to the bidders the government has also got a vendor due diligence done, people close to the development said.

India’s domestic air passenger traffic hits growth

indigoIndian airlines experienced a return to double-digit growth for the first time since January 2019, as traffic rose 11.3 per cent compared to November 2018, the International Air Transport Association said on Thursday. “However, economic growth in the third quarter was the weakest in around six years amid a broad-based slowdown that is affecting many sectors of the economy. This will present a more challenging environment for the industry going forward,” said IATA, which represents around 290 airlines comprising 82 per cent of global air traffic, measures passenger growth in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), which is calculated by multiplying the number of passengers to the distance travelled by them.

India’s ranking moves up in Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI)

rankingIndia’s rank in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) of World Economic Forum has moved from 65 in 2013 to 34 in 2019.Even amid a major slowdown, the tourism industry has been consistently providing cushion to the ailing economy. While foreign tourist arrivals surged 3.2 per cent on-year during January-November 2019, the foreign exchange earnings shot up by 7.4 per cent in the same period. “The Government has substantially reduced the visa fee on e–visa to increase tourism competitiveness of the country,” said a statement by the Ministry of Tourism. In another step to boost tourism in the country, the government has also reduced GST on hotel rooms with tariffs of Rs 1,001 to Rs 7,500 per night to 12 per cent and those above Rs 7,501 to 18 per cent.

On the back of continuous efforts to increase tourism in the country, India’s rank in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) of World Economic Forum has moved from 65 in 2013 to 34 in 2019. While the lack of proper infrastructure and connectivity is often underlined as a roadblock for the tourism industry, the development of thematic circuits comprising 77 projects is being undertaken under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme

Threads & Festivals of Assam & Nagaland

aasamColourful festivals in North East India are major drawcard for tourists. In November this year Christina Sumner OAM will lead a small group tour to delve into the delights of relatively-undeveloped Assam and Nagaland in far northeast India. Journey through the lush and captivating landscapes of these fascinating destinations and immerse yourself in their unique cultures. Highlights include encounters with gorgeous eri silk, the fabric of peace; UNESCO-acclaimed Majuli Island and its Mishing weavers; glamping in Kohima’s luxury camp; one-horned rhino safari in Kaziranga National Park; and three stunning festivals, two celebrating local textile traditions and Nagaland’s renowned Hornbill Festival. This tour is something special and if interested please contact Rose Toohey of Forward Travel on 1300 738 168

Taj Fateh Prakash Palace Udaipur, Rajasthan

tajIt’s a living museum, a luxurious jewel of the Mewar Kingdom – now a property of the elite Taj palace and Resorts. A sunbathed vision on the eastern banks of Lake Pichola, Taj Fateh Prakash is part of the iconic City Palace complex. It was built in the 20th century by Maharana Fateh Singh as a venue for royal events. Like princely dignitaries from another era, present-day guests arrive to be mesmerized by exquisite vistas of the lake and the mighty Aravalli mountain range.  The original palace décor has been meticulously maintained. From miniature paintings and armoury to royal heirlooms and furniture straight off toshakhanas (royal storerooms), the palace is alive with stories of Rajput valour and adventure. Gastronomy is an all-sensory experience with Indian and world cuisines on offer. Sunset Terrace – consistently rated as one of India’s most scenic restaurants – is the perfect venue for a royal Mewari meal with sweeping views of Pichola, Jagmandir Island, Lake Palace and Sajjangarh Palace. Surya Darshan Bar offers a ceremonial English Afternoon Tea to savour with family and friends, later converting to a romantic sunset spot for champagne and hors d’oeuvres.

The palace’s public chambers are show stopping works of history and art. At 5177 square feet, Durbar Hall Sabhagaar is one of the most majestic heritage banquet halls in India, a blend of plush Mewari and Victorian design sensibilities. It was earlier named after Lord Minto, the Viceroy of India who laid its foundation stone in 1909. It is fringed on the upper level by the Crystal Gallery – the world’s largest privately owned collection of crystal objets d’art – including the only crystal bed in the world and a jewel-encrusted carpet. Commissioned by Maharana Sajjan Singh, this eclectic treasure was crafted by F & C Osler Company in England. Along with the contemporary Darbar Hall Satkaar and five other smaller meeting venues, the palace offers guests a rare opportunity to celebrate events ranging from destination weddings and conferences to corporate meetings in regal splendour.Whether basking in the romantic aura of the palace or seeking adventures outside, your stay will be immersed in the amazing legacy of Mewar, the world’s longest serving dynasty.

Luxperience

LuxperienceIt’s the Southern Hemisphere’s only luxury business event that connects the world’s best luxury travel providers and specialist buyers in the premium travel market. It was launched in 2012 as an annual three and a half day luxury travel business exchange event with the aim to provide delegates inspirational ideas and create long term meaningful connections.

Next year the event will be returning to the International Convention Centre, Sydney on 12 -15 October 2020.

For the first time, Luxperience will be hosted in October and organisers can’t be more pleased with the great response to this from their from partners, exhibitors and buyers.

Tourism bodies, tour operators, hotels and airlines keen on growth Australia India bilateral travel , both ways will find this event as an effective platform to connect with each other.

Indian Visitor Arrival to Australia

indian-visitors

There were 37400 visitor arrivals from India during November 2019, an increase of 15.8% relative to the same period of the previous year. This brings year ending arrivals to 393900, an increase of 11.7 % per cent relative to the previous year.

As per state of Maharashtra stands as the top source of visitor arrival to Australia followed by Karnataka, Delhi, Punjab. Tamilnadu and Gujarat

T20 Women’s World Cup Cricket 2020

t20

Soon the eyes of the cricketing world will be on Australia when the 10 best women’s teams in cricket comprising the global superstars of the game, will compete to be crowned world champions.

The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 will take place over two and a half action-packed weeks in February and March 2020 and will see two pools of five teams compete in a round robin Group Stage, with the top two teams from each pool progressing to the Semi Finals.

The opening match is on 21 February when India takes on the defending champions Australia in Sydney. The final will be held in Melbourne on 8 March.