Indian Tourism Shines at ITB Asia in Singapore

Indian Tourism Shines at ITB Asia in Singapore

By Author

Published on October 30, 2023

The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, along with tour operators and state tourism departments, made a significant presence at the prestigious ITB Asia exhibition in Singapore. Held from October 25th to 27th, the exhibition aimed to globally promote inbound tourism to India, with a focus on the Asia Pacific region. Led by the Ministry of Tourism, India showcased a wide array of tourism products and immersive travel experiences under the theme 'Incredible India! Visit India Year 2023.'

The official inauguration of the Incredible India pavilion was carried out by H.E. Dr. Shilpak Ambule, the High Commissioner of India to Singapore. The ministry's participation in the exhibition aimed to capture the attention of both media and industry professionals, emphasizing India's appeal as a lucrative travel destination. It highlighted various thematic products encompassing adventure, wellness, the Himalayas, eco-tourism, sustainable tourism, and exotic wildlife.

Within the Incredible India pavilion at ITB Asia, Destination Management Companies (DMCs) such as the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and the Hyderabad International Convention Centre showcased their products and services, engaging in fruitful interactions with potential clients and partners. The State Government of Goa, along with the Union Territory Administrations of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Puducherry, also participated, promoting their distinct tourism offerings.

2023 has been designated as Visit India Year, with a significant focus on positioning India as a preferred destination in international markets. Singapore, in particular, holds substantial importance, especially for Buddhist tourism, given the robust connectivity between India and the Southeast Asia region, boasting around 150 weekly flights between the two.

The Ministry of Tourism's emphasis also extends to the promotion of sustainable tourism and the integration of sustainability into the tourism sector. India has introduced a National Strategy for Sustainable Tourism, aimed at mainstreaming sustainability within the Indian tourism sector. The strategy is built on seven key pillars, focusing on environmental, economic, and socio-cultural sustainability, biodiversity preservation, and awareness through skill development and entrepreneurship.

As part of Mission LiFE, a program called 'Travel for LiFE' has been developed to induce significant behavioral change among tourists and tourism businesses, leading to substantial impacts on environmental protection and climate action. This initiative aligns with India's G20 priority of Green Tourism, particularly under the Tourism Working Group. The program has identified a list of illustrative "Travel for LiFE Actions" that can be adopted by tourists and tourism businesses.

India's participation in ITB Asia marks a significant step in promoting the country's diverse and immersive tourism offerings while highlighting the importance of sustainability and responsible tourism practices. It not only showcases India's potential as a preferred destination but also reinforces its commitment to environmental protection and climate action in the tourism sector. So, if you're planning a trip to India, rest assured that it's not just about travel; it's about embracing a transformative and responsible travel experience in the heart of 'Incredible India.'


TUI Group Expands Hotel Operations into Sub-Saharan Africa

TUI Group Expands Hotel Operations into Sub-Saharan Africa

By Nishang Narayan

Published on April 20, 2024

TUI Group, a prominent tourism organization based in Germany, is set to expand its footprint in the hotel industry by venturing into Sub-Saharan Africa. Building upon its robust presence in North Africa where it operates 76 hotels, TUI plans to introduce eight new properties across several key destinations including Cape Verde, The Gambia, Senegal, Tanzania, and Kenya.

The expansion not only signifies TUI's growth strategy but also marks the launch of its new luxury hotel brand, The Mora, with its inaugural property, The Mora Zanzibar, slated to open soon. This luxury brand is designed to offer contemporary luxury and tailored services, setting a new standard in high-end hospitality in the region.

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Artur Gerber, Managing Director of TUI Blue, highlighted the strategic intent behind the expansion: “With our diverse hotel brands, we aim to create novel hotel experiences in Africa for various target groups—from budget-friendly holidays at TUI Suneo to luxury experiences at The Mora. We are excited about contributing to the African hospitality sector and collaborating with local communities.”

In addition to The Mora, TUI is also introducing the TUI BLUE Watamu in Kilifi County, Kenya. This 117-room hotel represents the first TUI Blue branded hotel in Kenya and is being developed in partnership with Sands of Darakasi Resorts.

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Wesam Okasha, Head of Global Development at TUI Blue, emphasized the collaborative efforts: “This project in East Africa is a prime example of our commitment to sharing our expertise and developing new hotels on the African continent in partnership with local entities. We are actively seeking further franchise opportunities to continue our expansion.”

TUI Group’s strategic focus in East Africa includes key destinations like Mauritius, Tanzania, and Kenya, with a current portfolio that boasts over 90 hotels and more than 30,000 rooms across seven countries. This expansion aligns with TUI’s broader goal to diversify its global presence and enhance its offerings in emerging tourism markets.


Extendam Acquires Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla

Extendam Acquires Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on April 18, 2024

Extendam, a prominent player in the hospitality sector, has made waves with its recent acquisition of the Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla Hotel from Aliseda Inmobiliaria, a subsidiary of Blackstone. This strategic move adds another gem to Extendam's portfolio, marking its seventh operation in Spain.

Strategically located in Seville's bustling Torneo Empresarial business district, the 4-star hotel boasts 140 keys, a restaurant, fitness center, and meeting rooms, making it an ideal choice for both business and leisure travelers. Notably, the hotel underwent a refurbishment of its common areas in 2023, ensuring a contemporary and inviting ambiance for guests.

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Partnering with Continuum Hospitality Group for operations, Extendam is poised to offer exceptional services and experiences to patrons of the Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla. With its prime location adjacent to a bus and metro station, proximity to San Pablo airport and Santa Justa train station, and easy access to Seville's attractions, the hotel caters to a diverse clientele.

Jean-Marc Palhon, President of Extendam, expressed optimism about the investment, citing Seville's robust tourism sector and favorable market conditions. He highlighted Seville's status as the fourth most visited city in Spain, emphasizing its resilience to seasonality and potential for revenue growth.

Continuum Hospitality Group's expertise in the Spanish market further solidifies Extendam's confidence in this venture. The partnership underscores Extendam's commitment to delivering excellence while adhering to stringent ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) standards set by both Extendam and the Hilton brand.

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In line with Hilton's sustainability initiatives, the hotel management will prioritize environmental conservation, particularly in addressing water scarcity and reducing energy consumption.

The transaction received support from BPCE and CBRE, further underscoring the collaborative efforts behind this successful endeavor.

Extendam's acquisition of the Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla Hotel reflects its strategic vision and commitment to enhancing the hospitality landscape in Spain. With a focus on quality, sustainability, and guest satisfaction, Extendam and its partners are set to elevate the guest experience while driving value for stakeholders in the vibrant city of Seville.


Saudi Arabia Announces Plans for Oxagon, the World’s Largest Floating Structure in Neom

Saudi Arabia Announces Plans for Oxagon, the World’s Largest Floating Structure in Neom

By Nishang Narayan

Published on April 17, 2024

Saudi Arabia is set to redefine industrial and economic development with its ambitious project, Oxagon, touted to be the world's largest floating structure. Part of the expansive Neom development in the northeastern region of the Kingdom, Oxagon is strategically positioned on the Red Sea, near the bustling shipping lanes of the Suez Canal.

Designed with a unique octagonal shape, Oxagon will combine onshore and offshore developments with a significant portion extending into the Red Sea. The city is planned to serve as both a port and a logistics hub, enhancing Neom's role as a centre powered by renewable energy within Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative. This initiative aims to diversify the nation’s economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

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One of the project’s striking features will be the division between the land-connected base and its massive floating counterpart, which is claimed to be the largest of its kind globally. The floating section is expected to feature innovative water-filled squares and small canals, a state-of-the-art cruise terminal, and an oceanographic research centre.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman emphasised that Oxagon will act as a catalyst for economic growth and diversification in Neom and across the Kingdom. He noted, "Oxagon will contribute to redefining the global approach to industrial development in the future, focusing on environmental protection while simultaneously creating job opportunities and stimulating economic growth."

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The project also aims to enhance Saudi Arabia's role in regional and global trade, positioning Neom as a new key player in international trade flows. This development is part of the broader Neom project, which includes various other futuristic initiatives like The Line, a 170-kilometre-long city designed to house nine million people with minimal environmental impact.

As Oxagon takes shape, it stands as a testament to Saudi Arabia's forward-thinking approach to blending advanced technology with sustainable urban planning. However, the Neom project continues to face scrutiny over sustainability practices and the impacts on local communities, highlighting the challenges of undertaking such transformative developments.

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