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NEWS| India's Oct tourist arrivals rise 12.6 pct y/y

Tourist arrivals in India rose 12.6 percent in October from a year earlier, boosting foreign exchange earnings from the sector by 28.7 percent to $764.49 million, the government said on Wednesday.

The number of tourists increased to 440,715 in October compared with 391,399 visitors in the same month last year, according to India’s Tourism Ministry Web site.

source: Reuters

NEWS| India bags Asia’s leading destination award

The World Travel Awards – 2007 Asia, Australiasia and Indian Ocean Ceremony was organized at Bangalore recently.

For these awards, travel agents from 190 countries selected the winners through Ballet. The winners of the regional categories will now compete for the world category awards, which would be announced in December this year.



The awards are the result of the focused, sustained and successful “Incredible India” Campaigns in the international market coupled with sustained efforts in improving the infrastructure of key heritage and tourist destinations of the country.

“Further, the popularity of Incredible India website, the promptness and proactiveness of the Ministry and its India Tourism Offices has contributed in India getting the Asia’s Leading Govt. Tourist & Convention Bureau Award,” officials said.
source: http://www.theindiancatholic.com/report.asp?nid=9033

NEWS| Dial 139 for hotel bookings

The railway enquiry number 139 would be available for booking hotel rooms anywhere in the country.

So far, 139 number was used for enquiry meant to know timing of train arrivals, departures, and seat/berth reservation availability.



Senior railway officials said they are working out the details of rolling out this value-added service. For that, the ministry is also in touch with call centres which might be roped in.

"Agreements for the service are being finalised with the hotel chains, including the Taj Group and Ginger hotels," said an official.

Officials said the payment modalities are being worked out and there are options of cash payment and also through credit cards. With rapid growth in domestic tourism industry, the railways has geared up to lure tourists in a big way.

Though the Indian railways catering and tourism corporation (IRCTC) had earlier been in tourism business, it was not in a full-fledged way as more focus was on catering business.

IRCTC has created a new tourism marketing department to work out novel ways to lure tourists in a big way.

"We are working out a dynamic strategy in association with transporters, hoteliers and state tourism departments to provide an affordable package to tourists", said an official.

The service will offer a full package right from booking tickets and hotels to providing road transportation, including sight-seeing trips for which hoteliers are interested.
The IRCTC will earn a commission for facilitating hotel rooms and car service

source: The Asian Age

INTERNATIONAL| Dubai to have over 550 hotels by 2016

In the wake of the booming hospitality industry, the number of hotels in Dubai is set to rise by over 29 percent to 554 from 439 at present, a top tourism official has said.



The Dubai tourism department's strategic plan envisages an increase in the room capacity of hotels and hotel apartments from 46,775 units now to 127,100 units by 2016, a growth of 171.2 percent, said Khalid bin Sulayem, director general of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

In an interview to news agency WAM, the official said the ambitious Bawadi tourism and leisure project, when completed, would have a big major boost to the industry.

He said revenues of the tourism sector reached Dh 6.4 billion ($1.8 billion) in the first half of the year while as revenues from 1996 to 2006 witnessed a whopping growth of 500 percent from Dh 1.8 billion to Dh 10.8 billion.

'Dubai hotels and hotel apartments played host to 3.4 million guests during January-June period,' bin Sulayem said.

He said that Dubai would be hosting the world tourism and travel summit on April 20-22 next year.
source:http://www.indiaenews.com/middle-east/20071107/79472.htm

NEWS| Jet set for Brussels hotel venture

Jet Airways is getting into hospitality venture. Naresh Goyal-owned airline has acquired 15 acres near the Brussels airport in Belgium. The airline said this 500-room five-star deluxe hotel would mainly target Jet passengers who transit through its base in Brussels and the airline crew. It would also have a catering kitchen to serve all Jet flights originating from Belgium and London.



"We are going to tie up with a leading foreign chain of hotels for this project though the hotel will reflect our culture. It will go in direction of achieving our dream of establishing Jet as a truly Indian brand abroad,'' said an official.

Incidentally, Oberoi Hotel chairman PRS Oberoi is on Jet's board of directors and the airline is likely to use his experience for this project. To cater to its Indian clientele, the airline is planning to have ethnic dishes on its menu and a dedicated restaurant is also being considered.

The Belgium government is supporting Jet's move to build the hotel.

07/11/07 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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