India’s travel industry is currently facing mixed reviews about the upcoming travel season. The depreciating Rupee has also seen a flourishing rush in inbound Medical tourism segment. This is evident with states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and New Delhi emerging as destinations with hospitals and super specialty clinics. “Fall of Rupee versus the Dollar has proved to be an advantage to patients from Middle East, Africa and SAARC countries,” said D S Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM.
As per recent statistics, until the end of July, India received 38.32 lakh international tourists with a growth of 3.3% as compared to foreign tourist arrivals of 37.10 lakh in the same period in 2012.
“Inspite of economic recession, inbound maintained a positive growth. Due to Dollar appreciation against the Rupee, inbound travel has become more affordable and there is increased level of inquires. We are optimistic that inbound traffic may reach double digit growth,” said Arun Anand, treasurer of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO).
India’s MICE sector is also rapidly growing with innovative facilities and cooperation between public and private operators. Industry experts are of the opinion that there has been a steep increase in companies focusing on the MICE segment. Destination per se, the Golden Triangle as the preferred destination, however with huge development in Tier II and III cities, MICE groups have also moved to other destinations in India. Hyderabad, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Goa are the favored few.
India’s Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) scheme is also expected to give further boost to the inbound market. With more airports offering VoA, India is opening up to more gateways for travellers to visit the destination. Between January to August 2013, the country has issued a total of 12,716 VoAs, an increase of 29.4% as compared to the same period last year. The Ministry of Tourism should emphasize on promoting the destination among Visa-on-Arrival countries, thus allowing easy access to the Indian gateways for leisure tourism.
Carving a niche
India is one of the key markets for Gulf Air due to a large number of people from the country being employed or doing business in Bahrain, the Gulf and the wider Middle East region. The airline provides excellent connectivity for passengers travelling from India to the Middle East, Europe and Africa and to hundreds of cities in the USA via code-share partner American Airlines.
Gulf Air has been flying to India since 1971. Today, the airline operates double daily flights to New Delhi and Mumbai, 10 flights a week to Chennai and daily flights to Kochi, offering nearly 7,500 seats a week between these major cities and Bahrain.
Conservative economic reports forecast India’s growth at approximately 6% – 7% annually in the next few years. Gulf Air is committed to tapping this potential by strengthening its presence in the country. Currently, we are exploring the commercial viability of a number of destinations in the country to reinforce our existing network and strengthen our future links with this important market. The airline constantly endeavors to provide its customers with the best access to destinations, frequencies and services.
Last year, Gulf Air introduced brand new Airbus A321 aircraft into India. The new aircraft features fully flatbed seats in Falcon Gold class with a seat pitch of 74 inches and seat width of 20 inches, allowing the airline’s premium customers to sleep more comfortably. The Economy Class seats offer passengers the very latest in comfort and technology featuring a 4-inch recline, an 18-inch seat-width and an adjustable head and foot rest allowing greater passenger comfort. In addition, all seats in both Falcon Gold and Economy classes feature individual TV screens and in-seat laptop power connectivity.
The airline also offers, Falcon Cargo, a comprehensive suite of services that include Falcon Express, mail, courier, diplomatic and general cargo, animal transportation, dangerous goods, high value cargo as well as other shipments that require special handling.
Recognized among top ten airlines in the world for its on time flight punctuality, Gulf Air continue to excel in offering customers the best of its products and services.