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Travel

How Andhra’s business hub is becoming a travel and leisure destination

yachts sailing along Vizag coast, Photo: IANS

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Visakhapatnam, April 5 (IANS) In the bifurcated Andhra Pradesh, this coastal city discovered its new identity and is now emerging not merely as the business and technology hub but also as a travel and leisure destination.

Though in the very first year of the truncated state, cyclone Hudhud battered the city, known popularly as Vizag, it bounced back with new vigour. The rebuilt infrastructure gave a new look to the city, adjudged the third-cleanest in India last year.

Though already recognised as a key hub for being the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command, the presence of a port, a steel plant and other industries, the city in the past did not get its due and was never branded properly. This was because, as people of the port city say, the focus of successive governments in undivided Andhra Pradesh was Hyderabad.

yachts sailing along Vizag coast

yachts sailing along Vizag coast, Photo: IANS

After the breaking up of Andhra Pradesh to carve out Telangana state with Hyderabad as its capital in 2014, Vizag found new importance. The state government launched an initiative to develop it as the country’s Fintech hub and a centre of new-age technologies. It has hosted partnership summits here for the last three years, witnessing signing of MoUs for massive investments in the state.

The government also started working on plans to develop Vizag as a travel destination. The yachting festival held on March 28-31 brought into focus the bustling city’s huge tourism potential.

The four-day festival organised by Andhra Pradesh Tourism in association with E-Factor Adventure Tourism Pvt. Ltd, saw a fleet of plush yachts descending on the Vizag shores, for the discerning enthusiasts who love engaging with lifestyle, water and adventure.

Organised with a vision to establish and put Vizag on the marine tourism map, the festival, said to be first of its kind in India, saw yachts cruising on the azure waters of the Bay of Bengal, providing sailing enthusiasts a breathtaking view of popular beaches like RK Beach, Rishikonda, Thotlakonda and Yerada. The on-board audiences were treated with activities like swimming, snorkelling, rescue demo by the Indian Navy and adrenaline-pumping displays of fly-boarding.

yachts sailing along Vizag coast

yachts sailing along Vizag coast, Photo: IANS

In the evenings when the yachts were parked at Vizag port, the audiences were entertained with musical performances.

It was the first attempt to introduce lifestyle tourism in Vizag, a key destination on the nearly 1,000-km-long coastline of the state. The organisers sold limited tickets, priced at a steep Rs 14,500 per person per day.

“Water holiday or yachting is a Richie rich, big boy’s holiday. Typically, one hour of yachting costs Rs 1 lakh in India,” Kaushik Mukherji, principal advisor to the Andhra Pradesh Ministry of Tourism, told IANS.

He believed yachting can contribute significantly to the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). “Though only one percent of society can afford yachting, it has a huge margin,” he explained, claiming that on India’s east coast, Vizag is the only place which can offer this kind of holiday.

Mukherji was confident that two years down the line there will be people who will come to Vizag for water holidays. “Why do I need to go to Bali when I can do it in Vizag? The reasoning is being created.”

The yachting festival was one of the marketing techniques to brand Vizag. “Andhra Pradesh has no better tourism card than Vizag. It was never marketed earlier. Vizag was always consumed by the word of mouth. There was no draw towards it. I am changing the perceived value,” Mukherji said.

Explaining why Vizag is important, Mukherji pointed out that its beach mountains were not found anywhere else. Every brick at Thotlakonda beach is 2,500 years old. He believed a Buddhism circuit can be created here and marketed in countries like Sri Lanka, Taiwan, China and Japan, which always look for Buddhism products.

A view of the music performance in the evening at Vizag port

A view of the music performance in the evening at Vizag port, Photo: IANS

“Ten miles from where we are sitting (Vizag port) is the (Pakistani) Gazi submarine which can be one of the finest diving sites of the world. I can give the best dive into the submarine which was sunk during the 1971 war.”

Mukherji believed different products for different segments of the market could help tap the state’s immense tourism potential. He set the ball rolling a year ago with Vizag Music Festival followed by the balloon festival in Araku valley, a picturesque location about 100 km from Vizag.

“We have to be clear about who our target audience is. It’s the promise which I am selling. People buy promises, not destinations,” he added.

Tourism currently contributes seven percent of the state’s GDP, but Mukherji believes powerful tourism brands can increase this to 24-25 percent.

IANS

India

Delhi airport gets top honour at ASQ Awards 2017

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Indira Gandhi International Airport

New Delhi, Sep 17 : The national capital’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) has bagged the title of Best Airport to handle over 40 million passengers per annum (MPPA) by the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards 2017.

The Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), a GMR-led consortium which operates and manages the IGIA, made the announcement on Monday.

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“As we witness robust growth, we look forward to a strong collaboration and support of all airport stakeholders and our esteemed passengers. We are set to undertake the expansion works at Delhi airport in line with IGIA Master Plan-2016,” I. Prabhakara Rao, Executive Director, GMR Airports, was quoted as saying in a statement.

According to the statement, the Delhi airport is now the seventh busiest airports in Asia and among the top 20 busiest airports across the world.

ASQ is a worldwide programme to survey passengers at the airport on their day of travel. Every year the programme delivers some 600,000 individual surveys in 41 languages in 84 countries.

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Business

GTC Egypt Business Convention to address needs of 3 distinct verticals

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GTC Business Convention

The Global Tourism Council (GTC) is now focussing on tourism Conclave ,Investment Summit and Film Industry Connect – at the inaugural Egypt-India Business Convention. Set to be organised by GTC in association with Egypt Tourism.

The Convention will be held from September 16-19, 2018, at the Marriott Cairo & Omar Khayyam Casino.

Around 300 delegates from different business segments of India are expected to participate in the 4 day-long event, where they will interact with their Egyptian counterparts over B2B meetings.

As part of the Tourism Conclave, the Convention will offer an opportunity for delegates to explore the possibility of developing and promoting the Biblical Tourism Circuit – Jordan, Israel and Egypt. For corporate houses, the Investment Summit will facilitate opportunities for investment in sectors like agriculture, pharma, hospitality, infrastructure, energy, etc. Film-makers and production houses attending the Convention will be able to meet with their counterparts in Egypt and undertake recee of locations for shooting and explore discussions on co-productions.

“GTC is the first council in the tourism sector of India and we have the best of brains from segments like tourism, pharma, investment, hospitality, etc. The objective of the Convention is to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries,” said M Iqbal Mulla, Chief Council, GTC. According to Mulla, “The response from the industry for this is quite encouraging. Even NTOs of six countries have already approached us,” he said.

Talking on this, Ismail Amer, Egyptian Tourism Counselor, said the theme of the convention ‘Innovate & Invest’ is brilliant and will offer immense benefits in myriad sectors of both the countries. “The three sectors i.e. tourism, investment and film are very much connected with each other and Egypt’s USP in all the segments is very strong. Hence, this convention will immensely benefit Egypt,” said Amer.

According to Amer, “Experts from different segments are associated with GTC, secondly there is a difference between council and association and people associated with council are always serious in business. Apart from this, the convention will highlight the strength of Egypt in the three segments.”

Citing an example, he said that new administrative capital which is coming up has thrown up huge opportunity for investment. “Our new administrative capital (will have a name later) is as big as Singapore and 7 times bigger than Washington D.C. Currently, lot of construction work is going on for shipping, logistics industries, etc. The length of new development corridor by the Suez Canal is 40 km,” pointed out Amer.

The Council will also strongly suggest for developing a Holy Land Circuit among Jordan, Israel and Egypt which will increase in pilgrimage tourism manifolds from what it is now. “We have already discussed it in our committee and will put it in conclave for implementation,” said Mulla.

The film industry is another priority sector for the Council and the Convention will discuss the issue thoroughly so that the film sectors of both the countries are benefitted. Throwing light on possible outcome, Manoj Gursahani, Member Governing Council, GTC, said, “The film industry will benefit
in very unusual way. The Egyptian film industry can look at cross collaboration opportunities with the Indian film industry. Similarly, Indian film industry and can look at opportunities of exploring and doing television serials, movies and web series which are sold on Netflix and other platforms can be captured on Egypt and look at Egypt talent and combine do a hybrid model. I strongly believe that these are largely the areas where the film and media entertainment sectors want to grow with each other and collaborate with each other.” He also said that the response so far is phenomenal. “All the big brands have already shown their interest but I can’t tell the name at this juncture,” said Gursahani.

“It helps empower local community groups, strengthening their voice.” – Neha Dhupia

Global Tourism Council aims to be the world’s biggest non-government organisation recognised by the Government of India Charitable Trust. It is the brain child of the reputed professionals from India and across the world who are committed to the advancement of the global trade and tourism industry.

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Cities

1,000 AC buses to join DTC fleet

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DTC AC Bus

New Delhi, Aug 28 : The Delhi Transport Corp (DTC) Board on Tuesday approved a proposal to engage 1,000 low floor AC buses to improve public transportation in the national capital, Transport Minister Kailash Gehlot said.

“DTC Board approves engagement of 1,000 Low Floor AC buses,” he tweeted. The approval of the Cabinet will be sought to finalize the proposal.

The DTC, with only 5,500 buses in its fleet, wants to buy 10,000 buses by the year end.

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