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For India to get an edge over other destinations in medical tourism, the government thinks that it would be best to integrate contemporary medicine with indigenous treatments.

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India will boost Ayush treatment — indigenous medicine and associated treatment techniques — through health tourism, informed Ayush minister Sarbananda Sonowal. Set up in 2014, the Ayush ministry is responsible for developing education, research and propagation of traditional medicine systems in India. The government has been making efforts to boost traditional medicines for international tourists visiting India for treatments under Ayush methods — ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy, among others. Earlier this year, the Ayush ministry had signed a memorandum of understanding with the tourism ministry’s India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) to work together for the promotion of medical value travel (MVT) in Ayurveda and other traditional systems of medicine. The Indian medical value travel market size is valued at $5–6 billion and is expected to grow to $13 billion by 2026. With 5,00,000 international patients annually, India is poised for a giant leap in medical tourism on the back of soaring cost of treatment in the West and the Russia-Ukraine war driving more patients for medical care to the country. In addition, the government’s initiatives under the ‘Heal in India’ scheme — of accrediting Ayush centers and launching Ayush e-visa — is also expected to fuel medical tourism.

South African Tourism aims for a 35 percent increase in Indian travelers from metros and tier-2 cities this year from the meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) market. With over one in four Indian arrivals to South Africa motivated by MICE, the country continues to remain amongst the top three focus markets for South African Tourism. “Corporate India’s increasing interest in hosting global meetings, key conventions and important exhibitions in South Africa is a testament towards the world-class business facilities the country has to offer,” said Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head of Middle East, India and Southeast Asia at South African Tourism. Representatives from the tourism board were in Mumbai recently for the second edition of its Corporate MICE program.

Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo will operate a direct flight between Mumbai and Dhaka from March 26, 2023. Additionally, the airline will also resume operations between Mumbai and Singapore effective March 26, 2023. “We are pleased to connect the commercial center of India to the commercial center of Bangladesh, to serve business as well as leisure customers,” said Vinay Malhotra, head of global sales at IndiGo. The resumption of flights between Mumbai and Singapore will help boost tourism in both the cities. According to the Singapore Tourism Board, India accounted for over 686,000 of the overall 6.3 million global visitor arrivals in 2022, emerging as Singapore’s second largest source market after Indonesia. 

Corporate travel in India is expected to rebound with as many as 77 percent of businesses hoping to increase their travel budget in 2023 as compared to 2022, said a survey commissioned by American Express, India with the Centre for Economics and Business Research. About 79 percent of Indian businesses are using business travel data analytics to assist with travel booking and expenditure, the survey report titled ‘Revival of Business Travel: An India Perspective’ said. 66 percent of companies used third party booking systems to pay for travel expenses, according to the report. A key reason for business travel, the report mentioned, selected by 41 percent of businesses, was attending, hosting or presenting at conferences, presentations or events. Mumbai was the most visited city for domestic business trips, while the U.S. emerged as the most popular destination internationally.

Uttarakhand Tourism has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tourism and Hospitality Skill Council — a sector skill council under the Indian government’s National Skill Development Corporation — to boost tourism by upskilling and reskilling stakeholders. The MoU, aimed to upskill and reskill 4,000 people from the state, will provide training to eatery owners, guest house caretakers, tour drivers on the state’s holy Chardham route along with heritage tour and nature guides. Additionally, the program will also focus on digital and financial literacy, health and hygiene, safety and security, and entrepreneurship development. It will be delivered in offline mode across nine districts which attracts maximum religious, leisure, eco and adventure tourism. 

Indian Railways has set a target of becoming net zero carbon emitter by 2030, informed union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. Several initiatives have been taken to reduce its carbon emissions — which include switching over to production of three-phase electric locomotives with regenerative features, use of head-on generation technology, use of light-emitting diodes (LED) in buildings and coaches, star rated appliances and afforestation. Power would be procured through renewable energy sources, shifting from diesel to electric traction. The projected energy demand of Indian Railways in 2029-30 is expected to be about 8,200 MegaWatt.  

Australia has issued a travel advisory for India, urging citizens to exercise caution while visiting certain areas within the subcontinent. These places include the north-eastern states of Assam (except Guwahati), Nagaland, Manipur, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir and the India-Pakistan border. The advisory excludes the Atari-Wagah border crossing between the north Indian city of Amritsar and the Pakistani city of Lahore, which attracts a large number of tourists. “I would like to urge anyone traveling to India from Australia to follow the government’s latest advice on travel to select areas before making plans. It would be in everyone’s interest to exercise caution when traveling to the aforementioned border areas as advised,” said Sandip Hor, chairman of the Australia India Travel and Tourism Council.

The Jammu and Kashmir tourism department has identified 75 offbeat tourist destinations, including locations such as Nathatop, Basholi, and Machail. While 37 of these destinations are located in Jammu region, the rest are in Kashmir valley. The state has been experiencing a record surge in tourism with 1.2 lakh visitors arriving in February 2023 alone. “We need support and cooperation from the stakeholders in further promoting the 75 offbeat destinations identified by the department across J&K this year,” said Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, tourism secretary of the state. The tourist arrivals are likely to pick up with the opening of Asia’s largest Tulip garden in the summer capital of Srinagar by the end of this month.

India’s youngest airline Akasa Air has announced that it would start services to the eastern city of Kolkata from May 18, 2023 — with non-stop daily flights to Bengaluru and Guwahati. Passengers will be able to travel from Bengaluru to Guwahati via Kolkata with a daily through flight, and no change of aircraft will be required. Kolkata will be the airline’s second destination in West Bengal after flights connecting Bagdogra to Bengaluru. The airline has recently added new routes to its network from the western city of Ahmedabad, connecting it with Lucknow, Goa and Hyderabad. Akasa Air plans to place a “three-digit” order for aircraft this year. 

Dyninno India — part of the global Dyninno group of companies that operate in the finance, travel, and entertainment sectors in 50 markets — plans to scale up the headcount for its operations workforce in the travel division, including sales, ticketing, and customer support. The organisation recently shifted to a five-times bigger office spanning 52,000 square feet to accommodate the growing headcount. The company also plans to expand to more offices in Gurugram and Mumbai by June 2023. Dyninno India is also looking to increase its tech workforce in the country by 50 percent this year for its IT division called Dynatech. Dyninno will hire tech professionals for roles spanning frontend and backend development, full stack development, development operations, technical project management, quality analysis, and global help desk, among others. 


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Tags: akasa air, australia, corporate travel, india, india outbound, indian railways, indigo, medical tourism, mice, skift india report, south african tourism, travel advisories, upskilling, uttarakhand

Photo credit: India will boost Ayush treatment through health tourism. Club Med

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