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While India has much reason to cheer over UPI transactions in Paris, it must wait and watch to get more clarity on the cost of the transfer as the adoption accelerates.

Indian tourists to France will be able to pay for tickets to the Eiffel Tower and other attractions in rupees after both the countries agreed to use the Indian government’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

France and especially Paris is one of the most popular travel destinations for Indians. The number of Indian tourist arrivals to France in May last year stood at 423,701, according to CEIC data.

The mobile payment method will make it easier for tourists to do away with cumbersome forex cards and avoid the need to carry cash. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was on a two-day visit to Paris, made the announcement just months after UPI and its Singapore counterpart PayNow inked a pact to allow users in either country to make cross-border transactions. The UAE, Bhutan and Nepal have already adopted the UPI payment system.

Launched in 2016, the UPI has since become one of the most used payment methods in the country, particularly after the pandemic.

Modi also declared that Indian students pursuing a master’s degree in France would now receive a five-year long-term post-study visa, as opposed to the earlier two-year work visa. 

Additionally, India is set to open a consulate in Marseille, its second in France after Paris. 

Radisson Hotel Group Opens a Radisson Blu Resort in Rajasthan

Radisson Hotel Group has unveiled Radisson Blu Resort, Kumbhalgarh in the north Indian state of Rajasthan. Located at a two-hour driving distance from the Udaipur airport and railway station, the hotel is the only Indian Green Building Council-certified property in the region. 

Last month, the company opened Radisson Hotel Sonamarg in Jammu and Kashmir, its seventh operational hotel in the region. Radisson Hotel Group signed 11 new hotels in India across brands between January and April this year. In April, the group also announced the India debut of its luxury lifestyle brand, Radisson Collection, with the signing of the first hotel in Hyderabad. The 300-room Radisson Collection Hotel Hyderabad Financial District is set to be operational by the second quarter of 2026

47% Indians to Spend More on Travel This Year: Acko YouGov Travel Index Report

Indians are planning to spend more time and money on both domestic and international travel in 2023, according to a new report by digital insurer Acko General Insurance, in association with market research firm YouGov. The research surveyed 1,000 respondents who intend to travel this year, between ages 24 and 45, across seven major cities, shedding light on key considerations and preferences when it comes to travel. 

Given how the pandemic put travel plans on hold, 31% said that they will now plan more international trips this year. Additionally, 37% stated they will increase the duration of the trip and 47% will also allocate an increased budget for travel. 71% of those planning an international holiday mention a total budget between Rs 1-6 lakh ($1,218-$7,303). The budget for domestic holidays for 55% is expected to be under $1,218.

The top five international destinations, in order of preference, are Dubai, Maldives, Singapore, Switzerland and Bali. Goa is the most preferred domestic location, followed by Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan.

Domestic Air Traffic Rose Nearly 19% in June

India’s domestic air passenger traffic grew 18.8% to around 12.5 million in June compared to the year-ago period, according to data from aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation. Domestic carriers flew 12.487 million people in June compared to 10.512 million in the same period a year ago.

Among the operating airlines in the country, IndiGo had the highest market share at 63.2%, followed by Air India at 9.7% SpiceJet finished last at 4.4%, owing to the tough year that the airline has had with its finances and operations. 

Additionally, the data showed that in terms of on-time performance, Vistara led the industry with 88.3% punctuality rate at four major airports of Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

India Invites U.S. Businesses to Invest in Tourism Sector

Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy urged U.S. businesses and companies to explore investment opportunities in India’s tourism sector. Reddy, who was in New York for a five-day visit, highlighted India’s economic growth and Make in India initiatives while emphasizing on India’s enabling business environment through policies and regulations. He urged the diaspora community to encourage their non-Indian friends, associates and communities to invest and experience India’s tourism offerings – from culture, cruise, craft, and film tourism to festivals, weddings, wildlife, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.
Reddy added that under its G20 presidency, India has prioritized a sustainable and inclusive future for all, technological transformation, digital public infrastructure, multilateral institutions for the 21st century as well as women-led development.

Indian Hotels Company Signs a Ginger Hotel in Kolhapur, Maharashtra 

Tata Group-owned Indian Hotels Company has signed a Ginger-branded hotel in Kolhapur in the western state of Maharashtra. The 100-key hotel will be developed in partnership with Jeswani Group. With the addition of this hotel, the company will have 31 hotels in the state, including 11 under development.

Last week, Indian Hotels Company signed 11 hotels and opened five properties across destinations in the second quarter of this year. With a current portfolio of 270 hotels, the company remains well poised to achieve its vision of over 325 hotels by 2025. This fiscal, the hotel will be stepping into Gangtok in Sikkim, Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, Jaisalmer in Rajasthan while adding to its portfolio in Mumbai, National Capital Region, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Srinagar, Tirupati, Ranthambore, among others.

Metro Cities, Manali and Dubai Among Top Choices For Travelers

Metro cities New Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai and hill stations like Manali and Rishikesh topped the chart for Indian travelers in the first half of 2023, according to Booking.com data. Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are the most preferred international destinations by Indians. 

Along with hotels, alternative accommodations such as resorts, guest houses and homestays were the most popular choices for stays during the period, the report said. Top countries from where travelers visited India were the UK, U,S., Bangladesh, Russia, and the UAE. 

86% of Indian travelers are optimistic about their future travel plans in the next 12 months. This positive trend is expected to fuel robust growth within the travel sector,” said Santosh Kumar, country manager for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia at Booking.com.

Airbnb Focuses on Rural Tourism For Community Empowerment 

Local communities within India with Airbnbs welcomed over 19,000 guests in 2022, according to a new report. The data demonstrates the value Airbnb listings bring to underserved communities, allowing tourists to explore new destinations.

“Unlike traditional travel that concentrates tourism in specific areas, causing overcrowding, congestion and tensions, Airbnb is helping disperse guests, tourism income, and benefits to new and trending destinations, even those without hotels,” said Amanpreet Bajaj, general manager of Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan at Airbnb India. 

Airbnb hosts in India collectively made over $12 million from bookings with families last year. Last month, the company also partnered with the Ministry of Tourism to showcase India’s heritage stays and promote cultural tourism

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Tags: air traffic, airbnb, alternative accommodations, booking.com, dgca, france, india, Indian Hotels Company, investments, radisson hotel group, schengen, skift india report, tourism, travel spending, u.s.

Photo credit: Tourists at the Louvre in Paris. The number of Indian tourist arrivals to France in May last year stood at 423,701. Skift

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