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Has India made it lucrative enough for film units to camp in the country to shoot their movies?

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A foreign film shooting in India will now be able to claim up to 40% of the expenditure incurred (in India) with the maximum limit capped at INR 300 million ($4 million). An additional five percent bonus will be given for “significant Indian content.”

What’s Behind the Decision? Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur cited better incentives to bring larger international film projects to India and further enhance India’s positioning as a premier filmmaking destination.

Incentive Scheme Background: India introduced a 30% incentive scheme last year at Cannes to encourage the production of foreign films. Under this plan, filmmakers can get a refund of up to 30% of the money spent on producing a film in India, previously capped at INR 25 million ($300,000).

Who Will Qualify? International film productions that have received permission to shoot in India from the ministry of information and broadcasting and for documentaries from the external affairs ministry will qualify for this incentive program.

Trivia: The Indian media and entertainment industry, with an annual growth rate of 20%, is the world’s fifth-largest and one of the most globalized industries.

Radisson’s Zubin Saxena is Now Hilton’s Country Head

Hilton, on November 20, announced the appointment of Zubin Saxena as its India country head. Zubin joins Hilton from Radisson Hotel Group, where he worked for over 8 years, most recently as the Managing Director and Area Senior Vice President of South Asia. He will take charge in January 2024.

Saxena takes over from Navjit Ahluwalia, who leaves Hilton after 6 years. Saxena will oversee Hilton’s 25 trading hotels in India, leading the company’s expansion in South Asia with 20 properties in the development pipeline.

Luxury Expansion: Hilton is expanding in India as it signed a deal in November to bring its first Curio Collection hotel to India. Moreover, in April 2023, Hilton announced the launch of its luxury brand Waldorf Astoria in Jaipur, slated to open in 2027.

Future Hilton Pipeline: Hilton plans to triple its portfolio to have 75 trading and pipeline hotels in India. This will see the company grow the presence of its existing core Hilton brand – along with Conrad, Hampton by Hilton, Double Tree by Hilton, and Hilton Garden Inn, as well as continue to debut new brands.

2024 Travel Preferences for Indians

A Skyscanner Destinations and Insights Report reveals Indian travelers are trending towards diverse destinations, including cultural hubs like Almaty and Baku, beach locales like Vietnam’s Da Nang, Thailand’s Krabi and Seychelle’s Mahé Island, and vibrant cities like Japan’s Osaka, Austria’s Vienna, and New Zealand’s Auckland. This eclectic mix showcases a preference for both traditional and modern experiences, from Central Asian culture to Southeast Asian beaches and dynamic urban environments.

Of these, entry into Thailand is visa-free, while Vietnam has expressed its intention to scrap visa rules for Indian visitors.

Long-Haul Departures: Much like in 2022, the majority of Indian travelers are booking long-haul flights within 30 days of departure, with the 7-29-day window taking the greatest share (41%) at the start of the year. 90+ day windows were tracking higher year-on-year and have since normalized, along with other booking windows.

Travel Spend in 2024: Two-thirds or 63% of Indian travelers surveyed say they’ll spend more on travel in the upcoming year, followed by UAE travelers (56%), Singaporeans (47%), Spaniards (43%) and South Koreans (43%).

Number of Trips Planned: In 2024, U.S. travelers are expected to lead the way with the most trips, at 3.4. They’re followed by travelers from the UAE with 3.3 trips, Saudi Arabia with 3.2, Singapore with 3.1 and India with 3.

Mobile Travel Planning and Booking:  Nearly half of travelers have undertaken destination
research (48%) and compared flights (47%) on a mobile device, with 40% booking travel. Those from the UAE, Spain, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore are the most likely to book on a mobile device.

Destination Considerations: 65% of Indians consider the weather and culture before picking a destination, while 71% consider food. 

India’s Faith-Based Market Projected to Cross $1 Billion in 2023

India’s faith-based tourism market value is $1.02 billion in 2023, according to Future Market Insights (FMI). Accounting for 6% to 11% of India’s overall tourism market, it is projected to grow by 16% from 2023 to 2033.

What’s Driving the Growth? The Indian economy’s strong performance is a key factor driving the future growth of faith-based tourism in the country, FMI stated. Investment into transportation, accommodations, roads, healthcare, and hygiene has helped, as has new technologies, like security systems, to encourage the growth of religious tourism, the report noted.

Social media is a contributing factor: Around 508 million Indians use social media like Facebook and Instagram. This provides a good opportunity for tourism-based businesses to actively promote their deals and packages.

The rise of travel bloggers has also positively influenced the adoption of faith-based tourism in India and created more opportunities in the market. Travel blogs are becoming a popular way for people to get travel information. 

Market competition to reach customers first: Companies are focusing on developing products and specialized categories to meet the growing demand, creating opportunities for customizing travel packages. Faith-based tourism is becoming more popular in South Asia, particularly in India.

In action: In May 2023, a memorandum of understanding was signed in Guwahati to improve waterway connections between seven religious sites. The plan includes a service where passengers can hop on and off boats, linking the historical and religious sites around the city of Guwahati, such as Kamakhyas, Pandunaths, Aswaklantas, Umanandas, Chakreshwars, and Auniati Satras.

Tourism Mart Once Again Brings Focus Back to Northeast India

The 11th International Tourism Mart kicked off in Meghalaya’s Shillong on Tuesday. The three-day event is organized every year by the tourism minister in different northeastern states on a rotational basis. 

What’s The Importance?

  • The event looks to offer a larger platform for stakeholders in Northeast India to connect with others from within the country and overseas markets. 
  • The event also intends to raise awareness about the tourism potential of the Northeast region and showcase its distinctive tourism offerings, diverse wildlife, and unique intangible heritage. 
  • The event highlights local traditions, dance forms, arts, handicrafts and handlooms, reaching out to both domestic and international audiences.

This year, the International Tourism Mart is designed as a green event, incorporating eco-friendly practices and low-carbon options.

Yatra’s Announces $5 Million Share Repurchase Authorization

Yatra Online has announced that its board of directors has approved a share repurchase program, under which the company is authorized to purchase up to $5 million of its outstanding ordinary shares over an unlimited time period.

The company’s transformation in the past three years, along with the launch of an IPO in India, has set the stage for profitable growth, said Dhruv Shringi, Yatra’s CEO and co-founder.

Key Points:

  • This authorization represents approximately 5% of Yatra’s market capitalization based on the current share price. 
  •  The share repurchase program is not yet effective and is subject to the execution of definitive plan documents and a regulatory cooling-off period.
  •  Under the program, shares may be repurchased from time to time in the open market or privately negotiated transactions.
  •  The timing, manner, price, and amount of any repurchases will be subject to the discretion of the company.

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Tags: cannes, film, hilton, india outbound, radisson, skift india report, skyscanner, yatra

Photo credit: India is looking to woo foreign filmmakers to shoot films in the country. Darshak12Pandya / Pixabay

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