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Cambodian tourists have largely visited India for religious travel to Buddhist sites and for affordable medical treatments. Meanwhile, Cambodia is hoping to attract more Indians – but much more than a direct flight is needed to attract the Indian travelers.

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The first-ever direct flight between India and Cambodia took flight over the weekend. The Phnom Penh-New Delhi service is being operated by Cambodia’s national airline Cambodia Angkor Air and it will operate four times a week. 

The move is aimed at enhancing the travel opportunities between the two countries, particularly promoting the rich spiritual heritage of Cambodia. 

When the flight was announced last month, Koy Kuong, Ambassador of the Royal Embassy of Cambodia to India, said that he was hoping the direct flight connectivity and demand for medical tourism in India would lead to the flow of tourists between the two nations to double year-on-year.

Increasing Tourism: According to an Economic Times report, in the first three months of 2024, Cambodia received 20,000 Indian tourists, marking an increase of over 25% from the same period last year. In 2023, around 69,000 Indian tourists visited Cambodia. This is up from the 2021 figure of 45,000, but still not back to the pre-Covid numbers of 75,000 Indian tourists. 

India is a key medical and religious tourism destination for Cambodians, Kuong said. He expects that more Cambodian people are likely to seek medical treatment in India due to lower cost as compared to neighboring countries. Cambodian tourists also visited India to see Buddhist sites in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. However, the direct flight connectivity is likely to boost other tourism aspects as well, he was cited as saying by PTI

“Before the direct flight they came either for pilgrimage or medical treatment, but now they will want to explore more. Besides religious tourism and medical tourism, they will explore places for sightseeing, and other places,” he said.

Cambodia-India Tourism Year: To boost tourism between the two countries, the tourism ministries of India and Cambodia have launched the inaugural ‘Cambodia-India Tourism Year’.

During the event, Indian tourism ministry director general Manisha Saxena said that the Cambodia-India Tourism Year would allow citizens of both the countries to explore the common culture shared by India and Cambodia.

Ixigo Lists on Indian Stock Exchanges

Online travel company Ixigo’s stock was listed on the Indian bourses on Wednesday. The company was listed on both Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE) at more than 45% above its IPO price. 

On both the stock exchanges, it hit the upper price band within the first two hours of trading. This means that Ixigo experienced heavy demand from buyers, leading to its trading being paused for the rest of the day. 

Ixigo’s debut on the stock exchanges is in line with its IPO performance, when investors applied for about 98 times the number of shares in its initial public offering. The company was aiming to raise $89 million from its IPO. According to its prospectus, it aims to use the proceeds from the IPO to fund working capital requirements, invest in cloud infrastructure and technology, and drive inorganic growth.

Akasa Air to Minimize Announcements During Late-Night, Early-Morning Flights

Akasa Air has launched ‘QuiteFlights’, as a part of which the airline will minimize announcements during late-night and early-morning flights. Akasa will limit the announcements to essential safety messages during flights operating between 10 pm and 6 am. It will also adjust the cabin lighting to enhance privacy and create what the airline calls a calming inflight experience. 

The low-cost airline recently began operating its third international route, connecting Mumbai with Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. The daily direct flights commenced on Saturday and marked the second destination on Akasa’s network in Saudi, after Jeddah. 

Since its commencement in August 2022, the airline has expanded its network to 25 cities, of which 3 are international destinations. 

Discrimination Concerns Major Issue for Indian LGBTQ+ Travelers

After financial consideration, the biggest issue for Indian LGBTQ+ travelers is looking for destinations where they can be their authentic self, according to a report by Over 50% of LGBTQ+ travelers in India prefer to visit destinations where LGBTQ+ tourism is well established. 

The online travel company said that close to 80% of its respondents have booked a trip in the last year to a destination that was supportive of LGBTQ+ residents, while nearly 70% canceled a trip in the past year after they saw their destination being unsupportive of residents of the LGBTQ+ community. 

More than 60% of the respondents also stated that they had a negative flight experience with a fellow passenger directly related to their identity. Hence, over 75% of the LGBTQ+ travelers prefer selecting their seat in advance to minimize interaction with others to avoid discrimination. 

BLS International Subsidiary Acquires 55% Stake in Aadifidelis Solutions

Visa consultancy services firm BLS International has announced that its subsidiary BLS E-Services Limited has acquired a 55% controlling interest in loan distribution and processing company Aadifidelis Solutions and its affiliates. 

The acquisition is being carried out for an enterprise value of INR 1.9 billion ($22.8 million). 

BLS International joint managing director Shikhar Aggarwal said that the acquisition is a strategic move. “It will unveil a plethora of cross-selling opportunities while integrating specialized loan processing and distribution services into our portfolio.”


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Tags: acquisitions, airlines, akasa air, cambodia, in-flight, india, india outbound, india travel, inflight, international air traffic, international travel, ipo, ixigo, LGBT travel, skift india report, stock market, stocks, tourism, Travel Trends

Photo credit: The move is aimed at enhancing the travel opportunities between the two countries, particularly promoting the rich spiritual heritage of Cambodia. Julia Volk / Pexels

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