The year that was Top developments of 2016

As year 2016 comes to end, it is time to look back at the outgoing year. 2016 has been very eventful for the Indian travel and tourism Industry. There have been many big developments across the sector. India’s first ever Civil Aviation Policy was announced in 2016. TnH here recaps this year’s top developments in the industry:

New Civil Aviation Policy launched

The announcement of India’s first-ever national civil aviation policy by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been probably the most important development in 2016 as far as India’s travel and tourism industry is concerned. In June this year, the Union Cabinet approved India’s first National Civil Aviation Policy, which scrapped ‘5/20′ rule for domestic airlines to start international operations, allowing new domestic airlines to start operating on international routes quickly. New airlines can now start their operations on international routes after operating at least 20 planes or 20 per cent of their total flying capacity, whichever is higher, on domestic routes. The new policy also aims to improve regional air connectivity in the country and make flying affordable for common man. As a part of its regional connectivity scheme, passengers will be charged Rs. 2,500 for an hour’s flight on regional routes by the airlines. The government will provide financial support to fund airlines’ losses on such un-served routes. This will be done through “a small levy per departure” on all domestic routes except in remote and north-eastern States.

Aamir Khan Removed as MoT’s Brand Ambassador

Earlier this year, Bollywood Star Amir Khan ceased to be the brand ambassador of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ campaign of the Ministry of Tourism as the contract for it expired. For ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ campaign, MoT had contract with the McCann Worldwide agency, which had hired Aamir for the job. After cessation of the contract, MoT did not renew the contract with the agency, therefore, Amir Khan also ceased to be the brand ambassador of campaign.

1st Meeting of the Medical Tourism Panel Held

The first meeting of “National Medical & Wellness Tourism Promotion Board” was held under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism & Culture & Civil Aviation in January. The National Medical & Wellness Tourism Promotion Board was constituted in 2015 to enable promotion and positioning of India as a competent and credible medical and wellness tourism destination.

Multilingual Tourist Helpline & Mobile App Launched

This year in February, MoT launched a 24×7 toll free multi lingual tourist helpline in 12 languages i.e. Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, English & Hindi. It can be accessed on Toll Free Number 1800-11-1363 or short code 1363. In another move, MoT also launched a mobile application called ‘Swachh Paryatan’ in February, which let citizens report any hygiene issues at various tourist destinations across the country.

National Tourism Advisory Council Constituted

This year in October, Ministry of Tourism announced the constitution of National Tourism Advisory Council (NTAC) under the chairmanship of Union Minister of State for Tourism (I/C) Dr. Mahesh Sharma. Union Tourism Secretary was designated as its vice chairman. There were no NTAC in place since BJP-NDA government came into power in May 2016. The NTAC will act as think-tank and advice the government on various policy matters relating to tourism. Apart from the government officials from various ministries linked to tourism and heads of major travel trade associations, experts from private sector have also been appointed as its members.

Civil Aviation Minister

After completing two years in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reshuffled his cabinet in June this year, wherein Dr. Jayant Sinha was appointed the new Minister of State for Civil Aviation, replacing Dr. Mahesh Sharma. Before his new ministry, Dr. Sinha was minster of State for Finance since May 2014.

Railways Introduced Dynamic Pricing System

This year in September, The India railways introduced a dynamic fare system on its premium trains. Under the system, base fares of air-conditioned tier 2 and tier 3 railway coaches increases by 10% with every 10% seats booked with maximum allowed surge being 1.5 times and 1.4 times the base fare, respectively, for tier 2 and tier 3.

Incredible India Tourism Investors’ Summit

The first ever ‘Incredible India Tourism Investors Summit’ was organized from 21st – 23rd September 2016 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, with the objective of positioning the Indian Tourism sector for attracting large investments and presenting to the Investors tangible investment-ready projects in the different States/Union Territories of India. The list of the States and other stakeholders who have participated in the Summit is given at Annexure. The Summit provided a global platform for interaction with investors, policy makers and Indian industry leaders, other stakeholders and showcased the investment opportunities in the tourism sector in India by presenting a bouquet of investment ready projects from the States/Union Territories. The issues discussed included investment in core infrastructure for tourism; Digital India and Start-up India: Investing in Tourism Technology; Panel discussion on MICE and Medical Tourism, etc.

India was Premier Partner at WTM London 2016

Another highlight of this year was the for the first time, India’s Ministry of Tourism participated as Official Premier Partner at WTM London 2016, World’s leading B2B event for the global travel and tourism industry, where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals.

Demonetization

On 8th November, India’s Prime Minister announced the demonetization of Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 notes in order to fight black money menace in the economy. It is the biggest development in India in 2016, impacting the whole economy. The biggest economic development in many years is expected to lead India towards cashless economy that will give huge boost to tourism industry in the long run.

TOP GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS BREXIT

UK’s referendum result to leave the European Union was probably the biggest political and economic development in the world, triggering a shock wave across the World economy. Although Brexit is yet to come into force, there is wide apprehension in the UK, EU and rest of the world about its long-term impact on the world economy and tourism.

Marriott-Starwood merger

Marriott’s takeover of Starwood was the biggest corporate development in the world’s hospitality industry. In April this year, Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood after separately held special stockholder meetings of both the groups approved the merger. The merger of Starwood into Marriott International has made Marriott the world’s largest hotel company. Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s president and chief executive officer, said, “With today’s successful stockholder approval milestone, we are that much closer to completing our transaction. Our teams continue to plan the integration of our two companies, and we are committed to a timely and smooth transition. We appreciate the stockholders’ vote of confidence in our ability to drive long-term value and opportunity as a combined company.”

Top developments of 2016

• New National Civil Aviation Policy launched

• Aamir Khan Removed as MoT’s Brand Ambassador

• Multilingual Tourist Helpline & Mobile App launched

• National Tourism Advisory Council constituted

• Dr. Jayant Sinha became new junior Civil Aviation Minister

• Railways Introduced Dynamic Pricing System

• The first Incredible India Tourism Investors’ Summit held

• Demonetization

• India was Premier Partner at WTM London 2016

BREXIT: The world’s biggest political and economic development that sent shock waves across the World economy.

• Marriott-Starwood merge: the biggest corporate development in the world’s hospitality industry

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