Tourism Ministry to Set up Multilingual Helpline
India will soon have well-equipped, multilingual telephonic contact centre to provide information services to foreign tourists. The tourism ministry has initiated the action to set up a telephonic contact centre with competent, qualified and experienced partners.

This service will primarily serve those who are calling from abroad and know very little about travel within India. Also those who have reached India but don't understand Indian systems or Indian languages, often not even English, will be helped by the helpline. The government has identified ten international languages - Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish - for the helpline. The ministry will outsource back offices for guidance services. This helpline is expected to start by March 31, 2015.

Growth of Tourism industry's contribution to Indian economy
Travel and tourism industry in India is likely to post above-average growth this year, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). WTTC's annual economic impact report 2014 for India shows that travel and tourism's economic contribution is expected to grow by 7.3% this year, outperforming the general economy by 2.5% points.

Revenues gained from domestic tourism rose by 5.1% in 2013 and is expected to increase by 8.2% in 2014. The amount that international visitors spent in India rose by 6.2% in 2013 but is forecast to slow to a 2.9% growth rate in 2014. "Inbound tourism is continuing to grow both in terms of international tourist arrivals and international tourism receipts. But it is the domestic market which will see particularly strong growth in 2014 with more investment and more Indians travelling," David Scowsill, president and chief executive officer, WTTC, said.

Visa on Arrival demand up by 23% (year-on-year) in July 2013
The Visa on Arrival (VOA) scheme of the Government, which continues to grow in popularity with foreign tourists, registered a growth of 22.6 percent during July 2013 as compared to July 2012. During the month, a total number of 1,154 VoAs were issued as compared to 941 during July 2012. The VoAs issued under this scheme during July this year for nationals of the 11 countries were Japan (327), New Zealand (251), Indonesia (173), the Philippines (172), Singapore (149), Finland (44), Vietnam (14), Myanmar (8), Cambodia (8), and Luxembourg (8). In fact, during the period January to July 2013, a total number of 10,482 VoAs were issued as compared to 7,662 VoAs during corresponding period of 2012, registering a growth of 36.8 per cent.
HRAWI's 17th regional convention on Aug 23-24 in Pune
The Hotel & Restaurant Association Western India (HRAWI) will hold its 17th regional convention on 23-24 August 2013 in Pune. Themed 'Tourism: Awakening the Sleeping Giant', the convention is aimed at promoting Pune as the perfect MICE destination through its known and unknown places, along with discussing and resolving the government taxation, classification and other issues affecting the tourism and hotel sector.
24-hour helpline being launched for tourists
Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi "approved the setting up of a multi-lingual helpline to provide general information and assistance to tourists", an official statement said. "The helpline will be in the languages of the important source countries besides Hindi and English. The minister has directed that the toll free helpline should be accessible from everywhere in India and should start functioning in the new calendar year," the statement said.

Once the helpline is launched, "this will not only be circulated to Foreign Tourist Operators, Indian Missions abroad but would also be given to all the tourists visiting India", said IATO president Subhash Goyal. India gets around six million foreign tourists every year. The Delhi government has launched a round-the-clock women's helpline - 181 -- as one of its measures to tackle crimes against women.

Reduced Helicopter Fare for Shri Amarnathji Yatra-2012
There is an extremely good news for the devotees who wish to perform Shri Amarnathji Yatra 2012 as the helicopter fare for the pilgrims have been reduced by over 40% on Baltal-Panjtarni route and by over 35% on Pahalgam-Panjtarni route for Yatra 2012.
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