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Pledges 20% Increase

India tells UAE it will enhance tourist numbers if granted visas on arrival

Issac John  Oct 07, 2009

The largest and most powerful travel trade organization of India, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), pledged this week to boost the annual tourist traffic to the UAE by 20 percent, provided Indian holidaymakers get visas on arrival at Emirates’ airports. TAAI is India’s largest travel trade body with over 2,400 active members comprising travel agents, tour operators, hotels, airlines, and other travel allied service providers.

Rajinder Rai, president of TAAI said he had put forward the proposal to Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing officials. “We can guarantee a minimum annual increase of 20 percent in tourist traffic to the UAE, if authorities favorably consider our request,” he said.

Currently, Indian tourists enjoy "visa-on-arrival" facilities in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Kenya, and Nepal.

Rai was speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the first TAAI overseas annual gathering in Dubai that had attracted over 2,000 travel trade professionals from India and the Gulf region.

Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said it expected Indian tourist traffic to Dubai would cross the 600,000 mark in 2010 as a result of new marketing initiatives and increased cooperation with TAAI. Last year, the number of Indian guests in Dubai hotels rose to 493,318.

DTCM expects the four-day TAAI Convention, being staged at the Festival City Convention Centre, to give an opportunity to key decision-makers of India’s booming travel and tourism industry to explore Dubai’s attractions and strengths as a year-round business and leisure destination.

At the opening ceremony held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, participants were urged by speakers “to strengthen India-Dubai relations in tourism domain and learn from the success of Dubai as an all-appealing tourist destination.”

The opening ceremony was addressed among others by the DTCM executive director for Business Tourism and Dubai Convention Bureau, Hamad bin Mejren; the Consul General of India for Dubai and Northern Emirates, Venu Rajamony; TAAI President, Rajinder Rai; and TAAI Secretary General and Convention Chairman, 
Sunil Kumar.

Hamad said the Indian market was one of the most important markets for Dubai and that DTCM was looking forward to utilizing the convention as a new catalyst that would further promote and market Dubai in India. “The promotions that we have initiated lately have shown signs of fast growth and our marketing campaigns have strengthened our position in huge-potential markets like India where we have a representative office in Mumbai for the past 13 years. DTCM is planning to increase promotions in India that will create further awareness about advantage Dubai,” he said.

Rajamony spoke about the strong historical relations between Dubai and India and the contribution of Indians to the development of the emirate. “India’s tourism industry should learn from the success of Dubai and tap the immense growth potential that the destination offers,” he said. Rai said the convention heralded TAAI’s foray into the Middle East with concrete plans that had “the potential to transform the entire landscape of tourism, whether it is inbound or outbound.”

India tells UAE it will enhance tourist numbers if granted visas on arrival
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