Tourism & AI on upward trajectory

With an aim to sensitise the travel trade and keep them abreast about the latest developments, PATA India Chapter hosted the 5th Update and Outlook Meeting with the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, and Air India on December 26, 2016, in New Delhi.

Vinod Zutshi, Secretary-Tourism, Govt. of India and Ashwani Lohani, CMD, Air India, were present on the occasion and addressed the gathering on their achievements and plans for the year ahead. Runeep Sangha, Executive Director, PATA India explained that the platform would be a good one to receive first-hand information from the respective bodies and for the members to give feedback via a Q&A session on issues pertaining to the industry and its growth.

Zutshi was optimistic about tourism’s prospects for 2017 and provided an elaborate update on the progressive strides made by the Ministry to build on FTAs to India. Hestated, “We have been exceeding the global growth of tourism and have stuck to our target of 10 percent growth on an average for this year. Not only have we seen a drastic increase in international tourist arrivals, the domestic sector is equally flourishing. From 30-40 percent growth in 2015, we are expecting the domestic tourism growth to touch around 60-70 percent.”

He informed that the Ministry of Tourism is working on several fronts to promote tourism in line with the policies and vision outlined by the Government. The Tourism Secretary also underlined several events such as the Incredible India Tourism Investors’ Summit, Bharat Parv and Buddhist Conclave, and confirmed that another edition is planned for 2017 owing to their success.

Expansions and consolidation for the national carrier will go hand-in-hand, revealed Lohani, with plans to add at least 13 new destinations afoot. “We will be launching a minimum of six new routes in 2017 and about six more in 2018. The whole idea is to add 100 new aircraft by 2020 and to convert the existing fleet into a relatively newer one. 2017 will also focus on turning profits for Alliance Air along with the rapid expansion of Air India’s fleet and number of destinations,” he added.

Pankaj Srivastava, Director – Commerical, Air India, and the team presented the significant stride the airline had made in recent times. As Air India Express turned a profit of `105 crore in 2016 for the first time since its launch, all possible efforts are being made to overcome legacy issues, the team reassured.

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