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Dubai is the largest overseas travel destination for Indians, Thailand second

Dubai is the largest overseas travel destination for Indians.

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Dubai, Feb 19, 2017: Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Tourism, has a lot riding on Indian travellers. The world’s largest democracy sent the maximum number of visitors to the Emirate state for the second consecutive year in 2016 and accounted for more than one-fifth of the growth in tourist arrivals in Dubai.

Dubai is the largest overseas travel destination for Indians. In 2016, a total of 1.8 million Indians visited Dubai either for business or leisure. In fact, 12 out of every hundred overseas visitors that Dubai had last year was an Indian. Further, the number of Indians who visited Dubai surged by 12 per cent last year, on a high base of 1.6 million in 2015.

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his last Budget speech that about 20 million Indians travelled overseas for business or leisure in 2015 to substantiate his argument that we are a tax non-compliant society. The numbers for 2016 are not known but trends show that there should’ve been a double-digit jump.

Kazim said that on an average, every Indian spends more than three nights in Dubai and visitors include those opting for high-end luxurious hotels to three-star accommodations. People splurge on restaurants and shopping. He said that one out of every five visitors to Dubai comes for business, as trade ties continue to grow between India and the UAE.

Well, Dubai is not the only country benefiting from the rising number of Indian overseas travellers. In 2016, Singapore reported an eight per cent surge in travellers from India, which also overtook Australia to become the fourth largest source market for arrivals. A total of 1.09 million Indians visited Singapore in 2016 and constituted close to seven per cent of total international visitors. According to the Singapore Tourism Board, growth from India is helped by rising numbers in tier-I and -II cities.

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More countries welcome over a million Indians every year. Thailand, a popular budget tourist destination celebrated the arrival of a million Indian tourists (1.06 million) in 2015 and attracted 12 per cent more Indian visitors in 2016. A total of 1.19 million Indians visited Thailand last year.

Other countries are keen to grow the number of visitors from India to a million. Malaysia, which received 0.72 million visitors from India in 2015, hopes to welcome as many as a million visitors. “This year, we hope to achieve high targets from India, as much as one million arrivals,” Malaysian tourism and culture minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said earlier this week. A number of other destinations are seeing a double-digit growth in Indian visitors as well, though on a smaller base. These include countries such as Australia, South Africa and Kenya, among others. (IANS)

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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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400 mn using Facebook Watch, now available on desktop. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)