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Singapore is becoming a popular Overseas Destination among Indians

The cruise operators offer vegetarian meals, local cuisine and special events reflecting the culture and local traditions that appeal to South Asian guests

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Singapore is becoming a popular overseas destination
Cruise ship Costa Victoria at the Singapore Cruise Centre. Wikimedia Commons
  • Singapore has become a popular overseas destination among Indians not for its food or casinos but for its cruise.
  • Fly cruise tourism has become the new trend
  • The cruise operators offer Indian cuisine, Bollywood songs, cultural events, in order to provide a local touch and please the Indian guests

New Delhi, July 30, 2017: The rank of the hawker food or the city-state’s casinos has dropped in the list of the reasons to visit Singapore, as traveling on a cruise is becoming the current favorite activity among Indians.

Singapore is a destination that most Indians have been choosing for their trip abroad, but the case now is that most people wish to go to Singapore, not for all the exciting things they can do there, but to get on a ship.

Rahul Maini, an Indian architect, and his parents embarked on their first trip abroad in May, and with the similar purpose.

Around 100,000 Indians sailed from Singapore last year, making India the biggest market for cruises departing from the Southeast Asian nation, according to the Singapore Tourism Board. Singapore has become a dynamic entry point for Indian cruise ship passengers.

“We chose to go on a cruise because we could visit three countries in one short trip,” said Maini. The family spent about $7,700, which Maini described as expensive but worth the cost, mentioned the NDTV report.

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The expenditure is part of the 777.3 billion rupees ($12 billion) that Euromonitor International has predicted to be the amount that the middle-class Indians will shell out on overseas leisure travel this year. The research company further said that the market is expanding about 10 percent annually and is expected to eclipse 1 trillion rupees by 2020.

The Changi Airport Group, which manages Singapore’s international airport have stated that India is growing the fastest among the city-state’s top 10 inbound passenger markets. Even though the Middle East and France are the most preferred overseas destinations for Indians, Singapore is on the verge of registering a 59 percent jump in arrivals from India from 2015 to 2020, according to Euromonitor.

India has even outperformed china by 3 percentage points this year, as the number of arrivals from the country increased 15 percent in the first five months of this year in comparison with the year earlier. A lot of tourists come particularly to join a cruise.

Fly-Cruise Tourism

Fly cruise tourism has also become a trend among Indian tourists.

The number of Indian passengers on Royal Caribbean ships jumped 149 percent so far this year, compared with the same period last year. This includes the peak summer school holiday period that runs in India from May to June, said Sean Treacy, the company’s Asia Pacific managing director.

“Singapore is a regional-hub port which is near many attractive Southeast Asian cruise destinations in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam,” Treacy said. “Voyages from Singapore offer Indian tourists the convenience of visiting multiple destinations across different countries on a single trip while unpacking only once,” he said.

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The number of cruise passengers from India leaving via Singapore has been increasing by least 10 percent a year annually, said Michael Goh, senior vice president of international sales for Genting Cruise Lines.

“Perceptions of cruising among Indian travelers are fast-changing,” Goh said.

Local Touch

Royal Caribbean is adding more cruises for India’s summer school holidays, Treacy said.

The cruise operators offer vegetarian meals, local cuisine and special events reflecting the culture and local traditions that appeal to South Asian guests.

“More Bollywood music may be played at the pool or disco parties, and more jewelry gift sets, which are popular with Indians, may be procured for sailings that host a higher number of them on board,” Royal Caribbean’s Treacy said.

Mani’s overseas holiday has given him a travel bug. “Singapore was good, but the cruise was better,” Maini said, who’s now saving for a cruise from Barcelona.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter: goel_samiksha

 

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State Tourism Ministers Demand Reduction Of GST On Hotels

State Tourism Ministers on Monday demanded the reduction, simplification and rationalisation of various taxes and levies, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to boost tourism in the state

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Travel, Tourism, GST, Reduction, Hotels
A scenic view of Abad Hoel, Kumarakam, Kerala. Wikimedia Commons

State Tourism Ministers who met in the Kerala capital on Monday demanded the reduction, simplification and rationalisation of various taxes and levies, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST), in the tourism and travel industry to attract tourists and face global competition.

At the end of meeting here, a resolution moved by Karnataka Tourism Minister C.T. Ravi, said the reduction in GST on hotel rooms is essential to attract more tourists.

The resolution also sought measures to reduce high airfares which worsen the tough competition faced from other global destinations.

“The Tourism Ministers’ conclave 2019 at Kovalam, Kerala, notes with concern that the GST Council of India has imposed 28 per cent GST on hotel room tariff over Rs 7,500 and 18 per cent tax on rooms with tariffs between Rs 2,500 and Rs 7,500. This tax rate is high compared with other countries,” said the resolution adopted unanimously.

Travel, Tourism, GST, Reduction, Hotels
The resolution also sought measures to reduce high airfares which worsen the tough competition faced from other global destinations. Wikimedia Commons

“We express concern over the high airfares during peak season and festival periods, which are forcing holiday-makers to opt for economical destinations. Besides, unexpected closure of certain airlines has led to increased airfares, while minimal air connectivity with 2-tier and 3-tier cities has only compounded the problem,” it noted.

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Another resolution moved by the Odisha Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi said setting up Regional Tourism Councils will facilitate periodic interaction among different states and enhance collaboration.

“We resolve to jointly promote our tourist attractions across the world in order to give a cutting edge to our campaigns,” said the second resolution.

The meeting also expressed concern over the high and varied inter-state tourist vehicle taxes and called for their rationalization across all the states to ensure seamless travel experience. (IANS)