Kenya Offers Incentives to Indian Travel Agents. Plus: New Metro Route to the Taj Mahal — India Report



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India was the fifth biggest source market for Kenya in 2022. It, therefore, plays an important role in the African nation’s strategy to recover its tourism sector from the pandemic.

The Kenya Tourism Board has launched a marketing campaign in India. Under the campaign, the tourism board will provide travel agents with incentives to promote Kenya as a tourism destination to the Indian travelers. 

The campaign highlights the importance of India for Kenya’s tourism. John Chirchir, Ag CEO, Kenya Tourism Board, said that India stands as a pivotal market for Kenya in terms of travel and tourism. “We believe that this initiative will significantly contribute to strengthening our foothold in this dynamic landscape,” he added. 

Visa-free entry in Kenya: In January 2024, Kenya became a visa-free country for international tourists, including for Indian passport holders. The move aimed to boost the country’s tourism sector, while also streamlining the entry process in the country with a new digital portal. Travelers to Kenya only need to apply and pay for an electronic travel authorization in order to enter the country. 

In 2022, Kenya received more than 81,000 tourists from India, an increase of more than 93% over the 2021 figure. India was also the fifth largest source market for the country in 2022. During the first eight months of 2023, Kenya attracted most Indian visitors among all African nations.

New Stretch of Agra Metro Connecting Taj Mahal to be Launched 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to inaugurate the new stretch of the Agra Metro on Wednesday. The new stretch will connect to popular tourist destinations including Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. The rapid transit network in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra will operate trains on the new route between 6 am and 10 pm every day. 

The new stretch has been named ‘priority corridor’, and will connect Taj East Gate with Mankameshwar Temple. According to Ministry of Tourism data, Taj Mahal was the most visited ASI monument during the 2022-23 fiscal year. The monument received a domestic footfall of 4.5 million during this period. 

21.8 Million Domestic Tourists Visited Kerala in 2023

The coastal state of Kerala recorded 21.8 million domestic tourists in 2023, setting a new record for its domestic tourist arrivals. This figure was nearly 16% up from the 2022 levels, which stood at nearly 18.9 million tourists. 

Notably, 2023 also marked an increase of about 19% over the 2019 pre-Covid levels, Kerala tourism minister P A Mohamed Riyas said. Ernakulam district, where Kochi is located, saw the highest influx of tourists in 2023, followed by Idukki district, in which Munnar is situated. State capital’s district Thiruvananthapuram was the third most visited district in Kerala. 

EaseMyTrip Launches Co-Branded Credit Card with Punjab National Bank

Online travel agency EaseMyTrip has collaborated with Punjab National Bank to launch the PNB EMT co-branded credit card. The card will provide holders with rewards and benefits to travelers on flights, hotels, and holiday packages bookings. The card also allows holders to access domestic and international airport lounges. 

Co-branded credit cards are becoming more popular in the hospitality and travel industry in India. Last year, Marriott International’s loyalty program Marriott Bonvoy partnered HDFC Bank to launch a co-branded credit card. Full-service airline Vistara has also partnered with multiple banks including SBI and Axis Bank to launch a range of credit cards. IndiGo also has a co-branded credit card with HDFC Bank. 

Yatra Online Appoints Gaurav Luthra as Chief Business Officer

Gaurav Luthra has been appointed as the Chief Business Officer — New Business Development for Yatra Online. He will drive the corporate travel proposition of the company, while focusing on mid-market and SME customers. Luthra will also develop new products including visa facilitation and car rentals for business travelers.

Yatra Online is looking to further grow its business. In the third quarter of 2023-24 fiscal year, the company reported a year-on-year revenue growth of 23%.

Etihad Airways to Expand Operations to Jaipur

Etihad Airways has announced its plans to expand its operations to Jaipur, Rajasthan. The national airline of the United Arab Emirates will begin four weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Jaipur starting June 16.

The airline is also increasing its frequency to Thiruvananthapuram from June 15. With three additional flights, the airline will operate a total of 10 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and the state capital of Kerala.

Agoda Launches AI-Driven Personalized Advertisement Campaign

Online travel platform Agoda has introduced a personalized advertising campaign driven by Artificial Intelligence. The campaign, which is tailored to the Indian audience, features actor Ayushmann Khurrana. With the help of the technology, the platform has created more than 250 customized videos for various tourist destinations in India and abroad. 

The campaign has used a single video of the actor and converted it into more than 250 ads with the help of generative AI. The technology aids in adapting the ad to the user according to their destination of interest in order to make it relevant to each viewer.



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