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Strong Start to 2016 for India tourism

Country welcomes 844,000 visitors in January, led by US and UK

India's tourism industry has seen a strong start to the year, with international visitor arrivals increasing almost 7% in January 2016.

According to data released this week by India's Ministry of Tourism, the country welcomed a total of 844,000 overseas visitors in the first month of the year, up 6.8% from the 791,000 it received in January 2015.

The US was India's largest source market in the month, accounting for 15.3% of total arrivals, followed by Bangladesh (12.0%), the UK (11.2%), Canada (4.9%) and Australia (4.0%). Russia, Germany, France, Sri Lanka and China completed the top 10.

India earned tourism revenues of INR 136.69 billion (approx. US$ 2.03bn) in January 2016, up 13.0% year-on-year.

Last year, India welcomed a total of 8.02 million international visitors, up 4.4% compared with 2014.



108-room Courtyard by Marriott Raipur opens

Located in the capital city of Chhattisgarh, Courtyard by Marriott Raipur is the 14th property for the brand in India, and the second in the state, joining Courtyard by Marriott Bilaspur. The hotel has the largest guest suite in the city, at 699 square feet. 

Each of the 96 rooms and 12 suites feature high-speed wireless internet; LED TVs; a well-appointed work area with comfort lighting and ergonomic chairs, an iPod docking station; and a coffee machine. The suites offer visual alarms and notification devices for the door and phones. The property has a relaxing Spa, with two well-appointed therapy rooms to provide soothing spa treatments, affording guests much needed relaxation after a long day.

The hotel is an ideal venue for corporate and social events.  The 425-square-metre ballroom can be divided into two function space to suit events of various sizes. The hotel also offers state-of-the-art meeting facilities set against a perfect backdrop to host world class corporate events and large weddings.

Akhil Mathur, General Manager, Courtyard by Marriott, Raipur, said, "It is indeed a great honour to be present in this vibrant and constantly evolving city of Raipur. Keeping in mind the choices and travel habits of our guests, we've taken great care in designing this hotel to provide services and facilities that cater to their every need."



Visa-on-arrival for Japanese citizens from today

Visa-on-arrival facility will be rolled out to Japanese nationals beginning today, in a move that is expected to boost inflow of tourists and business visitors.

The facility being given to Japanese will be an upgradation of e-Tourist Visa currently offered to citizens of 150 countries. While e-Tourist Visa requires to submit an online visa application followed by its approval before arrival in India, Japanese national would not be required to go through the process. Japanese will be given visa on arrival in India in any of the six designated airports - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, a Home Ministry official said.

The visa-on-arrival for Japanese will be issued in business, tourist, medical and conference categories. It will have a validity of 30 days. According to an estimate, around 1.8 lakh Indian visas are issued to Japanese nationals every year, of which 80 per cent are tourists. On an average, 600 Japanese arrive in Delhi daily.
During the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India in December 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that the visa-on-arrival facility would be given to Japanese nationals from March this year.