Tourists steer clear of Brazil, Russia, India and Nigeria because of onerous visa requirements, EM Squared reported last week. But even with easy tourist visas in place, these emerging market giants won’t reach their full potential. The real key lies in enhancing the ease of doing business and developing adequate infrastructure.

Visa policies are certainly a real barrier to tourist arrivals. No matter how beautiful or intriguing your country is as a tourist destination, if you make it too complicated for tourists to visit, they will stay away. That problem is not limited to emerging markets. A few years ago, US Travel Association estimated that the US lost the equivalent of 467,000 jobs due to the difficulty for citizens of primarily Brazil, India and China to obtain a visa. Read more

Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, arrived in India on Wednesday for a visit expected to showcase significant investment deals and make progress toward resolving a decades-old border dispute.

But beyond the official bonhomie, the shallow foundations of an uneasy bilateral relationship are readily evident. Nowhere are they more obvious than with tourism. China’s outbound tourism boom appears to have largely bypassed India, which took only 2.5 per cent of its tourist arrivals from its northern neighbour in 2013.

This put Chinese arrivals behind those both from Malaysia – at 3.5 per cent of the total – and Russia – at 3.7 per cent. Read more

If your mental map of the global economy puts emerging markets on the periphery and developed markets at the core, then developments in the global travel industry are set to turn you inside out.

By 2023, according to a new study by Oxford Economics, the “emerging” world will dominate global air traffic, accounting for 51 per cent of total traffic, up from 44 per cent in 2013 (see chart). The main drivers of this trend will be a rapid upsurge in international travellers from China, Russia, Brazil, India and Indonesia who spend at a quicker pace than developed world counterparts. Read more

Visa? Tick.

India’s long-awaited plan to extend the option of a visa on arrival to more tourists was finally confirmed this week, following discussions between the relevant ministries.

By easing the paperwork for international visitors, India hopes to boost the tourism industry which has taken a hit over the past year as concerns over security have hurt India’s reputation. Read more

The fortunes of airlines may fluctuate from tricky to troubled the world over, but new numbers out on Monday show that one sector is booming, at least in the number of seats available.

Asian carriers have expanded the number of low-cost seats available dramatically in 2013, leaving other regions trailing in terms of growth, and catching up with the low-cost capacity of the US and Europe. Read more

Edward Snowden must be getting a lot of sympathy in China, at least among those fed up with being stranded at airports. Delayed flights are a common experience and it’s getting worse. Why is it so hard to get flights on time in China?

Airport outrage has exploded into more and more violent encounters between passengers and airport staff. Click here for a video showing one recent example from Beijing Airport. Read more

Poland’s flat countryside hasn’t been regularly visited by elephants since mammoths disappeared at the end of the last ice age, but a new elephant has appeared not far from Warsaw – a white one.

That would be the problem-plagued Modlin airport about 40km north-west of Warsaw. This week it was dealt a body blow by Hungary’s low-cost Wizz Air airline, which announced it would not be returning to Modlin after the airport was forced to close for more than half a year to rebuild its runway. Read more

Is today (Tuesday) the right day to announce a new investment in Turkey, when police and protestors are battling for control of Taksim Square?

The world’s largest car hire company thinks so. Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the US group that operates the Enterprise, National Car Rental and Alamo brands, has done a deal with Yes Oto Kiralama, a subsidiary of Gurbaşlar Automotive Group, to move into Turkey. Read more

It’s been billed Africa’s “best airline” for a good ten years running now but South Africa’s troubled SA Airways (SAA) has little to celebrate nowadays, with news that it could slash more flight routes to save money. Read more

Every year, China stages the largest human migration on earth as up to 1bn people go home to their roots. The FT’s Patti Waldmeir reports on the phenomenal combined buying power of China’s 260m migrant workers and looks at the type of gifts they are buying this year.

For the tens of millions of Chinese who will journey back home next month for the Chinese New Year, fighting over the limited supply of train tickets is nothing new. But this year, the fight has moved online, and somewhat controversially. Read more

The Chinese government’s decision to suspend toll charges during the current eight-day autumn holiday has generated huge traffic jams – and an internet debate about what to do about them.

In the free-market camp, are those who argue that far from scrapping tolls, the authorities should have raised them to produce manageable flows on some of the busiest days of the year.

Nonsense, reply the socialists, the government should have gone further and extended the toll-free travel from passengers to long-distance buses, to benefit poorer Chinese. Read more

Richard Solomons, chief executive of InterContinental Hotel Group, the world’s largest hotel group by rooms, says he remains confident about China despite its slowing growth.

Most foreign visitors to Indonesia never make it out of Jakarta, the capital, or the resort island of Bali.

But Accor, the Paris-based hotel group that owns the Novotel and Ibis brands, is pinning its Indonesian expansion hopes on the growth of secondary cities like Balikpapan, Makassar, Lampung and Pekanbaru, which are thriving thanks to the ongoing commodities boomRead more

Thomas Cook announced Wednesday that it planned to sell its India business – in which it owns a 77 per cent stake – in order to ease its mounting debt problems, sending shares in the Indian company up 19.9 per cent, compared to a 0.5 per cent gain in the Bombay Stock Exchange’s benchmark Sensex.

As the FT reported, the British company showed a £91m underlying operating loss in the quarter ending December 31, in line with analyst expectations but more than double the £37m loss a year earlier, having been hampered by depressed consumer spending in Europe and political unrest in the Middle East. Read more

More evidence, as if it were necessary, of the damage done to tourism by the unrest in North Africa and the Middle East. Tui Travel, the UK-based operator, on Tuesday reported a £23m increase in its operating losses for the three months to December.

The blame was put squarely on North Africa, with French travellers, in particular, staying away in droves from their traditional winter sunshine haunts. But Tui is taking this in its stride: as expected, it is doing much better than rival Thomas Cook, where the impact of North Africa has been compounded by financing challenges. Read more

Domestic travel by Chinese citizens shot up during the first three days of the current lunar New Year holiday, demonstrating continued consumer confidence in China despite the slight economic slowdown. Read more

Walmart is hemorrhaging senior executives, Best Buy is wondering what went wrong, and Barbie had to shut up shop and leave town: is it time to rethink the future of the Western brand in China?

Keith Barr, greater China CEO of InterContinental Hotels Group, thinks the balance of power between Western brands and Chinese consumers may be at a tipping point. Read more