Anil Mohan

MOT plans to extend e-medical visa facility

In a bid to boost medical tourism into India, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, is planning to extend e-medical visa facility, said Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Tourism, Government of India. Speaking on the recently held first meeting of National Medical and Wellness Tourism Promotion Board, he said, “India has a distinct advantage, in terms of cost of people in the medical industry, the time required for getting operation dates, and having state-of-the-art hospitals. Now, we are also contemplating to get the e-medical visa facility extended to various countries, so that the medical and wellness tourism in India prospers further.”

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1.07 mn Indians visit Thailand in 2015

Thailand registered 1,069,149 Indian arrivals to the country between January-December 2015, registering a growth of 14.64 per cent over the same period in 2014, according to data released by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Govt. of Thailand. Speaking on the achievement, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor, Dr Yuthasak Supasorn, said “It was another remarkable year in 2015. The performance endorses the scope and effectiveness of the 2015 Discover Thainess campaign and its success in restoring travel confidence.” He adds that this year, they are targeting a growth of 10 per cent in Indian tourist arrivals and are working towards recording two million Indian arrivals by 2020. TAT recently appointed professional golfer Vani Kapoor as the Thai Golf Ambassador in a bid to promote golf tourism, among other niche segments, in India.  India is the sixth largest source market for Thailand, with China, Malaysia, Japan, Korea and Lao People’s Democratic Republic occupying the top five slots.

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SATTE 2017 from Feb 15-17

South Asian Travel and Tourism Exhibition (SATTE) 2017 will be held from February 15-17. The dates for the next year’s event were announced at the SATTE 2016, being held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi from Jan 29-31. The event is one of the biggest travel and tourism platforms showcasing India’s tourism potential to the world by bringing the global tourism market to India.

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Only 6 online tickets per person per month: IRCTC

Starting February 15, an individual user will be able to book online a maximum of 6 tickets in a month on IRCTC website. This will replace the existing system under which a maximum of 10 tickets can be booked online through IRCTC website in a month by an individual. However, the existing condition will continue wherein these booking will be subject to a limit of booking two opening Tatkal tickets in 10:00- 12:00 hours period in a day and two opening Advance Reservation Period (ARP) tickets in 08:00-10:00 hours period in a day. This has been done keeping in view the analysis of usage of quota of 10 tickets which indicated that 90 per cent of users are booking upto 6 tickets in a given month and only 10 per cent are making more than 6 tickets. It is suspected that the 10 per cent users might be involved in touting activities. Therefore, to deter such touts and to facilitate genuine users, it has been decided that a maximum of 6 tickets can be booked by an individual user in a month.

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Air India Delhi-Surat flight to operate daily

Starting February 1, Air India will enhance frequency on its Delhi-Surat sector from 4 days to 7 days. At present, Air India operates a, CRJ-700 aircraft four times a week. The flight AI 0607 departs from Delhi at 0745 hrs and arrives Surat at 0925 hrs. The return flight AI 0608 leaves Surat at 0955 hrs and lands in Delhi at 1135 hrs. Delhi-Surat-Delhi AI flight is highly popular among textile and diamond businessmen and provides seamless connectivity between two business cities. It also offers convenient connections to other international flights from/to Delhi.

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MTDC, Mumbai Port Trust mull upgrade for cruise tourism

Maharashtra is in high level talks with the Chairman of the Mumbai Port Trust to upgrade the port for cruise terminal. Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary Tourism & Cultural Affair, Government of Maharashtra, said, “We have had a series of meetings with some of the biggest cruise liners when we were at WTM London last year that led us to think in this direction. There is a high-powered committee set up by the Ministry of Shipping to promote cruise tourism. The Secretary of Tourism, Secretary of Shipping and the Chairman of the Mumbai Port Trust have had some meetings on that already. One of the areas which has been highlighted is the infrastructure in the port terminals. As per the requirement Cochin port trust has completed the infrastructure work on one of the best cruise terminals. Maharashtra now needs to have a cruise terminal separate from a normal port because one cruise liner brings in so much business to the destination. I have written to the Mumbai Port Trust chairman and discussed with him to step up our infrastructure in the Mumbai terminal. We will work out an upgradation plan for this and the MoT will fund it under the Swadesh Darshan scheme. The short term plan is to ensure easy immigration and customs with the current infrastructure.”

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Indian arrivals cross 1 million in Singapore

Singapore Tourism Board has announced that over 1 million Indian tourists visited Singapore in 2015 marking a year-on-year growth of 7.4 per cent in visitor arrivals. To celebrate this achievement, Singapore Tourism Board surprised all passengers flying to the country with special in-flight celebratory experiences in partnership with  Air India, Jet Airways and Singapore Airlines on December 31, 2015. Chee Pey Chang, Executive Director, South Asia, Middle East and Africa – Singapore Tourism Board, said, “2015 was a landmark year for us as Singapore celebrated its Golden Jubilee. Last year, the Singapore Botanic Gardens was accredited as a UNESCO World Heritage site and the opening of the National Gallery Singapore and Indian Heritage Centre generated great interest among Indian travellers.”

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Marriott’s 1st Courtyard and Fairfield integrate in India

SAMHI and Marriott International have introduced the first ever integrated property – Courtyard by Marriott and Fairfield by Marriott in Bengaluru, as part of their joint venture. The 336-room integrated property is set in the commercial hub of Bengaluru. Courtyard by Marriott Bengaluru Outer Ring Road features 170 rooms that comprise 134 deluxe, 24 executive deluxe rooms and 12 suites. The property is strategically located in Outer Ring Road of the city in the commercial IT hub. Craig Smith, President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Marriott International, who was present at the launch, said, “Marriott International has always been at the forefront of driving innovation in the hospitality industry in India and to further this commitment, the Marriott International group has for the first time, invested in a property in the country.” He further added, “The property, which is our first integrated hotel complex in India, is set to provide an unrivalled hospitality experience to the office-goers in Bengaluru with its state-of-the-art facilities and a commitment to customer experience excellence.” Fairfield by Marriott Bengaluru Outer Ring Road is the 2nd Fairfield by Marriott hotel in the city and comprises of 166 guest rooms including 112 deluxe rooms and 54 deluxe pool view rooms.  Courtyard by Marriott and Fairfield by Marriott together bring to guests a luxurious Mediterranean restaurant called BG’s which offers a splendid ambience that is available in an indoor and outdoor setting and a magnificent spread of Mediterranean cuisine prepared by a specialty chef.

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IndiGo augments its domestic network

IndiGo has launched eight new flights in its domestic network connecting Delhi to Chennai, Chennai to Kochi, Guwahati to Delhi and Hyderabad to Delhi, with effect from January 27, 2016. Effective January 27, IndiGo introduced second non-stop daily flight between Chennai and Kochi, third daily non-stop flight between Delhi and Guwahati, ninth daily non-stop flight between Hyderabad and Delhi and 10th daily non-stop flight between Delhi and Chennai. With 679 daily flights connecting 39 destinations, these new flights will further consolidate IndiGo’s position as the fastest growing airline in India. Commenting on the new flight schedule, Aditya Ghosh, President IndiGo said, “We are delighted to announce the take-off of our new flights from Delhi, Chennai, Kochi, Guwahati and Hyderabad. The increased flow of tourist and business traffic to and from these cities gave us the perfect opportunity to launch additional flights and serve more passengers on board. We are confident that these new flights will prove immensely popular and convenient to our travellers.”

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UFTAA VP addresses TAAI agents

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) Western Region invited Yossi Fatael, Vice President, UFTAA, and Chairman, Air Matters, to conduct an in-depth presentation on New Distribution Capability (NDC) and IATA’s NewGen ISS in Mumbai. Also present was Sunil Kumar, President, UFTAA and National President, TAAI, and a few members of the Managing Committee. The presentation titled ‘Changing Trends in the Travel Industry and its Impact’ highlighted the travel agents’ perspective on these two important subjects. TAAI will conduct a similar workshop in New Delhi on January 30 at The Claridges from 4 pm onwards.

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