Anil Mohan

MakeMyTrip gets $180 million funding from China’s Ctrip.com

Travel website Ctrip.com has invested $180 million (about Rs. 1,200 crore) in MakeMyTrip. The deal was done in the form of convertible bonds, Ctrip.com said in a statement today. “With the investment, we will have a place in the rising online travel market in India,” said Liang Jianzhang, CEO, Ctrip.com. The partnership will benefit both companies, as there are many similarities between China and India’s online tourism, state-run Xinhua quoted Deep Kalra, CEO, MakeMyTrip. Founded in 2000, MakeMyTrip is the biggest online travel agent in India. Tourism grew by 10 per cent in the country last year, according to research company PhocusWright. Online sales rose 16 per cent last year. Ctrip.com said the move will make it easier for Chinese tourists to visit India. Over 100 million Chinese tourists visited abroad last year spending billions of dollars. The increasing numbers of Chinese tourists abroad made India and number of countries to woo them with easy visa access. India has extended the e-visa scheme to the Chinese tourists.

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Vistara launches #TheOnederful year campaign on 1st Anniversary

Vistara Airlines has successfully completed its first year of operations on January 9, 2016, and has also launched #TheOnederful year campaign which invites all its well-wishers and followers to join hands in creating history with India’s Biggest TweetCard at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport. In a short span of one year, the airline boasts a fleet size of nine brand new A320 aircraft, operating 307 weekly flights to 12 destinations across the country. Vistara has already flown more than one million happy customers within one year of operations. As an anniversary gift to all lucky customers who booked on Vistara flights in the week of December 16, 2015 a flat 25 percent discount was offered for travel till April 30, 2016. Vistara is giving out colorful baggage tags commemorating the milestone. Festive delicacies in anniversary special meal boxes and tray mats are being served on-board. Vistara has also released a special anniversary edition of their in-flight magazine which features endorsement, by famous celebrities, of the twelve destinations, which Vistara currently operates to. Vistara will be adding four more aircraft to its existing fleet of nine in the year. From February, Vistara fleet will incorporate the most advanced in-flight entertainment system which will deliver highly engaging audio video content via wireless streaming to customers’ PEDs across all three cabins.

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Genting HK launches Dream Cruises at GPS

Global Panorama Showcase (GPS) 2016, that took place from January 8-10 in Nagpur, served as a platform for the India launch of Dream Cruises–a premium cruise brand for the Asian markets under the Genting HK banner. Naresh Rawal, Vice President, Sales, Star Cruises (India), said, “With this new brand, Genting Hong Kong will now offer cruising products in three different segments—Star Cruises that will be promoted as a contemporary brand, Dream Cruises as the premium brand and Crystal Cruises as the luxury brand. The ship will make its way from Germany to Singapore via Colombo, making a stop in  Mumbai on its way in the last week of October or first week of November 2016, just after Diwali. We will be opening bookings for this, once we have the dates and itineraries confirmed. This will be a dry run and the ship will be stationed out of China for regular sailing.” It will be priced higher than Star’s existing cruises. Itineraries will include two-, five- and seven-night cruises. The new ships will have of 1,700 staterooms, 35 restaurants and bars, various entertainment areas, outdoor adventures, rejuvenation facilities and more.  

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3.2% rise in FTAs in December 2015

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during the Month of December 2015 were 9.13 lakh as compared to FTAs of 8.85 lakh during  December 2014. There has been a growth of 3.2% in December 2015 over the same period last year. Ministry of Tourism has released estimates of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) on the basis of Nationality-wise, Port-wise data received from Bureau of Immigration (BOI) and Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism on the basis of data available from Reserve Bank of India. FTAs during the period January- December 2015 were 80.16 lakh with a growth of 4.4%, as compared to the FTAs of 76.79 lakh with a growth of 10.2% in January- December 2014 . FEEs during the month of December 2015 were Rs. 13,253 crore as compared to Rs. 12,988 crore in December 2014 . The FEEs in Rupees terms during December 2015 registered a positive growth of 2.0% over December 2014 as compared to positive growth of 8.3% in December 2014 .

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Philippines showcases its products at GPS, Nagpur 2016

The Department of Tourism, Philippines, is showcasing its products at the Global Panorama Showcase (GPS), a premier networking event and business-to-business trade show that is held annually in Nagpur. Travel trade partners can take information from the Philippines’ booth no. 34 at Hotel Centre Point, Ramdaspeth, from January 8-10, 2016. Navritu Kaushal Rai, Account Director, Philippines Tourism Marketing Office, India, said, “We are happy to be a part of this premier travel trade show in central India, offering a remarkable platform to showcase travel products and services that the Philippines has to offer. Our focus will be to promote leisure and small groups travel and MICE movements. We are looking forward to the interactive business sessions with the travel trade partners, especially from the region of Vidarbha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.”

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GPS opens, appoints new CEO

Global Panorama Showcase (GPS) was inaugurated on January 8, 2016 at Hotel Centre Point, Nagpur, where Raju Akolkar was announced as the CEO of the exhibition. GPS 2016 was also the platform for the global launch of DREAM cruises by STAR cruises under the Genting HK banner. Harmandeep Singh Anand, MD, Jagsons Travels, organiser and promoter of GPS, also announced the launch of NGO tourism under the name Voluntourism. He also pledged that 5% of the revenue generated from this edition of GPS will go to NGOs. GPS is a premier business networking event and business-to-business trade show that is held annually in Nagpur. Akolkar has been associated with GPS and Jagsons for a long time. This year the event is a five city exhibition and will also go to Coimbatore, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad in the coming months.

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Thomas Cook India partners with TravPax 5 Solution to offer best rates

Thomas Cook India has taken the decision to implement the TravPax 5 Solution across its entire Indian network of travel stores and call centres. The new solution will provide connections to dozens of worldwide wholesalers, GDS, low-cost carriers and others channels, allowing Thomas Cook India to provide the best available rates to its clients and subsidiaries, either as a standalone product or via dynamic packaging. “At Thomas Cook India, technology is at the forefront of our strategy and given today’s rapidly growing base of digital native Indian consumers, offering immediate options and value driven rates for travel bookings is vital,” said Amit Madhan, Chief Operating Officer, IT & e-services, Thomas Cook India. “Our partnership with TravPax will empower our offline franchise and call centre teams with immediate access to best rates and inventory across a range of services including flights, hotels and holiday packages.” Laurent Maytal, CEO of Singapore-based TravPax Solutions, added, “The travel world is changing fast and access to the most up-to-date information on how to get you the best value becomes a major challenge. Value is king. However, that does not mean the cheapest cost always wins. Travellers are seeking quality products at an affordable price and this is exactly what Thomas cook will achieve.” Thomas Cook India now operates in 233 locations (including 23 airport counters) in 92 cities across India, Mauritius & Sri Lanka.

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SpiceJet increases flight frequencies

SpiceJet has increased its frequencies in existing sectors and upgraded seat capacity on various routes across its domestic and international network to service additional demand from growing markets. The airline will operate a renewed winter schedule with 10 new daily frequencies added on its domestic network encompassing some popular routes such as Chennai-Kochi (fourth direct flight added), Bengaluru-Vijayawada (second direct flight added) Kochi-Chennai (fourth direct flight added) and Hyderabad-Vijayawada (second direct flight added) among others. On its international network, SpiceJet will be reinforcing its frequencies on the Delhi-Kabul route by increasing its operations from three days a week to five days a week. The enhanced flight schedule for this route would be effective from February 8, 2016. The airline has also increased seating capacity on select domestic routes by undertaking aircraft upgradation from Bombardier Q400, which has a seating capacity of 78 seats to Boeing 737 that can accommodate 186 passengers. This upgradation would be operational for six days a week on routes such as Delhi-Varanasi and Delhi-Dehradun among others. Shilpa Bhatia, Sr. VP, Commercial, SpiceJet, said, “We are always looking at ways to improve our network capacity so that we can continue to offer the best possible services to our customers while providing them with more flexibility. Our current enhanced schedule comes in time to add considerable depth to our existing network, thereby helping us better serve the increased demand in growing markets.”

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PATA India Chapter’s office bearers

SanJeet, Director, DDP Group; Jatinder S. Taneja, Chairman, Travel Spirit International and Vikram Madhok, MD, A&K India, are the new office bearers of PATA India Chapter. Runeep Sangha, Executive Director, PATA India Chapter, revealed that they had received many nominations, but the new office-bearers of the executive committee for 2016-17 have been selected unanimously. Talking on the plans ahead, he said, “PATA India Chapter is now working towards developing its plans for 2016. We have a busy calendar ahead and we will be focussing on education, training and organising trade seminars, including the prestigious PATA Travel Mart in the coming year.” Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, automatically assumes the position of the Chairman, PATA India Chapter.

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Now, OYO Rooms in Malaysia

Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, OYO Rooms, has revealed in his blog that the budget hotel aggregator has now started its operations in Malaysia. Citing the achievements of the company in 2015, he said, “A small team at OYO worked very hard last 3 months to launch OYO in the international market. And after a December of stealth testing, I am happy to announce that you can now officially check into an OYO in Kuala Lumpur. We are all very excited and as always with a city launch, you can see the visiting card photo!” With this move, the startup company has made its entry into the international market. It now eyes “travel markets across the worlds that have the same characteristics as here in India – trust deficient, unorganized and love for travel,” he wrote on the blog. After Malaysia, the company plans to take OYO to all such markets this year.

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