Anil Mohan

130 agents apply for TAAI’s Joint Bank Guarantee scheme

Four members of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) Managing Committee met in Mumbai yesterday to review  applications received by the association from its members for the Joint Bank Guarantee (JBG) Scheme. Sunil Kumar, President, TAAI, said, “We have received over 130 applications from members who are keen to join the guarantee.” Among the Office Bearers present were Marzban Antia, TAAI’s Vice President; Lokesh Bettaiah, TAAI’s Secretary General; and Imtiaz Qureshi, TAAI’s MC member who looks after Legal. Bettaiah added, “We are scrutinising each and every application received from 20 regions and chapters across India and the TAAI auditors will come out with a final list by May 20. After that, we will send them to IATA who will conduct their own verifications. We do multi-level checks and follow stringent procedures, which take a lot of time. It’s a huge responsibility on us to pick the right members. We will need to submit these applications to IATA by July 1, 2016. There has been a good response for it this year. TAAI has been successful in managing this scheme earlier as well and lot of members have benefitted from this scheme monetarily as well as for smoother day-to-day business as far as capping issues are concerned. If anyone else is interested to join, they can do so the following year.”

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Auckland to host TRENZ from May 9-12, 2017

New Zealand’s biggest annual international tourism showcase, TRENZ, will return to Auckland in 2017, Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) announced. “After two highly successful years in Rotorua, we look forward to taking TRENZ back to New Zealand’s biggest city and international gateway,” says Chris Roberts, Chief Executive, TIA. The announcement was made on the final day of TRENZ 2016, which has brought more than 350 influential international travel buyers and media to meet about 300 leading New Zealand tourism operators at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre this week. TRENZ 2017 will take place on the Auckland waterfront, 9-12 May 2017 and will be hosted by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).

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Marriott’s all-suite hotel opens in Pune

Pune Marriott Suites offers 199 fully furnished, serviced apartments providing the comforts of a home in a luxurious hotel-like setting. Located on a private road in Koregaon Park, the property is only 5 kms from Pune airport and 3 kms from Pune Railway Station. Being the only pet friendly hotel in Pune, this luxury accommodation is ideal for discerning business and leisure travellers looking for respite from hustle bustle of the city. Guests can enjoy access to upscale leisure facilities, which include a fully-equipped fitness centre, outdoor pool and wellness centre. Regular rates for a one Bedroom Suite is Rs 8,650/night, 2 Bedroom Suite is Rs 13,750/night and 3 Bedroom Suite is Rs 15,250/night.

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Jet Airways doubles frequency to Dammam from Mumbai & Delhi

Jet Airways will launch additional daily services to Dammam from Mumbai and Delhi, further boosting its operations to the key Saudi Arabian port city. The airline will introduce the new services, one each from Delhi and Mumbai, starting July 1, 2016, adding to the single daily flights it already operates on those routes and from Kochi. The fares for flights from New Delhi (DEL) to Dammam (DMM) start from Rs 19,224. The additional service from Mumbai to Dammam, Jet Airways flight 9W 506, will depart Mumbai at 0045 hrs and arrive into Dammam at 0205. The return flight to Mumbai, 9W 505, will depart Dammam at 0305 hrs and arrive in Mumbai at 0920 hrs. The service from Delhi to Dammam, Jet Airways flight 9W 518, will depart Delhi at 2230 hrs and arrive Dammam at 0010 hrs. The return flight, 9W 517, will depart Dammam at 0110 hrs and arrive in Delhi at 0730 hrs. All times listed are local. Jet Airways currently operates flights from 12 cities across India to 10 in the Gulf.

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Schengen comes home for biometrics

VFS Global has introduced the On-Demand Mobile Visa Service for Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Portugal and Slovenia visas applicants across India. Travellers can give their biometrics data and visa application in the comfort of their home or office. A well-trained and professional team from VFS Global will visit the applicant at his/her chosen location anywhere in India to collect the details. The service is ideal for corporate groups, incentive groups, on-campus students and cultural & sports groups. It is available on any day of the week, including weekends across India. VFS offers a dedicated Helpline numbers for appointment bookings and assistance. The applicant can call the country specific Helpline number to book an appointment, pay the fee online and receive confirmed appointment details, following which a team will make a visit at a location convenient to the applicant on the appointed date and time to collect biometrics and accept the application.

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April ’16 sees 10.7% rise in FTAs over 2015

As revealed by Ministry of Tourism, India witnessed a 10.7 per cent growth in FTAs in April, 2016 over the same period in 2015. The total number of FTAs during April, 2016 was recorded at 5.99 lakh, which is higher than the total number of FTAs in April, 2015 and April 2014, where the numbers were recorded as 5.42 lakh and 5.35 lakh foreign tourists respectively. Bangladesh accounted for the highest percentage share in foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) into India with 18.09 per cent during the month of April 2016. Among the top 15 source countries, USA was ranked second with 12.24 per cent share, followed by the UK with 9.58 per cent share, making Bangladesh, USA and UK, the top three source markets for India in April 2016. The percentage share of FTAs from other source markets like Sri Lanka was 3.71 percent; Malaysia was 3.23 per cent; China was 3.14 per cent; Australia was 3.05 per cent; Germany was 3.02 per cent; France 2.86 per cent; Canada was 2.83 per cent; Russian Federation was 2.81; Japan was 2.50 per cent, Nepal was 2.07 per cent; Singapore was 1.85 per cent and Thailand was 1.61 per cent.

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11, 637 cr foreign exchange earned in April

According to the data released by Ministry of Tourism, foreign exchange earnings (FEEs)through tourism was recorded at Rs 11,637 crore in the month of April, 2016 as compared to Rs. 10,091 crore in April, 2015 and Rs. 9,179 crore in April, 2014. The growth rate in foreign exchange earnings (FEEs) in terms of rupee during April, 2016 over April, 2015 was higher, with 15.3 per cent as compared to the growth rate of 9.9 per cent in April, 2015 over April, 2014. The FEEs during the period of January-April, 2016, was recorded at Rs. 52,048 crore with a growth rate of 15.7 per cent as compared to the FEE of Rs. 44,966 crore with a growth rate of 5 per cent during the period of January-April, 2015 over January- April, 2014.

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Peru Tourism appoints OM Tourism as PR representative

Peru Export and Tourism Promotion Board has appointed OM Tourism as their PR representative in India from May, 2016. “We are pleased to officially begin new and focused promotional efforts in India with OM Tourism, said, Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) and President of The Board of PROMPERU, Magali Silva. Looking at the vast tourism potentiality of India Market, we believe that it will certainly be a key market in helping PROMPERÚ to increase the Indian footfall.” Sanjay Sondhi, CEO, OM Tourism, said, “We are extremely happy to be assigned the task of handling marketing, sales and public relations activities for PROMPERÚ in India. He added, Peru is a land of fascinating contrasts of beautiful landscapes of desert dunes, snow capped mountains, wildlife, beaches offering thrilling outdoor adventure, Pre-Columbian heritage to vibrant traditional festivals. The discerning Indian travelers looking for luxury experience can also explore and indulge in its rich gastronomy, rejuvenating spas and river cruises. As a result of its rich history, Peru today is packed with archaeological remains and colonial architecture. Add in the country’s spectacular natural beauty, and the product is an outstanding travel destination.”

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Westin Pushkar & W Goa to open on Sept 1, 2016

Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ 98-room Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is set to open in September this year. The hotel has four distinctive and versatile rooms, including a 560-square-metre ballroom, total more than 900 square metres of welcoming space and feature a comprehensive range of amenities and services. The hotel has 4 meeting spaces with the largest one being 3,003 sq ft. Starwood Hotels and Resorts is pitching its growth plan in the South Asia market with the opening of three new properties this year. Barun Gupta, Global Account Director, Starwood Hotels and Resorts informs that other than Westin Pushkar, W Goa is also expected to open in September and St. Regis Maldives will open by the end of this year. Gupta adds, “In terms of Indian market we wanted to expand our footprint aggressively this year focusing mostly on the travel trade front where we are trying to get more and more partners through our SPG Pro network. Our major focus will be on the travel trade front for the leisure properties which are opening up this year.” The 160-room W Retreat & Spa Goa to open September 1, has two grand ballrooms, a function room, three meeting/VIP rooms, a function lawn and a pre-function area provide enough space for all your guests. The hotel has 6 meeting spaces with the largest one being 6,459 sq ft (600 sq.m).

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OYO expands in North East with 250 rooms

OYO Rooms has expanded its portfolio in the North East, and is offering more than 250 standardised rooms in Gangtok and Darjeeling, to meet a range of budgets – from as low as Rs. 999 per night for standard rooms, to premium rooms for Rs. 2500 – Rs. 4000 per night. OYO Rooms are available in popular tourist spots like Tiger Hills and Mall Road in Darjeeling, and Tsango Lake, MG Marg in Gangtok. These hotels are situated in prime locations, and travellers can enjoy the scenic view of the Himalayan range, including the breathtaking snow-peaks of Kanchenjunga, straight from their rooms. Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and  CEO, OYO said, “We are thrilled to establish a strong network in the beautiful cities of Darjeeling and Gangtok. Our teams have worked very hard to deliver OYO’s level of standardization and predictability of guest-experience in the hotels here. Many travellers who want to visit the North-east hesitate due to concerns about lack of trusted accommodation options. It makes me very happy to assure them that with OYO now present in this region, they can plan their travel without any worry. The hospitality sector is still underdeveloped in the North-East and we are certain that the introduction of OYO’s standardized affordable stays will attract more tourists. We look forward to welcoming guests from across the country.” Speaking about the current business trends Ritesh added, “We receive queries for North-East from across the country, but Darjeeling and Gangtok receive the highest number of queries from Kolkata (40%), followed by Gujarat, Maharashtra and Delhi (15% each). Kolkata accounts for 30% of the bookings in Darjeeling and Gangtok while Delhi contributes 12% bookings in the region. This summer …

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