Tourism Breaking News

Air Astana’s Indian passengers enjoy 72 hours visa-free stopover in Kazakhstan

Air Astana passengers holding Indian passports can enjoy 72 hours visa-free stopovers in Kazakhstan with effect from April 23, 2018 until the end of the year. Passengers with Air Astana flights transiting in Almaty and Astana simply need to notify check-in staff at the point of departure to enjoy the benefit of a visa-free visit. Air Astana offers Delhi-Almaty daily flights and a Delhi-Astana service thrice a week operated by modern Airbus and Embraer aircraft. “Air Astana has been enjoying significant growth in transit traffic through the Almaty and Astana over the past two years, particularly from New Delhi,” said Richard Ledger, Vice President – Marketing and Sales, Air Astana. “I’m in no doubt that the introduction of 72 hours visa-free entry to Kazakhstan for Indian passport holders will further boost transit traffic. We look forward to welcoming more Indian passengers on Air Astana flights and hope they enjoy the attractions of Almaty and Astana; particularly given our US$1 Stopover Holidays programme that offers one night accommodation with breakfast and return airport transfers.” Since introduction of the first flight between two countries Air Astana has carried almost 570 thousand passengers.

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Travkart enters Mumbai with franchisee programme

With a vision to strengthen its pan-India service network, Travkart has signed on its first franchise in Mumbai. The move is in line with Travkart’s endeavour to tap the immense potential that Mumbai offers. What also makes the launch of Travkart’s franchisee programme in Mumbai an interesting development is the end-to-end business support that it offers to partner travel agencies. As part of the programme, the company will provide assistance to the associated travel agency to help it deliver better end-customer services. It provides comprehensive training spearheaded by a qualified in-house franchise manager, in addition to extensive operational assistance, to ensure seamless operations. The platform plans to undertake similar expansion in cities such as Chennai, Chandigarh and Nagpur. Manheer Singh Sethi, Co-founder, Travkart commented, “As India’s business hub, Mumbai is one of the most promising travel markets in the country. There exists a growing demand for travel packages within the city, which is why we are delighted to have signed our first franchisee here. While we received a large number of requests, we closed a franchising agreement with The Kangaroo Travels based on its commitment to the brand’s long-term growth and the end-customer’s satisfaction. Our aim is to expand our presence in all major cities in India and build 100 Travkart franchisees by 2020.”  

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Thomas Cook (India) restructuring to focus on four verticals

The Board of Thomas Cook (India) (TCIL) has approved (subject to regulatory approvals) a corporate restructuring exercise aimed at streamlining its businesses into four key verticals namely, Travel (outbound, domestic, business travel & MiCE), Foreign Exchange, Destination Management Services and Portfolio Investments such as Sterling Holiday Resorts. In its current structure, TCIL along with its subsidiaries and associate companies such as SOTC, TCI, TC Travel (earlier Tata Capital Travel) and Sterling Holidays are engaged in various travel and travel-related financial services, vacation ownership and resorts while Quess Corp is engaged in human resource and business related services such as industrial asset management, integrated facility management, and technology solutions. In order to streamline the various businesses of the group, both from operating and management perspective, the restructuring will consolidate like businesses into identified entities creating a simpler and more efficient operating structure with dedicated and focused business verticals. Madhavan Menon, Chairman & Managing Director, TCIL said, “This proposed restructuring with the realignment of the travel businesses of TCIL and consolidation of the  human resource services business into Quess Corp, will simplify the group’s structure, enabling both TCIL and Quess to grow independently and consolidate their positions in their segments with far greater clarity of focus from an industry and growth/opportunity point of view – for investors, management and teams.”  

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80-key Sarovar Premiere Jaipur opens doors

Sarovar Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of Sarovar Premiere Jaipur. The upscale full-service hotel features 80 guest rooms and suites with modern interiors, stylish furnishings and spacious event and banquet space. The hotel also adds ease to those travelling to the city as it is conveniently located close to the airport, railway station, Vidhan Sabha and famous tourist attractions. The hotel was launched in the presence of Ajay Bakaya, Managing Director, Sarovar Hotels and Sandeep Sharma, Executive Director, R S Sharma & Co (Delhi), Jaipur. “This new hotel is a fantastic addition to our growing portfolio in Rajasthan,” said Bakaya. “Jaipur is one of the most significant destinations in India for leisure as well as business travel and this is our fourth hotel in the city after Sarovar Portico Jaipur, Nirwana Hometel Jaipur and Park Inn Jaipur. Sarovar Premiere Jaipur’s superior features, state-of-the-art amenities, and incredible location will make it a top destination here. The Sarovar brand continues to expand its presence and we are further opening hotels in Ajmer and Jaisalmer soon” The hotel offers exciting dining options, fitness centre, business centre, free Wi-Fi and swimming pool. The hotel can also serve as a venue for meetings and special events. The 1,800-square-foot meeting space can accommodate up to 200 people. Located at Lal Kothi in Tonk Road, Jaipur, the hotel is ideal for discerning corporate as well as leisure travellers.  

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JetSetGo acquires Indo Pacific Aviation to grow fleet & offer unique services

JetSetGo has announced the acquisition of Indo Pacific Aviation, India’s oldest non-scheduled aircraft operator (NSOP) with operations in India. Speaking about the acquisition, Kanika Tekriwal, CEO, JetSetGo, said, “As the oldest NSOP, Indo Pacific has been instrumental in many ways in the growth of the private jet and helicopter market in India. Indo Pacific has far too many firsts to its credit and we are excited that this acquisition brings together the values of the old with the dynamism of the young. This acquisition now gives a significant boost to our ability to grow our fleet and offer unique services and next generation aircraft for personalised on-demand mobility.” Aggregating India’s available private jets and helicopters for the first time, JetSetGo now has pan-India presence with 2,800 aircraft movements executed in the last financial year. Typically managing and executing chartered flights through DGCA approved non-scheduled operator permits that are owned by others, the acquisition of Indo Pacific Aviation now gives more flexibility to JetSetGo to directly manage its own fleet and to provide on-demand air connectivity. It will also offer its customer’s aircraft sales and acquisition, fleet management and other aviation support services. Government approval from the DGCA and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) was obtained prior to completing the transaction.  

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TBO Group launches ultra luxury brochure for exotic itineraries

Catering to the demands of high value customers and requirements for exotic itineraries, TBO Group has launched a luxurious book creating awareness about new high-end products. Starting at $15,000 dollars a night, the book has 24 handpicked hotels across the world and two experiences that will help the agents offer their clients new ideas and crisp content. The book will be distributed to key travel agents.  

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Royal Orchid Hotels opens new property in Somnath

With the growth of religious tourism in India, Royal Orchid Hotels has added a new property, ‘Regenta Central’ in Somnath. The hotel is located on the main highway of Veraval and is located within 5 kilometres from Veraval and Somnath railway station. The hotel offers spacious banquet halls and plush lawns which can accommodate up to 2000 people for various occasions such as large-scale family social gathering, business presentations, seminars and confidential corporate meets. The guests can also indulge in various relaxation activities at the hotel’s gymnasium, spa and swimming pool. Chander K Baljee, Managing Director, Royal Orchid Hotels said, “We are excited to add another property to our portfolio, continuing our ambition of expanding hotels across India. With a constant surge in domestic travellers, not only are we benefitted but consumers also have an advantage of an affordable stay with the finest facilities and services. The current year looks promising for the hotel industry and we plan to make the most of it by expanding our brand all over India.”

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IATO Convention 2018 to be held in Vizag from September 6-9

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) is set to hold its annual convention in Visakhapatnam from September 6-9, 2018. The venue of the convention is Hotel Novotel Visakhapatnam Varun Beach. IATO announced its convention almost a year in advance and declared Andhra Pradesh as the host state for the 2018 convention, just when they had announced the 2017 convention in Odisha. The IATO team will start working on the convention post its election, which is due on April 28, 2018.

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India participates at 25th Arabian Travel Market in Dubai

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2018, marking the start of the 25th edition of the show. This year’s show, which is taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre from April 22-25, 2018, has more than 400 stand holders. India’s presence at the show includes state tourism boards, hotels, tour operators and technology providers. Showcasing India’s diverse tourism offerings and the growing inbound numbers from the UAE, Navdeep Suri, Ambassador of India to the UAE, highlighted that there are currently 1065 flights a week between both nations connecting 17 Indian cities to the UAE. Suri was accompanied by Manas Pattanaik, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Tourism and Braja Mukherjee, Assistant Director (in-charge), Indiatourism, Dubai, while promoting the country at the show. ATM 2018 has adopted Responsible Tourism – including sustainable travel trends – as its main theme and this will be integrated across all show activities.      

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10th Great Indian Travel Bazaar kicks off in Jaipur with 280 buyers & 270 exhibitors

The 10th edition of Great Indian Travel Bazaar (GITB) opened with 280 foreign buyers from 55 countries and 270 exhibitors at The Lalit Jaipur on April 22. Committed to boost tourism in India, the inbound show was inaugurated by Vasundhara Raje, Chief Minister, Rajasthan; Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism; Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson, FICCI Tourism Committee; Dipak Deva, Co-Chairman, FICCI Tourism Committee; Nihal Chand Goel, Additional Chief Secretary (Tourism, Art & Culture), among other officials from the Government of Rajasthan. The show, celebrating a decade of successfully promoting inbound tourism in Rajasthan, hopes to cross the 11,000 mark in terms of pre-scheduled B2B meetings between the exhibitors and buyers. Raje said, “It is heartening to see such an enthusiastic participation at GITB. The tourism sector has seen a new vigour and dynamism after the launch of the campaign ‘Jane Kya dikh Jaye’. Our vision was to get 50 million tourists in Rajasthan by 2020 but by the end of 2017 itself, the state received 47.5 million tourists and we would compete our target by the end of 2018.” Raje also thanked the central government for the financial support provided for the state’s various tourism projects. An MoU was also singed on behalf of the Government of Rajasthan and FICCI under which the GITB will continue to be hosted till 2024. The dates for the next edition of the show in Jaipur are April 28-30, 2019.  

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