Tourism Breaking News

AAI selects Tata Elxsi to improve passenger experience

Tata Elxsi, a global design and technology services company, has been selected by the Airports Authority of India(AAI) out of a competitive global bid to improve passenger experience for all AAI-managed airports. As the design partner, Tata Elxsi will help AAI to provide a seamless passenger travel experience. Tata Elxsi will be primarily responsible to set the wayfinding and information design guidelines for all AAI airports coming up in the future and enable AAI to set a team and create a process to design and implement world-class, customer-centric information and wayfinding systems. This will cover the entire passenger journey right from parking to boarding the plane, to making the spaces efficient and user-friendly. The design will be in line with global standards and Tata Elxsi will set the guidelines/standards for all future airports. Tata Elxsi has already started the work on creating an intuitive, customer-centric wayfinding system and developing a unique image for several airport terminals. Narendra Ghate, Chief Designer, Service Design, Tata Elxsi said, “Having worked in the past on redefining the passenger experience for some leading airports in India, gave Tata Elxsi an edge. Tata Elxsi has already commenced work across the shortlisted 10 airports – Goa, Kolkata, Varanasi, Lucknow, Chennai, Bhubaneshwar, Pune, Trivandrum, Coimbatore and Guwahati.”

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Positive growth registered in both domestic and foreign tourist visits

The number of visits by domestic tourists and foreign tourists has increased by 12.68% and 5.92%, respectively, during 2016 over 2015. The number of domestic tourists rose from 1431.97 million to 1613.55 million with the top states being (in millions), Tamil Nadu (343.81), Uttar Pradesh (211.71) and Andhra Pradesh (153.16). The number of foreign tourist visits in the country rose from 22.33 million to 24.71 million with the top states being (in millions), Tamil Nadu (4.72), Maharashtra (4.67) and Uttar Pradesh (3.16). This data was compiled by the Market Research Division of Ministry of Tourism for various State/Union Territories (UTs) through information given by the Departments of Tourism of each State Government and UT Administrations.

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GoAir launches third daily direct flight between Bengaluru and Delhi

GoAir is set to increase its operations between Bengaluru and New Delhi from June 24, 2017 with the launch of a third daily direct flight between the two cities. The flight will leave Bengaluru at 11:35 hours, reaching Delhi at 14:20 hours. A return flight will leave Delhi at 15:05 hours and reach at 18:00 hours. The new additional service has been introduced in response to a growing demand in this sector, particularly from corporate travellers. With this addition, GoAir now flies 1225 weekly flights between its 23 destinations serviced.

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Airbnb and the World Bank Group partner to boost rural tourism

Airbnb and the World Bank Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to partner toward boosting developing economies through tourism. The two organizations will also share information on the current scale of alternative accommodation options and home sharing across several countries, beginning with pilot projects in Sri Lanka and India. Through the agreement, signed at the 2017 Tourism Knowledge Exchange, an event highlighting the latest innovations in sustainable tourism, Airbnb and the World Bank Group will examine ways in which emerging destinations use new technology and platforms such as Airbnb to create economic opportunities for communities that have not traditionally benefited from tourism and hospitality. Travel and tourism is the largest service industry in the world and accounts for nearly 10 percent of global GDP. In 2015, revenues from international tourism represented $421 million in emerging economies. Emerging markets’ share of total global arrivals is expected to reach 57% by 2030. This corresponds to over 1 billion travelers, each spending money, transferring wealth, and creating jobs. “At Airbnb, we believe home sharing can help close the widening gap in economic opportunity between urban and rural areas,” said Clark Stevens, director, Government Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at Airbnb. “We’ve already seen the important economic engine that home sharing has become for communities around the world, and we’re excited to partner with the World Bank Group to further study the development impacts of home sharing and pilot projects in emerging tourist destinations.” “Travel and tourism is one of the largest service industries in the world and accommodation is at its core. The sharing economy has created opportunities across the sector and this partnership with Airbnb allows us to better understand those opportunities, …

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Etihad and China Southern announce codeshare partnership

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, and China Southern Airlines have announced a new codeshare partnership, which comes into effect on June 22, 2017. This increases the number of codeshare agreements operated by the Abu Dhabi-based airline to 53. Under the agreement, China Southern Airlines will put its ‘CZ’ code on Etihad Airways’ daily services between Beijing (PEK)/Shanghai (PVG)/Chengdu (CTU) and Abu Dhabi. The codeshare partnership will give China Southern guests the opportunity to book codeshare flights to and from Abu Dhabi, and connect onto Etihad’s network of over 100 destinations worldwide. Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Airways’ Executive Vice President Commercial, said: “The codeshare partnership with China Southern Airlines is a significant milestone in the airlines’ network development strategy and a key component of its footprint in the China market. This is a further example of our strategy of working with partners to extend our reach, and provide business and leisure travellers with more options. Zhang Lin, China Southern Airlines’ senior management on international cooperation,   welcomed the establishment of the new partnership with Etihad Airways’ management team. He said: “We are excited about the new partnership with Etihad Airways, which will further strengthen the global network of both airlines and provide increased benefits to all our passengers.”

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Lufthansa rated Europe’s best airline

Lufthansa has been voted the “Best Airline in Europe”. The award was given at the Paris Air Show on June 20, 2017 in Le Bourget. The market research institute Skytrax, which specialises in aviation, surveyed around 18 million passengers from over 160 countries. In the survey, passengers from across the globe spoke in favour of the German premium carrier by giving the airline high ratings in service on board and at the airport. Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO at Deutsche Lufthansa AG said, “The service offered by our crews on board and on the ground as well as our investments during the past few years in the fitting of our cabins, lounges and digitalization, have paid off. The Skytrax Award is evidence that Lufthansa passengers appreciate our quality. The combination of premium service and excellent facilities has impressed passengers worldwide and has made us Europe’s number one.” Lufthansa also won the award of “Best Airline in Western Europe” as well as the award “Best First Class Lounge Dining”.

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Korea takes first place in UIA global meetings ranking

Korea now ranks in the number one spot worldwide for global congresses hosted in 2016, according to the latest International Meetings Statistics Report released by the Union of International Associations (UIA). The result is a reflection of strong growth by established Korean meeting cities such as Seoul, as well as rising destinations like Busan, Jeju, and Incheon, contributing to the country’s increasingly diverse business events portfolio. Supporting this growth is the Korea MICE Expo that is jointly organised by the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) along with its 11 Regional Convention Bureaus. The nation recently concluded the 18th edition of Korea MICE Expo 2017, its leading business events trade show that brought together 250 businesses and more than 300 buyers from around the world, including India. The expo showcased their MICE products in a two-day expo at Incheon’s Songdo Convensia between 15-16 June, 2017 that recorded a total of 3,000 attendees. This reflected a 21.6 per cent increase in attendance over the previous year. Kapsoo Kim, Executive Director, Korea MICE Bureau, says, “These latest findings are a strong reflection of Korea’s broad growth not only across the country’s meetings section, but across the country itself. Established event destinations like Seoul are continuing to show their prowess, while an increasing number of regional capitals are giving global meetings planners an increasing variety of options, and so boosting Korea’s appeal for congresses.” The findings show Korea as a country rising from 891 meetings in 2015 to 997 in 2016, reflecting almost a 12 per cent increase over the previous year. Making up the national equation, Seoul, maintained its third place city ranking and hosted 526 meetings in 2016, up from 494 in 2015. …

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Surya Palace Vadodara rebrands to Grand Mercure

Vadodara’s Surya Palace has been rebranded to Grand Mercure Vadodara Surya Palace. Strategically located in proximity to Vadodara’s business district and corporate hubs, the hotel is the first Grand Mercure to launch in the state of Gujarat. “We are delighted to associate with AccorHotels and rebrand Surya Palace as Grand Mercure Vadodara Surya Palace. The hotel has always resonated with Vadodara, its people, art and culture. An appreciation of craftsmanship and a commitment to elegance are woven throughout the hotel,” said Piyush Shah, Managing Director, Jindal Hotels. Featuring 146 well-appointed guest rooms including five suites, Azure an all-day dining restaurant, Vanilla a delicatessen, an outdoor pool, a fitness and wellness centre, the hotel is a mere 2 minute drive from the railway station and 10 minutes from the airport. “The rebranding of Grand Mercure Vadodara Surya Palace gives us an opportunity to showcase the property as our 48th hotel in the country and highlight AccorHotels’ growing network in the region. It further strengthens our presence in Gujarat as AccorHotels’ first upscale property in the state and West India,” said Jean-Michel Cassé, Chief Operating Officer, India & South Asia, AccorHotels. “Grand Mercure is a cultural touchstone in each destination, capturing guests’ imagination and bringing local stories to life.” The launch of Grand Mercure Vadodara strengthens AccorHotels’ presence in Gujarat. The group will further augment its presence in the state with the opening of a Mercure hotel in the divine city of Dwarka in Gujarat later this year, outlining the importance of West India as a market for AccorHotels. Additionally, through the setup of a new Global Sales Office structure in the country, AccorHotels has consolidated its brand portfolio under a single …

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TAAI to sign MoU with Malaysia

TAAI Western Region will sign an MoU with Malaysia Tourism on June 22, 2017 in Mumbai to offer training workshops to its members in the Western Region. The workshop is titled ‘Malaysia – Beyond KL’ and will be offered to frontliners and representatives of tour operators. The association also launched a concise booklet on Malaysia that features 1,001 packages and aims to serve as a ready-reckoner for agents who want to sell the destination. Sampat Damani, Chairman Western Region, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI)adds, “Fourteen states from Malaysia have worked out detailed packages in this booklet along with pricing. Agents just need to look at it.”

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Peru exempts visa for short-stay visitors from India

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Peru, has decided to exempt the requirement of business and tourist visas to certain Indian citizens whose duration of stay is up to 180 days as maximum, whether continuous stay or various visits during the period of one year. The stay will be determined in the port of entry by the Immigration Officers. These rules have been effective since March 27, 2017. Others who are also exempted from visa include holders of valid visa of USA, UK, Canada, Australia or Schengen countries, with a validity of at least six months (excluding transit visas), and those who are permanent residents, accredited with the document of permit (Green Card) in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia or Schengen space countries.

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