Tourism Breaking News

UFTAA Global Tourism Office in Istanbul by August end

Addressing the UFTAA 2017 Mid-Year Forum in City of Salerno, Italy, Sunil Kumar R, President, UFTAA, revealed that the organisation is going to come up with a global tourism office in Istanbul by later next month. “UFTAA Global Tourism Office at Istanbul is a new initiative of UFTAA. At the previous world congress of UFTAA held in Istanbul, we did confirm that UFTAA apart from travel matters will embark on tourism, MICE and education in a big way and try to create more opportunities in this area. In terms of tourism, a big initiative has been declared by the UFTAA Board of Directors for establishing the UFTAA global tourism office in Istanbul, which will be manned professionally connecting travel professionals all over the world, encouraging B2B activities, encouraging business exchange between UFTAA associations and UFTAA affiliates.  We are confident that this UFTAA tourism office will also come up with certain systems where we could gift our members certain credibility and status so that when someone sells tourism online, there is a certification from UFTAA which supports such agencies. However, this is a long-term goal. We first need to get members on board, keep the membership active and hope that UFTAA gets new members from different countries around the world,” adds Kumar. He further informed that UFTAA is in talks with the new Secretary General of UNWTO to inaugurate the new office sometime later next month. He says that due to the Qatar crisis, the work on the UFTAA Global headquarters has been kept on the back burner and hopefully there will be a headway on the same very soon.

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IAAI Maharashtra conducts AGM in Mumbai

The Maharashtra Chapter of the IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI) recently conducted its Annual General Meeting in Mumbai. The AGM unequivocally declared that the present day maladies being faced by the travel agents fraternity were set off by the downfall of the national carrier that started in 2004 and was eventually hastened from end-2008 when Air India implemented zero commission (within India) to please the Star Alliance Group. Biji Eapen, National President, IAAI, said, “The AGM has unanimously decided to demand five per cent commission on gross fare and in turn, the entire travel agent community will wholeheartedly support Air India to regain its name and brand. The AGM collectively looks forward to Air India reversing its anti-travel agent policies and becoming a role model. Air India can only ensure the operation of a flight from one airport to another. But the aircraft seats have to be filled by the traditional travel agents only, as Air India’s web sale volume is marginal. Under the new GST regime, agents can survive only with the commissions as mandated by IATA Resolution 824 (Para 9) and the DGCA Order of March 5, 2010. It will be suicidal to depend on service charges as it may have to be separately invoiced.”

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AAI signs MoU with Uttarakhand for development of aviation

Airports Authority of India (AAI) has signed an MoU with Government of Uttarakhand and collaborated with Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority (UCADA) to develop the civil aviation sector in the state. The MoU aims to identify relevant factors influencing the development of civil aviation infrastructure in Uttarakhand; assessing commercial potential of various airports of the state; identifying technical considerations for airport operations in the state; evaluating site related technical and engineering parameters for development of projects, making estimate of the capital outlay for the future projects and development of master plan for existing and future civil aviation infrastructure in the state. AAI will also assist UCADA in obtaining necessary clearances for airport operations starting with the upgraded airport at Pithoragarh and later at Chiniyalisaur. The MoU was signed by S. Ramaswamy, Chief Secretary, Government of Uttarakhand and Anil Gupta, General Manager (Business Development). Ramaswamy said that the Government of Uttarakhand is determined to fulfil the long pending requirement of operational airports within the state. The new airports would also be part of the Regional Connectivity Scheme and will boost tourism and air connectivity for the local public.

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Philippines receives 37% growth in Indian arrivals in May 17

The Philippines has recorded a whopping growth of 37 per cent in Indian arrivals in the month of May, 2017, in comparison to the same period last year, as per a release shared by the Department of Tourism (DOT) Philippines. City of Manila, Pagsanjan, the heritage city of Cebu, Boracay, and Bohol are some of the most popular places among Indian travellers visiting the Philippines. India is currently the 11th source market for the island nation in terms of foreign tourist arrivals and DOT is aiming for double-digit growth this year through aggressive marketing initiatives. Speaking about this growth, SanJeet, Tourism Attaché, Philippines Tourism Marketing Office India, says, “We are pleased to announce such a ground breaking growth rate in Indian arrivals to the Philippines. DOT engages travel trade partners in various awareness programmes and travel shows in order to maintain and sustain tourist traffic from the Indian market. In 2017, we aim to achieve the mark of 100,000 visitors to the Philippines from India.”  

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ITDC conducts hospitality training for Air India staff

India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (ITDC), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Air India to upgrade the skills and knowledge base of the national airline’s senior executive & cabin crew in hospitality and service industry. The MoU was signed in the presence of Ashwani Lohani, Chairman and Managing Director, Air India and Sudha Chandra, Principal, Ashok Institute of Hospitality & Tourism Management (AIHTM) and General Manager, HRD ITDC at Air India Head Quarters, New Delhi on May 29, 2017. In line with the MoU, AIHTM conducted a 5-Day training program on Leadership Excellence from July 11-15, 2017 for the first batch of senior executives of Air India at Hotel Samrat, Delhi. Speaking oat the Valedictory function held at Hotel Samrat on July 15, 2017, Piyush Tiwari, Officiating Chairman &Managing Director and Director Commercial & Marketing, ITDC said that, “ITDC is grateful to Air India and Shri Ashwani Lohani for their faith in ITDC’s expertise in hospitality training and management. We are proud that we have been the biggest force to drive tourism in India and have always contributed in nation building and progressive development of the industry. Our talented team at AIHTM has specially designed curriculum for Air India employees in consultation with best faculties and Air India management. We are going to plan more programs in the coming quarters for enforcing strength and leadership quality in other organisations as well. ITDC and Air India are two most prominent and visible PSUs in service sector and have lots of common traits and can work for mutual benefit.”  

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BuyForexOnline launches online remittance for students

BuyForexOnline.com has announced the launch of convenient and affordable online remittance services for Indian students planning to study abroad. BuyForexOnline’s wire transfer services allows students to make university payments online at attractive rates. Wire transfer services are available in 26 currencies to 200+ countries worldwide and are executed within 48 hours. “Wire transfers or remittances are a popular method of transferring funds abroad using the SWIFT platform. To remit money one needs to have a sending bank account and a receiving Bank account. The prevailing Forex rate viewed online will be frozen at the time of placing the order, and the sending fee levied by the sending bank and a Beneficiary fee or BEN charges levied by the receiving Bank are also transparently displayed ”said Ananth Reddy, Founder and Managing Director of BuyForexOnline. “So for instance if you are sending US$10,000 abroad through a bank or offline vendors, you might be charged a sending fee of Rs 2,500 and BEN charges of up to US$50, and be offered rates at a margins of up to four per cent, which all could add up to a cost of around Rs 30,000! We are trying to make the process affordable by offering the lowest wire transfer rates and zero sending fee, so a similar remittance transaction online with us would cost the student just about Rs 5,000 or less.’’ “Wire transfers are still an indispensable way to make university payments, especially during the university application and Enrollment phases, though Forex cards are gaining in popularity for making in-person University Fee payments and for maintenance expenses. And to bring-in added convenience we have made documentation much easier by enabling online upload and offering …

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Ezeego1.com opens franchise in Mumbai

Ezeego1.com has opened a new franchise store at Charni Road, Mumbai, to cater to the growing travel demands in South Mumbai. The outlet will be managed by Pranit Shah. Speaking at the launch, Neelu Singh, CEO & Director, Ezeego1, said, “Distribution is the key to success in the growing travel market and the opening of our new franchise will help us gain a foothold in this market. Our offerings are curated from a slew of travel aggregators and we enable and distribute it through our platform.’’ Ezeego1 will provide the franchisee with an active marketing, technical and store development support. The marketing activity will include print and radio advertising, attractive and preferential commercials. Store development support will include store designing to reinforce the brand’s look and feel. Training and technical support will be provided to all franchisee staff to effectively address the changing technology and enhance customer interface. Travellers can choose from a wide variety of group tour summer packages to domestic destinations like Ladakh, Andaman, Sikkim, Himachal, Goa and Kashmir and international destinations like Europe, South Africa, Dubai, Thailand, Mauritius, Hong Kong, Singapore, amongst many others. The store will also offer only- veg tours for travellers who have a vegetarian or Jain food preference.

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CWT launches new division dedicated to hotels

Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) has announced the formal launch of its new business division wholly dedicated to hotel distribution – RoomIt by CWT. The new division is focused on creating and delivering a new and innovative experience to expanding access and providing greater variety to customer accommodations around the world. Scott Brennan, President, hotels, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, says, “RoomIt by CWT simplifies the hotel booking process and puts the most relevant lodging options all in one place. CWT is committed to giving our clients a wide range of global options at the most competitive rates and our investment into RoomIt will enable better, more personalized service to our travelers.” RoomIt is designed with increased functionality and personalization capabilities while equipping companies with the tools to effectively monitor employees’ travel schedules.

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Thai Smile launches Lucknow–Bangkok direct flights

Thai Smile Airways introduces Lucknow to Bangkok route, offering four exclusive direct flights a week using the original flight schedules. Previously, the Lucknow airport was closed for runway maintenance. The WE333 Bangkok–Lucknow route operates four flights per week: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 10.00 pm to 00.20 am. The WE334 Lucknow–Bangkok also operates four flights a week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 01.20 am to 06.30am. Two classes are provided — 12 seats of Premium Economy Class and 150 seats of Smile class on an Airbus A320-200.

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GPS Chandigarh concludes with over 600 buyers 

With a 150 per cent growth in registrations in comparison to last year, GPS Chandigarh managed to outdo itself in this Tier-II city by some margin. “We received nearly 1000 registrations for GPS Chandigarh this year and with the excellent quality of buyers we have brought in, the number of exhibitors saw a growth of 30 per cent, registering 80 exhibitors over 50 exhibitors in the last edition,” revealed Harmandeep Singh Anand, Founder, Global Panorama Showcase (GPS). The show received over 600 buyers over the two days of the B2B session.  One of the key features of GPS this year was the paperless format, which was introduced last year but perfected this year. The use of technology in conducting a major business show like this was very well received by the trade present in Chandigarh who heralded it as a revolutionary and futuristic concept. The exhibitors were especially happy with the quality buyers that the show provided them from key market areas such as Punjab, J&K, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh etc apart from local buyers from Chandigarh. The next stop for GPS this year is Kolkata which will be held from July 27-29, 2017 and is expected to bring to the fore vast tourism offerings from the eastern wing of the country.

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