Tourism Breaking News

Seychelles appreciates Mumbai and Delhi travel partners

Seychelles Tourism Board recently organised ‘Appreciation Evenings’ in New Delhi and Mumbai for its key travel trade, airline and hotel partners to thank them for their support. The tourism board also gave away appreciation awards to those travel agents and tour operators who have significantly contributed to the increase in awareness and tourist arrivals to Seychelles from India. Awardees in New Delhi included Destination Travel Services, Makemytrip, TUI and Travstarz. In Mumbai, Holidays Box, Vacations Exotica – Balmer Lawrie, Ottila and Air Seychelles were honoured. Hallmark Elite and Escape Holidays from Ahmedabad were also awarded. Patsy Moustache, Acting Charge de Affairs, Seychelles High Commission congratulated the tourism board team and the travel trade partners for their support.  This was followed by a destination update. Sherin Francis, CEO, Seychelles Tourism Board, was not present at the events but she sent out a message that said, “When we started the India office in 2013, there were just around 2,000 Indians visiting Seychelles. Last year we touched 8,000. This number may seem small in comparison to the several thousands of tourists visiting other destination. But keeping in mind the exclusivity of the destination, our limited marketing budgets and most importantly the short period of time, we are proud of this achievement. The numbers this year so far show similar trend as last year and we are positive that we will cross our target of 2016. Though Seychelles remains the ultimate romantic destination we have seen several families, small MICE groups and adventure sports enthusiasts choosing the islands for their holiday.”

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FAITH seeks 6% GST rating for tourism & hospitality

In their latest set of interactions with GST commissionerate, FAITH has made a very specific request for 6 per cent. GST rating, at the lowest slab for the tourism & hospitality industry. The services sector is being considered for 18% and 12%, but considering that a lot of tourism sub-sectors in India are on abated rates currently & that worldwide tourism industry average indirect rates are between 6-9% Faith believes it is important to communicate the requirement for the lowest slab 6% for the industry. Additionally, FAITH has sounded the GST commissioner on the issue wrt presumptive rates & there is a likelihood that that will be considered positively. They have also sounded on export service status under section 2(44)c & have been informed that the place of provision of supply of service may being relooked at in the second draft of GST law. Over the past 4 months Faith has been running a persistent campaign with all policy makers at central & state governments to position Indian tourism on the lowest GST rate which will double the PAN India employment & GDP output resulting from tourism.

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1st Chedi in India at Lake Powai in Mumbai

General Hotel Management (GHM) has joined hands with Rajesh LifeSpaces, Mumbai-based real estate company, to bring The Chedi brand to the hospitality market in India. Hans R. Jenni, Director and President, GHM, expressed his optimism for the project, “We have always wanted to plant a GHM flag in India and being able to establish The Chedi brand in the thriving city of Mumbai is an honour as well as a challenging opportunity my team and I are eager to face.” The Chedi Mumbai is situated in close proximity to the Powai region, an area where infrastructure developments, connectivity and social groundwork have laid the foundation for the growth of a diverse expatriate community. It is also an increasingly favoured residential precinct among the locals and the burgeoning district is becoming an enclave for the who’s who in society. The strategic location of this iconic hotel is also not far from Bandra Kurla Complex: this ambitious development is set to be an emerging hub for work and leisure outside of South Mumbai and will house a new convention and exhibition centre, an art auditorium, cultural plaza, residences and offices. These, coupled with the fact that The Chedi Mumbai is close to both the domestic and international airports, and is supported by a comprehensive network of highways and roads, assure travellers of the ease of commuting and roadway connectivity between the northern and southern parts of the city. When viewed from these various perspectives, The Chedi Mumbai is truly a testament to the owner’s vision for it to become a destination in and of itself, the epicentre of this metropolitan city.

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KTDC restricts boating in Periyar River due to low water level

Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) has restricted boating service (Jalaraja boat with 126 seats) in Periyar River from October 21, 2016, onwards till further orders due to low water level in the river. Bookings in KTDC boats will be cancelled and refunded or adjusted with future bookings. As per the information received from Kerala Forest Department, small boats (2 boats with 25 seats each) operated by the department will continue their boating services in the river.

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TAFI plans at least 2 symposiums in 2017

As part of its makeover plan, the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has announced that it will be organising at least two symposiums next year. Pradip Lulla, Vice President, TAFI, said, “We will have symposiums starting next year over and above our annual convention. One of our main objectives is to get on a digital platform where we can integrate our members. The Managing Committee is working on the details of the digital platform. We have already identified the platform but basic implementation needs to be firmed up. It will be confirmed by early next year. The symposium will discuss on how to improvise our existing Joint Bank Guarantee program. The convention details will be divulged by March 2017.” He added that TAFI is also looking at new ways of educating its members on how to do business better.

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Delta releases ‘Code of Conduct’ for agents

IATA has sent out a circular to all BSP India agents that includes a six-page ‘Code of Conduct’ issued by Delta Air Lines this week. This information was uploaded and provided to the agents through BSPLink at the request of the airline. This includes Air France, KLM, Alitalia and Delta Air Lines. The document contains five main points. It touches on the subject of fares, redistribution of carrier content, rules about intellectual property, customer service and consequences of non-compliance with the Agent Code of Conduct. These include: cancelling the agent’s Electronic Ticketing Authority, withdrawing authority to issue traffic documents on the carrier’s behalf, and terminating IATA Resolution 824 – Passenger Sales Agency Agreement by withdrawing carrier’s appointment of the agent. IATA has asked agents to communicate with the airline directly in case of any clarifications.

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Air India sets record with longest non-stop flight

Air India set a record with its longest non-stop flight from Delhi to San Francisco. The Boeing 777-200 long range aircraft took the Pacific route instead of the Atlantic route, adding an additional 1400 km to the route but was completed in 14 and a half hours, two hours lesser than the conventional flight due to the helpful tailwinds. “From October 15, the flight which connected Delhi and San Francisco via the Atlantic route has begun operations on the Pacific route and returns on the Atlantic route, making it the only flight that goes around the world,” says Pankaj Srivastava, Director-Commercial and Board Member, Air India. This route also saved around 13 tons of fuel. Air India currently operates flights on the Delhi-San Francisco route three times a week but its growing popularity has prompted the airline to double this from November, flying east each time for the next six months. Inputs from: The Telegraph UK

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ITB Asia to be held in Singapore till 2019

Singapore will continue to be home to the next three editions of ITB Asia. Messe Berlin, the organisers of the event, have announced the extension of its partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) from 2017 – 2019, as it looks to continue supporting ITB Asia’s impact in the region. This also marks Singapore as the official partner country for 2017. The next three editions of ITB Asia will take place from October 25–27, 2017, October 17–19, 2018, and October 16–18, 2019. Dr. Martin Buck, Senior Vice President, Messe Berlin GmbH, said, “Next year, ITB Asia will be momentous as we celebrate the show’s 10th anniversary. Visitors, delegates and partners can expect a dedicated ‘Corporate Travel Day’ and ‘Hotel Day’, lined up with an exciting full day of conference programmes catered to these fast-growing sectors.” Melissa Ow, Deputy Chief Executive of the Singapore Tourism Board, added, “ITB Asia has grown well since its inaugural show in 2008, delivering strong content and memorable experiences for delegates over the past nine years. We look forward to working with Messe Berlin to further entrench it as the leading travel tradeshow in the Asia-Pacific region.” The ninth edition of ITB Asia brought together 846 exhibitors from 110 countries, and 895 buyers. The show also attracted more than 10,876 attendees.

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Marriott-Sabre partners with new solutions

Marriott International together with Sabre Hospitality Solutions unveiled a new distribution and booking solution, www.MarriottWholesalers.com, that provides thousands of authorized wholesalers, destination marketing companies, and tour operators access to real‐time rates and inventory for more than 4,200 Marriott properties around the world. The solution is part of Marriott’s strategy to transform the wholesale and leisure segment with technology and shift to dynamic rates and automated reservations, replacing antiquated processes for contracting, accessing inventory and booking hotel rooms. Approved wholesalers can now search real time hotel net rates and inventory globally to create tailor‐made packages for their customers. All hotel bookings are confirmed instantly online. The solution provides significant value to smaller wholesalers by removing the need for them to make a technology investment to gain direct, dynamic access to rates and inventory. The solution will make it more efficient than ever to distribute Marriott’s inventory to the broader leisure package segment. Wholesalers can establish or renew access in seven languages at MarriottWholesalers.com and once authenticated, they immediately have access to the booking engine.

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JW Marriott opens 1st hotel in Kolkata

JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts continues to expand its luxury portfolio with the opening of its eighth hotel in India, JW Marriott Hotel Kolkata. This is Marriott International’s first hotel in Kolkata and East India and is located in the heart of the city, minutes from the old central business district. Comprising of 281 rooms, JW Marriott Hotel Kolkata, boasts the largest ballroom in the city and features a unique bridal room, offering brides an exclusive, private space available for pre-wedding preparations. In addition to 38,370 square feet of indoor and outdoor event spaces measuring, the hotel offers five intimate studios for meetings, each one equipped with cutting-edge facilities. The hotel is also home to India’s largest in-built video wall measuring 32 feet x 18 feet and comprising 64 LED panels. “The opening of the first JW Marriott hotel in Kolkata marks a great milestone for Marriott International. It was a matter of time before we presented one of our luxury brands –JW Marriott – to the city of Kolkata. JW Marriott is globally renowned for its intuitive service and commitment to providing guests with truly enriching luxurious experiences,” says Neeraj Govil, Area Vice President, South Asia, Marriott International. The other facilities include a range of premium F&B and entertainment options, a roof top lounge on the 24th floor, wellness facilities including the brand’s signature spa, an outdoor infinity pool with Jaccuzzi and private cabanas for guests to unwind and relax and a fully-equipped 24-hour Fitness Centre. “We look forward to presenting our discerning guests with signature JW Marriott experiences where they leave feeling enriched. Our team is confident the hotel will be recognised as the most stylish and sought-after …

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