Tourism Breaking News

J&K Tourism spreads the word on safety

After a really slow ending to 2016 for tourism in Jammu & Kashmir, J&K Tourism is determined to make 2017 a success. Mahmood A. Shah, Director of Tourism, Kashmir, was recently in Mumbai to meet the tour operators and ensure them that the state is now completely safe and secure. He said, “Our focus this year will only be to spread the word across the country and the world about the safety and security for tourists in J&K. We have planned a 20-city roadshow where we will meet the travel and tour operators and talk to them about the security measures we have taken in our state. We have also undertaken upgradation of tourism infrastructure in Kashmir.” The tourism  board recently organised a familiarisation tour to J&K for some members of the Maharashtra Tour Organisers Association (MTOA).

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MTDC to strengthen student exchange programs with Japan

Jayakumar Jitendrasinh Rawal, Tourism Minister, Government of Maharashtra, promises to encourage and strengthen student exchange programs between India and Japan. During his tour to the Wakayama Prefecture in Japan, Rawal stated, “We are honoured to be invited by the Mayor of Tanabe City. Our discussion with the Mayor focused on several issues among the proposal by the President of Municipal Council, Dondaicha for sister city relationship with Tanabe City. We were overwhelmed with the efforts put in by the students of Toyo Junior High School and we look forward to continue cultural, tourism and other bilateral exchanges through student exchange programs between Tanabe and Dondaicha.”

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Japan to open 13 new visa application centers in India

Japan will open 13 new visa application centers in India. The centers will be opened at Gurgaon, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Goa, Bengaluru, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Puducherry and Hyderabad. This was informed by Ryoichi Matsuyama, President, Japan National Tourist Office at the opening ceremony of the 2017 the year of Japan-India Friendly Exchanges and the Announcement of Japan-India Collaboration Film Project. “Last year Japan saw 120,000 Indian arrivals whereas 230,000 Japanese visited India. Though the number of Indians visiting Japan is steadily increasing, the current figure is yet modest despite the vast size and scale of India and more so given the long-standing relationship between the two countries,” said Matsuyama. The Japan-India Collaboration Film Project was also announced. The event was attended by Kenko Sone, Minister, Economic and Development, Embassy of Japan; Suresh Prabhu, Railway Minister, Government of India, Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Ayog, Government of India, Kenchi Takano, Executive Director- Preparation Office for New Delhi, JNTO amongst others. His Excellency Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India added that there will be a number of cultural and tourism related events are planned to be held all around India in 2017.

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UK encourages visitors to apply early for visas

The UK has launched a new campaign to encourage Indian visitors to apply early for their visas in the quieter, off peak period, during January and February.  Visa applicants can expect to get a visa decision more quickly outside of the peak period, and benefit from quieter Visa Application Centres and more available appointment slots. They can now request for their visas to be post-dated by up to three months, so the visa starts on their intended travel date. Those planning to travel in April can apply for their visas now and the six month validity can start on their intended departure date. The initiative was announced at the Destination Britain India, currently being held in Pune and hosted by the UK’s national tourism agency VisitBritain. The three-day tourism trade fair brings together more than 75 travel agents from across India and more than 20 UK travel suppliers for three days of networking and business appointments. British High Commissioner to India, Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG, said, “We are delighted that more and more Indians are choosing to come to the UK either on holiday or for business. The latest visa statistics show that visitor visas issued have increased by six per cent in the year ending September 2016 and last year we issued more Indian visit visas than ever before. There has never been a better time to visit the UK – 2017 is the Year of Culture, which will see an exciting festival of events celebrating the vibrant cultural history of UK and India held in both countries.” India will become the first visa country to benefit from the Registered Traveller Service, as announced by the British Prime Minister …

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54-room Royal Tulip Kufri, Shimla opens doors

Golden Tulip Hospitality group, South Asia has announced the opening of its first 5-star luxury hotel Royal Tulip Kufri, Shimla. This will be the group’s first property in the Himalayas. Royal Tulip Kufri features 54 guest rooms and suites, offering panoramic views overlooking the beautiful Kufri valley. Located at 8,600 feet above sea level in the charming town of Kufri, Royal Tulip Kufri offers the majestic views of the Himalayas exquisitely spread over acres of Cedar forest range. Vimal Singh, Managing Director, South Asia-Golden Tulip Hotels & Resorts/Louvre Hotels Group, said “We are excited to present Royal Tulip Kufri, the first international luxury hotel in Kufri that will offer the highest standards of luxury, comfort and world class services to its customers.” Singh further added, “The opening of the hotel is significant for us. Royal Tulip will be the perfect destination hotel for leisure travelers and family holidays. In keeping with the Group’s motto Royal Tulip, Kufri brings an ethos of International Standards with local flavors. The company is looking to expand aggressively in the next few year across South Asia thereby adding significant value to the hospitality sector.”

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Ayana Hospitality opens Ayana Fort Kochi

Ayana Hospitality, promoted by the ICS Group (India) has launched its flagship property ‘Ayana Fort Kochi,’ a luxury boutique hotel in Kochi, Kerala. The hotel is a 200-year-old courthouse that has been restored. Akhil Behl, Chief Executive Officer, Ayana Hospitality, said, “It has been designed and renovated in perfect harmony with the legacy of the property, the environs and culture of the region. Our efforts towards guest’s experiences are not limited to the hotel premises only, but are far more rounded and encompassing. Going forward we will add more unique properties to our portfolio and will strive to raise the bar in personalized tailored luxury.”

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AccorHotels opens first ibis in Kochi with 115 rooms

AccorHotels brought its international economy brand, ibis, in the capital of Kerala with the opening of ibis Kochi City Centre. ibis Kochi City Centre is also the first AccorHotels’ property to open in Kerala. The property features 115 guest rooms furnished with the signature ‘Sweet Bed’ by ibis, in-room amenities and Wi-Fi access. The hotels has two meeting rooms with state-of-the-art technology that can accommodate up to 70 guests for meetings and private events. Fitness enthusiasts can sweat it out at the hotel’s Cardio Centre. Located on Ernakulam’s commercial hub – MG Road, the hotel is a few steps away from the upcoming Kochi Metro station and a short drive from the Ernakulam Railway Station. Jean-Michel Cassé, Senior Vice President, Operations, AccorHotels India said, “We are pleased to open our first AccorHotels’ property, ibis Kochi City Centre in Kerala.  Kochi is an upcoming smart city and commercial hub and we are proud to open its first international economy hotel. With a sharp focus on today’s connected business traveller, the hotel promises to be a sophisticated stay destination with a host of innovative facilities, all at an attractive price point. We are proud to introduce the ibis brand to the city and look forward to fortifying our commitment to the picturesque state of Kerala.” Speaking on the opening, Ajit Jose, General Manager, ibis Kochi City Centre, said, “We are delighted to launch our very first ibis in Kochi. The property is reflective of the growing needs of corporate travellers while catering to the needs of leisure travellers to this fast-emerging metropolis. Guests can look forward to the innovative brand concept with welcoming, designer common areas and the modern food and beverage …

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Goa hospitality institute signs MoU with Turismo de Portugal

V.M. Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education (VMSIIHE) has signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Turismo de Portugal. The MoU was signed by Dattaraj V. Salgaocar, Chairman of VMSIIHE, and Luis Araújo, President of Turismo de Portugal, in the presence of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa who is presently in Goa on a state visit. The knowledge exchange programme between the two countries will see a collaborative effort in the fields of research, trainings, teaching-learning methods and other aspects in the near future. The MOU valid for 2 years, mutually agrees to conduct student training and teacher mentoring modules in addition to institutional support. The MoU focuses on a shared vision, to encourage and develop the training and qualification of human resource personnel working in the field of tourism, as well as to coordinate and execute professional training for students and faculty. Professor Irfan Mirza, Director, V.M. Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education, said, “Together we can collaborate and enhance the quality of education we offer to our students. At our institute we offer a unique curriculum, internationally trained faculty and world class infrastructure to prepare the students for the ever changing needs of the hospitality industry. Our goal is to make this institute the center of excellence for the hospitality industry in India and we believe we have come one step closer to that goal with the signing of this MoU.”

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SpiceJet signs $22 billion deal with Boeing

SpiceJet has inked a deal with Boeing for purchase of upto 205 aircraft. Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet revealed that the new deal is the enhancement of its existing order of 55 aircraft with additional 100 firm B737-8 MAX and 50 purchase rights for B737-MAX and wide body aircraft. The total orer of 205 aircraft is valued at $22 billion (Rs. 150,000 crores). The aircraft delivery will be done between 2018 to 2020.

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Sarovar sells majority stakes to Louvre Hotels

Sarovar Hotels has sold majority of its stakes to Louvre Hotels, the second largest hotel group in Europe. The acquisition deal was formally announced in New Delhi by Ajay K. Bakaya, Executive Director, Sarovar Hotels, in the presence of Anil Madhok, Executive Chairman, Sarovar Hotels; Pierre-Frederic Roulot, CEO, Louvre Hotels Group and Saurabh Chawla, Head of Group Development, Louvre Hotels Group. According to Bakaya, there will not be any change in the management of Sarovar Hotels after the acquisition and they will continue to run the hotels the way they used to. He added that the new development would only help the company to expand its reach.

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