Tourism Breaking News

Record number of registrations for TAAI Convention 2018

TAAI’s limited edition convention in Srinagar has gathered keen interest from the trade. “Within 24 hours of opening registration, we received over 100 forms. Registrations for the TAAI Convention opened on February 19 and more than 200 delegates have already confirmed their participation. The hotels are in huge demand,” confirms Sunil R. Kumar, President, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI). Set to be held from March 27-30, 2018, the TAAI Convention is being organised in association with the Ministry of Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir with a view to promote a more visible J&K and its outstanding attributes that extensively support tourism and culture.

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HRAWI to host 18th regional convention in Sri Lanka

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) has announced plans of hosting its 18th Regional Convention in Colombo, Sri Lanka. HRAWI, for the first time ever, is going to host the Regional Convention overseas. Scheduled to take place from June 27-30, 2018, the convention will integrate business sessions on specially curated topics for hospitality professionals with evening gala over cocktails and dinner. With over 300 participants expected to gather at one place, the convention will offer business networking opportunities for industry players. As an added attraction, HRAWI will also organise post-convention tours for delegates to unwind and relax in the paradise beach destination of Sri Lanka.  

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BirdRes appoints Shashikant Jugran as COO

BirdRes has appointed Shashikant Jugran as Chief Operating Officer. In his current role, he will be responsible for managing the company’s B2B conglomerate known as birdres.com. Prior to this, Jugran was GM & Head—B2B Business & Partnerships at Yatra.com, where he built the B2B business in the country and introduced new product verticals. With around 18 years of experience in building up businesses, Jugran possesses skills in e-commerce, quality and process management, account management and market development.

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Travelport’s new products to enable airlines and agents in NDC era

Travelport has launched its product roadmap to extend its content offering to airline customers using the International Air Transport Association (IATA) New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard. The new products will enable travel agency customers to access such content via Travelport’s platform. The company is now extending its lead by industrialising its NDC capability and incorporating NDC content within its suite of products for airlines and travel agencies. These products will allow travel agencies to connect through Travelport’s platform in a single workflow combining traditional content and new NDC content. Stephen Shurrock, Chief Commercial Officer, Travelport commented, “Building on our unique NDC Level 3 status, we are extending our range of products ready for the new mixed-economy era of airline distribution. Travelport has a rich history of innovation and, with our NDC-enabled products, we intend to maintain this as we seamlessly, speedily and accurately deliver the broadest range of bookable content to our customers.” Yanik Hoyles, Director-NDC Program, IATA added ,“Following its achievement as the first GDS to become NDC Level 3 certified as an aggregator, we congratulate Travelport on its continued progress in developing products for this new era and look forward to their initial launch later this year.”    

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Goa’s Shigmo festivities to kick-start from March 3

After a successful Carnaval celebration, Goa is set to usher in Shigmo – a festival of colour, costumes and culture scheduled from March 3-17, 2018, beginning with the celebration of Holi. During the Shigmo parades, one gets a chance to take a glimpse at the life of a Goan which is depicted in elaborate folk performances by local men and women dancing tirelessly in huge processions. Traditional folk dances and performance of mythological scenes is the highlight of this parade. On the day of Shigmo, people in Goa are dressed up in colourful outfits, holding multi-coloured flags and playing musical instruments like the Dhol Tasha and flutes in processions across the cities along with floats that parade through the streets. Folk dances like Ghode Modni and Fugdi are performed on the streets in massive troupes along the procession. An interesting element of the Shigmo is the tradition of covering each other with colourful powder and bright paints. The float parade is organised across different cities of Goa like Ponda, Margao, Vasco, Sanguem, Sanquelim, Valpoi, Bicholim, Panjim, Mapusa, Pernem, Canacona, Quepem, Curchorem, Cuncolim and Dharbandora.  

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Cyprus offers visa services in Goa through VFS Global

Residents of Goa planning a visit to Cyprus can now apply for their visas at the new VFS Global Cyprus Visa Application Centre in Panjim. The centre brings Cyprus visa services closer to home, eliminating the need for applicants from Goa to travel to a neighbouring state to submit their applications. The centre in Goa was inaugurated by His Excellency Demetrios A. Theophylactou, High Commissioner of Cyprus to India. Theophylactou said, “The Cyprus Visa Application Centre in Goa is one out of 16 VFS global centres serving Cyprus in India. The opening signifies a steady increase in visa related queries. Consequently, this centre would further expand and enhance visa services, and promote people-to-people contacts, thus contributing to our bilateral relations. The centre would work in close cooperation with the Consular Section of the High Commission to achieve the goal of timely and efficient issuance of visas.” Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer–Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global said, “VFS Global has served the Government of Cyprus in India since 2015, and the expansion of our services on their behalf to 16 cities in India is a testament of their faith in our ability to offer applicants best-in-class visa services.”

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IHCL forays into Bhopal by signing a new hotel

Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) has announced its foray into Bhopal with the signing of a new hotel – Vivanta Bhopal, through a management contract with Genex Hotels. This will be IHCL’s first hotel in Bhopal, expanding its presence across key state capitals and having a network of hotels in all the key commercial centres of India. Suma Venkatesh, Senior Vice President, Real Estate & Development, IHCL said, “We are delighted to partner with Genex Hotels for Vivanta Hotel in Bhopal. Consolidating presence in key capital cities is an important pillar of our domestic expansion strategy. With rapid urbanisation and growth, Bhopal offers immense potential for both leisure and business travellers.” Vivanta Bhopal will be located near Van Vihar National Park, a 25-minute drive from the Bhopal International Airport. Spread over four acres, the hotel will comprise 150 guest rooms and other features including multi-cuisine restaurants, recreation facilities, meeting spaces, conference rooms and large banqueting facilities. Commenting on the partnership, the spokesperson for Genex Hotels said, “We are proud to partner with IHCL and introduce the Vivanta brand to Bhopal. Through this association with the pioneers of the Indian hospitality industry, we aim to enhance the guest experience in line with the highest international standards.”

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UP unveils new Tourism Policy; enhances budget to Rs 687 crore

Uttar Pradesh Government has revealed its new Tourism Policy 2018, with an enhanced budget of Rs 687 crore from the earlier Rs 347 crores. An additional Rs 650 crores will be provided by the Centre for different schemes. The new policy promises to generate 5 lakh jobs annually by investing Rs 5000 crore per year for the next five years. The policy will also aim to achieve an annual increase of 15 per cent domestic tourists and 10 per cent foreign tourist arrival in the state. Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Tourism Minister, Government of Uttar Pradesh, informed that the policy will grant the status of industry to all activities of tourism sector. “The tourism policy will lay a foundation to make UP the most preferred tourism destination in the country by increasing tourist arrivals and recording highest tourist receipts, develop tourism circuits and providing other facilities. Safety and security of all tourists, especially women, will remain the utmost priority for the state government.” “The state government has assured to provide Rs 1000 crores for the implementation of the new tourism policy of which Rs 70 crores have already been sanctioned,” said Joshi. The new policy also promises to offer a wide range of financial incentives and benefits to investors. As of date, the state tourism department has received an investment of over Rs 10,000 crore as 23 companies have shown interest. “All benefits would be offered within 20 kms of all tourist sites of 10 tourism circuits including Ramayan circuit, Krishna/Braj circuit, Buddhist circuit, wildlife and Eco tourism circuit, Bundelkhand circuit, Mahabharata circuit, Shakti Peeth Circuit, Aadhyatmik circuit, Sufi/ Kabir circuit and Jain circuit,” added Joshi. Salient features of the new …

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65-key Lords Eco Inn–Jamnagar set to open in Q4, 2018

Lords Hotels & Resorts has added a new property in Jamnagar, Gujarat to be launched under the ‘Eco Inn’ branding. It is the brand’s 15th hotel property in the state and overall, its 28th. The property is expected to commence operations in the fourth quarter of this year. Lords Eco Inn – Jamnagar will have 65 rooms with modern amenities and full-services. The property will have an elegant banquet hall attached to sprawling green lawns and will also have its trademark multi-cuisine restaurant – Blue Coriander. “We are pleased to officially announce the sign-up of Lords Eco Inn – Jamnagar and congratulate our partners for their new venture with us. From our first hotel Lords Plaza in Surat back in the year 2007 to the latest, Lords Hotels & Resorts has created a niche for itself in the region and is Gujarat’s ‘numero uno’ hospitality brand today,” says P R Bansal, Chairman and Managing Director, Lords Hotels & Resorts. Lords Eco Inn – Jamnagar is a partnership venture with entrepreneurs Sunil Lodaya and Kuldeep Sinh. “Our presence dots the western coast of Gujarat roughly at intervals of 130 km of each other. Lords Eco Inn – Jamnagar will be our seventh property in the region and with it, we will have created a complete beach circuit in Gujarat. All properties in the circuit cater to a mix of business, leisure, pilgrimage and adventure tourism, and Lords Hotels & Resorts enjoys a lion’s share in the region. Once launched, we are expecting Lords Eco Inn – Jamnagar to capture a significant part of business tourists visiting the city,” says Rishi Puri, Vice President, Lords Hotels & Resorts.

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Govt introduces e-FRRO portal for foreign nationals visiting India

The Government of India has digitalised the process of FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) registration, visa extension, etc. for foreign nationals visiting India. The government has now introduced an e-FRRO portal with an aim to provide faceless, cashless and paperless service to foreign nationals. There will be no requirement to visit FRRO office. Earlier, foreigners could book appointment and upload documents online but they had to be physically present on the appointed date at the FRRO office for processing of the application. With effect from February 12, 2018, a mandatory visit to the local FRRO office located at Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai has been done away with. Online submission of documents in respect of all visa and immigration related services (such as the Indian FRRO registration, visa extension, change of address/passport, visa conversion, exit permission, etc.) has been enabled. Client will be informed through e-mail/SMS alerts for service granted or rejected. Registration certificate will be sent by post and on the registered email ID. Alternatively, it can be downloaded from the portal.

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