Tourism Breaking News

31 per cent Indians use social media for tourism research

The global increase in social media usage since January 2017 in terms of tourism destinations is 13 per cent, according to a study by TrekkSoft. India is second in place with 31 per cent of people using social media to know about various tourist destinations. Saudi Arabia has the largest year-on-year increase in social media users since January 2017 (32 per cent), a 17% increase compared to the global average.  Indonesia and Ghana as technology is improving and social media becomes easily accessible to more of the population. UAE, South Korea and the UK have the slowest increase with 5 per cent. Facebook has the most daily active users compared to other social network, the study said.  

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TAFI to launch online B2B marketplace for members

The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has decided to launch an online B2B marketplace for its members. Sharing more details of this, Pradip Lulla, Vice President, TAFI, says, “We are coming up with an online platform for our members and it is already under construction. The idea is to have a marketplace where you can buy and also sell products. On the back end, we will tie up with suppliers – domestic and international. Initially, we will have more focus on accommodation including hotels and home-stays, and the airline products will follow. It will also have a payment gateway and we are talking to different companies for providing the payment solutions.” Speaking about the criteria for such a partner, Lulla adds that the cost for transactions should be lower and it should also be seamless with multiple options for payment. “The site is ready and we are only integrating the back end right now. It is not live yet. We will be releasing a beta version shortly to test it out and remove any bugs. Getting our members on it will take some time but we should have it active within two months. The members will need a login and password,” Lulla says. The name of the portal has not been finalised yet.

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OYO acquires wedding banquet company

OYO Hotels has announced the acquisition of wedding banquet company Weddingz.in to expand its playfield to real estate sector. Globally, the wedding industry has grown to become a $500 billion market and OYO’s sharp focus on global expansion will support its debut in disrupting these markets. Commenting on the development, Maninder Gulati, Chief Strategy Officer – OYO, said, “What this partnership facilitates is combining OYO’s capabilities of asset management and technology with the scale Weddingz.in offers in India’s fragmented $40bn weddings industry. The company has a healthy scale of managing 1,500-plus wedding events per quarter, with an inventory size of over 40 banquets spread across Mumbai and Delhi.’’ With more than 10 million marriages in India held annually, the segment holds immense potential for innovation, improvement and standardization of processes. “Weddingz.in is India’s largest banquet management company specialising in weddings led by an extremely ambitious founder Sandeep Lodha and his talented team and the value proposition they bring to the table via skills in managing weddings is clearly visible in their dominance and popularity.’’ added Maninder. Sandeep Lodha, Founder, Weddingz.in, commented, ‘’This alliance will work towards simplifying wedding planning for Indians while tapping the enormous opportunities this space offers.”    

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Anand Stanley to lead Airbus India from October 1, 2018

Airbus has appointed Anand E Stanley, a veteran leader in the global aerospace and defence industry, to succeed Pierre de Bausset as President and Managing Director of Airbus India. Stanley and Bausset will work through a transition before the new appointment takes effect on October 1, 2018. Stanley brings a wealth of international experience in Sales, P&L management, M&A, Aftermarket and Manufacturing. His knowledge of the Indian market will deepen Airbus’ commitment to the local aerospace and defence industries, and will drive its indigenisation to boost India’s economic growth. He will pursue the consolidation of Airbus businesses in India with a view to further reinforcing the position of the group for long-term success and growth in India. “Anand will successfully leverage the large fleet of our products flying in India, our support and services capability, the quality of our engineering team and the deep links that have been forged with local aerospace and defense industrial partners,” said Patrick de Castelbajac, Executive Vice President – Strategy & International, Airbus. A polyglot who has lived and worked in eight countries, Stanley served as Global Executive Vice President – Strategy, The Linde Group prior to joining Airbus. He started his aerospace career at Pratt & Whitney before holding multiple leadership roles within UTC and Lockheed Martin.      

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Air China withdraws IATA commission on SOTO tickets

In a crucial update, Air China has announced that it will discontinue IATA commission on SOTO (sold outside ticketed outside) tickets effective September 1, 2018. According to a statement released by the airline, any ticket issue with wrong commission would attract Agency Debit Memo (ADM). Earlier, Jet Airways and Oman Air have also have withdrawn IATA commission for agents.

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Ministry of Railways launches digital screens to spread awareness about railways’ heritage

In the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for creating digital museums at stations using QR code, Ministry of Railways has recently made ‘digital screens’ operational at 22 stations as an innovative low-cost solution to spread awareness among public about the heritage of Indian Railways. Being initiated on a pilot basis, the project aims at showcasing the legacy of Indian Railways through one to two minute-long movie clips on digital LED screens at the entrance gate of railway stations and also at different comfort areas. The short films will showcase heritage buildings, locomotives and much more to make people aware of the rich heritage of Indian Railways. For now, the screens have been set up at New Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Howrah, Sealdah, Jaipur, Agra Cantonment, Coimbatore, Lucknow, Varanasi and other railway stations. In addition, QR code based posters on Railway Heritage are also being displayed at these stations. Passenger can scan the QR code on their mobile to view a streaming video on their mobile on various facades of Railway heritage.  

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Flight operations to/from Cochin Airport suspended from till Aug 18

Due to heavy rains in Kerala, operations to and from Cochin airport have been suspended from August 15-18, 2018 on account of water rising in the operational area. However, Trivandrum and Calicut airports are available for scheduled operations. For international operations, both immigration and customs facilities are available 24*7 at these airports. Trivandrum airport can also accommodate wide-body aircraft. In view of the above and to cater for the stranded passengers, scheduled domestic airlines have been advised to reschedule their flights to/from Cochin to Trivandrum and Calicut airports till such time the situation at Cochin airport returns to normal. All scheduled domestic airlines have been advised to ensure that airfares for flights to/from   Trivandrum   and   Calicut  airports  in   Kerala are kept at optimal level proportionate to sector distance so that travelling public is not inconvenienced.

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TruJet connects 14 major destinations in South India

TruJet is now connecting 14 major destinations in South India including Cuddapah, Nanded, Bellary, Mysore and Salem in the Regional Connectivity Scheme. The airline has been further awarded with 20 new routes in the western and eastern states, and will connect Kandla, Porbandar, Keshod, Jaisalmer, Jalgaon & Nasik from Ahmedabad & Burnpur, Cooch Behar, Tezu and Rupsi from Guwahati. This ushers the commencement of the second phase of TruJet‘s “Sky for ALL” effort where Trujet connects Bharat with India and promotes the unserved/underserved cities to the metropolitans. TruJet has been the first airline to complete all the route connectivity in the first bid of UDAN and Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued a citation for TruJet for being the first airline to commence flight operation in all the RCS routes awarded in UDAN.  

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Indian rupee hits a new low; impacts outbound tourism

India’s currency, the rupee, fell to an all-time low, breaching the 70 mark against the US dollar. Guldeep Singh Sahni, Founder President, Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), said, “The drop in currency is definitely going to affect the outbound tour operators. Family travel is also going to be hit adversely as they are majorly in groups; so the amount involved is huge. However, the impact is only going to be momentary and not last for long.” On the impact of outbound tourism, Mahendra Vakharia, President, OTOAI, said, “Agents need to secure higher rates with their banks before pitching to clients and watch the movements of the market.”

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MP Tourism selects DJUBO to drive online bookings

In line with its stated objectives of driving higher online revenues and tech adoption in its 68 properties, Madhya Pradesh Tourism has chosen DJUBO as its hotel technology ERP partner providing them an all-in-one offering including cloud-based property management system, online channel management, direct booking engine, point of sale and accounting back end integrations. Speaking on the occasion of the launch of this partnership, Sankalp Goel, Co-Founder, DJUBO stated, “It is an honour that DJUBO has been chosen by MP Tourism after a thorough examination of various national and international technology product companies. It is a great testament to the all-in-one hotel technology solution that DJUBO has been building for 3 years and gaining rapid traction for.” Vijay Kumar, Chief Corporate Marketing Executive, Madhya Pradesh Tourism said, “DJUBO offers state-of-the-art capabilities coupled with new age integrations and an extremely user-friendly interface to ensure quick and widespread adoption across all our hotel staff members. DJUBO will help MP Tourism increase its revenues through online platforms both domestic and international through its channel management capabilities. At the same time, we will be using DJUBO’s Property Management and Point of Sale capabilities to manage their front office, restaurant and travel desk.” MP Tourism and DJUBO have also worked together to launch a new product called DJUBO AgentConnekt which will connect hundreds of MP Tourism travel agents across the country to the Centralized Reservation System offered by DJUBO.  

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