Tourism Breaking News

EbixCash signs travel technology deal with Amadeus for expansion in APAC and UAE

EbixCash, a fully owned subsidiary of Ebix, has announced a strategic travel technology partnership with Amadeus to grow its footprint across the Asia-Pacific region and UAE and become a one-stop shop for travel. The partnership will provide EbixCash’s online websites, travel agents and corporations in Asia-Pacific and UAE with greater access to the unrivalled breadth of content offered by the Amadeus Travel Platform , enabling EbixCash to better serve its customers. Robin Raina, Chairman of the Board, President & CEO, Ebix, said, “Our vision is to build an end-to-end travel solution for the industry. We want to empower travel agents and travellers alike. EbixCash today is the largest end-to-end financial exchange in the Indian sub-continent, besides its parent company Ebix being the largest insurance exchange in the world. We are always looking for new ways to stay ahead of our competitors. Partnering with Amadeus gives us access to innovative technology that will allow us to further expand our footprint across the region, especially in India, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where we see the greatest potential. Our growth strategy is built on the premise of having an unrivalled ‘phygital’ presence in the region – combining our physical distribution outlets in Southeast Asia with an omnichannel digital presence that allows our seller partners to have access to extensive real-time data and ecommerce solutions across all digital channels. Amadeus’ technology empowers EbixCash to deliver this and truly become a one-stop shop for travel.”  

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South Africa tourism minister announces e-visa regime for India on pilot basis

In a bid to stimulate the India market and achieve its new milestone of doubling numbers by 2030, South Africa has announced an e-visa regime for the India market on a pilot basis. Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, Hon. Minister of Tourism, South Africa, who was in Mumbai to interact with key travel trade partners said, “We want to remove the barriers for the India market to visit South Africa and for this we will introduce an online visa application system from the third week of January this year. This will be on a pilot basis for now and we will look at introducing it formally by April this year.” About 32 key agents attending the morning session where they discussed ideas on how they can push numbers from India.

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Cruise Professionals appointed as exclusive GSA in India for Seabourn Cruise Line

Seabourn Cruise Line, an ultra-luxury cruise line headquartered in Seattle, Washington has appointed Cruise Professionals as their exclusive General Sales Agent (GSA) for the India market. Sharing details, Nishith Saxena, Founder & Director, Cruise Professionals said, “It gives me immense pleasure to share the news of the appointment of Cruise Professionals as the exclusive GSA for the India market by one of the most luxurious all-suite cruise line, Seabourn. With our partners’ continuous support, Cruise Professionals remains the most diversified cruise representative company in India with a primary focus on B2B distribution. We seek the support of the travel trade in making Seabourn, the cruise line of choice in the luxury segment.” Seabourn pioneered small-ship, ultra-luxury cruising, and continues to represent the pinnacle of that unique style of travel. A fleet of intimate, all-suite ships, carrying between 458 and 600 guests each, sail to the world’s most desirable destinations at their peak seasons. Onboard, guests are served by an award-wining crew numbering nearly as many as the guests, hand-picked and extensively trained to deliver Seabourn’s signature style of thoughtful, personalized and heartfelt hospitality. Seabourn’s ships attract accomplished people who enjoy travelling well and sharing fun and adventures with other interesting people. A great many of them have found the Seabourn cruise experience to be their preferred method of travel, and return regularly to sail with us again and again. Over the last 11 years, Cruise Professionals has been offering a range of attractive cruise holiday options through several premium cruise lines which are distributed through travel agency associates across the country, who in turn offer a diverse & rich mix of cruise & allied services to their HNI clients. The …

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Goa to woo Chinese tourists; plans promotional activities

To increase the number of foreign tourist arrival, stakeholders in Goa tourism are looking at China to tide over the slump in the arrival of inbound tourists. A six-member delegation from China is scheduled to arrive in Goa to prepare content and guide the Goa tourism department and stakeholders on how to promote the coastal state in Chinese markets, which is virgin territory for the state’s tourism industry. Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) president Savio Messias said that there is a downfall in international tourist arrivals in Goa by almost 30-40 per cent. “There are several factors responsible for this phenomenon, and one of them is shutting down of Thomas Cook, UK, which was flying charters in Goa,” he said. “Promotions in China are different from the rest of the world. They don’t use Facebook, Google or Whatsapp. We will have to design websites in the Chinese language to reach to them,” he said. Goa attracts around four lakh international visitors every year, whose number has gone down significantly in the last two years. Russia and Britain are two traditional markets for Goa.

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U & I Holidays to launch dynamic online portal in Q1, 2020

Indonesia and Maldives expert U & I Holidays has announced that it will soon go online with a dynamic portal. Sharing more details, Ashish Indulkar, Director, U & I Holidays said, “We will start this new decade on a different note. We have been working on our online portal for some time and it is now in pilot stage. It will offer our trade partners faster service and turnaround time, rate parity, and live inventory and quotations. This should be ready by February 2020 and we encourage all our partners to get a login for this.” The company also completes 10 years of operations. It is currently busy conducting a seven-city roadshow in India with its partners from Indonesia.

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Air India working to secure additional slots at Heathrow airport

The national carrier, Air India is hoping to secure additional slots at the London Heathrow airport during 2020, which will help it grow sales and make the airline more attractive to potential suitors. Air India has obtained three additional slot pairs free of cost on a temporary basis in the winter season, apart from the 28 pairs of slots it already has. The airline will operate 11 flights between Mumbai-London Heathrow in February and March 2020.  “On passenger demand, Air India is going to introduce 11 special flights from Mumbai to London Heathrow. This service will start from February 14. We are in discussion with Heathrow airport authorities for this service on a full-year basis and are hopeful our request will be accepted,” said an Air India spokesperson. With over 700,000 annual passengers and 21 per cent market share Air India is the largest carrier on India-United Kingdom routes. Emirates and British Airways are ranked second and third. Currently, the national carrier operates 28 weekly services to Heathrow from Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, New Delhi and Mumbai. It also flies to Birmingham and London Stansted airports. (Source: Business Standard)

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New destinations in focus at Visit Britain Sales Mission in Delhi

VisitBritain successfully concluded its roadshow in New Delhi with over 250 travel trade partners in attendance. Agents from Delhi, Punjab, West Bengal and Gujarat attended the event, which had a total of 42 exhibitors representing destinations, attractions, DMCs and products from across Britain. New destinations which were in focus were Birmingham, Manchester and Lake District. Leading the delegation was Vishal Bhatia- country manager India, Visit Britain. Shuja Bin Mehdi, B2B manager, Visit Britain revealed that they have got an overwhelming response in both Mumbai and Delhi, which shows the interest the agents have in the destination. With such a response they will hopefully organise the roadshow once again next year.

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Madhya Pradesh to soon come out with a sports tourism policy

Along with developing world-class infrastructure and organising several national events, the Madhya Pradesh government has now decided to promote sports tourism in a big way across the state. Sports Minister of MP, Jeetu Patwari has announced that the state government is drafting a policy in this regard. “Sports tourism is a fast-growing sector and has been giving a fillip to the global travel industry for a while. I think the time has come to start promoting sports tourism; the policy will be soon prepared on this,” said Patwari while giving information on the 20-point departmental action plan for the year 2020. Patwari said that sports infrastructure will be set up in Bhopal Gwalior, Jabalpur and Ujjain through PPP model. In last one year, MP has organised several national and international sports meet. In 2020, the state will host events like world dragon boat championship in Indore, where teams from 43 countries will participate. Bhopal will host the rowing championship around October-November 2020.

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More than 250 agents attend VisitBritain’s Mumbai roadshow

VisitBritain successfully concluded the Mumbai edition of its two-city sales mission yesterday with more than 250 key travel agents and tour operators attending the event. The New Delhi edition will be held on January 15, 2020. Sharing more information on it is Vishal Bhatia, Country Manager, India, VisitBritain, who says, “We received a phenomenal response in Mumbai with more than 250 trade partners attending the event to engage with the delegates from the UK. We had 35 suppliers at the roadshow with a total of 42 delegates. A lot of the suppliers from the UK are here for the first time like the Grasmere Gingerbread, The Spires Service Apartments and Sterling Travel. This will be the biggest contingent ever from the UK participating in this India Sales Mission, which speaks volumes about the demand they see from India and the kind of confidence we have in the market. The UK Visas & Immigration is also part of this.” The last such sales mission was conducted in 2017 in Pune with 22 suppliers from the UK who met 90-odd hosted buyers from India. He added that some agents had also travelled from outside Mumbai from cities like Pune and even Rajkot in Gujarat to meet the suppliers. Bhatia adds, “There is a big contingent from north of England as well. Marketing Manchester has been working extremely closely with us over the years and we have 20-odd suppliers coming from the north who are capable of holding big MICE groups as well – like the Lancashire Cricket Club where the India-Pakistan match took place in June last year.”

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Insight Vacations launches Silver Level on its Specialist eLearning Programme

Following the successful re-launch of its eLearning programme in the fall with the introduction of the Bronze level, Insight Vacations is now releasing the Silver Level on its Insight Specialist eLearning Programme. The second level of the new course is designed with travel advisors in mind and focuses on offering them a deep understanding of what makes the brand unique in the market. Whether a novice or an Insight Vacations expert, advisors will benefit from the course by having access to a bank of examples showcasing what makes Insight holidays unique for clients and through the tools, knowledge and confidence to sell Insight Vacations. The company is currently offering Early Payment Discount (EPD) with savings of 10 per cent* when clients book and pay in full by 28th February 2020. “The Silver Level of the Insight Specialist eLearning program is designed to provide Travel Advisors concrete examples of our distinctive features,” says Anthony Lim, Insight Vacations, Managing Director, Asia. “This enables advisors to highlight what makes Insight’s journeys so personal, stylish and magical, which in turn will benefit them with increased sales, rewards and elated clients. The timing couldn’t be more ideal with Insight Vacations’ Early Payment Discount offering our valuable Travel Advisors the opportunity to secure their clients’ spots on 2020 journeys with savings,”  Lim concludes. The Insight Specialist Gold Level will be available at a later date.  

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