Tourism Breaking News

French Ambassador rewards exemplary itineraries from India

Held at Sujan Rajmahal Palace in Jaipur, French Ambassador’s Travel Award ceremony recognised the efforts of Indian tour operators in promoting the destination. The awards, launched in 2015, reward the itineraries that display the very best of France highlighting this destination and its experiences. Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India, appreciated the dedication that the Indian travel fraternity has shown to promote France.  

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India & New Zealand strengthen aviation & tourism partnership

The success of the fifth India New Zealand Business Council (INZBC) annual summit in Auckland has highlighted the strong will among both nations to take their trade and investment relationship up several notches, riding on India’s fast growing economy. Themed on Aviation, Tourism and Technology, the one-day summit heard substantively from some of the most successful business people and policy influencers in these sectors both from India and New Zealand and from New Zealand’s Members of Parliament across the main political parties. In a video message from New Delhi, Suresh Prabhu, India’s Minister for Commerce, Industry and Civil Aviation, welcomed the summit and invited New Zealand businesses to join India’s unfolding growth story tipped to go from $5 trillion to $10 trillion in the next 15 years.​While trade agreements were touched upon, presenters were emphatic and unanimous in their opinion that strengthening better air links – especially direct flights – between the two countries was key to not only boosting tourism numbers but also growing the education sector, trade and investment exponentially. “Growth in Indian tourist numbers into New Zealand has been encouraging over the past few years but the potential was great,” said Suresh Nair, General Manager, Air Asia—India. “Air Asia had developed expertise in creating and marketing new tourist destinations with robust and frequent air links in Asia and India, working with the hospitality industry. New Zealand could similarly tailor its own destinations to suit preferences of the growing and increasingly mobile Indian tourist industry,” he said.

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Tourism from India to Russia grows 27.5 per cent

At the recently-concluded Round Table on Tourism on the sidelines of the Russian Indian Summit 2018, Ivan Breganov, Regional Manager of IFS (Russian Visa Center) confirmed that the number of tourist visas issued from January to September 2018 has already surpassed the total number of visas issued in 2017, pegging the YoY growth around 27 per cent. The round table was organised by Russia Expo Center, Moscow along with Russian Information Center, Mumbai (RIC) with more than 120 trade professionals from India attending along with TAAI MC Member Rajan Sehgal and EEMA Executive Vice President Sanjiv Pasricha making the keynote address along with Timur Vekilov, Chief Representative in India of Russ Expo Center. The round table moderated by Paresh Navani, Director, Russ Information Center discussed the needs and special services required by Indians and ways to address the same. In this regard, Russ Information Center announced the pre-launch of Ural Airlines set to begin operations from March 24, 2019 connecting Mumbai to Yekaterinburg and Moscow along with some tourism products to take advantage of the new airline service between the two countries, further RIC presented its ‘Indian Friendly’ programme to the Indian travel trade, the Indian friendly programme trains Russian hotels on Indian culture, cooking Indian dishes and ensure that other specific needs are provided to Indians in Russia. Another point noted by the attendees was that tourists from Russia to India has also grown over the last years by around 29 per cent, showing good recovery of arrival compared to the past few years.

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Amadeus roadshows showcase new range of products & solutions for India market

Amadeus held roadshows in Delhi and Mumbai to showcase a comprehensive range of products and solutions in travel technology space especially beneficial for the Indian market. Commenting on the product portfolio, Rakesh Bansal, CEO, Amadeus Indian Subcontinent said, “To keep up with global industry standards, companies world over need to constantly innovate and evolve. With dynamic changes and growing demand within the travel technology industry it has become essential to create diverse solutions for different subscribers. Our portfolio of products & solutions introduced for the market today offers effective and efficient variety of solutions that help in generating additional revenue and improving productivity and efficiency for travel agencies thus, reducing costs.” The range of Amadeus products and solutions showcased at the forum included Amadeus Ticket Changer (ATC), Amadeus Travel Alerts Notifier (ATAN), Amadeus Master Pricer Expert and Amadeus Sell Connect (SECO), the only fully cloud-based booking and fulfilment platform within the travel industry, designed to save time, money, improve performance and efficiency. The range of products also included CashX, a complete web-based business accounting software which is convenient for back office operations. It enables multi service options designed to handle multiple currencies at a single point within the same document and is accurate and reliable at the same time.  

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Hyatt acquires Two Roads Hospitality; adds Alila to portfolio

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced an agreement to acquire Two Roads Hospitality. In India, Alila Diwa Goa and Alila Fort Bishangarh are the two properties that belong to Two Roads Hospitality. Through the addition of Two Roads, its established lifestyle brands and the management agreements for the majority of its 85 properties in eight countries, Hyatt will expand its brand presence into 23 new markets while enhancing its offerings in lifestyle hotel experiences and well-being. With Two Roads and its collection of lifestyle hotels, resorts and vacation residences, Hyatt will offer an expanded and more powerful portfolio of brands with best-in-class offerings to deliver compelling experiences and benefits for guests and World of Hyatt members, expand its relationship with valued hotel owners, and drive growth for shareholders. “Hyatt and Two Roads are dedicated to learning from each other and taking the best of both organisations forward,” said Mark Hoplamazian, President and CEO, Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “Two Roads’ passionate team members, strong brands, global footprint and robust development pipeline will expand our lifestyle offerings and grow Hyatt’s brand presence in more places where our guests and World of Hyatt members want to travel.” After the close of the transaction, which is expected later this year, Hyatt will create a dedicated lifestyle division as a catalyst to bring together the operations of Two Roads’ and Hyatt’s lifestyle brands. “Hyatt’s unique position in the marketplace brings with it the powerful benefit of global scale while maintaining meaningful personal relationships with team members, guests and owners,” said Jamie Sabatier, CEO, Two Roads Hospitality.

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Jeju Tourism conducts two-city roadshow in India

Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and Jeju Tourism Organization recently held a joint roadshow in New Delhi and Mumbai to present the destination to travel agents. This was their second tourism presentation in India since 2015 when they made their India debut. Park Hong Bai, President, Jeju Tourism Organization, led the Korean delegation that comprised Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and three domestic businesses that were participating in the roadshow. About 100 tour operators attended the show in each city. Indian nationals do not require a visa for visiting Jeju Island. Hong Bai, said, “This roadshow is a very important first step for Jeju to tap the Indian market. Jeju will be working with Korea Tourism Organization and Hong Kong Tourism Board to boost promotion of each region in India and to increase the satisfaction of Indian travellers who plan to visit Jeju.”

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IndiGo announces daily non-stop flights to Male and Phuket from November 2018

IndiGo will start operating its daily non-stop flights to Male and Phuket from next month. Male will be connected with Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kochi, while services to Phuket will be operated from Delhi. The new flights are designed to cater to business and leisure travellers from these cities, who are constantly on the lookout for new and affordable flying options. William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo, said, “We are pleased to announce Male and Phuket as our 13th and 14th international destinations, effective November 2018. We will operate direct flights to Male from three key cities of Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kochi. And, we will also operate non-stop flights between Delhi and Phuket. Both Male and Phuket are key markets for us and we see great potential in the growth of tourism from India.” He further added, “IndiGo will continue to expand its network to meet the requirements of both business and leisure travellers wherever they demand it. It is our constant endeavour to provide more flexibility of choice to our customers as IndiGo continues to offer them on-time, courteous and hassle-free service, and an affordable flying experience always.”

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Over 19k participants attend 3rd Start-up Expo in Delhi

Co-hosted by Lufthansa India and the Delhi-NCR chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), the third edition of Start-up Expo held in Delhi witnessed over 19,000 delegates from various cities across India, including 100 investors, over 100 recognised business experts and nearly 500 start-up exhibitors. The single-day event also hosted the grand finale of the first season of ‘Elevator Pitch’ contest, launched in August by Lufthansa. Manasi Kulkarni, Co-Founder, Innoweave Biocare, emerged as the winner by outshining over 500 contestants. Making a sharp 3-minute pitch and displaying sharp business acumen, Kulkarni won the prize of sponsored seat at a global entrepreneurship programme at the prestigious Cambridge University in the UK, a Lufthansa business-class ticket to Europe as well as coveted mentorship from TiE Delhi-NCR. Wolfgang Will, Senior Director – South Asia, Lufthansa, said, “The overwhelming response to Start-up Expo has led to its exponential growth over the past three years into what is today India’s largest ecosystem for start-up success. It is also an affirmation of the fact that young entrepreneurs in India are chasing new dreams, exploring new possibilities and we feel absolutely privileged to enable them in taking the leap from dreams to reality.” Geetika Dayal, Executive Director, TiE Delhi-NCR, said, “Start-up Expo is an important catalyst in the entrepreneurial revolution in India. Together with Lufthansa, we are proud to have created this platform for driving start-up success in India.”

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Thomas Cook India enters travel tech space, announces investment in Ithaka

Thomas Cook India has approved the acquisition of a 24 per cent strategic stake in TravelJunkie Solutions, a Mumbai-based travel tech start-up via its wholly owned subsidiary TC Tours. TravelJunkie Solutions developed Ithaka – a chat-based mobile application serving FIT (Free Individual Travellers) customers by recommending authentic local experiences for different destinations and helping them plan their trip and book hotels and flights. Ithaka’s app-based service offers users a combination of cutting-edge automation via AI/ML-based technology and the farmed collective expertise of well-travelled individuals. It currently serves travellers across various international destinations and plans to expand rapidly over the next 18-24 months with the support of Thomas Cook India. Speaking on the occasion, Madhavan Menon, Chairman, Thomas Cook India Group, said, “We are excited with this strategic investment that also marks our first investment in the exciting travel tech space. Ithaka is a perfect marriage of cutting-edge technology and human expertise delivered in a user-friendly mobile chat format. For Thomas Cook, the partnership with Ithaka creates a new channel that reaches and serves millennials, while for Ithaka, the partnership delivers an end-to-end, bookable experience.”

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India ranks 3 in WTTC Travel & Tourism Power and Performance ranking

India has been ranked at the third place in WTTC’s new Power and Performance report, which looks at the performance of 185 countries over the last seven-year period (2011-2017) – after the financial crisis ended and when most countries commenced their journeys to recovery. At the first position in this list of Top 30 is China followed by USA. The countries have been ranked using WTTC’s annual economic impact data across four main indicators— total contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), visitor exports (international tourism spend), domestic spending and capital investment. Countries were ranked in terms of absolute size of growth and speed of growth to create two separate types of rankings – power and performance rankings. China took the first place, driven by the strongest absolute growth out of all countries in three indicators – GDP growth, domestic spending and investment growth. The USA (with the largest total Travel & Tourism GDP) and India comfortably took the second and third place. Mexico, a well-established Travel & Tourism economy, came fourth, driven by a strong performance across all four indicators.

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