Tourism Breaking News

Nine Indian travel agents hosted at 7th Israel Tourism Conference

Nine leading travel agents from India were among 130 other agents from 16 countries to attend the 7th Israel ‘Where Else’ Tourism Conference held by the Israel Ministry of Tourism for the world travel industry. The travel agents from India were accompanied by Hassan Madah, Director, Israel Ministry of Tourism, India and Philippines. The group explored beach tourism in Eilat and Dead Sea, tours in the North focusing on religion and history and city breaks in Tel Aviv- Jaffa and Jerusalem. In addition, business meetings were held between the Indian delegates and Israeli wholesalers and hoteliers. Elaborating on this Fam, Madah said, “Israel has witnessed another year of record breaking tourist arrivals with over 55,000 Indians who have travelled to the country through November 2017. It was important for us to showcase Israel to key Indian travel trade through our biggest annual tourism conference in Israel. The conference was a wonderful experience that exposed the Indian travel trade to varied offerings and experiences in Israel.” The week-long convention aimed to expose attendees to the tourism brands in Israel along with the country’s recreation, entertainment and leisure options.

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IndiGo to operate flights to Vijayawada from March 2018

Establishing the growing importance of emerging domestic sectors from South India, IndiGo has announced Vijayawada as its 50th destination on its route network. Effective March 2, 2018, the airline will operate daily direct operations connecting Vijayawada to Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai. In line with company’s growth strategy, the airline has also inducted a brand new Airbus A320 NEO aircraft into its existing fleet, taking the overall count to 150 aircraft. Aditya Ghosh, President and Whole Time Director, IndiGo said, “It gives us immense pleasure to introduce services from Vijayawada. 2017 has been a great year for growth and expansion as the airline clocked many milestones. In the coming years, we will continue to expand our network to meet the requirements of both business and leisure travellers.” The launch of Vijayawada comes just after the carrier’s first ATR flight on Hyderabad-Mangalore sector on December 21, 2017; boosting regional connectivity. IndiGo will also commence operations from Rajahmundry and Tirupati in January 2018.

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Cox & Kings launches attractive packages to promote Kashmir

Cox & Kings announced the ‘Free Fly to Kashmir’ packages in its bid to promote Kashmir Tourism under its domestic brand ‘Bharat Deko’. The initiative offers free airfare ex New Delhi, thus making the package attractive. ‘Glorious Kashmir’ and ‘Kashmir Delight’ are the two packages announced for travellers. The special packages were formally launched by Mahmood Ahmad Shah, Director Tourism, Kashmir along with Yusuf Poonawala, Senior Vice President, Cox & Kings at the Nigeen Club, Srinagar. The packages that span for a week have been specially crafted to offer a holistic Kashmir experience with price starting from only Rs 22,099. The Free Fly tours will allow the tourists to explore Kashmir’s nature, local culture and history. Sonamarg, Thajwas Glacier, Pahalgam, Awantisvamin and Betaab Valley are a few of the many sites that have been included in the tour. Poonawala said,”Kashmir is on the priority list of travellers. This offer will further boost tourist influx into Kashmir.” Bharat Deko has also created theme-based videos besides other marketing materials to promote the snow-state of India. The package offer is valid for travel period January 1 to June 30, 2018.

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Azamara Club Cruises acquires Azamara Pursuit to expand fleet

Azamara Club Cruises has entered into an agreement to purchase the Azamara Pursuit, a ship that will complement the brand’s proposition further by taking travellers to destinations hitherto unexperienced. Come March 2018, TIRUN Travel Marketing, the exclusive India representative of Azamara Club Cruises will provide Indian travellers the opportunity to enjoy the most uniquely-curated destination experiences in the sister ship of Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. Commenting on the acquisition, Ratna Chadha, Chief Executive, TIRUN Travel Marketing, said, “Azamara Pursuit will further add to the brand’s value as a cruise line that guarantees the best of aesthetics, experience and extravagance to travellers, bringing its guests the experience of a boutique hotel at sea. We are pleased to extend the opportunity to our guests to travel to destinations as exciting as Uruguay, Buenos Aires, Belfast, Akureyri and many more on this ship.” The Azamara Pursuit will be covering a total of 61 destinations, out of which 15 destinations have not been visited yet by any of Azamara’s ships. The ship will be travelling across all the seven continents, allowing travellers to experience an assortment of geographies and cultures.

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Radisson Mumbai Goregaon commences operations

Situated in the commercial hub of Goregaon in Mumbai, Radisson Mumbai Goregaon recently opened its doors to the financial capital. The hotel is surrounded by shopping districts, entertainment centers, tourist attractions, corporate set-ups and located in proximity to the international airport. “We are pleased to announce the opening of Radisson Mumbai Goregaon as this hotel marks an important addition to the Radisson brand family in a key gateway city. The Balwa Group are astute hoteliers and we are looking forward to expanding our relationship with the group,” said Raj Rana, CEO, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “We are confident and delighted to be working with Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. We are committed to offer a differentiated experience at Radisson Mumbai Goregaon and epitomise the business tradition of our city,” said Hussein Balwa, Managing Director, Balwa Group. Radisson Mumbai Goregaon features 98 contemporary rooms with modern amenities. The rooms are spread across three categories namely, superior, business class and suite. All rooms are equipped with amenities including free Wi-Fi, 42-inch LED TV with premium channels, and coffee and tea making facilities. With wellness as a brand pillar, the hotel features facilities such as an in-house spa, salon and a rooftop swimming pool.

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Travel Club lounge opens at Terminal 1 of Mumbai Airport

GVK Mumbai International Airport (MIAL) inaugurated the Travel Club lounge at Terminal 1 of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA). Set to be operated by TFS, the lounge promises luxurious hospitality and high quality services, assuring maximum comfort to passengers transiting through the domestic terminal. Passengers can walk in for a hot breakfast, a scrumptious lunch, an evening snack or a light dinner. They can choose their meal from a huge spread of delectable cuisines that are freshly prepared and top it up with a glass of their preferred drink. All the lounges at CSIA are a hallmark of quality and excellence which are recognised at various award ceremonies, globally. The GVK Lounge by TFS Performa was recently awarded as the ‘World’s Leading Airport Lounge’ for the third time in a row at the renowned World Travel Awards held in Vietnam.

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Kerala Tourism opens registration for 5th Kerala Blog Express

The Tourism Department of Kerala has commenced the registration process for the fifth edition of Kerala Blog Express (KBE) to kick-start in March 2018. Aspiring bloggers have already started promoting their KBE profiles on social media to get maximum votes by their followers by January 2018. The selection process is in such a way that the submission forms uploaded by the bloggers from around the world would be reviewed by a panel. Post approval, the bloggers’ profiles would be up for voting. As soon as the bloggers get approval, they could share their Kerala Blog Express profiles among friends and followers to seek votes in their favour. Post evaluation by a panel of judges, names of final participants of ‘Kerala Blog Express 5’ would be announced. P. Bala Kiran, IAS, Director, Kerala Tourism, stated, “Encouraged by the success of the previous edition of Kerala Blog Express, we are optimistic to receive the maximum number of entries this year. The tourism department has made this initiative unique by combining various aspects such as campaign on social media, familiarisation trip, bloggers’ meet and road trip in a major way.”

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OTOAI to push for more members in 2018

The first members’ meet of the newly elected Executive Committee of the Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) held in New Delhi lay emphasis on increasing the number of members. While formally presenting the new team to its members, Mahendra Vakharia, President, Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) stressed that in 2018, the association would focus on adding to its member base substantially. He added, “Our efforts would be on advocating greater knowledge amongst the members and simultaneously to engage various tourism boards to invest in education. He also added that moving forward, a digital push will become a mandate for all industry players lest they get left behind. Signing off on a successful year despite industry challenges, the association is all geared up for the coming year.

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Revamped Incredible India website postponed till end of January 2018

The much awaited all-new Incredible India website, which was set to go live from December 25, 2017, will now be launched in the end of January 2018. This was informed by Rashmi Verma, Secretary-Tourism, Government of India. “We could have launched the website as planned because in terms of technology, the website is ready. However, we are currently sourcing more content and images to make the website a complete solution and thus, by the third week of January, we should be ready to launch it, she said. Verma underscored various initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism (MOT). MOT is shortlisting some iconic tourist sites to develop into world-class sites in collaboration with various other ministries like Transport, Environment, Culture and Aviation. Five destinations under the Buddhist circuit are being developed with basic amenities and connectivity in collaboration with Ministry of Transport. She further added that MOT has planned to develop Special Tourism Zone and a proposal has been extended to all the states.

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Rs 203 cr for UP from 2016-18 under Ramayana & Krishna Circuits

The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned projects worth over Rs 203 cr for Uttar Pradesh alone for the development of Ramayana and Krishna circuit in UP, Haryana and Rajasthan under the Swadesh Darshan scheme. Under the Ramyana Circuit, the sites of Ayodhya, Nandigram, Shringverpur & Chitrakoot (Uttar Pradesh), Sitamarhi, Buxar & Darbhanga (Bihar), Chitrakoot (Madhya Pradesh), Mahendragiri (Odisha), Jagdalpur (Chattisgarh), Nashik & Nagpur (Maharashtra), Bhadrachalam (Telangana), Hampi (Karnataka) and Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu) have been included. The Krishna Circuit involves the sites of Dwarka (Gujarat); Nathdwara, Jaipur & Sikar (Rajasthan); Kurukshetra (Haryana), Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Barsana, Nandgaon & Govardhan (Uttar Pradesh) and Puri (Odisha). The projects sanctioned under the scheme have a gestation period of 18-36 months and are subject to availability of funds, submission of suitable Detailed Project Reports, adherence to scheme guidelines and utilisation of funds released earlier. No proposal has been received in the Ministry for the development of Sita Circuit. The Ministry also has the PRASHAD scheme (National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive) for holistic development of identified pilgrimage destinations in the country. Under the scheme, 25 sites have been identified for development.

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