Tourism Breaking News

Air India launches new App with SITA’s iTravel

Air India has launched a new app to its more than 18-million passengers which will take the user experience to a new level. Built on SITA’s iTravel platform, the Air India app offers the ability to book and pay for a flight by quickly and securely scanning both passport and credit card. Ashwani Lohani, Chairman and MD, Air India, said, “Mobile apps are becoming an important tool for making travel bookings by passengers who are tech-savvy and like to access information on the go. This mobile app provides Air India the right tool to access a growing passenger market that is connected both in India and beyond. The new app, developed by SITA, provides an elevated mobile experience where passengers can easily manage every step of their journey on their phone or tablet no matter where they are.” Passengers can fully manage their booking from their mobile device, including selecting their seat, making changes to their itinerary, buying additional services, choosing their meal and checking in. The app has also been integrated with Air India’s Flying Returns loyalty program where passengers can securely access details of points earned or other updates to their accounts.Today more than one billion Indians use a mobile phone. Of these, more than 300 million regularly use them to access the Internet, a trend that is expected to grow by 56 per cent per year. The new mobile service will be available on Android, iOS and Windows. This means at check-in, passengers can choose to receive their boarding pass on their phone or smartwatch. At the airport, passengers will receive regular updates on their flights and can use the app for mobile boarding. Maneesh Jaikrishna, SITA’s …

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Japan is 10th largest source market for India

Japan Tourism is expanding its presence in India with a new office in Delhi scheduled to commence operations by the end of the year. This was announced at the first ever India-Japan Tourism Meet organised by FICCI in New Delhi from Oct 24-25, 2016. Dr. Jyotsna Suri, Immediate Past President-FICCI, Chairperson -FICCI Tourism Committee said, “Japan is the 10th largest source market for India with around 2.07 lakh Japanese arrivals in 2015. India has a very high potential to be one of the favoured destinations amongst the Japanese tourists, given the large number of destinations important from Buddhist interest as well as the burgeoning number of business tourists coming to India.” Giving his opinion on the summit, H.E. Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India, said that with the framework of Indo-Japan Tourism Council and Indo-Japan Tourism Summit, the industry should pursue action-oriented outcomes to improve travel and tourism relationship between Japan and India in a visible way. “This is a great opportunity for both governments and tourism industry to get together under one roof and to discuss the expansion of bilateral travel and tourism relations. The new networks that will be built among the participants today will create new opportunities,” he added.

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Air China resumes non-stop Beijing-Mumbai flight

To mark its 10 years in India, Air China announced the resumption of its non-stop service between Beijing and Mumbai from Oct 30, 2016. The flight Mumbai, India to Beijing, P.R.China will operate four times in a week i.e., Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Passengers will also have return flight services from Beijing, P.R. China to Mumbai, India four times a week i.e., Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday. Airbus A330-300 has a seating capacity of 301 passengers which offers 30 seats in Business class, 16 seats in Premium Economy and 255 seats in Economy Class. The outbound flight will depart from Mumbai at 02:30 IST and arrive in Beijing at 11:30 CST. The return flight will depart from Beijing at 19:40 CST and will arrive next day in Mumbai at 01:00 IST. In its endeavor to build its brand and increase loyalty among travellers, the airline has launched an offer of 30 per cent discount on base fare.

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Lemon Tree opens new hotels in Goa and MP

Lemon Tree Hotels has announced the opening of two new hotels – the Lemon Tree Hotel, Candolim in Goa and the Lemon Tree Wildlife Resort, Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh. The Lemon Tree Hotel Candolim is the group’s second property in Goa. The hotel offers 34 rooms, with base category rooms measuring around 27 square meters. It also features an all-day dining restaurant, a terrace-top bar, a rooftop swimming pool and a conference room of approximately 800 square feet. The Lemon Tree Wildlife Resort, Bandhavgarh is located in close proximity to Tala Gate, the most tiger inhabited zone of the Bandhavgarh National Park, and marks the group’s entry into the wildlife resort segment. Spread over five acres, the hotel features 11 cottages measuring approximately 34 square meters, an all-day dining restaurant, a swimming pool and a 480-square-foot conference hall.

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Hahn Air adds 40 new partners in 2016

Hahn Air announced that this year it has already integrated 40 new carriers into its global network of more than 300 air, rail and shuttle partners. Of the 40 new partnerships, 20 are new interline agreements with airlines that are now available on the HR-169 ticket under their own designator. Among them are Air Corsica (XK), CityJet (WX), Blue Air (0B), Jetstar Group, People’s Viennaline (PE), FlyOne (5F) and Myanmar National Airlines (UB). With its ticketing solutions, the German IATA airline facilitates global business between travel agencies and airlines. Its global infrastructure consisting of connections to all major Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and memberships in almost all Billing and Settlement Plans (BSPs) enables 95,000 travel agents worldwide to issue transportation services of Hahn Air partners on the HR-169 ticket. In addition, the Hahn Air Group welcomed 20 new partners of the consolidation service Hahn Air Systems. Under the reservation codes H1 and 5W, travel agents can book transportation services of partners that do not have a GDS presence of their own and can issue them on the HR-169 ticket. 2016 saw agreements with Borajet Airlines (YB), JetAir operated by Titan Airways (ZT), T’way Airlines (TW) and SpiceJet (SG), to name a few. “With our services, we provide the missing link in airline distribution”, says Steve Knackstedt, Vice President Airline Business Group at Hahn Air. “As it is generally not financially sustainable for an airline to be a member of all BSPs and GDSs in the world, not all travel agents are able to sell tickets of all airlines. For example, a travel agent in South America may not be able to issue a ticket of a local Asian carrier in …

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22% growth in Indian travellers to Argentina in H1, 2016

Argentina has seen an encouraging growth in Indian travellers of 18.3% in 2015 and 22% in the first months in 2016. INPROTUR (National Institute of Tourism Promotion in Argentina) recently conducted a multi-city roadshow to promote Argentina in India. The roadshow was held in the three major Indian cities which include Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. The roadshow, entitled ‘Has it all’ did bring the Argentine suppliers and India’s travel buyers closer to each other. It offered a platform for the suppliers to provide information and interact directly with India’s leading tour operators, key decisions-makers from the industry, airline representatives and travel agents. Also present at the event were H.E. Maria Cristina Ueltschi – Ambassador of Argentina, Georgina Fernández Destéfano-Deputy Chief of Mission-Embassy of Argentina at the Delhi roadshow and H.E. Alejandro Zothner Meyer –Acting Consul General of Argentina, Andrea Alba Gonzalez – Deputy Consul – Argentina at the Mumbai roadshow. The top ten cities of Argentina have been showcased along with over two hundred unique experiences have been developed to tempt, motivate and cater to needs of the Indian traveller.

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Dhruv Shringi to head FICCI’s Online Travel and Technology Committee

Keeping pace with the rapid penetration of internet and mobile, FICCI has initiated the Online Travel and Technology Committee which will function under the aegis of the existing FICCI Tourism committee. The Committee will be led by Dhruv Shringi, Co-Founder & CEO, Yatra Online while the Committee will comprise of key stakeholders of online travel companies including MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip and various other key stakeholder and knowledge partners from the online travel sector.“The Committee has been formed for outlining the roadmap for a robust regulatory policy for the online travel industry and to encourage innovation in travel & tourism sector,” informed Dr. A. Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI.

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TAFI launches new logo

The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has launched a new logo with a tagline “The Way Forward” at The Ashok New Delhi. The new TAFI logo was unveiled by Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism Govt. of India along with Dr. A.K. Manocha, Chairman & Managing Director, IRCTC, in the presence of TAFI President Praveen Chugh, TAFI Immediate Past President Zakkir Ahmed, Vice President Pradip Lulla, National General Secretary Aditi Bhende, Managing Committee Member and Convention Chairman Bharat Shah and Managing Committee member Teddy Thomas among others.

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Thai AirAsia connects Bangkok to Kolkata from Dec 16

Thai AirAsia is expanding its Indian network with the launch of direct flights from Bangkok to Kolkata which commences December 16 with daily flights connecting the two Asian cities. Services will depart Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport at 0005 and arrive in Kolkata at 0110. The return flights will then leave at 0210 and arrive back in the Thai capital at 0640. With this addition, Kolkata will become Thai AirAsia’s fourth Indian destination, following Chennai, Bengaluru and Kochi. AirAsia’s Malaysian unit already flies direct between Kuala Lumpur and Kolkata.

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IATA seeks subsided rate of GST on flights

Global airlines’ body IATA has sought an abated rate of GST on flight tickets, saying the tax burden on the aviation sector was already high and the GST regime should conform to global standards and principles. Maintaining that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has been ‘working closely’ with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Secretariat here to address some issues of concern to airlines, Director General of IATA, Alexandre de Juniac said, “The GST regime needs to adhere to international standards and principles.” “We have called for a zero-rating for international flights when the GST comes into effect next April. This seems unlikely. To limit its damage to the sector’s competitiveness, we would at least hope for abatement in the rate,” de Juniac said. He said the airlines in India faced “an onerous tax burden, including the imposition of service tax to services rendered abroad, including those for overflight charges, global distribution systems and international tickets.” This, he said, was “in contravention of international principles established by governments” through the UN body International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The IATA Director General and CEO, who met top officials of the government and Indian carriers during his two-day visit here, said he had shared these and other concerns with the government.

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