Tourism Breaking News

Thomas Cook signs MoU with MP Tourism to train 660 agents across 20 cities

Thomas Cook Tours (TCT)’s Centre of Learning, also the education and training vertical of Thomas Cook (India), intimated its holding company that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between Sharad Nautiyal, General Manager Training, representing the Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation Limited and Smeeta Gulvady, Vice President & Head, Centre of Learning, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. in the presence of Hari Ranjan Rao (IAS,) Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation. Under the MOU, Thomas Cook’s Centre of Learning will impart training programmes – ‘Explore Madhya Pradesh’ via engaging learning modules to over 660 travel agents, covering 20 cities (Kolkata, Noida, Gurgaon, Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Pune, Nasik, Nagpur, Mumbai, Goa, Raipur, Chennai, Hyderabad, Cochin and Bengaluru) in the next two months. A qualifying evaluation will be followed post the training session and top 2 winners from amongst the 660 travel agents across 20 cities will be hosted for a 2 nights/3 days hotel stay by Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation Limited.

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IndiGo introduces ‘Flexible Fare’ and ‘Lite Fare’

IndiGo has launched ‘Flexible Fare’ that allows travelers to change to another flight at no extra charge. With the regular fare, this change costs Rs 2250 per person per sector. Additionally, Flexible Fare offers them complimentary seat selection. IndiGo’s Super Lightweight Champion gives corporate travellers, who frequently make daily round trips with no check-in baggage, significantly lower fares that can be selected on bookings made at least 15 days before the date of travel. In case the traveller does land up having check-in baggage of up to 15 kgs, they can pay a fee of Rs 200 at the airport. Speaking about this initiative, Mr. Aditya Ghosh, President, IndiGo said, “These are exciting times for the flyers in India. It is our constant endeavour to empower our consumers to make informed choices. These new fares are a testament to our promise to always provide our flyers with low fares. We complete ten years of operation this year and the reason we have grown is that we have always been ahead of the curve. Initiatives such as this go a long way in strengthening our consumers’ trust in us and we hope we can continue to provide them with a hassle-free flying experience.”

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IATO expects surge in South India members

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) is expecting a surge in its membership, specially from Chennai and other southern cities post its convention. N.S. Rathor, Chairman, Western Region IATO and Regional Chapter Chairman, says, “Chennai ranks third in terms of number of members after New Delhi and Mumbai and I’m sure after this convention a lot of agents in the South will get interested in joining IATO. We have a lot of active members in South India in regions like Kerala and Chennai. Since this is the first time we are going to Chennai, there is a lot of interest among the south Indian agents, specially from Chennai because most of them haven’t been able to attend our convention before. So everyone there is excited.” Rathor relocated to Mumbai from Rajasthan 20 years ago and is the longest uninterrupted member in the Executive Committee. Speaking about the distribution of its membership across India, he says that Western India is number two after Delhi. “We are growing in numbers and our total strength now is over 1,600 of which 350 are active members.”

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Non-members welcome at IATO convention

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) will allow non-members to attend and participate in all activities at its convention, except the closed-door meetings that are open only for active members. N.S. Rathor, Chairman, Western Region IATO and Regional Chapter Chairman, said, “We are inviting all travel agents and tour operators to attend our convention – whether they are non-members or members of other travel associations – so that they can see the work we are doing and plan to do. We will charge them only Rs 1,500 extra and they can participate in everything that a member can except for the closed-door meetings that is open only for members. They can attend dinners, functions, business sessions, etc. In fact we want them to come and see what we do. We don’t enroll during the convention – that is respective chapter’s issue. But we have noticed a general increase in our memberships after our conventions.” While members will be charged Rs 7,500, non-members will have to pay Rs 9,000.

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Kerala Tourism to organise regional culinary competition

Kerala Tourism is inviting participants for a regional competition for local chefs, the qualification rounds for which will be held from September 1-8. Entries are open to both professional chefs and amateur enthusiasts. Standout contestants – selected by a judging panel of culinary professionals – will compete in the finals at Bolgatty Palace and Resorts in Kochi on the last day of the Spice Route Culinary Festival, which runs from September 23-26. The festival’s highlight is an international competition that will feature chefs from 31 Spice Route nations whipping up dishes representing the cuisine of their home countries, but with a dash of spices from Kerala added in. Speaking at a press conference at the Secretariat, Minister for Tourism, Government of Kerala, A.C. Moideen said, “The culinary festival is a great opportunity to refortify our ancient links with the 31 countries along the historical Spice Route. It will provide a space for exchanging and understanding different cultures and traditions and also help facilitate trade opportunities with these countries.” “The regional competition intends to identify and promote Kerala’s culinary talent. It will showcase both the strength of public participation in Kerala and its fabled cuisine. This worthy initiative will highlight the spirit of people to people links and Kerala’s role as the hub of tourism and trade,” the minister added. The winning entrant and two runners-up will be felicitated during the culinary festival’s valedictory session. All contestants will be issued certificates of participation by Kerala Tourism. Held under the aegis of the Spice Route project, an ambitious initiative by Kerala Tourism in partnership with UNESCO, the Spice Route Culinary Festival is a first-of-its-kind celebration of flavours and friendship that will see …

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MoCA signs MoU with Maharashtra and AAI on Regional Connectivity

The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, Maharashtra Government, and Airports Authority of India have signed a tri-partite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), kicking off the collaborative process for the successful launch of the Regional Connectivity Scheme. The MoU was signed in Mumbai in the presence of Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. With this MoU, the State Government of Maharashtra has formally agreed to provide the concessions required from the State Governments in the Regional Connectivity Scheme, thereby becoming the first state in the country to do so. The agreement was signed by Chairman, Airports Authority of India, Principal Secretary Civil Aviation (Maharashtra) and Joint Secretary (Ministry of Civil Aviation). Earlier during the day, Raju and Fadnavis discussed various other aviation related issues in the State of Maharashtra at length. The meeting was attended by R. N. Choubey, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Swadheen Kshatriya, Chief Secretary of the State and other officials. Amongst others, the subject of rehabilitation of slums (that have come up right next to the Mumbai International Airport) was deliberated upon in details.  Early operationlisation of several available airports and airstrips in the State (like Shirdi, Kolhapur, Nasik, Sholapur etc) also figured prominently in the discussions. Later, Raju undertook an aerial survey of the proposed airport site for Navi Mumbai and took a status briefing from the officers concerned. He laid emphasis on timely completion of the project and conveyed that this can be achieved only if timelines for all sub-activities are adhered to. Raju conveyed that he will be undertaking similar visits to several other states across the country to promote the Regional Connectivity Scheme and discuss other related issues …

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Treebo offers Indian Olympians free lifetime vacations

Bangalore-based brand of budget hotels, Treebo Hotels, is paying homage to the Indian National Olympic Squad participating at Rio 2016 by offering each athlete free annual vacations for lifetime at any of the 125 Treebo hotels across the country. Commenting on the offer, Rahul Chaudhary, co-founder, Treebo Hotels said, “Our athletes have been training hard for the Olympics for months now, and we felt a strong need to do something to reward their hard work. Each of them deserves a vacation, and we couldn’t think of a better way of expressing our support than offering them free stays at any of our properties across the country. We have written a letter to the Indian Olympic Association about this, and look forward to hosting our athletes”. As a part of the initiative, each of the 120 athletes is eligible for five-free room nights every year for their vacations for the next 30 years. Not only is Treebo giving free annual vacations to the Olympics team, they are also offering a flat 30% discount at any of their hotels to all athletes in the country, young or old, for any sports-related travel.

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Thomas Cook to install pre-fabricated toilets at key tourist locations

Thomas Cook (India), in its bid to improving tourist infrastructure and promote better sanitation-hygiene at tourist destinations has announced the pilot launch of pre-fabricated sanitary installations. Udhagamandalam (Ooty) was chosen as the first site for this initiative. The Thomas Cook India toilet units can be used free of cost. Abraham Alapatt, President & Group Head-Marketing, Service Quality, Financial Services & Innovation, Thomas Cook (India), said, “Through this initiative, we at Thomas Cook India, intend to improve the sanitation and hygiene of prime tourist locations across India. While the choice of location depends upon various factors like community need, land availability, clearances/approvals from local administrative bodies, availability of resources, etc., we are looking at targeting major tourists hubs to further the Government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. We have identified prime destinations in India that receive high tourist footfalls but face a deficit of sanitation facilities for this.”

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IAAI Maharashtra President resigns

Chetan Momaya has resigned from the post of President-Maharashtra state of IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI) due to differences with the Western India Director and the Maharashtra Team. He was elected President in August 2014 and re-elected in August 2015. Proprietor of Mumbai-based Olympia Travels N Tours, Momaya had also resigned within 10 days of the elections which was not accepted by the National Committee. He confirms, “I have resigned as President of IAAI – Maharashtra State on March 5, 2016.”

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