Tourism Breaking News

Cox & Kings forays into adventure travel segment with Trip 360º

Cox & Kings launched Trip 360º as a one-stop-shop for all adventure travel in India. The company is offering adventure seekers a mix of 200 itineraries which include Diving with Sharks in Maldives to Skiing to the South Pole, Cycling trips in the Northeast India to some of the most remote corners of Laos, Cruising parts of Galapagos Islands and other parts of Central America to trekking the Vinson Massif in Antarctica and Sahyadri Ranges in Maharashtra. It will also launch new routes and trips to offbeat destinations like Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and sections that remain untouched by other tour operators. Rohan Prakash, Business Head, Trip 360º said, “Trip 360º is the first adventure specialist which will operate as both, an aggregator and tour operator. Our selected partners are locals from the area or specialists in their respective fields with an in-depth knowledge of the region and the local environment. We aim to consolidate their expertise with ours and create a platform for travellers to live and achieve their outdoor dream in a safe and healthy environment.” The company would offer tailored itineraries which will vary from soft, medium and hard adventures and would cater to all levels of adventure travellers. “We have handpicked and trained expert guides, leaders and suppliers to offer different adventures of international standards. We will be introducing activities like scuba diving, cycling, diving, biking and trekking and more exciting experiences within and outside India,” adds Prakash. Speaking at the launch, Karan Anand, Head-Relationships, Cox & Kings, said, “With increasing number of travellers shifting focus to experience-oriented vacations, there is an increase in the demand for the adventure travel services. The adventure travel business is …

Read More »

Cathay and Lufthansa Group sign co-op agreement

Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Ivan Chu and Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of the Lufthansa Group, signed a new co-operation agreement that will see the airline code share on flights operated by Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines to a number of destinations in Continental Europe. Reciprocally, the Lufthansa Group will codeshare on Cathay Pacific services to four of the airline’s most popular destinations in Southwest Pacific. Under the agreement, Cathay Pacific will offer 14 new destinations in Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Norway, Italy, Switzerland and Austria with the “CX” code placed on the following services operated by airlines in the Lufthansa Group. The Lufthansa Group will place its airlines’ codes on services operated by Cathay Pacific between Hong Kong and Auckland as well as between Hong Kong and Cairns, Melbourne and Sydney. Under a single booking, passengers from Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Zurich will be able to check through and seamlessly transfer to their final destination in Auckland or Australia via Hong Kong International Airport. The agreement extends to both airlines’ frequent flyer programmes. Tickets for the new code-share destinations will be available for sale from 5 April 2017 for travel commencing from 26 April 2017.

Read More »

Musafir.com inaugurates a new technology centre in Pune

Musafir.com has announced the launch of its third technology centre in Pune. Musafir.com is looking to double its technology team by the end of the year. The Pune centre will complement the technology and product teams that are already operating out of centres in the UAE and Mumbai. “Musafir.com was founded with the promise of a stellar user experience backed by the best technology. The establishment of our third technology centre in Pune, reinforces our commitment to this promise. Our aim is to double the strength of our engineering team by the end of the year, and herald a new generation of innovative user experiences for our travelers,” said Albert Dias, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Musafir.com. “The launch of our technology centre reiterates our ever growing focus on the Indian market. Technology is a key ingredient in the growth recipe for any business today; we understand and appreciate this more so than ever, being a travel ecommerce player. Technology is core to our long term strategy and-our technology centre in Pune is an essential cog in the wheel that will propel Musafir.com through the next decade of exponential growth.” said Rajesh Pareek – Group CEO, Musafir.com. Musafir.com has plans to expand further in India and add more countries to its GCC portfolio and this technology and product team based in Pune will help to accelerate the delivery of next-generation web and mobile applications, along with innovative products and solutions for travellers worldwide.

Read More »

Around 10 properties on AccorHotels’ radar

AccorHotels has announced that it will be opening close to 10 hotels in India this year with most of them being under the ibis and Novotel brands. Jean-Michel Casse, Chief Operating Officer, (India and South Asia), AccorHotels, reveals, “We will be opening a Novotel in Nagpur and Guwahati, and an Ibis in Coimbatore. This is apart from our soon-to-be-opened Mercure in Dwarka in Gujarat which will be a component of leisure and religious travel. This year we plan to open around 10 hotels which will be a key milestone for us. This will take our current inventory of 8,700 rooms to more than 10,000 rooms this year and get to 55 hotels by end of 2017. This year will also be an important year for us as we will be stepping into the Tier markets. We have to be present where are customers are going which is driving the development.” The hotel giant is also slated to open a convention and exhibition centre in Jaipur shortly. The hotel group recently opened an Ibis in Kochi which goes to show its strong focus on tier II cities as well. In terms of development, AccorHotels is looking at densification in the cities it is already present in. It also plans to open a convention and exhibition centre in Jaipur shortly. Casse adds, “A major chunk of our business is the corporate segment followed by MICE which we have been really focussing on with the opening of Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre and Novotel Vishakhapatnam which is a big MICE hotel. We are also operating the convention centre in Lavasa, Pune.”

Read More »

SpiceJet launches Delhi-Surat flight

SpiceJet has launched a daily direct Delhi-Surat-Delhi flight on March 26, as part of their summer schedule. The flight was inaugurated by Jayant Sinha, Minister of State, Civil Aviation. In an official statement, Ajay Singh, Chairman, SpiceJet, said, “SpiceJet is proud to connect Surat, one of the fastest growing cities of the country with the national capital. Our twice daily flights will offer immense flexibility to the corporate and leisure travellers on the SpiceJet network.”

Read More »

Vistara starts Delhi-Leh service

Vistara has inaugurated service from Delhi to Leh and will operate direct flights between the two destinations on Saturdays and Sundays from March 25, 2017. The airline will increase the frequency to daily flights during the summer peak season, starting from May 10, 2017. Vistara celebrated the launch of this service with a traditional Ladakhi folk performance by a Ladakhi troupe in the departures area of Delhi T3, as well as with a similar performance in the arrivals area of Leh airport. Vistara also presented gifts to all passengers on the inaugural flights. Elaborating on the launch of the new destination, Phee Teik Yeoh, CEO, Vistara said, “Leh is on the bucket lists of millions of travellers from all over the world, who want to experience the unique culture of this region and its incredibly beautiful landscapes. We’re very excited to add this beautiful destination to our network, and provide connectivity to its residents. We are confident that this new route will further delight our customers, who will now be able to explore the breathtaking beauty of Ladakh while ‘flying the new feeling’ with Vistara. Furthermore, with convenient same-terminal connections between domestic and international flights at Delhi Airport’s T3, our new flights will open up Leh to more foreign visitors as well.”

Read More »

Telangana proposes heliports to boost tourism

Telangana Government has proposed heliports at various locations in the state to the Ministry of Civil Aviation in an attempt to boost tourism and exploit commercially potential areas. These heliports have been proposed at Dundigal, Hakimpet, Nadirgul in Hyderabad, Basanthnagar in Karimnagar, Nagarjunasagar, Nalgonda, Alair (Yadagirigutta), Warangal and Kagaznagar (Sirpur). The state is also planning to develop new greenfield airports at Zakranpally, Nizamabad, National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) at Zaheerabad. According to V.N. Bharat Reddy, Director-Aviation, Government of Telangana, “The state government has submitted the proposals to Ministry of Civil Aviation under Regional Connectivity Scheme for 10 unserved airports. These can be converted into full-fledged airports in future.” Since air trafiic is on the rise travellers can avail heliservices. For instance, the state government has taken up development of Yadagirigutta temple and a heliport is being proposed at Alair. Similarly, Nagarjunasagar in Nalgonda district has always been a tourist spot. Kagaznagar and NIMZ are industrial areas where individuals can avail of the facility, apart from VIPs. Source: Times of India

Read More »

Czech Republic Visa Application Centre opens in Pune

To make Czech visa application facilities more accessible for residents of Pune, the Embassy of the Czech Republic and VFS Global have launched a Czech Republic Visa Application Centre in the city’s Viman Nagar area. The centre is a part of the modern Joint Visa Application Centre that houses 26 diplomatic missions under one roof. The centre was inaugurated by H.E. Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India, at a ceremony held on March 24, 2017. The inauguration was also attended by other key members from the Embassy and VFS Global. Over the last few months, VFS Global has set up centres in 11 other cities in India to increase accessibility to visa services for applicants across the country. Earlier this month, Czech Republic Visa Application Centres were launched in Jaipur and Kochi on March 02 and March 03 respectively. Applicants earlier had to travel to either Mumbai or Delhi to apply for Czech Republic visas. The setting up of a 12th Visa Application Centre in less than a year since commencement of services for the client government in India, signifies the company’s strengthening association with the Embassy of the Czech Republic. Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer – Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global, “We are pleased to further enhance the visa services network for the Czech Republic in India, through this modern visa application facility in Pune. The new centre will serve the ever-increasing volumes of visa applications for the Schengen country, and illustrates the emerging popularity of the Czech Republic as a tourist destination. We are confident that the introduction of professional and hassle-free Czech Republic visa services in Pune will be well-received by aspiring …

Read More »

FAITH recommends 12% GST to Finance Ministry

The Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) has suggested an upper GST rate of 12 per cent for the tourism and hospitality industry and handed its detailed recommendations to the Ministry of Finance. The industry comprises of air travel agents, business exhibition services, hotel and hospitality services, tour operators, rent a cab and vacation ownership. The representation has been made considering strategic forex, employment, economic and GST rationale and rates for tourism, travel and hospitality sector of India. An upper limit of 12 per cent has been suggested for hotels and hospitality and vacation ownership segment. For the air travel agents the recommendation was given to continue presumptive rate on all income and keep GST at 1 per cent or less. For the tour operators, FAITH requested to introduce a presumptive rates mechanism of GST at 1.2 per cent considering difficulty of getting GST input credits from unorganised sector and the burden of compliance of registration with different states. It has been requested to exempt outbound tour operators and business exhibitions selling outbound from India from GST since provision of services are out of India. In the case of rent a car, a GST rate of 5 per cent has been suggested failing which, maximum 12 per cent has been deemed acceptable. FAITH has urged for a special GST exemption on forex income for tour operators, hotels and businesses earning forex if it can be a criteria with MoF for GST. Addressing the adventure tourism industry, FAIH has requested MoF to consider special GST exemption based on J&K and a very high component of local, unorganised labour involved.

Read More »

Thomas Cook to target leisure segment in smaller catchment markets

Thomas Cook (India), in a focused initiative to capture smaller, yet high potential local leisure markets, has conceptualised a unique customer outreach – going local- right to its customer’s doorstep. Given the demand for its ‘Grand Indian Holiday Sale’ Thomas Cook India has announced an extension, with a special Weekend Mega Holiday Sale, an on-ground activation across five key catchment localities in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai (Ghatkopar, Kandivali, Juhu, Fort and Vashi), carefully selected basis high potential demand. The venues are well located and popular with local consumers, offering optimal space for both the high traffic and interactions anticipated. This is targeted towards its high potential Maharashtrian and Gujarati customers. The weekend sale bonanza offers customers a range of attractive deals and the advantage of spot discounts up to Rs. 40,000 per person on Thomas Cook India’s holiday packages, with an added incentive of a ‘Child Travels Free’ or its Holiday pe Holiday Free’ offer on select international tours. For customers who pay the entire amount upfront, Thomas Cook India offers a further discount of up to nine per cent on select international departures. Rajeev Kale, Thomas Cook India’s President & Country Head – Leisure Travel, MICE said, “Our customers are increasingly emerging from small local pockets within larger cities, and our intent was to reach out to our customers by going local- right to their very doorstep! The Grand Indian Holiday Sale extension over the weekend will be available at 5 highly popular venues across key catchment localities across Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. Mumbai currently contributes more than 15 per cent to our holiday business and given the high growth potential, we intend to leverage this market to the …

Read More »