Tourism Breaking News

85% growth in Indian tourists to Seychelles in 2016

In an attempt to increase the visibility of Seychelles in the Indian market and increase the number of Indian tourist arrivals to the island, Seychelles Tourism Board conducted tourism promotional roadshows in Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru. This was a follow up of similar roadshows conducted in Delhi and Mumbai in 2014. In 2015, Seychelles saw 183 per cent growth in tourist arrivals compared to 2014 and 85 per cent growth from January-April 2016 as compared to the same period last year. Addressing the travel trade, Sherin Naiken, CEO, Seychelles Tourism Board, said, “We are in India to invite you all to be our partners on the ground here and to work with us to offer your clients and the Indian holiday makers a new holiday destination.” Many travel and tourism industry representatives were present at the roadshows namely, Air Seychelles, Ethiopian Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, Kempinski Seychelles Resort, Eden Island Development Company, Constance Ephelia Resort, Sainte Anne Resort & Spa, Banyan Tree Seychelles, AVANI Seychelles Barbarons Resort & Spa, Le Relax Hotels – Seychelles, Enchanted Island Resort and Savoy Resort & Spa Seychelles, Holidays Box and Akquasun Group. Alain St.Ange, Tourism Minister of Seychelles was also present at the event. Anges explained that India and Seychelles are connected by direct non-stop flight from Mumbai on Air Seychelles with seamless connections from Bangalore with Jet Airways, a partner airline of Air Seychelles and is also well connected with Ethiopian Airlines, SriLanka Airlines, Kenya Airways, Etihad and Emirates. He also added, Indian nationals do not need visas to travel to Seychelles and a range of accommodation establishments are available to suit every budget.

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PM calls for redressal of online booking complaints

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has shown his concern about how the increased number of complaints and grievances related to online booking are being redressed. The PM mentioned the same while chairing his thirteenth interaction through PRAGATI – the ICT-based, multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation. He asked the concerned officials about the large volume of complaints related to the e-commerce sector, such as booking of tickets and hotel reservations, and the steps being taken to decisively address such issues. The Prime Minister was informed about the steps being taken in this regard, including augmenting the capacity of the National Consumer Helpline. Calling for increased efficiency, and more effective redressal of consumer grievances, the Prime Minister asked the officials for a comprehensive review of the nature of issues, and work towards fixing responsibility and identifying solutions for them. He asked for an effective follow-up action within 10 days.

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AI’s Delhi-Washington DC flight from April ‘17

Air India is set to commence operations on the Delhi-Washington DC route from April 2017, revealed Ashwani Lohani, CMD, Air India, while addressing a conference in New Delhi . “Air travel is crucial in making India more accessible to the rest of the world and therefore, we are aggressively looking into expansion,” he said. The new route marks the fifth direct air connection between India and the US for the national airline as it currently plies to New York, Chicago, Newark and San Francisco. Lohani also shared that plans to connect Hyderabad to the U.S. and other countries like Singapore and China are being looked into, and will also soon address the demand to connect Delhi and Mumbai to destinations like Los Angeles and Atlanta.

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Australia grants 150,000th visitor visa

The Australian High Commission in New Delhi has granted a record 150,000 visitor visas during the 2015-16 program year. There were a record 233,000 arrivals from India during 2015, a growth of 19 per cent, which represents the highest growth in the past seven years. India’s ranking improved from eleventh to eighth largest inbound tourists destination for Australia. The High Commission celebrated the big achievement with a function where the visa recipient was felicitated. Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager, India & Gulf, Tourism Australia, said, “I think it’s a remarkable achievement and a significant milestone as far as Tourism Australia is concerned because in 2015 we crossed the 100,000 visa application mark and in just a year we have 150,000 visa application. In fact, the year 2015 has been quite a significant year for Tourism Australia. Arrivals went up by almost 19 per cent and this was the highest growth we have seen in the past 7 years.” Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Harinder Sidhu, said, “It is a landmark achievement. This is the first time ever that we have reached the 150,000-mark in visitor visa approvals in India for a year. One hundred fifty thousand visitor visas is a sign of the growth of the relations between our two countries. I welcome it as a positive milestone. The achievement underlines the fast expanding links between Australia and India. More and more Indians are travelling to Australia for business, tourism and to study in our universities, as well as visit family.”  

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Hilton launching two new hotels in 2017

Hilton Worldwide is all set to open two new properties in India next year. Kaushik Vardharajan, Vice President, Development- India, said, “We have around 15 hotels in the pipeline for India with about 2500 rooms coming up. Next year we are going to open a Conrad Hotel in Bengaluru and we also have a Hilton Resort under construction at Goa which will also open next year. We continue to evaluate the markets around the country. While everyone is looking at Tier I cities, we believe that there is a lot of potential in Tier II cities. We have a property coming up in Lucknow as well.”

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VisitBritain names Vishal Bhatia interim Country Manager

As part of VisitBritain’s new strategy in India, VisitBritain is moving its headquarters from New Delhi to Mumbai and has named Vishal Bhatia, B2B and Deputy Country Manager as the Interim Country Manager from July 1 till September 30, 2016. He will replace outgoing Country Manager Shivali Suri who was based in the Delhi office. Bhatia is based at the British High Commission in Mumbai.

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Sabre’s next-gen travel agency platform in 2017

Sabre will launch its latest software solution — Sabre Red Workspace for the travel consultants and suppliers across the airline, hotel, rail, cruise and car rental industries. Sabre will begin upgrading travel agency customers to the new solution in early 2017, after a pilot later this year. The combination of data-driven booking trend information with intuitive design and a consumer-grade user interface, smart product differentiation for air extras and branded fares, and inspirational shopping are among the many new features enabling agents to deliver personalised experiences and consultancy to their customers. The platform features innovative integration of Sabre Dev Studio APIs, to equip travel consultants with a unique Decision Support Bar providing market data and intelligence services for fare trend and range, travel seasonality and alternate airports. The user-friendly interface of the new end-to-end solution also integrates revenue maximisation tools, including unique indicators that alert the travel consultants about opportunities to increase sales and commissions while offering differentiated options that cater to the traveller’s preferences. Sabre Red Workspace also caters to the suppliers, featuring advanced merchandising capabilities with enhanced product information through images, video and more, enabling airlines, hotels and other travel providers to leverage the Sabre travel marketplace for an omni-channel marketing strategy. The graphically-rich workflow supports ancillary and branded fares sales, and enhanced hotel capabilities. “Travellers want more than an itinerary; they want to feel confident about their purchases and expect a trip built around choice. That’s why in addition to a superior user experience, our new Sabre Red Workspace provides travel consultants with data insights, relevant offers and price transparency. Data and analytics are critical assets to increase productivity and efficiency in the retail world, and our …

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AI & Jet check-in from 2 Delhi Metro stations

Air India and Jet Airways passengers travelling from Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI)can now check-in at two Delhi Metro stations namely Shivaji Stadium Metro Station and New Delhi Metro Station. This facility will be made available from July 1. Earlier, only Air India passengers could check in at New Delhi Metro Station of the high speed corridor–Airport Express. The new facility will be available to passengers of the two airlines, flying both on domestic as well as international routes. The check-in counters at the stations will close two hours before the scheduled departure of a flight. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation informed that the passengers can obtain the boarding pass at these check-in counters and check-in the baggage as well which will be transferred to IGI Airport’s Terminal-3 through a secured Baggage Handling System (BHS).

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GBTA’s 1st seminar and exhibition on Sept 6

Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) will hold its first educational seminar and exhibition in Delhi on September 6, 2016 at Pullman Aerocity Hotel New Delhi. Gaurav Sundaram, Regional Director – India, GBTA said that the event will address the best practices of business travel through discussions on topics like the role of technology in business travel, expense management, to name a few. “We are expecting almost 150 buyers which include travel managers, heads of business travel with leading corporate entities, finance leaders, procurement heads, among others, at the event. There will also be a trade exhibition side-by-side with the seminar,” he added.

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