Tourism Breaking News

PATA conducts 5th Update and Outlook Meeting with MOT & Air India

PATA India Chapter’s meeting with the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India and Air India discussed initiatives for the upcoming year and also highlighted the past year’s achievements. Vinod Zutshi, Secretary-Tourism, Govt. of India, was optimistic about tourism’s prospects for 2017 and shared, “We have been exceeding the global growth of tourism and have marked stuck to our target of 10 per cent growth on an average for this year. Not only have we seen a drastic increase in international tourist arrivals, the domestic sector is equally flourishing. From 30-40 per cent growth in 2015, we are expecting the domestic tourism growth to touch around 60-70 per cent.” Zutshi also mentioned that the 1363 helpline which was launched in mid November 2015, receives around 4000 queries per week, up from 1000 per week, and revealed that suggestions received from pre-budgetary sessions would help yield a favourable budget. Ashwani Lohani, CMD, Air India, stated that expansions and consolidation for the national carrier will go hand-in-hand, with plans to add atleast 13 new destinations afoot. “We will be launching a minimum of six new routes in 2017 and about six more in 2018. The whole idea is to add 100 new aircrafts by 2020 and to convert the existing fleet into a relatively newer one. “2017 will also focus on turning profits for Alliance Air along with the rapid expansion of Air India’s fleet and number of destinations,” he added.

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Kerala launches new ‘Biennale’ campaign

Along with its successful ‘God’s Own Country’ campaign, Kerala will now be promoted as the ‘Land of the Biennale’ as well, says U.V. Jose, Director, Kerala Tourism. The new moniker comes in line with the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) by the Government of Kerala, which allocated Rs. 7.5 crore towards operational expenses for the KMB’s ongoing third edition – besides committing to finding India’s only Biennale a permanent venue. “Kerala Tourism has allotted around Rs. 6 crore to promote both the biennale and the state through ad films, national and international road shows and campaigns as well as other initiatives,” Jose said. Noting that the theme of the new campaign would be related to art, he said the Tourism Department had sanctioned Rs 60 lakh for a film to promote Kerala as the land of the Biennale. “For the next three months, over the duration of the Biennale, Kerala Tourism will showcase it at national trade fairs, international road shows and tourism and trade conventions. We will also roll out the ‘Live Inspired’ campaign, which is themed around the inspiration and pride of having the chance to view and experience such top class artworks here,” he added. The Director said that while the state was known for such distinctive offerings as its Ayurveda therapies and houseboats, the Biennale would be added to that list of iconic Kerala products. He noted that there were already links between the Biennale and the Muziris Heritage Project with Kottapuram fort in Kodungallur being one of the 12 venues for KMB 2016.

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Cathay Pacific to codeshare with Air Canada

Cathay Pacific and Air Canada have finalised a strategic co-operation agreement that will enhance travel services for Cathay Pacific customers when travelling within Canada and for Air Canada customers travelling via Hong Kong to Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. Cathay Pacific and Air Canada customers will be able to book travel to their final destination on a single ticket with through-checked bags as well as enjoy reciprocal mileage accrual and redemption benefits. Tickets will go on sale from 12 January 2017 for travel beginning 19 January 2017. Travellers on both Cathay Pacific customers will be able to book travel on Air Canada flights connecting with Cathay Pacific’s up to three daily flights to Vancouver and up to two daily services to Toronto from Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific will place its code on Air Canada flights to all major cities across Canada including Winnipeg, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, Halifax and St. Johns. Air Canada will offer codeshare services to an additional eight cities in Southeast Asia on flights operated by Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon connecting with Air Canada’s double daily services to Hong Kong from Toronto and Vancouver. Air Canada will place its code on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights to Manila, Cebu, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai. When travelling on these services, members of Cathay Pacific’s travel and lifestyle rewards program, Asia Miles, and Air Canada’s loyalty program, Aeroplan, will be eligible to earn and redeem miles on the above mentioned codeshare routes. Cathay Pacific currently operates double daily flights to Vancouver from Hong Kong using Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. From 28 …

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‘Maharashtra Unlimited’ to boost tourism infrastructure

Maharashtra Tourism’s new initiative — Maharashtra Unlimited — is an umbrella programme to boost tourism infrastructure in the state. Jayakumar Rawal, Tourism Minister, Government of Maharashtra, informed that as part of the initiative, Mumbai-Lonavla-Pune circuit and Mumbai-Igatpuri-Nashik circuit will be developed as tourist stretches where tourism events will be promoted and roads and five-star hotels will be developed in order to promote the same. A heritage policy on 450 forts in the state is also in the pipeline. “The upkeep and development of the forts has been the focus of the tourism department since long. Sambhaji Raje, descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and social reformer Rajarshi Shahu Chhatrapati Maharaj of Kolhapur have been chosen as the brand ambassador for the same. Plans are afoot to develop the government area around forts by introducing tourist amenities like tents and hotels,” said Rawal. The state also plans to develop Konkan coast on the lines of amenities and tourist facilities seen in other coastal regions like Goa and Kerala. “Wellness centres in Lonavla and Igatpuri are in order, apart from starting a boating competition in Mumbai on the lines of ‘Boat Grand Prix’,” he said.

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Andaz Delhi Aerocity opens with a partial inventory of 401 rooms

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced the opening of Andaz Delhi, which marks the Andaz brand’s first hotel in India and 16th worldwide. Andaz Delhi opens with a partial inventory of its residential-style 401 guestrooms, including 45 suites. The hotel will also offer 129 serviced apartments, expected to open next year. Represented in world-class cities like London, New York, Tokyo and Shanghai, Hyatt’s luxury lifestyle brand celebrates local culture and the unique spirit of neighbourhoods, and is now set to make its mark in India’s vibrant capital with the opening of Andaz Delhi in Aerocity. Similar to the brand’s other hotels, Andaz Delhi offers inspiring experiences through the neighbourhood’s rich history and culture, helping guests get to know their surroundings more intimately and leave feeling like a local. “Andaz derives its name from the Hindi word for ‘personal style,’ and each location offers guests a fresh and stimulating hotel experience that fuels creativity and inspires them to engage in their own personal sense of luxury and style,” said Kurt Straub, Vice President of Operations, India, Hyatt. “The opening of Andaz Delhi marks a significant milestone for the brand.”

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IAAI’s portal to enable agents to become consolidators

In an effort to safeguard the interests of its members from the prevailing challenging market conditions and present them with a new revenue model, the IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI) will launch an exclusive portal that will enable each of its members to become a consolidator. Titled ‘I-TOP’ which stands for Indian Travel Agents Own Portal, the program will be launched shortly. This was announced at its Annual General Body Meeting of IAAI Maharashtra State unit held in Mumbai recently. Biji Eapen, National President, IAAI National Board, said, “It is a first portal of its kind in the history of the aviation world created solely for the agents, by the agents. It has sophisticated technology and enhanced innovative processing modules. It has been enriched with facilities for the user to work as an individual or a consolidator and operate through GDS platforms and also the internet to meet the present challenges and competitions in the Industry with B2B, B2C and B2D facilities including the new NDC process.”

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FICCI summit to help travel start-ups

As part of its mandate to further enhance India’s digital drive in the travel and tourism industry, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) launches its maiden initiative aimed at travel start-ups. ‘Travel Tech Launchpad’ will be a platform that encourages innovation and growth of travel start-ups and will be set up during the second edition of FICCI’s event titled ‘Digital Travel, Hospitality and Innovation Summit’ to be held on March 22-23, 2017 in New Delhi. The summit content has been developed to enhance the potency of travel start-ups, digital tourism and IT-based infrastructure development for the travel and hospitality sector. ‘Travel Tech Launchpad 2017’ is being organised by FICCI in association with Agnitio Consulting LLP, Nucleus Partners, and Charson Advisory. The summit will offer an opportunity for travel startups to learn from experts in the field of travel, exhibit their business ideas, and display their products & services in addition to providing a unique opportunity to connect with right set of ecosystem partners. A number of travel start-ups, hospitality and technology companies from across India and abroad will gather during the summit in addition to the participation of leading investors such as Sequoia, Inventus Capital, Kae Capital and several angel / venture capital firms.

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Govt eases passport application process

The Ministry of External Affairs has eased the process of issue of passport by allowing applicants to submit any one of their photo identification cards with date of birth (DOB) as proof of DOB. Applicants of passports can submit any one of the following documents – Birth Certificate, PAN card, school certificate, Adhaar card, driving licence, or election card, etc. as proof of date of birth. The online passport application form now requires the applicant to provide the name of father or mother or legal guardian, i.e., only one parent and not both. This would enable single parents to apply for passports for their children and to also issue passports where the name of either the father or the mother is not required to be printed at the request of the applicant. The total number of Annexes prescribed in the Passport Rule, 1980, has been brought down to 9 from the present 15. No attestation/swearing by/before any Notary/Executive Magistrate/First Class Judicial Magistrate would be henceforth necessary. Married applicants would not be required to provide Annexure K or any marriage certificate.

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Coal mine tourism opens in Saoner

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) have entered into an agreement to allow tourists to visit the depth of a WCL coal mine in Saoner, tour an eco-park and visit the open cast mine in Gondegaon. To raise awareness about the importance of coal mining, the tourists will be taken inside Saoner Underground Mine No. 1 up to 1.5km from its entrance which is located about 37km from the city. A man riding system will take the tourists inside and WCL and a guide will facilitate this trip, taking them about 100m down from the ground surface. According to the five-year MoU signed between MTDC and WCL, the tourism facilities for visitors, bookings and marketing of the concept will be done by MTDC. Source: Economics Times

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