Tourism Breaking News

29% increase in Indians cruising from Singapore in 2016

In 2016, Singapore reported 1.2 million cruise passengers with a double digit growth of 16 per cent as compared to 2015, out of which 100,000 were from India, an increase of 29 per cent over 2015 figures. Recognising the potential that the segment holds, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) organised the second edition of its India Cruise Forum in Mumbai which was attended by 120 people. “India is a key source market for cruising out of Singapore. STB will continue to work closely with in-market partners to raise awareness of cruising as a great holiday option and sustain the growth of Singapore as a cruising hub in South East Asia. According to a consumer survey conducted in Mumbai, 34% of young Indian families are willing to spend INR 100,000 – 200,000 on a cruise holiday and 98% of the 500 travellers surveyed are open to a cruise from Singapore. There are exciting opportunities ahead and we will continue to partner with our travel trade and cruise partners to grow Singapore’s cruise Industry and promote its strong destination appeal,” said G.B. Srithar, RD SAMEA, STB. The day-long forum featured a thought provoking panel that touched on the challenges and opportunities of Growing India’s Cruise Travel Market, led by G. B. Srithar, Regional Director for South Asia, Middle East & Africa (RD SAMEA), STB with panelists Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations (GSA of Costa Cruise India), Naresh Rawal, Vice President Sales, Genting Cruise Lines – Star Cruises, Dream Cruises and Crystal Cruises, Suzanne Perreira, Senior Vice President Sales, Trade Relationships and Communications, Thomas Cook India, Anita Raja, Regional Manager – South India, TIRUN Travel Marketing and Harshali Darpel, Senior Manager – Western …

Read More »

AI’s non-stop flight between Delhi-Washington from July 7

Air India will operate a non-stop flight from Delhi to Washington from July 7th, 2017, to connect the capitals of India and the USA. This will be the only direct flight connecting Delhi with Washington with a B777-200LR aircraft. Washington will be Air India’s fifth non-stop destination in USA after New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Chicago (ORD) and San Francisco (SFO). AI 103 will depart from Delhi at 0115 hrs (IST) to reach Washington at 0715 hrs (GMT). While AI 104 will depart from Washington at 1100 hrs (GMT) and will land at IGI airport, Delhi at 1030 +1 hrs (IST). Operating thrice a week on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, the flight will offer a 3-cabin configuration, with 8 seats in First Class, 35 seats in Business Class and 195 seats in Economy Class. The direct flight will take around 15 hours and 30mins to reach Washington from Delhi. Passengers looking to travel and experience the world class facilities with a non-stop Boeing 777 flight can start booking their tickets now through www.airindia.in or through Air India booking offices.

Read More »

VFS launches nationwide network of Japan VACs

VFS Global, in partnership with the Embassy of Japan in India, is expanding the network of Japan Visa Application Centres across the country, bringing visa application facilities to applicants in 13 additional cities in India. As part of the country-wide rollout, VFS Global launched Visa Application Centres in the South Indian cities of Chennai, Bengaluru, Pondicherry, Hyderabad, Cochin and Trivandrum. Earlier this month, on 10 March 2017, a centrally-accessible and well-connected centre was launched in Mumbai, and on 03 March 2017, a full-fledged Visa Application Centre started operations in Kolkata. So far, New Delhi, Chandigarh, and Jalandhar were the only cities where applicants could submit Japan visa applications through VFS Global centres. Applicants from other cities in India had to submit their visa applications, either in person or through a travel agent, at the Japanese Consulates in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bengaluru or through the submission facilities arranged in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Dehradun, Agra and Guwahati. His Excellency Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India, said, “India is an important market for the tourism sector in Japan. In 2016, approximately 1, 23, 000 Indians visited Japan. I see enormous potential in the Indian market.  The opening of multiple centres across India is a major step towards enhancing people-to-people exchanges and the cultural relationship between the two countries.” Commenting on the launch, Vinay Malhotra, COO – Middle East and South Asia, VFS ¬Global, said, “With the opening of the Japan Visa Application Centres across India, travellers to Japan will now get their visas processed through our professionally managed services. We are confident that these centres will positively contribute to the strong ties of travel between the two countries, by maintaining best-in-class standards …

Read More »

Spends by Indian visitors in South Australia at all-time high

South Australia witnessed a positive leap in expenditure by Indians with an 87 per cent increase for the year ending December 2016, reaching AUD 28 million. According to the latest International Visitor Survey results released by Tourism Research Australia, Indians spent an additional AUD 13 million in the state compared to the previous year. Maintaining a healthy growth, the total expenditure has been on an upward trend with an average increase of 15.8 per cent over the last three years. Speaking about the results, Dana Urmonas, Regional Director (India & Southeast Asia), South Australian Tourism Commission, says, “Over the last year we have seen many more Indians signing up for experiences and breaking away from touristy activities. South Australia offers a cool blend of abundant wildlife, picturesque beaches and landscapes and brilliant food and wine, so travellers can really enjoy the best of Australia in one state. India is among our top 10 source markets and we hope to continue attracting more visitors and sustain the momentum built.” A recent Consumer Demand Report released by Tourism Australia shows that Indians travelling to Australia are looking to enjoy world class beauty and nature, family friendly activities and beaches and marine wildlife. South Australia, which ranks high on these factors, has been steadily moving up the consideration set with Kangaroo Island ranking number 3 among the most considered Australian destinations, after Sydney and Melbourne. Activities such as the RoofClimb over the iconic Adelaide Oval, swimming with dolphins at Glenelg, walking among sea lions at Seal Bay, food and wine experiences at Jacobs Creek or Seppeltsfield and premium stay at the 7-star rated Southern Ocean Lodge are unique to the state.

Read More »

Star Cruises announces homeport in Thailand

Star Cruises has announced the new homeport deployment of SuperStar Gemini to Laem Chabang in Thailand. It will be based in Laem Chabang International Terminal beginning 17 December, 2017 through to 27 April, 2018. Ang Moo Lim, President, Star Cruises, said, “We are excited to announce Star Cruises’ return to The Land of Smiles with the deployment of SuperStar Gemini at Laem Chabang. Our long history with Thailand stretches all the way back to 1995 when we first called upon Phuket and,today, we are proud to be able to call Laem Chabangour new home come 17 December this year. Thailand has the largest number of tourists of all ASEAN countries and the two airports of Bangkok serve more than 85 million passengers every year,” added Ang.“This is a perfect location for fly-cruise passengers and we will work closely with inbound agents to package cruises with land vacations – providing tourists yet another reason to visit Thailand.  We will make Bangkok the “Gateway to IndoChina” due to its superior air and tourist infrastructure.” During her deployment, SuperStar Gemini will embark on three-night cruises to Sihanoukville and Ko Samui, departing every Sunday, two-night cruises to Sihanoukville, departing every Wednesday, and two -night cruises to Koh Kong Island, departing every Friday.

Read More »

Cathay withdraws IATA commission

In a latest development regarding agency commission, Cathay Pacific and its subsidiary Cathay Dragon has withdrawn its IATA commission to travel agents applicable for any/all tickets issued in India. It will go from five per cent to zero commission with effect from May 1, 2017. In a letter signed by Rajesh Menon, Regional Sales and Marketing Manager, South Asia, Cathay Pacific Airways and Cathay Dragon, to all its trade partners, reasons, ‘Market dynamics for the aviation industry have changed in the recent times and has resulted in making the operating environment for our airline very challenging. The projections for the aviation industry and for our airlines remain to be volatile in the future.’ All tickets issued prior to May 1, 2017 will be eligible for a five per cent IATA commission. It adds, ‘We request you to kindly make a note of the change in commission structure and the effective date as this change might require a change in your business model too.’

Read More »

BA introduces Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on Mumbai-London route

British Airways has introduced its most technologically advanced aircraft, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the Mumbai-London route. Mumbai is the second route after Delhi to benefit from the airline’s latest aircraft. Commenting on this Robert Williams, Head of Sales- Asia Pacific and Middle East, British Airways, said, “Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is the latest aircraft in our fleet which is slightly different to 787-8 aircraft. The 787-9 is 20 feet longer and incorporates our first class cabin with just 8 seats. Together with our World Traveller economy class, World Traveller Plus premium economy, Club World business class and the exciting new First class product we have all four cabins on the new aircraft flying people overnight from Mumbai into London. The 787 is fast becoming the principle aircraft of the British Airways fleet for the next generation.” A total of 42 787s are destined to join British Airways, becoming the mainstay of the airline’s fleet. Currently, British Airways has 12 A380 aircraft which have joined the fleet recently. Starting from 2018 British Airways will be making changes to its short haul flights in UK or flights flying into Europe from London. The airline also looks forward to welcome the A320, A321 and  A350 aircraft soon.

Read More »

MOT’s ‘Smart India Hackathon 2017’ from April 1-2

The Ministry of Tourism will host the Grand Finale of “Smart India Hackathon” on April 1-2, 2017, in Kochi, Kerala, featuring 53 teams comprising of 230 students from technology institution/engineering colleges across the country. The Smart India Hackathon is being held across 26 cities in the country including Kochi with the involvement and support of 29 government departments. This Hackathon is an initiative of the Ministry of Human Resources Development organised in collaboration with All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and i4c and is aimed to help institutionalise the model of harnessing the creativity and technical expertise of youth in technical institutions. The Hackathon for Tourism sector, to be held at the Mar Baselios Institute of Technology and Science [MBITS], Kothmangalam, Cochin, will focus on the use of technology to solve problem statements pertaining to Tourism Sector posed by Ministry of Tourism such as Safety & Security of Tourist, Path breaking technological solutions that would catapult India as a leading tourist destination, Museum Commentary etc. The problem statements pertaining to tourism sector were given directly by the Ministry of Tourism based on the industry requirements which will be used to challenge the students for developing innovative digital solutions. The newly developed solutions/technical products will be evaluated by experts and prizes shall be distributed for winners, 1st runner up and 2nd runner up. After the event, the Ministry of Tourism will prepare a plan of action for integrating the products/software which has come out this hackathon into the Departmental functioning.

Read More »

5 airlines win bids under RCS

SpiceJet, Alliance Air, and three other airlines have emerged winner in the first round of bidding and 43 airports in India are set to get flights under the Regional Connectivity Scheme, revealed Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Civil Aviation Minister, Govt. of India. Apart from SpiceJet and Alliance Air, the other three airlines awaiting license include Air Deccan, Air Odisha and Turbo Megha. Airports Authority of India (AAI), the implementing agency, will issue Letter of Awards for 27 proposals received under RCS-UDAN. A total of 13 unserved airports will get flights under the scheme, and the total viability gap funding that the government will provide will be around Rs. 200 crore. Raju also said that the total seats on these routes will be around 13 lakh and the scheme will be active in the next 4-6 months.

Read More »

Qatar Airways plans to order 100 jetliners to launch new airline in India

Qatar Airways may order 100 new jetliners before the end of this year to power its push into India, chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker said. The Persian Gulf carrier is confident that a new aviation policy mapped out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will permit 100% foreign ownership of a domestic airline, Al Baker said Monday in London. Qatar Airways is briefing lawyers in India and will seek formally to establish the new airline soon, with a tender for aircraft to follow. “It could be this year,” the CEO told journalists after addressing the Qatar-U.K. Business and Investment Forum. “It depends how fast we can arrange our application.” Al Baker revealed last month that he planned to set up an Indian carrier with a fleet of 100 narrow-body jets, breaking into a fast-growing market where local rules previously prevented full ownership by foreign airlines. He said at the time that the Qatar Investment Authority could fund the venture, leaving Qatar Air to run it, though it’s not clear whether such an arrangement would avoid the curb. Source: Bloomberg

Read More »