Tourism Breaking News

Kerala signs agreement with Ministry of Railways

A joint venture agreement was signed between the Ministry of Railways and Government of Kerala for developing railway infrastructure in the state. Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of Railways, Government of India , Ashok Kumar Mital, Chairman, Railway Board; Aditya Kumar Mittal, Member Engineering, Board Members and other senior officials were also present on the occasion. The JV Agreement was signed by S.C. Jain, Executive Director(Works) on behalf of Railways whereas it was signed by K.R. Jyothilal, Secretary, Department of Transport and Revenue (Devaswom) on behalf of Government of Kerala. Speaking on the occasion, Prabhu said that the signing of JV Agreements with the State Governments is a farsighted step of the Ministry of Railways by which Railways want to work hand in glove with the State Governments for the development of railway infrastructure in the states. He said that these kinds of JV Agreement is the best example of cooperative federalism for development of the nation as envisioned by our Prime Minister. He pointed out that Kerala has been neglected for too long and now concerted efforts are needed to develop its railway infrastructure. He said that Railway Ministry has given maximum allocation to Kerala during 2014-15 to 2016-17. He further said that Railways is also working on the re-development of Kochi and Ernakulam stations of Kerala State. Speaking on the occasion, Chairman, Railway Board said that today’s JV Agreement will certainly fulfill the rail transport needs of the people of Kerala. He said that Railways want to extend railway network all over particularly in the States where demand is more and rail density is less. He said that railways has very limited resources and thus working in collaboration with …

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Sheraton Hyderabad Hotel launches 56 Serviced Apartments

Sheraton Hyderabad Hotel, Gachibowli, recently unveiled 56 fully furnished apartments, adding to the hotel’s existing 216 rooms. Starting from Studio with variants of one bedroom and two bedroom options, they are perfectly suited to guests staying in Hyderabad for an extended duration of a week upwards. Located in the financial district of Gachibowli, the Sheraton Apartments are conveniently located just 20 minutes from the Hi-Tech City and close to 25 minutes from the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. The Apartments have been specially designed to offer a ‘home away from home’ experience to guests in the city for extended periods, fitted with a well-equipped kitchenette, spacious living and dining rooms and an exclusive landscaped patio, guests can choose from a Studio, Deluxe, Superior and Executive Apartments. As an additional benefit, guests can order groceries from the Retail Menu, which will be delivered to them at the end of the day. While staying at the apartments, guests also have complete access to all the amenities available at Sheraton Hyderabad, that includes ‘Feast’, the all-day dining venue, ‘inAzia’, which serves unique and extravagant Pan-Asian specialties, ’Link@Sheraton’- the lobby lounge bar & patisserie and ‘Chime’, the high energy lounge and bar with an Asian décor. Commenting on the launch, Shibil Malik, General Manager, Sheraton Hyderabad Hotel said, “The addition of Sheraton Serviced Apartments to our portfolio reflects our commitment to making our guests stay effortless, by providing home like comforts with an array of convenient hotel services to choose from. The launch is perfectly timed coinciding with the growing demand for quality, branded accommodation, especially for extended stays in one of India’s favorite hub for investors.”

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Stayzilla brings offline connectivity features to its App

Homestays aggregator Stayzilla has revamped its mobile application to ensure that hosts and guests are connected 24/7 in locations with poor connectivity. The App has been designed to overcome data connectivity challenges in the farthest corners that often house the most beautiful homestays in the country. Most of these homestays are located in regions where there is no internet connectivity. When a guest books a stay in such remote areas, the booking often gets no response and is lost due to poor connectivity from the home owner or host’s end. Says Pankaj Gupta, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Stayzilla, “Stayzilla has hosts and homestays spanning the breadth and depth of India. This app release ensures that bookings can be realized end to end irrespective of the underlying data connectivity. We continue to work on exciting technical and product solutions to serve our mission of connecting travelers with hosts on Stayzilla.” Stayzilla’s offline feature will now connect the home owner with the guest by sending notifications on the app via SMS when the host is in data offline mode. The home owner simply needs to have a phone with cellular connectivity (even without 2G/ 3G) to receive the booking confirmation on his/ her mobile phone. Additionally, Stayzilla also ensures connectivity with the host through automated IVR, wherein he/ she is able to confirm bookings. The cognitive feature of the app predicts whether the host’s phone has internet connectivity or not and determines intuitively to reach out either via SMS or app notifications accordingly.

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TAAI, TAFI to conduct joint IATA training in 16 cities

The two biggest travel trade associations in India, the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), in co-ordination with IATA, will be coming together to conduct joint training workshops in 16 cities starting from September 14 and ending on September 29, 2016. This will not just be for its members but for all IATA agents as well. These three-hour sessions aim to improve the participant’s overall understanding about the latest development and impending changes in the billing and settlement reports used in BSP. Interested agents are requested to register latest by September 9, 2016 to participate. Registration will  be limited to two representatives per agency. BSP India is scheduled to migrate its billing software to IATA’s single global software – IBSPs. This joint effort is aimed at getting all IATA-accredited agencies in India to get familiar with the new BSP reports.

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India is 3rd biggest source market for Singapore

A total of 573,010 Indians visited Singapore in the first six months of 2016 recording a 10.1 per cent growth compared to the same period last year. India has now become the third largest source of international visitors to Singapore, having overtaken Malaysia. In total, international arrivals to Singapore jumped 12.5 per cent to 8.17 million in the first half of 2016. China is the country’s number one source market with 1.47m Chinese visitors while Indonesia ranks second largest market with 1.41 million visitors (growth of 7.3 per cent) Overall visitation from South Asia to Singapore climbed 9.0 per cent to 701,830 in the first half, including increased traffic from Sri Lanka (+3.3% to 45,801) and Bangladesh (+2.2% to 60,367).

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Dusit Devarana to be rebranded as Roseate

Come September 9, the iconic property from the Bird Group will change its branding, and will be called Roseate Hotel. The brand has been refreshed to create a new identity. The Bird Group also has another property D2 at the Aerocity, which has still not opened, and would come under the same brand. The Bird Group will officially announce the change of branding on September 9, without any interruption in services.

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Global Destinations & Threeland Travel host Indian agents in Vietnam

Threeland Travel, an inbound operator for Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar represented by Global Destinations in India organised an eight day familiarisation trip for key travel trade agents in Vietnam in August 2016. The visit showcased cultural, leisure and historical offerings of Vietnam such as the Temple of Literature, boat ride to the three caves of Tam Coc, trip to My Son – to discover the hidden treasure of the Cham culture, discovering Cu Chi tunnels, a network of over 200km of tunnels and more. Pruthvi Khetani, General Manager – Mumbai, Global Destinations says, “The Indian travel trade fraternity plays a great role in highlighting not just the usual offerings of the country but also educating potential travellers on various activities they can experience in Vietnam. It is culturally rich destination that offers a wide range of leisure experiences to travellers. More importantly, it is easily accessible from India, which makes it preferred for visitors of different age groups. The teams of Threeland Travel and Global Destinations worked tirelessly to make this visit a grand success.” The journey extensively covered activities from the South to North of Vietnam including a trip to two remaining sanctuaries in Hoa Lu, witnessing show of water puppetry, cruising through the rock formations of Halong Bay, visiting the glamour town of Hoian, boat cruising in the canals of Ben Tre, exploring Ho Chi Minh City and dinner on Indochina Junk Cruise.

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Dragonair enhances inflight product on Airbus A320 for Kolkata-Hong Kong route

Dragonair has introduced the A320 Business and Economy class seats with new on-demand inflight entertainment system, StudioKA, from September 2, 2016. A comprehensive inflight entertainment system will be made available on Dragonair’s A320 fleet for the very first time in India, where each passenger can access their own choice of entertainment via the wireless IFE. The Business class passengers will be provided with tablets for IFE, whereas the Economy class passengers will be able to download the StudioKA app on their personal devices via the inflight Wi-Fi service. Moreover, Dragonair has also upped the comfort offered in-flight with the vision to truly enhance their passengers’ travel experience. Rajesh Menon, Regional Sales & Marketing Manager-South Asia, said, “We constantly strive to introduce services that can elevate the travel experience for our customers and make for a ‘Life Well Travelled’ experience. The east India market has seen a significant growth in the last few years. The new product suite onboard the A320 fleet, on all our flights from Kolkata is a great boost to this trend. The introduction of our new interactive Inflight Entertainment system, enhanced seats will usher in a combination of top notch entertainment, comfort and practicality. We are sure that our new enhancements will provide our valued customers with another reason to fly Dragonair.”

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BRICS Convention on tourism begins in Khajuraho

The two-day long BRICS Convention on Tourism was inaugurated in Khajuraho Madhya Pradesh in the presence of South African Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom. The BRICS nations were represented by the South African Tourism Minister, Mr. D.A. Hanekom and delegations from Russia and China. The inaugural function was also graced by Tourism Minister and Chairman-Tourism, Government of Madhya Pradesh Surendra Patwa. Secretary (Tourism), Government of India, Vinod Zutshi welcomed all the delegates, senior dignitaries, officials and members of the travel trade. He stressed on the importance of the tourism sector as a major catalyst for economic growth and a source of job creation, thus contributing to the economy. He welcomed the cooperation extended by all the BRIGS nations for mutual growth of tourism between the member countries. The Minister of Tourism, South Africa expressed his great pleasure for holding the BRICS Convention on Tourism in the historic temple town of Khajuraho and highlighted that India with a long tradition, history, ancient civilisation and culture with a large number of World Heritage Sites like Khajuraho is destination to be visited again and again. He also proposed constituting a permanent BRICS Working Stream on Tourism comprising of the stakeholders of the Government and private sector. Heads of the delegation of China and Russia also emphasized greater cooperation among the member countries for the mutual benefit for the growth of tourism and looked at the convention as a platform to interact with the travel industry partners.

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Munich Travel Guru training program for agents

Munich Tourist Office, India, has launched a specialist-training program called Munich Travel Guru for the travel trade. The programme builds on the theme ‘Simply Munich’ and engages the travel trade through 10 online informative modules. The participants will have to score a minimum of 90 per cent in each module to proceed to the next level. Once the participant clears all modules and becomes a Munich Travel Guru, certificate will be issued online and the early birds will be rewarded. SanJeet, India Representative, Munich Tourist Office, said, “We have been actively working with our travel partners with an objective to create the buzz and help build business for Munich City. The program has also been designed specially to enhance knowledge of the frontline staff through extensive education and sell packages to Munich more effectively.” As per the latest statistics, Munich has recorded a year-on-year growth of 21 per cent during January–June 2016 in Indian visitor arrivals and 14 per cent growth in Indian overnights.

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