Tourism Breaking News

eTV now available for yoga programmes

The Ministry of Home Affairs has taken a decision to include short term yoga programmes in Tourist Visa and e-Tourist Visa (eTV). Realising the importance of yoga world over, the government has decided to include ‘attending a short term yoga programme’ in the list of permissible activities under Tourist Visa. Besides, the government has decided to include ‘attending a short term yoga programme’ and ‘short duration medical treatment under Indian systems of medicine’ in the list of permissible activities under eTV. Presently, a Tourist Visa is granted to a foreigner whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing and casual visit to meet friends or relatives and e-Tourist Visa (eTV) is granted to a foreigner whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing, casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit. All Indian Mission abroad and Foreigners Regional Registration Officers (FRROs)/ Foreigners Registration Officers (FROs) in the country have been requested to take action as per above amendments.

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PATA Annual Summit slated for Sri Lanka in May 2017

The next edition of the PATA Annual Summit (PAS) 2017 will take place in Negombo, Sri Lanka from May 18 -21, 2017. The PATA Annual Summit 2016 was held in Guam and welcomed 640 delegates from 206 organisations representing 33 countries to the four day event.  PATA CEO Mario Hardy stressed on the issue of climate change and stated, “We understand that the Pacific Islands are at a critical junction in its future development economically, socially and environmentally, especially with the growing effects of climate change. We hope that bringing together high level speakers, we can highlight these issues as well as analyse and share ideas on how to create a more sustainable and responsible travel and tourism industry,” he added. The four day event witnessed several high-level industry leaders give talks on various tourism-related topics like ‘Driving Solo or Following the Pack’, ‘Mastering the Skill of Future Trend Forecast’; ‘Defy the Norms to Create ‘Same Same But Different’; ‘The New Edge – Foreseeing New Travel Patterns’ &‘Reversing the Brain Drain by Mixing the Borders’, while delegates gained additional insights about the latest travel and tourism industry trends during PATA Marketplace. Other highlights of the four-day event included the PATA Awards Presentation, the election of the new PATA Executive Board and the presentation of the Silver-level Sustainability Certification by EarthCheck.

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Vistara increases frequency to Guwahati

Vistara announces additional frequency between Delhi and Guwahati. Effective June 18, 2016, Vistara will operate double daily on the Delhi-Guwahati route. Introductory one-way fare starting Rs 2,700 in Economy Class, Rs. 5,000 in Premium Economy and Rs. 15,000 in Business Class. Guwahati, the gateway to the northeast, is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in Assam and serves as the starting point for most north eastern itineraries.  With the addition of the new frequency, Vistara will now offer convenient connections to Guwahati from Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Srinagar, and from Guwahati to Bagdogra, and to Mumbai and Ahmedabad via Delhi.

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Airfares to get costlier as ATF sees 9% hike

The rate of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) has been raised by a steep 9.2 per cent after petrol price was hiked by Rs 2.58 per litre and diesel price was raised by Rs 2.26 per litre. ATF price in Delhi has increased by Rs 3,945.47 per kilolitre to Rs 46,729.48 per kilolitre. ATF prices in Kolkata increased from Rs 47561.18 to Rs 51492.43. In Mumbai, fuel prices increased from Rs 41,756.16 to Rs 45,700.55 and in Chennai jet fuel prices hiked to Rs 49404.76 from Rs 45,346.82. The hike is the fourth one this year with the last one on May 1 that saw a 1.5 per cent increase. On April 1, there was a steep 8.7 per cent hike and prior to that, rates were hiked by 12 per cent on March 1.

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‘Incredible India Calling’ on Jan 10, 2017

A national conference is going to be held jointly by IATO, TAAI, TAFI, ATOAI, FHRAI, and ICPB, on January 10, 2017. Subhash Goyal, Immediate Past President, IATO, informed that he has been elected as the Chairman of the Conference which will be called ‘Incredible India Calling’. Goyal also said, “We have requested the honourable Minister of Tourism to write to the Prime Minister to finalise the date. We are expecting around 15,000-20,000 people to attend the conference which will be the mother of all conferences. We hope it to be a grand success.”

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MOT forms action plan for B&Bs and homestays

As part of the action plan, the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) will launch an aggressive marketing strategy to enlist more bed and breakfast establishments to the Incredible India Bed & Breakfast /Home Stay Scheme and involve online travel agents in its promotion. Rationalisation of taxes and simplification of procedures will be addressed to move towards ease of doing business while groups were constituted to study various aspects of this scheme and submit recommendations in a time bound manner. Through this action plan, MOT aims to fill the desired additional hotel capacity and give impetus to establishments run by the central and state government as well as those run by OTAs since construction of hotels has a long gestation period. This was imparted by Vinod Zutshi, Secretary – Tourism, at MOT’s workshop  on Incredible India Bed & Breakfast /Home Stay Scheme held on 30th May 2016. The workshop was attended by officials from MOT and various State Governments, representatives from the hospitality and the travel trade industry and CEOs of OTAs.

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US issues travel alert for Europe

The US State Department has issued a travel alert to its citizens to the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe, targeting major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centres and transportation. The Travel Alert that expires on August 31, 2016 states that the large number of tourists visiting Europe in the summer months presents greater targets for terrorists planning attacks in public locations, especially at large events. In particular, the warning draws attention to the European Soccer Championship from June 10 to July 10 and the Tour de France cycling race which will be held from July 2 to 24 in France, as well as the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day event in Krakow, Poland, between July 26th and July 31st, which is expected to attract up to 2.5 million visitors.

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MOT convention for BRIC nations in Khajuraho from Aug 31

The Ministry of Tourism (MOT) will be organsising a convention for BRIC nations in Khajuraho from August 31-September 1.  The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) will be hosting Fam tours for the delegates participating in the convention, revealed Rajiv Mehra, Vice President, IATO, during the IATO Interactive Luncheon Meeting on June 1 at Pride Plaza Hotel, New Delhi. The ministry will be inviting at least 25 foreign operators from these countries. However, a final confirmation from the Ministry of External Affairs is awaited. The meeting was held to discuss the New Exim policy introduced by the Govt. last year, under which tour operators earning foreign exchange are entitled to get SEIS scrip @5 per cent. Sanjeev Gupta, an expert on Exim Policy, made a presentation on SEIS Scheme as to how the scheme would benefit members.

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IndiGo connects Kolkata-Lucknow

IndiGo introduces its first direct and daily flight on the Kolkata-Lucknow route, while adding additional daily non-stop flights connecting the cities of Delhi-Kolkata, Delhi-Pune, Delhi-Lucknow, Delhi-Chennai, Delhi-Ahmedabad, Delhi-Bengaluru, Delhi-Goa, Delhi-Kochi, Delhi-Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru-Hyderabad, Chennai-Kolkata, Chennai-Pune, with effect from June 01, 2016. Effective June 2, 2016, IndiGo will add additional flights between Ahmedabad-Hyderabad, Chennai-Hyderabad, Kochi-Thiruvananthapuram (operating on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday). The return fare for the first daily Kolkata-Lucknow flight  is Rs 7663.

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