Tourism Breaking News

First Manali Travel Mart from Nov 19

The first Manali Travel Mart is being organised by Manali Hoteliers’ Association in partnership with Himachal Pradesh Tourism Board from November 19-21 in Manali, Himachal Pradesh. The venue for the event is Him Valley, Bahang, Manali. It is assumed that the three day event will see a large number of travel agents from around the country will be attending the event. Gajender Thakur, President, Manali Hotelier’s Association, said, “We are expecting around 400 travel agents to attend the event. Hotels, big and small, across Himachal Pradesh will be exhibiting at the mart.” The objective behind the event is to market and promote Manali as a round the year destination. Manali happens to be a hot selling destination during the summer holidays and this event will attempt to showcase the potential of the destination during the winter season. Special attention will be given to promote the various activities and the sightseeing spots open during the winter season.

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Close to one billion international tourists between Jan-Sept 2016

India has recorded a 16 per cent increase in international tourism expenditure during the first three to nine months of 2016. Destinations around the world welcomed 956 million international tourists between January and September 2016, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. This is 34 million more than in the same period of 2015, a 4 per cent increase. Among the top five source markets, China, the world’s top source market, continues to drive demand, reporting double-digit growth in spending (+19%). Likewise, robust results come from the United States (+9%), which benefited many destinations in the Americas and beyond. Germany reported a 5% increase in expenditure, the United Kingdom, a 10% increase, and France, 3% growth. Demand for international tourism remained robust in the first nine months of 2016, though growing at a somewhat more moderate pace. After a strong start of the year, growth was slower in the second quarter of 2016 to pick up again in the third quarter of the year. While most destinations report encouraging results, others continue to struggle with the impact of negative events, either in their country or in their region. Tourism spending grew notably in Australia and the Republic of Korea (both +9%), and moderately in Italy (+3%). By contrast, expenditure from the Russian Federation declined 37% and from Canada a slight 2%. Beyond the top 10, eight other markets reported double-digit growth: Egypt (+38%), Argentina (+27%), Spain (+19%), India (+16%), Thailand (+15%), Ukraine (+15%), Ireland (+12%) and Norway (+11%). “Tourism is one of the most resilient and fastest-growing economic sectors but it is also very sensitive to risks, both actual and perceived. As such, the sector must continue to work …

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Yatra signs MoU with Uttarakhand to promote homestays

Yatra.com has signed an MoU with Uttarakhand Government to promote homestays in the state as well as highlight the state’s unique tourist attractions. Yatra will promote all the state tourism approved homestays, wherein guests (travellers) can rent a room in the home of a local family (host) or the entire house. Enhancing the segment further, Yatra and Uttarakhand Tourism together will organise an orientation session for homestays where the villagers will be trained in guiding, cooking, hospitality and the cultural and natural heritage of the state. This partnership will give the tourists a chance to experience the hospitality of various families throughout Uttarakhand and enjoy wonderful home cooked food. Speaking on the partnership, Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C), Yatra.com said, “We are delighted about this strategic alliance with the Government of Uttarakhand to boost the state’s tourism. With the peak season rolling in, we see this an opportunity to promote the rapidly growing Homestays segment in sync with the needs of travellers. Yatra is also seeking more such partnerships with other State Governments to promote local tourism and offer a taste of Indian hospitality and a very unique traveller experience.” As a part of this partnership, Yatra will list over 500 homestay properties on its website and encourage the growth of homestays in Uttarakhand, giving tourists a very homely experience.

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Wesgro, PATA’s newest member

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) welcomed Wesgro from South Africa as its newest government member. It is the official Tourism, Trade & Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape. The announcement was made by Dr. Mario Hardy,  CEO,  PATA at the Association’s annual Aligned Advocacy Dinner in London, UK on Monday November 7, 2016 where the guests included Inge Dykman, Head of Leisure Tourism and Trade, Wesgro. Their aim is to promote the city and its five surrounding regions: the Cape West Coast, Cape Overberg, Cape Karoo, Garden Route & Klein Karoo and the Cape Winelands to the domestic and international markets. “As PATA continues to strengthen the tourism links between the continent of Africa and the Asia Pacific region we remain committed to helping destinations in Africa attract greater numbers of international visitors,” said Dr. Hardy. “Wesgro will surely benefit from our in-depth research and insights, human capital development programmes and our busy calendar of conferences and marts as they look to develop a responsible, sustainable and profitable destination.” Tim Harris, CEO, Wesgro said, “The Asian market is extremely important and valuable for Cape Town and the Western Cape’s tourism, trade and investment strategy. PATA provides an excellent platform for us to directly engage key stakeholders in this market, learn from them and make Cape Town and the Western Cape a more attractive and accessible destination for them.”

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RARE brings Soulitude’s 2 properties under its umbrella

Spreading its wings to Uttarakhand, RARE Destination & Experiences has added Soulitude’s two properties to its portfolio — Soulitude by the Riverside, Chanfi and Soulitude in the Himalayas, Gagar. Soulitude by the Riverside, Chanfi is a small seven suite boutique getaway set amidst an organic farm and carefully planted vegetation of flowering and fruiting trees. The property is just under an hour’s drive from the railhead in Kathgodam. Soulitude in the Himalayas, Gagar, on the other hand is over an hour from the Riverside including the walk up to the ancient bridge in Chanfi Village. The ten rooms and suites of Soulitude in the Himalayas are distributed in two similar looking blocks with sloping roofs, decks and brief terraces, that seem quiet in sync with the hills around, scooped into steps for farming.

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Tourism Minister inaugurates India pavilion at WTM London

Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of Tourism and Culture (I/C), Government of India, inaugurated the Incredible India pavilion at World Travel Market London 2016, along with Vinod Zutshi, Secretary-Tourism, Government of India, and Ashok Chandra Panda, Minister of State for Tourism & Culture, Government of Odisha. Dr. Sharma also launched the official website of Incredible India Global Tourism Mart, scheduled from Feb 1-4, 2017, in New Delhi. India is also looking to reposition its tourism offer. During the press conference organised by India Tourism at WTM, Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism India, said that his government was prioritising tourism by investing in the public infrastructure in order to facilitate specific tourism investments from the private sector. Some key areas which India Tourism will focus on include India’s luxury portfolio stretching from the royal fortresses to Goa and Kerala offering ‘barefoot’ luxury. MOT has also identified cruise tourism and MICE as two niche products available in India for 2017, said Zutshi. The e-Tourist Visa scheme which was introduced to 113 countries globally in August 2015 will be further promoted by India Tourism as a major incentive for travel in 2017. The Ministry is hopeful that the lesser-known but stunning regions off the beaten track will be the next port of call for travellers who have enjoyed the Golden Triangle. For India Tourism UK, North East Indian region will be in special focus and be greatly promoted. India’s long-standing relations with the UK will be focus of much festivity in 2017, the year that marks the 70th anniversary of Independence. Plans will be announced later in 2016 but are set to witness some famous British faces who are known for their love of …

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QuadLabs & IATA launch new AgentExperience site

The AgentExperience platform is built on the base Konnect.travel platform provided by QuadLabs and supports the IATA/IATAN ID Card program. With an IATA/IATAN ID Card travel agents are recognised around the world for being a travel professional and important distributor of travel products. In return travel suppliers provide benefits and incentive programs to ID card holders. The AgentExperience site showcases the various benefits, offers and promotions provided by global travel suppliers for the business or leisure travel of the registered IATA/IATAN ID card holders. The new AgentExperience provides travel suppliers enhanced functionality in promoting benefits and incentives programs, as well offers suppliers and ID Card Holders the opportunity to complete the booking process on AgentExperience. The new AgentExperience is offered in Canada first and will soon be available for more than 120,000 ID Card Holders worldwide. Major suppliers around the world have participated in this travel solution to distribute their content and real time inventories. Konnect.Travel provides functionalities for travel agencies to manage their customers, bookings, enquiries and will also facilitate the payments between travel agencies and suppliers. “We are delighted that IATA has selected the Konnect.travel platform to launch its new AgentExperience site for travel agents and suppliers. We are confident that this will evolve to become a global distribution channel for multiple suppliers around the world” said Gaurav Chiripal, CEO of QuadLabs Technologies Pvt. Ltd. “We are excited to partner with QuadLabs for the new AgentExperience platform. The new site will bring more benefits to the IATA/IATAN ID Card holders and the suppliers. We are happy that in leveraging on the Konnect.travel solution, we can offer ID Card Holders not only the possibility to book travel for themselves …

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Bangalore International Airport to undergo runway upgrade

The runway of Bangalore International Airport (BIAL) will be upgraded in a phased manner in certain parts, involving closure of the runway, and in other parts, partial closure of facilities without any impact on airport operations. The closure will be applicable between 10.30 am to 5.00 pm from February 19-April 30, 2017. The balance activities will be carried out subsequently, with minimal impact on airport operations. In early February the runway will be closed for the rehearsals and show timings for the Aero India 2017. The closure of the runway for the upgradation work has been planned and aligned to this so as to commence work during this period. These works have been necessitated in order to support the growing air traffic at the Bengaluru Airport. The runway upgradation will include building of two Rapid Exit Taxiways (RET) to increase runway capacity. Currently, the runway has the capability of handling 38 air traffic movements (ATM) per hour, the additional RETs could increase the ATM capacity to 48 per hour. In order to enhance the capacity of the runway, BIAL has decided to go ahead with the building of two Rapid Exit Taxiways during the above period, so as to complete the activity before the onset of monsoons in May. This decision has been arrived at in consultation with all its key stakeholders including Domestic & International Airlines, Air Traffic Control and the Minister of Civil Aviation (MoCA).

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Emirates passengers can apply for UAE visa from mobiles

Emirates Airline customers flying to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can now apply for a visa using their mobile devices. In a first-of-its-kind initiative in visa application, applicants anywhere in the world can use the mobile app, launched by Dubai Visa Processing Centre (DVPC), to complete the entire visa application process for UAE visa using mobile devices. The transactional app involves one-time profile creation, and allows data and document upload, payment and service delivery. Essa Sulaiman Ahmad, VP (India & Nepal), Emirates, said, “The launch of the mobile app will allow our customers in India an even more convenient way to apply and complete their entire visa process through their phones. At Emirates, we are always looking for initiatives to enhance our customers’ experience online.” Vinay Malhotra, COO-South Asia and DVPC, VFS Global, added, “We are in a constantly evolving environment in terms of developing best-in-class technologies, and with this app, we aim to deliver exceptional levels of service and enhanced convenience for travellers. The DVPC mobile app will serve as a one-stop shop for UAE visa applicants, offering users an end-to-end platform for UAE visa applications.” Smartphone and tablet users can download the free DVPC mobile App from Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store. Customised versions of the app are available for iOS and Android devices. Through the app, passengers can apply for the 96-hours, 30-days or 90-days single entry visas, based on their Emirates itinerary. Customers may apply up to 4 international working days in advance of their Emirates flight departure date.

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WTM London 2016 opens today

World Travel Market London 2016 is all set to open today at ExCeL-London. India Tourism is the Premier Partner for WTM London 2016, as it looks to promote the diverse tourism product the country offers. The Indian contingent is being led by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister for Culture and Tourism (I/C), Government of India; and Vinod Zutshi, Secretary-Tourism, Government of India. Most of the Indian states are participating and some state chief ministers and deputy CMs are also attending WTM. An Indian Exhibition Centre at the Reed Exhibition Centre is going to be dedicated to India and Indian-based programmes for the three days of WTM.

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