Tourism Breaking News

Telangana proposes heliports to boost tourism

Telangana Government has proposed heliports at various locations in the state to the Ministry of Civil Aviation in an attempt to boost tourism and exploit commercially potential areas. These heliports have been proposed at Dundigal, Hakimpet, Nadirgul in Hyderabad, Basanthnagar in Karimnagar, Nagarjunasagar, Nalgonda, Alair (Yadagirigutta), Warangal and Kagaznagar (Sirpur). The state is also planning to develop new greenfield airports at Zakranpally, Nizamabad, National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) at Zaheerabad. According to V.N. Bharat Reddy, Director-Aviation, Government of Telangana, “The state government has submitted the proposals to Ministry of Civil Aviation under Regional Connectivity Scheme for 10 unserved airports. These can be converted into full-fledged airports in future.” Since air trafiic is on the rise travellers can avail heliservices. For instance, the state government has taken up development of Yadagirigutta temple and a heliport is being proposed at Alair. Similarly, Nagarjunasagar in Nalgonda district has always been a tourist spot. Kagaznagar and NIMZ are industrial areas where individuals can avail of the facility, apart from VIPs. Source: Times of India

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Czech Republic Visa Application Centre opens in Pune

To make Czech visa application facilities more accessible for residents of Pune, the Embassy of the Czech Republic and VFS Global have launched a Czech Republic Visa Application Centre in the city’s Viman Nagar area. The centre is a part of the modern Joint Visa Application Centre that houses 26 diplomatic missions under one roof. The centre was inaugurated by H.E. Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India, at a ceremony held on March 24, 2017. The inauguration was also attended by other key members from the Embassy and VFS Global. Over the last few months, VFS Global has set up centres in 11 other cities in India to increase accessibility to visa services for applicants across the country. Earlier this month, Czech Republic Visa Application Centres were launched in Jaipur and Kochi on March 02 and March 03 respectively. Applicants earlier had to travel to either Mumbai or Delhi to apply for Czech Republic visas. The setting up of a 12th Visa Application Centre in less than a year since commencement of services for the client government in India, signifies the company’s strengthening association with the Embassy of the Czech Republic. Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer – Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global, “We are pleased to further enhance the visa services network for the Czech Republic in India, through this modern visa application facility in Pune. The new centre will serve the ever-increasing volumes of visa applications for the Schengen country, and illustrates the emerging popularity of the Czech Republic as a tourist destination. We are confident that the introduction of professional and hassle-free Czech Republic visa services in Pune will be well-received by aspiring …

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FAITH recommends 12% GST to Finance Ministry

The Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) has suggested an upper GST rate of 12 per cent for the tourism and hospitality industry and handed its detailed recommendations to the Ministry of Finance. The industry comprises of air travel agents, business exhibition services, hotel and hospitality services, tour operators, rent a cab and vacation ownership. The representation has been made considering strategic forex, employment, economic and GST rationale and rates for tourism, travel and hospitality sector of India. An upper limit of 12 per cent has been suggested for hotels and hospitality and vacation ownership segment. For the air travel agents the recommendation was given to continue presumptive rate on all income and keep GST at 1 per cent or less. For the tour operators, FAITH requested to introduce a presumptive rates mechanism of GST at 1.2 per cent considering difficulty of getting GST input credits from unorganised sector and the burden of compliance of registration with different states. It has been requested to exempt outbound tour operators and business exhibitions selling outbound from India from GST since provision of services are out of India. In the case of rent a car, a GST rate of 5 per cent has been suggested failing which, maximum 12 per cent has been deemed acceptable. FAITH has urged for a special GST exemption on forex income for tour operators, hotels and businesses earning forex if it can be a criteria with MoF for GST. Addressing the adventure tourism industry, FAIH has requested MoF to consider special GST exemption based on J&K and a very high component of local, unorganised labour involved.

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Thomas Cook to target leisure segment in smaller catchment markets

Thomas Cook (India), in a focused initiative to capture smaller, yet high potential local leisure markets, has conceptualised a unique customer outreach – going local- right to its customer’s doorstep. Given the demand for its ‘Grand Indian Holiday Sale’ Thomas Cook India has announced an extension, with a special Weekend Mega Holiday Sale, an on-ground activation across five key catchment localities in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai (Ghatkopar, Kandivali, Juhu, Fort and Vashi), carefully selected basis high potential demand. The venues are well located and popular with local consumers, offering optimal space for both the high traffic and interactions anticipated. This is targeted towards its high potential Maharashtrian and Gujarati customers. The weekend sale bonanza offers customers a range of attractive deals and the advantage of spot discounts up to Rs. 40,000 per person on Thomas Cook India’s holiday packages, with an added incentive of a ‘Child Travels Free’ or its Holiday pe Holiday Free’ offer on select international tours. For customers who pay the entire amount upfront, Thomas Cook India offers a further discount of up to nine per cent on select international departures. Rajeev Kale, Thomas Cook India’s President & Country Head – Leisure Travel, MICE said, “Our customers are increasingly emerging from small local pockets within larger cities, and our intent was to reach out to our customers by going local- right to their very doorstep! The Grand Indian Holiday Sale extension over the weekend will be available at 5 highly popular venues across key catchment localities across Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. Mumbai currently contributes more than 15 per cent to our holiday business and given the high growth potential, we intend to leverage this market to the …

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AccorHotels Showcase reaches Delhi

Asia Pacific region’s hotel exhibition by AccorHotels – AccorHotels Showcase took place in Delhi at the Hotel Pullman New Delhi Aerocity. The participating hotels were from 19 different countries and about 50 international as well as national hotels from the group were participating in the showcase. More than 250 buyers and sellers had visited the showcase halfway through. AccorHotels Showcase kicked off its 2017 India leg on March 22 at Sofitel Mumbai BKC. The forum is a good opportunity for networking and for educating the people about the different brands that Accor offers. Exhibitors from globally sought-after destinations such as France, Spain, Malaysia, Indonesia, UAE and Singapore were present at the event, representing celebrated hotels like Fairmont Ajman, SO Sofitel Singapore and Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort and Spa, Pullman Paris Eiffel Tower, Swissôtel The Bosphorus Istanbul, Novotel Madrid Center and more. Accor hotels from India such as Novotel Ahmedabad; Novotel Visakhapatnam, Varun Beach; ibis Bengaluru City Centre, ibis Styles Goa Calangute are also participating.

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Arunachal Pradesh forms strategic partnerships to boost tourism

The largest North Eastern state has signed MoU between four key partners to work together to promote and attract tourists to the state. The partners include OxigenWallet – the official e-wallet partner for the department of tourism, MakeMyTrip – the official partner in the online travel portal category, Travel Agents’ Association of India (TAAI) as the official partner, and Fly Wings – the partner for hospitality training. This was announced at the state’s first conclave in New Delhi which was graced by Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home, Govt. of India, along with other dignitaries like Ajay Singh, CMD, SpiceJet. Arunachal Pradesh is heavily cashing in on the adventure segment and is fostering awareness through adventure festivals like the three-day Mechuka adventure festival held in November 2016. Speaking at the conclave, Dr Joram Besa, Tourism Secretary, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh said, “The state is investing to become the adventure and exotic tourism hub of India. The role of tourism partners in building awareness and encouraging on the unique attractions this state offers is paramount. In 2017, we expect the number of tourist arrivals to grow exponentially.” The state received over 3.5 lakh tourists in 2016.

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Emirates introduces laptop and tablet handling service for US flights

Emirates has introduced a new service to enable customers to use their laptops and tablet devices until just before they board their flights to the US. Emirates customers travelling to the US via Dubai will be able to utilise their laptops and tablet devices on the first part of their journeys, and also during transit in Dubai. They must then declare and hand over their laptops, tablets, and other banned electronic devices to security staff at the gate just before boarding their US-bound flight. The devices will be carefully packed into boxes, loaded into the aircraft hold, and returned to the customer at their US destination. There will not be any charge for this service. Passengers on US-bound flights starting their journeys in Dubai are encouraged to pack their electronic devices into their check-in luggage in the first instance, to avoid delays. Customers should be aware that there will be a detailed search of all hand baggage on non-stop flights to the US from Dubai. They should therefore declare their devices before the search, or ensure their electronic devices are packed into their check-in luggage in the first instance. Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said: “Our aim is to ensure compliance with the new rules, while minimising disruption to passenger flow and impact on customer experience. Our new complimentary service enables passengers, particularly those flying for business, to have the flexibility to use their devices until the last possible moment. Once on board they can still stay connected on their mobile phones. Our historical data shows that on Emirates’ US flights, 90% of passengers using our onboard mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity services do so via their smart phones. Only …

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MTDC starts selling Coal Mines Package

The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) in association with Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) has introduced mine tourism in Nagpur to showcase the abundant coal mining resources in Maharashtra and outline the intricacies of coal mining. It has started selling packages that are valid from March 31, 2017 to April 30, 2017. Tourists will get to descend 500 metres below the surface into the WCL coalmine in Saoner near Nagpur to experience the hardship of miners and learn about the machines involved. Additionally, they will also get an opportunity to tour an eco-park and visit the open cast mine in Gondegaon. The one-day itinerary costs Rs. 650 and includes transport, lunch and security equipment.

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SpiceJet starts Kolkata-Dhaka daily

SpiceJet has launched its latest international route—Kolkata to Dhaka— which would fly daily. Kamal Hingorani, Senior Vice President & Head Inflight Services and Customer Experience, SpiceJet, revealed that they have started their seventh international route to Dhaka. He also said, “We are very proud about it. There is another international route — Delhi-Bangkok, which is going to start on April 14 and will be a non-stop daily flight. There is a lot more on the cards for us.”

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The Travel Corporation launches agent academy

The Travel Corporation (TTC) has asserted its ongoing commitment to its travel agent partners with the launch of a new training initiative, the TTC Agent Academy. With this, Trafalgar, Contiki, Insight Vacations and Uniworld invite agents to sign up on the new e-learning platform. It showcases the four core brands of Trafalgar, Contiki, Insight Vacations and Uniworld via a series of interactive, user-friendly modules and is complemented with a 90-second video animation highlighting the key benefits of the scheme. The Agent Academy has been created with the aim of facilitating effortless sales, and the new e-learning platform offers a simplified manner in which agents can easily build their knowledge of the award-winning family of brands to make their roles more financially rewarding and to keep their clients coming back. The first phase of a reaffirmed long-term commitment to working together and winning together, the TTC Agent Academy is designed to instil greater understanding and confidence in selling; from comprehending the depth of TTC’s global network, to what makes each brand innovative and unique, to the scope of travel solutions available for their customers. Encompassing The Trafalgar Academy, ContikiU, Insight Tour Specialist and Uniworld River Cruise Specialist, all brand programmes provide valuable content that’s accessible online 24/7, offering the ultimate in flexibility. Brett Tollman, TTC’s Chief Executive said, “Our latest trade initiative has been crafted with the success of our valued partners in mind. At TTC, we believe that travel consultants have the best job in the world and we have worked hard to create an inspirational programme to make selling more fun and easy for them. It is our hope that enrolment into the TTC Academy will reward travel agents …

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