Tourism Breaking News

AccorHotels partners with Australia India Travel & Tourism Council

Australian hotel operator, AccorHotels has signed an agreement with the Australia India Travel & Tourism Council (AITTC) to further strengthen the opportunities for promoting tourism between Australia and India. As part of the partnership, AITTC will endorse AccorHotels market-leading Optimum Service Standards program for Indian visitation. AITTC will facilitate a service training program to help AccorHotels staff better understand cultural practices and learn basic greetings so they can respectfully serve these guests. Training is expected to commence in Sydney and Brisbane this August and AITTC will issue hotels with a certificate of accreditation once completed. In addition, AITTC and AccorHotels will be working together on promoting both inbound tourism from India as well as outbound opportunities to India. “Our goal is to see growth in bilateral tourism and this partnership with AccorHotels, which has strong presence in both India and Australia, so it will be win-win for both organisations,” says Sandip Hor, Chairman of AITTC. Chief Operating Officer, AccorHotels Pacific, Simon McGrath said, “We have been very fortunate to develop a great relationship with the Australia India Travel & Tourism Council, and look forward to working with them to better equip our hotels with the skills and knowledge to welcome visitors from India. AccorHotels launched its Optimum Service Standards for Indian visitation program to better cater to the specific cultural needs and growing numbers of Indian travellers to Australia and New Zealand. Accredited hotels have adopted services to meet the needs of this emerging travel market including the translation of hotel welcome kits, menus and business cards, Indian meals in the restaurant, Indian adaptor plugs, TV channels and newspapers to make guests travelling from India feel at home.

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Vadodara Municipal Corporation abolishes Health License for hotels, restaurants

In a landmark move the Vadodara Municipal Corporation has abolished health licences for hotels and restaurants operating in the city. According to a notification issued by the Corporation, Sanitary Health License under G.P.M.C Act was duplication as health and sanitation are already covered under Food & Safety Act 2006. “Central Govt and State Govt has in recent times been emphasising on ‘ease of doing business’ and simplification of regulations to reduce difficulties faced by general public. Considering this matter, with immediate effect, Vadodara Municipal Corporation, Ward Offices, Health Department, has cancelled issuance of Health License under Sec. 376 of G. P. M. C. Act, wherever license under Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 is required and issued,” states the notification. Hailing the move as a milestone in the history of corporate India, The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI), the apex body representing hotels and restaurant across the western region of India has commended Vadodara’s new Municipal Commissioner and expressed hope that other cities will follow the precedent. “For the last nine years we have been petitioning Municipalities across the Western Region for the exclusion of this particular license as it was a repetition and merely added to paper work and red-tapism. The association welcomes the decision and appreciates the affirmative and expedited action of H.S. Patel, Municipal Commissioner, Vadodara,” says Bharat Malkani, President, HRAWI.

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Mumbai-Belgium on Brussels Airlines by March 2017

Brussels Airlines will commence flights between Mumbai and Belgium from March 2017. The Indian metropolis will be connected to Brussels Airport five times a week. Since last March, Belgium and India are no longer connected and Brussels Airlines is to change this as from March 2017. In collaboration with Star Alliance partner Air India, Brussels Airlines passengers can connect seamlessly on domestic flights to other Indian cities and regions. The Mumbai-Brussels flight schedule will allow connections to European, African and American destinations on the Brussels Airlines network. To operate the Mumbai route, Brussels Airlines expands its fleet with a tenth Airbus A330, with a Business Class and an Economy Class and the recently introduced Economy Privilege. Lars Redeligx, Chief Commercial Officer, Brussels Airlines, says, “The demand for direct flights for passengers as well as for cargo is high. With more than 50,000 passengers per year, Mumbai is the third most important intercontinental destination from Belgium. Furthermore, with this new route we can offer our guests smooth connections between Mumbai and the rest of Europe via Brussels.” Source: Aviation Tribune

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Now Netherland visa appointment with IVR

With effect from August 08, 2016, all applicants can schedule his/her appointment through Interactive Voice Recorder (IVR) across 24 hours, all 7 days at any of the seven Netherlands Visa Application Centres across India. The service will be available in English and Hindi languages and applicants can upgrade the appointment into Premium Lounge by just a click. Applicants can also check the status of an existing application on the IVR. Payment can be done through IVR Payment Gateway and applicant can also provide feedback through the system.

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Trafalgar is jetting off to India, Sri Lanka & Laos

The global leader in guided holidays Trafalgar, is delving deeper into Asia with the introduction of three new destinations — India, Sri Lanka and Laos. Travelling in groups of up to just 26 guests, each journey offers clients an in-depth and intimate exploration into this part of the world where modern meets ancient. Boasting nine new itineraries and three new destinations, Trafalgar’s Asia 2017 programme features an expanded range of Mini Stays to provide agents with options to sell Asia’s most exciting urban centres to clients looking for an immersive city experience. The new 13-day Leisurely Rajasthan with Mumbai is Trafalgar’s first itinerary exploring the riches of India with stays in vibrant cities such as Jaipur and Mumbai and the chance to see how #TrafalgarCares is helping Delhi’s street children through its support of the Salaam Baalak Trust. Trafalgar will also be heading across the Palk Strait on the new 11-day Wonders of Sri Lanka. From learning how Ceylon tea is made to rehabilitating orphaned elephants with #TrafalgarCares, there is no better way to explore this tropical island. The bite-size South East Asian gem of Laos completes the trio of new destinations and features on the 11-day Secrets of Cambodia with Laos. Learn about the exceptional work being done at the ‘Lao Friends Hospital for Children’ with #TrafalgarCares and immerse in local customs at a family hosted dinner in beautiful Luang Prabang.

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60-suite Rio Royale Goa opens doors

The Rio Group of Hotels has launched its brand new Luxury resort, Rio Royale, in North Goa. Rio Royale features 60 suites and each suite offers an incredible view and comes with a private balcony. This All Suite property will offer bespoke experiences, distinctive spa sojourns, signature culinary delights and a world of sophisticated luxury. Anup Shah, Managing Director, Rio Group of Hotels said “We are overwhelmed with the response we have received for Resort Rio and are pleased to present Rio Royale which offers the highest standards of luxury and hospitality. The idea behind launching this new resort was to introduce our esteemed customers to an entirely different level of extravagance and that is why we decided to redefine the experience of hotel stays and make it more experiential with an enhanced level of service which is warm, caring and personalised.” Inspired by the famous temples of Khajuraho, Rio Royale embodies grandeur and opulence, exemplifying a regal lifestyle. Intricate handmade carvings from sandstone and innovative and engaging spaces can be found throughout the resort making every moment spent here reminiscent of royalty. Alpa Shah, Director, Rio Group of Hotels added “Our goal is to make a lasting impact on the local economy by creating jobs and opportunities. 80 % of our staff are locals. The concept, designing and interiors is all done in-house. We are confident that Rio Royale will set a benchmark by providing guests a chance to indulge themselves in a royal experience like never before at our resort.”

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MOT rings in I-Day celebrations with Bharat Parv

Bharat Parv, a cultural celebration organised by the Ministry of Tourism from August 12-18 at Rajpath, will see participation from 17 states, revealed Vinod Zutshi, Secretary-Tourism, Govt. of India. Defence Minister Manohar Parikar inaugurated the event. Held in commemoration of Independence Day, the celebrations exhibit the vast tourism offerings of the country through a crafts bazaar and cultural performances, and showcase the variety of delicacies in the country. Highlights of the week-long affair include an exhibition by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting termed ‘Azadi 70 Saal – Yaad Karo Kurbani’ along with performances by bands from the Armed Forces. With celebrations commencing midday, the event is free for general public but identity proof will be checked at entries of the venue.

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‘Yatra Mini’ App targets Tier II & III cities

Yatra.com has launched a new mobile application, Yatra Mini, targeting value seeking travellers featuring bus, train and budget hotel bookings. The App is built to cater even to lower end android phones and is supported by Android 4 & above. The multi-lingual travel App is available in Hindi, English and regional languages such as Tamil, Bangla, Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu. Yatra.com is targeting customers in Tier-II and Tier-III with Yatra Mini.

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MakeMyTrip inaugurates its Technology Centre in Bengaluru

In an effort to tap into top technology talent in the silicon valley of the country, MakeMyTrip has inaugurated its technology center in Bengaluru. The new office is a milestone in MakeMyTrip’s 16-year journey in India and a true reflection of company’s vision of being reliable, efficient and at the forefront of technology. The company plans to recruit 300 people over a period of next 12 months. Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder and CEO-India, MakeMyTrip said, “Bengaluru is the Silicon Valley of India and it makes perfect sense for the pioneer in online travel to be actively present in the city. Our presence in the city is in line with the company’s aggressive growth plans and an increased focus on using technology as an enabler to make travel buying experience easier.  Bringing together e-commerce, data and analytics under one roof at the new center will help us in using technology as an enabler to serve the customer better. The rapid smartphone adoption and the app eco-system has necessitated us to offer personalized solutions and we will be using the Bengaluru facility in app development and data analytics. We now have over 23 million downloads of our app till date with last 8 million downloads coming in 2016 itself and being in Bengaluru will help us grow rapidly and be agile, especially in the fast changing technology world.”

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Maharashtra renews tourism ties with Wakayama Prefecture, Japan

A delegation from Wakayama Prefectural Government, Japan, met Jayakumar Jitendrasinh Rawal, Minister of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra, on August 8, 2016, in Mumbai to renew the MoU between Wakayama Prefectural Government (WPG) and the Government of Maharashtra that was signed in October 2013. As part of the MoU, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is funding the Ajanta – Ellora Development Phase 3 and showcasing their full support towards development of tourism in Maharashtra. The MoU also highlights the joint efforts of both parties to enhance mutual economic growth, promote agro and food processing between local enterprises through existing framework that the both the Governments have established. Jayakumar Jitendrasinh Rawal, Minister of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra, said, “The renewal of the MoU term and this association will help increase tourism inflow in Maharashtra and Wakayama through the agreement. It has been a great platform for us to increase our global footprint and put Maharashtra on a World map. It has strengthened bilateral trade between India and Japan and has mutually benefitted these two countries to strengthen their respective tourism prospects. I propose the establishment of a Japanese village near Ajanta-Ellora to further attract tourist footfalls from Japan and welcome our Japanese brothers with better warmth and hospitality. Would like to offer land for the establishment of this village. We must also organise special Japanese tours in Maharashtra.” The Minister also invited the Japanese delegation to attend the planned Buddhist Conference in Aurangabad in October. Wakayama Prefecture delegation proposed their plans to promote Ajanta Visitor Centre and a clean-up camp at the World heritage site with locals at Ajanta.

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