Tourism Breaking News

AI’s direct Delhi-Madrid flight from Dec

Air India’s direct New Delhi to Madrid flight will launch from either December end or first week of January, reveals Ashwani Lohani, CMD, Air India. The national carrier’s direct New Delhi to San Francisco flight was introduced last December, following which two other international destinations – Delhi-Austria and Ahmedabad-London-New York – were connected by the airline. These flights are being operated using Air India’s two-class Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Lohani revealed this on the sidelines of the 32nd IATO Convention in Chennai.

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Now, IRCTC Rail bookings on Paytm

Paytm has partnered with Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) that will allow Paytm users to book train tickets online on Paytm’s App and website. The flights booking service on Paytm has been growing at 4x rate month-on-month since its launch in May. In line with its vision to build the country’s largest travel booking destination, the company has now launched online train ticket bookings in partnership with IRCTC. Speaking on the partnership, Abhishek Rajan, Vice President, Paytm said, “At Paytm, our endeavor is to solve for every need of a traveller. Our alliance with IRCTC is a major leap as it completes the spectrum of air, road and rail ticket booking solutions available on Paytm. This is a significant milestone in our efforts to build India’s largest travel marketplace.” The Indian travel market has seen exponential growth over the past many years. The Indian travel market is estimated to be worth $40 billion by 2020, according to an IBEF study. Paytm is determined to leverage the power of mobile to fuel this growth.

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IndiGo continues to waive off cancellation fee for Srinagar

IndiGo has announced that it will continue to waive off cancellation and change fees for all its passengers flying to and fro from Srinagar till September 30, 2016, due to the ongoing unrest in the city. Despite the current situation, IndiGo is operating five flights to and fro Srinagar. It has requested all passengers to check their respective flight status online before flying.

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1,200 agents register for IATA workshop in 16 cities

Around 1,200 agents have registered for the IATA workshop on the IBSP billing system that is being jointly conducted by the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) in co-ordination with IATA. The workshop which started from Delhi from September 14 will be held in 16 chapters across India until 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. 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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Lakshadweep to re-open Bangaram island on Oct 14

The Union Territory of Lakshadweep has announced that it will re-open one of its island – Bangaram island – for tourists on October 14, 2016. A.M. Hussain, Assistant Director (Tourism), Department of Tourism, Union Territory of Lakshadweep, said, “The highlight for 2016-17 for Lakshadweep is re-launching of Bangaram island resort, which was the flagship of Lakshadweep Tourism till 2010. But after the expiry of the lease period it had gone under a legal battle and after the hearing from High Court of Kerala as well as the Supreme Court, the resort has come back to us.” The resorts at Bangaram and Agatti islands – two popular destinations in Lakshadweep – had been closed for the past couple of years as they were caught in legal battles between the administration and tourism operators.

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32nd IATO Convention begins in Chennai

The 32nd IATO Convention was inaugurated in Chennai today in the presence of Vinod Zutshi, Secretary-Tourism, Government of India, T.K. Ramachandran, Principal Secretary-Tourism, Culture, & Religious Endowments Department, Ministry of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu, Thiru. Pandiarajan K, Ministry of School Education and Sports and Youth Welfare (responsible for archaeology), Government of Tamil Nadu, Thiru. Vellamandi N. Natarajan, Tourism Minister, Government of Tamil Nadu, Ashok Chandra Panda, Tourism and Culture Minister, Government of Odisha, and senior IATO officials. Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, thanked the VIPs and the Chief Minister for having the convention in Tamil Nadu. Sarkar said, “Tamil Nadu has all the ingredients to attract tourism. Tourism is one of the major engines of economic growth in the world and has exceeded the automotive and oil industry. We organise IATO Convention to allow members to get a first-hand experience of the States and educate them about the services and offerings. I hope after this convention, Tamil Nadu will experience the growth in tourism as well.”

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MOT on a cleanliness drive from Sept 16-30

The Ministry of Tourism (MOT) is observing a Swachhta Pakhwada (cleanliness fortnight) from September 16-30, 2016, to create awareness of the need for cleanliness in all walks of life. The officers and staff of MOT will undertake cleaning of 10 pre-selected tourist sites in the afternoon during this period. In addition to the cleaning, the officers and staff will carry out cleaning in and around Transport Bhawan and C-1 Hutments and weeding out of old documents and files to achieve ‘Swachh’ office environment. An essay competition on the topic of cleanliness will be organised on September 24 in English and on September 25 in Hindi. Considering the importance of September 27 being the World Tourism Day, MOT will organise a ‘Run for Swachh Paryatan from Transport Bhawan to India Gate with the participation of the public, students and faculty of the Institutes of Ministry of Tourism as well as the officers and staff of the Ministry. Awards and Appreciation Certificates would be distributed on World Tourism Day to the best maintained or cleanest offices at head quarter, regional and domestic offices of MOT to acknowledge and encourage the efforts made towards cleanliness.  

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BIAL launches BLR Airport App

BIAL in collaboration with ThoughtWorks, a global technology company,  announced the launch of the BLR Airport App, as part of its digital platform offering. Through the digital platform bouquet of services, BIAL aims at revolutionising the travel experience at the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (KIAB) through a combination of digital technologies that include the Internet of: things, people, services and data. The airport will build on its existing technological capabilities to engage with its customers and provide integrated services across various touch points. Through these efforts BIAL aims to future-proof its airport operations and services by making meaning of the abundant digital data available and create a more personalised, just-in-time travel services. A first step, as part of this digital transformation was offering passengers everything at a single click on their mobile phone through the BLR Airport app. The airport app includes a number of useful features to help simplify the passengers airport experience. The navigation provides an intimate interface with real-time flight information and commercial offerings. Available on iOS and Android platforms, the app is designed to provide customers with the best of airport navigation powered by Google Indoor Maps (the first Indian Airport to use Google Indoor Maps), context-specific operational and commercial notifications powered by beacon technology deployed by leveraging leading industry standards.

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MOT approves projects worth Rs. 500cr for J&K

The government has approved projects to the tune of Rs. 500 crore for tourist infrastructural development in Jammu and Kashmir. The Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) chaired by Union Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi for the ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’ approved projects to the tune of Rs. 500 crore as part of Development Package of Prime Minister Reconstruction Plan (PMRP) for integrated development of tourism in Jammu and Kashmir. New projects include Integrated Development of Tourist facilities at Mantalai–Sudhmahadev–Patnitop Circuit for Rs.99.99 crore, Baramulla-Kupwara-Leh circuit for Rs.99.98 crore,  Rajouri-Bafliyaz-Shopian-Pulwama Circuit for Rs.99.99 crore and Anantnag-Kishtwar-Pahalgam–Daksum-Ranjit Sagar Dam Circuit for Rs.99.75 crore. In addition, Rs. 99.99 crore has been approved for integrated development of tourist facilities in lieu of damaged assets in the floods. Highlights of the project involve developing a Convention Centre in Gulmarg and Patnitop, development of Ethnic Villages, Development of Water Sports Centre at Baghliyar Dam – Pool Doda. Other major intervention proposed in the circuits include last mile connectivity, tourist facilitation/interpretation centre, base camps for trekking, facilitation centre for pilgrims for Amarnath Yatra, Sound and Light Show at Shalimar Bag, illumination of heritage structures, provision of eco friendly vehicles, Enhancement of tourist facilities at golf courses across the state.

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