Tourism Breaking News

TAAI Convention opens in Abu Dhabi with 670+ delegates

The Indian Travel Congress and 63rd Convention and Exhibition of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) opened in Abu Dhabi with over 670 registered delegates from India. The three-day event, being held from October 14-16, 2016, began with the inauguration of the India Travel Trade Expo followed by the convention inauguration in the Etihad Ballroom at Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi. The business sessions will be held on Oct 15 and 16, while he Gala Dinner will be held at Ferrari World, informed Sunil Kumar, President, TAAI, during a pre-event press conference. The theme of the convention and exhibition is ‘Tomorrow Begins Now – Rise Above Routine’. The business sessions will be based on this theme and will project strategies and trends to conquer an opportune tomorrow. Kumar also expressed gratitude to Abu Dhabi Tourism & Cultural Authority (TCA) for its support.

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Phocuswright’s second India edition from Feb 29-March 2

The travel industry research organisation, Phocuswright, will come back to Delhi NCR for the second time in February 2017 and will host travel innovators, executive keynotes, panel discussions and debates, as well as exhibition and networking opportunities. To be held at The Leela Ambience Gurgaon Hotel & Residences, Gurgaon, theme of the 2017 Phocuswright India, Funnel Revolution, will summarise the key driving forces defining the Asia travel market. “We’re happy to be back at the Leela Ambience for the second installment of Phocuswright India,” says Lorraine Sileo, Phocuswright’s senior vice president, research. “We have more speakers, more innovators, more industry leaders and more content – prepare for great education sessions and even greater networking opportunities. This year really is bigger and better than before.” Chetan Kapoor, Phocuswright’s research analyst, Asia Pacific adds, “We’re working on lining up a spectacular speaker roster for 2017,” says “Our theme touches every segment and aspect of the Asia Pacific travel, tourism and hospitality industry and provides a great platform for conversations that will mold the future of travel in the region.”

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PTM 2017 from Sept 13-15 in Macao

PATA Travel Mart 2017 will be held in Macao SAR from September 13-15. The 40th edition of the mart will be hosted by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO). PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy said, “It is an exciting prospect to be returning to Macao SAR for the fortieth anniversary of PATA Travel Mart, having previously held a successful Mart there in 2010. PATA and the MGTO enjoy a very special, unique and rewarding relationship that we treasure and hold in high regard. Ms. Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director, MGTO, added, “PATA Travel Mart mobilises a relevant contingent of travel trade stakeholders from the Asia Pacific region and around the world and we are enthusiastic with the perspective of providing a first-hand update about the significant developments in our city since we last met in Macao for the PATA Travel Mart 2010 and in 2005 for the PATA Annual Conference.”

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MOT advisory body to boost MICE and adventure tourism

In an attempt to harness the potential and give due focus to MICE tourism, the Ministry of Tourism will soon appoint an advisory body exclusively for MICE which will be headed by the Secretary Tourism as Chairman. A task force for adventure tourism will also be constituted with Secretary Tourism as Chairman in order to take immediate steps to boost niche tourism products in India. This was informed by Vinod Zutshi, Tourism Secretary, Government of India, at the 9th Conventions India Conclave (CIC) organised by India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB). “We have decided that professional consultants will be taken on board in order to conduct proper study of the market and stakeholders of the industry and chart out a roadmap for the next 10 years which will give a proper direction and strategy in the long term and also define the roles and functions of the stakeholders in order to achieve the targeted goals.” said Zutshi. The advisory body will work in tandem with the private stakeholders, hoteliers, state governments and Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Chairman, India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB), explained that in order to make the MICE industry more competitive, GST rate for this industry has to be in the lower brackets as it is a very price sensitive market. Billa added, “The MICE industry has to lead from the front as the leisure segment alone cannot contribute to the long term goal of 2 per cent Indian share in global tourism numbers.” MoT is also working with the stakeholders in the industry to conduct the DRV Convention in September 2017, informed Zutshi.

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THAI Smile to launch new flights to four Indian cities

THAI Smile Airways has launched new flights to Gaya, Varanasi, Jaipur and Lucknow. The flights will gradually start operation from Bangkok to Gaya and Varanasi from October 1, Bangkok to Jaipur from November 15, and Bangkok to Lucknow from December 1, 2016. The airline has chosen Bird Group as its General Sales Agent (GSA) for the Indian market with immediate effect. The Bird Group will handle the airline’s sales development, bookings, and ticketing services within India as well as conduct direct marketing and service support to Indian travel agents. The new connections would bridge the demand of both Indians and Thais, who have been looking for seamless connections for religion, work and leisure purpose, in Thailand, India and onward destinations. Captain Woranate Laprabang, Acting Chief Executive Officer, THAI Smile Airways, said, “We consider these connecting flights as one of our strategic destinations in Indian region. THAI Smile Airways is undertaking an ambitious growth programme to develop network and ensure international connectivity. Moreover, we are committed to ensuring that our passengers have greater choice and opportunity to discover new destinations by flying with THAI Smile Airways.” He added, “THAI Smile Airways understands the immense need for passengers travelling among these 4 cities. A journey which can be covered in less than 4 hours can take up to 8 – 10 hours. We wish to make it more comfortable and affordable to Indian passengers.” “By appointing The Bird Group, THAI Smile Airways aims to generate awareness of its product and services in India by strengthening relations with existing travel partners and forging new strategic partnerships with specialized operators in a number of various segments,” said Captain Woranate. Gaurav Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Travels, …

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Tajik Air to fly twice a week starting November 1

Tajik Air announces that it will be flying twice a week from November 1 between Delhi and Dushanbe. Mirzosharif A. Jalolov, Ambassador of the Republic of Tajikistan said, “We used to have one flight from New Delhi to Dushanbe earlier. Starting from next month, we are starting a new flight which will operate every Tuesday between the two capitals. The flying time is 2 hours and 15 minutes which makes it a convenient destination for the Indians.”

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Vistara receives CAT III-B certification for low visibility operations

Vistara has received the Category III Bravo (CAT III-B) certification from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Permitting its CAT IIIB compliant fleet and crew to safely take-off and touch-down with a Runway Visibility Range (RVR) of as low as 75 meters, the approval is a milestone achievement as it is the highest level of low-visibility rating awarded in India currently. The certification will enable Vistara to safely operate under low visibility conditions due to fog or any other poor weather conditions, which is anticipated in north east and northern parts of the country, typically during year-end and the beginning of the year. Phee Teik Yeoh, CEO, Vistara said “Although a bad weather condition is beyond our control, we always endeavor to minimise the inconvenience faced by our customers during a flight delay or diversion arising from inclement weather. We value the trust and faith our customers repose in us when they make Vistara their choice of travel. We are therefore committed to offer a seamless flying experience to them – be it in terms of deploying the most advanced technologies and systems for our aircraft, adequately training our crew or providing a memorable on-board experience. I am proud of my team’s relentless efforts in the past months to secure the regulatory approval for Cat 3B well in time before the fog season sets in. This certification will allow us to provide a seamless flying experience to our valued customers.” Vistara’s current fleet of 13 brand new A320s come with the integrated CAT IIIB auto land system, and its crew is given rigorous training to ensure the safety of its customers and providing a world class travel experience. Vistara …

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Cox & Kings opens first forex store at Panjim, Goa

Cox & Kings opened its first dedicated foreign exchange branch at Panjim in Goa. The branch designed as a one-stop-shop for all foreign exchange requirements was inaugurated by Ravi Menon, Head, Foreign Exchange, Cox & Kings. The flagship store located at Magnum Centre, First Floor, Shop 20, MG Road, Panjim will offer a slew of products – buying and selling of all frequently traded foreign currencies, sell pre-paid cards, enable Money Transfer business where tourists can receive money from overseas, as well as provide domestic money transfer facilities.  Students who desire to travel overseas from Goa for further studies can avail Foreign Currency Draft and Outward Remittance facilities through this outlet. According to Menon, “Goa is a key market as it receives a large number of foreign tourists. Our bouquet of foreign exchange products and services are designed to cater to this segment. Our branch will cater to all the requirements which are allowed under Authorised Dealer CAT II activities.” It has been observed that foreign tourists need help to exchange and exhaust their money when on their holiday. Cox & Kings will cater to both these needs, where these guests can exchange their money as well as use the money transfer facility to receive money from overseas. In case foreign tourists need help with their domestic holiday they can approach this branch, which in turn will refer them to the nearest Cox & Kings store. According to data released by the department of tourism, government of Goa, in 2015, Goa received 5.40 lakh international tourists, an increase of 5 percent over 2014. This year the state is expected to attract even more tourists especially from traditional markets such as …

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116.9% growth in foreign arrivals on eTV in Sept

A total of 68,809 foreign tourists arrived in September 2016 on e-Tourist Visa (eTV) as compared to 31,729 during the month of September 2015 registering a growth of 116.9%. UK (15.5%) continues to occupy top slot followed by USA (12.4%) and China (9.0%) amongst countries availing e-tourist visa facility. During September 2016, a total of 68,809 foreign tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 31,729 during the month of September, 2015 registering a growth of 116.9%. During January-September 2016, a total of 6,75,302 tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 2,01,705 during January-September 2015, registering a growth of 234.8%. The percentage shares of top 10 source countries availing e-Tourist Visa facilities during September, 2016 were as follows: UK (15.5%), USA (12.4%), China (9.0%), Australia (6.0%), Germany (4.8%), France (4.3%), Spain (3.6%), Canada (3.1%), UAE (2.6%) and Malaysia (2.6%).The percentage shares of top 10 ports in tourist arrivals on e-Tourist Visa during September, 2016 were as follows: New Delhi Airport (51.71%), Mumbai Airport (21.06%), Bengaluru Airport (6.44%), Chennai Airport (6.27%), Kochi Airport (3.50%), Hyderabad Airport (2.45%), Kolkata Airport (2.34%),Trivandrum Airport (1.35%) , Amritsar Airport (1.18%) and Dabolim (Goa) Airport (1.11%). The facility of e-Tourist Visa has been made available by the Government of India to the citizens of 150 countries, arriving at 16 International Airports in India. The number of e-Tourist Visa availed by foreign tourists visiting India during the month of September, 2016 has registered a substantial growth rate over the corresponding month of 2015.

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