Tourism Breaking News

Medical and Wellness Policy to be launched on June 21

The country’s first Medical and Wellness Policy will be launched on June 21, 2017, announced Dr Mahesh Sharma, Union Minister – Tourism and Culture, Govt. of India at a press conference in New Delhi. The policy will be instrumental in streamlining the process for making India a preferred medical and wellness destination, owing to its affordability and quality of services. The Board had recently held its second meeting with various stakeholders to discuss the framework of the policy. As many as 201,333 foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in India on Medical Visa were recorded in 2016, while there were 1,34,344 FTAs in 2015 and 75,688 FTAs in 2014.

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IATO opposes transport tax in Haryana

Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, has said that the members of IATO are unhappy with the transport tax hike by the Transport Department of Haryana Government in the state. Addressing the monthly luncheon meeting of IATO, he said, “The transport tax in Haryana has been increased by 1700% from April 1, 2017. He said that while the government has increased this tax after four years, but such a steep hike is unacceptable. We will be meeting the Haryana Chief Minister as well as the Union Finance Minister to request them to implement any increase gradually.” Starting April 1, commercial vehicles entering Haryana would have to pay Rs. 3000.

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Korean Air is set to bring more Indian travellers to US West Coast

Starting in April, Korean Air will increase its flight frequency between Incheon and major US cities on the West Coast during summer schedule, strengthening its routes to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. Taking advantage of Korean Air’s newly launched direct flight to Delhi, together with its Mumbai flights, Indian customers can now enjoy widened flight options for traveling to the West Coast, transiting seamlessly at the airline’s world-class hub at Incheon. Korean Air representative for India said, “We are very positive about the expanding traveller sector in India, and we see that our flights to Delhi, launched in December last year, and also flights to Mumbai are well-received by the Indians. Furthermore, according to Brand USA, it is expected that Indian visitors’ number to US will increase by 72 per cent between 2015 and 2021, therefore we are confident on the growth of this market, especially on routes between India and the US West Coast.” “With our strong connectivity with the West Coast, we are committed to deliver our true ‘Excellence in Flight’ to all Indian travellers, offering them the best travel experience during the long haul. We hope to offer them the utmost in comfort with our convenient flight schedules and premium in-flight services, supported by the state-of-the-art transit facilities at the Incheon International Airport – Korean Air’s hub airport and one of the world’s top airports,” said Korean Air. Observed an increase in demand, Korean Air will increase the frequency of its flights to between Incheon and San Francisco on a gradual basis, starting from April 28th. From late April, flights will be increased from seven to 12 per week, and from September, flights will be further …

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Emirates offers tablet loan service to US-bound First and Business Class customers

Emirates has introduced another service to mitigate the inconvenience of the recent ban on electronic devices on board US-bound flights. Beginning today, First and Business Class passengers will be able to borrow tablets on board Emirates’ US-bound flights allowing them to continue working during their flight. The new service is in response to the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) directive which requires all passengers travelling on non-stop flights to the US from Dubai to check-in their laptops, tablets, and other personal electronic devices larger than a smart phone. As part of this latest service, Emirates premium customers will have a Microsoft Surface tablets equipped with Microsoft Office 2016 available for loan on board. Customers can download their work on to a USB which can be brought on board and plugged into the devices to continue working seamlessly. The service is complimentary and will be available on all non-stop flights from Dubai to Emirates’ US destinations. For customers who prefer to stow away their personal devices, Emirates had introduced a laptop and tablet handling service for US-bound customers. This complimentary service has been made available to passengers in all cabin classes since March 25, 2017, which was when the new TSA rules took effect. This service allows customers to retain and utilise their personal devices until just before they board their US-bound flights. Passengers must then declare and hand over their laptops, tablets, and other banned electronic devices to security staff at the boarding gate, who will pack and tag each device to be stored in the aircraft hold and returned to the customer at their US destination.

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Crystal Sarovar Premiere Agra receives five star classification

Crystal Sarovar Premiere Agra has been certified as a 5-star hotel by the Ministry of Tourism. The 112 keys hotel has received the certification for a period of five years till the year 2022. Speaking on the recognition, Ajay K. Bakaya, Managing Director, Sarovar Hotels Pvt. Ltd., says, “This certification reinforces our strengthening position in the leisure markets. Agra holds a high significance in the tourism map and we are glad to be able to offer the best of our signature Sarovar hospitality in this city.” Commenting on this acknowledgment, Vivek Mahajan, General Manager, Crystal Sarovar Premiere Agra, says, “We are delighted to be certified with 5 – Star ratings for Crystal Sarovar Premiere. We have been delivering a premier full-service and upscale hotel experience to guests visiting one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Crystal Sarovar Premiere will continue to set new standards by offering unmatched hospitality services to the guest at attractive price points”.

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IndiGo to launch app for travel trade

IndiGo airlines is all set to launch a dedicated mobile app for the travel trade to make it easier for the trade to do bookings. During a presentation on IndiGo products at the IATO Luncheon on April 6, 2017, Ajay Wadhawan, Associate Vice President, Trade Sales, India, IndiGo, informed that after launching a user friendly application for its consumers, the airline would soon be launching a mobile application for the travel trade fraternity as well. PATA India is pleased to announce its Training program for its Members and their employees on 5th May, 2017. The program is titled “Win-Win Negotiations” and is a full day training program. This Training program will be conducted by Roshan Suhail, an accomplished Trainer, who had the honour of working with leading organizations like  ONGC, NTPC, BHEL, Dhanuka, Shriram Group, UFLEX, YKK, Ashok Leyland, INTEX, HERO Cycles, iEnergizer, Shree Cements, Reliance Securities, and many more. Suhail has also conducted programs for Govt. organizations and PSUs like Air India, Engineers India Ltd, FIEO, EPCH etc. While the venue will be communicate shortly, we request you to confirm your participation shortly, no later than 13th April 2017. The participation fee for the program is Rs. 3,000/- per participant. Organization registering six or more participant will enjoy the benefit of one free place.

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Jobs at risk as India’s alcohol sale ban harms tourism: WTTC

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has urged the Indian government to co-ordinate a countrywide response to the Supreme Court ruling, which has banned the sale of alcohol within close proximity of highways. David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC, said: “While we acknowledge the importance of implementing policies that address the abuse of alcohol when driving, we call on the Indian Government to reverse or amend the current ruling. I do not believe that this ban was aimed at the travel industry. It is an unbalanced approach that will have negative consequences for the country’s economy, as business and leisure customers cancel their bookings in those establishments affected. The impact of the ban on drunk driving is impossible to measure, as businesses beyond the stipulated 500 meters will still be allowed to sell alcohol. Businesses within the proposed banned distance, including many hotels, restaurants and bars that serve tourists, will lose customers and revenue. This not only means less income but also means that many people will lose their jobs as a direct result.” The unintended consequences of this ban are that it will have a significantly negative effect on hotels and restaurants in this zone, and will curtail future job creating investment in the industry. Scowsill continued: “Travel & Tourism is an extremely important income stream within the country, the sector contributed INR14.1 trillion (USD208.9 billion) or 9.6% of India’s GDP in 2016 and supported over 40.3 million jobs, which is 9.3% of total employment in the country. India’s Travel & Tourism sector is forecast to be the third fastest growing in terms of total GDP over the next decade. WTTC welcomes the commitment to this sector as …

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India tourism climbs 12 places up, ranks 40th from 52nd globally

India has moved 12 places up to 40th position from 52nd in Travel and Tourism Competitive Index (TTCI) of World Economic Forum. Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism & Culture, said, “We are pleased to announce that India’s tourism industry has moved up 12 places since 2015, and now occupies 40th rank globally while countries like Japan, China, US, and Switzerland have improved by less than five positions. The ranking is a witness to the several initiatives that have come into effect, such as the liberalisation of visa, formation of tourist helpline 1363, initiation of welcome kits, among many others. Demonetisation has not had much of an impact as we have observed a six-fold growth after it came into action.” He further elaborated that while tourism’s global growth has been 3.9 per cent in 2016, India alone recorded a 10.7 per cent growth, with a CAGR of about 8.4 per cent. The safety and security ranking has also increased by 15 points since the previous year.

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Ethiopian to launch A350 operation to Mumbai

Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it will launch Africa’s first Ethiopian Airbus A350 -900 XWB on the Addis Ababa-Mumbai route during the month of April 2017. Passengers on Ethiopian’s twice daily non-stop services between Mumbai to Addis Ababa, will be able to enjoy the extra features of this latest flying machine: amazing cabin interior features with the latest high-definition touch screen, personal monitors with a higher selection of movies, wider seats and windows, the lowest twin engine noise level, advanced air conditioning technology, full LED mood lighting, which  enhance comfort and reduce jet-lag after a long flight are few to mention. Tadesse Tilahun, Regional Director, Indian Sub-continent, remarked, “The A350 is a game changing fleet that has proven exceptional levels of luxury and reliability for a totally unique passenger experience. We are glad to be the first airline to serve our Indian customers with this latest aircraft from Mumbai. Currently, we are operating 28 weekly passenger flights to India’s major cities, Mumbai and Delhi. Moreover, to further strengthen the growing trade and commercial ties between the booming economies of India and Africa at large, we have started weekly freighter operation to Ahmedabad, our fifth cargo destination in India, since March 28. ” It is to be recalled that Ethiopian has been the first in Africa to own and operate the A350 in African skies. Among a total of 14 orders, Ethiopian currently has three of them in operation.

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IHG’s 202-room Holiday Inn Chennai opens doors

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced the opening of the Holiday Inn Chennai OMR IT Expressway. The 202-room hotel marks the fifth IHG Hotel in Chennai and the first Holiday Inn in the city. Strategically located in Chennai’s IT hub (also known as Old Mahabalipuram Road, OMR), and only 20 minutes from Chennai International Airport, the hotel aims to cater to corporate and MICE travellers as well as leisure travellers exploring Chennai. The hotel has 5,000 sq ft of flexible meeting space and a wide range of food and beverage outlets. The company also expressed that it is on track to having 150 hotels open or in our pipeline within the next 10-15 years. This growth will largely be driven by the Holiday Inn brand family with a distinct focus on Crowne Plaza and InterContinental Hotels and Resorts in key gateway cities. Most recently, IHG has signed three Holiday Inn Express hotels in India with existing owners. This includes the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in the Delhi & NCR area, Holiday Inn Express and Suites Gurgaon Sector 90 with Crowne PropBuild Pvt. Ltd. who currently own Crowne Plaza Rohini as well as Holiday Inn Express Kolkata Airport with DS group who currently own Crowne Plaza Jaipur Tonk Road with IHG. All the three Holiday Inn Express hotels are set to open in the next 2 to 3 years. Sudeep Jain, Vice President, Development, South West Asia, IHG said: “We are delighted to sign three new properties that expand our Holiday Inn brand family portfolio in India. Moreover, signing these properties with existing owners is indicative of IHG’s strength in building strategic partnerships and the growing recognition of the Holiday Inn …

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