Tourism Breaking News

Maintain web parity to ensure level playing field for all: Jyoti Mayal

Opposing the move, Jyoti Mayal, Honorary Secretary General, TAAI, said, “We, as TAAI, are against the move that Jet Airways has slashed the one per cent commission for the agents effective January 1, 2018. Regarding the transaction fee, we are requesting them that they fix the rate of this transaction fee between 3.5-5 per cent for everyone and also maintain web parity so that there is a level playing field for everyone. We are meeting Jet Airways in a couple of days to take this further and also discuss procedural changes related to the same and are hopeful that Jet airways will understand our thought process and support our fraternity.”

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Airlines directly approaching customers, ignoring agents: Chitra Bhatia

Slamming Jet Airways’ move to scrap agents’ commission, Chitra Bhatia, Gen. Secretary, OTOAI, said, “I don’t think one per cent commission for agents was a big deal for the airline. Airlines need to continue the commission and partner with travel agents. Commission is a bond between the agent and the airline which should not be discontinued. Airlines are now going directly to the customer, and ignoring the agents in between. However, it is important for both the parties to work together.”

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Jet Airways scraps agents’ commission

Jet Airways is the latest airline to do away with the basic commission for IATA travel agents. The airline has sent official communication to travel agents across the country that they will not be paying them one per cent basic commission from January 1, 2018. The move comes in line with many international airlines also adopting the same route. Confirming the news, a senior airline official said that while the commission will not be there, agents can levy transaction fee of up to 3.5 per cent of the basic fare. They can also include fuel surcharge component in tickets. However, the news has aggrieved the agents, who believe that the move is not fair and the airline needs to relook at its decision.

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Scotland records 8% growth in Indian arrivals in 2017

In line with the rapid growth in interest for Scotland among Indian travellers, the destination has recorded an average growth of 37 per cent over three years in trips taken by Indian travellers to Scotland, informed Kirsten Spence, Senior Market Manager—Emerging Markets, VisitScotland during the tourism board’s Delhi roadshow in partnership with Etihad Airways. In 2017 alone, the destination witnessed 8 per cent YOY growth with approximately over 40,000 Indian tourists. “These figures are conservative as they are calculated based on arrivals via airports and we know the actual number is much higher as the travellers also come to Scotland through rail or drive themselves,” says Spence. She adds that VisitScotland will conduct its B2B roadshow in Bengaluru on December 11 and in Mumbai on December 13 following the one in Delhi to meet the travel trade from these cities.

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UP to host International Conclave in Lucknow from Feb 20, 2018

With an aim to promote the tourism avenues of Uttar Pradesh in the world, Government of Uttar Pradesh is set to organise International Conclave from February 20-22, 2018 in Lucknow. A meeting of stakeholders chaired by Akhand Pratap Singh, IAS, Special Secretary, Department of Tourism, Govt of UP & Managing Director, UP State Tourism Development Corporation Limited was held on November 29 at Paryatan Bhawan, Lucknow. Surendra Kumar Jaiswal, President, Uttar Pradesh Hotel & Restaurant Association (UPHRA) who is also Hony. Secretary of FHRAI and HRANI along with fellow hoteliers and stakeholders attended the meeting to discuss the roadmap of the event.

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Travelport partners with Indonesia on digital marketing campaign

Travelport and the Republic of Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism have announced a new global digital marketing campaign to increase tourism to the world’s largest archipelago. The campaign, which is part of the Ministry’s ‘Wonderful Indonesia’ international tourism marketing strategy, will deliver tailored online messaging to targeted travel agents in 15 countries around the world using Travelport’s advanced Destination Marketing technology. “Indonesia is one of the world’s most beautiful countries, full of fascinating sights and tastes that we want to share with the world.” said I Gde Pitana, Deputy Minister for International Marketing and Communication, for the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism. The Ministry of Tourism believes the campaign will help increase tourism from the record setting 15-plus million tourists expected in 2017 by driving incremental tourist arrivals into Indonesia. Niklas Andreen, Vice President and Managing Director, Global Hospitality and Digital, Travelport, added, “It is a great honour to work with the Ministry of Tourism on this campaign to increase tourism to the country. With access to more than 68,000 Travelport travel agents around the world, our destination marketing solution continues to deliver exceptional value to customers.”

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MOT to close 7 foreign offices, new office at Moscow on the cards

The Ministry of Tourism has decided to close its foreign offices at Los Angeles, Toronto, Sydney, Amsterdam, Paris, Milan and Johannesburg. Alphons Kannanthanam, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, confirmed the news saying that they will be closing a few international offices in the near future. According to an official release from the MOT, the ministry will open a new office at Moscow. Thus, the Ministry of Tourism will now have offices at New York, Dubai, Frankfurt, Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, Singapore and London.

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VFS to continue visa processing for Norway

The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has awarded VFS Global an extension to its global contract for visa processing services in four regions – Asia and Oceania, Europe and Russia, Middle East and Africa, and the Americas. VFS Global currently operates 101 Visa Application Centres across 39 countries for Norway. VFS processes approximately 260,000 Norway visa applications globally each year and travellers from China, Russia, Thailand and India account for most of the inbound traffic into Norway. Chris Dix, Head – Business Development, VFS Global, remarked, “We are delighted to continue our partnership with the Norwegian government. This is not only commercially important for VFS Global, but also in demonstrating the Norwegian government’s trust in VFS, further reinforcing our company’s position as the leading  visa services partner to Schengen member states and to 57 client governments worldwide.” The Royal Norwegian Government reported the country’s tourism industry had another record year in 2016, following strong growth in the number of visitors in 2015. Figures compiled by Statistics Norway show average annual growth in the number of foreign visitors to Norway has exceeded the international average since 2010.

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Bahrain Tourism conducts first roadshow in Mumbai

Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority hosted its first roadshow in India in Mumbai at the St Regis Hotel. Around 18 delegates including Bahrain Tourism officials, Bahrain’s leading hotels and destination management companies participated at the event. Yousef Mohammed AlKhan, Director of Tourism Marketing & Promotion, Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority said, “We are here in India to showcase Bahrain offerings in Mumbai and Delhi to tour operators and travel industry. We have had got good growth from the India market this year. We have been witnessing an increase in tourist numbers from India as compared to last year. We are also working closely with Gulf Air to increase the numbers from India. 2018 will be a crucial year for us as we are extremely focused on the Indian market now.” Currently, Bahrain Tourism is looking to tap cities where they have direct flights after which they will focus on other Indian cities. The destination also showcased new products at the roadshow like pro diving and water sports activities, adrenaline sports like indoor skydiving, cultural and historical offerings for Indian tourists.

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Ethiopian Airlines’ mobile application goes live

Ethiopian Airlines and SKYTRAX certified Four Star Global Airline has launched a brand new mobile application, which encompasses mobile features to enhance customers’ travel experience with simplified options for flight booking and management. Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO, Ethiopian Airlines, remarks, “In the age of “the internet of things” and Artificial Intelligence, I am happy that our ‘mobility’ project is fast advancing which enabled us to announce to our esteemed customers that Ethiopian Mobile Application has gone live. The application is a critical piece of our overall strategy to bring our customers’ travel experience to another level by leveraging on information and communication technology. With this new application, customers will be able to use their mobile devices to book their flights, do their flight check-in, issue their boarding pass and self-board their flights, check the status of flight, get actual arrival and departure times of ET flights and remain informed throughout their journey in real-time.” Ethiopian customers will enjoy 10 per cent discount on all bookings made through the new mobile app.

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