Tourism Breaking News

Excess baggage on domestic flights to cost more

Airlines are expected to hike their baggage charges as Delhi High Court has struck down the June 10, 2016 circular of Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that capped charges for excess checked-in baggage at Rs 100 per kg for 15-20 kg on private flights. Airlines were earlier free to charge any amount as excess baggage charge beyond 20 kg but can now do so beyond 15 kg itself. SpiceJet has hiked its excess baggage pre-booking charges for domestic flyers with immediate effect. While passengers can check-in up to 15 kg without any extra charge, the airline will now charge Rs 1,425 for checking in anything between 15-20 kg, up from Rs 500 earlier. Similarly, SpiceJet’s pre-booking charges for the next slab of 20-30 kg is now Rs 2,850, up from Rs 2,000 earlier. The charges for the next slabs—30-45 kg, 45-65 kg and 65-95 kg—are now Rs 4,275, Rs 5,700 and Rs 8,550 respectively. The old charges used to be Rs 3,500, Rs 4,667 and Rs 8,000, respectively. SpiceJet passengers who do not pre-book excess baggage will have to pay Rs 300 per kg for beyond the allowed 15kg limit at airport counters. However, in Air India, economy class domestic flyers can check in up to 25 kg without any charge. “We welcome this change proposed by the Delhi High Court on the excess baggage fees. We will however evaluate this internally and see how this can be beneficial to both the guests as well as the airline, as we continue our endeavor to make flying affordable for all,” AirAsia India reportedly said in a statement. Source: Times of India

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Upgraded passenger terminal at Jammu Airport inaugurated

The upgraded passenger terminal building of Jammu Airport was inaugurated by Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir and P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Union Minister for Civil Aviation. Jammu Airport belongs to the Indian Air Force, Ministry of Defence and AAI maintains a Civil Enclave for civil aircraft operations. During the year 2016-17, passenger traffic movement at Jammu Airport reached 1.16 million and the passenger growth rate has touched 29 per cent in the first quarter of 2017-18. To cope with the increasing passenger growth and demand, expansion and upgradation of existing Terminal Building of Jammu Airport has been completed. The area of the terminal building is expanded from 6700 sq. mtrs. to 14,500 sq. mtrs. with an upgraded peak hour handling capacity of 720 passengers at a time, an increase from the existing 360 peak hour passengers. Also present at the occasion was Jayant Sinha, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation; Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region, PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space; Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh, Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir; Kavinder Gupta, Speaker of J&K Legislative Assembly; Shri Jugal Kishore Sharma, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and Shri Shamsher Singh Manhas, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) along with Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman, Airports Authority of India. The upgraded passenger Terminal Building of Jammu Airport is a glass and steel structure and is equipped with Passenger facilities and amenities like CUTE-complied Check-in Counters, Common Use Self-Service (CUSS) kiosk for check-in, central air-conditioning, two arrival conveyer belts, escalators and glass elevators, flight information display system, pa system with comfortable seating capacity.

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CWT names Bindu Bhatia as new Managing Director, Asia Pacific

Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the global travel management company, has announced Bindu Bhatia as its the new Managing Director, Asia Pacific, effective September 1. Bhatia succeeds Kai Chan, who will be leaving the company on August 31 after making significant contributions during her five-year tenure. “Asia Pacific is the world’s fastest-growing market for corporate travel – there are huge opportunities here,” said Kurt Ekert, CEO, Carlson Wagonlit Travel. “Bindu is perfect for her new role: with her proven entrepreneurial skills, commercial savvy, and deep understanding of the global travel market, she will hit the ground running.” Bindu Bhatia has been with the company for more than 20 years in a number of key roles, most recently serving as Senior Vice President, Global Program Management, where she has looked after CWT’s biggest global clients. Bindu has extensive leadership experience in strategic client management, operations, people management, and business development. Reporting to Kelly Kuhn, Chief Customer Officer, she will soon will be relocating to CWT’s Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore, where she will have responsibility for approximately 3,000 people across nine countries. Ann Marie Stone will be taking over Bindu’s current role, also effective 1 September, reporting to Cathy Voss, Executive Vice President, Global Program Solutions. Ann Marie has been with the company since 2000, most recently serving as Vice President, Global Program Management.

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Bleisure gaining popularity: FCM

‘Bleisure’ – the blend of business and leisure travel – is rising in popularity, with growing uptake among urban Indians, says FCM Travel Solutions’ latest findings of their global survey on Bleisure Travel. The report titled ‘Bleisure Report, India’ reveals that an increasing number of professionals in India are now extending their business trips for leisure, increasingly blurring the lines between business and leisure travel. Bleisure travel has recently become an unconventional employee perk in India with 65.5 per cent of respondents saying their employer allowed them to add leisure travel onto business trips. While Bleisure becomes a mainstream trend in the rest of the world, 27.6 per cent of Indian respondents say that their companies do not permit them to combine personal travel with their business trips, which is the highest among all countries. Speaking on the findings, Rakshit Desai, Managing Director, FCM Travel Solutions, Indian subsidiary of FCTG, Australia said, “Business travel has always been restricted and policy driven. While leisure travel, particularly outbound, has been niche with very low penetration. However, the survey has unlocked a remarkable trend called Bleisure. It is interesting to note that the lines between corporate and leisure travel are increasingly blurring. It would have looked very different, had we looked at this picture three or five years ago. There has been a significant change in the behaviour of corporate travel, since then.” Surveyed millennials (25-34 years old) had the highest appreciation for bleisure travel. They were also the most likely group to extend a business trip with colleagues (25 per cent), while 50 per cent of the respondents in age group of 50, would use the opportunity to travel with a family …

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Uzbekistan Airways woos Mumbai travel trade

Uzbekistan Airways recently organised an event in Mumbai to promote tourism to Uzbekistan from India. There are currently six flights to Uzbekistan, Tashkent from New Delhi. The event titled ‘Visit Uzbekistan’ was chaired by Atabek Atabaev, Country Manager of Uzbekistan Airways. Also present were Vijay. G. Kalantri, Honorary Consul General of Uzbekistan in Mumbai, Anish Arya, Passenger Sales Agency, Aero World Travels, Tolik Odilov, Managing Director, STG Travels, and Sachin Shinde, Manager-Cargo Sales, Uzbekistan.

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Air India launches Delhi-Stockholm flight

Air India has launched its first non-stop flight, the Dreamliner B-787, to Stockholm, Sweden, from Delhi. The inaugural flight had an all-female crew on board. The Dreamliner will fly thrice a week, every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and leave Delhi at 14.50 hours and reach Stockholm at 18.40. The return flight will leave Stockholm at 20:40 hours and reach Delhi at 07:20 hours next day. According to an official statement, with an increase of passenger volume between India and Sweden by 50 per cent in three years, the direct flight is likely to further bolster the growing relationship between India and Sweden. The launch event on August 16, included lighting of lamp, cake and ribbon cutting ceremonies, was held at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi in the presence of Air India Chairman Ashwani Lohani and Chargé d’Affaires of Embassy of Sweden Gautam Bhattacharyya. The flying time of passengers will be reduced by at least 2 hours. Ashwani Lohani, Chairman, Air India said, “We are confident that Air India’s first foray to Scandinavia would add new dimensions to trade, commerce and tourism between the two countries – India & Sweden.”

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MTDC unveils new logo

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has taken steps to rebrand tourism in Maharashtra with the launch of its new logo “म” for the Visit Maharashtra Campaign. The logo was unveiled by Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, in the presence of Jaykumar Jitendrasinh Rawal, Minister of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra. Fadnavis said, “We are very happy to announce the launch of the new logo “म” Visit Maharashtra to promote the state tourism prospects worldwide. Maharashtra has an incredible potential to become the most preferred destinations for both domestic and international tourists. We are planning to organise ‘Mumbai Mela’ from December 21 to January 8, 2018, to engage with domestic and international tourists. ‘Mumbai Mela’ will offer a huge platform to various segments to explore their offerings to the tourists. I believe, this new logo of Visit Maharashtra Campaign will push Maharashtra on the global map and create Brand Maharashtra as a popular tourist destination.”

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ITDC exits from Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok

Indian Tourism Development Corporation’s (ITDC’s) Hotel Brahmaputra, formerly known as Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok, is reportedly all set to close its operations from September 1 this year, according to Assam Tourism Development Corporation Limited (ATDCL). ATDCL has announced in a notification that all pre closure business deals pertaining to Hotel Brahmaputra will be handled by them. ITDC has already exited from Hotel Lake View Ashok, Bhopal; Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok, Guwahati, and Hotel Bharatpur Ashok, Bharatpur, as part of its disinvestment strategy. The disinvestment decision was reportedly taken at the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) meeting  chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May this year. (Source: Economic Times)    

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Tourism Australia hosts its India Travel Mission 2017 in Pune

The 15th edition of the India Travel Mission (ITM) by Tourism Australia started today in Pune. The four-day event will take place from August 16-19 at JW Marriott Pune. This year’s ITM witnessed 84 sellers including 14 new sellers and 110 buyers. Tourism Australia plans to target three lakh Indian tourist arrivals this year. India currently is at 9th position in terms of passenger arrivals and 8th in terms of market spend.

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73.3% growth in FTAs on eTV in July 2017 over July 2016

The number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in July 2017 were 7.88 lakh as compared to FTAs of 7.34 lakh in July 2016 and 6.28 lakh in July 2015. The growth rate in FTAs in July 2017 over July 2016 is 7.4 per cent compared to 16.8% in July 2016 over July, 2015. During July 2017 total of 1.19 lakh tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 0.68 lakh during the month of July 2016 registering a growth of 73.3%. During January-July 2017, a total of 8.36 lakh tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 5.40 lakh during January-July 2016, registering a growth of 54.7%. FTAs during the period January- July 2017 were 56.74 lakh with a growth of 15.7%, as compared to the FTAs of 49.03 lakh with a growth of 9.6% in January-July 2016 over January-July 2015. The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during July 2017 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (20.12%) followed by USA (16.26%), UK (10.88%), France (3.01%), Malaysia (2.81%), Canada (2.66%), Sri Lanka (2.56%), China (2.32%), Oman (2.27%), Germany (2.21%), Australia (2.17%), Japan (2.10%), Nepal (1.84%), UAE (1.82%) and Singapore (1.69%). The percentage shares of top 15 source countries availing e- Tourist Visa facilities during July, 2017 were as follows: UK (12.9%), USA (12.0%), UAE (7.2%), France (6.4%), Oman (6.1%), China (5.4%), Spain (4.3%), Korea (Rep.of) (3.9%), Germany (3.1%), Australia (3.1%), Canada (3.1%), Italy (2.4%), Singapore (2.3%), Netherlands (2.2%) and Thailand (1.8%).

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