Tourism Breaking News

India and Maldives to liberalise visa norms from March 11, 2019

India and Maldives exchanged diplomatic notes for the implementation of the visa facilitation agreement with an aim to boost people-to-people ties between the two countries. The agreement provides a very liberal visa regime for Maldivian nationals to visit India for tourism, business, education and medical purposes. It will be effective from March 11 after all formalities including information being provided to all immigration offices, border points and customs authorities have been completed. The agreement was signed during Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih’s visit to India on December 17 last year. The exchange of diplomatic notes follows the signature of the agreement by President Ram Nath Kovind after the Union Cabinet had given its approval, read a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Relations between New Delhi and Male came under strain during former President Abdulla Yameen’s five-year rule, which saw him cosying up with China for various development projects, cracking down on dissent and imposing a state of emergency by jailing opposition leaders. Moreover, there were several diplomatic issues under the Yameen government with many Indian nationals being reportedly denied visas. Solih’s surprise victory in the Maldives presidential elections in last September came as a major diplomatic victory for India, after New Delhi repeatedly warned the Yameen government to respect democratic institutions and free the jailed opposition leaders.    

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Metro cities to have multiple airports: MoCA

Jayant Sinha, Minister of State, Civil Aviation, revealed that Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi will add a fourth runway along with two more passenger terminals. Apart from that, Hindon Airport, which is on the outskirts of Delhi, will be operational by March. He further revealed that Jewar airport will be another airport near Delhi that will be operational by 2022. In fact, with the speed of work going on at Navi Mumbai airport, it is likely to be operational from 2022 too. Bengaluru airport will also be adding a second runway and a second terminal. A new terminal has been commissioned in Chennai too, he shared.

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CAPA India Aviation Summit discusses opportunities and challenges of Indian aviation market

CAPA India Aviation Summit, underway in Delhi, saw in presence stalwarts of the aviation industry, including airline heads, airport representatives and stakeholders from around the world. Peter Harbison, Executive Chairman, CAPA – Centre for Aviation, welcomed the delegates and said, “The Indian aviation market has a huge potential and is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world. However, there are a few challenges which need to be taken care of. We hope the summit puts across facts and figures that the industry can use for its benefit. We saw a good attendance from major Indian aviation players at the summit and we hope the brainstorming on issues and trends will help the industry at large.”  

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Marriott International expands in Kerala with Four Points by Sheraton Kochi Infopark

Marriott International has opened Four Points by Sheraton Kochi Infopark, expanding the brand into Kerala. The addition of this property strengthens the Four Points brand presence in India to 12 hotels across key gateway cities and upcoming destinations across the country. Nestled in one of Kochi’s largest IT hubs and located within close proximity to several corporate parks, Four Points by Sheraton Kochi Infopark is the ideal destination for any business traveller, while being accessible to nearby attractions as well for those spending a leisure holiday in Kochi. 218 spacious and well-appointed guestrooms including 23 suites reflect the brand’s promise of integrating timeless classics with modern details. Commenting on the launch, Neeraj Govil, Area Vice President—South Asia, Marriott International said, “We are delighted to announce the opening of Four Points by Sheraton Kochi Infopark. Business travellers to Kochi are assured of a seamless stay, the hotel’s spaces and facilities are smart and flexible, ensuring every aspect of the guest experience reflects the brand’s emphasis on uncomplicated comfort and simple sophistication.” Dining options include The Eatery, the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant with an international spread, local specialties and an enticing dessert selection. All Spice is a casual destination to unwind and escape the nuances of the everyday life and indulge in coastal delicacies from Maharashtra, Goa, Karwar and Kerala. Deli is the Grab and Go – pastry and confectionery shop, along with Caper the high-energy lounge bar. “Thoughtfully designed to meet the needs of today’s traveller, our hotel has immense opportunity to deliver an unparalleled guest experience backed by comfort, great service and the amenities they need to stay productive on the road,” said Dinesh Rai, General Manager, Four Points by Sheraton …

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Boeing appoints Salil Gupte as India head, effective March 18, 2019

Boeing has named Salil Gupte as its India head, effective March 18, 2019. Gupte succeeds Prat Kumar, who was appointed Vice President and Program Manager of Boeing’s F-15 fighter aircraft programme in November last year.  He will be based in New Delhi and report to Marc Allen, President of Boeing International. Gupte will join as President of Boeing India from the aircraft maker’s wholly-owned subsidiary Boeing Capital Corporation, where he served as Vice President. In his new position, Gupte will advance the development and execution of Boeing’s strategy in India, integrate business activities across company’s commercial airplanes, Boeing defence, space and security, its global services, and lead the growth and productivity initiatives in India. He will also manage Boeing’s partnerships with the government and business stakeholders with a team of over 3,000 employees and joint venture personnel located across the country. His leadership will extend to cover Boeing’s large supply chain presence in India, its engineering and technology centre in Bengaluru, and Boeing joint venture with Tata in Hyderabad. “I’m thrilled to be joining my colleagues at Boeing India during such an exciting time, when the business is growing exponentially and we are building the future of global aircraft manufacturing, services, supply chain, engineering, technology and innovation, right here in India,” Gupte said. Besides Boeing, he has also worked with Citigroup and Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the aviation and infrastructure sectors. Source: PTI

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11 MoUs signed under ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’ till date: KJ Alphons

Under the ‘Apni Dharohar-Apni Pehchaan’ Adopt a Heritage Project, the Monument Mitras are responsible for operation, maintenance and development of tourist amenities, in the non-core areas of the monument. At present, 11 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU’s) have been signed with the Monument Mitras. The prospective Monument Mitras are free to select a monument/heritage/tourist site of their interest under the ‘Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan – Adopt a Heritage’ project. The conservation of heritage/ancient buildings/monuments does not come under the ‘Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan – Adopt a Heritage’ project of the Ministry of Tourism. Hence, there is no pre-requisite for prospective Monument Mitras to partner with conservation experts.

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India becomes fastest growing domestic aviation market 4th year in a row: IATA

The domestic aviation market in India has registered the fastest growth for the fourth year in a row in 2018, according to a recent report by International Air Transport Association (IATA). The year-end aviation data analysis by IATA revealed, “The India domestic market recorded the fastest full-year domestic growth rate for the fourth year in a row (18.6 per cent), followed by China (11.7 per cent).” In fact, India recorded its 50th consecutive month of double-digit annual growth in October. Other than India and China, Russia (9 per cent), USA (5.1 per cent) and Brazil (4.8 per cent) were among the top five fastest growing domestic air travel markets. According to the IATA report, globally, revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose by 6.5 per cent in 2018, slower than the 8 per cent growth registered in 2017.  

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Tourism Minister lays foundation stone for Spiritual Circuit in Kerala

Union Minister of State for Tourism, Alphons Kannanthanam laid the foundation stone for a spiritual circuit connecting Sivagiri Sree Narayana Guru Ashram, Arruvipuram, Kunnumpara Sree Subrahmania Swamy temple and Chembazhanthi Sree Narayana Gurukulam, at a function held at Sivagiri Mutt, Varkala near Thiruvananthapuram. The circuit will have facilities like a craft bazaar, bus shelters and an audio-video virtual reality show. Speaking on the occasion, Alphons said that the Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned seven projects to Kerala under the Swadesh Darshan and Prashad schemes at an approximate amount of Rs 550 crore. He further said that Kerala’s future lies in exploring the possibilities in tourism sector. The project was sanctioned in January 2019 for Rs 69.47 crore.

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MakeMyTrip expects 70% of its revenue from hotels, accommodations by 2022

MakeMyTrip said it is looking at the hotels and accommodations segment to contribute around 70 per cent to its overall revenue by the end of 2022. Currently, hotels and accommodations account for around 54 per cent of the company’s total revenue. “By the end of 2022, 70 per cent of our revenue will come from the hotels and accommodations segment,” Deep Kalra, Founder and Group CEO, MakeMyTrip. Currently, around 33 per cent of revenue comes from air travel and the rest is roughly from redBus, travel insurance and experiences, he added. “Going forward, the hotels and accommodations will contribute a bigger share of revenue, as there is still a lot of headroom in hotels. Still, only around 15 per cent of hotels are booked online, so there is a big market to be tapped,” Kalra said. On the trend of more Indians opting for overseas travel, he said, “The focus area for us and where Indians are going right now is overseas. Middle class has the money and is travelling overseas as it is aspirational.” The growth in international travel will be higher and it will grow faster than the domestic segment, he added. The company has recently posted its third-quarter results with a growth of over 30 per cent. When asked about the growth road map, Kalra said, “We are looking to moving on to twin path of growth and at the same time of reduction of losses.” He, however, did not provide any future guidance on growth numbers. Source: PTI

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Jewar Noida International Airport to begin operations in 2022

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to inaugurate the Jewar Noida International Airport (JNIA), also known as the New Greater Delhi Airport redevelopment project between February 23-25, 2019 by laying a foundation stone for the USD 3.1 billion project, which will be the largest airport in India by surface area. JNIA, set to become operational in 2022, will provide the National Capital Region with a second facility after Indira Gandhi International Airport. The GMR Group holds first right of refusal for any new airport in Delhi and in February 2018, GMR Infrastructure’s director K Narayan Rao confirmed GMR’s plans to participate in the project. Rao said that a coordination committee should be established with representatives of the Union Government, Uttar Pradesh State Government and private sector to oversee the project and avoid delays. He also called for the development of metro rail connectivity to the planned airport.

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