Tourism Breaking News

IndiGo adds 3 international flights from Mumbai

Effective June 05, IndiGo will fly daily non-stop from Mumbai to both Jeddah and Abu Dhabi. Effective July 05, the airline will connect Mumbai with Dammam through daily direct flights (Subject to regulatory approvals). Additionally, IndiGo is temporarily adding approximately 20 new departures each from Mumbai and Delhi in a phased manner from April 15, 2019. This is an effort to make it easier for customers to find affordable fares during the busy season. William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We are strengthening Mumbai as a key travel hub for domestic and international connectivity from India. We are pleased to announce Jeddah and Dammam as our 17th and 18th international destinations effective June 05, 2019 and July 05, 2019 respectively. Jeddah being the commercial capital and the gateway for Haj, Dammam being the growth centre in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi being a major cultural and commercial centre in UAE, are critical markets for strengthening our presence in the Middle-East. Mumbai is the commercial hub of India and we see great potential connecting the Middle-East with this city, further bolstering the extensive cultural, business and tourism links between India and the Middle East. With the addition of these new international flights and enhanced domestic frequency, we are committed to expanding our network to meet the requirements of both business and leisure travellers. It is our constant endeavour to provide flexibility of choice to our customers as IndiGo continues to offer on-time, affordable, courteous and hassle-free flying experience consistently.”

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The Fern opens in Manali in Himachal and Polo Forest in Gujarat

The Fern Hotels & Resorts has opened two hotels- The Fern Residency, Manali (Himachal Pradesh) and The Fern Sattva Resort, Polo Forest (Gujarat), thereby taking the tally to 58 hotels managed by the company. Commenting on the opening of both the hotels, the COO of the hotel, Suhail Kannampilly said, “The people visiting Manali and Polo Forest can now enjoy our eco friendly hospitality. Manali hotel is the second hotel which we are managing in HP. In Gujarat we are now at 15 locations”. The Fern Residency, Manali is a 37 room property situated in the picturesque hill state of Himachal Pradesh. Nestled far away from the hustle and bustle of the cityscape, the hotel is enveloped by a panoramic view of the magnificent Kullu Valley dotted with spectacular streams, apple orchards and rugged snow peaked mountains. The Fern Sattva Resort, Polo Forest (Gujarat) is a 30 room resort located in Abhapur Village, Taluka Vijaynagar of Gujarat and is two and half hours drive from Ahmedabad. Surrounded by the lush green forests at one side and the gentle flowing Harnav River on the other, the resort is a perfect place to unwind and chill. The hotel has three different room categories Winter Green Cottage, Fern Club Villa and Hazel Suite.

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ATF should be brought under GST: Suresh Prabhu

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu is of the view that Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) should be brought under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime to ensure a level playing field for the domestic airline industry. He says, “Each state has a different tax. Due to this, the refuelling (for airlines) cost completely changes. We feel that it should be done. I hope the GST Council takes a call on that and we are pursuing this with the council continuously. “He said input costs should be competitive for any sector and the ministry has been of the strong view that the fuel should be brought under the GST regime.” (Source: PTI)

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Ark Travels sets target of 100,000 cruise pax from India on Dream Cruises

Ark Travels has set its target of touching the 100,000-passenger mark by 2020 end. Ark Travels concluded 2018 with 58,000 pax on Dream Cruises. This was announced by Kishan Biyani, Managing Director, Ark Travels at the recently-concluded fourth edition of ‘Big Bang Nautical Fiesta’. It is the biggest cruising event organised by Ark Travels which was held this year from March 3-6, 2019 on-board Genting Dream for the first time ex-Singapore. Organised in alliance with Genting Cruise Lines’ Dream Cruises, Ark Travels promoted the three-night sailing from Singapore (Marina Bay Cruise Centre) to destinations line Penang and Langkawi and hosted 400 travel agents from across India. Biyani adds, “The Big Bang Nautical Fiesta cruising event was planned to educate our travel agents by giving them the first-hand experience while on the cruise ship. The event was to highlight how different experiences like Neon Party, Live Band Performance, Gala Nights can be created to attract different segments of travellers like FITs, MICE and Weddings groups. With all the education program and guided ship tour conducted on board the vessel we are more than sure that this FAM trip will help our travel community to further understand the nitty-gritties of selling cruise vacations to the Indian travellers. Cruise tourism in India is undergoing a phenomenal change with minimum of 15 per cent growth year-on-year. Going forward we aim to reach the golden mark of 100,000 passengers by 2020 end. New cruise ships and itineraries coming in Asia Pacific sectors like Explorer Dream by Genting Cruise Lines will create further opportunities for the trade. Our aim is to host 500+ travel agents on Explorer Dream in 2021 with Alaskan itineraries.” Naresh Rawal, Vice-President, …

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High air fares to weigh heavy on passenger traffic growth

Expensive air fares as a result of capacity constraint and high fuel prices are expected to further decelerate India’s passenger growth numbers, experts opined. As per the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) data, on a YoY basis, growth rate in February stood at 5.62 per cent to 1.13 crore, while it was 9.10 per cent in January and 11.03 per cent in December 2018. Even though, there has been a growth in passenger numbers on a year-on-year (YoY) basis, the traffic on a sequential level has shown a negative trend. Even data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed a similar trend. The growth rate of India’s domestic air passenger volume — measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) — slowed in February to 10 per cent from a rise of 12.4 per cent in January. Industry observers blamed the downward sequential growth trend on high air fares. According to experts, since March 14, passengers had to shell out high fares as several airlines cancelled operations for a number of reasons, including grounding of Boeing 737-MAX aircraft. During this period, some sectors continued to see a rise of more than 100 per cent in case of last minute bookings. “Indian aviation has seen a capacity constraint due to multiple reasons over last couple of months. The immediate impact of this reduction noted on fares was an average of 15-20 per cent hike in price,” said Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C) of Yatra.com. “While that acted as a deterrent for people who were looking to book air tickets in short notice, however, the traffic was not seen to be affected as the fares did moderate for people booking in advance,” he …

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Aurora Expeditions appoints Mazda Travel as exclusive GSA in India

Aurora Expeditions appoints Mazda Travel its GSA in India. Aurora Expeditions is an Australian-owned polar voyaging company founded by renowned mountaineer and explorer, Greg Mortimer, and his wife Margaret. Over the past 27 years it has gained expertise in small-group, expedition-style travel to the polar regions and other equally wild and remote location in both hemispheres. With this new partnership, travellers from India will be able to book Aurora Expedition voyages through their local travel agent. Air services from India operating via Middle East and European cities, will makes both the Antarctica and the Arctic regions more accessible to the India consumer. Mernoz Shastri, Director, Mazda Travel, said, “Mazda Travel’s partnership with Aurora Expeditions will provide travellers in the region with a chance to experience something truly special – an expedition voyage to the Polar Regions. Our research shows travellers from India are looking for unique travel experiences to exceptional destinations, which each of Aurora’s voyages fulfils.” Craig Upshall, Europe, the Middle East and Africa – Sales Director, Aurora Expeditions, said, “Mazda Travel’s extensive experience, along with its superior customer service, makes it the perfect partner for Aurora Expeditions in this region. We look forward to bringing Aurora Expeditions unparalleled expertise and unmatched travel experience to guests from India.” Some of their voyages offer sea kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, camping on the ice, polar diving and snorkelling. Others offer skiing and snow-shoeing, mountaineering and trekking and even expert photographic tuition. Aurora Expeditions expert guides including naturalists, geologists, historians and polar specialists.

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SpiceJet to fly Mumbai-Bangkok direct from May 17

SpiceJet has announced a direct flight connecting Mumbai to Bangkok becoming the first Indian LCC to introduce a daily flight on the Mumbai-Bangkok-Mumbai route. The flight will commence from May 17. The budget carrier also introduced six additional domestic flights on the Mumbai-Kolkata-Mumbai (third frequency), Mumbai-Chennai-Mumbai (third) and Mumbai-Varanasi-Mumbai (second) route from April 18. SpiceJet will use its Boeing 737 NG aircraft on both the international as well as domestic routes. The Thai capital is SpiceJet’s second international destination after Dubai with a direct flight from Mumbai. The airline already operates non-stop flights from Bangkok to Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Delhi and Kolkata.

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IndiGo announces six new flights with four UDAN routes from June 22

IndiGo is has announced six new routes, out of which four will be serving Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) RCS scheme, starting June 22, 2019. The UDAN routes include Kolkata-Allahabad, Allahabad-Kolkata, Raipur-Allahabad, Allahabad-Raipur. On the other hand, the airline launched new flights between Kolkata, Allahabad, Raipur and Jabalpur, while developing regional hubs at Allahabad and Kolkata. The new routes will be serviced by an ATR aircraft. The new flights will boost IndiGo’s connectivity in the Tier II cities with fares starting from INR 1,999. William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to be able to fly on these RCS routes and enhance connectivity amongst the Tier II cities including Kolkata, Allahabad, Raipur and Jabalpur. Launching flights on these routes will enhance our point to point connectivity, enabling customers to save both time and money. IndiGo will continue to expand its network to meet the requirements of both business and leisure travellers. It is our constant endeavour to provide more flexibility of choice to our customers as IndiGo continues to offer them on-time, affordable, courteous and hassle-free flying experience always.”

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IAAI welcomes new Maharashtra committee members

The IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI) welcomed its new committee members for its Maharashtra chapter in Mumbai recently. The new team includes, Manish Synghal, Dimaz Aviation as President, Rajesh Acharya, Balaji Travels as Vice President, RT Iyer, Farsak Travels as Secretary, and Sarosh Parakh, Aero Agencies as Treasurer. The Managing Committee members include Arvind Tandon, Ark Travels, Rosita Haribal of Travel Forte, Neelu Bhat of Welcome Travels, Chetan Gandhi of Travel 360 Tours & Travels and Siddhartha Shah of Primark Travel House. Presided over by Biji Eapen, National President, IAAI, the team conducted its Annual General Meeting followed by a networking evening. Eapen said, “The previous Maharashtra Committee headed by Chetan Gandhi and Siddharth Shah couldn’t get enough time to actively take forward IAAI matters due lack of time and support. So an extra-ordinary AGM was called on 29 December, 2018 to form an ad-hoc committee to take up the responsibility and nominated  a committee headed by Manish Synghal and team.” Since it was a nominated ad-hoc committee, he requested the floor to acknowledge and ratify the nominated committee so that they can officially take over the chapter responsibility. As the floor unanimously accepted and welcomed the new committee, Eapen requested Manish Synghal to proceed with the new team to preside over the meeting.

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Air Asia adds new routes- Mumbai to Kochi & Kolkata from April 15

Air Asia recently announced new routes from Mumbai to Kochi and Kolkata, and additional flights on the Mumbai-Bengaluru route, four times a day. Mumbai-Kochi route will fly six days a week except Tuesdays. Operations will start from April 15. In the wake of the recent Jet Airways crisis, Air Asia and Vistara are adding more aircraft to fill in the unused slots. The capacity shortage and Delhi airports have led to the hike in the airfare to 40 per cent.

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