Tourism Breaking News

TAFI plans symposium in Mumbai in Feb 2017

The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) is planning to organise a day-long symposium in Mumbai in the third or fourth week of February 2017. The symposium will focus on issues like e-visas for inbound traffic, visa challenges for outbound traffic from India, GST and other topics that the Union Budget will touch upon. Sharing more details, Pradip Lulla, Vice President, TAFI, said, “We will get experts to address our members who will be not from Mumbai but also from Pune and surrounding areas. We will also invite stakeholders like airlines and consulates. Topics are yet to be firmed up.” TAFI had conducted a similar symposium in New Delhi in October 2016 where it had also launched its new logo. “We want to replicate this in other metro cities as well and discuss topics that are relevant for that particular region,” Lulla added.

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India calls on bilateral seat entitlement to increase Dubai flight slots

Dubai-based airlines will not be allowed to add more flights to Indian cities until the Gulf emirate allots commercially and operationally feasible slots to Indian carriers at its airport, as per a media report. This clause will be part of a bilateral seat entitlement agreement that the two sides are set to sign soon, a senior official at the civil aviation ministry reportedly said. “We will agree on increasing seat entitlements between the two countries as carriers from both sides have exhausted their quota which allows each side to operate up to 65,200 seats a week,” he added. The government decided on this condition after Dubai rejected India’s request to provide commitment on slots for Indian carriers in the bilateral air services pact. India-Dubai is a busy route, and both Indian and Gulf carriers have been demanding increasing the seat capacity in the sector as they have exhausted their current quota, which allows each side to operate up to 65,200 seats a week. (Source: The Economic Times)

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Mauritius targets 100,000 Indian tourists in 2017

Mauritius recorded a growth of about 16 per cent in Indian arrivals this year and expects this to increase to 20 per cent in 2017. Vivek Anand, Country Head, Mauritius Tourism, India, says, “We have seen a growth of nearly 16 per cent and a lot of high end tourists are visiting Mauritius and there are a lot of MICE movements and a lot of big Indian weddings happening there.” In 2017, Mauritius targets 100,000 Indian tourists which is a growth of 20 per cent. According to Anand, the growth will primarily come from the high end FITs, MICE and weddings.

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490-room ITC hotel to launch in Kolkata by 2017

ITC is all set to launch its new property in Kolkata by 2017. ITC Hotel, Kolkata adjacent to ITC Sonar, will be symbolic of the rich history of Bengal and Kolkata, being built with the colonial theme on the lines of the ‘British Raj’ and Calcutta as the ‘Imperial Capital of the British India’. The 490 key hotel would be among the tallest buildings of Kolkata with a commanding view of the entire city.

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Now sign up on Yatra via Truecaller

Yatra.com has tied up with Truecaller allowing new users to sign up on Yatra’s Android mobile application using their Truecaller account. Through this integration of TrueSDK, Yatra now offers phone number based onboarding and verification, which significantly reduces friction in user on-boarding. Any user having the Truecaller app and signing up to Yatra for the first time, will have a completely seamless experience with their user details being auto-filled in the Yatra app. Integration of TrueSDK on Yatra’s mobile app will make mobile number verification a simple and easy process. Speaking on the partnership Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C), Yatra.com, said, “At Yatra, we are constantly thinking of new and innovative ideas to make user interface simple and convenient for our customersand the partnership with Truecaller is a firm step in that direction. Truecaller’s TrueSDK will help in instant user verification, hence simplifying the app onboarding experience. It will make the authentication more swift and secure for our users.”

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Jet scales up capacity on domestic & international routes

Jet Airways will deploy its higher seating capacity aircraft – 254-seater Airbus A330 in place of the existing Boeing 737- on two domestic and two international routes from January 2017 in order to cater to the growing passenger demand. While the wide-body service between Mumbai-Chennai-Mumbai is slated to begin from January 15, the airline will commence its Mumbai-Jeddah-Mumbai and Mumbai-Bangalore-Mumbai services from January 16 and the Mumbai-Kuwait-Mumbai service is scheduled to start from January 18. “The introduction of wide-body services on our key domestic routes allows Jet Airways to scale up capacity in response to increase in demand. The A330 aircraft is designed with a spacious cabin, greater leg-room, lie-flat beds in premiere,” said, Jayaraj Shanmugam, Chief Commercial Officer, Jet Airways. The rolling out of the wide body aircraft with its two-cabin configuration of 18 seats in premiere (business) and 236 in economy class will also increase capacity on the key routes by as much as 50 per cent. Source: India Today

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Thailand expects 13,200 Indian visitors for the New Year holiday period

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) expects around 13,200 travellers for the New Year holiday period for which a series of celebrations are in store. To memorably celebrate the nation’s Thainess and to incorporate tributes to the Thai monarchy as well as the happiness of the Thai people into the New Year celebrations this year, a traditional candle lighting and prayer ceremony, called Sang Thien Haeng Siam or Candlelight of Siam, will take place at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang and various locations nationwide and overseas on 31 December. Soraya Homchuen, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in Mumbai commented, “Thailand will usher in 2017 with ‘the Candlelight of Siam’, which is a traditional ceremony that aims to encourage Thai people to preserve important features of Thai society, especially the nation, religion, and the monarchy. We would like to extend an invitation to our guests from India to join us for this ceremony and get an experience of a lifetime.” Globally, TAT expects to welcome around 375,000 international arrivals, up by five percent during the New Year holiday period (31 December, 2016 – 3 January, 2017), generating tourism revenue of around 55.5 billion Thai Baht or up by 12 percent from last year.

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9.3% growth in FTAs in Nov 2016 over 2015

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during November, 2016 were 8.91 lakh as compared to FTAs of 8.16 lakh during the month of November, 2015 and 7.65 lakh in November, 2014. There has been a growth of 9.3 per cent in November, 2016 over November, 2015. FTAs during the period January-November, 2016 were 78.53 lakh with a growth of 10.4 per cent as compared to the FTAs of 71.14 lakh with a growth of 4.7 per cent in January-November, 2015 over January- November, 2014. The percentage share of FTAs in India during November, 2016 among the top 15 source countries was highest from USA (15.53%) followed by UK (11.21%), Bangladesh (10.72%), Canada (4.66%), Russian Fed (4.53%), Australia (4.04%), Malaysia (3.65%), Germany (3.53%), China (3.14%), France (2.88%), Sri Lanka (2.49%), Japan (2.49%), Singapore (2.16%), Nepal (1.46%) and Thailand (1.37%). The percentage share of FTAs in India during November 2016 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (32.71%) followed by Mumbai Airport (18.51%), Chennai Airport (6.83%), Bengaluru Airport (5.89%), Haridaspur Land check post (5.87%), Goa Airport (5.63%), Kolkata Airport (3.90%), Cochin Airport (3.29%), Hyderabad Airport (3.14%), Ahmadabad Airport (2.76%), Trivandrum Airport (1.54%), Trichy Airport (1.53%), Gede Rail (1.16%), Amritsar Airport (1.15%), and Ghojadanga land check post (0.82%). Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism in India during November, 2016 were Rs. 14,474 crore as compared to Rs. 12,649 crore in November, 2015 and Rs. 11,431 crore in November, 2014. The growth rate in FEEs in rupee terms during November, 2016 over November, 2015 was 14.4% as compared to the growth of 10.7% in November, 2015 over November, 2014.

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PATA conducts 5th Update and Outlook Meeting with MOT & Air India

PATA India Chapter’s meeting with the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India and Air India discussed initiatives for the upcoming year and also highlighted the past year’s achievements. Vinod Zutshi, Secretary-Tourism, Govt. of India, was optimistic about tourism’s prospects for 2017 and shared, “We have been exceeding the global growth of tourism and have marked stuck to our target of 10 per cent growth on an average for this year. Not only have we seen a drastic increase in international tourist arrivals, the domestic sector is equally flourishing. From 30-40 per cent growth in 2015, we are expecting the domestic tourism growth to touch around 60-70 per cent.” Zutshi also mentioned that the 1363 helpline which was launched in mid November 2015, receives around 4000 queries per week, up from 1000 per week, and revealed that suggestions received from pre-budgetary sessions would help yield a favourable budget. Ashwani Lohani, CMD, Air India, stated that expansions and consolidation for the national carrier will go hand-in-hand, with plans to add atleast 13 new destinations afoot. “We will be launching a minimum of six new routes in 2017 and about six more in 2018. The whole idea is to add 100 new aircrafts by 2020 and to convert the existing fleet into a relatively newer one. “2017 will also focus on turning profits for Alliance Air along with the rapid expansion of Air India’s fleet and number of destinations,” he added.

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Kerala launches new ‘Biennale’ campaign

Along with its successful ‘God’s Own Country’ campaign, Kerala will now be promoted as the ‘Land of the Biennale’ as well, says U.V. Jose, Director, Kerala Tourism. The new moniker comes in line with the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) by the Government of Kerala, which allocated Rs. 7.5 crore towards operational expenses for the KMB’s ongoing third edition – besides committing to finding India’s only Biennale a permanent venue. “Kerala Tourism has allotted around Rs. 6 crore to promote both the biennale and the state through ad films, national and international road shows and campaigns as well as other initiatives,” Jose said. Noting that the theme of the new campaign would be related to art, he said the Tourism Department had sanctioned Rs 60 lakh for a film to promote Kerala as the land of the Biennale. “For the next three months, over the duration of the Biennale, Kerala Tourism will showcase it at national trade fairs, international road shows and tourism and trade conventions. We will also roll out the ‘Live Inspired’ campaign, which is themed around the inspiration and pride of having the chance to view and experience such top class artworks here,” he added. The Director said that while the state was known for such distinctive offerings as its Ayurveda therapies and houseboats, the Biennale would be added to that list of iconic Kerala products. He noted that there were already links between the Biennale and the Muziris Heritage Project with Kottapuram fort in Kodungallur being one of the 12 venues for KMB 2016.

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