Tourism Breaking News

Iran, Iraq: Most airlines avoid flying over Middle East, taking longer routes

Major airlines around the world rerouted or cancelled flights to avoid airspace over Iraq and Iran as tensions escalated in the Middle East following the Iranian missile attack. The moves come after the US Federal Aviation Administration banned US carriers from the region after Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at US forces in Iraq. The airspace ban prohibits US passenger airlines from flying over Iraq, Iran, the waters of the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The European Aviation Safety Agency also recommended that EU commercial flights avoid Iraqi airspace. Air India and Air India Express have rerouted flights over Iranian airspace, which will increase flying times by up to 40 minutes. France suspended all flights over Iranian and Iraqi airspace, while data from flight-tracking website Flightradar24 showed British Airways was also rerouting flights. Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines said its flights to Europe had been diverted. Australian carrier Qantas said it was adjusting its flight paths over the Middle East to avoid the airspace over Iraq and Iran until further notice.

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India M!CE outbound market to GCC set to surpass US$ 5bn by 2025

According to a report by ResearchAndMarkets.com titled ‘India Outbound Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (M!CE) Tourism to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries – Market Trends and Opportunities to 2025’ released in December 2019, UAE is the top destination for Indian MICE tourists. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain accounted for more than 15 per cent of the share of the total outbound MICE spending by Indians in 2018. The India outbound MICE market to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is set to surpass US$ 5 Billion by 2025. The report uses a country-focused analysis to explore India outbound MICE tourism market to GCC countries. The report includes historical data from 2014-2018 and forecasts until 2025. It covers six GCC nations: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain.

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UK tops the list of source countries availing e-Tourist Visa facilities in November 2019: MOT

The percentage shares of top 15 source countries availing e-Tourist Visa facilities during November, 2019 were highest from UK (12.22%), followed by USA (10.75%), China (8.06%), Russian Fed (7.85%), Malaysia (5.71%), France (4.61%),Germany (4.60%), Australia (4.16%), Canada (3.85%), Thailand (3.25%), Italy (2.32%), Singapore (1.87%), Spain (1.64%), Vietnam (1.50%) and Israel (1.40%), reveals Ministry of Tourism.

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Hahn Air enters 2020 with 40 new partner airlines

Hahn Air added 39 new carriers to its leading network of over 350 partner airlines over the course of 2019. The flights of all new partners can be issued by travel agencies around the world on the insolvency-safe Hahn Air ticket. 17 of the new partner airlines are using the product HR-169 and have entered into an interline agreement with Hahn Air. The remaining 23 carriers are taking advantage of the products H1-Air or X1-Air for airlines that are looking to expand their GDS presence, thereby extending their reach through ten major GDSs to 100,000 travel agencies in 190 markets. “2019 was an incredible year for Hahn Air”, comments Jörg Troester, Head of Corporate Strategy, Industry and Government Affairs at Hahn Air. “In the 20th year of our ticketing business, we have introduced our NDC platform, Hahn Air Technologies and our new solution for corporate shuttle flights, HR-Corporate. In addition, we received IATA Level 3 NDC certification, issued the world’s first blockchain-generated air ticket and added 40 new airlines to our partner network. We are ready for 2020 with a focus on our products H1-Air and X1-Air, new technologies and sustainability. We’ll be able to share more news soon.”

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Travelport becomes sole GDS provider of Air India’s domestic flight content

Travelport has confirmed that the company is now the sole global distribution system (GDS) provider of Air India’s domestic flight content in India. Martin Herbert, Regional Managing Director for India and Sri Lanka at Travelport, said, “We’re delighted to reach this landmark. Wide and cost-effective distribution, coupled with impactful merchandising, are important to all airlines and we’re proud we are now the sole GDS provider of these services to Air India. The results the carrier has already achieved since it started adjusting its distribution strategy have been extremely positive.” Sandeep Dwivedi, Chief Operating Officer at InterGlobe Technology Quotient, said: “Since inception, this partnership between Air India and Travelport has presented impressive prospects. Now that we have had a glimpse of last year’s performance, with respect to positive reflections on growth, cost and savings for our partner – Air India; the future only seems bright from here. As the sole GDS distributor of Air India’s domestic content, we are aiming at easing the process, cutting down unnecessary stages and offering value-added advantage in booking Air India branded fares and ancillary services, both simply and seamlessly.”

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Genting Cruise Lines to launch new ship, Global Dream, in 2021

Genting Cruise Lines will be launching their new cruise ship- Global Dream in 2021. The bookings for the same will start this year. Michael Goh, President, Dream Cruises & Head of International Sales at Genting Cruise Lines, revealed that the new ship has been made in their own building facility in Germany and can accommodate as many as 9000 guests. He says, “The Global Dream will allow the guests to open the cabin doors via their smartphones, has many configurations for luxury guests, the biggest roller-coaster ride ever built on a ship and many more features that will make it as one of the most unique and biggest cruise ships ever.”  

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Ladakh tourism budget increases from Rs 55 lakh to Rs 200 crore

The Union Territory of Ladakh has increased its tourism budget to Rs 200 crore this year from Rs 55 lakh earlier when it was only a district in the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state, revealed RK Mathur, Lieutenant Governor, Ladakh, while speaking at the special ‘Ladakh Night’ organised by the Administration of UT of Ladakh Tourism Department and All Ladakh Travel association stakeholders. He also revealed that the newly allocated budget would be used to create new tourism products and infrastructure in the UT. The event saw the stakeholders presenting the tourism products of Ladakh to the travel and tour operators in Delhi. Some of the dignitaries present at the event were Rigzin Samphel, Commercial Secretary, Tourism, Ladakh and Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Member of Parliament, Ladakh.  

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Exclusive VAC for travel agents to be opened by VFS in Delhi this month

VFS Global is soon going to open an exclusive Visa Application Centre (VAC) dedicated only for travel agents and tour operators. Sharing details, Sanjeet Joher, Head- South Asia, VFS Global, said that the VAC will provide visa assistance to travel agents for non-Schengen countries and visas that don’t require biometric data. He also shared that VFS Global will also have dedicated helpline number for travel agents apart from special weekend visit to arrangements for large groups. He briefed that there will also be dedicated counters/time slots for travel agents across VFS Global facility location across India.

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