Tourism Breaking News

Sterling Holiday Resorts launches new brand identity

Sterling Holiday Resorts has launched its new brand identity in line with its new service philosophy of delivering experiences and discoveries. Ramesh Ramanathan, Managing Director, Sterling Holiday Resorts Limited, shared that with the new branding, they are looking to become the leading holiday brand in India. “Today, we are not just opening a new chapter for Sterling but one in the Indian holiday market. We have been working on developing our new service philosophy and brand standards over the last few years and are now ready to make our customers ‘holiday differently’.” He added, “At Sterling, we are look forward to being a part of this new India that is looking to have newer experiences and take away a little bit of what they see and feel when they holiday. Over the past few years, we have invested in the revamp of existing resorts and launch of new ones. Our focus will be on delivery and service for all kinds of holidayers. In the process, we would also be contributing to local economies, creating jobs and taking the brand abroad to places where Indians holiday,” Ramanathan added.

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Travkart appointed as PSA for Madame Tussauds Delhi

Travkart, a unit specialising in fixed departure and themed holidays becomes the preferred sales agent (PSA) for Madame Tussauds Delhi. The attraction opened to the public on December 1, 2017.  Visitors can buy tickets on Travkart website and mobile app. Manheer Singh Sethi, Co-founder, Travkart, said, “We are extremely delighted to be the first online travel platform to have been selected as a PSA by a globally renowned brand like Madame Tussauds for the launch of its first-ever attraction in the country. Our platform offers customers a wide selection of activities and must-see places they can book, and with the addition of Madame Tussauds, it’s a great chance for visitors as well locals to enjoy this new destination in the city.” The announcement marks a significant milestone for Travkart and allows the platform to build on its robust value proposition by expanding the ambit of its offerings.

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UAE to add consular offices, visa centres across India

Boosting bilateral engagement with India, the United Arab Emirates will open several new consular centres in India. “Under the present circumstances, if people from Chandigarh, Chennai and Hyderabad want a visa to the UAE, they have to travel to either Mumbai or Delhi or Kerala. So to prevent hardship for the people, we are soon going to open our consular and visa centres in these cities,” said Dr Ahmed Albanna, ambassador of UAE. The UAE will be investing $75 billion of its sovereign wealth fund in the country. The announcement on expanding consular footprint of UAE came even as diplomatic sources confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Abu Dhabi in February 2018. Expansion of consular services of UAE will help the Indians in the country who constitute one of the largest overseas Indian populations. (Source: The Hindu)  

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CAPA India Summit to be held on Jan 30-31, 2018 in Mumbai

Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) India has announced the dates for its annual meeting of aviation industry leaders with an interest in India. Now in its 14th year, the CAPA India Summit will be on January 30-31, 2018, in Mumbai. This year CAPA has added a third day dedicated to airports and airspace opportunities. Titled CAPA India Airport & Airspace Summit, this will be held on 1 February, 2018.  Part of the agenda is announcement of a series of strategic research reports by CAPA, including its annual outlook for Indian aviation in 2018-19. The association expects participation from every airline and airport operator in the country and an audience of close to 250 critical decision-makers from airlines, airports, investors and financiers, manufacturers and lessors, suppliers, travel companies and tourism boards.  

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NCL launches mobile app for clients

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has introduced the next generation of its booked guest mobile application – Cruise Norwegian. Andy Stuart, President and CEO, NCL, said, “Whether they’re 60 days from their sail date or in the middle of their cruise, Cruise Norwegian brings seamless access to a myriad of on board offerings, services and activities right into the palms of our guests’ hands. Once on board, the app will allow guests to continue customising their ideal cruise experience and view or manage their existing account information, allowing them to maximise their time and spend it on the things they enjoy the most.” The app features functions that will help passengers in the booking process, their time on and off the ship as well as stay connected with friends and family both on board and back home. Through the app, users can also preview and book shore excursions, make dining and entertainment reservations, purchase on board dining and beverage packages or special occasion packages before they cruise. It also provides directions to the port and with mobile online check-in functionality, guests can save time at the pier and have a paperless boarding process with mobile e-docs. The new app will be available on board Norwegian’s newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, when she launches in summer 2018.  

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Travelport launches PCI DSS certification wizard tool

With an objective to combat criminal activities, Travelport announced the launch of an online PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance referral service to help its customers’ businesses achieve PCI DSS certification. As from March 2018, any IATA agent that accepts card transactions against its own merchant agreement or issues Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) card transactions is required to provide proof of PCI DSS compliance to IATA. Travelport chose to partner with SecurityMetrics, a leading provider in data security and compliance for organisations worldwide. The PCI DSS certification program provides customers with an online wizard tool to guide agents through the self-assessment questionnaire process. The multi-language tool enables Travelport’s agency customers worldwide to achieve PCI DSS compliance, a requirement by the card industry for every business that touches card payments. Alexandra Fitzpatrick, VP, Travelport Global Payment Solutions, commented, “Combining consumer protection with customer-driven solutions is the key to our goals as it creates frictionless payment processes and better ways of working.” David Meyers, Senior Director Business Development, SecurityMetrics added, “We are confident that Travelport’s customers will be pleased with the results of our PCI program and our team will make sure that they receive the best possible experience on their compliance journey”.

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Gulf Air launches Bahrain Tourist Visa Service

Gulf Air in partnership with VFS Global launched a Bahrain Tourist Visa Service exclusively for the airline’s passengers flying across its global network to Bahrain. Travellers with return tickets of Gulf Air can now conveniently apply for a visa to the Kingdom of Bahrain online via visa.gulfair.com or by visiting their local Gulf Air sales office with the necessary documents no more than 30 days prior to travel to submit their application. Captain Waleed Abdul Hameed Al Alawi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Gulf Air said, “We are delighted to launch the Bahrain Tourist Visa Service, making the process of obtaining a visa to enter Bahrain easier. We anticipate positive feedback from our customers and look forward to welcoming more people from around the world to Bahrain to experience all that the Kingdom has to offer.” Vinay Malhotra, COO – Middle East & South Asia, VFS Global said, “The dedicated online platform not only makes applying for a visa to Bahrain quicker and more convenient than ever before, but also provides passengers with 24×7 accessibility and online tracking of their visas.”  

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Adventure Rock Hill at Jatayu Earth Centre, Kerala opens for public

Jatayu Earth’s Center – Kerala’s first build–operate–transfer (BOT) model ecotourism project, ‘Adventure Rock Hill’, is now open for visitors. Located at Chadayamangalam in Kollam district of Kerala, the Jatayupara Nature Park was rechristened as Jatayu Earth’s Center. Covering four hills in Chadayamangalam, there are few more ventures pending to make the Nature Park fully operational by April 2018. Adventure Rock Hill is open for a group of 10-100 people, with entry of Rs 3500 per person. Spread across 65 acres, it offers abundant activities like camping, rock climbing, trekking, 6D theatre, a virtual reality museum, a Siddha and an Ayurvedic cave resort. The key highlight of the Jatayu Earth Centre is the world’s largest bird sculpture, which has an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. Rajiv Anchal, Concept Designer, Chairman and Managing Director, Jatayu Earth’s Center, stated, “Considered as a glorious example of eco-friendly tourism in India, the center is a result of 10 years of sustained dedication. ‘Jatayu’ symbolises an era when humans and other living beings cared for each other and lived together peacefully.” P. Bala Kiran, Director, Kerala Tourism, said, “From adventure enthusiasts to families, young generation of travellers to couples, this tourist spot caters to a wide audience. The center allows the tourists to have thrilling experiences, while exploring the natural beauty of the place.”  

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6th International Tourism Mart begins in Guwahati

The 6th International Tourism Mart (ITM) organised by the Ministry of Tourism in association with the North Eastern States begins in Guwahati, Assam. Jagdish Mukhi, Governor of Assam in the presence of Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister, Assam; K J Alphons, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, Rashmi Verma, Union Tourism Secretary and other dignitaries from Central Ministries and North Eastern States inaugurated the three-day event. Besides foreign delegates, 50 domestic stakeholders and 103 sellers from the North Eastern States are participating in the Mart. Representatives of State Tourism Departments of North East States will also showcase their tourism destinations. Held from December 5-7, the event will put the spotlight on India’s ‘Act East Policy’, blossoming ties with ASEAN and the larger East Asia region, home to the world’s rapidly growing economies. The panel discussions will also focus on promoting cultural ties, people-to-people contact with countries in the ASEAN region providing enhanced connectivity to the States of North Eastern Region, thereby developing inter-regional tourism between the ASEAN and North East Region of India. ITM – 2017 will also see an active participation by the Ministry of DONER to synergise the process of development of tourism of the North East Region.  

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October passenger demand bounces back after weather-hit September

Passenger demand in airlines rose 7.2 per cent in October compared to the same month last year, according to global passenger traffic results by International Air Transport Association (IATA). The capacity grew 6.2 per cent and load factor climbed 0.8 percentage points to 80.8 per cent, a record for the month. October’s performance was a strong rebound after the hurricane-related disruptions in September. Domestic and international travel growth largely was in balance. “As expected, the recent severe weather in the American region had only a temporary impact on the healthy travel demand we have seen this year, and we remain on course for another year of above-trend growth,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. For Asia-Pacific carriers, the large markets in India, China and Japan mean that domestic travel accounts for 45 per cent of the region’s operations. Asia-Pacific airlines led all regions with traffic growth of 10.3 per cent compared to the year-ago period, which was up from an 8.7 per cent rise in September. Capacity climbed 8.4 per cent and load factor rose 1.3 percentage points to 78.0 per cent.

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