Tourism Breaking News

‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme: 37 agencies get Letters of Intent from MOT

The Ministry of Tourism has so far issued Letters of Intent to 37 agencies under its ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project done in collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), State/UTs Governments. Revealing this was Aashima Mehrotra, Director, Ministry of Tourism, who was in Mumbai for a cultural event organised by the Ministry of Tourism for creating awareness about this project. She said, “We have come up with a unique concept called Vision Bidding for which you will not find any parallel anywhere in the world. This does not involve any financial bidding but it is given to the best vision instead. It depends on how best you can develop a site. So far we have issued Letters of Intent to 37 agencies for 106 monuments and we have signed 11 MoUs which are in various stages of implementation. We are going slow because this project is very sensitive in nature and we want to see what the agencies can offer. So we are not in a hurry to award heritage sites to them.” The scheme ‘Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan’ was launched on September 27, 2017 to preserve the rich cultural and natural heritage and to promote tourism across the length and breadth of our country. The Project began with selected ASI ticketed monuments and the scope has now been expanded to include other natural and cultural sites across the country. It was strongly emphasised that tourist experience is the prime parameter to evaluate our performance in the sector.  

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MoCA to increase aviation security fee from Rs 130 to Rs 150 for Indian passengers from July 1

Air travel will become a bit costlier as the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has decided to increase the aviation security fee (ASF) from Rs 130 to Rs 150 for each Indian passenger from July 1 onwards. For international passengers, the ASF will be increased from 3.25 USD to 4.85 USD from next month. “The ASF for domestic passengers will be levied at the rate of Rs 150 per embarking passenger,” said an Ministry of Civil Aviation order. “The ASF for international passengers will be levied at the rate of USD 4.85 or equivalent Indian rupees per embarking passenger,” the order added. The ASF will be replacing the PSF (SC), which stands of passenger service fee (security component). “The above rates of the ASF will be applicable with effect from 00.01 hrs of 01.07.2019 and will replace the PSF (SC) which was being charged so far at the rate of Rs 130 per embarking passenger for tickets issued against Indian Rupees and USD 3.25 per embarking passenger for tickets issued against foreign currency,” the order stated.

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Sri Lanka continues visa-on-arrival for Indian nationals

Chamari Rodrigo, Consul General of Sri Lanka in Mumbai, has said that the visa-on-arrival scheme for visitors of Indian nationality continues undisturbed. An email statement from the Consulate to TravTalk reads, ‘We have contacted relevant officials of Sri Lanka Immigration and they too have confirmed that there is no such suspension of on arrival visa facility for Indian nationals.’ Sri Lanka had suspended its plans to grant visas on arrival for citizens of 39 countries after the devastating Easter suicide bombings. But it was unclear whether India was one of them. The country had started offering free visa on arrival to Indian travellers as part of the its efforts to promote tourism starting May 1, 2019 for six months in its initial run. This scheme was aimed at a total of 36 countries that include India as well as Pakistan. The Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Mumbai, India along with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) have started taking measures to ensure that tourists return to the island nation soon. They have already met two travel trade associations – Travel Agents Association Of India (TAAI) and Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) – and will soon be meeting the travel trade as well. Rodrigo said, “The country’s security situation now is normal, stability reigns across the country and children are back to school. However, it has had a direct impact to tourism and we have taken some measures to help revive the industry.” In 2017, Sri Lanka saw 3,83,000 Indian nations visiting the country. In 2018, this number jumped to 426,000 but still falling short of their targeted 450,000. Sri Lanka is looking to promote the destination for …

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Schengen Visa Fee to increase to 80 euros from January 2020

The European Union Council has announced that travellers in need of a Schengen Visa will need to pay a higher visa fee starting from January 2020. The changes come after the European Union Council gave the final nod to an updated Schengen Visa code on 6 June. The new EU Visa regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Six months after, it will come into force and start applying to all third-country nationals that need a visa to the Schengen zone. Source: www.schengenvisainfo.com

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Bengaluru Airport to get new runway by end 2019, new terminal in 2 years

Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru is going for expansion worth 1.2 billion dollars, under which it will get a new runway by the end of this year and a new terminal by 2021. Arun Chandra, General Manager- Aviation Business, Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru, claimed, “Being customer centric airport where each effort and focus of ours goes into making the customer experience different from other airports. That’s what puts us in the league above the rest and therefore we deserve this recognition. The airport has a massive expansion plan, wherein around 1.2 billion dollars will be invested. We are coming up with a new runway by end of this year and a new terminal for about two years from now. Hence, a lot of things are happening, and capacity increase is almost 100 percent, where we will move from the current 26 million capacity, to a 35 million, growing to 45 million capacity over the next two years.”

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InterGlobe Hotels to add 500 rooms by 2022, taking room inventory to 4000

In an exclusive interview to Tourism Breaking News, JB Singh, President & CEO, says, “We are currently up to 19 hotels and we have exhibited strong growth. We have a committed pipeline of 5-6 hotels. In another 3 years, we will cross 4000 rooms. We continue to look at Tier-1 markets very aggressively. We have also started to look at strong Tier-2 markets as well.”

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Air China suspends operations on Mumbai-Beijing route from 21 July to 26 October

Air China has announced the suspension of flight CA 890 from Mumbai to Beijing Capital and CA 889 from Beijing Capital to Mumbai from July 21 to October 26, 2019. The airline has also announced the cancellation of flight CA948 on Friday/Saturday and CA 947 on Thursday/Friday on the Delhi- Beijing Capital-Delhi route from September 1 to October 26, 2019. The Chinese flag carrier has advised the passengers planning to travel from Mumbai to re-route/re-issue their travel via Delhi with NO ADC. Air China has advised the tour operators to waitlist the PNR in the same RBD and send them confirmation, if the seats are not available on GDS.

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‘High disposable income driving India’s domestic travel’: CII-PwC report

According to a report titled ‘Hospitality insights from the Indian CEO’s desk’ by CII and PwC, the biggest driver in the growth of domestic travel in India is high disposable income. With the buoyant growth in the Indian economy, the Indian middle class has higher disposable income. This has been identified, by about 94 per cent of the respondents as a key factor for the increased domestic travel across the country. Over 40 per cent of the respondents believed that the increased demand would come from new locations largely due to better access and improved infrastructure. Therefore, a significant supply is being developed and likely to develop at such locations. Higher disposable income is driving domestic tourism. In terms of promotion, all the options available today can be seen online and it is very convenient for customers to access the available options. This has made a huge difference to the industry. Growth in the domestic travel has also accentuated the demand for different categories of hotels. Affordability and quality of experience are key factors in defining this shift away from five star to more budget category hotels. Although travellers value loyalty programmes and promotional schemes, the survey participants do not see it as a key determinant in selecting their accommodation. Other factors that are contributing to the growth in domestic tourism include access to online travel and hotel bookings.

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9 out of 10 hotel bookings to be mobile-influenced by 2022

With the app economy gaining prominence and hotels increasingly encouraging consumers to have direct transactions, the role of mobile in hotel bookings is expected to increase. As per a study by KPMG-Facebook, 9 out of 10 bookings in the hotel category are expected to be mobile-influenced by 2022. The findings further suggest that in case of hotel bookings, 16 per cent of consumers drop out due to media friction and enhancing the media mix with mobile can reduce this friction by 3 percentage points, leading to a USD 2 billion opportunity for the brand within the category by 2022.

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More than 70% of Indian aircraft deliveries will be on lease

According to FICCI’s recent report titled ‘Opportunities and Financing  Outlook for Aviation Sector’, there will be a huge number of aircraft deliveries in India in the next few years. The report quoted a CAPA study, which estimated that out of 400 aircraft deliveries by FY22 to Indian carriers, 70-80 per cent of them will be either on direct lease or sale and leaseback transactions. To fulfil growing demand, the Government has envisaged huge capex of around US$ 15.5 billion towards development of Greenfield airports, expansion of Brownfield airports, fleet addition & maintenance by Indian Carriers and strengthening ancillary services like skill development, MRO, Cargo handling, amongst others in the value chain. This development plan by airports and airlines requires strong support from Banks, Lessors, Private Equity Firms and other Financial Institutions to cater their funding requirement.

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