Tourism Breaking News

Travelport signs multi-year agreement with Travelgenio

Travelport has announced a renewed long-term partnership with Travelgenio. With nearly 250 airlines signed up to use Travelport’s unique merchandising technology, Travelgenio is able to further differentiate itself by displaying and selling branded fare families and ancillary products from these airlines in the same way they do on their own websites. Having recently become the first global distribution system (GDS) to be certified by IATA as a “Level 3” Aggregator under its New Distribution Capability (NDC) initiative, Travelport will also benefit Travelgenio by creating NDC connections with airlines as they become available. Commenting on the renewed agreement, Mariano Pelizzari, CEO, Travelgenio, said, “Given all the searches that take place, it’s crucial we take advantage of the right technology to optimise our customer experience. The renewal of our agreement with Travelport demonstrates our commitment to serve the end traveller even better by continually providing the rich choice of content with the speed and accuracy that’s critical to them.” Fred Lindgren, Country Manager, Travelport Spain, commented, “To maintain its leadership in the competitive landscape of online travel, Travelgenio needs continued access to extensive global travel choices and the best booking technology to deliver a fast, differentiated and personalised booking. This agreement is testament to Travelport’s combination of innovative technology and extensive travel content.”

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Nijhawan Group collaborates with DU to start Heritage and Tourism course

With the collaboration of Nijhawan Group, Ram Lal Anand College, has introduced a new certificate course of Heritage and Tourism Management, affiliated with the University of Delhi. In-house as well as guest faculties will enlighten students about Indian heritage, culture and tourism studies. The first batch consists of thirty students in total. “The current course has been designed with clear objectives to make students aware of the linkages between heritage and tourism, to sensitise them towards the need to preserve our rich heritage and to provide practical training and requisite skills to facilitate their employment in government and corporate sectors engaged in diverse tourist operations”, said Dr. Rakesh Kumar Gupta, Principal, Ram Lal Anand College. Students will be provided with internships after the completion of the programme, followed by the placements with the support of Nijhawan Group.

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SriLankan to increase Mumbai and Delhi frequencies

With a focus on the Indian market, SriLankan Airlines intends to increase its frequencies to 13 flights per week to Delhi and 14 flights a week to Mumbai. According to Chinthaka Weerasinghe, Country Manager, SriLankan Airlines, “We are keen on increasing the destinations and flight frequencies in India as the demand is constantly on the rise. With the new development ventures, we anticipate significant passenger numbers from our key contributors to inbound tourism traffic that includes India, China, Europe, Australia and the Maldives.” India has been a vital partner in SriLankan Airlines’ route network from the early days since it is Sri Lanka’s number one source of inbound tourist traffic. Today, the airline directly operates to 14 Indian destinations with a total of 135 flights a week. Weerasinghe adds, “The Indian government authorities and related state institutions have always been a firm supporter to all SriLankan Airlines and Sri Lanka Tourism projects.”

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Ural Airlines looking for GSA in India

As a result of a sharp rise in inbound numbers from India into Russia, Ural Airlines is planning to appoint a GSA in India. Valeriya Sorokina, Head (Touristic Division), Route Network Development Department, Koltosovo (Yekaterinburg) Airport, reveals, “The Indian market is one of the largest in the world and the most rapidly growing market. So we are going to grab all kinds of passenger traffic originating from India. We are looking to appoint a GSA representative here instead of having our own airline office.” The airline plans to start flights from New Delhi and Mumbai. Sorokina adds, “However, these are only in plans as there are no traffic rights yet and no slots available. The plan is to start flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Yekaterinburg and further to all over Russia as well as other popular European points. We hope the flight starts from October 2018.” The airline is also seriously developing itself as a hub where it captures not only point-to-point traffic, but also more transit traffic.

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AccorHotels to bring Raffles, Banyan Tree brands into India in 2018

Affirming India to be a major focus area in the Asia Pacific region for AccorHotels, Gaurav Bhushan, Global Chief Development Officer, AccorHotels, reveals that the company is bringing its luxury brands into India this year. “We have a very interesting line up in 2018 for our luxury and leisure hotel brands. Raffles, Fairmont and Banyan Tree are the brands that we are bringing into India. We are very excited about the opportunity. While the mid scale segment is increasing steadily and doing well, there is also a very big opportunity in the luxury, the lifestyle and the leisure space. That is the new frontier from our perspective.” He adds that the company expects to add five hotels with an approximate key count of 1,000-plus rooms to its network in 2018. “We already have 45 operating hotels in India and are actively signing up new hotels. So India is a major focus for us in the Asia Pacific region. And we expect our growth to be very strong and very robust in the next few years,” Bhushan says.

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Chalet Hotels to add 800-plus rooms in 2-3 years

K Raheja Corp’s hospitality company, Chalet Hotels has ambitious growth plans through both greenfield and brownfield acquisitions. Sanjay Sethi, Managing Director & CEO, Chalet Hotels, says, “We have about four hotels under development right now. These will add roughly about 800 more rooms to our current portfolio of 2800-odd rooms. These will take about two to three years to build.” Chalet Hotels currently has about eight hotels, of which seven are owned by Chalet Hotels 100 per cent and operated by Marriott. One out of the eight is run by Chalet Hotels. Speaking about the route that the hotel company will take for growth, Sethi says, “We have ambitious plans. We are looking at acquisition opportunities in the market and we want to grow through both greenfield and brownfield acquisitions.” While charting these plans, Chalet Hotels will stay true to its portfolio which is largely upper, upscale and luxury segments. “Of course we are also looking at upscale assets also. So a couple of developments we are doing are in that segment. We will stay in the upscale and upper upscale because that’s a sweet spot for us. We might do select luxury, or mid-segment hotels as well,” Sethi adds.

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Cleartrip launches ‘Shortlist’ to enhance hotel selection experience

Cleartrip has announced the launch of Shortlist feature to facilitate a more seamless, hassle-free booking experience for its users. Shortlists can be shared with other users to enhance planning amongst groups travelling together. Ankit Rastogi, Vice President, Hotels Cleartrip, says, “Constant improvement and evolution focused on improving the travel process make Cleartrip the platform of choice for millions of users. We’ve made it simpler, quicker and more collaborative an experience when you book hotels with Cleartrip. With Shortlist, we hope to drive 25% higher conversion to begin with and optimise it even further along the way. We will be tracking engagement and conversion from this feature to continue improving it.” The purpose of the feature is to improve how user’s research and plan for a trip by allowing them the flexibility to select amongst thousands of available hotels at their convenience, without having to start from scratch every time they resume their search. Users can, moreover, compare the location of shortlisted properties and the price on a map of the area, adding new insights to help them make their choice.

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58.5% growth in FTAs on eTV in Jan 2018 over Jan 2017

The number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in January 2018 was 10.66 lakh as compared to FTAs of 9.83 lakh in January 2017 and 8.45 lakh in January 2016. The growth rate in FTAs in January 2018 over January 2017 was 8.4 per cent, compared to 16.4 per cent in January 2017 over January 2016. During January 2018, a total of 2.40 lakh foreign tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 1.52 lakh during the month of January 2017 registering a growth of 58.5 per cent. The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during January 2018 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (16.36%) followed by USA (14.10%), UK (10.81%), Canada (4.63%), Russian Federation (4.49%), Australia (3.60%), France (2.76%), Germany (2.64%), Malaysia (2.63%), Sri Lanka (2.59%), China (2.27%), Japan (2.08%), Republic of Korea (1.93%), Afghanistan (1.86%) and Nepal (1.59%). The percentage share of top 15 source countries availing e-Tourist Visa facilities during  January, 2018 was as follows: UK (18.6%), USA (10.6%), Russian Fed (6.5%), France (5.4%), Canada (5.3%), China (4.8%), Australia (4.3%), Germany (4.0%), Korea (Rep.of) (3.9%), Oman (3.4%), Italy (2.4%), Thailand (1.9%), Israel (1.4%), Netherlands (1.4%), and South Africa (1.4%). The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during January 2018 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (28.03%) followed by Mumbai Airport (17.47%), Haridaspur Land Check Post (7.63%), Chennai Airport (7.17%), Goa (6.19%), Bengaluru Airport (5.16%), Kolkata Airport (4.81%), Cochin Airport (3.77%), Ahmadabad Airport (3.01%), Hyderabad Airport (2.56%),Gede Rail Land Check Post (1.82%), Trivandrum Airport (1.56%), Tiruchirapalli Airport (1.25%), Ghojadanga Land Check Post (1.11%), Amritsar Airport (1.01%).

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Mexico Tourism targets 200,000 Indian tourists by 2022

The Mexico Tourism Board plans to target over 200,000 Indian outbound visitors to visit Mexico by 2022. In 2017, Mexico received 64,900 Indian visitors by nationality, a 10 per cent increase compared to 2016 and 22,431 Indian visitors by country of residence, 9.5 per cent increase compared to 2016. Melba Pria, Ambassador of Mexico in India, said, “We are happy that over the years, we are seeing a steady growth in Indian tourists and are confident that this trend will continue. We are extremely delighted in targeting the outbound tourists from India by focusing on the vibrant, multi-faceted experiences that keep visitors coming back to Mexico and its hundreds of destinations.” Guillermo Eguiarte, Regional Director – Mexico Tourism Board, shared the campaign of ‘A world of its own’- it embodies Mexico to be the world that awakens the drive to explore, to imagine, to feel. He said, “Mexico’s sustained, fast growth is testament to the incredible quality and diversity in the tourism offering, both internationally and domestically. The Indian outbound tourist is expected to be around 50 million globally, and Mexico is targeting a 4 per cent market share of this.

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Thomas Cook India inks contract with Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports

Thomas Cook (India) has partnered with the Government of India for the Khelo India School Games, a part of the Khelo India Programme initiative of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to create a sports ecosystem and revive sports culture at a grassroot level in India. Thomas Cook India was selected as Hospitality Partner for the Khelo India School Games, held from January 31-February 8, 2018 in New Delhi, where India’s Under-17 athletes were invited to participate across 16 disciplines. Thomas Cook India had set up a dedicated team of 160 members during the Khelo India School Games to project drive this strategic initiative. The team has successfully executed the partnership by providing both accommodation and meals for an approximately 5000-strong contingent for a duration of 10 nights. Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head- Leisure Travel, MICE, Thomas Cook (India), said, “The Khelo India programme is inspirational in its aim to scout young talent from schools in various disciplines, groom them as future champions and thereby, serve to catalyse the sporting culture of the nation. It is hence, truly an honour for us at Thomas Cook India to have been selected to partner with the Government of India for this unique initiative.”

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