Tourism Breaking News

IHG strengthens footprint in Chennai with Holiday Inn Express Chennai OMR Thoraipakkam

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced the opening of Holiday Inn Express Chennai OMR Thoraipakkam. This marks the opening of the third Holiday Inn Express hotel in India this year, adding to the brand’s accelerated growth in the country. Strategically set amidst the city’s commercial hub, Holiday Inn Express Chennai OMR Thoraipakkam is located along the Old Mahabalipuram Road, within 3-5 kms distance from major technology parks and dedicated Special Economic Zones. Featuring 149 keys, Holiday Inn Express Chennai OMR Thoraipakkam offers well designed, contemporary rooms with a range of in-room amenities and a great service culture, promising unparalleled comfort, and convenience to the guests. For an enhanced experience, the hotel is equipped with complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi access in all rooms, hot breakfast with a wide offering (included in the rate), an on-site self-laundry facility and a meeting room for business requirements. Commenting on the announcement, Vivek Bhalla, Regional Vice President, SWA, IHG said, “We are delighted to announce the opening of Holiday Inn Express Chennai OMR Thoraipakkam under our partnership with SAMHI. Chennai is one of the leading business and leisure hubs in Southern India and therefore an important market for us. We have a strong presence in Chennai across our brands, and this latest addition to our portfolio will further strengthen our offering to the travellers visiting the city.” Ashish Jakhanwala, MD and CEO, SAMHI added, “With its excellent location, design, and a great service culture that the brand is known for, we are confident that Holiday Inn Express Chennai OMR Thoraipakkam will emerge as a popular choice amongst the business and leisure travellers alike.”    

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IndiGo to launch Bhopal-Hyderabad & Jabalpur-Hyderabad direct daily from January 2019

IndiGo has introduced direct daily flights between Bhopal-Hyderabad and Jabalpur-Hyderabad. In Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal and Jabalpur will be the second and third cities the airline will be flying to, after Indore. Additionally, the airline will also operate its fourth daily return flight between Hyderabad-Tirupati. All new services will commence effective January 2019. William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We are pleased to announce Bhopal and Jabalpur as our 65th and 66th destination effective January 2019. We will operate daily flights from Bhopal and Jabalpur to connect these cities with Hyderabad. We will also be introducing a fourth daily return flight between Hyderabad and Tirupati.” Boulter further added, “IndiGo will continue to expand its network to meet the requirements of both business and leisure travellers wherever they demand it. It is our constant endeavour to provide more flexibility of choice to our customers as IndiGo continues to offer them on-time, courteous and hassle-free service, and an affordable flying experience always.” The introduction of these flights will bring Bhopal and Jabalpur closer to other cities of India with all-inclusive fares starting from Rs 1999.

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TAAI and Yunnan sign MoU for tourism development

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Yunnan Provincial Department of Tourism and Culture on the second day of the ongoing 65th TAAI Annual Convention in Kunming, China. The objective was to promote tourism between India and Yunnan. Both the regions will work towards developing a framework for cooperation, acknowledging the success which resulted in the convention being organised in Yunnan province.

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Hilton launches ‘Namaste’ programme for Indian MiCE

Hilton has unveiled an exclusive  programme ‘Namaste’ for its Indian groups designed to deliver a tailored experience for those travelling from India to Europe. The programme caters to three major segments—destination weddings, meetings and incentives, and film shoots giving guests the confidence that Hilton will meet all their needs and expectations every time, no matter the occasion or destination. Fiona Robson, Senior Director— Sales Operations Europe, Hilton, said, “Huge population, rising incomes and improving infrastructure, among others offer a strong growth opportunity. India is one of the biggest growth markets, with Indians now preferring luxury and overseas stays with their improving financial status. Exceptional quality, impeccable service and always the warmest of welcomes, no one knows hospitality like Hilton. We pride ourselves in understanding the needs of our Indian guests and ensuring that we deliver a truly memorable stay; this precisely is the thinking behind ‘Namaste’, our uniquely designed programme for group travel.”

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VFS Global to provide visa services for the Netherlands in eight regions, including India

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has awarded VFS Global the global tender to provide visa services in eight out of nine regions worldwide. It will operate for the Netherlands government in Africa, North America, Central and South America, Asia and Pacific, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Western Europe, and India. VFS Global has worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 2006 and will provide Schengen visa services, Caribbean visa services, long-stay national visas, Dutch Travel Documents and Civic Integration Exams under the new contract. Chris Dix, Head—Business Development, VFS Global, said, “VFS Global is delighted that we will continue to serve the Netherlands Government. We have enjoyed a strong partnership with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs for well over a decade, and welcome this opportunity to enhance our service capabilities on their behalf. We look forward to opening our facilities in 40 new locations to offer Netherlands visa applicants best-in-class visa solutions and a seamless application process.” Since August 2018, VFS Global has signed visa service contracts with nine existing and new clients, and governments from Europe to extend their visa service network. This includes contracts to provide additional visa services for client governments such as Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia and The Czech Republic.

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Singapore observes robust tourist traffic from South India

Chennai and Bengaluru have been among the top source cities from South India for visitor arrivals from India to Singapore in 2017. Cities like Coimbatore, Trichy, Hyderabad and Kochi registered growth in traveller numbers to the city. The factors contributing to the strong visitorship numbers are the short three-plus hours’ travel time, increased direct flight connectivity of nine cities to the city and quick weekend holidays. In January 2018, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) organised a consumer-centric mall activity in Bengaluru, featuring the various travel offerings one can indulge in while in Singapore. In the middle of the year, it conducted, together with key trade partners from Singapore, an extensive travel trade roadshow series across Trichy, Coimbatore, Kochi and Visakhapatnam.

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Dream Cruises and Star Cruises appoint Travstarz Global Group as their PSA

Travstarz Global Group has announced their entry into cruises by partnering with Genting Cruise Lines as their new Preferred Sales Agent (PSA) for both Dream Cruises and Star Cruises. Announcing the development, Pankaj Nagpal, MD, Travstarz Global Group, said, “We had been eyeing the cruise business for some time now and are elated with our new partnership with Dream Cruises and Star Cruises. This completes our product portfolio as we will get cruises on our online reservation system in.rezb2b.com which already has flights, hotels, tours, transfers, insurance and visas. “Cruising is definitely picking up at a fast pace in India and we hope to see some robust numbers from our Cruise vertical as well. We already have Vani Singh with us who had been a part of Star Cruises in the past and will help drive this vertical, along with Ramanpreet Singh, our GM – Sales, in North and East India and Hema Manghnani leading the team in Mumbai for West and South India. I would specially like to thank Michael Goh,  Naresh Rawal and the entire Genting C ruise Lines team for their faith and trust in Travstarz and look forward to a long partnership”. Naresh Rawal, VP – Sales, GCL, said, ‘Travstarz is one of the fastest growing B2B company in India and we are very glad to have them onboard with us. We are sure that with their dedicated approach and a strong top leadership, this partnership will prove mutually beneficial for us. We assure our full support to Travstarz Team and wish them luck in this new endeavour.”

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TAAI Convention opens in Kunming, China with 500 attendees

Delegates at the 65th Travel Agents Association of India’s convention and exhibition were warmly welcomed in Kunming, China. The three-day convention highlighted the theme ‘Tourism Beyond Boundaries’ and hopes to further strengthen tourism ties between India and China. Located in the Yunnan province of China, Kunming is an ideal golf destination and the TAAI Convention started with a golf tournament with players participating from both the countries. Known for popularising unknown destinations, TAAI has brought Kunming on the tourism map.

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River cruise from Kolkata to Bangladesh and Northeast from March 2019

As cruise tourism gains momentum in India after a successful trial of cargo movement to Bangladesh via the inland waterways protocol route, a transboundary river cruise operation is expected to start from Kolkata in March next year through Sunderbans to Bangladesh first, and then towards the Northeast, a senior official said. SVK Reddy, Member, Inland Waterways Authority of India, during a seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in the city recently, said, “Bilateral secretary-level meetings between India and Bangladesh were held in October. It has been decided that one of the river cruise operators would be starting operations from March 2019 from Kolkata through Sunderbans via the protocol route to Bangladesh and then to northeast.” Abdus Samsah, Shipping Secretary, Bangladesh had earlier said that private players will be allowed to operate river cruise between the two countries, which will cover about 1,539 km. Both sides also agreed to allow private operators to run cruise to Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. Reddy also informed that night navigation facility has been installed up to the Indian border, while Bangladesh is expected to do the same. He said India has agreed to fund up to 80 per cent of the dredging cost in some identified stretches within Bangladesh in the Indo-Bangla protocol route to make it navigable.

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Now fly direct to Hong Kong on SpiceJet from Delhi

SpiceJet has launched a daily non-stop flight between Delhi and Hong Kong effective November 22, 2018. Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet said, “SpiceJet is delighted to announce the launch of our daily non-stop service from Delhi to Hong Kong. Hong Kong is SpiceJet’s eighth international destination and we are the only Indian budget carrier offering direct connectivity between India’s national capital and Hong Kong. “We are confident that the flight will be a big success with both business and leisure travellers as well as the Indian diaspora and student community in Hong Kong. Our convenient flight timings will ensure that our guests will have multiple options for connecting flights both in Delhi on SpiceJet’s vast domestic network and Hong Kong thus offering them a seamless connectivity.” The airline’s flight SG 31 will depart from Terminal 3 of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport at 10.45 pm (all local times) and will arrive in Hong Kong at 6:40 am the following day and the return flight SG 32 will depart at 7:40 am and reach Delhi at 10:50 am.

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