Tourism Breaking News

Over 19k participants attend 3rd Start-up Expo in Delhi

Co-hosted by Lufthansa India and the Delhi-NCR chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), the third edition of Start-up Expo held in Delhi witnessed over 19,000 delegates from various cities across India, including 100 investors, over 100 recognised business experts and nearly 500 start-up exhibitors. The single-day event also hosted the grand finale of the first season of ‘Elevator Pitch’ contest, launched in August by Lufthansa. Manasi Kulkarni, Co-Founder, Innoweave Biocare, emerged as the winner by outshining over 500 contestants. Making a sharp 3-minute pitch and displaying sharp business acumen, Kulkarni won the prize of sponsored seat at a global entrepreneurship programme at the prestigious Cambridge University in the UK, a Lufthansa business-class ticket to Europe as well as coveted mentorship from TiE Delhi-NCR. Wolfgang Will, Senior Director – South Asia, Lufthansa, said, “The overwhelming response to Start-up Expo has led to its exponential growth over the past three years into what is today India’s largest ecosystem for start-up success. It is also an affirmation of the fact that young entrepreneurs in India are chasing new dreams, exploring new possibilities and we feel absolutely privileged to enable them in taking the leap from dreams to reality.” Geetika Dayal, Executive Director, TiE Delhi-NCR, said, “Start-up Expo is an important catalyst in the entrepreneurial revolution in India. Together with Lufthansa, we are proud to have created this platform for driving start-up success in India.”

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Thomas Cook India enters travel tech space, announces investment in Ithaka

Thomas Cook India has approved the acquisition of a 24 per cent strategic stake in TravelJunkie Solutions, a Mumbai-based travel tech start-up via its wholly owned subsidiary TC Tours. TravelJunkie Solutions developed Ithaka – a chat-based mobile application serving FIT (Free Individual Travellers) customers by recommending authentic local experiences for different destinations and helping them plan their trip and book hotels and flights. Ithaka’s app-based service offers users a combination of cutting-edge automation via AI/ML-based technology and the farmed collective expertise of well-travelled individuals. It currently serves travellers across various international destinations and plans to expand rapidly over the next 18-24 months with the support of Thomas Cook India. Speaking on the occasion, Madhavan Menon, Chairman, Thomas Cook India Group, said, “We are excited with this strategic investment that also marks our first investment in the exciting travel tech space. Ithaka is a perfect marriage of cutting-edge technology and human expertise delivered in a user-friendly mobile chat format. For Thomas Cook, the partnership with Ithaka creates a new channel that reaches and serves millennials, while for Ithaka, the partnership delivers an end-to-end, bookable experience.”

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India ranks 3 in WTTC Travel & Tourism Power and Performance ranking

India has been ranked at the third place in WTTC’s new Power and Performance report, which looks at the performance of 185 countries over the last seven-year period (2011-2017) – after the financial crisis ended and when most countries commenced their journeys to recovery. At the first position in this list of Top 30 is China followed by USA. The countries have been ranked using WTTC’s annual economic impact data across four main indicators— total contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), visitor exports (international tourism spend), domestic spending and capital investment. Countries were ranked in terms of absolute size of growth and speed of growth to create two separate types of rankings – power and performance rankings. China took the first place, driven by the strongest absolute growth out of all countries in three indicators – GDP growth, domestic spending and investment growth. The USA (with the largest total Travel & Tourism GDP) and India comfortably took the second and third place. Mexico, a well-established Travel & Tourism economy, came fourth, driven by a strong performance across all four indicators.

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SpiceJet records highest PLF in August’ 18

The data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) revealed that SpiceJet recorded highest Passenger Load Factor among all scheduled domestic operators in India. The airline’s PLF for August 2018 was 93.6 per cent, followed by Go air and IndiGo with a PLF of 84.6 and 82.8 per cent respectively. DGCA comes out with a monthly performance of domestic airlines, which is based on traffic data submitted by various domestic airlines. The data also revealed that passengers carried by domestic airlines during Jan-Aug 2018 were 913.95 lakhs as against 754.11 lakhs during the corresponding period of previous year thereby registering a growth of 21.20 per cent.

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High disposable income driving India’s domestic travel

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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IFTM Top Resa 2019 from October 1-4

The 2018 edition of IFTM Top Resa recorded an increase of 4.83 per cent over last year with the participation of 34.048 professionals. Next year, the prestigious event will be held from October 1-4, 2019 at Pavilion 1, Porte de Versailles. Every year, the show continues to develop its offer to propose more transversality, along with a favourable response to the expectations of the industry professionals.

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123-room Sarovar hotel to open in Somaliland, Africa

Sarovar Hotels and Resorts has announced its plans to open a hotel in Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland, which is a growing economy in East Africa. Ajay K Bakaya, Managing Director, Sarovar Hotels Pvt. Ltd. says, “In order to maximize further growth opportunities in Africa, we are delighted to announce another milestone in Sarovar’s expansion plan. This hotel is located in one of the prime locations of Somaliland close to the getaway port of Berbera and has good connectivity from Hargeisa Egal international airport as well for travellers to the country. Having successfully operated hotels in other countries of Africa, we now look forward to provide our signature hospitality in this growing country as well”. The hotel is very near to Somaliland’s Port of Berbera. There are plans for the port to be upgraded, the country’s commercial hub. Owned by Upper Hill Hotel, Sarovar Premiere Hargeisa, upon completion in 2020 will have a total of 123 rooms and suites; conferencing & meeting, an all-day dining restaurant and a swimming pool.

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TTAUP’s 2nd travel mart records 300 attendees

The Travel Trade Association of Uttar Pradesh (TTAUP) organised the second edition of Travel Trade Mart (TTM) 2018 at Hyatt Regency, Lucknow. Around 161 travel trade professionals from Lucknow, 22 from Kanpur, 18 from Varanasi, 44 from across UP and 85 metro cities attended the event. As many as 36 exhibitors showcased their products to travel agents and tour operators of UP. The exhibitors encompassed all segments of tourism and hospitality. Awanish Kumar Avasthi (IAS), Additional Chief Secretary and Director General, Department of Tourism, Government of Uttar Pradesh, inaugurated the mart. In his address, he said, “These regional travel trade shows are integral to the overall growth of the tourism sector in the state of Uttar Pradesh and should be organised more often.” Vivek Pandey, Pesident, TTAUP along with other office bearers of the association welcomed the chief guest and travel tradae partners from across the country.

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Expect flight disruptions as Delhi, Mumbai airports gear up for runway repair

Delhi and Mumbai airports are set to close their runways for maintenance at different periods starting next month. IGIA’s one of the runways will be closed for repair work for 13 days starting November 15. Mumbai airport in will remain shut for six hours thrice a week between February 7, 2019 and end of March. “The works are scheduled to be undertaken for 13-day duration starting from November 15, 2018. This will lower the capacity of IGI Airport by 50 arrivals and 50 departures per day in this duration,” a DIAL spokesperson said. The spokesperson also said these works are essential for safe aircraft operations and to avoid sudden disruptions that cause greater impact due to time required for planning the logistics. Mumbai airport will also undertake runway maintenance and repair in two phases between October and March, a move that is likely to affect as many as 300 flights per day during the period. Due to the work, both the runways– 09/27 and 14/32– will remain shut for operations between 11 am and 5 pm on October 23, a spokesperson said. In the second phase, the maintenance and repair work on the intersection will be carried out between February 7 and March 30 (except on March 21) from 11 am to 5 pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  

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Soon, travellers can enter Indian airports through facial recognition: MoCA

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu has released the policy on biometric-based digital processing of passengers at airports called Digi Yatra. He said that the Ministry has taken the initiative to ensure uniform implementation and passenger experience across Indian airports through a connected ecosystem. He said, a technical working committee with members from airport operators, airlines and industry, has been formed for development of standards. The DigiYatra Central Platform will be operational by end of February, 2019. Bangalore and Hyderabad International Airports will be ready with pilot implementation by end of February, 2019. Airport Authority of India (AAI) intends to roll out the programme initially at Kolkata, Varanasi, Pune and Vijayawada by April 2019. Elaborating on the contours of Digi Yatra, Minister of State of Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha said, “It is a facial recognition based passenger processing which is a common standard being adopted the world over to provide a seamless experience right from the entry to the airport upto boarding the aircraft. Under the Digi Yatra, passenger can get a Digi Yatra ID by sharing minimum details like name, e-mail ID, mobile number and details of one approved identity proof where Aadhar ID is not mandatory. This DigiYatra ID will be shared by passengers while booking ticket. Airlines will share the passenger data and DigiYatraID with the departure airport”, he said.

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