Category Archives: Agents

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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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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Uniglobe launches Impact 100 campaign for agencies

Uniglobe Travel South Asia has launched  its Impact 100 campaign, a unique programme which will help independent travel agencies survive in the ever-changing travel environment. The aim is to attract independent agencies that require a global brand and the benefits of being part of a franchise organisation to survive in today’s travel marketplace. “We have begun an aggressive campaign to help independent travel agencies prepare adequately for the new environment. We are reaching out to as many independent agencies as possible making them aware of our marketing tools, customer servicing systems and cost saving technologies”, said Ritika Modi, Regional President, Uniglobe Travel South Asia. “In discussions with independent agencies, we are highlighting the benefits of joining Uniglobe and the tools and programmes they receive as members. We feel strongly that being Uniglobe branded, having access to our preferred programmes and being part of a global network provides any agency with the best opportunity to be successful in today’s evolving marketplace,” noted Amanda J Close, Vice President, Global Operations & Regional Services, Uniglobe Travel International.    

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Trafalgar announces 100% definite departures on Italy and Ireland

In an effort to make an agent’s life easier, Trafalgar has announced 100 per cent definite departures for all 2018 Italy and Ireland trips in keeping with its ongoing commitment to its travel partners. Nicholas Lim, Trafalgar (Asia), said, “Italy and Ireland are popular with Asian travellers, especially with unique experiences like our exclusive after-hours VIP dining at The Vatican. At Trafalgar, we are wholly focused on always keeping agents first that adheres to our campaign #AgentsFirst, ensuring they are fully equipped to respond to customer demand and sell our guided holidays with confidence and ease.” Lim further expresses, “We are thrilled to be able to guarantee 100 per cent definite departures now on 44 trips including Italy and Ireland, in addition to all European Discoveries – with more to come. With a weakened US currency and early payment savings where customers can save 10 per cent if they book before Feb 28, 2018, now is definitely the best time to book a trip to Europe.” Trafalgar will announce more definite departures soon.

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FCM Travel Solutions’ ‘Flight Shop’ rebranded as ‘Travel Tours’

FCM Travel Solutions has consolidated and rebranded its travel retail and holiday brand – Flight Shop under a single leisure brand ‘Travel Tours’. Known for its range of customised travel offerings, post the consolidation, Travel Tours promises ‘unbeatable’ services both in pricing and quality to its customers across India. Four decades old, Travel Tours will now offer travel services ranging from leisure, corporate travel, MICE, visas, inbound to wholesale and foreign exchange pan India. Shravan Gupta, Executive Director – Leisure Businesses, FCM Travel Solutions, said, “Travel Tours has a strong brand equity and heritage in large parts of the country. Through the rebranding, our intention is to put our entire strength and expertise of both our brands – Flight Shop and Travel Tours under one. This move supports our journey of going from a flight seller to being an FIT specialist.” He further added, “We are taking a step further from being a regional powerhouse to being a national player of repute as we move forward. The foundation for our rebrand is firmly in place; we are primed and ready to become Travel Tours”. The rebranding of all the 25 Flight Shop and Travel Tours stores spread across 17 cities was completed on January 31, 2018.

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SOTC opens first-ever store offering VR experience in Bengaluru

SOTC Travel strengthens its presence in Bengaluru with the inauguration of its first-ever experiential store offering Virtual Reality (VR) experiences. SOTC created a first-of-its-kind customer experience zone where customers can be inspired by the different destinations through VR’s for real time experience of the key destinations that SOTC provides like New Zealand, South Africa and other destinations like Australia, Abu Dhabi, South Korea. The store at St. Marks Road comprises of a digital screen that features video itineraries of destinations and holiday experiences for the customer which could be viewed from an iPad. Speaking about the launch, Daniel D’souza, Head Sales, India and NRI Markets, SOTC Travel, said, “We believe customer experience is the key in making our business successful in this competitive and growing industry. It is extremely important for us to ensure that we keep delivering and enriching holiday experiences for our customers. Virtual Reality technology will allow us to know the clients’ needs before he even knows what he wants.” He further added, “The store is one of our efforts to reinvent the buying experience for our customers. Its strategic location offers convenience and accessibility. We ensure that we provide superior service to our customers by meeting their every expectation”.

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Yet no industry status for tourism: Subhash Goyal

Subhash Goyal, Hon. Secretary, FAITH, laments over the Government’s ignorance towards tourism trade’s demand for industry status. “While the government has taken many initiatives to boost business and infrastructure, we’ve got a mixed reaction from the trade on the Budget. Increasing the threshold limit for Corporate Tax from Rs. 50 crore to Rs. 250 crore is a welcome move as it will benefit SMEs. Building international airports around the country, offering Wi-Fi in trains and railway stations is a welcome move as well. Also, encouraging investment in sea plane activities would benefit tour operators in boosting coastal tourism,” he says. However, Goyal adds, “The government failed to meet two of or demands. One was to differentiate tour operators on the basis of FEEs under GST and another was GST to be reduced for five-star hotels from 28 per cent to 18 per cent. We are not happy about the government not giving tourism industry status.”

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No end to GST woes in Budget: PP Khanna

PP Khanna, President, ADTOI, said they had been looking forward to some GST relief in the Budget. “There has been no relief in GST in the Union Budget 2018-19, we had been looking forward to it. However, the budget offers some SOPs to tourism sector by announcing 10 prominent tourist sites to be developed into iconic ones and enhancing visitor experience in 110 Adarsh monuments under the ASI, with railways to have Wi-Fi and CCTV cameras on all trains and stations. Enhancement of sea plane activities and boosting aviation sector with the present 124 airports, the government plans to take this up five times to accommodate one billion trips per year. Focus on infrastructure, education, healthcare, creation of jobs has been highlighted in the budget, which is a good move.”

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Trade unhappy, no relief from double taxation: Pronab Sarkar

Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, expresses his discontent over the Union Budget 2018, saying there was nothing in it for tourism. “The Union Budget 2018 has nothing to offer to the tourism industry. We are not happy as there was no relief from double taxation in GST which was our major concern. Even after focusing on job creation, the government has ignored that tourism could be a major facilitator for job creation. Under GST Goods and services should be under the same purview. Since there is no respite from cascading taxation, India would remain a costlier destination than its neighbouring countries for tourists. The only positive is the focus on infrastructure, wherein they have introduced sea planes, 99 smart cities, 10 new destinations, enhanced experience at 110 Adarsh monuments, airport expansion, etc. Also, Corporate Tax of 25 per cent is extended to companies with turnover up to Rs. 250 crore in financial year 2016-17. Earlier, this was for companies with turnover of Rs. 50 crore. Even road and rail transport have got an increased budget. However, businesswise there is no change,” Sarkar said.

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Aviation, Heritage tourism benefit from an otherwise disappointing Budget 2018

The tourism and hospitality sectors had to listen intently to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget 2018 speech for a mention, which was made precisely three times. The Finance Minister proposed to develop 10 prominent tourist sites into ‘Iconic Tourism destinations’ by following a holistic approach involving infrastructure and skill development, development of technology, attracting private investment, branding and marketing. “To preserve and revitalise soul of the heritage cities in India, National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) has been taken up in a major way,” the minister said. In addition, to enhance visitor experience, tourist amenities at 100 Adarsh monuments of the Archaeological Survey of India will be upgraded. For promoting tourism and emergency medical care, Government will make necessary framework for encouraging investment in sea plane activities, Jaitley mentioned. The Minister noted that in the last three years, the domestic air passenger traffic grew at 18 per cent per annum and airline companies placed orders for more than 900 aircraft. Regional Connectivity Scheme of UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) initiated by the Government last year shall connect 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads across the country, he said, adding that operations have already started at 16 such airports. “We propose to expand our airport capacity more than five times to handle a billion trips a year under a new initiative – NABH Nirman,” he said. For the Railways sector, “We are in a process of eliminating unmanned railway crossings. All railway stations having more than 25,000 footfall will have escalators. We are also working to provide Wi-Fi and CCTV Cameras on all trains and stations,” Jaitley said. Redevelopment of 600 major railway stations has been …

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