Tag Archives: Australia

Bleisure gaining popularity: FCM

‘Bleisure’ – the blend of business and leisure travel – is rising in popularity, with growing uptake among urban Indians, says FCM Travel Solutions’ latest findings of their global survey on Bleisure Travel. The report titled ‘Bleisure Report, India’ reveals that an increasing number of professionals in India are now extending their business trips for leisure, increasingly blurring the lines between business and leisure travel. Bleisure travel has recently become an unconventional employee perk in India with 65.5 per cent of respondents saying their employer allowed them to add leisure travel onto business trips. While Bleisure becomes a mainstream trend in the rest of the world, 27.6 per cent of Indian respondents say that their companies do not permit them to combine personal travel with their business trips, which is the highest among all countries. Speaking on the findings, Rakshit Desai, Managing Director, FCM Travel Solutions, Indian subsidiary of FCTG, Australia said, “Business travel has always been restricted and policy driven. While leisure travel, particularly outbound, has been niche with very low penetration. However, the survey has unlocked a remarkable trend called Bleisure. It is interesting to note that the lines between corporate and leisure travel are increasingly blurring. It would have looked very different, had we looked at this picture three or five years ago. There has been a significant change in the behaviour of corporate travel, since then.” Surveyed millennials (25-34 years old) had the highest appreciation for bleisure travel. They were also the most likely group to extend a business trip with colleagues (25 per cent), while 50 per cent of the respondents in age group of 50, would use the opportunity to travel with a family …

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Greece’s Sky Express appoints Aviareps as its GSA

Aviareps has been appointed by Sky Express to represent the Greek domestic airline as its General Sales Agent (GSA) in eight markets around the world including Australia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. The appointment, made with immediate effect, is the result of the airline’s initiative to expand its sales and marketing outreach internationally to travellers and travel industry leaders in key strategic markets. Operating out of its three domestic hubs of Athens, Thessaloniki and Heraklion in Crete, Sky Express connects travellers to 29 major tourist, cultural and business centres throughout Greece including Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Milos, Paros, Naxos, Kos, Mytilene, Ikaria, Zakynthos Kythira, Chios, Karpathos, Syros and Skyros to name a few. The fleet, which consists mainly of ATR aircrafts, is available for scheduled and charter flights, for individual passengers or groups. All Sky Express passengers departing from Athens or Thessaloniki are also provided free access to Business Lounge facilities.

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Peru exempts visa for short-stay visitors from India

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Peru, has decided to exempt the requirement of business and tourist visas to certain Indian citizens whose duration of stay is up to 180 days as maximum, whether continuous stay or various visits during the period of one year. The stay will be determined in the port of entry by the Immigration Officers. These rules have been effective since March 27, 2017. Others who are also exempted from visa include holders of valid visa of USA, UK, Canada, Australia or Schengen countries, with a validity of at least six months (excluding transit visas), and those who are permanent residents, accredited with the document of permit (Green Card) in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia or Schengen space countries.

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Flight Centre opens first Flight Shop store in Surat

Flight Shop, the leisure brand of Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), Australia, in India opened its first retail store in Surat and second franchise outlet after Hyderabad. With the launch of this store, FCTG, Australia now has 17 operational Flight Shop stores across India. Spread over 1100 sq. ft., the Flight Shop outlet in Surat is based in VIP High Street, and will cater to the needs of up market urban consumers – families, business travellers, honeymoon couples and groups of travellers. Shravan Gupta, Executive Director – Leisure Businesses, FCM Travel Solutions India (the Indian arm of Flight Centre Travel Group, Australia) said, “Over the last few years, Surat has grown to become one of the fastest developing cities in the country with constantly rising travel demands of two to three trips in a year per household. As an affluent market driven by diamond and textile merchants, Surat is one of the highest contributors to the GDP amongst other emerging metros such as – Jaipur, Vishakhapatnam and Lucknow.” Flight Shop stores are spread across Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi and via a combination of owned branches and newly opened franchise outlets. FCTG, Australia plans to open 50 more Flight Shop stores across the country in the next two to three years.

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FCM receives Authorised Dealer Category II license from RBI

FCM Travel Solutions, the Indian subsidiary of Flight Centre Travel Group, Australia, can now undertake various permissible outward remittance activities for travellers across segments(leisure travel, business travel, medical treatment, education, emigration and employment).The upgrade comes into effect post receiving the Authorised Dealer Category II (AD-II) license, as granted by the Reserve Bank of India. In addition, FCM Travel Solutions will be able to release/ sell foreign currency in form of multi-currency prepaid travel cards, currency notes and Travellers Cheques for visas, emigration and emigration consultancy fees, employment and processing, assessment fees for overseas job applications, students who intend to study overseas or seek to apply for proficiency examinations, international film shootings and medical treatments abroad. Gagan Malhotra, National Head, Foreign Exchange at FCM Travel Solutions India Pvt. Ltd. said, “We are pleased to be a part of the few AD-II license holders in the travel fraternity. The elevation not just widens the scope of availability of foreign exchange through different channels but also makes the pre-trip process more convenient and hassle-free for our customers. It will also help us seek better currency rates.”

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Jet eases student travel for new academic year

Jet Airways has expanded the scope of its popular eduJetter programme for upcoming 2017-18 academic year. The revised program will make it easier for Indian students and those from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal – holding confirmed admissions for studying at universities/ institutions in Australia, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom, and the USA, to commence their new academic journey. Effective this year, privileges include special baggage allowance of up to 69 kg, free SIM cards (with exclusive calling rates), and through baggage check-in up to the final destination. Participating students also receive a free ISIC Forex Card  that offers easy and safe access to foreign exchange besides enjoying a five per cent discount on JetEscapes Holidays. Jet Airways has also simplified the entire process of eduJetter application and booking, as part of widening the appeal of the programme. The new, automatic application process is user-friendly and allows students to apply in three steps – book a flight ticket, visit the EduJetter page on the Jet Airways website to fill an online request form. The student then receives  an updated ticket from the airline with applicable eduJetter benefits within 72 hours. Commenting on the programme and its enhancements, Jayaraj Shanmugam, Chief Commercial Officer, Jet Airways said, “Jet Airways  has always endeavored to provide exceptional value to guests by way of special programmes and partnerships. EduJetter is one such initiative that offers tremendous value to the student community travelling abroad for higher education from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal, in the form of a bouquet of services that have been specially created by anticipating their needs at this significant moment in their life.”

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AirAsia’s inaugural Kuala Lumpur-Bhubaneswar flight to land on Apr 26

AirAsia Berhad’s inaugural flight AK 31 connecting Kuala Lumpur to Bhubaneswar will arrive at Biju Patnaik International Airport on the night of April 26. It is the first international airline to operate to and from Bhubaneswar. The four-times weekly flight is estimated to take off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 22:10 hours and is expected to land in Bhubaneswar at 23:25 hours on April 26. Aireen Omar, CEO, AirAsia, and Tourism Malaysia Director General will be travelling to Bhubaneswar on the flight, which will be received with a traditional water salute upon welcome. The airline has received tremendous support from the Odisha Government and Odisha Tourism in particular. The airline will connect Bhubaneswar and Odisha to 120 AirAsia destinations in the Asia Pacific covering South East Asia China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

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Singapore Airlines & SilkAir sign codeshare with Air France-KLM

Singapore Airlines (SIA) and its regional subsidiary SilkAir have signed a codeshare agreement with Air France-KLM, which would come into effect from April 27, 2017. According to an official statement, under the agreement, Singapore Airlines will add its ‘SQ’ designator code to Air France-operated flights beyond Paris to 10 destinations – Aberdeen, Bordeaux, Edinburgh, Lisbon, Lyon, Madrid, Marseille, Newcastle, Nice and Toulouse. On the other hand, Air France will add its ‘AF’ designator code to Singapore Airlines-operated flights beyond Singapore to Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, as well as on SilkAir-operated flights to Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia, and Phuket in Thailand. Both the airlines would later discuss opportunities to expand the code-share to other airlines within their respective groups. The agreement is intended to provide customers more options and seamless connectivity when travelling between Australia, Southeast Asia and Europe. The airlines will also explore the possibility for Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer and Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue members to earn and redeem miles when travelling on the code-share flight segments

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250,000 Indians visited Australia in 2016

Travellers from India continue to be enticed by the diverse attractions and stunning tourism experiences on offer in Australia. In 2015, the destination achieved a milestone when it welcomed over 200,000 Indian travellers during the year. Adding another feather to it’s cap, Australia has now notched an impressive 253,100 arrivals from India as of year ended (YE) October 2016. This number reflected a growth of 11.3 per cent vis-a-vis the same period last year, making India the ninth largest inbound market for arrivals to Australia. The month of October 2016 alone saw 20,400 Indian arrivals to the destination, an impressive growth of 24 per cent over the same period in 2015. Most importantly, the holiday purpose of visit have driven the overall market growth with an impressive 20 per cent and 19 per cent increase in arrivals and spend respectively. Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager, India & Gulf, Tourism Australia, said, “Marketing activities, in collaboration with key distribution and airline partners, an increased thrust on digital initiatives, integration on leading television shows, and improved air connectivity between the two countries, have been key factors in boosting travel to Australia.” The Tourism Forecasting Committee (TFC) has predicted 265,000 visitors from India for the Jul 2016 – Jun 17 period, a 9.6 per cent increase over 2015-16. Arrivals from India are expected to perform well with an average annual financial year growth rate of 6.4 per cent through to the financial year 2021-22.

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Tourism Ireland hosts fam for Indian tour operators

The island of Ireland hosted the second annual Ireland Specialists Mega Fam trip from 21 August 21 to August 26, for 12 top-performing agents from six markets that included Australia, China, India, GCC, South Africa and New Zealand. From India Thomas Cook and Vacations Exotica participated in this fam. They travelled to Ireland and battle it out in daily challenges to be crowned the 2016 Emerald Ireland Specialist 2015. The challenges included photo challenges, food challenges and sporting challenges as well as a competitive, high-tech treasure hunt around Dublin City. As well as competing for the title, the agents experienced many of the key visitor attractions. Over 11,000 agents across the world have signed up for the programme since launching in 2013.

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