Tag Archives: Director

Israel opens Visa Application Centre in Kolkata

In an effort to encourage more Indian travellers to visit Israel, the Embassy of Israel in India has opened a Kolkata Israel Visa Application Centre for West Bengal and Northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. Additionally, visa applications in jurisdiction under the New Delhi centre are also acceptable at the new Kolkata Centre. The visa application categories include B1 for employment, B2 for business, tourism, meeting or conference and A2 for students. Commenting on the new opening, Hassan Madah, Director, Israel Ministry of Tourism – India & Philippines said, “Israel is experiencing a tourism boom like never before. India has recorded a half yearly growth of 82% as compared to the same period in 2015 and has become one of the best performing markets in Asia for Israel. The new centre in Kolkata will no longer require residents from West Bengal and Northeastern states to send in their documents to the Embassy in New Delhi.” Among other initiatives, Israel recently announced a reduction in visa fees to Rs 1,100 from its previous Rs 1,700 charge for Indian citizens. In December last year, relaxed visa documentation was brought in for applicants who have availed visas of Schengen countries, US, Canada, Australia or Israel and have completed their travel to these destinations. Madah added, “The Ministry of Tourism will be conducting a roadshow in Kolkata on August 29 to increase interest for the destination among consumers and trade fraternity.”

Read More »

IHG signs deal for four Holiday Inn hotels to develop Buddhist Circuit

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed a management agreement with Lotus Trans Travel to establish a four hotel portfolio under the Holiday Inn banner. Slated to open between 2020 and 2023, Holiday Inn Bodhgaya, Holiday Inn Kushinagar, Holiday Inn Gorakhpur and Holiday Inn Shravasti together will add over 450 rooms to IHG’s system and establish the company’s presence at the Buddhist tourism circuit. As a part of the agreement, Holiday Inn hotels in Bodhgaya, Kushinagar and Shravasti will be refurbished and upgraded to ensure the portfolio is fully representative of the Holiday Inn brand globally. Holiday Inn Gorakhpur will be will be a new build hotel. Bodhgaya in Bihar, Gorakhpur, Shravasti and Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh are some of the main pilgrimage centres for Buddhism in India and together form a part of ‘The Buddhist Circuit’ in the country that drives a great deal of religious visitors and international travellers to these states. Sudeep Jain, Vice President—Development, South West Asia, IHG said, “We are excited to be collaborating with Lotus Trans Travel, who have a strong presence and a deep market understanding of Buddhist destinations in India. This signing adds to the rapidly growing presence of our well-recognised Holiday Inn brand across the country.” Karan Rai, Director, Lotus Trans Travel, added, “We feel there is a need for quality branded accommodation in cities with immense travel potential such as Bodhgaya, Kushinagar, Gorakhpur and Shravasti, and are delighted to be partnering with IHG for our business in these markets.”

Read More »

UK records 35 per cent growth in Indian arrivals in 2017

The latest official figures from VisitBritain record 562,000 visits from India to the UK in 2017, up 35 per cent on the previous year, with Indian travellers spending a record £454 million in the UK last year, an increase of 5 per cent on 2016. Tricia Warwick, Director – Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, VisitBritain, said “India is a very important market for VisitBritain and it is fantastic that more people than ever are travelling and enjoying experiences that you can only have in Britain, from the exciting and contemporary culture to innovations in food and drink, from exploring the stunning countryside to the vibrancy of its cool cities.” “Britain is offering great value for visitors from India and we are working hard with partners including tour operators and airlines to make it easier to book and explore more of the country, inspiring more visitors to travel right now,” she said. VisitBritain is also inspiring visitors from India to put the UK at the top of the list as their must-visit destination through its ‘Find Your GREAT Britain, I Travel For…’ digital campaign launched earlier this year.  

Read More »

Princess Cruises unveils more stand-out features for Sky Princess

Princess Cruises has unveiled new details revealing features onboard its new ship Sky Princess, including a first look at its first-ever Sky Suites. The accommodations are centrally located on the top decks of Sky Princess and feature the largest private balconies ever offered by the line. Measuring 700 square feet, the balconies will provide a private vantage of the ship’s Movie under the Stars screen and create the ultimate space for entertaining. The two suites will also offer a 270-degree panorama and have sleeping capacity for five guests, and more for entertaining — making them ideal for families. “Our two new Sky Suites reflect Princess Cruises’ continued commitment to offer new and expansive accommodations that meet the needs of our guests who wish to explore the world in ultimate comfort,” said Jan Swartz, President, Princess Cruises. She also added that Princess Cruises’ guests could look forward to the roll-out of more new features as the cruise line’s fleet expanded debuting in the Mediterranean in October 2019. The 143,700-ton Sky Princess will include the best of the stunning features found on its three sister ships as well as new offerings that represent an evolution of the current ships’ designs. In addition to the Wake view pool, Sky Princess guests will enjoy two new deep-tank top deck pools, a restorative Retreat Pool, and more jacuzzis than previous Royal-Class ships including two jacuzzis cantilevered over the deep-tank pools. Nishith Saxena, Founder & Director, Cruise Professionals, shared, “Princess Cruises has always been in the forefront of meaningful innovations which enhance customer experience and it is great to see innovations like Ocean Medallions & Sky Suites which are changing the way high-end clients perceive cruising.

Read More »

Kayak launches Hotel Travel Report, highlights preferences of travellers

Taking a deep dive into the hotel searching habits and preferences of Indian travellers, travel search engine Kayak has launched its first Hotel Travel Report. The report highlights the most popular month and best combinations for booking hotels, as well as the most popular destinations for Indians, both for short breaks and longer holidays. The report also revealed that Thursday is the most popular weekday to search for a hotel destination among Indians. Abhijit Mishra, Director of India and Middle East, Kayak said, “While travelling, factors such as the destination and flight prices are extremely important. Equally, the choice of travel accommodation plays a crucial role in determining the holiday experience. A great hotel can be the saving grace of a disappointing holiday, while a bad one can ruin an entire trip.”  

Read More »

Linkin Reps appointed as PR & Media representative for Turkey in India

Adding one more feather to its cap, Linkin Reps recently bagged the media representation account for Turkish Culture and Tourism Office in India. Linkin Reps, through a well thought strategy and year-long media plan, will work towards highlighting Turkey as a destination for Indian travellers, ease of travelling, cultural affinity and present its lesser known destinations to the Indian audience. Promoting Turkey as a complete tourism destination will be the prime focus of Linkin Reps during its tenure. The decision was driven by Turkey’s growing outbound demand, witnessed in the steady rise in visitation from India, along with rises in the length of stay and spending power of Indian travellers. Speaking after the announcement, H Deniz Ersöz, Culture & Tourism Counsellor, Turkish Culture and Tourism Office in India, said, “Our partnership with Linkin Reps will further strengthen our outreach and presence in the country. We have a very interesting calendar planned out for the year which will be executed in partnership with Linkin. We are aiming at increasing the outbound travel from India to Turkey and invite more of Indian travellers to experience the rich culture and beauty of the Republic of Turkey.” Commenting on the appointment, Komal Seth, Director, Linkin Reps said, “With a series of campaigns planned, we will strengthen Turkey’s positioning as the first choice of destination for tourists from India.” Turkey is the home of unique nature, culture’ and deep-rooted historical and religious prestige, which reflects in its 18 world heritage sites, recognised by UNESCO.

Read More »

Travstarz Global Group opens Mumbai office

Travstarz Global Group has recently opened its Mumbai Regional Office. Speaking on the development, Pankaj Nagpal, Managing Director, Travstarz Global Group, added, “We already had presence in Mumbai with our sales team, but we have now opened our full-fledged office with our Sales and Operations teams to be based in Mumbai to look after the entire West India region catering to Gujarat, Maharashtra and even MP. The team will be led by Hema Manghnani, Executive Director of the company based in Mumbai. The team size will be around 15 for the time being in addition to the sales teams at various locations”. Hema Manghnani said “We expect a huge surge in business from the Western Region after the opening of our office and with our operations team stationed here as local presence and local language speaking team makes a big difference.” Sucheta Nagpal, Director & CEO, Travstarz Global Group, also announced the start of their DMC operations for Egypt. “As per our expansion strategy, we have been making strategic investments overseas and Egypt is our latest addition for our DMC operations. With our own fleet of vehicles, we are contracted with all major hotels in Egypt.” He added    

Read More »

Social media is the biggest source for international wedding business

According to a Travel Wedding Show survey on how to generate business for weddings, 43 per cent of the business gets generated through social media; so the more one is on social media, he will get enquiries for international weddings, 25 per cent is by search engines. 13 per cent by referrals and rest is by other sources. In India, 50 per cent of the business gets generated through referrals; 20 per cent from social media; 15 per cent through search engine and 15 per cent from other sources. “Destination wedding for the next five years will be the biggest thing. Weddings are big business, and everyone wants a piece of the pie. If as wedding planners we have to survive, we need to go out, to different cities and destinations and procure more business. Indian and international destination weddings will remain, the next business thing,” says Rajeev Jain, Founder and Director, Rashi Entertainment.

Read More »

Hurtigruten celebrates 125 years of exploration by banning plastic

Building on 125 years of Norwegian pioneering heritage, Hurtigruten marked its anniversary by banning single use plastic and throwing the world’s longest plastic free birthday party, extending over 11,000 nautical miles, from Seattle in the west and Hong Kong in the east, to Svalbard in the High North, and along the Norwegian coast. The birthday was celebrated in Hurtigruten ports, destinations, ships and offices, without use of any single use plastic items. “The initiative to ban single use plastic needs to be applauded as this signifies that there are businesses which are conscious of their surroundings and would do all possible to minimise the damage to the environment. Very recently, we have heard that Maharashtra is the first state in India to ban single use plastic – if similar initiatives could also be taken in other cities as well then our cities would not choke on plastic and be more liveable, said Nishith Saxena, Director, Cruise Professionals – the sole GSA for Hurtigruten in India.

Read More »

Ethiopia launches e-visa service for all international visitors

The Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs Main Department in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines has recently launched an e-visa service for all international visitors to Ethiopia. The e-visa is processed and issued online on a single webpage where applicants apply, pay and secure their entry visa online. Once the application is approved, applicants will receive an email authorising them to travel to Ethiopia and they will get their passport stamped with the visa upon arrival in Addis Ababa. Regarding the newly revamped service, Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO, Ethiopian Airlines remarked, “Ethiopia, the oldest independent civilisation in Africa and one of the oldest in the world, is endowed with historical places, natural beauty, colourful and diverse cultural activities and various endemic wild animals which are of great interest to international tourists. However, we have not made best use of these natural resources to attract large number of tourists. To this effect, this project is part of a new national initiative to transform the tourism sector in the country.” Gebreyohannes Teklu, Director – Main Department for Immigration & Nationality Affairs commented, “We are glad that we have been working together with Ethiopian Airlines for the effective implementation of e-visa facilities at Bole International Airport. Now international visitors to Ethiopia, from any country in the world will make use of this service.”

Read More »