Tag Archives: India

Israel eases visa process for Indian tourists

With an aim to encourage Indian travellers to visit Israel, the country has simplified the visa application procedure for Indian citizens. The relaxed visa rule involves less documentation for Indians who have availed visas of Schengen countries, US, Canada, Australia or Israel and have completed their travel to these countries.  For these travellers, the documents include a valid passport, completed visa application form, two photographs, cover letter with travel information, traveller’s insurance and passport copy. Hassan Madah – Director of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, India, says, “Easing the visa requirements will not only make the application process faster but will also increase travel to Israel as well. We are also working on an express service with VFS which will be introduced soon. In addition to this, we are working towards e-visa processing as well as easing the group visa process.” In September this year, one year multiple entry visas for business travellers was introduced. Visa processing is available through VFS processing centres located all over India for the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai and Bengaluru as well as the Embassy of Israel in Delhi.

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SWISS celebrates 10 years of Delhi-Zurich route

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS), part of the Lufthansa Group, completed 10 years of operations on the Delhi – Zurich route. To celebrate this milestone, SWISS hosted a special walk titled ‘The Delhi Seductress’ featuring Mehrauli Archeological Park on December 17, 2017. The walk explored the by-lanes of Mehrauli, its multi-faceted history and architecture through visits to mausoleums, step wells as well as several other structures modified during its history. SWISS and experts from Darwesh – a travel and culture studio jointly led the event. Paurus Nekoo, General Manager Sales, India, Lufthansa Group, on behalf of SWISS said, “We are proud to add another milestone to our history with India. As an airline deeply rooted in tradition and culture, we are delighted to celebrate this occasion with a unique activity that pays tribute to Delhi’s rich cultural heritage.” Nekoo adds, “India is a key market for SWISS and over the years, we have constantly innovated to elevate travel experience for passengers to and from India. From special meals, Indian flight attendants to Bollywood movies onboard, we are committed to deepen our connect with our customers by extending the very best of Swiss warmth and hospitality onboard.”

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GNTO launches training programme for travel trade

The German National Tourist Office (GNTO), India launched its online destination training programme in India on December 14, via an online webinar attended by over 450 operators. The step comes in the light of the increasing number of Indian visitors to Germany and a request from the travel fraternity for a training module on the destination. The online programme would provide Indian tour operators and travel agents with an in-depth knowledge required to market the destination persuasively to their clients. Romit Theophilus, Director Sales and Marketing, GNTO, India said, “Over the years, we have repeatedly received requests from our trade partners to start an online training programe, which could be referred to by them whilst planning itineraries and travel programmes for their clients; hence the launch of www.germanyspecialist.com. The program consists of four informative modules: Module 1 – Introduction to Germany, Module 2 – Discover the German Federal States/ Regions; Module 3 – Theme-based Travel and Module 4 – Special Scenic Routes. We expect this module to serve as a one-stop shop for all the operators’ queries on destination Germany.”

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Vietnam extends e-visa scheme to India

Vietnam has expanded its e-visa scheme to cover visitors from six more countries, including major tourism markets like Australia and India, taking the total number of countries now to 46. Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the UAE are the other four. Vietnam began allowing tourists from 40 countries to apply for e-visas last February, with China, Japan, South Korea, the US, the UK, Germany and Sweden — all major target markets for its tourism sector, among the 40. Of the six new additions, Australians are the seventh biggest group of foreign arrivals and among the top spenders. Visitors can apply online for a 30-day, single-entry visa by paying a non-refundable application fee. It will take applicants three working days to find out if their visa applications have been approved. Visitors with e-visas can enter through eight international airports, 13 international border gates on land or seven ports. Source: Vietnam News  

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Switzerland Tourism conducts five-city trade show in India

Switzerland Tourism, in an effort to catalyse tourism development across India, has introduced several new attractions, experiences and activities for both popular and lesser known destinations in Switzerland. The recently conducted annual roadshow in India across cities of Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Delhi witnessed over 900 participants from the travel and tourism trade industry. A special B2B session was held in each city allowing the Indian travel agents to meet and discusses business prospects with the Swiss delegations. Claudio Zemp, Director – India, Switzerland Tourism, said, “This year has been a remarkable year for Switzerland Tourism with Ranveer Singh coming on board and promoting the destination with his charm, unmatched energy and fun personality which thoroughly matches the image Switzerland Tourism wanted to portray. In terms of growth from India, we had a fantastic year with a year to date growth of 25.1 per cent more overnights. We are thankful to our partners for their continued support and we hope that we welcome more tourists for the upcoming season.” Ritu Sharma, Deputy Director, Switzerland Tourism, India, says, “In the past few years, Switzerland tourism has upped the ante to attract more tourists from India. Apart from the key metros, we are also penetrating into Tier I & II cities by conducting training sessions in these markets to ensure that the travel trade is well equipped to answer queries relating to our offerings.” ­­­­­­

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Air Astana plans to start Mumbai flights from 2019

Having completed 13 years of service between India to Kazakhstan and Eurasia, Air Astana plans to start a new connection to Mumbai in 2019. Currently, the airline operates 10 flights a week between Kazakhstan and India. This includes a daily service between Almaty and New Delhi and three flights between Astana and New Delhi, which started in July this year. Peter Foster, President and Chief Executive Officer, Air Astana, said, “India is an important destination for Air Astana and has connected both business and leisure passengers well between both the countries. The number of passengers carried between India and Kazakhstan in 2017 is 43,459, an increase of 43 per cent as compared to that in 2016. In fact, the number of transit passengers travelling from New Delhi via Almaty to other international destinations grew by 33 per cent in 2016.”

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Finnair to open new route to Goa from Nov 1

Finnair is poised to enter the largest expansion in its history during the upcoming winter season with new routes opening to 20 intercontinental destinations including India, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Lapland. Finnair is opening new routes to Goa from November 1, 2017; to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on November 5; to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic on November 30 and to Havana, Cuba on December 1. Juha Järvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Finnair says, “This winter, we are entering the biggest expansion phase in our airline’s 94-year history. We are opening several new destinations, expanding our network and fleet including our eleven Airbus A350s, adding capacity to Finnish Lapland and taking important strides in our customer experience. It’s a very exciting time to fly Finnair.” Finnair currently flies six weekly to Delhi, two weekly to Goa, and 16 weekly to Bangkok, among other Asian destinations. Due to the continued increase in demand for Lapland as a tourist destination, Finnair is also heavily expanding its capacity to several Lapland airports for the upcoming winter season. The airline is increasing its capacity to Lapland by over 20 per cent. As of mid-December, Finnair will start flying new non-stop flights to Lapland airports from London Gatwick, Paris and Zurich. Finnair is also increasing its capacity from Helsinki airport to several Lapland airports for the entire winter season and offers a total of 430,000 seats to five of Lapland’s airports during the winter season.

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Singapore most powerful passport in the world; India jumps up three places to rank 75

According to Passport Index developed by global financial advisory firm Arton Capital, Singapore tops the rank of being the most powerful passport in the world under the Global Passport Power Rank 2017. This ranks passports of the world by their total visa-free score. Singapore is closely followed by Germany, Sweden and South Korea who are tied at number three, followed by eight other countries holding the number four spot jointly. The Indian passport appears at number 75 with a visa-free score of 51, ranking even lower than African countries like Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. Some of the countries with a lower ranking than India are Egypt, Bhutan Cambodia, Jordon and our neighbours Sri Lanka and Nepal. The last on the list is Afghanistan with a score of 22 preceded by Iraq and Pakistan with a joint visa-free score of 26.

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India is partner country at FITUR 2018

Post WTM London, Ministry of Tourism is all set to participate in FITUR, which will be held in Madrid from January 17-21, 2018. Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Tourism, revealed that India will be the partner country for FITUR, and is preparing for the same. “We will be participating in a very big way and the campaign has also been planned for the event in and around FITUR exhibition. We have many plans for it. Since the clientele in Spain is different, we will look at the countries which are participating at FITUR and offer our niche products as per their specific markets,” she informed.

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Seychelles Tourism Board concludes three-city roadshow

Seychelles Tourist Office, India recently organised roadshows in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai. These three Indian cities churn out some of the highest numbers of visitors each year to Seychelles and comprise of travel trade that facilitates most number of travellers from north and western parts of India. The highlight and differentiator of this roadshow was its format. For the first time since commencing operations in the India market, Seychelles Tourism Board adopted a new format for its roadshow – the Round Robin format, which ensured pre-scheduled meetings between the partners and trade and was strictly by invitation. Each city had partners meeting 60 top agents of Seychelles. Commenting on the roadshow Sherin Francis, CEO, Seychelles Tourism Board said, “The cities were chosen due to their current and potential capacities for outbound tourism to Seychelles. We have received only positive feedback about the format and execution by both our Seychelles partners and agents back in India. We look forward to strengthen our bonds with the Indian travel trade with more of such interactions with them.” The delegation had partners from various segments like DMCs, hotels, Cruise Company, airlines, Seychelles government associations and tourism associations Lubaina Sheerazi, COO, Blue Square Consultants, Seychelles Tourist office India, said, ”We introduced this new format of roadshow in the fourth year of Seychelles’ presence in the country keeping in mind the awareness and interest built over the years. The cities chosen contribute as the top performers for Seychelles and have shown great potential to rise further.”

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