Tag Archives: Maldives

India and Maldives to liberalise visa norms from March 11, 2019

India and Maldives exchanged diplomatic notes for the implementation of the visa facilitation agreement with an aim to boost people-to-people ties between the two countries. The agreement provides a very liberal visa regime for Maldivian nationals to visit India for tourism, business, education and medical purposes. It will be effective from March 11 after all formalities including information being provided to all immigration offices, border points and customs authorities have been completed. The agreement was signed during Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih’s visit to India on December 17 last year. The exchange of diplomatic notes follows the signature of the agreement by President Ram Nath Kovind after the Union Cabinet had given its approval, read a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Relations between New Delhi and Male came under strain during former President Abdulla Yameen’s five-year rule, which saw him cosying up with China for various development projects, cracking down on dissent and imposing a state of emergency by jailing opposition leaders. Moreover, there were several diplomatic issues under the Yameen government with many Indian nationals being reportedly denied visas. Solih’s surprise victory in the Maldives presidential elections in last September came as a major diplomatic victory for India, after New Delhi repeatedly warned the Yameen government to respect democratic institutions and free the jailed opposition leaders.    

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Thailand offers free visa-on-arrival from today

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced granting a visa-on-arrival fee waiver for tourists from 20 countries, including India. From November 15, 2018 to January 13, 2019, citizens of Andora, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China (including Taiwan), Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan will be exempted from the 2,000 Baht visa-on-arrival fee for the purpose of touring in Thailand for not more than 15 days. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor, TAT, said, “This is good news for Thailand’s tourism industry as we’re preparing a range of year-end activities and promotions, including the launch of Amazing Thailand Grand Sale ‘Passport Privilege’ during the same period.” Tourism promotions and events in the pipeline between now and January next year also include the New Year Electronic Music Festival in Pattaya from December 30-31, and TAT will hold the countdown celebration in five destinations in the five regions of Thailand: Chiang Rai in the north, Nakhon Phanom in the northeast, Ratchaburi in the central region, Satun with its world-renowned geopark in the south and Sa Kaeo in the east.

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GoAir operates first direct flight from Mumbai to Maldives

GoAir has launched its first-ever direct flight from Mumbai to Male. The new international schedule introduces direct flights connecting Male to India – Mumbai and New Delhi. Flight G8 023 was given a ceremonial flag off at 13:25 IST which departed from Mumbai on its maiden flight to Velana International Airport, Maldives. In sync with the aviation tradition to mark key milestones, the flight was greeted with a grand water cannon salute upon its arrival at the Male Airport followed by ribbon-cutting ceremony. GoAir’s international service is operated by airbus A320 Neo aircraft and with immediate effect, it will mark the commencement of a direct service 2 times a week between New Delhi – Male – New Delhi sector and direct service of 3 times a week between Mumbai – Male – Mumbai sector. Speaking on the occasion, Cornelis Vrieswijk, Chief Executive Officer, GoAir said, “We welcome Male as a part of our new global network. In light of the significant increase in outgoing tourism from India over the past few years, GoAir introduced a direct flight services from Mumbai and New Delhi to Male. It is a huge amendment in the books of GoAir and we hope to provide our customers with superior experience at the best yet affordable prices.”

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GoAir to commence international operations from October 2018

GoAir is all set to commence its international flight operations by offering India’s first-ever direct service to Phuket, Thailand effective October 11, 2018 from Delhi and Mumbai. This will be followed by its second international service connecting Mumbai and Delhi with Male, Maldives effective October 14, 2018. These destinations will also be connected from Bengaluru in the near future. GoAir will continue to operate its A320 aircraft in all operations and on both these international routes. The airline will operate three direct flight services per week between Mumbai – Phuket – Mumbai at a return fare starting from Rs 18,999 (all inclusive); two direct flight services per week between Delhi – Phuket – Delhi at a return fare starting from Rs 18,999 (all inclusive). Similarly the airline will operate three direct flight services per week between Mumbai – Male – Mumbai at a return fare starting from Rs 17,999 (all inclusive); 2 direct flight services per week between Delhi – Male – Delhi at a return fare starting from Rs 18,999 (all inclusive). Commenting on the launch of their international operations, Cornelis Vrieswijk, CEO, GoAir said, “Phuket and Male are key tourist destination and hold a lot of promise. As an LCC, we have always strived to offer the best value for money to our customers and now we extend this proposition to the international traveller as well. The international schedules have been planned to allow quick and convenient connections for customers and is a reflection of our continued journey towards excellence.”    

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SpiceJet waives off cancellation charges for travellers to Maldives

SpiceJet has waived off cancellation, other charges for travel to and from Male between February 8-14. “For travel period between 8-14 February to and from Male, passengers opting to cancel their tickets will be offered full refund and cancellation charges will be waived off,” the company said in a statement. “For all change requests, SpiceJet will waiver the change charges only and will charge the fare difference. Passengers who do not want to travel, will be processed full refund.” On Thursday, Air India had waived off “applicable penalties of re-issuance, date change, no-show, cancellation and refund charges” for travel from or to the capital of Maldives, which is witnessing political turbulence for the period February 5-20. Source: IANS

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MEA issues travel advisory for Indian nationals travelling to Maldives

Expressing concern over the prevailing political developments in Maldives, the Ministry of External Affairs issued an advisory to Indian nationals to defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls until further notice. It also alerted Indian expatriates in Maldives to the need for heightened security awareness. “The prevailing political developments in Maldives and the resultant law and order situation is a matter of concern for the Government of India. Indian nationals are, therefore, advised to defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls until further notice. Indian expatriates in Maldives are also alerted to the need for heightened security awareness, and urged to exercise due caution in public and avoid public gatherings,” the MEA said in an advisory. SOURCE: UNI

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U&I Holidays to launch online reservations’ portal

U&I Holidays is all set to launch its online portal, www.uandiholidays.net on February 2, 2018, which will be accessible to all tour operators to make reservation for Bali and Maldives. The B2B portal will help tour operators to book hotels, tour transfers, meals, and customised packages for Indonesia. U&I Holidays, being very keen to extend the business focuses on promoting MICE 30 per cent higher than 2017. Apart from the six-city roadshow the company also plans to conduct a training programme for Tier-II and III cities from March 2018 focusing on the cities which are unaware about Indonesia. And the target cities for the same programme are Raipur, Indore, Jaipur, Nagpur, and Kochi.  

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45% growth in medical tourism to India

According to data provided by Ministry of Home Affairs, the number of medical visas issued by India in 2016 rose by 45 per cent over 2015. India issued more than 1.78 lakh medical visas in 2016, including for follow up treatment, as against 1.22 lakh in 2015, according to the data. A Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) report titled “India Services Sector—A Multi-trillion Dollar Opportunity for Global Symbiotic Growth 2017” stated that the presence of world-class hospitals and skilled medical professionals has strengthened India’s position as a preferred destination for medical tourism. Treatment for major surgeries in India costs only a fraction—in some cases as low as 10 per cent of that in developed countries. “Majority of the patients coming to India for treatment are from the Middle East, Africa, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Maldives, Pakistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. India’s cost advantage will significantly open doors to the US and Europe over future, due to lower cost than the US and almost half that of Europe.” Dental tourism accounts for 10 per cent of the medical tourism and the government is keen to promote it. “India provides competitive cost advantage at one tenth of the cost of the US and Europe. By 2020, medical tourism industry of India is expected to touch $8 billion,” the report said. Source: Livemint

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SriLankan Airlines increases frequencies to New Delhi

SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka and a member of the oneworld alliance will be adding four more frequencies to its current daily operations to/from New Delhi from July 15, 2017. A total of 11 flights a week will operate to and out of Delhi. The purpose of adding these flights is to provide passengers with added convenience and a wider choice in terms of travel between the two countries and seeking onward connectivity. The morning arrival time in Colombo for the new flight will also give convenient connections to destinations like Maldives, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and Bangkok. Commenting on the occasion, SriLankan Airlines, Manager Northern & Eastern India, Chinthaka Weerasinghe, stated, “North India is a key market for us and with most of the industrialists and business families spread across Delhi & neighboring states. While we have always received a strong response from this market, Delhi serves as a key business hub for all multinational corporations. These additional flights will cater to growing business, corporate and leisure demand between Sri Lanka and Delhi.”

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