Tag Archives: Minister of State

K J Alphons presides over UNWTO’s Program and Budget Committee meeting

K J Alphons, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, along with a delegation of senior officials is attending the 109th session of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Executive Council in Manama, Bahrain. During the opening day of the Executive Council meeting, Alphons chaired the ‘Programme and Budget Committee’ meeting of UNWTO. The three-day session of UNWTO Executive Council began on October 30, 2018. The Executive Council will discuss several topics on the agenda that are related to the development of global tourism sector. In his opening remarks, the Minister highlighted the role of tourism in socio-economic development through job creation, enterprise and environment development and foreign exchange earnings. As the chair of the committee, the Minister informed the session that for the first time, UNWTO had a surplus budget and most of the arrears due have been paid. India will be the chair of Programme and Budget Committee of UNWTO Executive Council till 2021. At the sidelines, the Minister also met Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General, UNWTO, and discussed on involving UNWTO in developing tourism as a strong agent for the better future of the world and establishing the Global Public Private Partnerships.

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Morocco inaugurates National Tourist Office in Delhi, in talks with Air India to boost tourism

Morocco, in an endeavour to double its tourist footfalls from India by 2019, has set up a Moroccan National Tourist Office in Delhi as the first step towards promotion of Morocco as a desirable destination for Indians. His Excellency Mohammed Sajid, Minister of Tourism and Air Transport, Kingdom of Morocco talked about his strategies to boost tourism from India. He said, “In our recent meeting with K J Alphons, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, Government of India, we signed an MoU to promote tourism in both the countries. We will be working on our products in Morocco as well as in India. There is also a lot of similarity in both these countries in terms of heritage, civilisation, etc. We will be signing an agreement in air transport field with Civil Aviation. In this trip to India, we have with us the chief of our national transport Royal Air Maroc. We will be having discussions with Air India and other local LCCs to facilitate flights between both the countries.” Morocco is one of the most beautiful cities in Africa with some of the most hypnotic street markets. Moroccan-Indian relations are getting stronger as Morocco prepares to implement several measures to welcome more of Indian tourists in 2019.  

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International Buddhist Conclave to boost tourism to Buddhist sites in India

President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the International Buddhist Conclave (IBC), 2018 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi  in the presence of KJ Alphons, Minister of State (I/C), Tourism; Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Tourism; Satyajit Rajan, Director General, Tourism; ministerial delegates from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Travel trade representatives from India and various other countries were also present for the conclave. Addressing the audience, Kovind said, “India is the land of Buddha and this initiative by Ministry of Tourism would attract visitors from around the world to come to India and experience the Buddhist destinations in the country.” The first day of the conclave also included presentations by the Ministry of Tourism and state governments on Buddhist tourism prospects in the country. An investor’s summit was also going on alongside the conclave to look for investment opportunities in the Buddhist tourism sector in the country. A B2B session was also conducted between foreign and Indian tour operators along with a panel discussion on ‘Role of Living Buddhist Heritage in the Contemporary Society’. The Conclave is being organised by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the state governments of Maharashtra, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh from August 23-26, 2018 at New Delhi and Ajanta (Maharashtra).

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Kannur airport to start operations from October 1

Commercial operations are all set to start from Kannur International Airport in Kerala from October 1, 2018. This was recently announced at a joint press conference by Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister, Civil Aviation, along with KJ Alphons, Minister of State (I/C), Tourism; Jayant Sinha, Minister of State, Civil Aviation; as well as RN Choubey, Secretary, Civil Aviation. The officials shared that all the pending licences would be cleared before September 1 and the final aerodrome licence would also be given by that date. The airport will play a major role under the UDAN scheme of the government. Also, three domestic carriers will be operating international flights from this airport. Jet Airways will be flying to Abu Dhabi; Go Air would ply to Dammam and IndiGo will be flying to Doha from Kannur airport.

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Wide-bodied aircraft operations to restart at Calicut Airport

Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister of Civil Aviation, alongside KJ Alphons, Minister of State (I/C),  Tourism and Jayant Sinha, Minister of State, Civil Aviation, has announced that operations of wide-bodied aircraft will be restarting from Calicut Airport in Kerala. Accordingly, DGCA has accepted the safety assessment and advised AAI for commencing operations of A330 and B-777 aircraft of Saudi Arabian Airlines with strict compliance with the mitigation measures to ensure safety operations. In future, any other airline may also start operations at the airport. With this move, a long standing demand of the people in Kerala as well as of the airline has been met. The minister also announced that in future, Calicut Airport could be used as an embarkation point for Haj operations too.

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Get ready for Wi-Fi and calls on domestic flights: MoCA

Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Draft Passenger Charter was discussed recently by Jayant Sinha, Minister of State, Civil Aviation, along with RN Choubey, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, where Sinha revealed that both domestic and international airlines can provide internet as well as mobile services on-board and aircraft in Indian airspace, keeping in account security requirements for the same. According to the Passenger Charter, Wi-fi services can be provided from the moment the plane takes off  and personal electronic devices (PED) have to be put on flight mode. Also, mobile services can be allowed only when an aircraft is over an altitude of 3,000 metres. Choubey, explained that the licensing condition for Wi-Fi on board will be decided by the Telecom Ministry, and within 2 months passengers will be able to enjoy on-board internet when they travel.

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India highlights immense tourism potential at ITB Berlin 2018

The Indian delegation led by KJ Alphons, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, Government of India, highlighted the country’s tremendous tourism potential at the 52nd ITB Berlin as it kicked off at the Messe Berlin fairgrounds on March 7. Addressing the media, Alphons spoke about the country’s 5000 year-old civilisation, beautiful beaches, backwaters, desserts, coastline, Himalayas, and immense possibilities for millennials who are looking for adventure. The minister also apprised the audience about the growing yoga and ayurveda related activities and centres in the country, exploring the North East and the great potential of religious tourism, with emphasis on Buddhist tourism. “In terms of general numbers, India has done considerably well last year. 2017 was fantastic! We recorded 15.6 per cent, when the global numbers went up by 5 per cent. Our international tourists arrivals were 16.5 million last year. Are we happy with the numbers? No. We have so much to offer and we want to double the numbers in three years or less, double the revenues in three years or less. India’s tourism contributes about 8 per cent to the GDP of India. We have 14 million people employed in the tourism industry,” Alphons said. In terms of domestic tourism, close to 24 million Indians travelled last year. “In 2017, 1.8 million trips were made by Indians within the country and which will go up to 2 million in 2018 and we want this number to increase dramtically, its not just about international arrivals but also Indians visting India,” he said. The minister also stressed on the growing use of new technologies and methodologies in tourism, specially social media. Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of …

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FHRAI’s Annual Convention underway in Bengaluru

The 52nd FHRAI Annual Convention is underway at Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru. At the three-day event, being held between September 14 and 16, delegates will get a chance to attend panel discussions on relevant topics and be able to network with fellow hoteliers. The theme chosen for this year’s convention is “Hospitality 2025 – The Future is NOW”. The inauguration ceremony was presided over by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who blessed the function. Ananth Kumar, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers; Ashok Chandra Panda, Minister of State, Department of Tourism, Government of Odisha; R.V. Deshpande, Minister for Large & Medium Industries & Infrastructure Development, Government of Karnataka, and many other dignitaries are also present at the event. Speaking at the ceremony, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, “Hospitality is in the DNA of Indians just like teamwork is in the DNA of Japanese, precision in that of the Germans, etiquette in the English, and marketing in the Americans. India is still lagging behind and needs improvement in infrastructure. We need to have Greece as the benchmark where tourism is soaring. We should host food festivals more often. Also, there is a need for more and more hotels. We do not necessarily have to ape the Europeans, we can set our own standards; an indigenous touch is always welcome. Apart from this, India needs more colleges to train youngsters.” Addressing the audience at the convention, Deshpande said, “Tourism is the highest employment generator but India’s biggest concern is employment as automation is taking over the human touch. Infrastructure has to be definitely looked at and we are getting there. Karnataka has the best connectivity in the entire country with some of …

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MoCA drafts CAR to handle unruly, disruptive passengers

Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Minister for Civil Aviation, and Jayant Sinha, Minister of State, Civil Aviation, have informed that they are revising the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) on ‘Handling of unruly/disruptive passengers’. They said that the CAR is being worked on to enhance the safety and security  of passengers, crew as well as airlines. R.N. Choubey, Secretary for Civil Aviation, gave details of the draft CAR and revealed that CAR defines three levels of unruly behaviours viz. Level 1 – disruptive behaviour, Level 2 – physically abusive behaviour and Level 3 – Life- threatening behaviour. Under CAR, the Airlines will maintain a database of such passengers which will form a National  No-fly List of unruly/disruptive passengers.  Individuals identified by MHA as national security threats will also form part of the National No-Fly List. Such names will be forwarded to the individuals by the airlines indicating the reasons for inclusion of their names in the National NO-Fly List.  For passengers indicated in the National No-Fly List, airlines will have option to bar the unruly passenger from taking flights to/form/within India for a period ranging from 03 months to a maximum of two years depending upon level of unruly behaviour.  For every subsequent offence, the person will be banned for twice the period of previous ban. He also informed that CAR provides for two tiers of complaint handling mechanism in such cases, viz. initial inquiry at airlines level by an internal committee headed by a retired District & Sessions Judge and an appeal at Govt. headed by Retired Judge of a High Court of India.  The Secretary informed that other airlines as well as international airlines were free to take cognisance of No …

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SpiceJet launches Delhi-Surat flight

SpiceJet has launched a daily direct Delhi-Surat-Delhi flight on March 26, as part of their summer schedule. The flight was inaugurated by Jayant Sinha, Minister of State, Civil Aviation. In an official statement, Ajay Singh, Chairman, SpiceJet, said, “SpiceJet is proud to connect Surat, one of the fastest growing cities of the country with the national capital. Our twice daily flights will offer immense flexibility to the corporate and leisure travellers on the SpiceJet network.”

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