Tag Archives: Sri Lanka

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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Airbnb and the World Bank Group partner to boost rural tourism

Airbnb and the World Bank Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to partner toward boosting developing economies through tourism. The two organizations will also share information on the current scale of alternative accommodation options and home sharing across several countries, beginning with pilot projects in Sri Lanka and India. Through the agreement, signed at the 2017 Tourism Knowledge Exchange, an event highlighting the latest innovations in sustainable tourism, Airbnb and the World Bank Group will examine ways in which emerging destinations use new technology and platforms such as Airbnb to create economic opportunities for communities that have not traditionally benefited from tourism and hospitality. Travel and tourism is the largest service industry in the world and accounts for nearly 10 percent of global GDP. In 2015, revenues from international tourism represented $421 million in emerging economies. Emerging markets’ share of total global arrivals is expected to reach 57% by 2030. This corresponds to over 1 billion travelers, each spending money, transferring wealth, and creating jobs. “At Airbnb, we believe home sharing can help close the widening gap in economic opportunity between urban and rural areas,” said Clark Stevens, director, Government Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at Airbnb. “We’ve already seen the important economic engine that home sharing has become for communities around the world, and we’re excited to partner with the World Bank Group to further study the development impacts of home sharing and pilot projects in emerging tourist destinations.” “Travel and tourism is one of the largest service industries in the world and accommodation is at its core. The sharing economy has created opportunities across the sector and this partnership with Airbnb allows us to better understand those opportunities, …

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Melbourne joins SriLankan Airlines’ global route network from Oct 2017

SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka and a member of oneworld alliance, will be establishing its presence in Australia with daily non-stop services to Melbourne commencing October 29, 2017. The non-stop services will also facilitate passengers from the Middle East and South Asia seeking onward connectivity via Colombo to/from Australia. The airline will be operating Airbus 330-200 aircraft on the route. For the convenience of travellers seeking onward connectivity from its Colombo hub, SriLankan currently connects over 10 Indian points with over 100 flights a week, which includes services to/from Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Calcutta, Trivandrum, Tiruchirappalli, Cochin, Mumbai and New Delhi. SriLankan will be adding Visakhapatnam, Coimbatore and Hyderabad to its route network in July this year, further expanding its presence in India. SriLankan Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer, Captain Suren Ratwatte, said, “Our presence in Australia cements the long-standing relationship between our two countries. We recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our nations, and the addition of Melbourne signifies our strategy of optimizing the Airline’s network in line with our restructuring. This also means that we have connected another continent to our global route map. On the other hand, given the number of Sri Lankans residing in and around Victoria, we fulfill a long felt need for a direct service. We are proud to welcome all the diverse residents of Victoria who can now enjoy the direct connections when visiting their friends and families throughout our network.” Australia is home to one of the largest Sri Lankan expatriate communities, many of whom reside in and around Melbourne, the capital of Australia’s ‘Garden State’, Victoria. This factor, together with the tremendous potential for business travel and …

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Indonesia AirAsia X launches Mumbai to Bali flight services

Indonesia AirAsia Extra has started a direct flight from Mumbai to Bali (Denpasar) from May 19, 2017, with a 45 minute layover in Kuala Lumpur. It will operate this route using A330-300 with 377 seats (12 flatbeds and 365 economy seats). The flight departs from Mumbai at 22.50 hours and arrives in Bali at 10.45 hours the next day. Indonesia AirAsia Extra is the 4th airline under the AirAsia Group to operate to Indian destinations. Commenting on the occasion Suresh Nair, General Manager, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, AirAsia, said, “The flight has got good response and we are happy with the current response from Mumbai and Maharashtra market. We will have daily flights from Mumbai making seven flights a week. We expect good number of people to travel from India to Indonesia and vice versa. We started the flights with an introductory fare of Rs. 2,552 (plus taxes) which was well received by everyone. We continue to offer low fares on all sectors. Currently we are offering a return fare of Rs 14,999 and we continue to strive to keep the fares as low as possible.”

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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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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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Marriott to open 15-17 hotels in India’s tertiary markets in 2017

Marriott International has plans to open around 17 properties in India in 2017 and it is believed that most of the growth will be driven from the tertiary markets for the chain, revealed Neeraj Govil, Area Vice President-South Asia, Marriott International. The hotel chain has marked its entry into two new countries – Nepal and Sri Lanka – with major expansion plans for India as well. Govil said, “We have opened our first Fairfield in Kathmandu and will be opening a hotel in Sri Lanka which will mark our entry into these two countries. In India, we will be opening about 15-17 hotels in India in 2017 and most of the growth we would have is in the tertiary markets. We are looking to grow across the spectrum of segments. We now have 30 different brands globally so we plan to bring in new brands as well grow with the existing brands. India is second in terms of growth after China in the Asia Pacific region for us.” Speaking about life after the merger with Starwood, Govil adds, “We merged on the 23 September and it has been great so far. We have managed to synergise on a lot of programs we were looking to and we are very much on track. Cultural integration will take much more time. We have now set up the corporate structure in South Asia. We have also got the right talent from both sides of the legacy organisations on board. We are now looking to leverage the economies of scale that we have as a result of this integration. For us, it is about maximising top and bottom line opportunities and look to have the best in …

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JA Resorts & Hotels to open property in Sri Lanka by end of 2017

Dubai-based JA Resorts & Hotels, that currently has properties in Maldives, Seychelles, and Dubai, will be making inroads into a new destination with its property in Sri Lanka. Pooja Wadhwa, Partner, Avant Garde Consulting, that is the promoting the group in India, reveals, “JA Resorts & Hotels is now making its way into a rather unexplored region in Sri Lanka later this year. Its third luxury beach resort, JA Eclipse Beach Resort, is under construction on the east coast of Sri Lanka and is due to open in the last quarter of 2017. It will be a premium tropical beach resort in Kathiraveli with 33 acres of greenery and a beach front of 450 metres.” Local design features such as laterite stone walls, wood teak ceiling, veneer teak walls, split granite and rich vibrant Sri Lankan textiles have been incorporated in to the design. Moreover, JA Hatta Fort Hotel, the group’s charming getaway retreat located an hour’s drive from Dubai, recently underwent a major refurbishment and is now all set to welcome guests for leisure, special occasions, business and incentive stays. It is set in 80 acres of manicured gardens in the majestic Hajar Mountain range and has quaint chalet-style rooms, with rock feature swimming pools and restaurants.

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Hurtigruten appoints Cruise Professionals as GSA for India and Sri Lanka

Hurtigruten has appointed Cruise Professionals as its exclusive GSA for India and Sri Lanka. The Norwegian cruise company aims to grow revenue opportunities and establish wider distribution in these two markets. By enhancing their commitment in India and Sri Lanka, the management of both companies aims to make Hurtigruten a major exploration cruise brand in India with significant growth in the years ahead. Recognising the need for a concentrated brand and product development strategy to service India and Sri Lanka, William Harber, Hurtigruten’s President for China & Asia-Pacific, says, “Our partnership with Cruise Professionals will enable the rapid expansion of our exploration cruising and coastal Norway products. This association leverages Cruise Professionals’ expertise in managing distribution.  Their operating model and strengths in sales and marketing will deepen current relationships and create future trade arrangements across India and Sri Lanka.” Nishith Saxena, Founder & Director of Cruise Professionals says, “Hurtigruten and Cruise Professionals association has come at a time when a large section of Indian travellers are seeking a different experience that goes beyond the normal cruising options. We shall make Hurtigruten easy for the travel agent to sell and deliver a complete solution for adventurous travellers by educating the trade about these unique voyages offered to some of the world’s most breathtaking destinations.”

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144 delegates attend Bengal Travel Mart 2017 in Siliguri

The department of Tourism, North Bengal Development Department and Eastern Himalaya Travel & Tour Operators Association (EHTTOA), the largest body of tourism industry in North East, jointly organised the second edition of three-day long Bengal Travel Mart (BTM) in Siliguri under Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is the first event in the state where at least 144 delegates from different states along with delegates from Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka participated. It also included more than 200 stakeholders (buyers and sellers) for BTB meet and practical visits of the tourism sports in the region. The main motto behind the BTM is to enhance West Bengal tourism. The participants in the mart stakeholders said that this would boom their tourism industry as a whole.

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