Tag Archives: United Kingdom

Gujarat receives 220 applications for tourism projects worth Rs 9,000 cr

Gujarat has received an overwhelming response in terms of investment in tourism projects after it launched its Tourism Policy 2015-2020 in September 2015, according to Jenu Devan, Managing Director, and Commissioner of Tourism, Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited. He says, “It has become a tremendous success. Till date, there are 220 applications for various tourism projects like hotels, resorts, amusement parks, etc. worth Rs 9,000 crore. So in the next few years, Gujarat is poised to have a fantastic tourism infrastructure for both the inbound and domestic tourists.” Gujarat received a total of 448 lakhs tourists during 2016-17. This was 16.9 per cent higher than the flow in 2015-16. The flow of tourists within Gujarat also increased with a 15 per cent growth. Speaking about the source markets in India and abroad, he adds, “We see the entire India as our source market. However, we get maximum traffic from our neighboring states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Internationally, UK tops the list followed by USA. We would like to receive more traffic from the South East Asian markets as they are short-haul destinations for India.”

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Jet Airways’ third non-stop daily flight connecting Mumbai-London from Oct 29

Effective October 29, 2017, and as part of the airline’s forthcoming Winter schedule, the new daytime service – 9W 116 will depart from Mumbai at 0905 hrs.to arrive in London Heathrow at 1335 hrs. (Local time). On its return, the planned departure for 9W 115 from London Heathrow is at 1530 hrs. (local time), arriving in Mumbai at 0555 hrs., giving guests a head start to their day in India’s economic capital. Air travel between India and the United Kingdom has shown a steady annual growth of nearly 10 percent over the last few years. The new flight will boost Jet Airways’ passenger and cargo capacity between India and the United Kingdom by almost 33 percent, allowing the airline to capitalise on the growing round-the-year demand being witnessed from EU and non-EU countries to India and other emerging economies, on the back of fast expanding relationships in the areas of trade, commerce, tourism, culture, and, education. The third frequency enhances onward connectivity over London Heathrow to North America with partners Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic. Jet Airways will now offer improved connection time and 13 destinations over London Heathrow to North America including Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Washington (Virginia). Jayaraj Shanmugam, Chief Commercial Officer, Jet Airways, said, “Jet Airways is delighted to offer a third non-stop service between Mumbai and London Heathrow. The new frequency will enable us to offer our guests seamless connectivity, choice and convenience with partners Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic over London Heathrow with a single baggage drop and through check-in. Our world-class experience together with our signature Indian hospitality, …

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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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VFS launches UK VAC in Pune

VFS Global, in partnership with United Kingdom Visas and Immigration, inaugurated a new Visa Application Centre in Pune to allow travellers from the city easy access to the United Kingdom. The newly opened centre offers a number of benefits to customers in Pune including more application counters to make it quicker and easier for customers to submit their visa applications. In addition the VAC has a new Premium Lounge which offers complimentary drinks and a separate lounge so that customers can apply for their visas more quickly and in more luxurious surroundings. The VAC is co-located with the Schengen Visa Application Centre to make it more straightforward for customers to apply for both visas at the same time. Speaking at the launch, Nick Crouch, Regional Director-South Asia, UK Visas and Immigration, said, “The UK continues to welcome more and more visitors from India. The latest visa figures show that over 395,000 Indian visit visas were issued for UK last year, a six per cent increase from 2015. We hope to see even higher numbers for 2017. India is an incredibly important market to the UK which is why we continue to make improvements to our visa service. Last year we introduced a new Visit Visa Application form which for the first time is translated into four regional languages and allows customers to download a completed Schengen visa form. We will continue to listen to feedback from our customers in order to make further improvements where we can.” Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer- Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global, added, “VFS Global and UK Visas and Immigration continue to invest and improve the visa service we offer Indian customers. Due …

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Hahn Air announces interline agreement with Eurostar

Hahn Air is expanding its network of over 300 air, rail and shuttle partners with high-speed rail operator Eurostar (9F). The UK-based train services are now available to travel agents worldwide for ticketing on Hahn Air’s HR-169 document with the exception of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. To issue tickets for Eurostar, travel agents can use the standard ticketing process in all major GDSs. “Eurostar is our third rail partner and the first to use our HR-169 product through an interline agreement”, said Steve Knackstedt, Vice President of Airline Business Group at Hahn Air. “We believe that we can support them in reaching new markets and unlocking new business opportunities. They can therefore position themselves towards travel agents worldwide as a means of transportation on par with air travel in Western Europe.” Eurostar is the only high-speed railway service connecting London with mainland Europe via the Channel Tunnel. Services operate between London St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International to Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Lyon, Avignon, Marseille and the French Alps. With a change in Brussels, passengers can also connect to any domestic Belgian station. Its trains reach a maximum speed of 300km per hour (186 miles per hour). Their new e320 trains feature more spacious carriages, free Wi-Fi and over 300 hours of entertainment which can be streamed to phones, tablets or laptops. Established in 1994, the company has to date carried over 170 million passengers between London and the continent.

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UK encourages visitors to apply early for visas

The UK has launched a new campaign to encourage Indian visitors to apply early for their visas in the quieter, off peak period, during January and February.  Visa applicants can expect to get a visa decision more quickly outside of the peak period, and benefit from quieter Visa Application Centres and more available appointment slots. They can now request for their visas to be post-dated by up to three months, so the visa starts on their intended travel date. Those planning to travel in April can apply for their visas now and the six month validity can start on their intended departure date. The initiative was announced at the Destination Britain India, currently being held in Pune and hosted by the UK’s national tourism agency VisitBritain. The three-day tourism trade fair brings together more than 75 travel agents from across India and more than 20 UK travel suppliers for three days of networking and business appointments. British High Commissioner to India, Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG, said, “We are delighted that more and more Indians are choosing to come to the UK either on holiday or for business. The latest visa statistics show that visitor visas issued have increased by six per cent in the year ending September 2016 and last year we issued more Indian visit visas than ever before. There has never been a better time to visit the UK – 2017 is the Year of Culture, which will see an exciting festival of events celebrating the vibrant cultural history of UK and India held in both countries.” India will become the first visa country to benefit from the Registered Traveller Service, as announced by the British Prime Minister …

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253% growth in eTVs in Jan ’16 over Jan ’15

A total of 88,162 foreign tourists arrived in the country on e-Tourist Visa (eTV) in January 2016 as compared to 25,023 during the same month in 2015 registering a growth of 252.3 per cent. According to the Ministry of Tourism, this high growth may be attributed to introduction of e-Tourist Visa for 113 countries as against the earlier coverage of 43 countries. United Kingdom occupied the top slot in the top 10 countries availing the facility with 25.37 per cent. The share of the other top countries availing eTV facility were USA (15.17%); Russian Fed. (9.58%); France (6.00%); Australia (5.25%); Germany (4.23%); Canada (4.10%); China (3.96%); Republic of Korea (3.72%) and Ukraine (2.86%). The New Delhi airport received the highest percentage of foreign tourists with 33.18 per cent. The other top ports in foreign tourist arrivals on eTV during January 2016 were Mumbai Airport (20.81%); Goa Airport (19.10%); Chennai Airport (6.95%); Bengaluru Airport (5.35%); Kochi Airport (4.17%); Kolkata Airport (2.99%); Trivandrum Airport (2.29%); Hyderabad Airport (2.13%) and Ahmedabad Airport (1.75%).

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16.5% rise in UK visas issued to Indians

United Kingdom (UK) granted over 360,000 visitor visas, until September 2015, a 16.5 per cent increase year on year, according to recently released statistics. With the commercial partner VFS, UK offers 15 visa application centres across India, more than in any other country. Visa application centres are situated in Delhi, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Mumbai South, Mumbai North, Pune, Ahmadabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Cochin, Kolkata, Gurgaon, Jaipur and Goa. A number of premium services are offered to the UK Visa applicants at the Visa Application Centre (VAC). VFS Users can avail walk in appointments where urgent travellers or those who have missed their appointment, can pay Rs 2537 to get a walk in appointment. Digital Assistance is provided in filling out the visa application form on the visa4uk website. The staff reads out questions on the form, and records the answers verbatim on behalf of the applicant for an extra cost of Rs 400. Group Appointments is available for group travellers who can apply at the same visa application centre at a particular time and day. This service is extended to all groups including tour operators, large families, conferences etc for Rs 500 per application. Travellers can pay for their visa by cash at the VAC, using VFS Global’s Credit Card at an additional cost of Rs 1000 per transaction. Certification service enables travellers to keep hold of their original documents. Applicants need to bring original documentation to the VAC to show VFS staff, who photocopy the documents and send to the decision hub along with the application. This service costs Rs 50 per document page. In 2015, India became the second country to benefit from the British Irish Visa Scheme, allowing Indian …

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