Tourism Breaking News

Myanmar offers visa on arrival for Indian nationals

The Myanmar government has introduced new regulations to facilitate easier access for tourists to visit the country. Indian nationals can now enter Myanmar with visa-on-arrival (VOA) at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw International Airports . This means that for these passport holders, no pre-arranged approval is required and on arrival they can apply for a visa which will be granted instantly. The fee for the visa on arrival is 50 USD. The timing of granting visa on arrival to Indian nationals could not have been better as President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, recently visited the country. In early October, Japanese, South Korean, Macau and Hong Kong tourists were granted visa-free entry while Chinese nationals from the mainland were also granted VOA into Myanmar in a move to attract more Asian tourism into the country.

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Tourism Malaysia and Malindo Air launch ‘Malaysia Fantastic Deals’

In a bid to promote more value-for-money holiday packages to Malaysia for tourists from India, Tourism Malaysia, along with Malindo Air has launched the ‘Malaysia Fantastic Deals’ package. Unveiled by Tuan Syed Yahya Syed Othman, Director, Package Development Division, Tourism Malaysia and Manoj Mehta, Country Head, Malindo Air, the campaign has been designed in partnership with several popular hotels and a restaurant in Malaysia to offer a total of five packages catered specifically to the Indian market. Available exclusively with select agencies across five cities in India, the package includes 10 per cent discount on Malindo Air fares from Chennai, Delhi, Mumbia and Kolkata. The partner hotels include Sunway Hotel & Resorts, MeritusPelangi Beach Resort and Spa Langkawi, Lexis Hotel & Group and Atmosphere 360 Revolving Restaurant KL Tower.

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More hotels in Russia become ‘India Friendly’

A new batch of hotels in Moscow and Saint Petersburg became ‘India Friendly’ in 2018 to encourage more Indians to visit the destination. The ‘India Friendly’ programme has been conceived and operationalised by Russian Information Centre (RIC) that identified the need for creating the correct environment in Russia to welcome Indian tourists. The hotels include Azimut Hotel Olympic Moscow, Radisson Royal St Petersburg and Alfa Izmailovo, Moscow. Katrina Belyakova, Partner, Russia Information Center, says, “The trainers are experts in tourism and restaurant business from India and Russia having proven experience of managing needs of Indian tourists in multiple environments. The training programme covers topics of ancient and modern culture of India, the uniqueness of Indian thinking, the individual religious beliefs and how it affects their needs and food, communication styles of Indian tourists. It educates the hotels on the other small but important needs of Indian tourists like tea kettles, hot/cold water, besides others.” The programme was officially launched in September 2016 in Russia by signing of an agreement to co-operate in developing Russian-Indian relations in the field of tourism and hospitality. The signatories to the agreement are Russian Information Centre (RIC, Mumbai), National Tourism Marketing Agency of Russian Federation “Visit Russia” and Department of Hotel and Restaurant Business, Saint Petersburg State University of Economics. The programme aims to create a conducive environment for development of outbound tourism from India to Russia.

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Hong Kong International Tourism Convention underway

At a time of increasing unilateralism and protectionism, tourism is a welcome tonic – a buoyant multilateral embrace of shared experience, cultural co-operation and people-to-people bonds, said Carrie Lam, Chief Executive, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region at the Hong Kong International Tourism Convention underway from December 12. There were two plenary sessions at the convention. The first one talked about the implications of the Belt and Road Initiative on the development of international tourism, while the second one deliberated on the relationship between the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and regional and international tourism. She informed that multilateral co-operation is no less central to the Belt and Road Initiative and to tourism development. “Easing visa regulations, expanding flight connections, enhancing cultural co-operation – these and other considered measures can only help boost tourism.” She also said, “Hong Kong is an international hub for professional services, from financial and legal, to architectural, communications, transportation management and many more. We have the expertise, the experience and the institutions to provide services to other economies along the Belt and Road on tourism infrastructure developments, as well as train professionals for the tourism industry.” Talking about the Greater Bay Area, she said, “Closer to home, the Greater Bay Area has the means to rival Tokyo, San Francisco and New York – the world’s three renowned bay areas – in tourism potential. With a collective population of 70 million, the Bay Area boasts a combined GDP of some US$1.5 trillion. At the same time, the Greater Bay Area is an important source market for other economies given its high level of affluence.”

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Hilton and Kalyani Group to develop DoubleTree by Hilton in Bengaluru

Hilton has announced signing of a management agreement with Kalyani Hospitality to develop DoubleTree by Hilton in Bengaluru. Scheduled to open in Q1 2021, the property will be located at the commercial micro-market of the city – Whitefield. The hotel, currently under construction, will have 183 rooms and suites to cater to the needs of both business and leisure travellers, including multiple meeting and banquet spaces, fitness amenities, outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, a bar and a roof-top lounge. Commenting on this signing, Navjit Ahluwalia, Senior Vice President and Country Head, Hilton India, said,“Our partnership with Kalyani Group reinforces our promise to expand our portfolio in India and offer Hilton guests more opportunities to experience the warmth of Hilton hospitality across multiple locations.” Announcing the project, A Mohan Raju, Chairman and Managing Director, Kalyani Group, said, “We are delighted to partner with Hilton to provide world-renowned hospitality within a business‐friendly environment. Owing to its location within the fastest-growing commercial micro market in Bengaluru, the hotel will become a preferred choice of travellers with diverse requirements. We have strong plans to replicate our success in the commercial office segment into the hospitality sector.”

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WTTCII appoints Rajeev Talwar & Ajay Singh as Chairman & Vice Chairman respectively for 2019

After the Annual General Meeting of the World Travel & Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII), the company has appointed many office bearers for the year 2019. Rajeev Talwar, Chief Executive Officer, DLF, has been appointed as the Chairman, WTTCII for the year 2019. Talwar, who served as the Vice Chairman, WTTCII for the year 2018, takes over from Sunder G Advani, Chairman & Managing Director, Advani Hotels & Resorts (India). Ajay Singh, Chairman & Managing Director, SpiceJet, has been unanimously appointed as the Vice Chairman, WTTCII for the year 2019. KJ Alphons, Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) for Tourism and Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Tourism, along with former officials of Ministry of Tourism, SK Misra and VK Duggal felicitated the new team. On his appointment, Talwar said, “WTTCII has three main asks from the government — firstly, Airline Turbine Fuel – ATF must be included under GST; secondly, the 28 per cent on hotel rooms is hurting – GST should be pegged at 5 per cent for rooms of transaction values of Rs 5,000 and 12 per cent for transaction values of Rs 5,001 to Rs 15,000, along with ITC. Lastly, a tourism board to handle the marketing of Incredible India. Today, destination marketing has to be more deft, sharp, agile and cannot be strapped with bureaucratic procedures. A tourism board with inclusion of public and private stakeholders will make brand India successful. We would also need avenues to open up new markets, take, for instance, China; we are 4-6 hours away from major Chinese cities. China’s huge outbound of 130 million trips is every country’s envy and a prime source market, yet we are unable to tap the Chinese outbound. We need to be connected to …

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GoAir begins international operations from Bengaluru to Male and Phuket

GoAir has recently commenced its international operations from Bengaluru with direct flights to Male and Phuket. The airline’s  international service is operated by Airbus A320 Neo aircraft and it will mark the commencement of a direct service 3 times a week between Bengaluru – Phuket – Bengaluru sector and direct service 02 times a week between Bengaluru – Male – Bengaluru sector. Speaking on the occasion, Cornelis Vrieswijk, Chief Executive Officer, GoAir, said, “Bengaluru is a key market for us and this is the third strategic launch after Mumbai and New Delhi to have commenced international operations on GoAir’s network. We are certain that leisure travellers from Bengaluru and neighbouring cities will be delighted by our convenient connections to Phuket and Male.”

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Shravanthi Sarovar Portico in Bengaluru to open doors in 2019

Further expanding its presence in South India, Sarovar Hotels has announced the signing of Shravanthi Sarovar Portico in Bengaluru. The mid-scale hotel, located in JP Nagar, offers 80 newly renovated guest rooms, an all-day dining restaurant, club bar, fitness centre and conferencing facilities. The newly redecorated lobby is spacious and comprises a coffee lounge, just the perfect setting for relaxation or business networking. The total inventory of Sarovar in the city will cross 700 rooms and this will be Sarovar’s sixth hotel after La Marvella Sarovar Premiere, Davanam Sarovar Portico Suites, RBD Sarovar Portico, Radha Hometel and Radisson Blu. Shravanthi Sarovar Portico is special by way of decorative themes that run through each of the four floors of the property. From Scandinavian to Spanish country to Manhattan to the Royal highness, the hotel’s theme floors and rooms leave the traveller with a signature experience akin to none. Commenting on the development, Anil Madhok, Executive Chairman, Sarovar Hotels says, “After covering the IT and commercial hubs of Koramangala, ORR, Whitefield and Jayanagar, we are delighted to sign our next hotel in the heart of JP Nagar. The Shravanthi Sarovar Portico is centrally located and will appeal to the business as well as leisure traveller.”

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India offers visa on arrival for South Korean nationals

India has decided to offer visa on arrival to South Korean nationals, a home ministry official said. Like the Japanese nationals (who have been getting the privilege since March 2016), the facility to South Korean citizens include double entry visit for a period not exceeding 60 days for business, tourism, conference and medical purposes for entry through six designated international airports – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. According to an estimate, around 2 lakh Indian visas are issued to South Korean nationals every year, of which 80 per cent are tourists. On an average, 600 South Korean nationals arrive in Delhi daily. Though visa-on-arrival facility was earlier offered to citizens of 12 countries — Cambodia, Finland, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Luxembourg, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and South Korea — it was discontinued in November 2014 after the launch of e-Tourist Visa scheme. The e-visa facility now covers practically all the countries of the world, 166 as of now, and foreigners can arrive at any of the designated 26 airports and five seaports in India without interacting with any official before checking in at the immigration counter. Under the e-visa scheme, an applicant receives an email authorising him or her to travel to India after it has been approved. The tourist can travel with a printout of this authorisation. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities who would then allow entry into the country. Source: PTI

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Siris and Evergreen to acquire Travelport for $4.4 billion

Travelport has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by affiliates of Siris Capital Group and Evergreen Coast Capital in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $4.4 billion. Under the agreement, Siris and Evergreen will acquire all the outstanding common shares of Travelport for $15.75 per share in cash. The Board of Directors of Travelport unanimously approved the agreement and recommended that shareholders vote in favour of the transaction. Elliott and its affiliates have agreed to vote the common shares owned by them in favour of the transaction. Doug Steenland, Chairman — Board of Directors, Travelport, said, “This is a good outcome for Travelport’s shareholders. Assisted by external advisers, the Board concluded unanimously, after taking into account the ongoing development needs of the business that entering into this agreement represents the best way to maximise value for shareholders. It also enables the company to continue its work to position itself for growth in the evolving global travel industry.” Frank Baker, Co-Founder, Siris Capital, added, “Travelport has an impressive track record of developing and bringing to market best-in-class distribution capabilities, technology services, innovative payment solutions and other value-added digital tools for the global travel industry. We have been impressed by the company’s industry-leading GDS technology platform, which supports mission-critical transactions for both travel providers and agents. At the same time, Travelport is redefining the travel payments industry through eNett, a disruptive and fast-growing leader in secure, virtual travel payments. Siris looks forward to partnering with the company’s management team and Evergreen in this next phase of Travelport’s evolution and growth as a private company.” Travelport may actively solicit alternative acquisition proposals from third parties during a “go-shop” period from the date …

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