Tourism Breaking News

AirAsia India appoints Sunil Bhaskaran as CEO & MD

AirAsia India has appointed Sunil Bhaskaran as its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director with effect from November 15, 2018 to oversee the next phase of expansion and growth of the company. Bhaskaran is currently Vice President, Corporate Services, Tata Steel. He has over three decades of experience in the fields of manufacturing, export and commercial operations with the Tata group. S Ramadorai, Chairman, AirAsia India, said, “We are delighted to welcome Mr Bhaskaran as the new CEO & MD of AirAsia India. With India’s aviation sector growing at a rapid pace, we are confident his extensive experience, ability to drive performance and work seamlessly with all stakeholders will be a great asset for AirAsia India.” Bhaskaran has held several senior positions in the Tata group. He is also on the Global Advisory Board of Social Accountability International (SAI), New York. He was with Tata International from 2001 till 2005. He completed his B Tech from IIT, Delhi in 1985, followed by a post-graduation in management from IIM, Kolkata in 1987. He joined Tata Steel in 1987 and subsequently completed his GMP from Cedep at Insead, France in 2000.

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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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Hyderabad airport opens Interim International Departure Terminal

The Hyderabad International Airport has inaugurated the Interim International Departure Terminal (IIDT) that is set to commence operations from October 23. The terminal has been designed to cater to the continued growth in passenger traffic, while the existing Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) facility has been expanded to more than double the present capacity. The terminal was inaugurated by Rajiv Nayan Choubey, Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) in the presence of Shailendra Kumar Joshi, IAS, Chief Secretary, Telangana government and other dignitaries. The new terminal building is an exclusive concourse to handle check-in, security, immigration and customs processes for departing international passengers. Coinciding with the opening of the new terminal, the Hyderabad Duty-Free (HDF) store at the departure level has been relocated and upgraded to offer an enhanced shopping experience to the passengers. SGK Kishore, CEO, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL), said, “Our city is witnessing a boom in air travel and with its strategic locational advantage, the passenger traffic through Hyderabad airport is growing at a rate of about 24 per cent year over year. The changes will only affect our departing international passengers and we will continue to handle international arrivals from the main passenger terminal building.” Source: ANI

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GPS’ EDWIN UK commences in Manchester

The Educational Destination Workshop-International initiative (EDWIN), a vertical of Global Panorama Showcase (GPS), is underway in Manchester, UK. The UK has always had a great appeal among Indian travellers and with the upcoming World Cup in 2019, Manchester garners maximum interest from the Indian audience because of the big matches played here. EDWIN will conclude with B2B networking sessions between travel agents and suppliers. EDWIN aims to introduce destinations or products to the growing Tier-II, III markets of India. As GPS reaches out to almost 10,000 travel agents across Tier-II, III agents in India, EDWIN comes as an added advantage for agents not only to meet suppliers at GPS but to also have a first-hand experience, information and understanding of the destination.

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Minar Group to introduce new leisure and MiCE vertical

The Minar Group is set to come up with a new leisure and MiCE vertical known as ‘Wishcover- Inspire journeys by Minar’. The new vertical is headed by Jasmine Duggal, Director, Minar Airways. Attempting to create a benchmark in the outbound market, Wishcover will focus to provide an inspired experience to travellers within India and abroad. The group has set a target of generating 20 crore by 2020 with the new vertical.

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India to gain an additional 359 million passengers by 2037

India is forecast to gain an additional 359 million passengers by 2037, compared to 2017,  according to a report by IATA, titled ‘The Future is Bright…But Not Without Its Challenges’. This means that, by 2037, there will be almost 520 million passengers flying to/from and within India each year. Domestic passengers will account for around 63 per cent of the total growth over this period, or 228 million additional passengers. Foreign passengers will contribute less to overall growth, representing 37 per cent of the total market growth, equal to 131 million additional passengers.

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Indian Railways earmarks investment of Rs 856,000 crore for rail infrastructure

The Indian Railways has put an ambitious target towards augmenting rail infrastructure, earmarking investment of Rs 856,000 crore between 2015-16 and 2019-20. Network decongestion and expansion, and safety comprise 60 per cent share of the overall capital expenditure. The capital investment on infrastructure creation is expected to sustain at high levels on the back of long-term financing via Life Insurance Corporation of India, funding by multilateral agencies, and building relationships and partnering with the private sector. Over the last three years, 33 per cent of the total capital investment was towards construction of new lines, track renewal works, gauge conversion and safety works. Likewise, broad gauge line and electrification projects gather momentum. The commissioning of both in the last three years almost doubled, from 1,500 km during 2008-09 to 2013-14 to 3,000 km in 2016-17 for broad gauge, and 1,100 km to 2,000 km for electrification.

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Indian airlines to order 2,100 planes over the next 20 years

In a recent forecast by Boeing, Indian airlines are expected to order as many as 2,100 planes worth US$290 billion over the next 20 years. As per a study by FICCI-Yes Bank report titled ‘Opportunities and Financing Outlook for Aviation Sector’, this increase is led by strong passenger demand, low fuel prices, high load factor, strong local currency and strong economic growth. Indian carriers operated 496 aircraft in FY17 up from 381 in FY08. At the end of FY17, Indian airlines had ordered more than 800 planes. Boeing projects a worldwide demand for 41,030 new airplanes over the next 20 years, with India carriers needing more than 5.1 percent of the total global demand.

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IHG debuts in Udaipur with Holiday Inn Udaipur Urban Square

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed a management agreement with Bhumika Enterprises for Holiday Inn Udaipur Urban Square. The 195-room hotel will be the first Holiday Inn hotel in the city and is expected to be operational by 2022. Boasting of an excellent location, Holiday Inn Udaipur Urban Square will be an integral part of the upcoming ‘Urban Square’, an integrated hospitality, retail and family entertainment destination spread over 1.8 million square feet. Sudeep Jain, Vice President—Development, South West Asia, IHG said, “We are delighted to partner with Bhumika Group to mark IHG’s debut in Udaipur, under the Holiday Inn banner. Urban Square is set to develop as a landmark destination for hospitality, retail and family entertainment in Udaipur and we are pleased to be a part of this prestigious development. The Holiday Inn brand family is our growth driver in the midscale hotel segment in India, and we have accelerated our expansion this year with a number of signings across the country.” Uddhav Poddar, Managing Director, Bhumika Group, said, “IHG is a leading hospitality player, globally and we are very pleased to partner with the company to launch Holiday Inn Udaipur Urban Square. We are confident that the Holiday Inn brand will further enhance the bouquet of services that the Urban Square has to offer to travellers.’’  

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Thomas Cook launches Forex Card mobile app to manage multiple currencies

Thomas Cook (India) has delivered on a series of innovative mobile-first initiatives: the thomascook.in Holidays, Visa & Forex Online Stores and Apps, iLead-a CRM-integrated Holiday Sales App, Tour Manager App and customer self-service App, Click2Book for business travellers, an advanced web-technology platform Astra, robotics and machine learning, Voyager-a customised holiday bundler, etc. With a YoY growth of 16 per cent, the highest estimated growth rate by any country in the world, more than a quarter of India’s population is expected to be using smartphones by the end of 2018 (337 million users), according to eMarketer. Not surprisingly, the adoption of mobile apps has seen rapid evolution- across not merely travel, but also foreign exchange transactions. Data from Thomas Cook’s Foreign Exchange business highlights the clear shift with a 47 per cent growth in mobile transactions. Hence, in a strategic move to empower the new age, mobile-first Indian traveller, the company has launched the Thomas Cook Borderless App. The first-of-its-kind app enables its multicurrency Borderless Prepaid Forex Card users to access and manage their Borderless Prepaid Card account anywhere, anytime, from the convenience of a smartphone. Kailash Gupta, Senior Vice President & Head, Payment Solutions Thomas Cook (India), said, “Today’s impatient new-age traveller is increasingly opting for convenience and we are witnessing a significant consumer shift to mobile-led platforms for both travel and foreign exchange. Hence, in our digital focus to empower our travellers, we have launched a dedicated app for our Borderless multicurrency prepaid card users. The app, with its real time services, will significantly improve customer experience and enhance convenience and safety-security.”

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