Tourism Breaking News

IRCTC suspends booking of privately-run Tejas Express trains till 30th April

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has cancelled all three Tejas trains till 30th April owing to a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country. The decision is also taken keeping in mind that a lot of train staff is outsourced, looking at the uncertainty on how and when the lockdown will be lifted. However, no decision is taken yet on the operation of other passenger trains run by Indian Railways.  IRCTC runs three premium, private passenger trains across three routes– Lucknow-New Delhi-Lucknow, Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Ahmedabad and Kashi Mahakal express connecting Varanasi and Indore. Full ticket fare will be refunded automatically, without any cancellation charges, to all the users/passengers having booked tickets for journey during the above period.

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Travel agents should issue refunds when airlines pay them: TAAI

In a statement, The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has said that travel agents should issue refunds to their clients only when the same is received by them from the airlines or IATA. Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI stated that they have raised strong objections on the refund issues and mechanism with all airlines and IATA while also seeking the Ministry of Civil Aviation to direct the airlines to refund all monies since additional funds of the agents is also blocked with airlines paid for advances in float accounts of low-cost carriers operating in India. TAAI has told its members to inform their customers, who desire to refund their tickets, that they shall be updated as soon as they receive refunds from airlines/IATA for the tickets issued and also assure that the same shall be given.

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Domestic air traffic will fall to 90 million passengers from 140 million: CAPA India

According to a report released by CAPA India, domestic air traffic is expected to drop to 80-90 million passengers in the current fiscal against an estimated 140 million passengers. The delivery of more than 200 planes to Indian carriers are also likely to be deferred by up to two years. International traffic is expected to fall from approximately 70 million in the previous financial year to 35-40 million passengers or maybe even less in the current fiscal. As a result, the majority of the fleet is likely to be surplus to requirement during the first half of the current financial year. While giving the forecast, CAPA India said it is an initial estimate and would be continually revised. A gradual path towards normalcy could be expected towards Q3 and Q4, the aviation consultancy firm said.

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COVID-19 may cost tourism 7 years of growth: Suman Billa, UNWTO

During the TravTalk Digital Conclave, Suman Billa, Director, Technical Cooperation & Silk Road Development, UNWTO said that it may take almost 7 years for tourism to scale back growth achieved in recent years. According to him, the global tourism demand will not be the same again post-COVID-19 crisis is over. “COVID-19 may cost tourism seven years of growth – that’s seven years of lost jobs and lost opportunities. UNWTO’s recommendations for recovery urge governments to act decisively to protect jobs, protect companies and include tourism in all recovery plans,” the former Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism. In its analysis estimating the global impact, UNWTO predicted a loss of 290-400 million international tourist arrivals globally. 

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Travel Nevada to host webinar for agents today at 11:30 am

Travel Nevada will host a webinar for travel agents today, 8th April, 2020, starting at 11:30 am. For registration and more details on the event, please contact, Ritesh Ahluwalia at ritesh.ahluwalia@buzzindia.in or +91 9818576755. Over 500 agents from across India are expected to participate. Through this, agents will learn about the key highlights of the destination and will be educated on what makes Nevada an ideal destination for Indian tourists.

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Consolidation important, EbixCash will lookout for special interest acquisitions: Naveen Kundu

Analysing the revival plans for the tourism industry post-COVID-19crisis, Naveen Kundu, Managing Director, EbixCash Travel & Holidays has said that there will be a lot of behavioural changes in the industry including a complete price realignment for every tourism product. He said that post-COVID-19 crisis, rationalisation and consolidation will become important they will look at special interest acquisitions going forward when the situation is normalised.  “Ebix has always been bullish about the Indian market. Post COVID-19, there will be a complete paradigm shift in the industry, which will make a consolidation opportunity for us. We will be looking at special interest acquisition and continue the way we have progressed in the Indian market. Among sectors, I believe MiCE industry will be the first one to bounce back,” said Kundu.

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IATO Elections postponed; New date to be decided after 30 days

The Returning Officer for IATO Elections 2020, Akshay Kumar in a meeting with IATO EC decided to postpone the association’s election scheduled to take place on April 25 amid ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Starting 6th April, the elections are postponed by 30 days. The IATO EC will meet after 30 days to decide upon new dates. The election should, however, take place within 90 days starting 6th  April 2020. The timelines suggested during the meeting varied from two months to all the way till 2021. In case the election cannot be held within 90 days, the Returning Officer recommended that IATO call for an EGM and allow the house to decide upon the new dates for election. In the interim, the Office Bearers and EC of IATO are hereby allowed to work and lead the association in the best interests of its members and the industry at large.

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India’s first digital conclave by TravTalk Overwhelming response: 6,000+ attendees

TravTalk Digital Conclave – India’s first virtual tourism conclave got off to a roaring success with over 6000 plus attendees in three sessions that took place yesterday. TravTalk got on board eminent stakeholders in the tourism industry to discuss various issues arising because of the COVID-19 crisis for the industry. Session one focused on ‘When will inbound bounce back? What action can tour operators take in the interim?’ Speakers for this session included Rupinder Brar (ADG – Ministry of Tourism), Himmat Anand (Founder – Tree of Life Resorts & Hotels) and Homa Mistry (CEO – Trail Blazer Tours). The second session was on the subject ‘Outbound tourism: Weathering the storm and gearing up for better days’. Speakers for this session included experts like Tricia Warwick (APMEA Director – VisitBritain), GB Srithar (Regional Director, India, Middle East & South Asia – Singapore Tourism Board) and Deepak Rawat (Senior Vice President, International Markets – MakeMyTrip). The final session covered the topic ‘Coronavirus – A small roadblock or a major disrupter for the tourism industry?’ This session had industry experts Suman Billa (Director, Technical Cooperation and Silk Road Development – UNWTO), Kapil Kaul (CEO, India & ME – CAPA) and Naveen Kundu (Managing Director – EbixCash Travel & Holidays), share their expert advice with the travel trade.

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ETAA to conduct second webinar on technology for members on April 8, 2020

The Enterprising Travel Agent’s Association (ETAA) is preparing to conduct its second webinar for its members on April 8,2020. This time it will be on technology conducted by Karthik Venkataraman, Head of Business Development, GMR Tech Solutions. He will talk about the importance of having a digital presence during such challenging times. The association’s first webinar was conducted on April 6, 2020 where more than 100 ETAA members from across India attended. This webinar focussed on ‘Bonding’ and it was a one hour session conducted by TEDX speaker Bharat Jethani who also helps in community building. The members also suggested some unexplored destinations that can be promoted to domestic tourists once things get back to normal. ETAA plans to conduct more such events in the future to engage its members.

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Hospitality Manufacturers and service providers plead relief from Modi

The Hospitality, F&B and Tourism Industry and sub-sectors have sought Government intervention and made a representation to the Prime Minister of India to offer support to the sector to withstand the challenges posed by the current COVID – 19 crises. Rakesh Kumar, Chairman, India Exposition Mart Ltd. said Hospitality industry supports the travel, tourism, and F&B Industry and contributes Rs. 5 lakh crores in the Indian economy engaging a sizable number of people from MSME sector. The Hospitality, F&B and Tourism industry has been severely hit and is witnessing a massive distress due to the lock down. Adding further he said the Hospitality Industry has submitted a detailed representation to the Prime Minister of India which include the following:- – 6% Interest Subvention to the entire hospitality sub-sector. Moratorium of EMI payments for loans and working capital from Financial Institutions (both banking & non-banking). Deferment of all Statutory Dues such as Advance Tax payments, PF, ESIC, customs duties at the Central Government level or at any state government level, the excise fees, taxes, bank guarantees and security deposits and deferment of all renewals, across the sub-sectors supporting tourism, travel, hospitality and F&B industry. z- Waiving of Electricity and Water Charges for the next 6 months or charged on the basis of actual consumption (not as per load). Wages Compensation for the employees. Speedy GST Refund. Auto-renewal of 70+ licenses which a hotel must acquire/renew for 2 years at no cost. Amendment in clauses relating to EPCG. Waiver of Bar License Fee and reduction in excise duty linked to consumption. – Offering a one-time, mobilisation fund/advance to manufacturing organisations from sub-sectors of hospitality that could re-tool and start producing to meet …

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