Tourism Breaking News

Hong Kong: Protesters target shopping malls post-Christmas

Hundreds of protesters marched through Hong Kong shopping malls on December 26, disrupting business in the Asian financial hub for a third day over the festive period and prompting the riot police to close off a mall in a tourist district. The “shopping protests” have targeted malls across the Chinese-ruled city since Christmas Eve, turning violent at times with the police firing tear gas to disperse demonstrators in areas filled with shoppers and visitors. Some restaurants and stores pulled down their shutters in the malls as protesters, some wearing balaclavas and carrying black flags, marched by. The protests began more than six months ago in response to a now-withdrawn bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, where courts are controlled by the Communist Party.

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London: Virgin Atlantic to upgrade ticket of oldest passenger on every flight till January 2020

Virgin Atlantic is giving its oldest passengers a very special gift this holiday season. The airline has decided to upgrade the ticket of the oldest passenger on every flight to a higher category for the rest of 2019- all inspired by the kindness of strangers in a tweet, Virgin Atlantic said, “On behalf of us and @RichardBranson, complimentary upgrades will be offered to the most ‘seasoned’ customer on board all our flights from today until 1st Jan 2020. The airline got inspired from an incident where a passenger named Jack gave up his first-class seat for an 88-year-old woman named Violet. In mid-December, a Virgin Atlantic crew member detailed the incident on Facebook.

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Southern California: Heavy rain and snow create travel mess

Record-breaking Christmas night rainfall in the Los Angeles area along with heavy overnight snowfall in the nearby mountains has turned morning drives into a travel nightmare. In the late-night and early-morning hours, major roadways like Interstate 5 over Tejon Pass was closed in both directions due to multiple stuck vehicles. The California Highway Patrol officially closed I-5 at with no estimate as to when the highway would reopen. The heavy snow in mountainous areas may exceed a foot in some locations. Los Angeles International Airport saw 1.50 inches of rain from the storm, with more to come. At Long Beach Airport, about 20 miles away, a record-breaking 1.03 inches were recorded. The Cajon Pass, a popularly used mountain pass between the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains, was also impaired by heavy snow, which forced the closure of I-15.

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Spain: Barcelona to raise tourist tax in 2020

Barcelona city authorities are planning to raise the tourist tax in 2020. These plans have already received general support. Currently, the maximum tourist tax in Barcelona is between 65 cents and 2 euros per day. The tax rate depends on the level of the accommodation, the more basic it is, the lower the tax. Under the new proposal, the maximum rate will be 4 euros per day. Barcelona is also planning to increase the tax for cruise ship passengers. For these measures to take effect, it is necessary to coordinate them the budget of autonomous community of Catalonia.

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32 million global passengers expected to cruise in 2020: CLIA

32 million global passengers are expected to cruise in the year 2020, reveals Cruise Line International Association’s 2020- State of the Cruise Industry Outlook. In 2019, the projected number of passengers taking cruises globally is 30 million, which was 1.5 million more than what it was in 2018 (28.5 million). CLIA also revealed that 278 ocean cruise line ships are projected to be in operation in 2020, while 19 are scheduled to debut next year.

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Global airline industry to record net profit of $29.3 billion in 2020: IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast that the global airline industry will produce a net profit of $29.3 billion in 2020, improved over a net profit of $25.9 billion expected in 2019 (revised downward from a $28 billion forecast in June). The net profit margin is forecast at 3.4% (up from 3.1% for 2019). The return on invested capital is forecast to be 6.0% (improved from 5.7% expected in 2019). Overall industry revenues are forecast to reach $872 billion (+4.0% on $838 billion in 2019). Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said,  “Slowing economic growth, trade wars, geopolitical tensions and social unrest, plus continuing uncertainty over Brexit all came together to create a tougher than anticipated business environment for airlines. Yet the industry managed to achieve a decade in the black, as restructuring and cost-cutting continued to pay dividends. It appears that 2019 will be the bottom of the current economic cycle and the forecast for 2020 is somewhat brighter. The big question for 2020 is how capacity will develop, particularly when, as expected, the grounded 737 MAX aircraft return to service and delayed deliveries arrive.”

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Around 70 licences & approvals required to open and operate a hotel in India: HVS

HVS Ease of Doing Business report has revealed that around 70 licences & approvals are needed to open and operate a hotel in India, while only 45 are required in China. However, in Singapore, only 26 licenses and approvals are needed for opening and operating a hotel. The study states licensing requirements in other countries are not as complex as in India. The number of licences needed to operate a hotel in India are far too many and vary across states.

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AirAsia India records least cancellations amongst domestic carriers in Nov 2019: DGCA

The overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic airlines for the month of November 2019 has been 1.87%. AirAsia India recorded least number of cancellations and recorded 0.51% cancellations, followed by Vistara at 0.63% and Indigo at 1.07%. SpiceJet stood at 4th place with 1.51% cancellations and Star Air was fifth at 2.08%. GoAir was at 2.10%, while Air India recorded 3.68% cancellations.

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Sarovar Hotels & Resorts opens new hotel in Dindi, Andhra Pradesh

Sarovar Hotels and Resort has announced the opening of their new hotel in the Godavari Delta of Andhra Pradesh. Dindi is in the intersection where the Godavari joins the Bay of Bengal. A destination known for its coconut plantations, serene backwaters, vast lakes and palm-fringed canals, the RVR Sarovar Portico, Dindi has aesthetically designed rooms and Suites, with a view of beautiful lilies and lotus plants. The Godavari Banquet hall at the hotel offers the ideal venue for events of any sort, from weddings to private parties, leisure events to corporate retreats for up to 150 guests. In addition, the hotel has a well-equipped fitness centre, Lake view and complimentary Wi-Fi. Commenting on the development, Anil Madhok, Executive Chairman, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, said “We are delighted to expand our leisure portfolio. Our vision is to deliver uncomplicated travel experience for our business and leisure travellers. We see great growth potential in this market and look forward to offering the best value to business and leisure travellers in sync with Sarovar’s signature hospitality”.  

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IATA to adopt worldwide airport slot guidelines to help new airlines get slots at Indian airports

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is in talks with the Indian civil aviation officials to adopt the worldwide airport slot guidelines which will help new airlines get slots at various airports in India. Once adopted, more international airlines will be able to fly into India, connecting more cities worldwide and it could also help the UDAN scheme. As per the guidelines, new entrants which could either be new airlines or those who have not operated from a particular airport will be allowed three daily return flights. Once these slots are used up, that particular airline will not be allocated new slots but will have to bid for the next phase of expansion. (Source: The Hindu Business Line)

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