Tourism Breaking News

Chennai-Tokyo Narita on ANA from 27 October

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) will connect Tokyo Narita International Airport and Chennai International Airport from October 27 on Boeing 787-8 aircraft. This expansion will bring ANA’s number of total cities serviced to 46. This will be ANA’s third route offering service to India, along with flights from Narita to Mumbai and Delhi. “It is always exciting to add a new destination, but it is even more significant to be the only carrier offering connecting this growing region with Japan,” said Seiichi Takahashi, Senior Vice President of ANA.      

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Ebix acquires Yatra Online via merger

Ebix will be acquiring Yatra Online via merger, as part of a definitive agreement signed between the two travel giants. Following the completion of the transaction, Yatra will become part of Ebix’s EbixCash travel portfolio alongside Via and Mercury and will continue to serve customers under the Yatra brand. The transaction will create India’s largest and most profitable travel services company, and a leading online travel platform poised to capture significant international growth opportunities. Ebix Chairman, President and CEO Robin Raina, commented, “The acquisition of Yatra would lend itself to significant synergies and the emergence of EbixCash as India’s largest and most profitable travel services company, besides being the largest enterprise financial exchange in the country. Over the last few months, we have evolved a detailed synergistic plan, that once fully executed can provide between 40 to 75 cents of accretion to the Ebix non-GAAP EPS. We are excited by the cross-selling opportunities that this combination provides us, while further strengthening our future EbixCash IPO offering.” Dhruv Shringi, Co-founder and CEO of Yatra Online. “We are pleased to announce this agreement with Ebix, which provides our shareholders with the opportunity to participate in the significant upside potential of one of the fastest growing multinational On-Demand software and E-commerce services companies in the world. Over the last several years, we have built Yatra into one of India’s most well- recognized e-commerce brands, growing into the leading corporate travel services provider and one of the largest consumer travel companies. Becoming a part of Ebix’s EbixCash travel portfolio will enable us to continue on that path. As part of a larger diversified organization with the necessary scale and resources to be a leader …

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Air India increases check-in baggage limit by 10 kgs for UAE-bound passengers

Passengers travelling to the UAE on Air India flights can now carry 10 kgs more in their check-in luggage as the airline has, with immediate effect, increased the baggage allowance from 30 kgs to 40 kgs. The move is in line with the increasing demand by the travel community for an enhanced baggage allowance on the route. The allowance for hand-baggage, however, continues to be the same at 7 kgs. “As demanded by the people, Air India will allow passengers to carry 40 kgs as luggage in the check-in besides the usual 7 kgs that the traveller carries as hand baggage,” said Ashwani Lohani, Chairman and Managing Director, Air India.

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4th edition of GPS Chandigarh kickstarts with a reinvented format

After making its presence felt in the southern market with Hyderabad and western market with Ahmedabad, the bandwagon of Global Panorama Showcase has now moved to North India with the fourth edition of GPS Chandigarh. With a reinvented format, the organisers have concised the plan of the show from three days to two days. Harmandeep Singh Anand, Co-Founder & Managing Director, GPS, said that the same format will be followed in other GPS cities like Kolkata and Kochi, while the format followed in Ahmedabad will continue in Pune, keeping in mind the better understanding of markets in different cities. “With four new EDWIN programs this year, travel agents in Chandigarh have a chance to experience all four different destinations and learn more knowledge about them. Our core motto with EDWIN programs has always been to empower and educate the travel trade so that they can grow their business manifold. GPS will keep working hard to provide best networking opportunities to all the attendees,” Anand said further. Day 1 of the show started with GPS app workshop and announcement of EDWIN for year 2019, in destinations like Tanzania, Zanzibar and Ladakh. EDWIN on Jalesh Cruise is also in line, apart from Europe tour on coach by Red Tours and Europe tour by rail by Amigo Travels, in plans this year. Day 1 comprised product presentations and knowledge sessions by exhibitors throughout the day, followed by the welcome dinner in the evening. Day 2 of the show is totally dedicated to B2B meetings throughout the day, followed by gala dinner. GPS is hosting over 150 buyers from different places around Chandigarh for the show.  

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Rs 1400 crore worth tourism projects approved for NE in 5 years

Ministry of Tourism (MOT), has sanctioned Rs 1,400 crore worth projects in the eight northeastern states in the past five years under Swadesh Darshan scheme, revealed Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel. Of Rs 1,400 crore, Rs 896 crore were released for a total of 16 projects, he added. Of this, two projects each were for Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura. The projects included heritage development of Tezpur-Majuli-Sibsagar in Assam, wildlife tourism in Assam (development of Manas-Probitora-Nameri-Kaziranga-Dibru-Saikhowa), eco-tourism in Mizoram (development of Aizawl-Rawpuichhip-Khawhphawp-Lengpui-Durtlang-Chatlang-Sakawrhmuituaitlang-Muthee-Beratlawng-Tuirial air field-Hmuifang), tribal affairs (two projects) in Nagaland, (development of Mokokchung-Tuensang-Mon and Peren-Kohima-Wokha), and spiritual tourism in Manipur (development of Shri Govindajee Temple, Shri Bijoy Govindajee Temple-Shri Gopinath Temple-Shri Bungshibodon Temple-Shri Kaina Temple). Patel said the Union Home Ministry (MHA) had declared Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim as partly protected area and partly restricted area.

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Govt launches website to help Jet Airways staff find jobs with other private airlines

To facilitate employment for Jet Airways’ staff, the government will launch a dedicated web portal. Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister, Civil Aviation, informed that a website would be launched listing staff of Jet Airways and help find employment in other private entities, while addressing the Rajya Sabha on the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019. “Every employee would be listed there and the prospects for their re-employment or employment will be facilitated by the government,” he said.  The Minister, however, said that government cannot assume responsibility for a business failure conducted by a private party. Referring to Jet Airways, Puri said he was sensitive to (business) failure and willing to see what can be done within the governmental system to cushion that failure.

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Rs.380.12 crore sanctioned for development of Tribal Circuit under Swadesh Darshan

The Ministry of Tourism, under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme, has sanctioned a total of Rs 380. 12 crore for development of Tribal Circuit across the country, specifically in states like Nagaland, Chhattisgarh and Telangana, revealed by Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State (I/C), Tourism. Around 97.36 crore have been sanctioned for the development of Tribal Circuit Peren- Kohima- Wokha in Nagaland, apart from another one worth Rs 99.67 crore for the Mokokchung–Tuensang-Mon circuit in the same state. In Telangana, Rs 83.88 crore have been sanctioned for the integrated development of Mulugu-Laknavaram-Medavaram-Tadvai- Damaravi –Mallur – Bogatha Waterfalls as Tribal Circuit. On the other hand, Rs 99.21 crore have been sanctioned for the development of Tribal Tourism Circuit in Jashpur-Kunkuri-Mainpat- Ambikapur-Maheshpur -Ratanpur-Kurdar-Sarodadadar Gangrel- Kondagaon –Nathyanawagaon -Jagdalpur Chitrakoot -Tirthgarh in Chhattisgarh.

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Thomas Cook clarifies social media rumour

Madhavan Menon, Chairman & Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India), has categorically denied a rumour floating against it on social media platforms. He said, “We have witnessed robust performances across all our key travel and foreign exchange businesses and continue to remain at a healthy financial position having prepaid our obligations and are debt free at a holding company level. We are bullish on both the foreign exchange as well as the inbound and outbound businesses. We are scouting for new investments and are looking for the right opportunity.” In a statement, the company claimed that they want to clarify that Thomas Cook (India is part of Fairfax Financial Holdings, is a completely different entity from Thomas Cook PLC and has been an independent company since August 2012. It also claimed that Thomas Cook (India) is financially strong, profitable and maintains a positive outlook in the travel and tourism sector and continues to witness strong growth. The statement said, “Cash and bank deposits balance of the Thomas Cook India Group (consolidated level) is at Rs. 10588 Mn. as of March 31, 2019. On a standalone basis Thomas Cook India is debt free upon pre-payment of Rs. 670 Mn debenture obligations ahead of schedule. This has been made possible using stable and strong cash flows that the Thomas Cook India Group is generating year over year. Group generates an annual free cash flow of around Rs. 2000-2500 Mn. As earlier reported, for the Financial Year ended March 31, 2019 on a comparable basis, the Group’s consolidated revenue from operations increased by 18% from Rs.56 Bn. to Rs.66 Bn. Consolidated PBT increased by 985% from Rs. 53 Mn. in FY18 to Rs. 573 …

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Serbia appoints Beautiful Planet as India representative

National Tourism Organisation of Serbia has appointed Beautiful Planet Destination Marketing to expand its tourism activities in India. As part of the mandate, Beautiful Planet will be responsible for organising roadshows in Mumbai and Delhi and a familiarisation visit to Serbia. In a move to promote border free tourism, the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the decision on visa exemption for Indian nationals in September 2017. Commenting on the same, Huzan Fraser and Beena Menon, Directors, Beautiful Planet Destination Marketing, said, “We are absolutely delighted to be chosen as the India representative for the National Tourism Organisation of Serbia to market this new and exciting destination in the Balkans. We would like to enhance the visibility and image of the destination using the culture, history and diversity, to uniquely position the same in the market.” On engagement with Beautiful Planet – Marija Labovic, Acting Director, National Tourism Organisation of Serbia, said, “Beautiful Planet has an excellent track record in destination representation. Outbound tourism from India is on a growth trajectory and we would like to be part of the growth story. Serbia has everything to offer the discerning travellers and we are geared up to cater to the needs and demands of the Indian market.” Some of the features that make Serbia an incredibly attractive tourism destination include: UNESCO World Heritage Sites; National Parks; Adventure Sports like white water rafting, free climbing, flying, orienteering; diverse Fauna; Nature Parks; Sports and Recreating Activities like hiking, bicycling, walking and hiking; Mountain Resorts and Spa & Health Resorts; Monasteries and Museums.

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Odisha to roll out new tourism policy by 2020

The Odisha Tourism department is working towards releasing a new tourism policy for the state by 2020, informed, VishalKumar Dev, Commissioner-cum-Secretary to Government, Tourist Department, Government of Odisha. He also said that the department is looking to aggressively promote water sports activities and recreational projects in the state as well as introducing houseboats at the popular tourist destinations like Chilika and Bhitarkanika. “The government is mulling out plans to revise the existing tourism policy, we will be ready with the new policy by next year. The government has been aggressively promoting water sports and recreational tourism in the state. We are laying focus on niche tourism segments such as houseboats tourism, which seamlessly mingles with ecotourism water recreation. We shall strive to synergize the various segments of water-based tourism as a sustainable segment. The state has embarked on a project to diversify its tourism offering by exploring the potential of its waterbodies, wetlands and coastline,” revealed Dev at the Odisha Tourism roadshow organised in Delhi. With the tourism sector contributing 13 per cent to Odisha’s GDP, the tourist inflow CAGR was recorded 9.1 percent during 2013 to 2017. The state government is expecting 2.4 crore tourist in 2020-21, up from 1.5 crore in 2018. Besides, the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP) has also proposed the government to start cruise service in Chilika Lake in association with Forest and Environment and Tourism department.

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