Tourism Breaking News

Jet Airways to charge Rs.900 for extra cabin baggage

Starting July 15, Jet Airways will be charging Rs 900 for extra cabin bag for passengers flying from the six metros. Under the new rule Jet Airways would allow flyers to take one hand bag weighing up to seven or 10 kg. This is depending on whether they are flying economy or business or are Jet’s privilege platinum and gold members, a laptop bag, and a purse for women without any extra charge. Apart from this, any other cabin luggage will have a levy of Rs 900.

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GoAir doubles A320neo order to 144

As part of ambitious expansion, GoAir has chosen Airbus for its further expansion plans by signing an MoU for 72 A320neo aircraft at the Farnborough International Airshow. The airline announced its latest order following a similar agreement for 72 A320neo placed in 2011 bringing the total order book to 144 aircraft. The first two aircraft from this order were delivered in June. GoAir CEO, Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said, “The new A320neo provide us the competitive edge to achieve our growth targets and help us strengthening our presence in the wider region. It also reaffirms Go Air’s commitment to deliver the most modern, comfortable and excellent air travel experience to all customers as well as to strengthen the sustained positive growth and business expansion of the company. The new aircraft will help us in unlocking new domestic routes while providing a springboard for continued international network expansion in the years to come.”

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AccorHotels acquires FRHI

AccorHotels Group officially announced the acquisition of FRHI Hotels & Resorts (FRHI) and its three prestigious luxury hotel brands: Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel. Following the approval of shareholders at the General Shareholders Meeting on July 12, 2016, the transaction with Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) of Saudi Arabia provided $840 million (€768 million) cash payment and the issuance of 46.7 million AccorHotels shares in consideration for the contributed FRHI shares. Joining AccorHotels’ global network is a portfolio of globally admired brands, which includes management of many of the world’s most iconic and historic hotels located in key strategic cities around the world, including: The Savoy in London, Raffles Singapore, Fairmont San Francisco, New York’s The Plaza, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City, and Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris. The transaction gives QIA and KHC respective stakes of 10.4% and 5.8% in Accor’s share capital. Ali Bouzarif and Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo from QIA and Sarmad Zok from KHC will now join AccorHotels’ Board of Directors. AccorHotels plans to generate approximately €65 million in revenue and cost synergies thanks to the combination of brands, the maximization of hotel earnings, the increased efficiency of marketing, sales and distribution channel initiatives, and the optimization of support costs. Significant enhancements will also be made in terms of customer data, thanks to the integration of FRHI’s customer base that includes three million loyalty members, of which 75 percent are in North America.This addition of three remarkable brands instantly positions AccorHotels as a leading player in the global luxury hotel market, increases long term growth potential and profitability, and significantly expands the company’s footprint in North America, the world’s largest and most …

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Stayzilla expands presence in North East, Sikkim and Bengal

Stayzilla.com has expanded the number of homestays in North East, Sikkim and Bengal, given the remoteness and demand for stays in these areas. Stayzilla works closely with various state tourism departments for opening up more homestays across the hilly terrain of the East. It has also introduced homestays in Tawang, Bhalukpong and Bomdila, located along the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. While homestays in Bhalukpong are supervised by the forest division, the stays in Bomdilla are run by Monpa, Sherdukpen, Miji, Bugun and Aka tribes. Identifying the undersupply of stay options relative to demand in India, Stayzilla stays are surpassing geographical barriers to welcome diverse cultures experiences across remote places such as Majuli. With over ten homestays, local tribes of Majuli have been promoting spiritual and eco-tourism vigorously in the region. Majuli is located on the river Brahmaputra in Assam and is known as the largest river island in the country. With an array of homestay facilities available across Sikkim and Meghalaya, Stayzilla lists homestays that offer tourists an opportunity to live with the locals, discover and share their lifestyle. Stayzilla has been involved in promoting eco-tourism and rural home stays in the region. On revitalising village tourism, Ankit Rastogi, VP Marketplaces, Stayzilla said “Unlike most travel experiences, rural homestays focus on collaborating with locals in improving their community’s quality of living. We, at Stayzilla work closely with State Tourism departments to develop unique tourism experiences based on the community’s cultural heritage to enable tourists to experience local hospitality, cuisine, customs and traditions by staying with families.” Along with rural and wildlife tourism, religious destinations spearhead domestic tourism in the country. The Mayapur Tourism Department under ISKCON temple provides …

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SpiceJet’s special Hajj flights from Indore & Gaya

SpiceJet is all set to take more than 8000 pilgrims on special flights for the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca from Gaya and Indore. It plans to deploy two Airbus 320 to carry pilgrims from Gaya and Indore respectively. The flights will be operated from the two Indian cities to Jeddah and Madina between August 4 and September 3, 2016. The return journey for the pilgrims back to Gaya is scheduled from September 17 and to Indore from September 30. The whole activity is expected to be executed by October 16, 2016. G. P. Gupta, Chief Administrative Officer and Accountable Manager, SpiceJet says, “It is a great privilege for us to be a part this grand holy ritual and eagerly look forward to serve our nation on this occasion. Hajj is a lifetime experience and SpiceJet will make every effort to ensure a hassle-free and delightful travel experience to all its customers. We extend our appreciation to the Ministry of Civil Aviation & Hajj committee for choosing us and wish all our pilgrim customers a wonderful stay at Mecca this year.”

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3rd East India Travel Awards in Kolkata today

The third edition of East India Travel Awards will be held at Novotel Kolkata Hotel and Residences today. The awards will honour the achievers of the eastern region, who have contributed to the growth of travel and tourism industry. Novotel Kolkata Hotel and Residences is hosting the event for the second time. The award statuette, Maya, celebrates the grandeur of tourism and imbibes the best representation of power to change the industry. Sharing details about the event, Gunjan Sabikhi, Convenor, India Travel Awards, says, “Everyone needs encouragement to grow and India Travel Awards helps the industry in this endeavor. The Awards recognise the contribution and achievements of travel and tourism players and rewards those who have gone above and beyond to offer a superior tourism experience to travellers. The only Awards to recognise talent at regional level, over the years they have become the standard of excellence for businesses and organisations in the travel industry. We have received nominations from the remotest corner of the region. Industry awards in turn help the winners in improving their relationship with their suppliers, build their credibility and help them break into new markets.” According to Jai Kishan, General Manager, Novotel Kolkata Hotel and Residences, “India Travel Awards has proved to be immensely successful ever since its inception. Congratulations are in order for their seamless operations, unbiased jury decisions and the fillip that it provides to the entire tourism and hospitality industry. The benefits of hosting the Awards ceremony range from the tangible to all other realms of acceptance and visibility for the hotel and its team as the event provides an unmatched exposure across a plethora of relevant platforms,” he says. Setting a …

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TAAI holds joint discussion with airlines

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) held an interactive meeting with a number of airlines in New Delhi to address the issues of its members. The interactive meeting saw in attendance representatives from all the major airlines including Air India, Lufthansa, Emirates, Etihad, Malaysian Airlines, Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, Oman Air, Air Cananda, Jet Airways as well as IATA and the GDS’s as well. TAAI, along with its members had put forth the issues like web parity; credit card acceptance, service tax, unethical practices by OTAs etc. and extended a hand to the airlines to come to a solution for these. Marzban Antia, Vice President, TAAI, said, “This being the inaugural meeting of TAAI with the airlines. After this we will have independent meetings with all of them. We at TAAI are being very aggressive and have taken a number of initiatives for our members, and this is another step in the direction of empowering our members.”

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TBO & FxKart offer B2B forex facility

In a strategic equity partnership, Travel Boutique Online and FxKart.com, an online market place for money-changers have come together to offer foreign exchange facilities to travel agents. Abdul Hadi Shaikh, CEO, FxKart, explains, “We have done a deep integration with the TBO portal. TBO agents can log on to their existing TBO platform, access the forex tab and get the best rates for forex in the city. Fxkart’s innovative instant forex deal discovery platform lets authorised money changers in the market bid for the best price in real time offering agents the best deal. Once the order is booked, the customer service finalises the deal and a seamless forex delivery takes place.” Shaikh further informs that travel agents can get commissions on every deal booked through options like per deal basis or percentage mark-up. Ankush Nijhawan, Co- Founder, TBO Group, informs that within two days of the launch of the product, there were 300 travel agents who searched for forex requirement on the platform, transacting business volume worth over a million dollars without any marketing of the product. “Our vision with the product is to disrupt the way the foreign exchange business is done in the B2B space,” says Nijhawan.

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138% growth in arrivals on eTV in June 2016

A total of 36,982 tourists arrived in June 2016 on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 15,557 during the month of June 2015 registering a growth of 137.7 per cent. During January-June 2016, a total of 4,71,909 tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 1,26,214 during January-June 2015, registering a growth of 273.9 per cent . USA turned out to be the top source market availing e-Tourist Visa facilities during June, 2016 at 23.22 per cent followed by UK (14.16%), China (6.91%), Australia (5.59%), France (4.10%), Germany (4.03%), Canada (4.02%), Singapore (2.62%), Malaysia (2.53%) and Spain (2.40%). New Delhi Airport turned out to be at the top when it came to airports with 42.15 per cent tourist arrivals on e-Tourist Visa during June, 2016, followed by Mumbai Airport (22.94%), Bengaluru Airport (9.95%), Chennai Airport (9.80%), Hyderabad Airport (3.76%), Kochi Airport (3.52%), Kolkata Airport (2.72%), Ahmadabad Airport (1.16%), Tiruchirapalli Airport (1.15%) and Trivandrum Airport (1.08%).

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Bird Travel appointed Rwandair’s GSA for India

RwandAir has appointed Bird Travels, the Airline Management Services arm of Bird Group as its new General Sales Agent for the Indian market. RwandAir is planning to commence operations to Mumbai, India in the last quarter of this year, and the appointment of Bird Travel as its GSA comes in line with that. “Bird Travel is happy to be associated with RwandAir as their exclusive GSA in India. RwandAir is one of the fastest growing airlines on the African continent and has aggressive plans to connect India and Africa through their hub in Kigali, Rwanda. We look forward to a great working association with RwandAir and are optimistic of making their online operations a success,” commented Praful Khosla, Executive Vice President, Bird Travel. John Mirenge, RwandAir’s Chief Executive Officer stated that, “ we have selected Bird Travel to position our brand, create awareness of our products and sell our services in this important new market.” The new GSA, Bird Travel will use its vast experience and will be the immediate liaison for the airline’s sales development in India, including ticketing and direct support services to the travel trade. RwandAir will be operating four weekly flights to Mumbai with its brand new A330-300, a state of the art triple class 274 wide-body seater equipped with full flat beds in business class and unmatched leg room in premium economy, with inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi as well as GSM connectivity across all three classes.

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