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Weekly Travel Updates

Here’s an overview of all the latest news in the travel and tourism sector for the week (18 to 22 August, 2014) Another feather in the cap of ITC H...

‘Vistara’ – A Singapore Airli...

The Tata Sons Group and Singapore Airlines have tied-up together to launch an airline carrier brand called “Vistara”. The carrier is headquartered in ...

Weekly Travel Updates (04–08 August...

If you’re a travel fanatic you will surely want to know what's happening in the world of travel and stay updated. So here’s a glimpse of what happened...

Weekly Travel Updates

Here’s an overview of all the latest news in the travel and tourism sector in the past week (30 June to 4 July 2014). India to work on measures to bo...

Weekly Travel Updates

Here’s an overview of all the latest news in the travel and tourism sector for the week (18 to 22 August, 2014)

Another feather in the cap of ITC Hotel

ITC Hotel is planning to open its first 5-star premium property on 1st October, 2014. Named as ITC Grand Bharat, the hotel is about a 40 minutes’ drive from New Delhi. Talking about the facilities, the hotel will have 100 suites with private pools and alfresco terraces. Other amenities at the hotel include a lavish golf course, a luxurious royal spa and a world of dining options.


Room View at ITC (from official website of ITC Hotel)


Spicejet launches the first international flight from Kolkata

Spicejet has resumed its flights to Bangkok from a new destination, Kolkata. There would be daily flights from the city and the services on this route would start from 25th September, 2014. Earlier, the airline used to have flights from cities like Pune and Bengaluru and this would be the first international flight from Kolkata.


Taj to open a new luxurious property in Downtown Dubai

Taj Group is planning to launch a new chain in UAE, which would be known as Taj Dubai. The luxurious hotel is situated in the famous Burj Khalifa area. The property will have 296 guestrooms, exclusive rooms, 7 F&B outlets which will offer a world of cuisines, kids’ programme for young guests, fitness centre and Jiva Spa. The launch is being seen as an important step in expansion plans of the Taj Group. The hotel is expected to be functional in 4th quarter of 2014.

Accolades for ixigo

ixigo, the travel search company, has been recognized as one of the 50 hottest brands in Delhi NCR at the  Paul Writer Brand Summit – Futurist Marketing Conclave 2014. The list includes the likes of BMW, Jabong and Harley Davidson. The company also won a bronze for the Best use of #hashtags from first chapter of Socialathon 2014. The event was organised by Digital Market Asia, Singapore and Exchange4media group.

IRCTC announces special trains for Ganpati Festival 2014

A number of special trains will be operating to clear the rush during Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. Konkan Railways has announced Shatabdi Premium Special trains (reserved and double decker) to run between Karmali and Mumbai CST station. The trains will continue running till the 11th of September, 2014. 18 more reserved special trains will run along the Ratnagiri -  LTT route. Unreserved special trains will run along the LTT – Ratnagiri, Mumbai – Kolhapur and Dadar – Sawatwadi Road corridors. 2 additional trains will be operating on the Jammu Tawi – Nanded route. Additional details are available on the IRCTC official website.

Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai (by AroundTheGlobe)

 

 

‘Vistara’ – A Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons joint venture airline to take flight in October

The Tata Sons Group and Singapore Airlines have tied-up together to launch an airline carrier brand called “Vistara”. The carrier is headquartered in Delhi and is to operate as a fully serviced airline. It is slated to begin operations this October. The airline models that will be operating for this joint venture are to be well stocked on board with the latest technology.

Vistara is set to begin operations this October

 

The airline expects its first airline–Airbus A320-200 to be delivered in September and 5 more to add to its growing fleet by the end of this year. The numbers are expected to escalate to 20 aircrafts over the next 5 years. The airline alliance venture is expected to boost India’s aviation industry by leaps and bounds.

 

Foreseeing that the airline shall commence operations in October, the uniforms of the cabin crew and other airline staff have been unveiled. “Vistara” is a Sanskrit word which translates to “limitless expanse”. It is symbolic of the vast expanse of the skies and the logo is inspired by “yantra”, a mathematical symbol for the expansive universe.

 

The CEO of Vistara, Phee Teik Yeoh

 

The objective of the airline can be summed up in the agenda that was laid forth by the CEO, Phee Teik Yeoh–to provide a full service airline with personalized services. The route network will be finalized based on the clear aim to connect major Indian cities. The airline will operate in 5 cities initially and will connect Delhi with major Indian cities. The airline hopes to cover 11 cities through 87 weekly flights within the subsequent year.

 - Images from the official Facebook page of Vistara.

 

Weekly Travel Updates (04–08 August 2014)

If you’re a travel fanatic you will surely want to know what’s happening in the world of travel and stay updated. So here’s a glimpse of what happened in the travel scene during the past week (04-08 August).


Royal Jordanian Airlines pull out of India

Royal Jordanian Airlines has confirmed that it will suspend all services in India towards the second half of 2014, as part of its restructuring plan. Currently flying on two routes, the Mumbai route will cease operating from 10 September 2014 and the Delhi service will be suspended from 31 October 2014.

Royal Jordanian Airlines (by Arpingstone)

 

The world’s highest rail track reaches Everest gateway

China recently inaugurates a stretch of track connecting the Tibetan cities of Lhasa and Shigatse, bringing the railway track closer to the Mt. Everest. The track is an extension of the Qinghai-Tibet line–and is named the “closest stretch of railway to the sky” after it first carried passengers above 5,000 meters in 2006.

Qinghai-Tibet line (by Jan Reurink)

 

Marriott Rewards join hands with Etihad Airways for loyalty scheme

By joining hands with Etihad Airways’ loyalty programme, Etihad Guest, customers can now redeem their Marriott Rewards Points for Etihad Guest Miles, as well as choosing to earn Etihad Guest Miles for all stays at Marriott properties worldwide. The partnership is a great way for travellers to enjoy immediate awards when booking a hotel stay or flight resulting in a free vacation.

Etihad Airways (by Sergey Kustov)

 

China soon to be the world’s top business travel market

China is among the world’s hottest markets for business travellers, and spending in the country could surpass the US as soon as 2015. Business travel spending in China hit USD 225 billion in 2013. That’s second only to the US. The pace of business travel growth in China is remarkable. Since 2000, spending has expanded by about 16 % each year on average, compared to 1 % in the US.

Tourists in China (by Daniel Case)

 

Swiss Airlines wins in business category at the World Travel Awards

At the 2014 World Travel Awards, Swiss was selected as winner of Europe’s Leading Airline –Business Class accolade for the fourth consecutive time. The award is voted for by travel and tourism industry experts from all over the globe. Swiss has now claimed top spot in this category six times since 2005.

Swiss Airlines (by Mark Tang)

Weekly Travel Updates

Here’s an overview of all the latest news in the travel and tourism sector in the past week (30 June to 4 July 2014).

India to work on measures to boost international arrivals

India’s Minister of State for Culture and Tourism, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik, announced recently that several factors have been observed that could boost the tourism growth of the country. Although there is a marked 5.9% growth in the tourism industry since 2013, he also revealed some important observations that are still deterrents in the path of its further growth.

These factors include–more accessible air travel, a further developed tourism infrastructure among others. He also cited a number of measures that are being worked upon to boost the tourism sector. These include work on cleanliness and hygiene in tourism sites, development of the emerging low-cost aviation concept, expansion of the visa-on-arrival project, etc.

Air India ties up with Travelport Display Solution

 

Air India

 

Air India has recently tied up with Travelport Display Solution.Travelport provides a graphic display programme that presents how ancillaries and fares of the particular airline are displayed to travel agents. This is also part of Travelport’s Rich Content and Branding Technology. Air India is the 50th airline to sign up for this service.


India to better measures of safety for women travellers

New measures have been launched to facilitate state governments to provide a safe environment for foreign women travellers visiting the country. These include – Tourist Facility and Security Organisations (TFSO) – for the states of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.

There is another measure–Code of Conduct for Safe and Honourable Tourism, which underlines guidelines for tour operators highlighting the significance of a tourists’ safety and security. These measures have been taken up as part of a larger goal to curb the fall in the percentage of foreign travellers in the country owing to a number of attacks against women travellers to the country in the past.


India to help Nepal realise its tourism potential

 

Nepal

On his latest visit to Nepal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ensured complete infrastructural support for Nepal. He cited the friendly relations that the countries have shared since a long time being the reason. He said that the Spiritual and Adventure Holiday segment to Nepal could be worked upon to further enhance Nepal’s visibility as a tourist hotspot. Besides this, he also suggested a HIT formula to go about further infrastructural developments. The HIT formula includes–H – Highways, I – Information highways, T – Transways.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Travel Updates (20th to 27th July)

Here is a roundup of what has been happening on the world-wide travel scenario for the week of 20 to 27 July 2014.

Ancient fort in Kashmir now open to the public

Adding yet another gem to its sparkling crown, Kashmir has opened a 16th century Mughal fort, Hari Parbat, to the public. The said fort sits upon the city of Srinagar and served as an Army base camp till now. This fort will now be included in all the Old City tours as well as the Wild Frontiers’ tours of Kashmir.

Fort seen from Dal Lake (by NawlinWiki)

Thailand extends its tourism roadshow to Jaipur and Bhubaneshwar

In a bid to attract more Indian tourists to Thailand, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) initiated a nationwide series of promotional events in the national capital on 21 July, followed by similar events in Jaipur and Bhubaneshwar. The tour is believed to include India’s other fastest growing cities in the coming days. Indian travel agents will get a deeper insight on the Thai travel trade in B2B sessions and presentations pertaining to Thai tourism products.

Emirates flies its first Airbus A380 in India

On 21 July, Emirates A380 took off from the Dubai International Airport and landed at the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, marking the beginning of the Emirates’s Airbus services in India. The double decker jet offers 14 first class suites and 76 business class seats on the upper deck and 399 economy class seats on the main deck. Passengers can choose from a newly customized Indian menu.

Emirates Airbus 380 (by Quentin Douchet)

Starwood Hotel Group marks another territory in Bangalore

With the official launch of the Four Points by Sheraton Bengaluru Whitefield, Starwood Hotels and Resorts is making good on its promise of expanding its business in India. This marks the second Starwood opening in Bangalore after Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park. Their latest addition offers 102 rooms and suites with a rooftop pool, fitness centre, business centre, restaurant and bar. Breakfast, coffee, bottled water and Wi-Fi will be complimentary for all the guests.

Four Points by Sheraton Bengaluru Whitefield (from official website)

Weekly travel updates (14 July – 18 July 2014)

Here are some highlights of recent developments related to the travel and tourism industry (for the week 14 to 18 July 2014).

 India witnesses a sharp rise in the visa on arrival segment

According to the latest reports of the tourism industry, India witnessed a phenomenal rise in the number of visa on arrival requests since June 2014. Taking a close look at the numbers, almost 2,112 visa on arrival (VoAs) were issued to the tourists in June this year and it accounted for almost 98.9% rise in numbers as compared to the last year. The total number of VoAs issued during the 1st half of 2014 is now 11,953 while it was just 1062 for the same period last year.

The scheme was launched by the Indian government in January 2010 for 5 countries including Japan, Finland, New Zealand, Singapore and Luxembourg. However, the list was expanded to include 6 more countries, namely, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Air India joins hands with Star Alliance

Now it is official! Air India has finally entered into a global partnership with Star Alliance after a long wait of 3 years. The addition expands Star’s membership to 27 and the national carrier is the first Indian airlines to enter any such partnership. As per the new policy, Air India will allow check-in for passengers for almost all the connecting flights operated by the members of the Star Alliance.

Spicejet to fly international from West Bengal

Come August and the low-cost airline, Spicejet will go international from Kolkata to Kathmandu via Bagdogra in West Bengal. This is being seen as a major achievement for Spicejet as it would become the first national airline operating internationally from Bagdogra. The new route will operate thrice a week using the Boeing 737 aircraft.

Malaysia MH17 Disaster

In a tragic turn of events, Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17 crashed over the eastern part of Ukraine. There are many speculations about the cause of the unfortunate incident but it is widely believed that the jetliner was hit by a surface-to-air missile.

 

Weekly travel updates (7 July – 11 July 2014)

If you are an avid traveller, you have to know what’s happening in the world of travel to make the most of your experience. Here’s a roundup of the latest travel news for the week of 7 to 11 July 2014.

ixigo featured in the #1 Slot on Windows Phone Store!

After bagging the 2013 Mobbys Award for the Best Travel App, ixigo has positioned itself as No. 1 on Windows Phone Store as well! Built specially for Windows Phone, the simple and functional design of the app allows has won a lot of kudos. The app allows you to search and compare train fares, best hotel rates and cheapest flight ticket fares and book them easily.

Travel becomes easy for Indian travellers

Recently Laurent Fabius, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Development revealed that Indians will be issued visas within 48 hours of application. With both Japan and France agreeing to ease their visa processes, travelling will become quite convenient for Indian travellers starting January 2015.

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Photo of Japan (by tpsdave)


Positive budget for travel & tourism says ixigo CEO, Aloke Bajpai 

Aloke Bajpai, CEO and Co-Founder, ixigo.com lauded the initiatives under the Budget 2014-15, stating that the funds committed in the budget are steps taken in the right direction to boost the travel sector. “The focus on travel and tourism is further reaffirmed with the Finance Minister announcing Rs. 100 crores towards development of archaeological sites, with Gaya to be developed as a world-class tourism spot, in addition to creating five tourist circuits,” he stated.

Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance made quite a few favourable announcements with respect to the tourism sector in his presentation of the Budget 2014-15. As per the budget, this sector will see the introduction of E-visas at nine key airports and development of five tourist circuits among various other measures.

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Photo of Gaya (by Kaniths)


Etihad plans to introduce direct flights to Kolkata

Soon, Etihad will introduce direct flights to Kolkata. The new route will operate directly from Abu Dhabi, starting 15 February 2015. Kolkata will be Etihad’s 11th destination in India. The cities already covered by Etihad’s service include Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Kozhikode, Mumbai, New Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram.  The Kolkata route will kick-start major expansion spree for Etihad in 2015.

Photo of Etihad Airways (from the Official Facebook Page)

Ready to ride another wave of low airfares!?

Touching an all time low, quite literally, with INR 999 as the starting price for tickets, SpiceJet has sounded the cheap air fare bugle yet again. This is probably the third time in this month that the airline has come up with astoundingly low ticket prices, also pegging the number of seats for sale at 10,00,000.  While the SpiceJet flash sale is on, bookings starting from July 08, 2014 to July 10, 2014, all eyes are now set on IndiGo and GoAir for another wave of low cost flights.

SpiceJet is currently offering starting fares from INR 999 for travel between January 06, 2015 to October 24, 2015. The fact that the recently elected BJP government at the centre has recently announced a hike in train fare and is coming up with the new Rail Budget soon, such unprecedented slash in air fare is more than just welcome. Some number crunching, and you would know that an air ticket with such offers, costs even lower than a train ticket now!

While the move might bring in some quick profit for the Indian airlines industry that is already battling heavy losses, such moves aren’t going to bring in long term profits for sure.

Well, while we leave that one to the industry insiders, this announcement is creating quite some ripples in the travellers’ circuit. Time to make some quick travel plans for the coming year. Our word, considering the time slab of January 2015 – October 2015, is to start searching for deals for destinations like Goa, Kerala, Sikkim, Leh, Gujarat and other such great tourists’ delights. Click here for ixigo’s super fast flight search to make your search faster, more efficient and for an impressive comparative analysis.

And if you haven’t got the best travel app in the circuit yet, check out ixigo brand app right here. This one helps you keep a tab on flights, hotels, destination attractions, destination activities,  flight and train status and delays and much more. Sale or no sale, this app will keep you happy with its impressive UI and of course the lead position on Google Play Store.

Fare well.

Weekly Travel Updates (30 June-7 July)

Here’s an overview of all the developments in the travel and tourism sector in the week that went by (30 June to 7 July 2014).

SpiceJet flights to Dubai from Mumbai and Madurai to restart from 21 July

SpiceJet will soon resume its flights from Mumbai to Dubai and Madurai to Dubai from 21 July  2014. The services to these routes were suspended in May due to runway work at Dubai Airport.  With the recommencement of services, there is a promotional offer on bookings made till 10 July 2014 for travel between 21-31 July 2104. The promotional fare for the Mumbai-Dubai flight starts at INR 5,499 and for the Madurai-Dubai flight it is INR 5,999.

Photo of SpiceJet Airplane (by Ramon)


New railway budget likely to include 2 bullet trains

India’s dream for a high-speed rail network might get fulfilled really soon as the new railway budget is likely to include plans for two categories of bullet trains. The first will include bullet trains capable of speeds of upto 300 kmph on dedicated corridors. The second proposal is for high speed trains (130-150 kmph) on existing tracks.

AirAsia India expects to hit gold in India

AirAsia intends to have 6 planes by the year-end. Since its launch on 12 June, they have 2 routes connecting Bangalore with Goa and Chennai. They plan to launch Bangalore-Kochi flights on 20 July. The group’s CEO, Tony Fernandes, said that the airlines would now obtain rights to start international services from India.

Goa to promote itself as a wellness destination at the Arabian Travel Market

Goa is set to promote itself as a centre for wellness, yoga and ayurveda at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM). Their aim is to attract travellers from Middle-East during the monsoon season. ATM  is the biggest travel and tourism event in the Middle East and a lot of travel agents and hoteliers will promote Goa at the venue.

Photo of Beach Yoga (by Andrew Kalat)

Security beefed up for flights headed to the US from Europe and the Middle East

 The Obama government has implemented enhanced security measures for flights coming to the United States from Europe and the Middle East. These changes are a result of new intelligence about terror groups that are working on new types of explosives that are harder to detect.

 

Weekly Travel Updates

Here’s an overview of all the developments in the travel and tourism sector in the week that went by (23 to 29 June 2014).

New World Heritage Sites announced by UNESCO

Several new sites, which fulfill UNESCO’s object of sites with outstanding universal value have been listed out by the organisation. Noted ones among these include remains of the earthen remains of a Louisiana civilization, Myanmar’s Pyu ancient cities and evidence of the end of the age of dinosaurs at the cliffs of Stevns Klint in Denmark.

Photo of Rann Ki Vav (by Harsh Patel)

Rann-ki-Vav, an ancient subterranean stepwell in Patan, Gujarat, has made it to the list for its exceptional architectural style. The stepwell is seen as a brilliant example of making use of larger spaces being broken it into smaller volumes, at the same time creating an aesthetically appealing visual pattern.

Increase in train travel fares in India

The Railway Ministry has announced a 14.2% hike in passenger fares and a 6.5% hike in freight rates with effect from 25 June. The move is an attempt by the government to increase the profitability of the Indian Railways.

Special Iftar Service Offered by Emirates for Ramadan

Emirates has come up with a host of initiatives to cater to the well-being and comfort of its passengers travelling during the holy month of Ramadan. The airline has introduced special small and large snack boxes. In addition to this, it has also introduced a special tool to calculate and announce the right time of the commencement of the fast. This will be a big help for passengers observing Ramadan.

Photo of Emirates (by InSapphoWeTrust)

The Hotel Show set to showcase specific products dedicated to each country in Dubai

The Hotel Show is slated to take place between 28 to 30 September 2014 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. It aims to showcase a range of products and services of participating countries.

Photo of Dubai World Trade Centre

The objective is to enhance a better understanding of these countries, their culture and thereby boost tourism. Countries participating in this forum include China, France, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, India, Philippines, Turkey, Thailand and UK.

India relaxes visa norms for Bangladeshi citizens

In a move to boost ties between the two nations, India has announced relaxation of visa rules for Bangladeshi citizens below the age of 13 and those above the age of 65. This category of Bangladeshi citizens will be given multiple-entry tourist visas for five years on their arrival in India.