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Weekly Travel Updates (20th to 27th...

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 op...

Weekly travel updates (14 July – 18...

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 sh...

Weekly travel updates (7 July – 11 ...

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 la...

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Ready to ride another wave of low a...

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. Th...

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.

 

ixigo tweet up on Leh – a sneek peak

Celebrating 7 ixi – Years of Brilliance

It’s that time of the year again, when we throw on our party hats and celebrate another ixi-year of brilliance and success! Yes, you got it right, it’s celebration time again — ixigo is turning 7! And this year our birthday comes with a host of well deserved awards!

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 You’ve all surely seen our TV commercial (TVC) and are totally in love with the idea of “don’t travel patti bandh ke”. You will be glad to know that ixigo has been awarded a Bronze ABBY at the Goafest 2014 in the “Production Design Category” for the TVC. For those who don’t know, the ABBY Awards are like the Oscars of Indian advertising. These awards honour creative excellence in advertising. They are, undoubtedly, the biggest and the most prestigious advertising award show in the country. It is attended by more than 2,500 professionals from the marketing, advertising, media, research and public relations fraternity each year.

What’s a birthday cake if there isn’t a cherry on the top, right? And the cherry on our cake this time is the Gold Indian Digital Media Award (IDMA) 2014, which ixigo won this year for the ixigo PNR status app in the category of “Best App Developed”. The prestigious Indian Digital Media Awards (IDMA) recognize, celebrate and encourage the work being done in the field of advertising and marketing communications in the digital media space, specifically internet, mobile, gaming, social media and the blogosphere.

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Another award that deserves a special mention is the Silver DMAI (Direct Marketing Association International) Echo Award 2014 that ixigo won for its efforts in content marketing. These awards honour creative excellence in marketing and advertising campaigns that have raised the bar of originality, response strategy, interactivity and marketing impact. Winning one of these is both an honour and delight for the entire ixigo team.

With so much to celebrate, this birthday is undoubtedly going to be a great one for the ixi-family. These awards also mean that ixigo will have to ensure that every year we raise the bar a little higher and achieve greater heights. Here’s wishing ixigo a very happy 7th birthday and hoping we win more awards in the coming years!

Weekly Travel Updates (2nd to 8th June)

Here is a roundup of what has been happening on the world-wide travel scenario for the week of 2 to 8 June 2014.

 

 

Ixigo turns 7

Ixigo.com – a travel serch engine and an infomediary, celebrated its 7th birthday on 3rd June 2014. It continues to be one of the best and fastest growing online travel site in India.

 

Ixigo turns 7

 

Mumbai Metro launched on 8 June

Mumbai’s first metro line was declared open this Sunday (8 June 2014) with the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Prithviraj Chavan, taking the first ride. The 11.4 km long ride along the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor will take 21 minutes from one end to another, cutting the commuting time by 1 hour.

 

IGI Airport named world’s second best airport

Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi scored a hat-trick after it was named as the second best airport in the world for its quality of service for the third consecutive year among airports handling 25-40 million passengers per annum. In the overall global ranking done by the Airport Council International (ACI), IGI Airport was placed 6th, two ranks below its 4th position last year.

 

IGI Aiport (by rajkumar 1220)

 

Curfew lifted at three Thai tourist hot spots

After two weeks of military rule post the ongoing socio-political unrest in Thailand, the current military government has lifted the nationwide curfew at three tourist hot spots, viz., Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui, in response to the complaints from the country’s tourism industry. All other Thai destinations remain under a daily curfew from midnight till 4 AM, but passengers booked on flights scheduled during these hours are permitted to travel to and from the airports, provided they are carrying their flight details.

 

Star Experience Packages launched by the Melbourne Star

The giant observation wheel in Melbourne has recently launched exclusive Star Experience packages that offer guests a private cabin along with a selection of gourmet food and beverages to be enjoyed with the spectacular panoramic views of the Docklands precinct, the bay area and the Dandenong Mountain Ranges.

 

The Melbourne Star (by Mvjs)

 

London’s Heathrow launches the Queen’s Terminal

The Heathrow Airport gets a gleaming new Terminal 2 (also called the Queen’s Terminal), designed to ease the air traffic congestion and other glitches that has been plaguing the airport all these years. Featuring vaulted ceilings fitted with natural light, the airport has been dubbed as the “Cathedral of the 21st Century”.

Weekly travel updates (12th May – 16th May 2014)

Planning a vacation or a business trip? Here is a roundup of what has been happening on the world wide travel scenario for the week of 12th to 16th May. These might help you plan your trip better:


Revival of tourism sector in Egypt

The Government of Egypt plans attract more than 25 million tourists by 2020. According to the Minister of Tourism, India, China and Latin America would be major target regions in a marketing campaign designed to promote Egypt tourism.

Photo of Egypt by Dorli Photography

 

Travel advisory for Kenya

If you are planning a trip to Kenya, you might want to revisit the decision. On 17 May, Nairobi was rocked by two explosions that killed ten people. Most travel agencies are asking tourists to cancel non-essential travel to Kenya.

 

Photo of a person wounded in the explosion by informationng

 

Los Angeles Airport all set for a long and difficult overhaul

Getting in and around the Los Angeles Airport (LAX) is set to get more difficult. The ongoing, multibillion-dollar renovation at the third-busiest airport in the US is likely to stretch over the next few years. It will affect traffic around the terminals and disrupt passenger movements inside them.

 

Photo of A380s on the Gates at LAX by Paul Rowbotham

 

South Korean coast guard dismantled following ferry disaster

The South Korean President, Park Geun-hye, dismantled the country’s coast guard as she said they failed to act appropriately following the Sewol ferry collapse that claimed over 300 lives.

Photo of people paying condolences to the families of the victims of the ferry Sewol by KOREA.NET – Official page of the Republic of Korea

 

The world’s largest democracy elects it’s new government

On 16th May, the Bharatiya Janata Party won a resounding 282 seats at the 16 General Elections and will be forming the new government.

In its election manifesto, the party has promised several measure to help improve tourism in India. The main promises include allocation of appropriate resources for the maintenance and restoration of all heritage sites, stringent measures to prevent their vandalization, digitization of archives and archeological and museological records. They have also promised to improve the infrastructure and amenities at pilgrimage centres of all faiths.

Photo of Red Fort, Delhi by Arian Zweger