Tourism Breaking News

Virgin Atlantic unveils Indian flying icon; to feature on all aircraft to India from 2020

Virgin Atlantic has announced the introduction of their new Indian flying icon- Aria, which will feature on the side of their aircraft from 2020. Aria is the name of Sir Richard’s Great, Great, Grandmother’s wife who was from India. This forms part of a series that have been created to showcase the diverse range of men and women that represent modern Britain. Virgin Atlantic’s use of the Flying Lady was inspired by figureheads that have decorated ships since 16th century and the original version was inspired by the pin up girls made famous by Alberto Vargas in the 1930’s and 40’s and this move represents the changing face of one of Britain’s most loved brands. Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Atlantic, said, “India holds a very special place in our hearts and we are excited to be celebrating 20 years of flying here in 2020. We thought that the best way to celebrate this milestone would be by adding more choice of routes for our customers to fly directly between Mumbai & Delhi to London. We are committed to this market and will continue to invest and grow our operations at the same time as offering an unrivalled service for those choosing to fly with us to the UK and onto the US.’’ With the additional daily flight to Delhi and the newly launched Mumbai service, Virgin Atlantic will offer more choice to India than ever before. Together with Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic will offer seamless connections between Delhi and New York JFK, Boston, Detroit and Atlanta via Heathrow.

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Government starts process to set up 6 new airports in Telangana

The Centre recently has initiated the process to setup six more airports in the new state of Telangana. Telangana’s only airport in Hyderabad is also used by Andhra Pradesh since both the states jointly share the capital for 10 years. Andhra Pradesh on the other hand has six operational commercial airports out of which three are international airports. The greenfield airports will be built by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) although the timeline for the same has not been decided yet. The state government has been pressing the issue of more air connectivity in the state. Last year, it has identified sites for setting up three airports and sought upgradation of three existing airstrips which have not been operational.

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MOT sanctions Rs 99 cr+ project in Anandpur Sahib, Punjab, under Swadesh Darshan Scheme

The Government has formulated special action-plan for the development of tourism in Sri Anandpur Sahib parliamentary constituency under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme. The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned a project development of Heritage Circuit: Anandpur Sahib – Fatehgarh Sahib – Chamkaur Sahib – Ferozpur –Amritsar – Khatkar Kalan – Kalanour – Patiala in Punjab for Rs.99.95 crore in the year 2018-19. Submission of project proposals by the State Governments/ UT Administrations under the above scheme is a continuous process. The projects under the schemes are identified in consultation with the State Governments/UT Administrations and are sanctioned subject to their adherence to relevant scheme guidelines, submission of suitable Detailed Project Reports, availability of funds and utilization of funds released earlier.

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VFS commences Bulgaria visa services in India

Residents of Mumbai and New Delhi travelling to Bulgaria can now apply for their visas through VFS Global at the new Bulgaria Visa Application Centres launched in the cities. In the coming months, VFS Global will commence Bulgaria visa services in 14 additional cities across India, namely Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Goa, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jalandhar, Kochi, Kolkata, Puducherry, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram. The wide network of operations will also be leveraged to promote Bulgaria as an ideal destination for Indian travellers. Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO, Middle East, South Asia and China, VFS Global said, “VFS Global has been working closely with Bulgaria, offering visa services in other regions, and is honoured have this trust reinforced through this extension of services to India. Bulgaria has been rapidly climbing every Indian traveller’s wish list, and we look forward to providing our best-in-class visa services to them.”

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Tourism sector to adopt digital media strategy to increase visitors from East Asian markets

India’s tourism sector is adopting a new digital and social media strategy to increase the flow of visitors from the East Asian markets, with a focus on China’s millennial, said, Rupinder Brar, ADG, MOT, post Incredible India roadshow in Singapore. She adds, “The feedback from Chinese millennials has helped understand their travelling needs. With such feedback, tour operators have been urged to plan tour products that offer more than the clichés.”

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Tourism Minister launches web portal for digital preservation of cultural heritage

Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of Tourism, Government of India, unveiled ‘Indian Culture’- an interactive web portal for digital preservation of cultural artifacts of India. Patel said that this portal will be a one-stop-shop for all the information along with pictures related to rare images of monuments, detailed accounts of Indian UNESCO World Heritage Sites, rare books, paintings, cuisines and research papers. The platform is live now on www.indianculture.gov.in and hosts data of cultural relevance from various repositories and institutions all over India. The portal was envisioned by Ministry of Culture in 2016 and IIT Bombay built the resources of the portal from scratch. Apart from the content hosted on the portal, one can also browse content available on the website of Ministry of Culture organisations.  

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OTOAI elects new team; Riaz Munshi is the President

Outbound Tour Operators Association of India, OTOAI, has elected a new team. Riaz Munshi (N. Chirag) has been elected as the President; Himanshu Patil (Kesari Tours), has been elected as the Vice President; Shravan Bhalla (High Flyer) is the new General Secretary; Vineet Gopal (Engee Holidays) has been elected as the Joint Secretary and Siddharth Khanna (Khanna Enterprises) has been elected as the Treasurer. The members of the new committee members are, Mahendra Vakharia, Adl Abdul Karim, Gurdeep Singh Gujral, Ankush Nijhawan, Arshdeep Anand and Monia Kapoor.  

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International Buddhist Travel Mart & 2nd ABTO Convention opens in Bodhgaya

The second Association of Buddhist Tour Operators (ABTO) Convention and the International Buddhist Travel Mart (IBTM) kick-started in Bodhgaya, Bihar. Speaking at the inauguration, Vinod Zutshi, Former Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, said, “I congratulate ABTO for conducting this event and it’s great to see participants from 17 international countries. I think I have never seen a bigger congregation of Buddhist tourism lovers, especially when the programme is being convened by someone in the private sector. It great to see private players promoting tourism in such a manner. We all are blessed to be here at the event.” The two-day event is supported by the Ministry of Tourism. ABTO  provides a platform for religious tourism mainly Buddhism. It’s an international organisation working for the conservation, protection, preservation of monuments & promotion of tourism around the world.    

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Sarovar Hotels & Resorts opens its 6th property in Mumbai with 112 rooms

Sarovar Hotels & Resorts has launched Royal Hometel Suites in Mumbai. The hotel features 112 rooms & suites and features two banquet halls to conduct conferences, wedding and social gathering which can accommodate up to 550 guests. Anil Madhok, Executive Chairman, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, said, “The opening of Royal Hometel Suites strengthens our position in the Mumbai market in line with the brand’s growth strategy. The launch follows the growing trend of business and leisure hotels along with the brand’s quality assurance and ‘Signature Sarovar Hospitality’. Our new property is appropriate for both business and leisure travellers considering the location of the hotel.”

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Zurich Airport gets UP govt nod to develop Jewar airport; construction starts in February

Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has approved Zurich Airport International as developer for Jewar airport and its construction is expected to begin in February. The formal nod from Uttar Pradesh government comes after a bidding process in which Zurich Airport beat Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), Adani Enterprises and Anchorage Infrastructure Investments Holdings on November 29. This will be NCR’s third airport after Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and Ghaziabad’s Hindon. The winning bid was then put up before the project monitoring and implementation committee (PMIC) of the state government, before being forwarded to the Cabinet. “The Cabinet has approved Zurich Airport International as developer for Jewar airport,” UP’s Additional Chief Secretary (Home and Information) Awanish Awasthi confirmed after the meeting here. The Swiss firm offered a premium of Rs 400.97 per passenger to the government, the highest among the bidders.

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