Mice Breaking News

Ethiopia initiates e-visa service

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The Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs Main Department in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines has recently launched an e-visa service for all international visitors to Ethiopia. The e-visa is processed and issued online on a single webpage where applicants apply, pay and secure their entry visa online. Once the application is approved, applicants will receive an email authorising them to travel to Ethiopia and they will get their passport stamped with the visa upon arrival in Addis Ababa. Regarding the newly revamped service, Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO, Ethiopian Airlines, remarked, “Ethiopia, the oldest independent civilisation in Africa and one of the oldest in the world, is endowed with historical places, natural beauty, colourful and diverse cultural activities and various endemic wild animals which are of great interest to international tourists. However, we have not made best use of these natural resources to attract large number of tourists. To this effect, this project is part of a new national initiative to transform the tourism sector in the country.” Gebreyohannes Teklu, Director, Main Department for Immigration & Nationality Affairs, commented, “We are glad that we have been working together with Ethiopian Airlines for the effective implementation of e-visa facilities at Bole International Airport. Now international visitors to Ethiopia, from any country in the world will make use of this service.”  

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Thomas Cook introduces UAE Dirham to its Border Prepaid Card

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Thomas Cook (India), has launched the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) as a key currency to its multi-currency Borderless Prepaid Card, thereby offering customers the convenience and flexibility of loading nine global currencies on a single card. Kailash Gupta, Senior Vice President & Head of Payment Solutions, Thomas Cook (India), said, “The introduction of the AED to our multi-currency Borderless Prepaid Card portfolio intends to capitalise on this growth momentum and offer our UAE bound travellers a simple, smooth and secure payment solution.” “Data reveals that Dubai witnessed a noteworthy 15 per cent YoY increase in 2017 with 2.1 Mn. visitors; India retaining the top spot as its largest source market. In addition, India is equally a leading source market for Abu Dhabi with an 11.4 per cent YoY increase in 2017,” he adds. The new prepaid card will now create a seamless payment experience for its customer base of over 500,000, offering convenience, ease and security in spending while travelling across the UAE. The multi-currency Borderless Prepaid Card’s features include: Global acceptance and access to 2 Mn ATMs, over 34 Mn merchant establishments and e-commerce websites Chip & pin security Comprehensive global support and free emergency cash disbursement & global card replacement Comprehensive fraud protection insurance Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director of Promotion and Overseas Offices Department at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “India has a massive potential to expand the tourism inflow to Abu Dhabi and we are aiming to increase the share of Indian tourists from the overall target number of 5.5 million visitors by the end of 2018. Moving forward, we will keep leveraging our network of partners and stakeholders as to …

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Sabre unveils secure transaction tool for CTM Singapore

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Sabre Corporation has launched Sabre Virtual Payments for Corporate Travel Management (CTM) Singapore, in partnership with virtual card technology provider Conferma. The tool is an innovative solution that offers peace of mind to help make secure, corporate travel-related transactions. “In addition to supporting compliance, Sabre Virtual Payments is a tremendous asset for corporate travel management companies looking to optimise their reporting capabilities. The platform enables rich data capturing, helps to better manage revenue and facilitates compliance for all parties involved in the transaction,” said Eugene Tan, General Manager, Corporate Travel Management Singapore. “We improved our booking efficiency by 30 to 40 percent while driving revenue growth,” he added. Available through Sabre’s corporate booking tool GetThere and the new Sabre Red Workspace, Sabre Virtual Payments provides agents and travel management companies (TMCs) with the capacity to issue single-purpose virtual cards for air, hotel, and agency fee payments. The virtual cards are sent directly to the traveller’s mobile via TripCase and are attributed to a unique transaction. The technology generates a simple, single form of payment which is recorded in a safe, traceable and efficient manner through a protected distribution channel, helping to ensure secure transactions and reducing third party access to sensitive credit details. “With this solution, Sabre delivers an innovative tool that addresses the need for simple, safe and reliable transactions to take place between agents, travellers and suppliers,” said Jason Toothman, Vice President Global Accounts, Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific. Rapidly adapting to the rise in mobile transactions across Asia Pacific, Sabre Virtual Payments enables agency and corporate subscribers to choose from over 30 banking partners. The solution is currently available to agents and TMCs in Australia, Hong Kong, …

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Kerala Tourism appoints Cleartrip as online booking partner

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Cleartrip has now tied up with the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) as its exclusive online booking partner for local tours and activities. Under the association, KTDC will sell all of its exclusive set of activities through the Cleartrip platform, including both existing and new inventory of conducted tours and boat trips. The partnership is also Cleartrip’s first with a government tourism board, marking a major milestone for the online travel agency. Among the most popular activities offered by KTDC is the boating in Periyar Lake at Thekkady. KTDC operates four boats with a seating capacity of 210 each and completes five trips in a day, with a total daily inventory of 1,050 seats. Despite maintaining 90 per cent occupancy throughout the year, these trips were only available for offline bookings till now. With 700 more seats expected to be added to these boating tours by September 2018, KTDC is looking to make it easier for prospective travellers to access and book its travel inventory through the association with Cleartrip. The government tourism board has also recently launched conducted tours in the historic towns of Trivandrum and Kochi. These activities will also be available for booking on the Cleartrip platform. Commenting on the association, Ankit Rastogi, VP- Experiences and Accommodation, Cleartrip, said, “Kerala holds a significant place in India’s tourism map. We are delighted to be chosen by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation as its online booking partner. The biggest benefit of this tie-up will be to the travellers, who now can access and book all of KTDC’s inventory of tours and activities online on a single platform. We hope that this partnership will spur more such associations where Cleartrip …

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IHG to cut back sales commission for third-party intermediaries

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InterContinental Hotels Group shall cut back its sales commissions from 10 per cent to 7 per cent for all bookings made in the U.S. and Canada as of January 1, 2019.  “This move allows us to balance the needs of our guests and owners by reinvesting the savings into programmes and improvements that will benefit the guest experience,” Derek DeCross, SVP of Global Sales, IHG, said in a statement. He provided further comments on the policy change in a letter sent to third-party intermediaries for meetings and events: “Understanding the complexities of the groups and meetings industry and the nature of the business being booked by our customers is an integral part of our sales strategy and foundation to what we do,” his letter reads. “As part of this, IHG has assessed its group bookings commission structure and will be changing the group travel partner commission structure.” Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, which was acquired by IHG in 2014, will also be included in the policy change. The 10-percent rate will still be in place for IHG properties outside of the U.S. and Canada, including Puerto Rico. The shift in commissions structure is a symptom of the high levels of consolidation currently taking place in the industry. Marriott, Hilton and IHG are three of the largest hotel companies in the world, and they are now using their immense portfolios as tools to cut into commission structures. Meanwhile, last month two other hotel companies actually revealed plans to offer higher commissions for third parties. Warwick Hotels and Resorts is offering an additional 5-percent commission on food & beverage and room rentals for all meetings and incentives groups at its seven properties throughout the U.S. …

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Korea MICE Expo from June 14-15 at Incheon

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The Korea MICE Expo (KME), a suited platform for incentive planners and meeting professionals, will be held on June 14 and 15 in Songdo Convensia, Incheon. The two-day event aims to provide a perfect venue for over 2,000 expected attending MiCE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) industry professionals to engage with 300 exhibiting local service providers, including convention bureaus, unique venues and travel agencies. To foster a business-friendly event, this year’s KME will be in an unconventional format, ditching the usual sit-down gala dinner and forums. “We want this expo to be bigger and meaningful to all the participants. We will make KME 2018 a platform where buyers and suppliers can truly acquire business potentials,” said Chulbeum Park, Director of the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) Meetings and Incentives Team. A standing networking party will replace the usual sit-down gala dinner to let guests interact freely. Also, convention bureaus will showcase not only their MiCE expertise but also their local food specialties during the reception. For the first time, the Korea MICE Expo will have a theme “Hallyu meets MICE” offering participants new venues, activities and discussions related to popular South Korean films, dramas and music.  A main highlight of the event includes the Opening Keynote by Soo-Wook Ahn, Executive Director of SM Entertainment, one of the leading entertainment groups in Korea. Celebrating its 19th year, the event will also introduce new programs such as Destination Presentations, Knowledge Cafe and Young MiCE Professionals booth, cultural performance and tours—showcasing some of Korea’s finest destination for incentive travel and corporate meetings. “Korea has become a favourable destination for incentive travel, especially for groups coming from Southeast Asia. The increasing number of groups returning …

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Free WiFi at 400 Indian railway stations: Google

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After launching its first free Wi-Fi service from Mumbai Central station in January 2016, Google has announced the completion of the free service at 400 railway stations across India in collaboration with RailTel, the telecom arm of Indian Railways. Dibrugarh in Assam has become the 400th railway station to get the free WiFi service from Google, the company said. Indian Railways had signed an MoU with Google in December, 2015 to launch the service, which offers thirty minutes of free internet access. The average data consumption per user per session has been recorded around 350MB. The project has succeeded in its mission of bringing connectivity to millions of unconnected Indians, leveraging on the nationwide optic fiber network backbone created by RailTel. Within the first year of the project’s launch, 100 of the busiest railway stations across India were brought online, enabling 15,000 people to experience the internet for the first time every day, it said. “With over 8 million monthly unique users connecting to the network, this is a lighthouse project for India and every growing economy that is looking to bring the benefit of connectivity to everyone in their country,” Google India Director Partnership Next Billion Users, K Suri, said. K Manohar Raja, Executive Director (Enterprise Business) at RailTel, said the endeavour has been to bridge the experience divide by providing one of the fastest public WiFi networks in the world. Source: ET Online

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Emirates’ 3rd service to Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport for business travellers

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Emirates will start a third daily service between Moscow’s Domodedovo (DME) Airport and Dubai, from October 25, 2018. Emirates has been serving the Russian market since 2003. Demand for travel has grown significantly over recent years, leading to the airline’s launch of third flight to Moscow. The new service will be operated by an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER in a three class cabin configuration, with eight private suites in First Class, 42 lie flat seats in Business Class and 310 spacious seats in Economy. This service will cater for leisure and business passengers, providing daily links for international tourism and trade opportunities both inbound and outbound. The flight EK174 will depart Domodedovo at 1040hrs and arrive in Dubai at 1655hrs, while the return flight EK173 will depart Dubai at 0330hrs and arrive in Moscow at 0750hrs. The new flight allows for seamless connectivity to Moscow from several popular destinations in Emirates’ and flydubai’s combined route network, including Bali, Bangkok, Colombo, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur, Maldives, Mauritius and Singapore. The new Emirates flight from Domodedovo airport is also timed to connect conveniently with a wide network of domestic flights operated by Emirates codeshare partner in Russia – S7 Airlines. Emirates’ commitment to Moscow Domodedovo airport is backed by airport’s investment in improving the infrastructure for the passengers.

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Elevated customer experiences through Thomas Cook

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Thomas Cook is now focusing on enhancing customer experience. Mahesh Iyer, Executive Director & CEO, Thomas Cook (India), at a media interaction said,  “As a channel we have seen decent growth coming in and we are clocking around 30 per cent CAGR year on year and are quite optimistic on the future of online business. Our focus in the long term is on customer experience. If we look at the current summers we are operating we have packed new experiences like curated food menu by Ranveer Brar, Boman Irani doing a red carpet night for our travellers. We have also launched Japan this year in terms of adding new destinations and have already crossed 1000 passengers.” In terms of forex, Thomas Cook is looking to bring more digital options for the customer. It is working on a premium product and will soon be launching a mobile card which will allow customers to use their prepaid card on the NFC platform. He further added, “There is lot of innovation and product development happening with an underline of technology. We launched our customer self-service app which allows the customer to keep tab on their bookings, visa status, itineraries etc.”

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Global Exhibitions Day: 85 countries participate

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Exhibition professionals around the world came out in record numbers for the third Global Exhibitions Day (GED) that was held on June 6. This highlights the industry’s role as a driver of economic growth with 85 countries taking part, reveals UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry data. Corrado Peraboni, President, UFI, said, “I am pleased to see the prominent support from ministers in national governments who shared their understanding of how important exhibitions and business events are for their economies and citizens.” GED’s focus this year were on two key areas: to advocate industry issues with politicians and stakeholders, and finding new ways to connect with young people to attract the right talent to the exhibition industry. The UFI team in Paris had registered activities in 85 countries and regions from all around the world, with the leading organisers, venues and service providers all being active. Coordinated by UFI, this joint advocacy campaign also united 41 GED partner associations. Activities in all parts of the world saw a broad mix of activities, both on-site and online, promoting exhibitions as business platforms, as well as highlighting opportunities for career and business development. Specific events and activities were arranged by many of the international and national organisers, by venues, by service providers, and also by national and regional associations. Here is an example of the many activities that focused on education and networking globally: In Asia, activities were reported at many venues in China, whilst in Thailand, the TCEB ran an “Exhibition Industry Forum” focusing on the theme of change. In India, the IEIA oversaw festivities in New Delhi, Mumbai, Greater Noida, Hyderabad and Jaipur. Meetings were organised with ministers and …

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