Mice Breaking News

ICICI Bank enables customers to instantly reload travel card digitally

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ICICI Bank has enabled its customers to reload foreign currency to ‘ICICI Bank Travel Card’ instantly, using the Bank’s internet banking platform and its mobile banking app, iMobile. This new service makes international travel more convenient as it allows customers to instantly reload their travel card with foreign currency for their international travel in a completely digital and paperless manner. A customer can also enjoy the improved convenience of reloading the travel cards of their close relatives including their parents, children or spouse after linking their travel cards to his/her own savings account. In a bid to offer the enhanced convenience of managing a travel card seamlessly on-the-go to the customer, the Bank has also enabled an array of other services on its mobile app and internet banking platform. These services allow the customers to block/unblock travel card, view the mini statement, update email address and mobile number, thereby making their experience holistic and comfortable. Additionally, in an industry first move, the Bank recently enabled customers to refund the funds loaded on their travel card to the linked savings account using the bank’s internet banking platform.

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MoCA gives a nod to Wi-Fi and calls on domestic flights

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At the recently- discussed Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Draft Passenger Charter by Jayant Sinha, Minister of State, Civil Aviation and RN Choubey, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, it was revealed that both domestic and international airlines can provide internet as well as mobile services on-board and aircraft in Indian airspace, keeping in account security requirements for the same. According to the Passenger Charter, Wi-Fi services can be provided from the moment the plane takes off  and personal electronic devices (PED) have to be put on flight mode. Also, mobile services can be allowed only when an aircraft is over an altitude of 3,000 metres. Choubey, explained that the licensing condition for Wi-Fi on board will be decided by the Telecom Ministry, and within 2 months passengers will be able to enjoy on-board internet when they travel.

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SilkAir to be merged with SIA, upgrade cabin products

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Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) regional wing, SilkAir, is to undergo a significant investment programme to upgrade its cabin products as part of a multi-year initiative that will ultimately see it merged into SIA. The programme will comprise investment of more than $100 million to upgrade the wholly owned subsidiary’s cabins with new lie-flat seats in Business Class, and the installation of seat-back in-flight entertainment systems in both Business Class and Economy Class. This will ensure closer product and service consistency across the SIA Group’s full-service network. Aircraft cabin upgrades are expected to start in 2020 due to lead times required by seat suppliers, including to complete certification processes. The merger will take place only after a sufficient number of aircraft have been fitted with the new cabin products. Specific details will be announced progressively as the programme develops and timelines are finalised. Consistent with ongoing efforts to optimise the SIA Group’s network, there will also be transfers of routes and aircraft between the different airlines in the portfolio. “Singapore Airlines is one year into our three-year Transformation Programme and today’s announcement is a significant development to provide more growth opportunities and prepare the Group for an even stronger future,” said SIA CEO, Goh Choon Phong. “Importantly, it will be positive for our customers. It is another example of the major investment we are making to ensure that our products and services continue to lead the industry across short-, medium- and long-haul routes.” SilkAir is the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, operating a fleet of 11 Airbus A320-family aircraft and 22 Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX 8 aircraft. It is currently transitioning to an all-737 fleet, and serves 49 destinations in 16 …

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MICECON to be held in Bacolod, Philippines, in August 2018

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The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) has awarded to Bacolod city in the Philippines the right to host the 2018 MICE (Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions & Exhibitions) Conference or MICECON in August. TPB Chief Operating Officer Cesar Montano handed the certificate of award to Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who was accompanied by Councillor Em Ang and Executive Assistant Rodel Parcon, at the TPB office in Manila on April 18. Leonardia said, “Perhaps some people may not comprehend how big is this, but this is really big in the tourism world. This is like a new discovery that can catapult our city to unprecedented heights of the tourism industry.” “This is projected to level up our city in the overall outlook that tourism is the next biggest industry in the world. So we are preparing the city for that eventuality.” Ang, who is also the chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Tourism, said MICECON is the biggest gathering of the country’s influential professionals and practitioners involved in MICE. “Approximately 600 participants from the MICE industry are expected to attend this event. Airlines, hotels, resorts, convention centers, event organisers and exhibit organisers are just some of the participants in this year’s MICECON,” she added. “The event is also expected to help boost and promote tourism in Bacolod and Negros as MICECON showcases Bacolod and nearby areas’ travel destinations, including the province’s local products,” Ang added. The Bacolod City officials met with TBP and MICE officials at the TBP office Wednesday to discuss the requirements of the hosting. In his letter to Leonardia, Montano thanked the mayor for their comprehensive bid to host the 2018 MICECON, adding that after a thorough evaluation of …

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Government garners ₹1,400 crore from e-Visa

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The government earned ₹1,400 crore as revenue from the highly successful e-Visa scheme, offered to citizens of 163 countries visiting India as tourists, since its launch in 2014. The Union Home Ministry officials said 19 lakh tourists made use of the e-Visa scheme in 2017 and it is expected that more than 25 lakh tourists will avail the facility in 2018. Since its launch in 2014, the e-Visa scheme has brought in revenue of more than ₹1,400 crore, a senior Ministry official said. The e-visa fees are divided into four slabs of zero, $25, $50 and $75, which were fixed on reciprocity and depending on nationality. The scheme has been implemented by the foreigners division of the Home Ministry to improve the efficiency and transparency of various services being provided to foreign nationals. The facility is now available for nationals of 163 countries for entry into India through 25 international airports and five sea ports. Under the scheme, an applicant, when an online application is submitted, receives an e-mail authorising him or her to travel to India after it has been approved. The tourist can travel with a printout of this authorisation, another official said. The scheme also covers business and medical categories. Source: PTI

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In-flight Wi-Fi, game changer for business travellers: FCM-KPMG

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FCM Travel Solutions and KPMG’s recent whitepaper titled ‘The Digi-Smart Indian Business Traveller’ forecasts that Indian travellers have higher inclination towards in-flight Wi-Fi as compared to travellers from other countries, according to a survey by Inmarsat. With current nil penetration and high demand amongst Indian travellers, in-flight Wi-Fi can be a potential game changer in enhancing business traveller experience considering that fliers are potentially willing to shift travel experiences for on board Wi-Fi. For business travellers, the need for seamless connectivity makes them natural users of these services. While the use of in-flight Wi-Fi should be encouraged, it is necessary to consider various factors including aircraft upgrade requirements, connectivity speed and quality, cyber security concerns, etc.

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CKGS opens Thai Visa Application Centre in Chennai

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Cox & Kings Global Services (CKGS) has opened a new Thai Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Chennai last week. The centre located at Wellingdon Estate Building will serve as the Hub VAC for its South India operations. The centre will cater to all categories of visas such as tourist, transit, non-Immigrant, business, work, crew and medical visa. The new centre in Chennai was inaugurated by Her Excellency Krongkanit Rakcharoen, the Consul- General, Royal Thai Consulate-General, Chennai on May 2, 2018 in presence of the senior CKGS officials. Speaking on the occasion, Her Excellency Krongkanit Rakcharoen said, “Thailand has emerged as one of the most favourite destinations for Indians with the number of travellers crossing a million mark. Chennai also contributes significantly with improved air connectivity and increased number of direct flights to Thailand. Considering the growing number of travellers from Chennai, it was essential to start the visa application service centre for this region. With CKGS, we aim to continue hassle-free visa processing for Indian travellers and maintain high professional standards.” Commenting on the opening, Venku Murthi, Chief Operating Officer, CKGS, said, “We are expanding out footprints in south India with the commitment to ensure excellent visa services to applicants who want to travel to Thailand.’’ The visa application form can be filled online but the applicants would have to visit the VAC to submit printout of the duly signed application form along with other required documents and collect them once the visa has been issued. The centre is open between Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 17:30 pm. Embassy takes minimum three working days for issuance of visa on receipt of application. CKGS has already opened Thai VACs …

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Lufthansa Group and MakeMyTrip strengthen partnership

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MakeMyTrip and Lufthansa Group have entered into a Direct Connect cooperation which gives customers access to innovative and even more competitive flight products.  Direct Connect is a distribution functionality that enables partners to use the Lufthansa Group’s API (application programming interface) for a direct access to the airlines’ inventories and rich content. The API software facilitates the travel partner to provide an enhanced customised offer for third parties. Wolfgang Will, Senior Director Sales South Asia for Lufthansa Group Airlines and Rajesh Magow, Co-founder & CEO India, MakeMyTrip, jointly signed the cooperation. The new agreement allows MakeMyTrip to offer Lufthansa Group Airlines’ differentiated travel content to consumers with personalised flight products. Amongst other services, passengers can use the platform to conveniently purchase flight tickets and other services from Lufthansa German Airlines, SWISS, Brussels Airlines and Austrian Airlines without paying the 16 Euro Distribution Cost Charge applied to bookings made via traditional sales channels. “This Direct Connect Solution with MakeMyTrip is an incredible milestone in addressing the new-generation of travellers. MakeMyTrip as a Direct Connect Partner of Lufthansa Group in India is a key partner for our future developments in distribution,” Will said. “At MakeMyTrip, we are always looking to provide best content to our users to help make them best travel decisions. We are delighted to partner with Lufthansa and take another step in providing customised and more relevant offerings to better serve Indian travellers,”  said Magow.

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Jet to start 5th direct service between India and UK

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Jet Airways has announced that beginning November 5, 2018, it will launch its first non-stop service between Mumbai and Manchester, thus further strengthening its connect to the United Kingdom (UK). This new service is the first nonstop service connecting India, via its economic capital with Manchester. Jet Airways will deploy its wide body A330-200 with 254 seating for the service, which will operate for four days every week including Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.  Vinay Dube, Chief Executive Officer, Jet Airways, said “The new service will bring Manchester into our global network, reinforcing our footprint as well as expanding the choice of connectivity to/from the United Kingdom for our guests with the 4 day/ week, non-stop service. With the new flight, Jet Airways will have over 8000 seats on offer every week, making it increasingly convenient for both business as well as leisure travellers, travelling between India and the UK, deepening commerce as well as tourism ties between the two countries”. Manchester will become the 21st international addition to the Jet Airways network and with the introduction of this new flight – the carrier’s 5th non-stop service to/from the UK, Jet Airways will also become the largest carrier between Mumbai and the UK. The launch of this new service will provide seamless connectivity to several domestic destinations to and from India which include Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Bhuj, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Indore, Aurangabad, Jaipur, Chennai, Nagpur, Rajkot, Raipur, Udaipur, via the airline’s hub Mumbai. Similarly, quick connections to beyond points on Jet Airways’ international network such as Bangkok, Colombo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dhaka and Kathmandu, will now be available. Manchester Airport CEO Andrew Cowan, who said: “This route …

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Thomas Cook India unveils forex outlet in Pune

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Thomas Cook (India) has identified Maharashtra as a significant growth market for its foreign exchange business and to leverage this opportunity, it has opened a branch at Hinjewadi, Pune. Hinjewadi, one of the India’s largest Special Economic Zones (SEZ), is home to India’s corporate houses and MNCs, including top IT majors. Via its new outlet, the company aims at harnessing this significant yet underleveraged opportunity for its foreign exchange business. The new branch takes the total foreign exchange network for the company in Pune to six and 30 in Maharashtra. The outlet will also offer prepaid travel cards. Thomas Cook India also has a forex app. Mahesh Iyer, Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Cook (India), said, “Maharashtra has been identified as a key source market and Pune is a strong growth driver that continues to deliver over 30 per cent YoY for our Foreign Exchange business. We have hence selected the prime location of Hinjewadi for our new outlet in Pune- its viable catchment of consumers across families, young professionals and business travellers offers us significant opportunity.”  

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