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Nepal Sales Mission 2019 travels to Jaipur post successful events in Lucknow and Agra

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Nepal Sales Mission 2019, an eight-city event, will run up till February 1, 2019, in Lucknow, Agra, Jaipur, Bhopal, Indore, Kochi, Coimbatore and Madurai. The Mission aims to bring all travel trade partners together to update them about Destination Nepal, educate them on what the country has to offer that will be of great interest to their Indian clientele, and allow them to explore opportunities that lie within. Nepal recorded a growth of 25.1 per cent in visitor arrivals from India in 2017, attaining a remarkable surge over the previous year. In Lucknow, the Mission will be held at Hyatt Regency on January 10. It will then proceed to Agra on January 12 to be held at the Clarks Shiraz hotel, followed by Jaipur on January 14 at Hotel Crowne Plaza. Marriott Hotels in Bhopal, Indore and Kochi will host the Sales Mission on January 21, 22 and 28, respectively. It will proceed to Coimbatore on January 30 to be held at Le Méridien Hotel and conclude in Madurai on February 1 at the Poppys Hotel. The Nepalese delegation is looking forward to interacting with over 80 agents from each of the eight cities, where participants include destination specialists, fence sitters, and other key trade partners. Nepal Sales Mission 2019 will witness participation from several private players from Nepal, including Apoorva Tours & Travels, Kathmandu Holiday Tours & Travels, Fishtail Tours & Travels, Heritage Tours & Travels and Outdoor Expeditions.

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Penang Sales Mission 2019 showcases unique offerings at New Delhi

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Penang Sales Mission to India 2019, led by Ashwin Gunasekeran, CEO, Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau, is being held in New Delhi. The objective of the mission is to promote Penang as the preferred destination for corporate and association meetings, conferences, and incentives, as well as leisure travel. A delegation of 13 Malaysia-based organisations is visiting the capital city, joined by Yeoh Soon Hin, the Penang State Executive Councillor for Tourism Development, Heritage, Arts & Culture. Capitalising on Penang’s rising popularity in India, the Penang Sales Mission to India hosted a B2B engagement session with participating business events and leisure travel buyers from India. Speaking at the event in New Delhi, Hin said, “Penang has always been a melting pot of cultures – an intersection for history and trade. As its State government, we are committed to continue developing the tourism sector and to continue showcasing our proud heritage and history.” He further stated that Penang’s airport was the third busiest airport in Malaysia and had a total passenger movement of seven million in 2018.” Addressing the gathering, Gunasekeran said, “India is one of the top five markets for business events in Penang, and over the past year, we have received encouraging interest from event planners and conference organisers. This Mission is joined by some of Penang’s finest offerings in the hospitality, travel and events sectors, and will showcase the best of what Penang can offer to the Indian market.”

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TIRUN announces arrival of two Royal Caribbean International’s ships to India

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TIRUN Travel Marketing, the exclusive India representative of Royal Caribbean International, has announced that the cruise line is bringing two of its most exciting ships, ‘Spectrum of the Seas’ and ‘Explorer of the Seas’, to Indian shores. The two ships are scheduled to come to India in 2019, offering Indian guests an incredible chance to sail to/from their home country to some idyllic locations across Asia. Speaking on Royal Caribbean’s top-of-the-line ships sailing to India, Varun Chadha, Chief Operating Officer, TIRUN Travel Marketing, said, “India is a growth market for cruising and we are thrilled that Spectrum and Explorer will offer Indian cruise enthusiasts easy access to experience the marvels of Royal Caribbean’s services, amenities and many on-board adventures. We are sure that these itineraries will propel cruising in the minds of the traveller.” Spectrum of the Seas is the first of the quantum ultra class of ships and is the largest ship (1,139 feet-long) ever to sail to/from India, having a capacity of accommodating 5,622 guests. Guests can opt for the five-night Dubai to Mumbai cruise from May 4 to 9, or the nine-night Mumbai to Singapore cruise from May 9 to 18 onboard Spectrum. Through these sailings, guests can enjoy the beauty of Asia’s most stunning ports of call including Dubai, Muscat, Kochi, Penang, and Singapore. Explorer of the Seas, one of the most popular ships in Royal Caribbean International’s fleet, will also offer a world of experiences in itself. Travellers can opt for the first segment of the cruise, a five-night itinerary beginning from Singapore and reaching Kochi (India) on April 18 via Penang, Malaysia. In the second segment, the cruise will sail from Kochi (India) to …

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Port Blair becomes an international airport

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Foreign tourists can now directly fly to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as the government has designated Port Blair airport as an authorised immigration check post for entry into and exit from India with valid travel documents. The decision came more than a month after the killing of an American national by members of a highly protected tribe in one of the islands of the Union Territory. “In pursuance of sub-rule (b) of rule 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950, the central government hereby designates Port Blair airport of Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands as an authorised immigration check post for entry into/exit from India with valid travel documents for all classes of passengers,” a home ministry notification said. In another notification, the home ministry appointed the Superintendent of Police, CID, the Andaman and Nicobar Police, as the “civil authority” for the immigration check post at Port Blair airport with effect from December 31, 2018. The Andamans, under global spotlight after the killing of an American national, has emerged as one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the country receiving on an average four lakh tourists, including several thousand foreigners, annually. According to data available with the home ministry, the archipelago has received 4,02,393 tourists, including 11,818 foreigners, till October, 2018 while it received 4,87,229 tourists, including 15,310 foreigners in 2017. In 2016, as many as 4,00,019 tourists, including 15,467 foreigners, had visited the Andamans and in 2015, a total of 3,11,358 tourists, including 14,674 foreigners, had gone to the union territory, the data revealed. Source: PTI

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India extends e-visa facility for conference and medical attendants from China

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India has further liberalised visa regime for Chinese nationals by extending e-visa facility for the conference and medical attendants as part of its efforts to attract more tourists from China. Previously those attending conferences in India needed to get clearances from New Delhi to get visas. The Conference Visa will be issued for those who intend to travel to India to attend conference/seminar/workshop organised by Ministry or Department of Government of India, State Departments or Union Territories, Administration and their subordinate/attached organizations and PSUs, the Indian embassy said in a statement. The documents required included scanned bio-page of passport showing the photograph and details, invitation from organisation. It also needs political clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs, the statement said. The e-Medical Attendant Visa will be issued for those who wish to travel as attendant to e-Medical visa holder. The e-visa facility is now available for Tourist Visa, e-Business Visa, e-Medical Visa, e-Medical Attendant Visa and e-Conference Visa, it added. Despite special measures like e-visas, only 2.4 lakh Chinese tourists visited India last year against 14 lakh Indians visiting China. Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons, accompanied by about 20 Indian tour operators, conducted special campaigns in Beijing, Wuhan and Shanghai in August as part of India’s efforts to attract more Chinese tourists to the country. Source: PTI

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Bangkok 2nd as per GDS Index

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Bangkok is second on the list of Asian destinations in the latest Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Index. The rating, which measured social and environmental sustainability strategies, industry supplier support, and Convention Bureau strategy and initiatives. The results also praised Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB)’s performance as a top scorer in a comparison of convention bureaux in other Asian destinations. The top five destinations recently received GDS-Index Awards from the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) to recognise their sustainable practices in the business tourism and events industry. The five highest overall scores went to Gothenburg (Sweden), Copenhagen (Denmark), Reykjavik (Iceland), Oslo (Norway) and Uppsala (Sweden) respectively. According to the index, the top five Asian cities with highest overall scores are Tokyo (Japan), Bangkok, Goyang (South Korea), Sapporo (Japan), and Dubai (United Arab Emirates) respectively. Bangkok was ranked second in Asia and 21st in the world according to the GDS-Index. The ranking measured across four key areas, including city environmental strategy and infrastructure (14 topics), city social sustainability performance (4 topics), industry supplier support (8 topics), and convention bureau (CVB) strategy and initiatives (12 topics). Bangkok received an overall score of 58 per cent, with the convention bureau winning 69 per cent, ably beating the global benchmark of 53 per cent. TCEB president Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya noted that this was the first time that Bangkok had participated in the GDS-Index, leaving the bureau delighted by the result.

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ITM 2019 to be held from September 29-October 1

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The India Tourism Mart (ITM), organised by the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) and the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), will be tentatively held from September 29 to October 1, 2019, announced Subhash Goyal, Secretary General, FAITH. He also told that these dates are tentative, considering that any other inbound travel show like KTM as well as the National Tourism Awards would not clash with the same. This year, ITM had around 250 foreign buyers in attendance with an equal number of exhibitors. He also revealed that they are expecting around 500 buyers to come for the next year’s edition as they will have enough time to plan the event unlike this time, when they organised it within 2.5 months.

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ICPB requests MOT to declare 2019 as ‘The Year of MiCE’

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Being in the forefront for promoting India as a preferred MiCE destination for years, ICPB has now requested the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) to declare 2019 as ‘The Year of MiCE.’ Chander Mansharamani, Vice Chairman, ICPB, informs, “We have recommended to Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, to declare 2019 as ‘The Year of MiCE’, which will certainly give us an opportunity to organise a number of activities in collaboration with all stakeholders throughout the year to propagate the importance of MiCE and its economic and social impact, and also undertake various marketing activities to promote India as a preferred convention destination.” On the year gone by, he added, “The year 2018 has been very fruitful and full of activities. We conducted training programmes and a successful international road show in Europe, 11th Convention India Conclave in Kolkata. We also participated at various international trade shows. “There has also been a substantial increase in our membership in the last one year, also the one-time membership of eight State Government’s, has not only given us the financial benefits, but also has enhanced the status of ICPB. Now, we can truly call ourselves a pan-India bureau.” Regarding plans in the pipeline, he said, “We are planning two international residential training programmes with ICCA and , apart from regular training programmes. We will be holding  the 12th Convention India Conclave in Kochi for which we have initiated the process with Kerala Government. We hope to open  new ICPB State Chapters in two more states. We will be conducting road shows in India as well as international road shows in the UK and Europe. We will also aim for a greater participation of ICPB …

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SpiceJet begins direct flight between Kolkata and Lilabari in Assam under UDAN scheme

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SpiceJet has announced a daily direct flight on the Kolkata-Lilabari route under the regional connectivity scheme, UDAN. Reiterating its focus on regional connectivity, the airline also announced a new direct flight connecting Kolkata with Jabalpur and an additional frequency on Hyderabad-Jabalpur route. All new flights and frequencies are scheduled to commence from January 15. According to a statement released by the airline, “SpiceJet is celebrating the launch by announcing an introductory promotional fare starting at Rs 3,700 on Kolkata-Lilabari and Lilabari-Kolkata routes, Rs 3,969 on Kolkata-Jabalpur and Rs 3,949 on Jabalpur-Kolkata, routes.” The primary objective of (UDAN) scheme is to connect small cities of the country at affordable fares. Shilpa Bhatia, Chief Sales and Revenue Officer, SpiceJet, said, “Lilabari is our first destination in Assam under the UDAN scheme and we are confident that the new flight will provide impetus to the tourism potential of the state.”

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Skål Ball, Delhi, to be held on February 16, 2019

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 Skål Delhi is set to host Skål Ball on February 16 at Le Meridien, New Delhi, informed the association’s Immediate Past President, Sanjay Dutta while speaking at Skål Christmas lunch in Delhi. He added, “The Skål Christmas lunch has become an annual event now, since we have been hosting it for the past 12 years at The Imperial lawns.” Sharing future plans for the organisation, Dutta said, “Our basic aim is to help people network; the more people we get, the more networking is done. At Skål Delhi, our attendance has always been 60 per cent and above which is why we keep on doing things differently. We will also be having the new AGM either in March or April next year in which the new team will take over.” Ranjit Vig, Secretary, Skål International Delhi, said, “Month on month, Skål has had one achievement after the other. We have a lot on our agenda for 2019. We are looking forward to Skål Ball as we brace for tourism getting better with each passing year.”

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