Tag Archives: US

Emirates Skywards reaches 20 mn members


Emirates Skywards, a loyalty programme popular for its unique offerings has reached 20 million members. Those travelling from Dubai on Emirates flights during the week beginning March 4, 2018, can look forward to surprises at check-in, onboard and in the lounges for some of its longest-standing members. “The programme has evolved in the 17 years since its inception in line with changing travel and lifestyle habits. Emirates Skywards is focused on delivering ever more personalised experiences for its members. We provide a wide array of earn and redeem options across a number of categories – travel, retail and lifestyle and across geographies, leveraging more than 100 partners worldwide,” explains Dr Nejib Ben Khedher, Senior Vice President, Emirates Skywards. In an average month, Emirates Skywards welcomes 220,000 new members across the globe. The top five countries with the largest member bases are spread across four continents reflecting Emirates’ six-continent global network. UK has the biggest membership base at 2.6 million, followed by the US with 1.8 million members, Australia with 1.7 million members and India and the UAE following closely with 1.4 million members each.  

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Israel simplifies visa process for Indian tourists

Hassan Madah - Director Israel Ministry of Tourism India Philippines (002)

To encourage more Indian travellers to visit Israel, the country has eased the visa application procedure for Indian citizens. The relaxed visa rule involves less documentation for Indians who have availed visas of Schengen countries, US, Canada, Australia or Israel and have completed their travel to these countries.  For these travellers, the documents include a valid passport, completed visa application Form, two photographs, cover letter with travel information, traveller’s insurance and passport copy. Hassan Madah, Director of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, India, says, “This is an initiative we have been working very closely with Interior Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry to introduce in India and I am happy to see this change for the Indian travellers who wish to travel to Israel.  Easing the visa requirements will not only make the application process faster, I am confident it will also increase travel to Israel as well.  We are also working on an express service with VFS which will be introduced soon.  In addition to this, we are working towards e-visa processing as well as easing the group visa process.” In September this year, one year multiple entry visas for business travellers was introduced. Visa processing is available through VFS processing centres located all over India for the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai and Bengaluru as well as the Embassy of Israel in Delhi.  The Ministries are working with the VFS offices to introduce express visa services, which will be available to applicants for an additional fee.

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Indian visa to cost 50% more


The Indian government has reportedly increased the visa fee in different categories for nationals from the US, the UK, Canada, Israel, Iran and UAE. As per a government notification, a tourist visa up to one year will now cost $153 from the earlier $100. The tourist visa for over a year and up to five years will cost $306 instead of $120. Mainly affecting foreigners who work in the country, the move comes about as a reciprocal measure, since countries like the US, New Zealand, and Australia have planned or already implemented such processes. However, UK nationals, who used to cough up $162 for a tourist visa up to a year, will now pay $248. And for a five year tourist visa, they will pay $741 instead of $484. For employment visa, nationals from Canada, Ireland, France, Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand will now pay $459 instead of $300 for a visa spanning over a year and up to five years. Israelis continue to cough up the most for a short-term visa. They will now pay $1,714 instead of $1,120.

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e-visas for MICE delegates likely: Mahesh Sharma

Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Tourism and Culture Minister

In an effort to bring India on a par with the US, Germany, Spain, the UK and France, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is likely to approve e-visas for the MICE (Meetings Incentives, Conferences Exhibition) segment soon. Tourism and Culture Minister, Dr Mahesh Sharma said, “We have made a proposal to allow e-visa for the corporates from the world over, who want to hold short-term meets and conferences in India, for just the duration of the conference. The segment is a big revenue-generator since most of these people club business with sight-seeing and shopping. We are likely to get a nod soon.”

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