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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

The Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to change the name of the scheme ‘Tourist Visa on Arrival-Electronic Travel Authorization’ to ‘e-Tourist Visa’ (eTV) from tomorrow (April 15, 2015). The extension of the scheme to more countries and airports will be in a phased manner, in order to avoid any confusion.

Government of India had launched ‘Tourist Visa on Arrival enabled by Electronic Travel Authorization’ (TVoA-ETA) on 27th November, 2014 to 44 countries at nine airports to facilitate short duration international travellers. Since the launch of the scheme, one lakh ten thousand (1,10,000) Visas have been issued by Government under this scheme.

It has been observed that the name of the scheme (TVoA-ETA) is creating confusion among tourists. Tourists presumed as if the Visa is being granted on arrival, however in present system the pre-authorization of Visa to foreigners is being given prior to travel. Ministry of Home Affairs had also received the requests of name change from some Indian embassies.

A committee of officers from Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs and Bureau of Immigration (BoI) was formed for formulation of new name for the scheme. A contest was also conducted on mygov.in inviting suggestions on the name of the scheme.

Keeping in view the application process and purpose of the scheme, the committee had suggested e-Tourist Visa (eTV) as the appropriate new name for the scheme.

India has extended the e-Tourist Visa (eTV) scheme for Sri Lankan citizens in keeping with a pledge made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Sri Lanka last month.

The High Commission of India in Sri Lanka has the pleasure to inform that the e-Tourist Visa (eTV) scheme [earlier known as the Tourist Visa on Arrival enabled by Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) scheme] has been extended to Sri Lankan nationals with effect from Tuesday, April 14, 2015, the High Commission said in a statement.

The new scheme will be in addition to the existing visa services. Sri Lankan nationals holding Diplomatic / Official passports cannot avail of the eTV scheme. Sri Lankan nationals of Pakistani origin cannot avail of the eTV scheme either.

The eTV can be utilized by all Sri Lankan Nationals holding ordinary passports whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing, casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit. The applicant should not have a residence or occupation in India. The applicant should hold a passport with at least six months validity from the date of arrival in India.

It may be noted that visa will not be issued on arrival without ETA. Applicants have to apply and obtain ETA online prior to undertaking travel to India. This process will take a minimum of 4 working days.

The eTV will be for single-entry, and valid for only 30 days stay from the date of arrival in India. The eTV will be non-extendable, non-convertible and not valid for visiting Protected /Restricted and Cantonment Areas. Entry into India must be through any of the following 9 designated airports only - Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram. However, exit can be through any authorized Immigration Check Post (ICP) in India. Entry into India must be undertaken within 30 days from the date of approval of ETA. The eTV facility cannot be availed of more than twice in a calendar year.

Continuing with its expansion plan in India, Golden Tulip Hotels recently launched Golden Tulip Vasundhara Delhi NCR in the premium and luxury category. With this, Golden Tulip Hotels South Asia now has 17 operational properties all over the country and three new properties opening under four and five star categories this year, which also includes Bangladesh. Golden Tulip Vasundhara offers 162 rooms along with 10,000 sq ft banquet space.

Commenting on the expansion plans, Vimal Singh, Managing Director, Golden Tulip Hotels& Resorts, South Asia said, “Backed by an international legacy, our aim is to create a portfolio of hotels across the world, with a distinct identity but incorporating the local flavours of each region. It is our constant endeavour to provide business and leisure travellers a personalized and meaningful experience to the cities they travel to.  We are looking to position ourselves amongst the leading hotel chains in the country with these new launches.”

“We are proud to associate with Golden Tulip Hospitality Group. With our foray into hotels through Golden Tulip Vasundhara we strive to offer our guests the best services and facilities whether they are travelling for business trip or for leisure,” says Arvind Agarwal, Promoter Director of the project.

The company is looking at aggressively expanding in the next few years across South Asia thereby increasing its market share and establishing itself as a leading hospitality chain in the region.

Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan was recently on a three-day visit to Egypt’s capital Cairo city. During his visit, he inaugurated the third edition of the ‘India by the Nile’ festival.

"It is my fourth visit to this wonderful country. Every time I come to Egypt I feel as though I come home. There is a lot of similarity between India and Egypt in terms of culture, ancient history, tolerance, warmth and friendliness of the people." said Bachchan during a press conference in Cairo.

During his stay in Egypt, Bachchan also visited the Pyramids and Cairo Opera House. Talking about the safety concerns in Egypt, Bachchan said, “I am an example of how Egypt is safe to travel and I am going to go back and say that in India too. I would also love to come back and shoot a film in Egypt.”

Ramy Nicola, Chairman, Lady Egypt Tours, a leading travel agency in Egypt adds, “Even during the Egyptian revolution, none of the tourists were hurt or tourist places destroyed. The fears in the minds of Indian travelers regarding travel to Egypt will hopefully decrease after the visit of Mr Bachchan. The history and stunning monuments of ancient Egypt, the romantic cruise along the river Nile, the hospitality of the Egyptians and their love and respect for Indians will definitely leave an everlasting impression in the minds of Indian travelers.”

The 18-day India by the Nile festival is considered to be the biggest foreign fair in Egypt. The festival is organized by The Embassy of India, Cairo (through the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture) in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Cairo Opera House and managed by Teamworks Arts.

Thomas Cook (India) today launched ‘The Art of Travel’ - a coffee table book in collaboration with the Israel Ministry. Madhavan Menon, Managing Director of Thomas Cook (India), inaugurated the event with his welcome address, followed by the launch the prestigious “Art of Travel” product.

The audience also got to hear from about the range and depth of offers available in Israel from David Akov, the Consul General of Israel in Mumbai and Hassan Madah, Director, India Israel Ministry of Tourism while Saeid Heidari, General Manager at JW Marriott Hotel Mumbai Sahar and Kadambini Mittal, Regional Director Global Sales India Sub Continent - Marriott International offered insight into their respective products.

Madah said, “Thomas Cook India, is a pioneer and leader in MICE and its expertise in the MICE domain is delightfully captured in this unique coffee table creation—The Art of Travel. We are delighted to partner with Thomas Cook to showcase our beautiful destination Israel to the Indian market”

He further added, “Israel as a fresh upcoming MICE destination offers spectacular experiences - a land steeped in history coupled with ultra-modern accommodation and MICE facilities. In addition, rich experiences pre- and post-conference tours, including visits to archaeological sites, classic Holy Land tours, spa treatments, adrenalin infused sports, desert adventures and a vibrant night life.”

Rajeev Kale, President & COO - MICE, Domestic & Sports Holidays said “Our team believes that MICE is not a commodity to sell but a creation of various splendid experiences that are bundled together with passion and dedication that results in everlasting memories. We always hope to make new ones for our guests and their associates each time they choose to travel with Thomas Cook – The masters of the Art of Travel. We strive not only to be known as the most successful but also the most admired MICE team in India.”

The Coffee Table book is a dedicated creation of the MICE team at Thomas Cook India that offers the viewers an exciting journey into the world of MICE by showcasing the various arts’ of MICE – cuisine, celebration, care and entertainment encompassing ‘The Art of Travel.’

Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Culture (I/C), Tourism (I/C) and Civil Aviation was on a two day visit to the North -East. He was accompanied by the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju and senior officials of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

On the first day of his visit, Sharma made a tour of the various ongoing projects of tourism of Government of India in Arunachal Pradesh. He also visited Manipur and Nagaland.

Sharma held a meeting with Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Nabam Tuki at Itanagar. During his meeting with Tuki, he highlighted the importance of the North-east especially from the view point of tourism. He said that the North-east has a large unexploited potential for tourism and the his ministry has designated a special circuit for the region under its new Swadesh Darshan scheme.

The Government will help to create the necessary infrastructure and other facilities required for promoting tourism in the region under this scheme. Sharma held a detailed meeting with the senior officers of Arunachal Pradesh on projects of Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

He also paid an inspection visit to the adventure camping site and tourist lodge at Bhalukpong in Arunachal Pradesh, which is sponsored by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India as a part of Sports and Adventure Tourism project.

Sharma also laid the foundation stone of Tourist Lodge at Siddhartha Vihar in Itanagar as a part of Development of Itanagar-Doimukh-Sagalee Circuit by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

The Minister paid a visit to the Buddhist Gompa near Itanagar.

The Indian tourism and hospitality industry has emerged as the largest service sector in India. India sees the 11th largest tourist inflow in the Asia-Pacific region and the 42nd worldwide, according to India Tourism Statistics 2013. Its tourism industry is flourishing due to an increase in foreign tourist arrivals and a larger number of Indians travelling to domestic destinations. Tourist inflow into the country grew at 7% annually from 2010 to 2014. In 2013, India had 6.97 million registered foreign tourist arrivals — 0.64% of the total foreign tourist traffic in the world. In 2014, the tourism sector contributed INR7.64 trillion to the GDP and provided employment to 36.7 million people. By the end of 2015, these numbers are expected to increase to INR8.22 trillion and 37.4 million respectively. This would mean that tourism will account for 7% of India's GDP in 2015. In 2014, travel and tourism investments in India accounted for INR2.11 trillion or 6.2% of the total investments – which is expected to rise by 9.3% in 2015.

FICCI and EY have jointly released a Knowledge Paper on ‘Unexplored Tourism Destinations of India’ at the Great Indian Travel Bazaar 2015, which are selected based on industry interactions and trends. The Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Smt. Vasundhara Raje released this report in the presence of international buys and Indian sellers from the tourism industry.

The FICCI-EY report identifies 12 chosen unexplored tourism destinations in the country, focusing on their main attractions, their connectivity and availability of accommodation facilities in them. It highlights those tourism destinations that have been explored as part of FICCI’s focus on the growth of India’s tourism sector, and upcoming themes and projects across the country to attract tourists. Diverse destinations have been covered, ranging from the Majuli Islands — the largest river islands in the Indian sub-continent — to Auroville – a spiritual center near Pondicherry and the Desert Camps of Rajasthan. The 9 other identified destinations which are having great potential to be developed as great tourist destinations are Chitrakoot (MP), Diu (Daman & Diu), Dudhwa National Park (UP), Elephanta Caves (Maharashtra), Hampi (Karnataka), Lahaul & Spiti (HP), Rann of Kutch (Gujarat), Sundarbans Delta (WB) and Gurez/Gurais (J&K), according to the report. A study of these locations indicates that they have huge untapped potential, which can be harnessed to promote tourism in them.

In the report FICCI and EY have suggested the following key policy interventions to further boost tourism at the chosen destinations:

Organization of Marquee Events/Festivals: A theme-based event such as a global race, trek or excursion can be organized at these locations. For instance, a camel race on the lines of the Boat Race Festival can be held in the Rann of Kutch as well as in the Deserts of Rajasthan. These should be global events held over several days to attract tourists.

Development of Theme-Based Activities: While natural beauty and heritage buildings attract tourists, what make them stay for a longer period are options of diverse activities. Therefore, based on the nature of each location, sporting activities could be promoted. For instance, a good mix of water sports could turn Diu (as also Goa) into a destination that is sought after by younger tourists.

Provision of Basic Tourist Facilities: Some of these locations lack basic tourist facilities such as security, guided tours, clean and accessible toilets and easy access for differently abled persons. This needs to be addressed on a priority basis.

Preservation of Heritage and Nature: Some of these locations are also in urgent need of preservation. It is therefore important that tourism is promoted in an ecologically sensitive manner and revenues from it are used to preserve monuments or the ecology. For instance, preservation of the Elephanta Caves in

Maharashtra and the ruins in Hampi should be an ongoing process to ensure that they remain as close to their original state as possible. Rapid erosion of Majuli Island in Assam is a problem that can have consequences as dire as the entire island being wiped out and thus needs immediate attention.

The Central Government has taken a step in this direction by launching the Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY). Various state governments are also taking different steps and implementing policy measures to promote tourism in their states. Some of the steps initiated by the state governments are as follows:

Tourism Policy: One of the basic initiatives is to have a dedicated state tourism policy which outlines how the states would like to project themselves. The policy also includes focus areas of the government, specific interventions proposed/planned, new/existing incentives to developers/private players and vision for development of tourism in the state, among others.

Brand Ambassadors: Some states such as Gujarat (Amitabh Bachchan) and Kolkata (Shah Rukh Khan) have involved leading Bollywood stars as brand ambassadors for the states, to promote the tourist destinations in the states. Another initiative undertaken by the Government of Diu was to project Diu as the ‘Isle of Calm’.

The government had engaged a large advertising agency – Ogilvy & Mather for designing and conducting this campaign.

Social Media: To promote any destination as a tourist destination, it is important to provide accurate information which is easily accessible through various media. Thus, having a good website which includes information regarding tourist attractions, connectivity, best time to travel, tourist facilities and accommodation becomes imperative for promoting any destination.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has announced it is strengthening its leadership position in India by growing its presence in state capitals and accelerating its growth in emerging secondary and tertiary cities, with particular focus on South and West India.

There are currently 117 Carlson Rezidor hotels in operation and under development across 45 cities in India, including 14 state capitals. Carlson Rezidor will grow its India portfolio to over 170 hotels within the next 5 years.

“We have established a nationwide presence that has been built upon a deep understanding of this key market. Having earned our position as the international leader in India’s hospitality industry, we will further extend our brands and geographic presence. Our team is stronger than ever before and we are positioned to seize the growth opportunities. We intend to have a hotel in every major city in India with landmark hotels in every state capital,” said Raj Rana, Chief Executive Officer, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

As part of its growth strategy in India, Carlson Rezidor is broadening its brand presence with the introduction of Radisson Red and Quorvus Collection. Radisson Red is an upscale Lifestyle Elect brand targeted at millennial-minded individuals, while Quorvus Collection showcases expertly-curated modern luxury hotels that are inspired by the lifestyle of the contemporary global traveler.

Carlson Rezidor will drive organic growth by signing hotels in new locations and increasing its presence in key cities. The introduction of new contracts and business models including selective franchising has already yielded new project negotiations in strategic locations. Carlson Rezidor will also continue to work with existing strategic partners, as well as forge new partnerships, to develop scalable opportunities for growth. The hotel group intends to grow its India platform by way of management, selective franchising and conversions. Carlson Rezidor will maintain close alignment with its owners’ objectives and continue its flexible approach to attain mutual success.

In 2014 and the first quarter of 2015, Carlson Rezidor opened a total of 10 hotels and signed six new hotels in India. Carlson Rezidor successfully achieved their first conversion this year with Radisson Goa Candolim, which opened on the west coast of India. For the rest of 2015, Carlson Rezidor expects to open eight to nine hotels and sign 12-15 new hotels in cities throughout India.  To support this rapid expansion, Carlson Rezidor has strengthened its management team in India with key appointments, including Zubin Saxena, Vice President, Development, South Asia, who is responsible for driving portfolio growth in the country.

MakeMyTrip says that it has acquired certain assets of Mygola.com and the entire Mygola team have joined the MakeMyTrip family to focus on cutting-edge innovation in online travel. This acquisition is done through our earlier announced Innovation Fund which is formed to invest in start-up or early-stage companies in the travel technology space.

"Mygola team's deep understanding of travelers’ planning and in-destination experience preferences will be very valuable in strengthening  our proposition in these and related areas of customer engagement." said Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder & CEO – MakeMyTrip India. "We were very impressed with their ability to build world-class experiences on both web and mobile for the global audience".

Anshuman Bapna, CEO of Mygola says: "We've always taken pride in being laser-focused on the traveller’s needs and rethinking online travel planning. MakeMyTrip is the leader in one of the world’s most exciting travel markets, and the team is super-excited to bring all this knowledge to the millions of MakeMyTrip travellers".

Founded in 2009, Mygola raised capital from Helion Ventures, Blumberg Capital, 500Startups and numerous angels.

Deep Kalra, Group CEO says: "I've known the Mygola team for over 4 years now and they have fantastic product expertise, especially in the mobile space. We look forward to their energy and enthusiasm as they join this exciting ride.

In order to strengthen the brand’s connect amongst existing travellers and drive its adoption among new consumers, online travel company MakeMyTrip has adopted a new brand-advertising campaign. Through this brand repositioning exercise and the new tag-line ‘Dil Toh Roaming Hai’, MakeMyTrip intends to be travel partner that fuels the growing travel ambition of customers at large.

The campaign reflects the company’s strong connect and deep understanding of Indian consumers along with the width of its travel solutions. The film also integrates MakeMyTrip’s service offerings that enable a seamless and hassle-free travel experience. The voice over for the TVC has been given by the acclaimed Indian film and stage actor and director Naseeruddin Shah. The brand film will be promoted on TV, social media and digital platforms from 27th April.

Commenting on the new avatar, Saujanya Shrivastava, CMO, MakeMyTrip said “MakeMyTrip has been instrumental in changing the way India travels. With the widespread adoption of Online Travel, it was imperative for us as the category leader to unearth a deep-rooted customer motivation and strengthen our association with customers....”

According to him, the new TVC, ‘Dil Toh Roaming hai’, showcases how each one of us has a wandering heart with many latent travel desires. The campaign will have high visibility and impactful presence in the ongoing IPL, and will be supported by digital and on-ground innovations.



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