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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Tourism of India and the Ministry of Trade Industry and Tourism of Colombia for strengthening cooperation in the field of Tourism.

The main objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding are: to expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector, to exchange information and data related to tourism and to encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders including hotels and tour operators amongst others.

Colombia is an emerging tourism source market for India. The Ministry of Tourism organized a Road Show in Bogota, Colombia in October 2014 which elicited good response from travel trade of both countries.

Similarly, India is a Potential source market for Colombia considering the huge outbound tourism market of India. The outbound tourist traffic from India during 2013 was 16.63 million. Considering the mutual benefits, signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of tourism would enable both countries to enter into a constructive dialogue for development and promotion of tourism in each other's country for the economic development of the two nations.

Both countries enjoy warm and cordial relations, which can be ascribed to considerable coincidence of views on global issues and close collaboration in various multilateral forums. A Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Tourism Cooperation would be one institutional mechanism to further bilateral relations between the two countries to further deepen India’s relationship in the field of tourism.

Dubai-based flydubai has announced the launch of its wheel and brake maintenance facility, dedicated to offering a full range of maintenance services for these components installed on Boeing 737 aircraft.

Located within Dubai International Airport over 365.21 square meters, the new flydubai facility is certified as an Approved Maintenance Organization (AMO) from the General Civil Aviation Authority of the UAE.

Capitalising on its efficient workflows and modern equipment, the facility is managed by an experienced team and is capable of processing up to 10 units a day.

flydubai operates a single-model fleet of 50 Boeing 737-800 Next-Generation aircraft. Being one of the youngest fleets in the skies with an average age of 3.1 years, the airlines is capable of increasing its cost efficiency by bringing down the cost of maintenance and fuel consumption.

Philadelphia has become the first World Heritage City in the United States, formally receiving the designation through a vote taken by the XIII World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities in Arequipa, Peru. This was announced jointly by Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Commerce Director, and the Global Philadelphia Association.

The designation comes as the result of a two-year campaign and is expected to enhance the City’s international stature and provide a new growth engine to drive tourism and commerce in the region.

“Today marks the start of a new and exciting chapter in the history of Philadelphia, which is proud to become the first World Heritage City in the United States,” said Nutter.  “As a World Heritage City, Philadelphia is being officially recognized on the global stage for its wealth of contributions to the world as the epicenter of American democracy and for its enduring commitment to preserving the unique historical and cultural assets in our diverse community.  As we celebrate this milestone, the next step is to focus on the future and how we can optimize this World Heritage City recognition to attract more people to visit, invest, work, study and live in Philadelphia.”

“Becoming a World Heritage City is a reflection of all that we have accomplished and a confirmation of the fact that the best is yet to come as Philadelphia continues to evolve and transform itself,” said Greenberger.

John F. Smith III, Chair of the Global Philadelphia Association, has worked with Mayor Nutter’s Administration on the joint initiative since 2013, said, “Philadelphia is adding another ‘first’ to its distinguished resume as the first World Heritage City in our nation.  This opens new doors of opportunity for Philadelphia while raising awareness of the City’s importance in today’s highly competitive global arena.”

“I am thrilled to welcome Philadelphia into the Organization of World Heritage Cities. Over the last two years, Philadelphia has made an excellent case and is very deserving of becoming the first U.S. City to become a full member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities,” said Denis Ricard, Secretary General of the Organization of World Heritage Cities.

Philadelphia has become the first World Heritage City in the United States, formally receiving the designation through a vote taken by the XIII World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities in Arequipa, Peru. This was announced jointly by Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Commerce Director, and the Global Philadelphia Association.

The designation comes as the result of a two-year campaign and is expected to enhance the City’s international stature and provide a new growth engine to drive tourism and commerce in the region.

“Today marks the start of a new and exciting chapter in the history of Philadelphia, which is proud to become the first World Heritage City in the United States,” said Nutter.  “As a World Heritage City, Philadelphia is being officially recognized on the global stage for its wealth of contributions to the world as the epicenter of American democracy and for its enduring commitment to preserving the unique historical and cultural assets in our diverse community.  As we celebrate this milestone, the next step is to focus on the future and how we can optimize this World Heritage City recognition to attract more people to visit, invest, work, study and live in Philadelphia.”

“Becoming a World Heritage City is a reflection of all that we have accomplished and a confirmation of the fact that the best is yet to come as Philadelphia continues to evolve and transform itself,” said Greenberger.

John F. Smith III, Chair of the Global Philadelphia Association, has worked with Mayor Nutter’s Administration on the joint initiative since 2013, said, “Philadelphia is adding another ‘first’ to its distinguished resume as the first World Heritage City in our nation.  This opens new doors of opportunity for Philadelphia while raising awareness of the City’s importance in today’s highly competitive global arena.”

“I am thrilled to welcome Philadelphia into the Organization of World Heritage Cities. Over the last two years, Philadelphia has made an excellent case and is very deserving of becoming the first U.S. City to become a full member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities,” said Denis Ricard, Secretary General of the Organization of World Heritage Cities.

Kerala Tourism was conferred the inaugural Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) CEO Challenge 2015 award for the top emerging destination in the world. Kerala Tourism Secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao received the award.

United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary General Taleb Rifai was among those present at the award ceremony held on the opening day of the WTM, London. The award is in recognition of the pioneering Responsible Tourism undertaken in Thekkady by Kerala Tourism. Thekkady won the Top Emerging Destination award in the category for two-tier/three-tier cities while Albay in the Philippines received the award for regions/states/provinces.

Kerala Tourism had earlier won the National Tourism Award for 2015 for its innovative Responsible Tourism project in Thekkady. "The award has given us the opportunity to showcase the new tourism products and packages developed in Thekkady under the Responsible Tourism project to a global audience," said Shri Rao, who received the prize from PATA CEO Mario Hardy and TripAdvisor vice-president Martin Verdon-Roe.

“The Responsible Tourism Initiative of Kerala Tourism in Thekkady, implemented through Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies (KITTS), has developed new tourism products and packages in partnership with the local community and tourism industry,” he added.

Under the PATA CEO Challenge 2015, global travel site TripAdvisor will work with Kerala Tourism to develop and create a 500,000-dollar digital marketing campaign to showcase Thekkady to a global audience. Kerala Tourism will also receive free stand space at the PATA Travel Mart 2016 in Jakarta during September 7-9 next year and invitation to the PATA Annual Summit in Guam, United States in May 2016.

Rajashree Ajith, Director, KITTS and Vice President of the Affiliate Members of United Nations World Tourism Organisation in Asia Pacific Region was also present during the award ceremony.


Sunil Kumar, who has been recently elected as the President of TAAI, was unanimously elected at President of the United Federation of Travel Agents’ Associations(UFTAA) at the Annual General Assembly of UFTAA held at Brussels, on the 8th & 9th November 2015.

Yossi Fatael of ITAO, and a very powerful IATA matters debater, was elected as the Vice President and S.G. Kaka of KATA, was elected as the VP Finance. The Board of UFTAA which comprises of nine elected officers will soon meet and assign portfolios and committees.

Kumar’s landmark election will offer his Leadership to UFTAA as it celebrates its Golden jubilee, this year.

UFTAA, born in Rome in 1966, is a conglomeration of various associations in the world. Kumar, in his address to the Annual General Assembly, sought the members to re-visit its goals to get UFTAA its pioneer status globally, for there are several prominent leaders of the world and associations that had contributed to the well-being of UFTAA during these 5 Decades of successful existence.  He shared his happiness that this highly reputed international organization which was a result of an initiative by a past president of TAAI, J.N Guzder at Mumbai and thus is an opportune time for India to steer UFTAA beyond its past glory.

 UFTAA had taken some most outstanding decisions in this Annual General Assembly including inviting Affiliate membership from Individual Travel Agencies at an annual fee of only 100/Euro 150 EURO from across the world. Kumar said that the new “Institutional membership” that UFTAA looks forward to, can support this connect more strongly.

Zubin Karkaria, CEO of VFS Global, has been appointed as the CEO of Kuoni Group – VFS Global’s parent company and one of the world’s leading travel services provider. He is the first Indian to be appointed as the head of the 109-year old travel services company, and will concurrently continue in his function as the CEO of VFS Global.  He will continue to be based in Dubai, UAE.

Kuoni is in the midst of implementing a strategic directional shift whereby it has exited from its traditional tour operating business and is increasing its focus on three core activities – global travel distribution, destination services and visa services – in all of which it holds leading positions.  After exiting the tour operating business, Kuoni is aiming to accelerate the implementation of its new corporate strategy, and that will be one of Karkaria’s key priorities in his new role.  

Karkaria, 47, founded VFS Global in 2001 and expanded the company successfully as global leader in visa services for governments worldwide. Within the Kuoni Group the VFS Global Division has shown the strongest growth and profitability. VFS Global serves 32 client governments, with 314 visa application centres across 19 cities in the country. The company has served the Government of India since 2008, in 8 countries.

In the words of Heinz Karrer, Chairman – Kuoni Group, “The Kuoni Group has been transformed from a broad-based travel company pursuing a wide range of very different activities into a focussed global service provider for the professional travel industry and governments. The Board of Directors has decided to accelerate the implementation of this new strategic direction, and we have great confidence in Zubin Karkaria, who has so successfully developed VFS Global into a global leader, to lead the Kuoni Group forward.”

Thomas Cook announced today that it has formally concluded the acquisition of 100 per cent  shareholding of Kuoni Travel (China) Limited, Hong Kong from the Kuoni Group.

Commenting on the acquisition, Madhavan Menon, Managing Director of Thomas Cook (India), said, "We have completed the closure process for the acquisition of Kuoni Travel China Limited based in Hong Kong. The acquisition of Kuoni Hong Kong - ably led by Maria Ng, represents an important milestone for Thomas Cook India Group, as it facilitates our entry into Asia - including China, the fastest growing travel market in the world."

Maria Ng, Managing Director of Kuoni Hong Kong said, "We are delighted to join the Thomas Cook India and Fairfax Group and look forward to working with Madhavan and his team to leverage the significant complementary opportunities across Asia, that this partnership opens up."


Jet Airways announced the confirmation of its largest-ever fleet order for 75 Boeing 737 Max aircraft at the Dubai Airshow. The order includes options and purchase rights for an additional 50 aircraft.

The 737 Max incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements to deliver greater efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort.

The new aircraft will support Jet Airways’ replacement strategy and ensure it maintains a modern, environmentally friendly fleet. Jet Airways currently has a fleet of 115 aircraft.

The transaction will be completely financed and managed through a sale and leaseback arrangement when Jet Airways takes delivery of the aircraft from 2018.

Commenting on the announcement, Naresh Goyal, Chairman, Jet Airways said: “This order is an endorsement of our confidence in the long-term prospects of the Indian aviation sector, which reflects the positive forecast for the country’s economy, and offers tremendous potential for growth and development.  Jet Airways has led the path in Indian aviation, providing enhanced connectivity between domestic and international sectors. We are aligned with the Government of India’s mission to provide affordable air connectivity to the people across the country.”

Cramer Ball, Chief Executive Officer, Jet Airways said: ““This order is a reaffirmation of our commitment to continue providing a best-in-class full service travel experience to our guests. “Just as importantly, these new generation aircraft are highly fuel efficient and will help drive our operational efficiency.” 

“Boeing is proud that Jet Airways will be the first airline in India to take delivery of the 737 MAX,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “The 737 MAX will bring new standards for fuel efficiency and economics, and a premium passenger experience to Jet Airways.”

Thomas Cook (India) launched its unique and user friendly ‘Foreign Exchange app’, a consumer empowering one-stop-shop for foreign exchange transactions.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), smartphone shipment in India grew 44% to 26.5 million units in June 2015. And equipped with his hand-held device, today’s digitally native Indian traveller (including business travellers, leisure, ad-hoc groups and last minute travellers) is increasingly impatient for information/transactions on the go. Thomas Cook India’s research having identified this blue ocean potential for secure and convenient foreign exchange transactions created its Foreign Exchange app to equip customers with easy, safe and smooth currency transactions with fulfilment while on the go.

Thomas Cook’s android mobile app features Live Rates  across major global currencies including USD, Euro, Swiss Franc, to cover both buying and selling of foreign exchange; also a Block my Rate option as protection against rate fluctuations. The application also provides customers a handy tool of Rate Alerts for specified currencies via SMS & Email.

Commenting on India's first ever transactive mobile-app for Foreign Exchange, Amit Madhan, Chief Operating Officer - IT & E Services, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd said, “Thomas Cook India’s internal research has highlighted that while over 40% of our online transactions are via a mobile device, for foreign exchange this is truly noteworthy- at over 65%. Hence launching our Thomas Cook Forex app was clearly the need of the hour.”

He added, “With mobile data reiterating the Indian travellers’ shift to mcommerce, coupled with India’s booming smartphone market, as pioneers in the Foreign Exchange space we are delighted to present he first ever mobile application and its slew of unique and customer empowering features for India’s Forex consumers on the go.”

 

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