In order to attract tourist footfall, DTPC Palakkad organised the week long Kalpathy National Music Festival in association with the cultural department. The six-day festival was designed to promote the classical music as well as the culturally rich state of Kerala as a prime tourist destination. AK Balan, Minister for Cultural Affairs of Kerala inaugurated the closing ceremony of this iconic cultural event on November 13. The opening ceremony of the event was inaugurated by MB Rajesh on Purandaradasa Day (Nov 8) and was presided over by Shafi Parambil, MLA.
Kalapthy National Music Festival, a festival of Carnatic music has attracted thousands of people across communities to indulge into rich and vibrant series of celebration.
During this week long vibrant music festival, various cultural programmes were organised such as - vocal concerts by some of the prominent musicians, violin performance by RK Shreeram kumar & N M Brahmadathan, Mridangam performance by Srimushnam Rajarao & Shri. N. Nagaraj followed by Ghatom performance by SV Ramani.
P. Suresh Babu, District Collector & Chairman, DTPC Palakkad said, “The annual Kalpathy Sangeetholsavam offered a grand feast to music enthusiasts in the district Palakkad. With a splendid show of cultural music, the event was aimed at promoting the vibrant tradition and culture of Kerala. We want to promote “Kalpathy Sangeetholsavam” as one of the best music festivals in India and encourage tourists’ footfall at the pristine destinations of Kerala.”
Kalpathy, situated in the Palakkad district of Kerala is one of the ancient Brahmin Agraharam. Palakkad, the granary of Kerala is the traditional gateway to Kerala. One of the larger districts of Kerala, Palakkad has a topography that is a blend of forest cover, rivers, valleys, hills, etc. It plays a major role in the trade contacts between east and west coasts of peninsular India.
VFS Global has expanded the network of Cyprus Visa Application Centres in India with centres for applicants now launched in four additional cities of Thiruvananthapuram, Goa, Gurugram, and Jaipur. The centre in Thiruvananthapuram was inaugurated by Demetrios A. Theophylactou, High Commissioner of Cyprus to India, in a ceremony held recently.
The expansion of the network of Cyprus visa centres to a total of 16 cities in India signals the strengthening relationship in trade and tourism between the two counties. Earlier, applicants in Thiruvananthapuram were required to travel to Chennai to complete their visa application process for Cyprus. Applicants can now benefit from applying in their own city, and can avail of the additional services, such as SMS updates, courier services, online tracking services, among others.
Theophylactou said, “It is a pleasure to inaugurate the Cyprus Visa Application Centre, operated by VFS Global. The opening is quite timely, also due to a noticeable increase in visa related queries from Kerala. I do believe that this centre would further expand and enhance visa services and also promote people-to-people contacts, thus contributing to our bilateral relations. Kerala is a major state with a large percentage of human capital working abroad; therefore, the centre fulfils a vital service with respect to the provision of information and guidelines to applicants who intend on visiting Cyprus for tourism, business, study, as well as employment purposes. The centre would work in close cooperation with the Consular Department of the High Commission to achieve the goal of timely and efficient issuance of visas.”
VFS Global has served the Government of Cyprus in India since 2015. Globally, the company serves the client government since 2010, through a network of 21 Visa Application Centres in seven countries.
Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer – Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global said, “Cyprus is fast emerging as a popular destination of choice for leisure and business travellers from India, due to its abundant natural beauty and historical heritage. As the number of visitors to this beautiful Mediterranean nation increases, we are proud and committed to expand the network of Cyprus Visa Application Centres across the South Asia region as a whole, with more centres planned in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh in the coming months.”
Cox & Kings has opened its first Holiday Club store in Mumbai to cater to the increasing demand for holiday products. The centre, located at Dadar in Mumbai will cater to the discerning clientele located in the region.
The Holiday Club store aims to attract a diverse set of customers through innovative offers and customised solutions, and will offer a range of domestic and international holiday packages. Also, in keeping with recent travel trends, the company has forayed into niche segments such as Enable Travel for the physically challenged, Trip 360 for adventure enthusiasts and Getaway Goddess for the women-only travel segment. The store will market and sell these packages as well.
Karan Anand, Head, Relationships, Cox & Kings said, “Central Mumbai is now the hub of retail activity and our Holiday Club store is perfectly positioned to engage with customers on a one-on-one basis, as they seek personal engagement in making sure they have a memorable holiday.”
The Holiday Club stores will complement the existing points of sales that Cox & Kings has in Mumbai and the aim is to be present where the customer would most likely shop. This is the fourth Holiday Club store in India. The other three stores are located in New Delhi.
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Poland for the Promotion of Civil Aviation Cooperation. The MoU will be signed on behalf of the two countries after its approval by the two Governments. The MoU would be for a term of five years.
The objective of the MoU is to recognise the mutual benefit of Cooperation in the field of Civil Aviation having particular significance in establishing and improving Regional Air Connectivity in India. Apart from this both sides will recognise the mutual benefits of environmental testing or approvals, flight simulators monitoring and approvals, aircraft maintenance facilities approvals, maintenance personnel approvals and aircrew members approvals.
The main areas of this Memorandum of Understanding to promote ad facilitate mutual cooperation are; Support in the civil aviation market by reviewing any legal and procedural issues which may adversely affect cooperation between India and Poland; Exchange of information and expertise between the Ministries and respective Civil Aviation Authorities related to aviation regulations, regional air operations, airworthiness requirements and safety standards to enhance safety and security of air transport; and / or; Collaboration on or joint development, organization and/or conduct of training programmes on aviation safely, on topics such as safety oversight, airworthiness, flight operations, licensing, legislation and enforcement; and / or; Aviation associated consultations, joint organization and/or conduct of conferences and professional seminars, workshops, talks and other such activities on aviation safety with the participation of representatives from the Parties related to the field of civil aviation; and / or; Regular dialogue or meetings for exchange of information; knowledge, expertise and experiences between Ministries and respective Civil Aviation safety related development of mutual interest to the parties; Collaboration on research and studies on aviation safety interest topics and issues of mutual interest; Any other issues related to co-operation in the areas mentioned above.
TripAdvisor has announced the “Best Time to Book” for the Holidays report, revealing that November 6-18 is when travellers can consistently find the lowest hotel rates on hotels for the last two weeks of December.
TripAdvisor analyzed historical hotel pricing data to identify the time periods offering the lowest rates on hotels for the holidays in popular destinations around the world. The “best time to book” is when hotel prices were consistently less than the destination average.
For a hotel in the U.S., travellers booking during the optimal period of November 6-18 can save 18% compared to early year peak rates. Travellers planning to stay in a hotel in Europe can book during this window to save 21% compared to peak and for hotels in Asia, travellers can get 12% off versus highs.
While airfare changes frequently and are dependent on the departure destination, this year, with the Christmas holiday falling on a Monday, travellers can save 14 per cent on average by flying on Sunday, December 24 compared to flying the day before on Saturday, December 23. Similarly, flying on New Year’s Eve (Sunday, December 31) will save travellers 12-23 per cent on average vs. flying on other days during the last week of December.
“The approaching holiday season has travellers looking for best prices and bargains for their travel considering hotels and flight prices soar during this time. TripAdvisor’s Best Times to Book report is meant to help price conscious Indian travellers feel confident that they’re going to make the most of their travel budgets and that they have a great time this year-end,” said Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager, TripAdvisor India.
Thomas Cook (India) has seen a significant shift of its corporate travel to an online environment, with 30% of its overall business currently being contributed by its online self-booking tool, ‘Click2Book’.
The company’s internal customer research had revealed definitive trends of corporate migration to online modes for their business travel needs. To leverage this significant and growing online potential of the Corporate Travel market, the company developed its web based booking tool ‘Click2Book’ that empowers its corporate segment with a comprehensive suite of products- across flights, hotels, cars, visas, foreign exchange and travel insurance.
The adoption by corporates of its online tool has been noteworthy: Thomas Cook India has witnessed an over 30% YoY increase in adoption over the last 3 years. What is significant is that the uptake is not restricted to MNCs or India’s top Corporate Houses, but equally the company’s SME business travellers.
Speaking about this development, Indiver Rastogi, President & Country Head - Corporate Travel, Thomas Cook (India) Limited, said, “At Thomas Cook India, our data has highlighted the noticeable shift in interface from desktops/laptops to mobiles, especially among our always-on-the-move business travellers.. Against this backdrop, our investing in a smart corporate self-booker was a strategic imperative- to capitalise on the strong potential online corporate market.”
He added, “I am delighted to see the significant adoption of Click2Book by our corporates. Our endeavour to load strong benefits that strike an exceptional balance of travel budget health/compliance with desired financial outcomes is delivering a highly satisfied customer base- which continues to grow at a rate of over 30% year on year.”
The number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in October, 2017 was 8.76 lakh as compared to FTAs of 7.42 lakh in October, 2016 and 6.83 lakh in October, 2015. The growth rate in FTAs in October, 2017 over October, 2016 has increased to 18.1 per cent, compared to 8.6 per cent in October, 2016 over October, 2015. FTAs during the period January- October 2017 were 79.96 lakh with a growth of 15.8 per cent over same period of the previous year, compared to FTAs of 69.05 lakh with a growth of 9.6 per cent in January- October, 2016 over January- October, 2015.
The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during October, 2017 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (21.66 per cent) followed by USA (11.57 per cent), UK (10.23 per cent), Sri Lanka (3.79 per cent), Canada (3.36 per cent), Germany (3.17 per cent), Australia (3.07 per cent), France (2.81 per cent), Russian Fed. (2.81 per cent), Malaysia (2.76 per cent), Japan (2.44 per cent), Thailand (2.10 per cent), China (1.93 per cent), Nepal (1.66 per cent) and Rep. of Korea (1.48 per cent).
The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during October 2017 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (32.56 per cent) followed by Mumbai Airport (14.02 per cent), Haridaspur Land Check Post (11.29 per cent), Chennai Airport (6.10 per cent), Bengaluru Airport (5.19 per cent), Kolkata Airport (4.55 per cent), Gede Rail Land Check Post (3.02 per cent), Cochin Airport (2.70 per cent), Dabolim (Goa) Airport, (2.58 per cent), Hyderabad Airport (2.53 per cent), Sonauli Land Check Post (1.86 per cent), Ahmadabad Airport (1.77 per cent), Ghojadanga Land Check Post (1.64 per cent Amritsar Airport (1.53 per cent) and Trivandrum Airport (1.20 per cent).
Emirates Flight Training Academy, the state of the art facility for training ab initio pilots was officially inaugurated recently by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai during the Dubai Airshow.
Dignitaries present at the opening included Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council; Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and the Chairman of Dubai Media Incorporated; Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and the Minister of Finance and Industry; Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, and Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline.
Sheikh Ahmed said, “The Emirates Flight Training Academy is designed to be one of the most advanced flight training facilities not just in the Middle East region, but in the entire world. This is the only academy in the world that provides complete integration of flight training, ground school, accommodation and recreation under one roof. Students will not only get the best training but will be able to enjoy comfortable living standards while undergoing training. The Academy will set new benchmarks for next-generation pilot training relying on innovation and partnering with industry training organisations, strengthening Dubai’s position as a global hub for aviation.”
Located in Dubai South, the Emirates Flight Training Academy has been established by Emirates to qualify UAE nationals and international students. It will instill cadets with an airline culture and train pilots for the airline industry’s future requirements and in particular, Emirates. The Academy will combine cutting-edge learning technologies and a modern fleet of training aircraft to train cadets with no previous knowledge of flying. Cadets will be trained using simulators, single and multi-engine aircraft; and provided with theoretical knowledge of the aviation industry to facilitate their transition into the airline business. The investment in the facility underscores Emirates’ commitment, as a global leader in aviation, to put in place modern infrastructure to help develop career-ready pilots for Emirates and the broader aviation industry.
The Emirates Flight Training Academy was first announced at the 2011 Dubai Airshow. Construction for the facility started in 2015, and early this year, landside facilities as well as the first phase of accommodation were completed.
The Emirates Flight Training Academy is a full-residential facility spread over an area of 164,000 square metres. It includes 36 ground school classrooms, ground based simulators, a fleet of 27 training aircraft, a 1,800 metre dedicated runway with modern navigation aids and lighting, an independent air traffic control tower, rescue and fire fighting service, and a maintenance centre. Cadets, both male and female, admitted into the programme will have access to modern and individual studio accommodation in addition to a range of comprehensive sports and leisure facilities. The Academy will be able to accommodate up to 600 cadets at one time.
Dubai-based flydubai has announced a commitment to a US$27 billion order for 225 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to support the growth of its fleet. This is the third aircraft order placed by the airline with Boeing in its eight-year history and follows orders placed in 2008 and 2013. This new aircraft order will support its continued expansion within a geographic area that is home to 2.5 billion people.
The airline by the end of the year will have a fleet of 61 Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft and Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. In addition, there is a pipeline of 70 aircraft due for delivery by 2023.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman, flydubai said, “Today’s aircraft order underlines the success of flydubai’s founding vision helping to strengthen trade and tourism links across its network and has contributed to the enhanced connectivity of Dubai’s aviation hub. In under a decade, flydubai has extended its network to 97 destinations in 44 countries and we look forward to the arrival of the new aircraft from 2019 in support of our future ambitions.”
With today’s announcement, this will bring the total number of aircraft the airline has on order to 320.
Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer, flydubai added, “Today marks the next chapter in flydubai’s success story. Since we launched in 2009, flydubai has opened up 67 previously underserved markets serving our passengers across the region. We welcome the continuation of our long partnership with Boeing. We ordered this aircraft model as it has given us the versatility and flexibility to carry 44 million passengers since our first flight.”
Kevin McAllister, President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes said, “We are extremely honoured that flydubai has selected to be an all-Boeing operator for many years to come. This record-breaking agreement builds on our strong partnership with flydubai and the other leading carriers of this region. With flydubai’s proven business model and ambitious growth plans, we look forward to hundreds of flydubai 737 MAXs connecting Dubai with the rest of the world.”
BLS International Services, one of the world’s largest Indian specialist service providers for outsourcing of visa, passport, attestation and citizen services to the governments and diplomatic missions globally, has signed a contract with Embassy of the People's Republic of Algeria in India. Under this partnership, BLS International will be providing visa outsourcing and consular services to the Embassy of the People's Republic of Algeria through five visa application & attestation centers in New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Trivandrum.
BLS international is accredited to facilitate Algerian visa processing in India from submission of applications to collection of visas along with attestation services. This contract has been signed to provide efficient visa and attestation services to people travelling to Algeria for business, work or leisure.
Shikhar Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director, BLS International Services said, “We at BLS cherish the progressive relations with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Algeria and are delighted to have been chosen to provide consular services to them in India. It has been our endeavour to always provide state-of the-art services to our clients by creating value for our stakeholders."
While signing the contract, Algerian Ambassador in India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal, Hamza Yahia-Cherif said, “We are pleased to have partnered with BLS International for facilitating Algeria visa processing in India. We hope this association to be fruitful and that it will further strengthen the Algerian-Indian relationship in future.”