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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

The Konkan Tourism Regional Division of Maharashtra Tourism has organised a webinar series to shed light on the art, culture, history and heritage of the Konkan region. The second webinar in this webinar series will be conducted on Friday, April 30, 2021 at 4.30 pm and Bhau Katdare, Founder of Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra, Chiplun, will share his valuable insights on turtle conservation and information on turtle festival at Velas. It will be moderated by Hanumant Hede, Directorate of Tourism Maharashtra's Deputy Director- regional office, Konkan region, Navi Mumbai. The webinar series will be available on the official Facebook page of the Konkan Tourism Regional Office, Navi Mumbai.

Bhau Katdare is the Founder of Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra, Chiplun Sanstha, a NGO that works towards the conservation of nature and wildlife in the Konkan region. It was established in 1992 and is now a celebrated NGO with three decades of conservation experience. In 2002, he started working on the protection of sea turtles through public participation and it has been a successful initiative.

He has successfully completed the project of conservation of sea turtles along the entire coast of Konkan with the participation of locals and forest department. From 2002 to 2014, the project was carried out in 80 places in Maharashtra. He also effectively implemented the concept of Turtle Festival and Homestay to promote tourism.

Hede, said, “Bhau Katdare has been instrumental in conserving vultures & turtles in Maharashtra and his session on sea turtles will furnish valuable information on turtle and other breeding animals. This information will be vital for sustainable tourism development. At the end of the webinar, the participants can present their doubts or questions to the respected speaker.”

Israel is reopening its doors to vaccinated tourists starting at the end of May, supported by the launch of a strategic campaign that ensures as many foreign tourist arrivals as possible in 2021. The announcement was made by Minister of Tourism Orit Farkash-Hacohen on Tuesday April 27, 2021 at a press conference held in Tel Aviv.

Farkash-Hacohen said, “Israel today is a world leader in safety and health, and we will make sure every potential tourist knows this when planning their summer or winter vacation. We cannot miss this opportunity – and, as minister of tourism, we won't.”

As part of its global campaign, the Israel Ministry of Tourism will launch signs in three major cities of Dubai, London and New York, all of which combine the potential for inbound tourism and a high vaccination rate. The first sign will be put up in Dubai, both in English and Arabic, a historical step for both nations as it is the first time an Israeli campaign is being launched in the United Arab Emirates.  Additional billboards will air in New York’s iconic Times Square and London’s famous Piccadilly Circus, with different designs but with a common message: Book your flight to Israel.

 Minister further said, “Dubai has great tourism potential for Israel. The UK and the US have always been large markets for inbound tourism to Israel. I have no doubt, we will see many tourists from all three countries within a short period of time.”

In addition to the launch of the campaign, the Minister revealed additional steps taken by the Ministry of Tourism in preparation for the recommencement of tourism in 2021. The Ministry of Tourism is creating and promoting a number of large international events, each geared at keeping Israel in the hearts and minds of strategic groups of tourists. The annual Tel Aviv Pride Parade is likely to be the only event that will be held physically this year; a special Abraham Cycling Cup tour, in partnership with renowned philanthropist Sylvan Adams, which will see Israel and the UAE co-host the annual Tour of Dubai race, and an international music festival in the stunning views of the Timna Park are a few of the events that will be promoted.

Farkash-Hacohen also announced the ministry would reinstate a directive incentivising foreign airline to operate flights to the Ramon Airport located outside of Eilat. The incentive, which was in place before the COVID pandemic, is now being budgeted at a cap of NIS 25 Million, which will enable foreign carriers to receive financial incentives for every tourist they bring to Israel. 

Before the spread of COVID-19 caused a nationwide shutdown in India, The Israel Ministry of Tourism’s India Office had started discussions with some of Indian commercial carriers to consider a new route to Israel - connecting Indian cities to the resort city of Eilat in southern Israel, known to the India market for MICE movements. 

Sammy Yahia, Director of Tourism, India & Philippines, IMOT, said, “In recent years, Indian travellers have become familiar with the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and now we want to introduce them to the resort city of Eilat, on the shores Red Sea.  Once international travel resumes from India, we are confident that Eilat will be a destination on the minds of the Indian travellers, so we want to make progress with potential flight routes when the demand comes.”

“Ensuring inbound tourism to Eilat is my obligation to the city's residents, but this is also a clear statement to the entire tourism industry: we are preparing for the resumption of tourism on a large scale as soon as possible,” the Minister said.

Speaking about the technical details, the Minister explained Israel would open to a limited number of vaccinated groups at the end of May, before allowing an unlimited number of groups to enter a month later. The plan, as she explained, was that in the month of July, Israel would open to independent vaccinated travellers, without the need to be part of an organised group visit.

“I know there is some criticism, and I can even agree with some of it,” Farkash-Hacohen said, stressing the plan wasn’t perfect but it was needed to ensure Israel maintained its position as a healthy country and not risk its citizens.  “We are gradually reopening tourism to Israel, to ensure we protect the health and wellbeing of all Israelis, while enabling those in the tourism sector to return to work and rebuild - and welcoming back the many people yearning to return.”

GoAir launched car rental services across 100 cities in India, including 25 airports on GoAir’s domestic network as part of its bouquet of Value-Added Services (VAS). The airline will provide hassle-free last-mile connectivity to its passengers with chauffeur-driven cars across the spectrum of economy, mid to luxury car segments along with Minivans for closed user groups. To this effect, GoAir has joined hands with Eco Europcar, a B2C (business to consumer) company having leadership position in the corporate rent a car service industry.

Commenting on the VAS launch, Mr. Kaushik Kona, CEO, GoAir, said: "At GoAir, we have always believed in consistently improving the flying experience of our customers. Internal feedback reviewed over the years shows that passengers are looking at a hassle-free and comfortable last-mile-connectivity. Today’s announcement is a culmination of our joint efforts with Eco Europcar to offer door-to-door, convenient, safer and affordable experience to our customers. I’m delighted to join hands with a company that has built its business model on technological innovations, providing seamless experience from car search, booking to delivery. Through Eco Europcar, GoAir will be offering Chauffeur-driven cars from mid to luxury car segment including the likes of Tata, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota Coaches, Tempo Traveller and last but not the least, Chrysler Stretch Limousines too.”

Commenting on the partnership with GoAir, Mr. Rajesh Loomba, Managing Director, Eco Europcar, said: “We are proud to collaborate with GoAir. Together, we will not only provide GoAir travellers with a comfortable travel experience, but also owing to the deep sanitization process that we follow, coupled with best-in-class customer service and well-trained-staff, we will enhance GoAir’s value proposition of “Fly Smart” with “Drive Smart”.

As a result of the Corona crisis, Brussels Airlines reports an adjusted EBIT of EUR -70 million for the first quarter, only a 9% decrease compared to the same period last year, which included January and February 2020, two “normal” months  before the Coronavirus reached Europe. The first quarter is traditionally the lowest performing one of the year in the aviation industry. The Belgian airline’s revenue fell by 76% year-on-year to EUR 55 million, while operating costs were brought down by 59% to EUR 130 million, in part due to lower production, but also thanks to cost-saving measures in its Reboot Plus program.

Between January and March, Brussels Airlines welcomed 192,000 passengers, a drop of 88% compared to the first quarter of 2020, when two out of the three months were “normal” months without the impact of Covid-19. The airline operated 1,791 flights, also an 87% decrease. The average seat load factor fell by 15.3 percentage points to 58.2%.

The ban on non-essential travel issued by the Belgian government severely impacted both the Brussels Airlines’ medium-haul-  and  long-haul passenger numbers. The intercontinental traffic performed however better than the European operations due to the company’s focus on African routes with a stable demand in the VFR segment (Visiting Friends & Relatives) and at the level of cargo, especially in terms of medical supply transport.

Brussels Airlines' revenue fell by 76% year-on-year to EUR 55 million in the first quarter of 2021 as a result of the Corona crisis, while operating revenue was 76% lower year-on-year at EUR 60 million.

Operating expenses decreased by 59% to EUR 130 million primarily due to the volume-related drop in material expenses. Despite a large proportion of fixed costs, cost reductions were made thanks to a near completion of the restructuring phase of the Reboot Plus program.

Brussels Airlines’ Adjusted EBIT decreased accordingly by 9% to EUR -70 million (previous year: EUR -64 million). The EBIT improved by 25% to likewise EUR -70 million (previous year: EUR -93 million), although the previous year's figure was impacted by impairment losses on aircraft and rights-of-use of aircraft amounting to EUR 29 million.

Within its Reboot Plus transformation program Brussels Airlines has almost completed the restructuring phase which reduces the fleet size by 30% and staff numbers by 25%. Among other additional measures in this program, new collective labor agreements have been in force since January 2021 for all employee groups, generating a competitive cost structure at the level of the personnel costs. The Reboot Plus program, targeting a structural 8% EBIT margin by 2024, now enters a second phase, a phase of strategic investment in customer servicing, in efficiency, employee development  and in tools in order to create a long-term profitable future for the company.

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis, Brussels Airlines has strictly adapted its flight capacity to respond as closely as possible to the market demand in order to safeguard its cash position. Thanks to this very proactive and restrictive capacity management, Brussels Airlines was able to maintain cash-positive flight operations every week since its restart on 15 June 2020.

 

Currently Brussels Airlines is gradually building up its flight capacity to be able to provide a flight offer in line with the expected demand for the summer holiday season (on average 65% of its 2019 capacity), with a focus on the leisure segment and of course its large African offer.

The Government of Maldives has been proactive in upholding Maldives to be a safe destination for their citizens and travellers. To further strengthen their stance, the ministry has announced their decision to ease certain travel restrictions, effective 20th April, 2021, until further notice, given the below conditions are met:

1. Travel quarantine will be exempted for ALL individuals, if travelling to an island where 60% of the island population (including tourist resort/guesthouse and hotel islands) have completed the two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

2. If 60% of the island population (including tourist resort/guesthouse and hotel islands) have NOT completed two doses of Covid-19 vaccine, travel quarantine exemption can be exercised if the individual travelling has completed the two doses of any Covid-19 vaccine recognized by the WHO, two weeks prior to said travel. However, the following conditions will apply:

2.1 A negative PCR test will be required if the individual is travelling from an island with a sample positivity rate of more than 5%.

2.2 A negative PCR test will be required for accompanying children who are not eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine.

3. Completion of 14 (fourteen) days after the second dose or the prescribed dose(s) of a vaccine that has been approved by the World Health Organization, Emergency Use Listing (EUL) or the Maldives Food and Drug Authority, or any other competent authority of the respective countries.

However, travellers (work permit holders) arriving to the Maldives to work in any of the below given areas are required to present a PCR test for which the sample was taken within a maximum of 96 hours prior to their travel to the Maldives. If this requirement is not fulfilled, the individual will be required to take a PCR test upon arrival.

1) Individuals working in any form of Healthcare Facility

2) Individuals working in any form of Daycare Centers

3) Individuals working in any Educational Institution

4) Individuals working in any Residential care facilities

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announce a Destination Tracker in preparation for the restart of international travel. It is the result of both organizations joining efforts to boost confidence and accelerate recovery of the tourism sector when borders reopen. The UNWTO-IATA Destination Tracker is a new free online tool for governments to provide information on COVID-19 requirements for travel and the measures in place at the destination.

The Destination Tracker will fulfil a key need by providing clarity on COVID-19 measures affecting tourism. The situation for travelers is complex with UNWTO data showing that one in three destinations remains closed to tourists. Moreover, restrictions and in-country measures are continuously being revised.

Governments can use the Destination Tracker to post COVID-19 travel information so that potential travelers will know what to expect at their destination. When fully populated with updated destination information, travel stakeholders including Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) and travel agencies, will be able to obtain the latest destination information, enabling travelers to make informed decisions when borders reopen and travel resumes. The development of the Tracker framework is now complete. Up-to-date information on COVID-19 indicators and air travel regulations is available and systematically updated. Destination information is being progressively uploaded, expanded and updated with official sources as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “UNWTO is pleased to reinforce its partnership with IATA, a UNWTO Affiliate Member, to provide this important tool. Travelers and companies will be able to check requirements in place for air travel, as well as what measures will be in place at the visited destination. We trust this tool is also critical for governments to track existing travel restrictions and support the safe restart of our sector.”

“It has been more than a year since the freedom to travel was lost as COVID-19 measures saw borders close. When governments have the confidence to re-open borders people will be eager to travel. And they will need accurate information to guide them. With the support of national tourism organizations, the UNWTO-IATA Destination Tracker will help travelers and travel companies obtain the latest information for travel planning,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director-General.

The UNWTO-IATA Destination Tracker builds on the existing partnership between the two parties. In October 2020, UNWTO and IATA signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to restore confidence in international air travel. The agreement will also see the two agencies partner to foster innovation to drive the restart of tourism, promote greater public-private collaboration in the field of aviation and the tourism sector in general, and advance progress already made towards achieving greater sustainability and resilience.

Lemon Tree Hotels, through its management subsidiary Carnation Hotels Pvt. Ltd., announced the opening of the 76 key Lemon Tree Premier, Bhubaneswar. This is the first property of the brand in the temple city of Bhubaneswar in Odisha.

Once renowned for its architecture and grand temples, is now also a vibrant trade and business hub. Modern Bhubaneswar, a smart city, has gained its reputation as a model conference and convention venue for its IT centre and software park.  

The hotel’s strategic location offers multiple options to explore the city’s cultural and architectural marvels, as well as the business destinations and traditional markets.

The hotel features 76 well-appointed rooms and suites, which combine understated elegance and old world charm with modern amenities and facilities. The contemporary interiors and the inspiring artwork of this hotel make for a setting that is refreshing, while still reflecting a touch of the city’s heritage in the artefacts.

SITA announced the results of its 2021 Middle East, India, and Africa Hackathon this week. Using SITA's extensive range of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), the program focused on solving the industry's challenges through the creation of innovative solutions. It included more than 300 participants, 16 project submissions, and eight workshops. A panel of judges comprising industry and technology partners selected the top winners.

The highly integrated air transport industry relies heavily on the exchange of data across multiple stakeholders. To facilitate that exchange, SITA offers a broad suite of complementary APIs which enable developers to build applications that improve efficiency and provide richer, more efficient passenger, airport, and travel experiences. Deployed via Developer.aero, SITA's API platform is a growing range of APIs including flight information, airport operations, aircraft information, passenger processing, messaging APIs, and SITA Flex, a new cloud-based common-use platform. SITA's APIs also include the ability to integrate advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The winning submission came from Ghana, with an app called Trippp. The app acts as a person's travel companion and uses different APIs. This helps the user make informed decisions about their journey from airport wait times to recommendations of items to pack based on the weather at the destination.

Hani El-Assaad, President, Middle East & Africa, SITA, said: "This year's Hackathon was a fascinating insight into the way innovative minds are constantly looking for opportunities to solve challenges. Aviation has yet to take full advantage of the potential of APIs, and it was exciting to see our APIs being used to drive greater innovation and development in this area. We would like to thank everyone who has been involved in making this year's Hackathon a resounding success."

The second-place entry was from India and was based on a simple app called Flying Lily. The app provides passengers automated discount coupons for in-flight retail based on their waiting time. It ensures that passengers are compensated for longer wait times and helps in increasing retail purchases during flights.

The third-place submission was from Jordan called Don't Let Me Wait – a project that helps passengers make their flights on time by helping them figure out the total time it'll take to board their flight. This includes traffic to the airport, waiting times at the airport, and any unexpected delays due to weather, making it easy for travelers to plan and reach their flights on time. The project is based on a simple online form as well as an informational chatbot option.

The government of Maldives has recently announced temporary measures to control the spread of COVID-19 in relation to the rising COVID-19 cases in India. Indian travellers arriving in the Maldives are restricted from staying at guesthouses and hotels located in local inhabited islands. The restriction does not apply to resorts and liveaboards. All flights will be as per schedule and no change is expected in terms of local transport from the Airport to the Resorts.

The following safety measures are in place to ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of the local population and travellers alike. Indian tourists who are already checked into hotels and guesthouses will be allowed to stay at the facilities until the completion of their booking duration. The measures are temporary, and tourists are able to spend their holiday in Maldives at resorts as normal.

For Safety measures, the below restrictions are being imposed effective 27.04.2021

Indian travellers arriving in the Maldives from India including travellers exceeding 24 hours transit periods must hold a negative PCR test for COVID-19 prior to entry into Maldives. The restriction also applies for tourists who have completed the prescribed dose(s) of a COVID-19 vaccine. The PCR test must be conducted not more than 96 hours prior to the travelers scheduled time of departure from the first port of embarkation en-route to the Maldives from India. In addition, travelers must undertake a PCR test for COVID-19 maximum 72 hours prior to departure from Maldives.

Maldivian citizens and work permit holders to Maldives from India must undertake a PCR test for COVID-19 within 24 hours of arrival to Maldives and must complete a mandatory 10-day quarantine period followed by a negative PCR test result at the end of this quarantine period. Children below one-year-old are exempted from the aforementioned requirement.

Travelers arriving from India (including travelers exceeding 24 hours transit periods) are restricted to check-in to Guesthouses and hotels that are located in Inhabited Islands. However, the restriction does not apply to guesthouses and hotels that are located in secluded areas of the Inh

Cathay Pacific is all set to welcome the resumption of the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble and is ready to fly passengers on board its two-way, all-purpose, quarantine-free Air Travel Bubble flights starting 26 May. These flights will be operated by pilots and cabin crew who have all been fully vaccinated.

A statement from the airlines said, “With travel having been difficult for everyone over the past year, we know that our customers have been eagerly anticipating the launch of our Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble flights so that they can rediscover the joy of flying. We believe the safe and secure bubble flights will be a milestone showcase for the opening of similar travel arrangements with other popular destinations.”

Cathay Pacific’s Air Travel Bubble flights will operate as CX759 and CX734 using our modern, fuel-efficient Airbus A350-900 aircraft. The inaugural CX759 flight from Hong Kong departed on 26 May, while the first CX734 flight from Singapore will depart on 27 May.

 

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