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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) along with representatives from the Airports of Thailand, the Immigration Bureau, Thai Airways International and True Corporation hosted a special welcoming ceremony to the 24 millionth visitor, Sophie Czich from French Republic who arrived in the kingdom at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on October 28. This shows that the TAT’s projection of 28.8 million visitors for 2015 is coming closer to expectation.

Sugree Sithivanich, TAT’s Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications said, “We’ve just welcomed the 23 millionth visitor of this year, the lucky tourist from Hong Kong who flew into Chiang Mai on 15 October. Now, in less than two weeks, we have eagerly welcomed the 24 millionth visitor. So we strongly believe that during the last quarter of this year which usually is the peak tourist season in Thailand, we will be welcoming more numbers of luckiest visitors and our projection of 28.8 million international tourist arrivals will be met.”

Czich received the “Thailand’s Luckiest Visitor” certificate, on top of two economy-class return tickets from and to Thailand valid for one year, and a voucher for a five-night stay at luxury accommodation. In addition, True Corporation presented a mobile phone with a 4G sim-card and seven-day Internet usage. A luxury limousine was also provided to take her from Suvarnabhumi airport to the Thammachat pier ,Trat province by Airports of Thailand Public Co., Ltd.

The 24 millionth visitor said “ This is the first time for coming to Thailand alone, and I will stay in Thailand for 1 month visiting Ko Chang in Trat, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Pai in Mae Hong Son and return to Bangkok”.

The “Thailand’s Luckiest Visitor” welcoming events are part of the TAT’s “2015 Discover Thainess” campaign, which showcases Thailand’s most charming attractions: diversity of destinations, the spicy flavours of Thai food, the colour of Thai traditions, festivals and culture, and the friendliness of the Thai people. The “millionth tourist” welcoming activity has been such a success that it has now been extended to 31 December, 2015, to celebrate one of Thailand’s best ever years in terms of tourist arrivals.

India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has posted a robust performance in half yearly results of the current financial year 2015-16. The total turnover in H1 ending September 2015 stood at Rs.205.88 cr as compared to Rs.218.33 cr in the corresponding H1 last year. The company registered Net Profit Before Tax (PBT) at Rs.4.28 cr as compared to Rs.2.61 cr in the corresponding H1 last year.

In H1, 2015-16 the momentum generated in the last financial year seem to have continued posting profit yet again. Also, the Ashok group of hotels has been in the forefront of innovative marketing initiatives ensuring consistency in sales and occupancy.

Meanwhile, ITDC has set up a Center of Excellence at Hotel Samrat, New Delhi. The Ashok Institute of Hospitality and Tourism Management (AIH&TM) has formalised collaboration with National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology (NCHMCT) to offer a course in B.Sc in Hospitality and Hotel Administration (HHA) with its first batch already commenced.  The institute is responsible for imparting skills and professional training to the youth in the areas of hospitality and Hotel Administration.

It has implemented a Sound and Light show project at Shanti Stupa, Dhauli, Odisha. The theme of Kalinga War and conversion of King Ashoka from ‘Chandashoka’ to ‘Dharmashoka’ will be portrayed in three languages on all days of the week except Monday.

Ethiopian Airlines is set to expand its network to North America and Asia next year. The expansion is made possible by the delivery of Ethiopian’s first batch of 343-seat A350-900s along with additional 270-seat Boeing 787-8s, according to a report by Centre for Aviation (CAPA).

As per the plan, New York will be Ethiopian’s fourth destination in North America joining Toronto, Washington Dulles and Los Angeles as the new flights kick off in June 2016. The report added that Ethiopian is also looking at Chicago and Houston, which could be launched in 2017.

In Asia too, the airline is planning to launch services to Chengdu (China), Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam), Jakarta (Indonesia) as well as Singapore. East Asia has been the main driver of Ethiopian’s rapid expansion in recent years – with two destinations added in 2015 for a total of nine – and will continue to be the Airline’s focus as it doubles its fleet over the next decade.

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.”

 

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