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News
T3 News Network

T3 News Network

flydubai will operate three weekly flights to Mykonos International Airport (JMK) and Santorini (Thira) Airport (JTR) between 18 June and 29 September. The launch of flights to the two Greek islands brings the number of seasonal routes served by flydubai to six destinations including Bodrum and Trabzon in Turkey, Batumi in Georgia and Tivat in Montenegro.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer at flydubai, said: “we are excited to grow our network and give passengers more options to travel this summer.  Demand for travel has started to increase as more countries gradually lift restrictions on international travel. The UAE has recently added Bahrain, Greece and Serbia to the safe travel list which has encouraged more people to start planning their summer holidays. Mykonos and Santorini will be popular choices for travel from the UAE and GCC.”

A safe travel corridor between the UAE and Greece has opened for fully vaccinated travellers to move between the two countries from 18 May 2021. Under the agreement, passengers holding vaccination certificates issued by health authorities can travel to Greece without having to quarantine on arrival. The same rule applies for travellers flying from Greece to the UAE.

Commenting on the announcement, Jeyhun Efendi, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations and E-commerce at flydubai, said: “we are pleased to offer our passengers convenient travel options this summer to some of the most popular holiday spots. Whether flying in Business or Economy Class or opting to purchase a flexible holiday package that includes flights, hotels stay and other add ons, flydubai is committed to making travel this summer more flexible and a little less stressful.’’

flydubai will restart its operations to Batumi in Georgia and Tivat in Montenegro from 25 June and both destinations offer UAE residents visa on arrival. Flights to Bodrum and Trabzon in Turkey will start from 04 and 24 June respectively. The carrier plans to start flights to Naples in Italy and Salzburg in Austria from July onwards. 

South African Tourism has participated in the virtual leg of Arabian Travel Market (ATM), from 24th to 26th May 2021. The tourism board will showcase destination South Africa for the 4th consecutive year, with over 60 per cent South African Provinces joining the national tourism board in this virtual venture themed ‘A New Dawn for Travel and Tourism’.

South African Tourism, along with 28 prominent exhibitors from the Provinces of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape and Mpumalanga as well as 10 SMMEs, will showcase an array of new and established uniquely South African products by DMCs and hotels. This will include luxury experiences, advanced MICE infrastructure, and unique adventure, wildlife and culinary capabilities. Lucrative partnerships are anticipated given over 1,000 exhibitors, buyers, and travel professionals from over 60 international countries are slated to visit the trade show. 

Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head – MEISEA, South African Tourism said, “In what can only be described as an extraordinary year, we – at South African Tourism – have employed a plethora of technologically driven, sustainable and ingenious tourism initiatives. We are excited to bring these innovations and ideas to the rest of the travel community. We are looking forward to mutually-beneficial partnerships and high-impact meetings between South African exhibitors and global buyers to stem from ATM 2021.”

“With world-class safety & hygiene measures, screening techniques and off-beat socially distanced experiences, we cannot wait to give audiences across the world a taste of our finest hospitality and luxury, whenever they are ready to travel. South Africa is open. South Africa is safe,” she continued.

South Africa currently has internationally benchmarked health and safety protocols in place at all private game lodges and government-owned national parks, shopping hubs, restaurants and accommodation facilities and all other tourism-related products and experiences. These safety measures include lesser number of tourists in a safari vehicle to promote social distancing, digital menus, touchless parking, e-payment systems, hand-sanitization and disinfection stations, individually sanitized and packed takeways / room service etc.

Travellers intending to visit South Africa are required to produce a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test that is not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. Travellers can also expect precautionary and sanitation measures at various other transit touch points including international and domestic airports, and car rentals.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Google have signed a new agreement to work together and lead global tourism’s recovery through innovation, education, and market intelligence.

The new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) builds on past cooperation between the UN specialized agency for tourism and Google. With destinations in some parts of the world looking to restart tourism, the new partnership will focus on harnessing the power of innovation, education, data and market intelligence to drive sustainable and inclusive recovery.

Notably, the two organizations will host trainings for Destination Management Organizations (DMOs), using a new Capacity Building Curriculum developed by Google. These sessions will empower destinations to switch to digital, with the training adapted to reflect their specific circumstances and the unique challenges every destination currently faces.

The new Capacity Building Curriculum will also complement existing joint initiatives, and a data sharing agreement for Google’s Travel Insights to power a portion of the UNWTO's tourism recovery tracker.

Alongside this, the Tourism Accelerator Program, designed by Google in partnership with UNWTO, will also be scaled up globally. A pilot program launched across EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) in 2020 showed the value of working with policymakers to put digital at the heart of their tourism recovery plans and the benefits of upskilling DMOs so they can make effective use of data and market intelligence.

The partnership will go beyond empowering destinations and businesses during the immediate recovery phase. Under the agreement, Google will provide ongoing support for a number of UNWTO’s leading initiatives, including Startup Competitions designed to promote and support innovation across the sector.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “The strong partnership between UNWTO and Google will help put innovation and digital at the centre of tourism’s recovery. By working together, UNWTO and Google will empower destinations, businesses and tourism workers to realize the power of data and market intelligence, both increasingly important as global tourism looks to restart and recover.”

Google’s Managing Director for Travel Partnerships Gianni Marostica says: “We’re honored to be working alongside UNWTO in this vital effort to support the global tourism sector on its path toward broader economic recovery. It’s critical that both policymakers and businesses have the tools and insights they need to reconnect with travelers in a digital environment.”

Looking ahead, UNWTO and Google will also collaborate on joint research projects related to tourism. The results will further establish both parties as thought leaders and provide governments, destinations and businesses with the trusted data and insights they need to guide tourism towards recovery.

Accor is pleased to announce its “Unveil the World” campaign – a celebration of the return to travel, the approach of summer, and the joy of great hotel stays. With travel restrictions easing across many destinations worldwide, along with significant pent-up demand among travelers, the campaign is a signal of Accor’s confidence in the resurgence of travel, while reinforcing the company’s growing focus on the leisure segment.

“Our hotels and resorts are ready to welcome back guests and have successfully implemented our ALLSAFE hygiene and cleanliness protocols, which go beyond local and national requirements. This should help reassure travelers as our hotels are amongst the safest hubs for anyone resuming their leisure or business activities. Moreover, we are offering flexible rates and last-minute cancellation on All.com so that our guests can plan their holiday with a carefree spirit. Our Accor teams are working very hard to make sure we can deliver everyone’s vacation dreams this summer,” said Patrick Mendes, Chief Commercial Officer at Accor responsible for Sales, Marketing, Distribution and Loyalty.

“Unveil the World”, which is being debuted via a short film inspiring travelers to rediscover the amazing places and experiences that add beauty, depth and meaning to their lives, will be launched through ALL - Accor Live Limitless, a lifestyle loyalty program that integrates rewards, services and experiences throughout the Accor portfolio of brands.

Steven Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer, Accor said: “Over the past year, we’ve seen across social media how much everyone has missed traveling and getting to experience the things they love. People the world over have been through incredibly tough times, and it is our duty to inspire them with a renewed sense of energy, positivity, magic and reassurance. The world needs symbols of optimism to boost their morale and it is our sincere hope that people will soon get the chance to enjoy their much-deserved and delayed vacations.”

Accor’s research indicates that 65% of respondents worldwide are likely to plan a leisure trip in the coming months. Road trips, al fresco dining, cultural experiences, and city escapes are high on the priority lists of planned excursions – areas which Accor’s “Unveil the World” campaign will encourage with special offers, new loyalty benefits and booking flexibility.

Consumers are also looking for flexible pricing options, ease of booking online, and trusted health and safety protocols, which Accor hotels offer through the Group’s ALLSAFE hygiene and cleanliness label.

“Accor has worked hard to establish industry-leading practices in these areas, which our guests and loyalty members have expressed are a top priority as they make plans to get out and begin experiencing the world again,” added Taylor.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) introduces Norwegian Prima, which has become the Brand’s most in-demand ship ever, with record bookings on the first day and week of sales.

With voyages beginning August 2022, Norwegian Prima, the first of six ships within NCL’s all new Prima Class, will offer guests exciting itineraries, the highest staffing levels and space ratio of any new cruise ship in the contemporary and premium cruise categories, and Brand-first experiences with Ocean Boulevard, Indulge Food Hall, The Concourse, Infinity Beach and Oceanwalk.

Harry Sommer, President and CEO, NCL, said, “Every aspect of Norwegian Prima, from bow to stern, was conceptualized with the guest in mind. With this world-class ship, we are providing our guests with more wide-open spaces, elevated service, thoughtful design and a variety of experiences that go beyond expectation. Our record-breaking sales are a clear indicator of our guests’ excitement to return to the ocean and of the significant demand for a premium vacation experience.”

Norwegian Prima will not only offer the largest variety of suite categories available at sea but will also boast a redefined The Haven by Norwegian, NCL’s ultra-premium keycard only access ship-within-a-ship concept. The Haven will feature an expansive sundeck, a stunning infinity pool overlooking the ship's wake and an outdoor spa with a glass-walled sauna and cold room.

Sommer, added, “Norwegian Prima is already proving to be a gamechanger for NCL. Norwegian Bliss, which debuted in 2018 and boasted our biggest booking day ever during her unveiling, has been outpaced by Norwegian Prima, which has doubled the prior record.  In addition, nearly 20 percent of bookings are for our Haven suites, indicating the desire for top-of-the-line experiences.”

The Governing Board of the oneworld global airline alliance has appointed Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker to serve as its Chairman. Al Baker will succeed current oneworld Governing Board Chairman Alan Joyce, Group CEO of Qantas Group.

As Chairman of the oneworld Governing Board, Al Baker will oversee the alliance’s governance, chair oneworld’s Governing Board meetings and work closely with oneworld CEO Rob Gurney and the alliance’s management team.

Baker said: “As we emerge from some of the most challenging times ever facing the global airline industry, I am honoured to be chosen by my fellow board members to lead the Governing Board for oneworld, an alliance that has continued to expand since COVID-19 emerged, with the addition of two new members in Alaska Airlines and Royal Air Maroc.

“I am also proud to lead an alliance that has set the benchmark for innovation, safety and customer service throughout the pandemic with many members, including Qatar Airways, taking the lead in trialing digital health passports. Qatar Airways has also enhanced bilateral relations with fellow oneworld members in the past 18 months, further demonstrating the strength of the partnerships between member airlines.

“The pivotal role airlines and aviation play in the global economy has never been more evident than this past year, with both passenger and cargo operations in the spotlight, supporting international efforts to protect lives and livelihoods. We have collectively enabled mobilisation of aid, medical supplies and key workers and I would like to pay tribute to all the teams who have worked tirelessly across the oneworld member airlines to support these efforts.

"I look forward to serving as Chairman of the Governing Board and working with our alliance partners, oneworld CEO Rob Gurney and the oneworld team to provide more global connectivity, a seamless travel experience and more valuable loyalty offerings for our passengers."

IndiGo announced that it has selected CFM International LEAP-1A engines to power its fleet of 310 new Airbus A320neo, A321neo, and A321XLR aircraft. This agreement includes 620 new installed engines and associated spare engines, as well as a long-term, multi-year service agreement.

In 2019, IndiGo selected LEAP-1A engines and signed a long-term service agreement for engines to power 280 A320neo family aircraft.  This new agreement, therefore, secures the LEAP-1A engine and its long-term service agreements for a total of 590 IndiGo A320neo family aircraft.

The airline is currently operating seven A320neo and 15 A321neo with LEAP-1A engines. This agreement will secure LEAP-1A engines and service agreements for itsA320neo family aircraft to be delivered from 2023 onwards.

“This is a pivotal milestone that reflects our long-standing commitment to rapidly strengthen our network both domestically and internationally. This expansion will serve as a catalyst to boost India’s economic growth and the mobility of its people. India’s aviation sector is poised to grow from strength to strength, and we will continue on our mission of building a world class transportation network. We are here to deliver on our promise of providing low fares and a courteous, hassle free experience to all our customers." said Ronojoy Dutta, Chief Executive Officer of IndiGo.

"We are pleased to extend our partnership with CFM for our next batch of Airbus A320neo, A321neo and A321 XLR aircraft,” said Riyaz Peermohamed, Chief Aircraft Acquisition and Financing Officer of IndiGo. “The introduction of the CFM LEAP engines in our fleet will allow us to maintain our strong focus on lowering operating costs and delivering fuel efficiency with high standards of reliability."

“We are incredibly honored by IndiGo’s renewed trust in CFM,” said Gaël Méheust, president and CEO of CFM International. “We are fully committed to helping IndiGo optimize its operations by providing them with the industry-leading asset utilization, fuel efficiency, and overall cost of ownership.”

“We are proud to expand our relationship with IndiGo and play a key role in their continuous growth,” said Philippe Couteaux, vice president Sales & Marketing of CFM parent company, Safran Aircraft Engines. “We take IndiGo’s trust as a great responsibility to keep supporting their fleet with the high-level CFM standards”.

The LEAP engine, which has logged more than 10 million engine flight hours in less than five years of commercial service, continues to set new industry standards for asset utilization, while reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 15 percent while maintaining the highest reliability rates in this thrust class.  

SriLankan Airlines and Boeing, the leading aerospace company in the USA signed a collaboration MOU in Colombo, Sri Lanka recently. The new agreement would enable both parties to explore airframe maintenance, component maintenance, training, and other commercial opportunities. 

The signing took place as a hybrid event in the presence of SriLankan Airlines CEO Vipula Gunathilake, Head of Engineering Shevantha Weerasekera, and Sales Director for Boeing Kaanthi Bhuvanagiri, while other dignitaries joined virtually.

 

Trivandrum Airport and its frontline corona warriors have been playing an active role to combat Covid-19 by facilitating the seamless delivery of medical essentials.

A total 313 boxes (9.76 MT) of COVID-19 vaccines have been transported through various airlines till 19th May 2021 through the Trivandrum Airport. To overcome the oxygen crisis, a total of 300 oxygen concentrators, 180 oxygen cylinders were transported by Indian Air Force aircraft like C17, AN 32 till 19th May 2021 in Kerala via Trivandrum.

Apart from this, Trivandrum Airport is also following all the COVID19 related guidelines and protocols as per the instructions of Central and State Governments to ensure a safe journey for passengers. The airport staff makes continuous requests to all the passengers, stakeholders, visitors, employees etc. to always follow COVID appropriate behaviour and maintain staggered timing to minimise crowding. To create awareness regarding COVID appropriate behaviour, ensuring safety of passengers, the airport is also displaying instructions through several electronic and permanent displays at the terminal.

All airports are trying and joining every battle they can. Trivandrum Airport has also organised COVID-19 vaccination camp for employees of AAI and other stakeholders in collaboration and support from state government, taking all safety measures into consideration.

FAITH the policy federation of all the national associations representing the complete tourism, travel and hospitality industry of India (ADTOI, ATOAI, FHRAI, HAI, IATO, ICPB, IHHA, ITTA, TAAI, TAFI) has made suggestions to Finance Ministry, Tourism Ministry & the CEA for GST rationalization of Indian Tourism Value Chain, to be taken up in the upcoming GST council meeting the next week.

FAITH has suggested to initiate the process of undertaking a review and rationalisation of GST applicable across different aspects of the Indian tourism, travel & hospitality industry.  They said that this rationalisation will enable some rationale support once the tourism industry attempts to begin its long crawl back from the pandemic.

Some of the measures proposed are briefly mentioned below:

• Hotels to be allowed to charge IGST which will enable seamless availability of credit across India to all travel agents and tour operators and will thereby lead to building up a sustainable domestic holidays,meetings and conventions business within the country.

• Tour operators to be enabled a special presumptive GST rate of 1.8% with full GST setoffs. The current rate of 5% without setoffs structurally implies that tour operators have an inbuilt margin of around 27.8% which is an inherently flawed   assumption in the internet economy.

• Travel Agents be also allowed the option of exploring the reseller model for charging as they are distribution arms for airlines. This option will enable travel agents to structure optimal partnerships as per their business requirements between their clients and their airline partners.

• Tourist transporters be allowed the provision for availing GST setoffs on interstate Tourist transport taxes, taxes on parking fees and on taxes on fuel which is their biggest input costs.

• Restaurants should be also allowed the option of charging GST at 12% with full Input tax credits and the rate should be delinked from any room tariffs if they are part of hotels.

• GST refund on purchases by foreign tourists to be implemented as already enacted under GST. - Tax Refund for Tourists (TRT) Scheme of the IGST Act and its applicability should be ensured across all the product and tourism services availed by them in India. This will prevent India from exporting its taxes on tourism and will increase our global competitiveness in world tourism.

•  Tourism, travel & hospitality players must be allowed to get refund of unutilized GST credit lying with state governments which will enable them to get much needed liquidity.

• Hotels to be enabled to charge 12% GST with full setoffs irrespective of their tariff categories which will ensure that Indian hospitality GST becomes more competitive globally as in most tourism focused countries it is below 10 %.

FAITH said that along with being one of the deadliest humanitarian crisis, this pandemic is also the worst ever existential one for tourism travel and hospitality industry. They believe that these rationalisation measures will provide a steppingstone for the Indian tourism travel and hospitality industry once it attempts its multi-year journey back to recovery.

 

 

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