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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Qatar Airways has announced that it will operate four weekly flights to San Francisco, the fifth new destination, from 15 December 2020. The San Francisco service will be operated by A350-900 featuring 36 seats in the Business Class and 247 seats in Economy Class with Wi-Fi broadband internet until January 2021.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are thrilled to welcome San Francisco as our newest destination, and our ninth current gateway in the U.S. As we navigate the crisis, we have made it a priority to not only reinstate our existing destinations and be the airline travellers can rely on, but to also grow our network and increase connectivity with new and relevant destinations for our customers to enjoy.”

Mayor of San Francisco, London N. Breed, said: “On behalf of the City and County of San Francisco I'm proud to welcome Qatar Airways to San Francisco International Airport as they initiate their new nonstop service to Doha this coming December.  During recent months we have seen expanding international air service from our airport and highly welcome these new flights which will serve our community and its travel needs.  We welcome Qatar Airways to our city and to our world-class airport and look forward to their success in San Francisco.”

San Francisco International Airport Director, Ivar C. Satero said: “We are proud to welcome Qatar Airways’ new nonstop service between San Francisco and Doha this December. As airlines restore travel destinations around the world, we applaud the vision of Qatar Airways to make this new route a reality, and we look forward to offering a world-class airport experience to travellers from its network.”

The addition of San Francisco will build onto Qatar Airways’ current service to some of the most vibrant cities in the U.S., including Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), Philadelphia (PHL) and Washington, D.C. (IAD). By mid-December, the carrier will fly 55 weekly flights to nine destinations in the U.S. connecting onwards to hundreds of American cities through its strategic partnerships with American Airlines and JetBlue.    

The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) yesterday launched a standardised hygiene protocol in partnership with the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency (HKQAA) to step up the city’s fight to control the virus.

The protocol aims to provide a unified set of guidelines on hygiene and anti-epidemic measures for tourism-related industries that customers and visitors can easily recognise and understand to better prepare Hong Kong for the resumption of inbound travel.

Dr YK Pang, Chairman of the HKTB, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new normal to the tourism landscape, and public health and safety have become a priority for visitors. Many international travel and tourism organisations have already put in place hygiene and anti-epidemic guidelines, and standardising hygiene measures for each sector can spread to visitors the message that different sectors across Hong Kong value their commitment to hygiene and safety. 

“I am excited that more than 1,800 businesses and outlets expressed interest in the protocol when the HKTB consulted our trade partners. The HKTB will strengthen its promotion of anti-epidemic measures taken by the tourism industry and related sectors to establish a healthy and safe tourism image for Hong Kong and to bolster visitors’ confidence in travelling to Hong Kong.”

The protocol will cover shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, retail stores, coach companies, tourism attractions, travel agencies, and more. Participating businesses and outlets are required to comply with a series of hygiene and anti-epidemic measures (see appendix). After passing the assessment, details of the businesses and outlets will be uploaded to a dedicated website of the HKQAA. The businesses and outlets can display a designated logo for recognition to show their commitment to the protocol. The HKQAA will conduct random visits for continued inspections.

C S Ho, Chairman of the HKQAA, said, “During the development of the standardised protocol, the HKQAA referred to the guidelines by the Centre for Health Protection and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. We aim to promote best practices for hygiene and anti-epidemic measures across tourism-related sectors and acknowledge their efforts in combating the pandemic through professional and impartial third-party verification, thus restoring public confidence in out-of-home consumption and travel.”

 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) demonstrated the low incidence of inflight COVID-19 transmission with an updated tally of published cases. Since the start of 2020, there have been 44 cases of COVID-19 reported in which transmission is thought to have been associated with a flight journey (inclusive of confirmed, probable and potential cases). Over the same period some 1.2 billion passengers have travelled.

“The risk of a passenger contracting COVID-19 while onboard appears very low. With only 44 identified potential cases of flight-related transmission among 1.2 billion travelers, that’s one case for every 27 million travelers. We recognize that this may be an underestimate but even if 90% of the cases were un-reported, it would be one case for every 2.7 million travelers. We think these figures are extremely reassuring.  Furthermore, the vast majority of published cases occurred before the wearing of face coverings inflight became widespread,” said Dr. David Powell, IATA’s Medical Advisor.

Mask-wearing on board was recommended by IATA in June and is a common requirement on most airlines since the subsequent publication and implementation of the Takeoff Guidance by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). This guidance adds multiple layers of protection on top of the airflow systems which already ensure a safe cabin environment with very low risks of inflight transmission of disease. 

“ICAO’s comprehensive guidance for safe air travel amid the COVID-19 crisis relies on multiple layers of protection, which involve the airports as well as the aircraft. Mask-wearing is one of the most visible. But managed queuing, contactless processing, reduced movement in the cabin, and simplified onboard services are among the multiple measures the aviation industry is taking to keep flying safe. And this is on top of the fact that airflow systems are designed to avoid the spread of disease with high air flow rates and air exchange rates, and highly effective filtration of any recycled air,” said Powell.

This research effort demonstrates the cooperation and dedication to safety of all involved in air transport and provides evidence that cabin air is safe. 

Aviation earns its reputation on safety with each and every flight. This is not different for flying in the time of COVID-19. A recent IATA study found that 86% of recent travelers felt that the industry’s COVID-19 measures were keeping them safe and were well-implemented. 

“There is no single silver-bullet measure that will enable us to live and travel safely in the age of COVID-19. But the combination of measures that are being put in place is reassuring travelers the world over that COVID-19 has not defeated their freedom to fly. Nothing is completely risk-free. But with just 44 published cases of potential inflight COVID-19 transmission among 1.2 billion travelers, the risk of contracting the virus on board appears to be in the same category as being struck by lightning,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“The detailed computational fluid dynamics research of the aircraft manufacturers demonstrates that combining the aircraft’s existing design features with mask-wearing creates a low-risk environment for COVID-19 transmission. As always, airlines, manufacturers and every entity involved in aviation will be guided by science and global best practices to keep flying safe for passengers and crew,” said de Juniac.

 

The Government of India has facilitated the repatriation and international travel of over 20 lakh people through different means since 6th May 2020, said Hardeep Singh Puri, MoS, I/C, Civil Aviation. Interacting with media persons in New Delhi yesterday, the Minister said that under Vande Bharat Mission, 17,11,128 people have travelled back to India and 2,97,536 people have travelled out of India. 

Speaking about international travel, Puri informed that Government of India has formalized air bubble arrangements with 16 countries like USA, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Maldives, UAE, Qatar, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Japan, Nigeria, Kenya, Iraq, Bhutan and Oman. 

He added that Government is in discussion with Italy, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and others for similar arrangements. He further said that domestic operations were started in calibrated manner with 33 per cent capacity of the approved summer schedule w.e.f. 25th May 2020, enhanced to 45 per cent from 26th June and 60 per cent from 2nd Sep 2020. More than 1.2 crore domestic passengers have flown since 25th May 2020. 1,56,565 passengers travelled on 1525 flights yesterday.

Treebo Hotels announced that it has raised $6 Million (Rs 45 cr) in a new round of investment from its existing investors: Matrix Partners India, SAIF Partners, Ward Ferry, and Bertelsmann India Investments. The investment will help the company strengthen its defences against the COVID19 pandemic, which has had a severe impact on the economy, especially the travel sector. According to Treebo, the company would also use this money to continue building cutting-edge technology products for its business. Treebo is one of the very few companies around the world in the travel space that have been able to attract investment despite the onslaught of COVID.  

Commenting on the fundraise, Sidharth Gupta, Co-founder of Treebo said, “Before the pandemic unfolded, Treebo had a strong growth trajectory and we were well on our way to hit EBITDA profitability within this calendar year. Our EBITDA loss in February, for example, was under Rs 10 lakh - an improvement of 95% on a year-on-year basis. While COVID has delayed our breakeven timeline, we are confident about the long-term prospects of the business and once things get better, I am confident we will resume our march towards profitability. In the interim though, this investment from our existing investors will give us the much-needed staying power. It shows the faith that our investors have in the business.” 

Treebo has been pursuing the strategy of building a sustainable business with strong fundamentals. It had cut down its losses drastically in the 12 months preceding the pandemic. This meant that the company was better prepared to cope with the financial pressure imposed by the pandemic compared to some of the other players. 

“While it’s true that the travel sector is severely impacted by COVID, we believe this impact is temporary. When people start traveling again, they will look to stay with trusted brands rather than looking for the cheapest alternative or taking a chance with a mom-and-pop hotel. This is where Treebo’s strength lies. They have built a loved brand, which will likely see a spike in customer uptake and revenue once the pandemic recedes”, said Mayank Khanduja, Managing Director at SAIF Partners, one of Treebo’s investors. 

“As long-term investors, we have always been amazed with the deep execution demonstrated by Treebo management before and during COVID times and have a strong view of the business in the future. We think COVID gives an opportunity to the company to continue innovating in tech and emerge as a leading and most loved brand in the hospitality space”, said Pankaj Makkar, Managing Director, Bertelsmann India Investments, one of Treebo’s investors that participated in the current investment round. 

“While the last few months have been difficult for many companies, it has forced everyone to focus on what truly matters. For Treebo that is providing world-class technology solutions to its hotel partners to enable them to compete in a post-COVID world”, commented Tarun Davda, Managing Director, Matrix India.

 

Adamo Hospitality, the hospitality arm of Ajmera group, has inducted Kamlesh Barot, Pankaj Barot, & Rajnik Barot as Directors of Adamo Hospitality to integrate the workings at the group’s owned Adamo hotels in Mumbai, Goa, Matheran and Rajasthan and their future owned locations, as well as the upcoming asset-light model fraternizations.

This strategic association will see experts and decision-makers of the group to ameliorate the efficacy of the overall business operations of Adamo Hospitality and its endorsers. Taking this association, a notch higher, this move will see Adamo Hospitality collaborate with various other hotels and hospitality chains for outsourcing their complete management control. This is a key step for the Adamo Hospitality group's expansion strategy.

The International Ecotourism Society’s appoints and recognises A. Rahim Aslam as a Chapter Head for the destination of Maharashtra for the duration of 2 years as of the date aforementioned and further appoints him as the Sole Authority of The International Ecotourism Society within this district.

B. A. Rahim is a known name in Tourism Industry who has established as an entrepreneur in the Hospitality Industry globally and over the years has made his mark in the Travel World as “The Founder and Advisor” for One Above World’s leading Destination Management Company with 25 offices globally operating around 90 Destinations. While being in business he also serves the industry through various tourism-based organizations in India and to name few had been South India Chapter Chair for OTOAI {Outbound Tour Operators Association of India} and currently holds General Secretary at SIGTOA (South Indian Global Tour operators Association).

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) is a non-profit industry association dedicated to promoting ecotourism. Founded in 1990, TIES has been in the forefront of the development of ecotourism during the past decades, providing guidelines and standards, training, technical assistance, research and publications. Representing members from over 90 countries, TIES’ global network of ecotourism professionals and travelers is leading the efforts to make tourism a viable tool for conservation, protection of bio-cultural diversity, and sustainable community development.

Murtaza Kalender, Eurasia Chapter Head, TIES said, “We believe that with successful career of Aslam, the business activities and his Professional managerial designation at One Above, we have no doubt that he will continue his accomplishments through TIES.”

The Government of Uttar Pradesh today signed the concession agreement with representatives of Zurich Airport International to commence the development of the Noida International Airport at Jewar.

The concession agreement was signed by Arun Vir Singh, CEO, Noida International Airport Limited (NIAL) and Christoph Schnellmann, Chief Executive Officer, Noida International Airport amidst dignitaries from the Government of Uttar Pradesh and Noida International Airport.

The concession agreement grants Zurich Airport International the licence to design, build and operate Noida International Airport for a period of forty years.

Noida International Airport will be developed as a Public Private Partnership (PPP). Scheduled to open in 2024, NIA will merge Indian culture and hospitality with Swiss technology and efficiency. India’s newest greenfield airport will deliver quick, efficient processes and excellent value for passengers, airlines and partners. NIA will operate as a fully digital airport, providing a safe and contactless travel experience and customized commercial offerings for passengers. NIA will be the first net zero emissions airport in its class, setting a new standard for sustainable aviation.

SP Goyal, Additional Chief Secretary, CM & Civil Aviation Department, Government of Uttar Pradesh said, “Infrastructure development will be key to economic recovery, not only in the state but also for the country. The construction of Noida International Airport will support economic growth through job creation in the state, while making it the most preferred destination for domestic as well as global investors in the upcoming years. We look forward to supporting the Zurich Airport International team to jumpstart this mega project, which will reinforce the economic progress of the state of Uttar Pradesh.”

Daniel Bircher, Chief Executive Officer, Zurich Airport International (Asia) said, “The signing of the concession agreement marks an important milestone in the development of the Noida International Airport. When phase 1 development is completed in 2024, we will provide capacity for 12m passengers per year. In partnership with the Government of Uttar Pradesh and the Government of India, Zurich Airport International looks forward to making this airport a major player in Indian air transportation and a benchmark for ease of use for passengers and logistic partners. We are a committed and trusted partner for India’s growth, and see tremendous opportunity to invest and participate in India’s aviation growth story.”

Arun Vir Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Noida International Airport Limited (NIAL) said, “We are pleased to sign the concession agreement with Yamuna International Airport Private Limited (YIAPL) to commence work on the Noida International Airport. This world-class airport will not only connect western UP region with other domestic and international destinations, but also provide additional capacity to Delhi NCR region. Together, we look forward to building India’s leading airport which boasts of quality, efficiency, technology and sustainability. We are very excited to begin work as we move ahead with a vision to co-create a world-class facility”.

Brand USA and Airbnb have announced a new partnership designed to allow guests to explore the USA from the comfort of home through Online Experiences featuring the unique cultures, cuisines, and people from across the United States.

“Airbnb Online Experiences gives us a new platform to share warm and welcoming stories about U.S. destinations. As the world longs to travel again, we are delighted to help travelers understand places more deeply, meet real people, and uncover local perspectives to activate their wanderlust,” says Tom Garzilli, Chief Marketing Officer, Brand USA. “It’s a fun and safe way to showcase what makes this country unique and invite international travelers to virtually experience our people and destinations first-hand.”

Created at the start of the pandemic as a way to allow people to connect, travel virtually and earn income from home, Airbnb Online Experiences are unique, handcrafted activities that immerse guests into each host's unique world. Hosts include small business owners, entrepreneurs, and creatives who want to connect with travelers and introduce them to their community.

"As those of us in travel and tourism look to support the nation's economic recovery, we are as proud as we are privileged to be partnering with Brand USA to make it possible for people all over the world to virtually visit the United States via Airbnb's Online Experiences. These Online Experiences will help virtual visitors experience the incredible natural beauty of our lands, the cultural mosaic that makes America so special and, our greatest natural resource of all, our people. Over the years, millions of people across the globe have visited the U.S. and connected with our country by being welcomed into the homes of our incredible community of Home hosts. In this moment we are in, where there are challenges to cross-border travel, this initiative will allow Airbnb hosts to open their virtual doors for people to experience the U.S. Our hope is that these Online Experiences will facilitate deeper connections between hosts and guests and encourage a future in real life trip," said Chris Lehane, Senior Vice President for global public policy and communications at Airbnb.

Goibibo has rolled out goTribe, a loyalty program to make travel more convenient and stress-free post-pandemic. goTribe has been designed to offer flexibility in booking, diverse selection of safe travel options specially packaged at steal deals along with other value-adds, and a host of co-branded benefits to its loyal customers. To make travel exciting, goTribe will fuel travel passion of its loyal customers with additional discounts, complimentary benefits, rewards, exclusive sale and much more.

Access to goTribe will allow customers of goibibo to join a community of like-minded young travel enthusiasts without any fee and connect and engage with fellow travelers.

goibibo has introduced the ‘Book Now, Pay Later’ option to allow customers to pre-book a holiday for just Rs 1000 with an added benefit of making modifications to the travel plan 72 hours prior to the travel date, without any liability.

Members of the goTribe star and goTribe SuperStar category will get an option to avail additional benefits including 5% discount and 10% discount, respectively, with select hotels across the country. The program is tossed with additional transactional benefits that allows customers to get up to 1% of travel spends as Tribe Coins –which can later be claimed at 5X of its value.

 

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