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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

GoUSA TV recently launched GoUSA TV app which is available for download on iOS and Android devices around the world. The app harnesses the power of entertainment to inspire overseas travellers to consider a US destination. A first-of-its-kind connected TV network, GoUSA TV is the definitive source to find real, authentic, and on-demand video content about travel experiences in the USA. The app is currently available to Apple users with iOS 11 and higher and can be downloaded via this link or by searching for “GoUSA TV" in the App Store. Android users can download the app via this link or by searching for “GoUSA TV” in the Google Play Store.

The app launch is an extension of Brand USA’s strategy to immerse audiences in an entertainment-led point of view of the USA and includes two new programs:

Ask A Local takes viewers across the United States and its territories, with local residents in each destination sharing travel tips. Whether it’s the most rewarding hiking and fishing in Minnesota or the most thrilling rodeos in Texas, “Ask a Local” provides the inspiration travelers can only get by talking with someone who really knows the destination.

SORTEDfood: Lost and Hungry is a series from SORTEDfood, a popular group of British mates looking for exceptional experiences in food. “Lost and Hungry” is a series where they travel across the United States living by two simple rules – they can’t go anywhere or eat anything unless it has been recommended to them.

As GoUSA TV’s global audience grows, the app will enable Brand USA to continue strategically curating and distributing video content across categories that currently include the Great Outdoors, Road Trips, Food & Drink, and Culture & Events.

Tom Garzilli, Chief Marketing Officer, Brand USA said, “Bringing best-in-class travel video to smartphone users around the world is a huge opportunity to engage with audiences in a way no other destination marketing organisation ever has. Audiences today are more engaged than ever before and expect the content they love to be readily available on screens large and small alike. Streaming our content to millions of travelers through just a few taps of their finger is an exciting evolution of our strategy to deliver real, authentic storytelling that can inspire travel to the USA.”

GoUSA TV is the premier travel entertainment channel available at viewers’ fingertips where travelers can watch full episodes, documentaries, and films told from the diverse perspectives of real people with no subscription, fees, or logins required. Over the next few months, the app will sample GoUSA TV content through multiple touch points including sponsorships, consumer and trade public relations, and paid social media advertising. New programs and episodes will be uploaded weekly and GoUSA TV plans to expand its library to feature more themes and formats, including series, films, and live videos.

IndiGo yesterday operated its inaugural flight to Allahabad from Bengaluru. The flight was welcomed at Bamrauli Airport by Nand Gopal Gupta Nandi, Minister of Stamp and court fee, Revenue, Civil Aviation with the Uttar Pradesh government, and team IndiGo at a ceremony. Allahabad-Bengaluru is the sixth RCS (Regional Connectivity Scheme - UDAN) route and the 60th destination on IndiGo network. 

William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We are pleased to announce Allahabad as our 60th destination effective this November 2018. Allahabad is a key market for us and the fourth strategic launch in Uttar Pradesh after Lucknow, Varanasi and Gorakhpur on IndiGo’s network. We are strengthening our network from the state and hope to create more affordable, point-to-point connectivity for our passengers. IndiGo will continue to offer an on-time, courteous and hassle-free service and affordable flying experience always.”

Union Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma rolled out the Incredible India Tourist Facilitator Certification (IITFC) Programme in New Delhi, yesterday. With its roll out today, the participants will now be able to register for this programme through an online digital platform.  IITFC will enable Indian citizens to develop and enhance the skills associated with tourism, and where one can incorporate knowledge about facilitating tourists across the country.

The certification program comprises of basic and advanced self-paced courses designed in a manner that the users can learn at their own time, space, path and pace. The course kicks off today with a basic introductory module alongside the registration process. This will be followed by payment initiation on 19th November 2018, where any 10+2 pass out candidate can enroll in the basic course comprising of 7 modules aimed at training the facilitators for knowledge, skills and attitude domains at a nominal charge of INR2000. Successful completion of this program would enable the learner to become a Certified Tourist Facilitator of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. A refresher course is also proposed for launch in due time for those already in the field seeking at an advanced level course to enhance their skill set.

Speaking on the occasion, Verma said that the concept of ‘tourist guide’ has changed world over and the new age tourist facilitators are ‘story tellers’. The Secretary added that this online programme will have lot of advantages like job creation for local people, harness the local experience and traditional knowledge and also it has the flexibility of any age or any place people to join. This initiative will also ensure an enriching experience for the tourists, as this initiative will address the issue of shortage of tourist guides as well as it will provide a lot of competition which will further ensure in providing best tourist facilitators, the Secretary added.

The IITFC program aspires to reach out to a far-flung audience encompassing a diversity of candidates ranging from an enthusiastic student who has recently qualified for higher secondary to an ambitious homemaker willing to grasp tourist facilitation skills from the comfort of their home. It will also act as an enabler for transforming a local citizen with no specified skills having proficiency in a regional language into a potential bread earner for their households.

The online learning management programme has been developed by Wipro Limited and the content supported by the Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management.

During this event, the Ministry also exchanged four MoUs with Yatra Online under ‘Adopt-a-Heritage’, ‘Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan’ for adoption of (i) Qutub Minar in New Delhi (ii) Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra (iii) Leh Palace in Jammu and Kashmir and (iv) Hazara Rama Temple and Hampi in Karnataka.

The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has inaugurated two circuits under Swadesh Darshan Scheme at PTSO Lake in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh yesterday. These projects are “Development of North East Circuits: Bhalukpong- Bomdila - Tawang Project & Nafra- Seppa- Pappu, Pasa, Pakke Valleys- Sangdupota- New Sagalee- Ziro- Yomcha Project ”. These projects were jointly inaugurated by the Union Minister of State (IC) Tourism, K.J. Alphons; Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu and Minister for Tourism, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Jarkar Gamlin. Other important dignitaries were also present on the occasion.

Speaking at the event, Alphons said that the efforts of Ministry have shown positive results and the Foreign Tourist Arrivals in the region have shown an upward trend over the years. The region received a total of 1.69 lakh foreign tourist visits during 2017 as against 1.45 lakh in 2016 registering a growth of 16.7% over 2016. The Domestic Tourist Visits reached to 95.47 lakhs in the year 2017 against 77.71 lakhs registering impressive double digit growth of 22.8% over 2016. The Tourism Minister added that the increased number of tourists in turn has created better employment opportunity for the local population in the region.

The project Development of Bhalukpong- Bomdila - Tawang was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in March 2015 for Rs. 49.77 Crores. Under this project the Ministry has developed facilities like Accommodation, Cafeteria, wayside Amenities, last Mile Connectivity, Pathways, Toilets, Multipurpose Hall at Jang, Sorang Monastery, Lumpo, Zemithang, Bumla Pass, Gritsang TSO lake, PTSO Lake, Thingbu and Grenkha Hot Spring, Lumla, Sela Lake.

The project Development of Nafra- Seppa- Pappu, Pasa, Pakke Valleys- Sangdupota- New Sagalee- Ziro- Yomcha was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in December 2015 for Rs. 97.14 Crores. The facilities developed under this project includes Helipad, Wayside amenities, trekking trails, Rafting Centre, Log Huts, craft bazaar, Eco Park, Tourist facilitation centres, parking, multipurpose Hall, festival ground etc.

Bangalore International Airport Limited—operator of the BLR Airport— has, once more, raised the bar for passenger experience by deploying 16 fully-automated Self Bag Drop machines that will significantly accelerate the baggage transaction and reduce check-in queues. The BLR Airport is the first in the Country to introduce a large deployment of fully automated baggage drop-off units.  

Designed and installed by Materna IPS, the Air.Go fully-automated Self Bag Drop machines would initially be available for passengers flying with Air Asia and Spice Jet. This facility would be expanded to more airlines in the near future.  

Commenting on the new technology, BIAL’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Javed Malik said: “Continuous improvement of passenger experience at the BLR Airport has always been a priority for us and the introduction of the new Self-Bag-Drop is testimony to that. We’re excited to be the first airport in the Country to offer our passengers and airlines state-of-the-art technology, that will ease the process of air travel. Our goal is to use technology to improve the passenger experience and to make airport operations more efficient.”  

The Self Bag Drop employs a two-step approach. A passenger will first print a boarding pass and an eezee-tag (bag tag) at a self check-in kiosk. Once tagged, the passenger will go to the bag drop machine, scan the boarding pass to initiate the bag drop process. The bag will be measured, weighed, scanned and automatically fed into the baggage handling system.   

“India’s airports are being confronted with growth of up to 25 percent right now and have expansion plans to match. However, above all, they have to make the best possible use of their existing infrastructure as extensions and new buildings take too long. The self-service project at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru one of the most modern and attractive airports in India, is the first of its kind in the whole of India. We look forward immensely to improving the passenger experience and to mastering the challenges in this exciting growth market with established solutions together with our customers”, Shibu Mathews, head of Materna in India, explains.

Aditya Ghosh, Former President & Wholetime Director of IndiGo, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer, India and South Asia, OYO Hotels, effective from December 1, 2018.  He joins OYO Hotels after a successful stint at IndiGo and has been tasked to lead the next wave of growth for the company

This appointment comes as a part of the company’s efforts to continue to invest in and attract world-class leadership, in the wake of its focus to drive accelerated growth in its home markets - India and China.

Ghosh will focus on continuing to drive growth while delivering high-quality customer experience and sustained yields for asset owners. He will be a thought partner to every OYOpreneur, by enabling a work culture that rewards performance and celebrates diversity and inclusion, a key focus area for the company. His appointment is critical in the company’s journey into becoming not just the largest but also the most preferred chain of hotels, homes and living spaces in India and around the world. He will be reporting to Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & Group CEO, OYO Hotels & Homes.

Commenting on the appointment, Ritesh Agarwal - Founder & Group CEO, OYO Hotels & Homes, said, ‘’...With Aditya taking on this mantle for one of our home markets, India and the broader South Asia region, we are confident that he will be able to help OYO Hotels set new benchmarks in the hospitality industry, and nurture a high performing workforce. His business acumen, his problem-solving capabilities, and his customer-centric approach to innovation that helped him build an influential brand that is loved by all, makes him an excellent choice for OYO Hotels. Above all his ability to deliver growth with large-scale impact whether it is to develop an inclusive culture or in giving back to the society, makes him a great addition to the leadership team. We are pleased to welcome Aditya, and look forward to his valuable leadership.” What excites me the most about OYO Hotels is the company’s single-minded focus to deliver value to customers and asset owners. To achieve that we need to continue to foster a culture that attracts the best and brightest minds, and I am very proud to have been given a chance to partner in this effort,” added Aditya.

India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the public sector undertaking under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism, posted a significant performance in half yearly results of the current financial year 2018-19. The company registered a total turnover of Rs. 169.72 cr in H1 ending September 2018. Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 19.05 cr was achieved during this period as compared to Rs. 13.96 cr in the corresponding period last year i.e. 2017-18, clocking an increase of 36.46 %. It also registered Profit After Tax (PAT) of Rs. 15.52 cr as compared to Rs. 10.40 cr during the same period in the previous year. 

These details were announced in the Board of Directors’ meeting of the company on 14th November, 2018 at the Group’s flagship hotel, The Ashok, New Delhi. The momentum generated in last financial year has also continued in first half of the financial year 2018-19. Ashok Travels & Tours (ATT) and Ashok Events Division (AED) were among the major revenue contributors for the mentioned period.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is delighted to welcome the government’s decision to grant a visa-on-arrival (VoA) fee waiver for tourists from 20 countries.

From 15 November, 2018, to 13 January, 2018, citizens of Andora, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China including Taiwan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan will be exempted from the 2,000 Baht visa-on-arrival fee for the purpose of touring in Thailand not more than 15 days.

“This is good news for Thailand’s tourism industry as we’re preparing a range of year-end activities and promotions, including the launch of Amazing Thailand Grand Sale ‘Passport Privilege’ during the same period,” Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor, TAT said.

Tourism promotions and events in the pipeline between now and January, next year, also include the New Year Electronic Music Festival in Pattaya on 30-31 December, and TAT will hold the Countdown Celebration in five destinations in the five regions of Thailand. These are: Chiang Rai in the North, Nakhon Phanom in the Northeast, Ratchaburi in the Central Region, Satun with its world renowned geopark in the South, and Sa Kaeo in the East.

TIRUN, the exclusive India representative of Celebrity Cruises, recently announced the launch of Celebrity Edge, the first-of-its-kind ship in Celebrity’s Edge-class fleet. Celebrity Edge promises to change cruise experiences for travellers across the world.

The futuristic 129000 tonne ship can accommodate 2,918 guests at a time and offers cutting-edge design envisioned by world-renowned interior designers such as Kelly Hoppen, MBE, Tom Wright of WKK and award-winning interior designer Nate Berkus. The entire ship has been designed in ultra-modern 3D technology. The design team consists of talented individuals who are new to the world of cruise designing and have specifically chosen to break the conventions and give the ship a truly edgy look, reflected in its unique outward-facing design.

The ship features innovations like the Magic Carpet, the world’s first cantilevered, floating platform that keeps changing its position to offer breathtaking views to guests. It goes up to 13 storeys, and keeps intuitively changing its location on the ship throughout the day.

80 per cent of the staterooms are equipped with Infiniti Veranda, a feature that enables guests to transform their entire living space into a balcony opening out into the vast ocean, all with the touch of a button. With Celebrity Edge, Celebrity has more than doubled the number of available suites, adding two spectacular new categories. At the top of the line are two new Iconic Suites situated above the ship’s bridge. These near 2,600 sq ft, two-bedroom, two-bathroom suites feature mind-blowing views thanks to panoramic windows enveloping the dining room, living room and bedrooms. The 700 sq ft veranda offers a 270-degree view of the ocean. Another new Suite Class comprises six split-level Edge Villas, which offer stunning views from two storeys of windows, private plunge pools and direct walk-out access to The Retreat Sundeck.

In a first, the ship features Eden, an on-board garden and a recreational area that includes some of the most exotic and beautiful plants across three levels ensconced in glass, looking out to the beautiful ocean outside. Spread over11,800 sq ft where Eden offers the ideal location to hold a variety of events-from business luncheons to wedding celebrations-in the intimate company of nature.

Ratna Chadha, Chief Executive, TIRUN Travel Marketing said, “Celebrity Edge represents an ultra-modern cruising experience that the Celebrity fleet has come to be synonymous with. Unexplored destinations, luxurious rooms including villas and suites, an array of dining options with delicacies prepared by world-class chefs and innovative outdoor spaces never seen before, all of this and more awaits the cruise guests on board Celebrity Edge. It is undoubtedly the most exciting ship in the modern-day cruising landscape, and travelers can expect a surprise at every corner of Edge.”

The state-of-the-art spa, sprawling over 14,000 sq ft, with an accompanying gym and café covers 22,000 sq ft and offers a wide variety of treatments and facilities that will help guests foster a deeper connection with the ocean. The spa will offer 124 treatments including a Zero Gravity Wellness Massage, Restorative Salt Stone Massage, and Thousand Flower Detox Wrap.

Imagined by celebrated architect Tom Wright, the Rooftop Garden is a place for guests to unwind and relax in nature’s company. While travelers can enjoy different games throughout the day, at night they can look forward to the classic outdoor movie-and-meal pairing experience, aptly named ‘A Taste of Film.’

Celebrity Edge is scheduled to set sail in December 2018 offering 7 Night Eastern & Western Caribbean Itineraries from Fort Lauderdale. The ship will visit exotic ports in the paradise islands such as San Juan; Puerto Rico; Tortola, British Virgin Islands, Key West; Florida; Costa Maya & Cozumel, Mexico and many more.

After its maiden season in the Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises' latest ship Celebrity Edge will head overseas to offer seven-night Barcelona and Rome sailings in the peak season and early summer of 2019.

This year's Abu Dhabi Food Festival (ADFF) is set to return with events, promotions, and culinary experiences, taking place across the city between December 6 - 22. ADFF is organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), attracting foodies, families and friends. Visitors will be entertained with food trucks, markets, movies, photography workshops and celebrity chef appearances. With more than 100 restaurants involved, six new initiatives, partnerships with major hospitality industry players and hotel groups, participation of more than 10 local and international personalities and chefs, ADFF will be the place to visit this December!

Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, Executive Director of the Tourism Sector, DCT Abu Dhabi said, “Abu Dhabi Food Festival is undoubtedly one of the premier culinary events in the region. Events such as Abu Dhabi Food Festival position the emirate as a culinary attractive destination for tourists to visit and have a positive impact on our industry growth in terms of the number of visitors arriving. With the large number of culinary tourists coming to the region, promoters involved with ADFF have an unmissable opportunity to grow their respective operations.”

ADFF 2018 will feature hot new culinary concepts, innovative tastes and amazing deals. Festival goers can expect the World of Food Abu Dhabi coming for the first time at the Corniche, Big Grill on Yas Island, and the Abu Dhabi Food Festival Scavenger Hunt competition with the chance to win a big prize. In addition, Festember will be back to be hosted at a new exciting location, alongside Abu Dhabi Restaurant week, SIAL Middle East as well as many more culinary diverse offerings. 

World of Food Abu Dhabi will lead visitors on a culinary journey through more than 15 World Kitchens, with award winning MasterChef’s from those countries who are passionate and proud of their cooking heritage - all of whose designs will likely go viral on social media.

The food festival this year will also visit Manarat Al Saadiyat to see a MAS Vegan Market that features an array of inventive takes on vegan cuisine from UAE's vegan hotspots, along with activities promoting a holistic and healthy lifestyle, such as Yoga and Reiki sessions, as well as food photography sessions which teach attendees how to create aesthetic and enticing images of food that can be used for advertising, cookbooks, or other media. Art studio workshops will also be on offer to this year's attendees with activities where Art Studio will adapt its drop-in workshops on these dates for adults, juniors and children.

Over the past three years, ADFF has successfully attracted both residents and visitors alike to enjoy not only exciting cuisines from some of the best chefs from around the globe, but also some of the most scrumptious food-related experiences available anywhere in the world today. Each year has seen a packed creative programme of delectable offerings that further position Abu Dhabi as a truly F&B hub of culinary inspiration; and 2018 looks set to be even more sought after than what has been experienced before! More news and details of the festival will be revealed very soon.



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