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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Ethiopian Airlines Group has announced that it has reached 91 per cent On-Time Performance of all global flight departures for the last three months while the industry average stands around 85 per cent. The airline has operated a total of 18,385 flights in January, February, and March in which it has scored 91 per cent on-time departures.

We have recognized from our customers’ feedback that the COVID-19 Travel Requirements, and especially the expiry of Negative PCR Test certificates by many countries after 72 hours, have made on-time flight departures and smooth connectivity more important than ever in the past. As a result, our winning team has made it its top priority and achieved record levels of flight punctuality.

Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO, Ethiopian Airline Group, said, “As a customer-centric airline, we make a substantial investment to enhance our customer service. When customers choose Ethiopian, we make sure that they get the best possible experience with us including arriving to their destinations on time. The last three months have been extraordinarily productive in terms of efficiency in our flight operation. I am proud of my colleagues who are committed to eliminate any inconvenience for our esteemed passengers.”

On-Time Performance refers to an airline departure or arrival that occurs within 15 minutes of the scheduled time. Punctuality is of paramount importance for passengers as delay or cancellation affects their itinerary and makes passengers incur extra costs.

Lemon Tree Premier received the Gold Certification by the Indian Green Building Council (I.G.B.C.) for this city center hotel in Pune. The hotel has been designed based on I.G.B.C. standards which bring together a host of sustainable practices and solutions to reduce the environmental impact of buildings. Lemon Tree uses green building design as an integrated approach while designing its hotels, and it considers the life cycle impact of resources used.

Speaking on the occasion, Patu Keswani, Chairman & Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels, said, “This endorsement of another Lemon Tree property by I.G.B.C. reinforces our focus on ESG. Our design approach looks at building hotels sustainably and is centred on reducing the carbon footprint of the hotel. This is done by transitioning towards renewable energy, recycling and re-using water to reach a zero discharge goal, and through the use of equipment and accessories that reduce the hotel’s demand for power and water. Our forward plan is to certify all our hotels as Gold and we have been building all our owned hotels to IGBC’s Gold specifications since 2012.”

This city center hotel in Pune offers 201 rooms and suites, a 24x7 multi-cuisine coffee shop – Citrus Café complemented by a show kitchen, a hip recreation bar – Slounge, a pan-Asian restaurant – Republic of Noodles besides a spa - Fresco, a Life Fitness gym and an outdoor swimming pool. The hotel also provides over 7,000 sq. ft. of modern banquet space, including large conference rooms and an open business center.

Courtyard & Fairfield by Marriott Bengaluru ORR focuses on weddings segment. An al fresco wedding by the poolside or walking down the aisle in a grand ballroom or tying the knot in the midst of lush green lawns, this property in Bangalore is well equipped to cater.

Pranay Verdia, Multi-Property General Manager, said, “We understand that wedding is an intimate affair and our team of event specialists play wonderful hosts to curate beautiful memories for you, family and friends. Our indoor and outdoor venues are an ideal place to make your rose-tinted dream come alive.”

A quintessential experience in itself, every element of the celebration has been customized taking the bride, groom and their families back to their roots and bringing together those little things close to their hearts. Presenting one's culture and the authentic flavors from the land they hail, every wedding exhibits a diverse menu specializing in one's choice of regional cuisine. Going with the theme, the ideas and customs, even the drinks have a personalized touch to it. Creating new infusions every now and then, the cocktail menu includes drinks curated from local, natural ingredients and homemade concoctions - made just like the way the guests would prefer.

From customizing the food service in banana-leaf style for South Indian weddings or bringing authentic colors to the place by setting up a traditional Sajjan kot or dhol for the baraat in North Indian ceremonies to even designing a modern English-style look, the property has three different packages one can choose from to suit their requirements.

In line with its vision to provide one-stop shop services to its customers, IndiGo has partnered with CarterPorter, an on-demand platform that connects the airport to doorstep to launch ‘6EBagport’, to provide door to door baggage delivery service. The airline has commenced the service from April 1, 2021 in New Delhi and Hyderabad and will subsequently launch it in Mumbai and Bengaluru for delivery to and from home and airport. The facility will enable passengers to travel worry-free as CarterPorter will transfer their baggage contactless from one destination to another with added assistance inside the terminal. The service starts at a nominal rate of Rs. 630 for one way and passengers can book the service from the comfort their home.

Sanjay Kumar, Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer, IndiGo said, “We are continuously striving to enhance our customer service and this collaboration is a step further towards providing a one-stop hassle-free experience. The service will bring relief to customers who may want to travel with additional baggage from home to airport or would like to go for a meeting directly from airport without carrying bags. Our partnership with CarterPorter will ensure that our customers have a seamless experience as their baggage gets transferred door to door while they fly onboard our lean, clean flying machine.”

Harsha Vardhan, CEO, CarterPorter, said, “We are elated to partner with India’s leading airline, IndiGo, as we take their customer journey to next level by providing personalized baggage porter for a door-to-door service. In addition to shorter wait times at the airport, the service will also bring relief to people who seek convenience and need to have a baggage free passage from one city to another. IndiGo’s ideology of providing hassle-free customer experience is in line with our service pillars and we look forward to serving IndiGo customers.”

With ‘6EBagport’, customer baggage gets effectively and securely picked and transported with tracking from the first destination to the last one. The ‘6EBagPort’ service can be availed up to 24 hours prior to the departure of the flight and anytime on arrival. It also includes a service insurance of Rs. 5000 per baggage item for the contents and container.

Basis the directive issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) will levy a fine on any individual found violating the mandatory Covid-19 safety protocols at the airport with effect from April 01, 2021. A fine of INR 1000 will be issued to individuals who refuse to comply with COVID safety norms such as wearing face masks that covers the nose and mouth and maintaining social distancing amongst others at the airport.

As part of its SOP for the resumption of domestic flights in May 2020, CSMIA had placed relevant messages and guidelines on safety practices across the airport in the form of physical and digital boards. Besides this, regular announcements are made through the airport PA system as well as by on-ground marshals encouraging passengers to follow safety precautions during their journey through the airport. With the latest directive from the DGCA, these marshals will now levy fines on any individual who refuses to comply with requests to follow safety protocols established in the wake of the pandemic. In the event of further non-compliance, the violator will be handed over to the authorities for further action.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, CSMIA has worked alongside government and regulatory bodies and set forth SOPs in compliance with the necessary guidelines to curb the spread of the virus. CSMIA ensures stringent temperature screening of passengers and personnel before entry into the terminal and regular sanitization and disinfection of its premises, particularly at high movement areas and touch points. The airport has established several measures to promote the practice of social distancing including floor markers, spaced seating arrangements and installation of plexiglass to minimize face-to-face interactions between airport personnel and passengers. Furthermore, hand sanitizers have been strategically placed through the premise, and passengers are encouraged to optimize contactless payment transactions while at the airport.

CSMIA endeavours to conform to the highest standard of safety and security and has adopted numerous precautionary measures to help and support the passengers, including providing an efficient transit to its travellers. While catering to the demand for air travel and complying with the restrictions and quarantine regulations laid down by the government, CSMIA continues to offer best-in-class services to the passengers in the interest of their safety and making efforts in enhancing the ability of the airport to offer passengers a seamless transit.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is set to connect virtually with its in-market cruise stakeholders from India. Based on the theme “Charting our Pathway to Cruise Recovery”, CruiseWorld India 2021 aims to re-engage with key cruise line and cruise agent stakeholders, after almost a year. The event is presented by STB in partnership with Travel Weekly Asia.

A key event highlight is the panel discussion titled “Power up for a safe return to cruising in Singapore” with well-known industry veterans such as Naresh Rawal, Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, Genting Cruise Lines, Varun Chadha, Chief Executive Officer, TIRUN Travel Marketing, Sanjay Kothari, Founder and Managing Director, Just Holidays and Pradeep Saboo, Managing Director, Guideline Travels. It will be moderated by G.B Srithar, Regional Director, India, Middle East and South Asia, Singapore Tourism Board.

Srithar said, “Pre Covid-19, India was Singapore’s top source market for cruise tourism. While commercial travel between the two countries remain paused, it is important for us to reconnect with our cruise partners and renew our close ties through CruiseWorld India 2021. This platform will bring together industry leaders to offer valuable insights on how to gear up for when cruising returns, as well help STB to gather feedback on how we can better support our partners.”

Singapore has piloted safe cruises from November 2020, with enhanced protocols to safeguard passenger health from pre-boarding to disembarkation. More than 120,000 Singapore residents have set sail on approximately 90 sailings on Genting’s World Dream and RCI’s Quantum of the Seas from Singapore since the pilot kicked off, with no reported cases of COVID-19 spreading on board. This is an encouraging response in the restart of cruising.

Two of STB’s key cruise line partners, Genting Cruise Lines (“Genting”) and Royal Caribbean International (“RCI”), will share updates and learnings on their resumption of operations in Singapore.

Chadha said, “We are delighted to participate in CruiseWorld India 2021 as it is a key platform to engage with Indian cruise stakeholders and share with the cruise community about Singapore. We remain confident that Singapore is a preferred cruising hub for Indian travelers, given its strong reputation for hygiene and safety, which should give visitors a peace of mind.”

Rawal added, “We have observed that Indian travellers are still keen to cruise and demand is very much in place. We have resumed our operations on a pilot basis in Singapore on the World Dream, which has been well-received by domestic visitors. Our experience in Singapore is a testament that cruising can continue to be safe and enjoyable, even in a pandemic.”

STB will share about enhanced support for stakeholders under the Cruise Development Fund (CDF), which supports industry players in their work to build consumer demand for cruises from Singapore. STB has invited Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd to be part of the event.

Kale said, “It was an honour for us at Thomas Cook India to be selected by STB to partner in their pilot CDF (Cruise Development Fund) India initiative. This enabled us to curate a range of vibrant cruise products that could effortlessly coalesce with our Singapore land product. Keeping an unerring eye on the value seeker Indian market, I am delighted that we were successful in creating a fit for multiple segments - from value to super luxury. We look forward to working closely with the STB on the CDF initiative as this will be of great support to us at Thomas Cook India and the industry as a whole as we progress on our path to recovery, for when international cruising picks up again.”

Taking place in January annually in a pre-pandemic world, Grand Ski was an opportune meeting ground for travel agents and French professionals specializing in winter tourism to meet and further develop winter holidays in France. Typically, this 2-day workshop included pre and/or post familiarization tours for visiting agents to experience firsthand the diverse array of the French winter tourism offering available in France’s eclectic collection of ski resorts.

On the eve of Grand Ski’s 30th anniversary, Atout France and its partners introduced an enhanced and holistic version of the French alpine tourism offering with a rebranding of Grand Ski to “Destination Montagnes-Grand Ski”.  While services offered by the French massifs for winter tourism still constitute the core of the offer for an international audience, key stakeholders are also keen, especially in the current context, to offer their clients, a 360-degree experience of the mountains. Thus, alongside winter services traditionally promoted at the workshop, a whole range of outdoor activities, events and even new accommodation options available during the summer were also highlighted. This shift also takes into account the growing aspiration of travelers to enjoy authentic experiences responsibly and throughout the 4 seasons in the French alps.

Keeping in mind the current crisis and the closure of borders, this event was transformed into a 100 per cent virtual edition that took place between March 23-26. A total of 150 French suppliers representing different verticals of the alpine tourism offering engaged with 465 international tour operators and travel agents from 59 different source markets which included 15 agents pan India. A total of 9000 online meetings were planned during the four days of this event.

Barbara Breheret, Representative to India, Regional Tourism Board of Auvergne Rhone Alpes, said, “Our most popular French ski resorts have certainly charmed the Indian travel trade as we see a growing number of Indian delegates regularly being part of this showcase. Our meetings this year were a culmination of a shared enthusiasm to work together as soon as possible, many convivial moments of interaction and a very professional contracting set up. The French Alps are not only for skiers, but are also a huge winter and summer playground with over 50 activities available with or without ski-lifts.”

Amit Gilani, Founder, Travel Butler who was part of the Indian virtual delegation said, “This virtual event had the perfect mix of old and new suppliers on a seamless platform. The networking opportunity afforded to us was tremendous and we look forward to more of these perfectly executed virtual roadshows.”

Sheetal Munshaw, Director, Atout France India added, “Over the years, we have proactively tried to develop winter tourism through various initiatives and we are pleased to see that the concept of travelling to France in the winter has found favour with the discerning Indian traveller. Destination Montagnes- Grand Ski is a collective effort of key stakeholders of the French massifs to reinvent the mountains as destinations that can be visited all year around which is perfectly in sync with our strategy to showcase France as a year-round destination to Indian travellers.”

Minister of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways (I/C) Mansukh Mandaviya flagged off  the Cruise service from Hazira Port of Surat to Diu today via video conferencing. 

‘I feel very happy to announce that before 2014, there were 139 cruise calls at the Indian Ports but today we have 450 cruise calls in the country despite the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been a steady growth in the number of tourists traveling by Cruise Services since 2014. The number before 2014 was one lakh and the number of tourists in 2019-20 was 4.5 lakhs’, added Mandaviya.

He reiterated that Indian coastline has a huge potential for the cruise tourism industry and 6 International cruise terminals are being planned on both the west coast (Mumbai,Goa,Kochi) and east coast (Visakhapattanam, Kolkata, Chennai) of India.

Mandaviya expressed optimism about the development of ferry, RoRo and ROPAX services between South Gujarat and Saurashtra region of Gujarat and said that water transportation is the new future of transportation with state-of-the-art ferry terminals and modern facilities in the cruise services.

One side voyage time of the cruise service is approximately 13 to 14 hours. Cruise has the capacity of 300 passengers and has 16 cabins.  This cruise will sail two round trips in a week. The Cruise has Gaming Lounge, VIP Lounge, Entertainment on Deck and other modern amenities. One side journey will cost Rs.900+taxes (per head).

In November,2020, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated ‘Hazira-Ghogha’ RoPAX service and within four months, One  lakh passengers and thousands of vehicles utilised the ferry service to save journey time and the cost to travel from Hazira (Surat) to Ghogha (Bhavanagar). The success of the ferry service has opened the gates for many more routes of water transportation in Gujarat and all over India, said Mandaviya.

The Ministry of Tourism’s Dekho Apna DeshWebinar series held its 82nd webinar titled “Stories of Madurai” on 30th March 2021. Madurai, one of the oldest living cities, holds the soul of Tamil Nadu in its magnificent and grand temples that are among the finest and most awe-inspiring specimens of architecture in the country. The most spectacular of these is the Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Temple, which is the heartbeat of the city and is visited by thousands of devotees. Madurai once traded with ancient Rome and it preserves its distinct character in various arts and textiles that have been bestowed by the Pandian kings (4th century-16th century).

Legend has it that king Kulasekhara once dreamt of Lord Shiva, from whose hair, drops of sweet madhu(nectar) rolled down on earth. The point where they fell was known as Madhurapuri. Earlier known as Madhurapuri and Thoonga Nagaram, meaning a city that never sleeps, Madurai grew around the Meenakshi Amman Temple, which was constructed 2,500 years ago by Pandian king, Kulasekhara. Popularly called the Athens of the East, it was visited by Greek explorer, Megasthenes in 3rd century BC. Other famous travellers who visited this ancient south Indian city included Pliny in 77 AD, Ptolemy in 140 AD, Marco Polo in 1203 AD and Ibn Batuta(1333 AD).

One of the largest temple complexes in India, Sri Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Temple is the most famous spiritual site in Madurai. An excellent example of Dravidian architecture, the temple is sprawled over a huge area, bordered by well-laid gardens and pristine fountains. Two shrines, more than 10 gateways or gopurams, several mandapas(halls) and a giant pool, make up the structure of the temple, which is adorned with beautiful carvings inside and outside. One of the halls of the temple is famous as the "Hall of a 1,000 pillars" though only 985 of them exist today. It is said that whichever direction you view these pillars from, they always seem to be in a straight line. The highlight of the temple is the outermost corridor that comprises musical pillars. These produce different musical notes when tapped. While one of the sanctorum, Sundareswarar, is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the other is devoted to Goddess Meenakshi, his consort.

Madurai is also well known for its exquisite sarees to wooden toys and sculptures. It is also referred as hub of shopping, where visitors can find a fine selection of unique and handmade products. After a busy and vibrant sample of the city's bustling streets, tourists can take a respite in the serene and scenic hill stations flanking the city. From the picturesque hill station of Kodaikanal to splendid waterfalls, Madurai is surrounded by natural beauty that leaves you breathless.

The Webinar was presented by Akila Raman, a storyteller, a senior research associate and head of training.

In a constant endeavour to connect the unconnected regions, 22 new routes have been operationalised in the last 3 days under the UDAN scheme out of which 6 new routes have been operationalised in North-East India.

First direct flight from Shillong (Meghalaya) to Agartala (Tripura) under the UDAN scheme was flagged off after the successful commencement of the flight operations on Shillong (Meghalaya)- Silchar (Assam) route.

The operationalisation of these routes aligns with the objectives of UDAN scheme to strengthen the aerial network of the country, create affordable, yet economically viable and profitable air travel on regional routes. Till date, 57 unserved and underserved airports (including 5 heliports + 2 water aerodrome) with 347 routes have been operationalised under UDAN across the length and breadth of India.

On 28th March 2021, 18 new routes were flagged off under the UDAN scheme. The routes that commenced operations were Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) to Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) which is a state supported UDAN route, Kurnool (Andhra Pradesh) to Bangalore (Karnataka), Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), and Chennai (Tamil Nadu), from Agra (Uttar Pradesh) to Bangalore (Karnataka) & Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), from Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh) to Bhubaneswar (Odisha) & Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh). In addition to these routes, new flight connectivity was established from Dibrugarh (Assam) to Dimapur (Nagaland).

The Indigo airlines was awarded the Shillong-Agartala, Shillong – Silchar, Kurnool - Bangalore, Vishakhapatnam, and Chennai routes under the UDAN 4 bidding process last year. In addition to these, Agra to Bangalore and Agra to Bhopal route under UDAN 3, Prayagraj to Bhubaneswar and Prayagraj to Bhopal route under UDAN 2, and Dibrugarh to Dimapur were awarded under UDAN 3 bidding process. Alliance Air was awarded the Lucknow – Gorakhpur route under the UDAN 3 bidding process.                            



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