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Trail Blazer Tours India Private Limited August / September 2017
Le Méridien unveils its latest hotel in Goa, Calangute

Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, a part of Marriott International Inc, has announced the opening of the Le Méridien in Goa, with its 10th property in India. Situated on the bustling Calangute- Candolim road, its chic design is inspired by Goa’s first settlement – the “Kunbi Tribe” and the arrival of the Portuguese into the state. The hotel features the Le Méridien Hub - the hotel lobby, meant for guests to convene and converse. With 146 rooms (including Family Studio Rooms and Suites), each room features the signature Le Méridien Discovery Bed, 43 inch LED TV, designer bath amenities and high speed internet access.

Le Méridien Goa, Calangute offers interactive multi-compatible meeting spaces spread over 10,000 sq. ft featuring a premium outdoor terrace venue, ballroom and a 16-seater boardroom. It promises a perfect venue for meetings, conferences and weddings.

Carlson expands Country Inn & Suites brand to Kota-Rajasthan

Carlson has expanded its Country Inn & Suites brand to Kota-Rajasthan. The 85 room Country Inn & Suites by Carlson Kota is in the heart of town and close to corporate zones and educational service institutes.

Spread over 45,000 square feet, the hotel offers extensive meeting facilities, free high speed Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, minibar, coffee/tea making facilities, satellite TV, in-room dining and more.

It also offers wellness and recreation facilities such as a rooftop swimming pool, spa, steam room and health club.

F&B outlets include Mosaic, the all-day dining restaurant, featuring a mix of local and international delicacies; FLAVI, an Indian specialty, pure vegetarian restaurant presenting Awadhi, Chetinnad, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Gujarati, Bengali and Rajasthani dishes. The Unwind Lobby Bar serves a wide selection of cocktails, wines, single-malt whisky, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, while the Splash, the poolside bar, offers slow-roasted, barbeque innovations paired with cocktails and drinks.

Tree of Life Resort & Spa, Varanasi set to open on Sept 4

The Tree of Life Resort & Spa, Varanasi is the newest luxury addition to Tree of Life Resorts & Hotels’ chain of properties. Slated to open on September 4, 2017, it is conveniently located halfway between the airport and the city, and is also connected to Sarnath via the new Ring Road. The 18 junior suites of around 650 sq.ft. include high ceiling, teak wood carved furniture, a separate living area with a sofa and a large flat screen TV, a 150 sq.ft bathroom, a large private sit-out overlooking the gardens.

Space and privacy, coupled with personalized service is what the Tree of Life is known for.

Tata group’s iconic Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai gets trade marked

The five-star luxury hotel, Tata group’s Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai has been trademarked under the Trade Marks Act, 1999. In effect, this means that no individual entity can use its images for commercial purposes unless a licensing fee is paid. The move was to protect the distinct nature of the hotel. The hotel has seven floors and 560 rooms and is noted for its influential clientele from political leaders to important expatriates and public figures. A trademark is generally given to products in terms of logos or brand names so that no other business can use the said logo or name. The Taj Mahal Palace is the first building to be trademarked since the inception of the Act in India.

The Taj Mahal Palace hotel was opened in 1903, about 20 years before the Gateway of India in Mumbai.

Hotels with 3 or more stars to re-open bars in Kerala
TBI India Buzz
The Kerala state government has reversed the restricted liquor policy of the previous government, allowing bars to function as usual in hotels with 3 star status and above. The 5 star hotels are already allowed to open bars. Hotels below 3 star categories will be allowed to run beer and wine parlors.

Bars will be allowed to remain open from 10 am to 11pm in tourism centers. Both international and domestic terminals of the airports will be allowed to sell liquor. The permissible age limit for consuming liquor has been increased from 21 to 23.

The new liquor policy will protect the interests of the traditional liquor, toddy. Bars, including the 5 star ones, will be allowed to sell toddy. The Supreme Court order on closure of bars and liquor stores on the highways will still be implemented.

Jet Airways expands codeshares to Europe with Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Delta Air Lines on key sectors

Jet Airways has announced codeshare enhancements with Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and Delta Air Lines.

Under the expanded scope, the carriers will expand choice and connectivity options for guests flying between India and Europe.
  • Air France and Delta are code-sharing on Jet Airways’ current service between Mumbai and Paris.
  • Additionally, Air France, together with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Delta Air Lines, will also codeshare on Jet Airways’ new flight between Chennai and Paris, scheduled to begin October 29.
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Delta Air Lines will codeshare on Jet Airways’ daily flight between Bengaluru and Amsterdam commencing October 29, 2017.
  • Additionally, Delta Air Lines will codeshare on Jet Airways’ 3rd frequency between Mumbai and London.
Athens, Barcelona, Bilbao, Budapest, Dublin, Krakow, Leeds, Lisbon, London Heathrow, Lyon, Nice and Warsaw will now be seamlessly connected on code-shared flights.

Jet Airways also code shares on Air France services connecting Mumbai and Paris as well as KLM’s newly-announced thrice-a-week service between Mumbai and Amsterdam, beginning October 29, 2017. All these new flights are already open for sale.

Now the airline’s guests can enjoy convenient access to 43 European destinations via Amsterdam and 27 via Paris as well as 34 in North America. Guests travelling from Europe or North America will gain easy access to 45 Indian cities on Jet Airways’ extensive domestic network via Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai.

Frequent flyer members of Jet Airways, Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Delta Air Lines will continue to enjoy network-wide accrual and redemption of points on each other.

SriLankan gets highest reach in India with new routes

SriLankan Airlines launched a new 4 times-a-week service to Coimbatore on July 16, which took its online destination count to 41 - the highest ever in Sri Lanka’s aviation history. The airline recently launched flights to Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam. Also, seasonal flights to Gaya and Varanasi will resume in August, which would bring SriLankan’s count to 126 scheduled flights a week to 14 destinations in India. This would mean that the airline will serve more Indian points than any other international airline.

Go Air to start international flights

The Low Cost Carrier (LCC), GoAir, will commence its international operations towards the end of the fiscal year. It will also increase the number of current aircraft from 23 to 37 by the year-end.

The 5th biggest airline by market share had received permissions from the government to fly international last year in August. This permission was received to fly and operate from March 2017 in nine places, including Iran, China, Vietnam, Maldives, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The airline had, however, sought approval to fly to 14 and not nine countries. It was not granted permission to fly to Kuwait, Oman, Turkey, Thailand and UAE.

No destinations have been finalized as of now but plans to have 30% of the fleet fly overseas over a 2 year period.

GoAir currently operates across 23 destinations with over 1225 weekly flights and approximately 2,000 plus connections weekly. The airline uses state-of-the-art Airbus A320 and A320 neo aircraft fleet.

AirAsia to connect Bangkok with Jaipur & Tiruchirappalli from September

AirAsia has introduced 2 new routes between India and Thailand with a Bangkok-Jaipur connection and a Bangkok-Tiruchirappalli connection. While both routes will ply 4 times a week, the former will run on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday while the latter will run every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday starting September 28, 2017. Aiming to attract Indian shoppers to Thailand, the new routes come with promotional fares available.

Indian travellers rank 6th among the most frequent visitors to Thailand. Thai AirAsia presently flies direct from Thailand to Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Kochi, with 80-85% of Indian passengers.

Hyderabad Airport introduces India’s first Express Security Check facility

GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL), which operates the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), Hyderabad has announced that under the umbrella of GHIAL’s signature program ‘Passenger is Prime’, and has become the first airport in India to provide pre-embarkation security check right at the terminal’s entry gate. This will serve as ‘Express Security Check’ facility for domestic passengers travelling without any check-in baggage.

The domestic passengers, after printing their boarding pass from the newly installed ‘self-service kiosks’ located conveniently at the departures forecourt area outside the terminal building, can now enter the Express Security Check lane without getting into the check-in area and head straight towards the boarding area.

pic What's New
Ahmedabad declared as a UNESCO’s World Heritage property

India has been successful in securing the nomination of the “Historic City of Ahmedabad” on UNESCO’s World Heritage list on 8th July, 2017. It is the 1st city in India and the 3rd in Asia to be on the World Heritage List. In the past 3 years alone, India has managed to put 5 built heritage sites on the world heritage list of UNESCO.

India now has overall 36 World Heritage Inscriptions with 28 Cultural, 7 Natural and 1 Mixed site. While India stands 2nd largest after China in terms of number of world heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, it is overall 7th in the world.

Founded in 15th century, the walled city of Ahmedabad, on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati river, presents a rich architectural heritage. Within this complex are 28 ASI Centrally Protected Monuments. The urban structures of the historic city of Ahmedabad are distinctive due to their neighbourhoods, residential streets, and inner entrances largely made of timber. The historic architecture reflects symbols and myths connected with its inhabitants. The urban fabric is made up of densely-packed traditional houses (pols) in gated traditional streets with characteristic features such as bird feeders, public wells and religious institutions. It is a unique example of multi-religious and multicultural coexistence.

Collective focus on cruise tourism

Mumbai witnessed the gathering of a high-level delegation from different ministries and government authorities who announced their collective plan and focus to develop cruise tourism. Titled ‘Dawn of Cruise in India’ the seminar was aimed at encouraging cruise tourism in India, more specifically Mumbai, by improving infrastructure, facilitating quick and easy movement of cruise passengers, and easing taxation for cruise companies.

As one of the initial steps, all relevant government agencies such as port authorities, security agencies, immigration authorities, customs, and port health authorities were identified and formed a task force to first assess the current condition and then look at the global best practices. There is huge potential for cruise tourism among domestic as well as international travelers.

India to host 8th edition of Theatre Olympics ‘the biggest theatre celebration of the world’ from February 17 – April 08, 2018

Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister for Culture and Tourism, announced that the 8th edition of the greatest carnival of Theatre in the World will take place in India for the 1st time ever from February 17– April 08, 2018 simultaneously in 15 cities across the country. The Minister said that there will be 500 plays & 700 performances from across the world and allied activities like exhibitions, seminars, symposia, interactive discussions and workshops with well-known academicians, authors, actors, designers and directors will be held. Leading luminaries of world theatre will also take part.

Established in 1993, the Theatre Olympics is the foremost international theatre festival, presenting the finest productions of well-known theatre practitioners from around the world.

The Theatre Olympics is being organised by the National School of Drama, under the aegis of Ministry of Culture.

The inaugural ceremony will take place in New Delhi, in a gala function with performances by hundreds of artistes while the closing ceremony will take place in Mumbai. The Theatre Olympics was established in 1993 in Delphi, Greece, as the first international theatre festival.

22.5% growth in FTAs in June’17 over June’16

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during January-June 2017 were 4.88 million with a growth of 17.2 % as compared to the FTAs of 4.16 million with a growth of 8.4% in January-June 2016 over January-June 2015. The percentage share of FTAs in India during June 2017 among the top source countries was highest from USA (19.70%), UK (6.14%), Malaysia (3.82%), Australia (2.56%), China (2.52%), Singapore (2.31%), Sri Lanka (2.24%), Japan (2.21%), Canada (2.19%), France (1.96%), Germany (1.92%), Nepal (1.84%), Republic of Korea (1.50%) and Afghanistan (0.98%).

The percentage share of FTAs in India during June 2017 among the top air ports was highest at Delhi (22.16%) followed by Mumbai (14.98%), Chennai (9.06%), Bengaluru (6.72%), Kolkata (4.82%), Hyderabad (4.37%), Cochin (3.57%), Tiruchirapalli (1.93%), Ahmadabad (1.60%) and Trivandrum (1.35%).

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