Qatar Airways has revealed it plans to take a 4.75 per cent stake in fellow oneworld carrier American Airlines. The Doha-based airline said in a statement that it saw a “strong investment opportunity” in the American carrier.
“Qatar Airways believes in American Airlines’ fundamentals and intends to build a passive position in the company with no involvement in management, operations or governance. “Qatar Airways has long considered American Airlines to be a good oneworld Alliance partner and looks forward to continuing this relationship,” explained a statement.
The Qatari carrier also revealed the stake would not exceed 4.75 per cent without prior consent of the American Airlines board. Qatar Airways will make all necessary regulatory filings at the appropriate time, added a statement.
However, American Airlines Chief Executive Doug Parker said he was not “particularly excited” about Qatar Airways’ interest in buying up the stake.
Along with United and Delta Air Lines, American has been vocal in its opposition to Gulf carriers’ operations in the United States, arguing they should be curtailed in response to illegal subsidies from Middle Eastern governments. Any investment could be worth in the region of US$500 million.
If completed, the stake in American would sit alongside Qatar Airways’ ten per cent stake in oneworld carrier LATAM and its 20 per cent stake in International Airlines Group, operator of Iberia and British Airways.
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. In the first instance, 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, also codeshare on Jet Airways’ newly announced flight between Chennai and Paris, scheduled to begin October 29, 2017.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Delta Air Lines will also codeshare on Jet Airways’ daily flight between Bengaluru and Amsterdam commencing October 29, 2017. Additionally, Delta Air Lines will also codeshare on Jet Airways’ third 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 codeshares 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.
The new codeshare additions enable the airline’s guests to enjoy convenient access to as many as 43 European destinations via Amsterdam and 27 via Paris as well as 34 in North America, together with the unmatched flexibility and choice of flying via multiple gateways and routes. 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.
Jayaraj Shanmugam, Chief Commercial Officer, Jet Airways said, “The expanded cooperation reaffirms our commitment to offer our guests choice and seamless connectivity. In fact, our guests travelling to Europe and North America can benefit immensely from our multi-gateway connectivity to all destinations on Air France, KLM and Delta’s networks. The partnership significantly expands our reach in key markets and adds even more destinations to our already extensive international network, thereby reinforcing our position as India’s premier international airline.”
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.
With just 90 days given to prepare, the Government of Odisha and the Athletics Federation of India pulled off an incredible story by putting together the 22nd Asian Athletics Championship in record time. In a glittering curtain raiser a special film highlighting the planning, monitoring and supervision of the Asian Athletics Championship was showcased.
The 22nd Asian Athletics Championship is Asia’s biggest athletics event, being hosted by Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha from July 6-9. This is the third time the premier track and field event of the continent is being held in India after New Delhi (1989) and Pune (2013), and is a qualifying event for the IAAF World Athletics Championships to be held in London later this year.
Dignitaries including Chandra Sarathi Behera, Minister – Sports and Youth Services – Government of Odisha, R Balakrishnan, Development Commissioner cum Additional Chief Secretary – Government of Odisha, Vishal Kumar Dev, Secretary cum Commissioner – Sports – Government of Odisha, Dr. Sunil K. Bhargava – Chief Resident Commissioner, Government of Odisha, Sanjeev Chopra, Principal Secretary – Department of Industries – Government of Odisha and Nitin Jawale, Director - Department of Tourism, Government of Odisha presided over the press conference, highlighting the hurdles they faced along the way to deliver a stadium of international quality after taking up the “90-Day Challenge”.
Legendary Olympians Anju Bobby George, PT Usha and Shiny Wilson were also present at the press conference along with AFI President Adille Sumariwalla, celebrating the occasion of Bhubaneswar’s makeover to gear up for the premier track and field competition of the continent, which runs from July 5-9, 2017.
Speaking on the occasion, Behera said, “Odisha has been at the forefront of major development in all sectors, and sports has been a major contributing factor towards the development of the state. With world-class events coming to Odisha, the state is quickly becoming one of the emerging hubs of sports in the country. The Asian Athletics Championships will also give a chance to the best Odia athletes to perform in front of their home crowd.”
Sumariwalla said, “The preparations for the Asian Athletics Championships have been top class right from the day Odisha decided to host the event. This is going to be the biggest competition in the event’s history. AFI is overseeing all the preparations with respect to accreditations and arrangements for the athletes and officials. I must thank the Government of Odisha for their continued support. With the quality of facilities Kalinga Stadium has, I’m sure we will be hosting many national and international athletics meets in the years to come.”
The Government of Odisha took up the challenge with utmost care, and a stage-wise execution of every task was carried out by special teams on a daily basis. These tasks were carried out in consultation with the Industrial Development Corporation Odisha (IDCO), Works Department, and every matter was reviewed by the Honourable CM Naveen Patnaik.
Jharkhand’s late pull-out from hosting the AAC meant it was not a budgeted event for Odisha. All the funds for the development of the stadium had to be done from the contingency fund of the state, while a number of corporates reached out with strong financial support to organize this event.
The completion of the Kalinga Stadium was carried out in three parts such as Completion of track for the laying of both the tracks in the main stadium as well as the warm-up area, original equipment was sourced from various manufacturers based abroad to ensure supplies were organized. Both tracks were completed before the May 31 deadline and Installation of floodlights, three parties emerged from the tender, with Bajaj winning the mandate. Supplies were directly airlifted from Italy, and all the four towers were commissioned and tested the same day they were put up, finishing the work on June 17. The works department took all measures to complete the renovation and upgradation of the stadium facility.
The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai is the iconic flagship of Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris, and is a defining structure of Mumbai’s cityscape. Since 1903 its striking dome has been the triangulation point for the Indian Navy to guide them in to harbour, a steadfast symbol of the city’s resilience and a benchmark for Indian hospitality. Setting another first for the industry, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai has secured image trademark rights for its elegant hotel building and its characteristic dome from the Government of India.
A city’s skyline is its defining feature – it establishes the urban character, provides an instinctive recall of its landmarks, and creates nostalgic memory of the city’s travails through time. The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai now joins an elite club of distinguished structures around the world that have secured trademark rights.
Taljinder Singh, Area Director – Mumbai and General Manager, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai said, “For more than a century the Taj dome has anchored the Mumbai skyline – it is an irreplaceable part of the soul of the city and we are very proud to recognise its important role as a symbol of Mumbai’s people and its past through the trademark. For our pioneering founder Jamsetji Tata, The Taj Mahal Palace was his vision for the future of Indian hospitality, as well as his legacy to the city of Mumbai.”
The distinctive red-tiled Florentine Gothic dome, which crowns the elegant Indo-Saracenic arches and architraves of the hotel, sits 240 feet above street level. The hotel’s architects modelled this closely on the dome of the Victoria Terminus (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus), when the hotel opened on 16 December 1903.
Rajendra Misra, Senior Vice President - General Counsel, Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris said, “We felt strongly about protecting and bringing forth the distinctiveness of this most recognized building in India. It’s an icon that stands as the indomitable spirit of not just Mumbai, but India. The trademark is a milestone in the 114 year long journey of this legendary hotel. What adds to our joy, is the fact that this Hotel becomes among the first to get a registration of this kind, in the Country, keeping it in august company of a few buildings around the world that have protected their Intellectual Property Rights.”
Unknown to most, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai preceded the famous Gateway of India by over 20 years. Finding itself at the crossroads of Indian history, Lord Mountbatten announced India’s independence from the steps of The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai. The hotel was home to leaders of the Indian Freedom movement such as Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Sarojini Naidu and many others. One of first major speeches representing Independent India was given at the hotel in 1947. The only hotel in India to have electricity at the time of its inauguration, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai has been home to eminent personalities including Neil Armstrong, Beatle’s John Lenon, sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, and US President Barack Obama, to name a few.
The 3rd Annual World Spa Awards has announced the final nominees for its prestigious 2017 awards. The Maldives has been nominated for Indian Ocean Best Spa Destination at 3rd Annual World Spa Awards-2017 in the Indian Ocean category. Maldives is competing with Mauritius and Seychelles Islands.
Voting will open on the 23rd June and closes on 13th October. During this time, consumers and professionals working within the spa and wellness travel and tourism industry are requested to vote for who they think is the very best of the best. Votes are submitted online at World Spa Awards website. Register here for voting (http://worldspaawards.com/register)
The winners and all nominees will be awarded on December 9, 2017 at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa, Vietnam on the annual gala evening.
Leading Spanish hotel company Meliá Hotels Internationalhas announced the signing of Meliá Melaka, a new property located in the heart of Melaka, Malaysia. This marks the group’s fourth property in Malaysia, and its first entry into Melaka.
Managed by the Meliá Hotels & Resorts brand, and owned by Haleton Group, the hotel is scheduled to open in 2020.
“We are confident that Melia Hotels International will contribute a tremendous boost to the tourism industry of Melaka while elevating the City to greater heights with their Spanish heritage and world-renowned hospitality standards,” said Ken Lin, Chief Executive Officer of Haleton Developments Sdn Bhd.
“The expansion of our Malaysia portfolio in the center of Melaka is another important milestone for our presence in Asia Pacific,” said Bernardo Cabot Estarellas, Senior Vice President Asia Pacific of Meliá Hotels International. “Our company has an impeccable track record and has been an established leader in the resort segment for decades; coupled with our extensive hotel management expertise, we’ve always been the top pick for demanding hotel owners. Today we join with Haleton Group and delighted to offer travellers an unparalleled holiday experience.”
Meliá Melaka will offer 250 rooms of different options. In 2017, Meliá Hotels International will maintain its robust momentum in Asia, with 17 hotels currently in operation and the group is expected to have over 40 hotels by 2022.
The Ministry of Tourism has released the ‘Compendium on Guidelines for Ayush Facilities’ yesterday. The National Medical & Wellness Tourism Board under the chairmanship of Minister for Tourism Mahesh Sharma has been repeatedly stressing on the need for benchmarking of facilities offered by the various service providers in the field of Medical and Wellness Tourism on the basis of globally accepted standards.
The constant endeavour of the Ministry of Tourism has been to promote institutions and processes that have achieved such standards in order to provide excellence in service quality. On the demand from the industry and stakeholders including Ministry of Tourism; the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) has brought out accreditation standards and guidelines for AYUSH facilities in the country including Wellness Centres and Panchkarma clinics that are used by tourists.
The Ministry of Tourism under the direction of the Minister has therefore compiled the accreditation standards for the various AYUSH facilities and urged the industry for wide acceptance of these standards. The compendium includes accreditation available for the following facilities: Ayurveda Hospitals, Yoga and Naturopathy Hospitals, Unani Hospitals, Sidha Hospitals, Homeopathy Hospitals, Panchkarma Clinics and Wellness Centres
Sharma mentioned that accreditation against globally benchmarked standards would help the industry in providing uniform level of service quality. The Ministry of Tourism provides Market Development Assistance (MDA) to Wellness Tourism Service Providers like Hospitals accredited by National Accreditation Board of Hospitals (NABH) and Medical Tourism facilitators (Travel Agents/Tour Operators engaged in Medical Tourism and approved by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India for participation in events related to promotion of Medical and Wellness Tourism outside India.
The accredited service providers are also listed on the Ministry of Tourism website and in the Incredible India campaign which has a global reach. This would help potential visitors to have knowledge about the institutions that have been accredited and would follow the quality standards. The details of the accreditation standard are available on Ministry of Tourism’s website www.incredibleindia.org.
The Wellness Tourism industry globally is expected to reach 678 billion US Dollars by 2017 and it is one of the most important tourism products for India.
South Australia continues to record strong growth in the Indian market with a surge in its latest visitor and spend numbers. The International Visitor Survey results released by Tourism Research Australia indicate a 30 per cent rise in the number of Indians travelling to South Australia as of March 2017. Moreover, the Festival State also saw an additional spend of US$23mn as compared to the last year, which is reflected in the steep 130 per cent rise in spends. The average year-on-year growth over the last three years, both in terms of visitor and spend figures, has been steadily increasing at a rate of 8.33 per cent and 39.7 per cent respectively.
Data provided by a recent Consumer Demand Project conducted by Tourism Australia indicate that South Australia has been moving up the consideration set of Indians looking to travel to Australia for leisure purposes. According to the report, Kangaroo Island in South Australia is ranked number three on Indian’s consideration list after Sydney and Melbourne. This can be attributed largely to the marketing efforts by the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) in India to push awareness for South Australia destinations. The State also won a number of accolades in the last year, including 5th Best Region to Visit in 2017 by Lonely Planet and Adelaide joining the list of Great Wine Capitals, which has cemented it as a must see destination.
Dana Urmonas, Regional Director (India & Southeast Asia), South Australian Tourism Commission said, “India has always been an important growth market for us and we are happy to see Indians increasingly opting to travel to South Australia. This validates the fact that our programs in the last two years, including the exciting collaboration with Star Plus and Balaji for the shoot of Ye Hai Mohabbatein, has paid off. We will continue to focus on the India market and toward this we will be rolling out some exciting initiatives over the next year as well.”
With the recent results, India is now the 8th largest source market for South Australia. When visiting Australia most Indians are looking to spend on experiences that offer world class beauty and nature, family friendly activities and beaches and marine wildlife. South Australia ranks high on these factors and offers a perfect blend of popular as well as off- beat experiences in its key destinations which include Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Barossa, Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula, Mclaren Vale and Eyre Peninsula. Some of the sought after activities in the State include the the RoofClimb over the iconic Adelaide Oval, swimming with dolphins at Glenelg, walking among sea lions at Seal Bay, food & wine experiences at Jacobs Creek or Seppeltsfield and premium stay at the 7 star rated Southern Ocean Lodge.
The SATC will continue to focus on boosting visitors to the State in the next two years continuing its trade and consumer marketing programs to. The target segments for this will include families, honeymooners and independent leisure travellers in the age group of 25-45 in primary markets of Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai.
British Airways has launched its annual offer for students travelling to the UK in the World Traveller economy class and World Traveller Plus premium economy. The offer entitles each passenger to check an extra piece of luggage weighing up to 23kg, in addition to the current allowance of one checked bag of up to 23kg. Moreover, students can enjoy up to 10 per cent discount when they book tickets in the World Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabins. Students heading to Canada and the US can also enjoy up to seven per cent off in economy and premium economy cabins.
Robert Williams, Head of Sales - Asia Pacific and the Middle East, British Airways said, “University is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we would love for the students to start this adventure with us. Packing for school can be stressful for many students as there is just so much they wish to bring with them. To help ease this headache, we are proud to continue with the tradition of supporting our students with a more generous baggage allowance. On behalf of British Airways, we wish all the students the best as they embark on this new and exciting journey.”
The double baggage allowance student offer is available for booking on or before September 30, 2017 and is valid for outbound travel from until September 30, 2017. Students can enjoy this offer on any of the 49 flights a week from New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
British Airways is also offering full refunds with no penalty charged to students whose visa applications are rejected by their national embassies. Students are only required to cancel the booking prior to departure and provide a statement from the embassy stating that the visa has been denied or rejected.
Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT) is all set to conduct multi-city roadshow in India this August to continue to enhance commercial ties with the Indian travel fraternity. The roadshow will be held in a networking workshop format and will commence in Mumbai on August 21 followed by Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and will conclude in Chennai on August 30.
Hassan Madah, Director, IMOT said, “We have been witnessing historical growth from India this year. We have already recorded 33 per cent increase in tourist arrivals in the period of January to May 2017 over the same period in 2016. Our aim is to receive 60,000 Indian tourists by end of 2017. This roadshow will help us in achieving our goal as it will strengthen business opportunities for the Indian travel trade who are looking to promote Israel as a tourist destination. We are confident that through the roadshow, Indian travel agents will be able to build new connections and increase their knowledge of the various tourism offerings in Israel.”
Israel achieved an increase of 13 per cent in 2016 over the previous year with a record of 44,672 Indian tourists visiting the destination. The statistics released by the Israel Ministry of Tourism also revealed 42 per cent growth in Indian arrivals to Israel in the month of May 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.
Israel offers a plethora of things to do and see for Indian tourists. With state-of-the-art infrastructure and several luxury hotels, the country attracts worldwide tourists and is an explorer’s paradise.
El Al provides direct connectivity between India and Israel and has four weekly flights from Mumbai to Tel Aviv. Turkish Airlines has daily flights from Mumbai and Delhi to Tel Aviv, via Istanbul. Ethiopian Airlines has daily flights from Mumbai and Delhi to Tel Aviv, via Addis Abba. Aeroflot Russian Airlines has daily flights from Delhi to Tel Aviv, via Moscow.
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