Here’s your weekly dose of travel updates!
Check out the latest news and updates about the travel and tourism industry from around the world.
1. Major Announcements from PM Modi’s France Visit:
- Indians will be able to use UPI in France and make payments in Rupee – Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced from Eiffel Tower that Indian tourists will soon be able to use Unified Payments Interface (UPI) for transactions in France and make payments in Rupee. The National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI) signed a MoU with France’s Lyra in 2022 to offer UPI services in France.
- A new Indian Consulate in Marseille – The Prime Minister also announced the opening of India’s second consulate at Marseille, France while addressing the Indian community at La Seine Musicale in Paris. The new consulate will help deepen the India-France relationship and also help in the fast processing of visa for India.
- A long-term 5-year France Student Visa for Indians pursuing Masters – To deepen the relationship further, PM Modi also announced that France has decided to grant a 5 year long-term France visa to Indian students pursuing their Masters degree in France.
2. Indians are the ‘Second Most Confident Travellers in Asia-Pacific’ – Booking.com
Indian travellers have been voted the ‘Second Most Confident Travellers in Asia-Pacific’ by Booking.com. In its survey of the Asia Pacific (APAC) Travel Confidence Index (TCI), Booking.com prepared a report about the mindsets of APAC travellers with respect to their future travel plans. The survey was conducted in 11 APAC markets resulting in Hong Kong topping the list, followed by India, China, Singapore, and Taiwan.
3. Akasa Air to Start International Operations Soon
India’s latest low–cost carrier, Akasa Air is planning to expand internationally very soon. Akasa Air, which started its commercial operations in 2022 is considering starting international operations in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh in the coming days.
4. Indians Want to Spend More Time, Money on International, Domestic travel in 2023: Survey
After a long slump due to the pandemic, the travel industry is set to make a revival with more and more Indians looking forward to travel to domestic and international destinations. A recent survey titled ‘ACKO Travel Index 2023’ revealed that Indians will be spending more time and money on international and domestic travel. The survey states that around 48% of Indians will be allocating an increased budget for travel and 37% of Indians will be extending the duration of their trip this year.
5. Gulf Air to Provide Free City Tours for Transit Passengers at Bahrain International Airport
From July 5, 2023, transit passengers travelling through Bahrain International Airport, with layovers from 5 to 24 hours could avail free city tour through Bahrain’s landmarks and historical hotspots and experience the rich culture and heritage. The service offered jointly by Gulf Air, BAC, Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority, and Kanoo Travel promises to offer a pleasant experience for travellers and add to the development of tourism services in Bahrain.
6. MSG Sphere: The Biggest Entertainment Sphere in the World unveiled in Las Vegas
The Sin City of Las Vegas known for its extravagant infrastructure and architecture has a new attraction – the World’s Largest Entertainment Sphere, The MSG Sphere. Glittering with over a million LEDs and cutting-edge sound design this visual wonder will host a variety of activities including concerts, movies, sports, and even the Formula 1 Grand Prix and MMA!
7. Indian Railways to Reduce Fares for AC Chair Car and Executive Class by up to 25%
Indian Railways has decided to cut the fares for AC Chair Car and Executive Class up to 25% on trains facing low occupancy to boost train travel. The discount will benefit the passengers of premium trains like Shatabdi and Vande Bharat and other trains travelling a short distance. The 25% discount will be on the base fare and all other charges will be levied separately, as applicable, also Tatkal quota will be unavailable for sectors that fall under this discount category.
8. Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport: First Indian Airport with 4 Operational Runways and Elevated Eastern Cross Taxiways (ECT)
In a bid to increase the capacity and operational efficiency of the country’s largest airport – Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), the Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia inaugurated the 4th runway and dual Eastern Cross Taxiways (ECT). IGIA is the first airport in the country to have these brand-new features! The 4th runway will result in handling more flights, thus enhancing the flight and passengers’ movement and ECT will help in bringing down the taxing time for planes resulting in overall convenience to passengers travelling to and fro from IGIA, Delhi.
9. First International Flight from New Goa Airport to Gatwick to be operated by Air India
Goa’s newest airport – Manohar International Airport (MIA) is set to operate its first international flight on July 21, 2023. The first-ever international flight from MIA in North Goa will be operated by Air India to London Gatwick. Air India will operate three services in a week service from MIA to the UK in addition to its 49 flights to the UK every week.
10. World’s Most Liveable Cities for 2023 Announced, Vienna takes the Crown
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released its list of most liveable cities in the world for 2023, and the Austrian capital – Vienna, has won the title after defeating 173 cities in the competition. Various factors including education, environment, stability, infrastructure, and health care are considered while formulating the list of most liveable cities in the world. Vienna – the City of Dreams was followed by Copenhagen, Melbourne, Vancouver, Zurich, and others on the EIU list.
11. To Preserve Culture Bali Plans to Impose Tourist e-Tax from 2024
International tourists planning to visit Bali will have to electronically pay a one-time USD 10 tourist e-tax when visiting Indonesia’s resort destination. Bali’s Governor I Wayan Koster explains that the tax levied is an effort to preserve its culture and raise funds for the city which relies mostly on tourism. He further added that the tax collected will be utilized to improve the environment, preserve the island’s culture, enhance infrastructure, and ensure a comfortable and safe travel experience for travellers visiting Bali.
12. Indian Railways Announces New Train from Kerala to Rameswaram
Indian Railways has been working on operating a new train on the Mangalore – Rameswaram section through Kerala as a response to a long-term demand of commuters in Kerala. With no direct trains from Kerala to the holy city of Rameswaram, pilgrims faced a lot of struggles reaching their destination and even requested extending the Thiruvananthapuram-Madurai Amruta Express to Rameswaram. The Railway Board considered all the recommendations and met with the Railway Timetable Committee to discuss the new train.
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13. Non-AC Vande Sadharan Trains to be Introduced Soon
In the last few years, the Vande Bharat Trains have been the talk of the town for train travellers in India. Being an AC superfast train with high charges, it is often criticized for being largely for the elites. In response to the demand for a train like the Vande Bharat Express with modern amenities but easy on the pocket, the government has decided to produce Non-AC Vande Sadharan Trains with sleeper and general facilities for long-distance journeys. This new train is expected to roll out in the next 6 months.
14. To ensure the safety of travellers, Goa bans entry to Wildlife Sanctuaries and Waterfalls
Goa is known to have beautiful waterfalls and lush green national parks, but, this monsoon, the picnickers and adventure lovers will be missing out on a chance to visit them. The Forest Department of Goa has banned the entry of people until further notice to waterfalls within wildlife sanctuaries, as a safety measure after two people lost their lives in South Goa. The state will review the ban once all the regulatory measures are put in place.
15. Sail Around the World in 1001 Days onboard the MV Lara by Life at Sea Cruises
Good news for all those who want to cruise around the world! Though not in 80 days, but, in 1001 days with the ‘Life at Sea Cruises’ launched MV Lara. The cruise will take passengers to 382 ports in 148 countries including seven wonders and other beautiful destinations across 7 continents in an all-in-one itinerary. It will provide accommodation, food, and even basic medical facilities, along with all the facilities for people working remotely.
16. Coming soon: A Single Smart Card to Access Multiple Tourist Attractions in Rajasthan
The State Government of Rajasthan is developing a system that will help tourists navigate various monuments in the desert state through a single smart card. Tourists will have to get a single smart card and recharge it so that they can visit multiple sites without any hassle and be free of queues in front of the ticket counters at these popular places. The state also plans to extend this system to include transport and hotel bookings in the coming days to make travellers life easy and hassle-free during their trip to Rajasthan.
With so much to see and experience in the world who wouldn’t be excited to travel? Head over to Akbartravels.com and find solutions to all your worries related to visa applications, flight tickets, and hotel bookings. What else? We have the best budget holiday packages available to make your holiday truly peaceful.
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