Rashmi Verma (IAS), of 1982 batch from Bihar Cadre, has joined as the new Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Before this, Verma was serving as the Secretary in Ministry of Textiles. Not new to tourism, she has previously served as the Chairman & MD of Bihar Tourism Department as well as Additional Director in Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. She will be replacing N. K. Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, who had taken up the additional charge as Secretary Tourism after Vinod Zutshi retired from the position.
116 ASI monuments to be under MOT, open to PPP Model
The Ministry of Culture has offered a total of 116 ASI monuments to the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), which would then be open to PPP model, it was revealed by Rashmi Verma, Secretary of Tourism, in a meeting with FAITH recently. Under the PPP model, these monuments will be taken over by private players for the upkeep, maintenance and to be illuminated for night tourism as well.
Delhi-NCR to get its 2nd international airport at Jewar
Delhi-NCR is all set to have its second international airport, after the government granted in-principle approval for a greenfield airport at Jewar in Greater Noida. The Noida International Airport will be located 72km from IGI Airport and 65 km from Hindon Air Force station Ghaziabad. Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) is the implementing authority of the project.
An area of 3000 hectares has been notified for the airport which will be developed in phases. An area of 1000 hectares will be developed in the first phase. There will be one runway in the first phase. Three more runways will be developed in subsequent phases. The airport is expected to be operational within the next 4-5 years.
Cabinet gives ‘in principle’ approval for Air India disinvestment
The Government has given ‘in principle’ approval for considering strategic disinvestment of Air India and five of its subsidiaries. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval to fourth tranche recommendations of NITI Aayog on strategic disinvestment of CPSE (strategic disinvestment of Air India and five of its subsidiaries) based on the recommendations of Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment (CGD).
Constitution of an Air India-specific Alternative Mechanism headed by Minister of Finance including Minister for Civil Aviation and other Ministers will guide the process on strategic disinvestment from time to time and decide the treatment of unsustainable debt of Air India, hive off of certain assets to a shell company, demerger and strategic disinvestment of three profit-making subsidiaries, the quantum of disinvestment, and the universe of bidders.
Ascott launches 269-unit Citadines OMR Chennai
The Ascott Limited (Ascott) has announced the opening of its first Citadines-branded serviced residence in the city – Citadines OMR Chennai. The 269-unit Apart’hotel is located in Sholinganallur and is wholly owned and managed by Ascott. Citadines OMR Chennai is in close proximity to the scenic East Coast Road, which is dotted with restaurants and quaint cafés. Nearby suburbs like Velachery and Neelankari offer a variety of shopping, dining and recreational options.”
Royal Orchid opens hotel in Dehradun
Royal Orchid Hotels has opened one more hotel under its brand ‘Regenta’ in Deharadun, Uttarakhand. With this, it will now have a total of 44 hotels. The 74-key Regenta LP Vilas is a luxurious hotel spread over a lakh sq. ft. area with a capacity to cater to 4,000 people. It is centrally located among other Dehradun hotels within the city and close to the famous business hub Selaqui, international airport and railway station.
Cygnett Park Asia, Jammu opens doors
Cygnett Hotels and Resorts has now entered Jammu and Kashmir with the launch of their first hotel in the region-Cygnett Park Asia in Jammu. The hotel houses 44 rooms and suites, with an open swimming pool, and other fitness services such as an in-house multi gym, sauna, steam, and whirlpool facilities.
Surya Palace Vadodara rebrands to Grand Mercure
Vadodara’s Surya Palace has been rebranded to Grand Mercure Vadodara Surya Palace. Strategically located in proximity to Vadodara’s business district and corporate hubs, the hotel is the first Grand Mercure to launch in the state of Gujarat.
Featuring 146 well-appointed guest rooms including five suites, Azure an all-day dining restaurant, Vanilla a delicatessen, an outdoor pool, a fitness and wellness centre, the hotel is a mere 2 minute drive from the railway station and 10 minutes from the airport.
Nepal gets its first Marriott hotel
Fairfield by Marriott, part of Marriott International, has announced the opening of Fairfield by Marriott Kathmandu, which marks Marriott International’s entry into Nepal.
Fairfield by Marriott Kathmandu is located in Thamel, a district at the heart of the capital’s central commercial hub, which was previously known as a bohemian haven before it became a popular shopping destination. Close to all the destination’s popular attractions including the Narayanhiti Palace Museum, Garden of Dreams and the Kathmandu Durbar Square, the hotel is also situated 5km away from the airport.
The hotel offers 115 rooms. Kava, the all-day dining restaurant, serves local, Indian and international cuisine. Meanwhile, Kava – The Bar and lobby lounge offers freshly brewed coffee and an array of cocktails in the evening. The Business Centre meeting rooms are equipped with the latest audio-visual facilities and all public areas and guest rooms have high-speed Wi-Fi. The hotel also features The Market, a unique 24/7 convenience store within the hotel, where guests can purchase snacks and beverages at any time of the day.
Indonesia’s Batik Air to launch trio of India routes
The Bali Post reports that in the coming weeks, the airline will start flying from Medan to Chennai, Jakarta to Delhi and Bali to Mumbai. The Jakarta-Delhi route will mark the first direct link between the capital cities of Indonesia and India – two of the world’s most populous countries. Batik Air is a subsidiary of the fast-growing Lion Air Group.
SQ’s A350 daily service from Mumbai-Singapore from July 1
Singapore Airlines has announced the introduction of its A350 services to India. Mumbai will be the 16th destination within its network to receive the Airbus A350-900 aircraft. The daily scheduled Singapore Airlines flight SQ421 will be served by this new aircraft and the inaugural A350 service will depart from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai at 1145hrs on 01 July 2017.
With advanced technology and superior operating efficiency, the A350-900 offers customers an improved travelling experience with features such as higher ceilings, larger windows, an extra wide body and lighting designed to reduce jetlag. The aircraft is fitted with 253 seats, in a three-class configuration – 42 in Business Class, 24 in Premium Economy and 187 in Economy.
Air Canada to increase Mumbai-Toronto service to four times a week from July 2
Mumbai and Toronto will now get a four times a week direct non-stop service starting July 2, 2017. Air Canada will be the only carrier to offer a direct non-stop service between India and Canada. These routes will operate with Air Canada’s state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The aircraft feature 29 International Business Class lie-flat seat suites, 21 Premium Economy and 247 Economy Class seats, with upgraded in-flight entertainment at every seat throughout the aircraft.
Air India to start new flights from Lucknow
Air India is all set to start new flights not only under government’s (UDAN) scheme, but non-UDAN flights as well to strengthen its domestic network. Ashwani Lohani, CMD, Air India, informs, “We will be starting flights under UDAN to Pathankot and Ludhiana. There will be non UDAN flights as well, and we will be starting new flights from Lucknow from June 25 on Lucknow-Jaipur, Lucknow-Dehradun and Lucknow-Bhopal routes.
GoAir launches 3rd daily direct flight between Bengaluru and Delhi
GoAir is set to increase its operations between Bengaluru and New Delhi from June 24, 2017 with the launch of a third daily direct flight between the two cities. The flight will leave Bengaluru at 11:35 hours, reaching Delhi at 14:20 hours. A return flight will leave Delhi at 15:05 hours and reach at 18:00 hours.
GoAir launches 3 daily direct Ahmedabad-Delhi flights
GoAir has announced the launch of three daily direct flights between Ahmedabad and New Delhi. The airline will give business travellers same day connectivity between these two important cities with effect from June 11, 2017, and a third daily direct flight will also be operational with effect from June 16, 2017.
SpiceJet to launch another Delhi-Patna flight from July 10
SpiceJet has launched a new service between Delhi and Patna from July 10, which would take the number of flights from Patna to the national capital to 19 daily. On the other hand, Jet Airways will withdraw its morning connection between Patna and Delhi from July 15. Starting July 1, SpiceJet will be connecting seven new destinations to Patna, including Chennai, Hyderabad and Surat, which are new connections for SpiceJet. Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi are the other four destinations.
IndiGo to start flights on Doha-Kochi route in July
IndiGo Airlines is all set to start its flights on the Doha-Kochi route in July. Speaking on the new additions, Aditya Ghosh, President & Whole Time Director, IndiGo, said, “In July, we are looking at more flights to Doha from Kerala. We also have flights from Bengaluru to Singapore. We will then have more flights from Doha to Kerala, and may be later, we could start flights to Hyderabad as well as Delhi from Doha. We are also looking at Dhaka as a possible new international destination.”
GoAir expands Patna operations from Delhi
GoAir is set to expand its operations to Patna with the launch of their 4th daily flight between New Delhi and Patna, with effect from June 11, 2017. The launch of this additional daily service between Patna and New Delhi aims at strengthening GoAir’s extensive network of flights to Patna. The flight G8 133 from DEL-PAT will depart at 15:10 hours and arrive at 16:50 hours daily from June 11, 2017, till October 28, 2017. Upon return, the flight G8 134 from PAT-DEL will depart at 17:20 hours and arrive at 19:10 hours daily from June 11, 2017, till October 28, 2017.
Fly direct Goa-Surat on SpiceJet
SpiceJet has started its daily direct flight service from Goa to Surat. This will be the first ever direct connection between Goa and Surat by any airline. As the first Jnonstop flight between Goa and Surat, the new flight will provide travellers with a convenient travel option, thus saving their time while making their journey hassle free
Air India mulls Guwahati-Bangkok flight
Air India informed that they are considering to operate a direct flight between Guwahati and Bangkok or between Guwahati and Kunming thrice a week. AI informed that they are planning to start a new flight between New Delhi and Guwahati from June 28, taking the number of flights on this route to two. Also the Guwahati-Kolkata flight is most definitely on the cards.
UPCOMING EVENTS & FESTIVALS
RAKSHA BANDHAN (7 August) All over India
On Raksha Bandhan, sisters tie a rakhi (a beautifully crafted and decorated thread) on the right wrist of their brothers as a reminder of love and protection. The brother vows to take care of his sister and in return offers her gifts and sweets. The festival is a wonderful way of bringing the family closer together. Many women also tie rakhis on their close friends and neighbors as a sign of caring and harmony in their social lives.
NEHRU TROPHY SNAKE BOAT RACE (12 August ) Punnamda Lake, Alleppey in Kerala
The Nehru Trophy snake boat race is undoubtedly the most exciting boat race of the year in Kerala. This race is held in memory of India’s late Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru. An impromptu snake boat race was held in 1952 when the Prime Minister visited Alleppey. Apparently he was so impressed with the welcome and the race, he donated a trophy. The race has continued on ever since. It takes place annually on the second Saturday of August and around 70 boats usually participate in it. This year will be its 65th edition.
KRISHNA JANMASHTAMI (14-15 August) Throughout India and best place to celebrate in Mumbai
The festival of Krishna Janmashtami, also known as Govinda, commemorates the birthday of Lord Krishna. In Mumbai, on the second day, an extremely fun part of the festival involves people climbing on each other and forming a human pyramid to try and reach and break open clay pots filled with curd, which have been strung up high from buildings.
INDEPENDENCE DAY (15 August) Across India and specially in Delhi
India celebrates the nation’s independence from British rule on 15 August 1947. Most of the festivities take place around the Red Fort in Delhi. There’s a flag hoisting ceremony, kite flying, and cultural programs. Extra special, extended arrangements are expected to be made this year, as it’s India’s 70th Independence Day. This is likely to include patriotic film screenings, exhibitions showcasing the might of India’s armed forces, and food and cultural events that capture India’s diversity.
GANESH CHATURTHI (25 Aug— 05 Sept) Mostly in West and South India
The spectacular 11 day Ganesh Chaturthi festival honors the birth of the beloved Hindu elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha. The start of the festival sees huge, elaborately crafted statutes of Ganesha installed in homes and podiums, which have been especially constructed and beautifully decorated. At the end of the festival, the statutes are paraded through the streets, accompanied by much singing and dancing, and then submerged in the ocean.