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For a sector that will contribute $250 billion to India's gross domestic product by 2030, a document reimagining the future of tourism is significant.

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India will soon declare a national tourism policy and is also planning a global tourism investment summit, said Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy. “Without private investment, we cannot become a global destination,” he said, adding the government is allowing 100 percent foreign direct investment in tourism. Speaking at the third G20 tourism working group meeting in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar, Reddy said the tourism ministry is working closely with all the other ministries and state governments to encourage tourism. The new national tourism policy for the country has been in the making for almost two years, with the current one dating back to 2002. The policy would help lay down a framework to make India more competitive in the international market, at a time when the world is reopening to tourists. It aims to increase visitation, stay and spend and make India a year-round destination, besides creating jobs and opportunities in the sector. Last month, Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh highlighted India’s plans to open up to 50 new tourism destinations, promote green tourism, launch a publicity campaign in overseas markets and operationalize 59 new air routes this year

Tata Group-owned Air India and its low-cost carrier subsidiary Air India Express will operate flights to Saudi Arabia for Haj pilgrimage trips. The two carriers will fly close to 19,000 pilgrims to Jeddah and Medina from Jaipur, Chennai, Kozhikode and Kannur. Air India, in the first phase, will operate 46 flights from Jaipur and Chennai to Medina and Jeddah, respectively. The services will continue till June 21, the airline said in a release. In the second phase, Air India will bring back the pilgrims to Jaipur and Chennai by operating 43 flights from July 3 to August 2. Air India Express will operate flights from Kozhikode and Kannur from June 4-22. In the second phase, the airline will fly back the pilgrims from Medina to Kozhikode and Kannur from July 13 to August 2. 

Homegrown hospitality company and a master franchisee of Choice Hotels India, Suba Group of Hotels has launched two properties, Click Hotel Sayajigunj and Click White House Residency in Vadodara in the western state of Gujarat. “We started our Suba Hotel in Vadodara in 2014 and now with these two hotels, our association grows to four operational hotels in the city,” said Mansur Mehta, managing director of Suba Group of Hotels. Last week, the company launched a 37-room Click Hotels Tulian in pilgrim town Katra in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. In July last year, Choice Hotels signed a 15-year deal with Suba Group to transition from a direct franchise market to a master franchise model.

Low-cost carrier IndiGo has announced new flights from North Goa to Patna, Bhopal, Vadodara and Dehradun. The airline will connect North Goa to Ranchi via Patna, effective May 24. It has also added a second frequency on the Bangkok-Kolkata route from June 3. IndiGo said it will operate flights from the Thai capital on Tuesdays and Saturdays while the return flights to Kolkata will be operated on Wednesdays and Sundays. The carrier will also introduce daily flights to Surat and Hyderabad from Kolkata from July 3, IndiGo’s Head of Global Sales Vinay Malhotra said in a statement. In addition, the airline will add frequencies to existing destinations such as Bengaluru and Goa from Kolkata. The additional flights will be available from June 26

Domestic airlines carried 50.4 million passengers during January to April 2023 as against 35.275 million in the same period last year, recording an annual growth of 42.85 percent. The month-on-month growth rate between April 2022 and April 2023 has increased by 22.18 percent. In addition, the overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic flights for April 2023 remained at a low rate of 0.47 percent. The number of complaints per 10,000 passengers carried for the month also has been at a low of around 0.28. “The increased passenger figures indicate a growing demand for air travel and highlight the positive trajectory of the aviation sector,” the civil aviation ministry said in a statement.

Budget carrier SpiceJet is aiming to bring four of its grounded aircraft — two Boeing 737s and two Bombardier Q400s — back into service by June 15. Earlier this month, the airline announced its plans to revive 25 grounded aircraft. Additionally, SpiceJet is planning to start two international flights under the regional air connectivity scheme Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (Udan) on the Agartala-Chattogram and Imphal-Mandalay sectors by June-end. The airline also plans to launch a new Udan flight on the Kolkata-Tezpur sector and restart Kolkata-Gwalior and Jammu-Gwalior Udan flights. The carrier will launch flights on Kolkata-Agartala and Kolkata-Imphal sectors and restart flights on the Kolkata-Chattogram sector as well.

U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing and Indian telecommunications companies are in a spat over the implementation of fifth generation (5G) technology near airports, an Indian daily reported. While Boeing is demanding a no 5G zone within a radius of 3.2 miles around airports, telcos in India argue that accepting it would impact numerous cities across the country, as many airports are located in the heart of urban areas. Earlier, the Indian government advised telecom service providers to take precautions that minimize the interference of 5G networks in aircraft operations, including establishing safety and buffer zones and placing 5G towers near airports.

Vietnamese low-cost carrier VietJet has announced the launch of direct flights connecting Ho Chi Minh City and Kochi in the south Indian state of Kerala from August 12. The airline will operate with a frequency of four flights per week on every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Vietjet has been flying into India since December 2019 when it launched services to Delhi from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. As part of the fleet development plan, VietJet has recently taken the delivery of its sixth A330 and three A321neo ACF aircraft to meet growing travel demand. The new additions prioritize fuel savings and emission reduction. 


Skift India Report

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Tags: 5G wireless, air india, Boeing, foreign investments, Haj pilgrimage, india, indigo, policy, saudi arabia, skift india report, spicejet, tourism, vietjet

Photo credit: The new policy aims to make India a year-round destination. Source: Seba Della and Sole Bossio/Flickr Seba Della and Sole Bossio / Flickr

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