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Airfares in India are going through the roof bang in the middle of the country’s peak summer travel season. Is any respite in the near term likely?

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Amid the surge in domestic airfares, India’s Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia asked airlines to self-monitor” the prices on certain routes, particularly the ones that have been most affected by suspension of cash-strapped airline Go First from May 3. In a meeting with airline executives, Scindia shared concerns over recent reports of “abnormal surge pricing on certain routes,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a statement. “Airlines must self-monitor air fares on certain select routes that have seen considerable surge pricing of late, particularly those that were earlier being serviced by Go First…a mechanism for ensuring reasonable pricing within the high reservation booking designators may be devised by airlines. This shall be monitored by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation,” the ministry informed. 

Earlier in April, the parliamentary standing committee for transport, tourism and culture summoned representatives of IndiGo, Vistara, GoFirst, Air India and SpiceJet to depose on the subject of exorbitant airfares. Airfares on certain domestic routes have skyrocketed in recent days, largely driven by summer travel demand, airline capacity constraints and suspension of Go First’s operations. On routes involving popular summer holiday destinations, airfares have jumped up by as much as 50-80 percent over last month. For instance, tourist hotspot sectors like Delhi-Leh and Delhi-Srinagar have witnessed return airfares touching around $606. Scindia also told airlines that they need to keep a “tight check” on airfares during calamities

The Fern Hotels & Resorts Scores a Century

India-based environmentally sensitive hotel chain The Fern Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of its 100th hotel, The Fern Shelter Resort, Palghar in the western state of Maharashtra. The 81-room hotel will be fully operational from the end of June. “The Fern Hotels & Resorts has been recognized as the trailblazer of the ‘green hotel’ movement in India, setting industry standards for sustainability and eco-friendly practices. With the launch of The Fern Shelter Resort, we continue our legacy of spearheading the concept of responsible hospitality,” said Rahul Chaudhary, managing director and CEO of CG Corp Global and CG Hospitality Holdings, which operate Fern Hotels. Last December, the brand opened a 23-room lifestyle resort in the state, Arova Woods Zinc Journey by The Fern in Lonavala.

Indians Dominate U.S. H-1B Visa Charts

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has allotted 72.6 percent – or 320,000 out of the total 441,000 – of H-1B visa applications to Indians in the fiscal year 2022. China ranked second in the list with the US allotting 12.5 percent of the total H-1B visa applications to Chinese citizens. The USCIS in its report ‘Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers – 2022’ said it increased its approval of H-1B visas by 8.6 percent in fiscal 2022. The report pointed out that Indians over the past few years have successfully obtained 70 percent of the H-1B visas issued by USCIS. It further stated that 77,673 Indian applicants received an H-1B visa for new employment compared to the 18,911 Chinese applicants. The H-1B visa applications for ‘initial employment’ are filed when a person is employed for the first time in the U.S.

Top 10 Countries of Birth of Approved H-1B Beneficiaries in financial year 2022

Cordelia Cruises Sets Sail for Sri Lanka

India has flagged off its maiden international cruise ship from Chennai to Sri Lanka. Cordelia Cruises’ MV Empress, carrying 750 passengers, will visit three ports on the island country — Hambantota, Jaffna and Trincomalee — during its five-day cruise. Launched from Chennai’s International Cruise Terminal which is at a cost of $2.08 million, the service comes in the backdrop of the memorandum of understanding signed between Chennai Port and Waterways Leisure Tourism at the Incredible India International Cruise Conference in 2022. “I am happy to share that three new international cruise terminals are likely to be completed and become operational by 2024. We expect that the volume of cruise ships will increase from 208 in 2023 to 500 in 2030 and up to 1,100 by 2047,” Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said in a statement.

Government Rejects United-Emirates Codeshare Request

The Indian government has declined permission for United Airlines to codeshare with Emirates on routes originating from India, citing the absence of a traffic rights agreement between India and Dubai for these routes. The decision disrupts the significant agreement signed between the two airlines last year, which aimed to enhance their network connectivity to India. The codeshare agreement would have covered 27 destinations on the Emirates network, with a substantial portion of these routes being to India. India has halted the extension of flying rights to Middle Eastern countries to encourage its domestic carriers to operate widebody aircraft and provide direct connectivity to North America and Europe. 

Korea Tourism Organization Announces Incentive for Travel Agents

The Korea Tourism Organization India office has launched a special K-incentive scheme to boost sales of Korea travel packages in the market. The benefits include providing travel agents with prizes of $30 per passenger and support for quick, simple and hassle-free tour visas for visitors to Korea between June and December 2023. To be a part of the scheme, interested travel agencies should share their marketing plan on or before June 14, 2023. “This is the first time any national tourist organization is launching an incentive scheme for leisure travel packages in India and this initiative comes at a very opportune time when we are in the year of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two nations,” said Myong-kil Yun, director of Korea Tourism Organization India, who assumed office earlier this year

Zone by The Park Pathankot Opens Doors 

Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels has launched a 38-room Zone by The Park Pathankot in the north Indian state of Punjab. This hotel connects travelers to Dharamshala and Dalhousie, popular hill towns in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The company signed a 57-room Zone Connect Saket, New Delhi in the national capital last month and an 80-key Zone by The Park Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh earlier in April, scheduled to be operational by mid-2025. Park Hotels is set to reportedly float a $181 million initial public offering by September this year. 


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Tags: airfares, codeshares, cruises, emirates airlines, india, korea, skift india report, sri lanka, summer travel, travel agents, u.s. visa, united airlines

Photo credit: Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia asked airlines to “self-monitor” the prices on certain routes. Source: abhirupsen_haldia/Flickr abhirupsen_haldia / Flights line up as day dawns on New Delhi Domestic Terminal

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