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Looking to make the most of Malaysia's visa-free policy for Indians, AirAsia is strategically enhancing its presence and involvement in the Indian market.

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AirAsia has announced the launch of a new route from Ahmedabad to Kuala Lumpur. Set to take flight from May 1, the new connection will mark AirAsia’s eleventh route from India, and third new route in 2024 alone. This will also be the Malaysia-based carrier’s entry into the state of Gujarat, as it looks to rapidly grow its connectivity from Malaysia to India.

AirAsia had earlier said that it plans to add 69 weekly flights in the first quarter of 2024, providing over 1.5 million seats annually for the India-Malaysia route.

The Malaysian government has introduced a 30-day visa-free entry for Indian travelers starting December 1, 2023. 

Air Asia Group CEO Bo Lingam called the flight launch a celebration of the government’s “commendable initiative” for visa free entry into Malaysia for Indian nationals.

“When we launched our very first flight into India in 2008, our vision and mission had always been to enhance affordable connectivity between our two nations. Both Malaysia and India have plenty of untapped tourism potential and it’s been amazing to see how travel has boomed in both countries in the last decade,” Lingam said.

AirAsia operates a wide network of routes directly from India to Malaysia from Chennai, Tiruchirappalli, Kochi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, New Delhi and Amritsar. In February the airline will be commencing flights from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, making it the second direct route from the state after Kochi followed by Jaipur in April and Ahmedabad in May.

India’s Tourist Trains Get 100,000 Passengers in 2023

Bharat Gaurav Trains undertook a total of 172 trips carrying almost 100,000 tourists in 2023.

Indian Railways had introduced the concept of operating tourist trains on theme-based circuits under the banner of “Bharat Gaurav” Tourist Trains. These theme-based tourist circuit trains aim to showcase the country’s cultural heritage while connecting to major historical places while covering major tourist circuits.

The journey undertaken on these trains are offered in the form of comprehensive tour packages wherein services like off-board travel and excursions by buses, stay at hotels, tour guides, meals, travel insurance are also provided.

The railway ministry has been focusing on promoting domestic tourism through provision of rail-based tourism with better quality coaches under Bharat Gaurav Train scheme, a release from the government stated. This is also in line with the government’s “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” and “Dekho Apna Desh” initiatives to encourage domestic tourism. 

EaseMyTrip Launches Roadshow to Connect With Travel Agents

Online travel platform is set to embark on a nationwide roadshow for the first time spanning multiple cities. The travel company said this initiative will be executed in close collaboration with its recently-acquired domestic travel brands, Guideline Travels and Dook Travels.

Kicking off this week in Kolkata, the roadshow will be travelling to Raipur, Nagpur, Indore, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Chennai, Kochi, Rajkot, Ahmadabad, Surat and Pune.

“The roadshow serves as a pivotal platform for EaseMyTrip to construct an intimate one-on-one dialogue channel with prominent travel agents across the nation,” a release from the company stated.

Calling the roadshow an effort to not just fortify EasemyTrip’s position in the market, Nishant Pitti, CEO and co-founder of EaseMyTrip, said it would also contribute to the growth of the Indian travel industry. “Beyond the metrics, our journey is defined by the impact we create in the business ecosystem,” Pitti said.

Ayodhya Gets More Flights

Within 17 days of the launch of the airport at Ayodhya, the city is now connected to Ahmedabad in the west, Delhi in north, Kolkata in east and Bengaluru in south.

Highlighting the connectivity that has been established from the city to all the major metros cities of the country, Jyotiraditya Scindia, civil aviation minister said this would help devotees from all across the nation to visit the newly-built Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Scindia was speaking at Air India Express’ launch of non-stop flights connecting Ayodhya with Kolkata and Bengaluru on Wednesday. 

Operated by Air India Express, the service will be available three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Having started the inaugural flight from Ayodhya airport, on December 30, Indigo this week also commenced direct operations between Mumbai and Ayodhya.

Talking about aviation infrastructure in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Scindia had commended the support provided by the Uttar Pradesh government in developing airports at a rapid rate. He announced that in this year Uttar Pradesh will have a total of 16 airports and this number will go up to 19 airports by 2025.

Rare India Announces Two New Partners in Nepal

Rare India, a community of experiential, community inclusive boutique hotels and hospitality concepts in the subcontinent, has announced two new partners in Nepal — Nepali Ghar Hotel in Kathmandu and Sanctuary Resort in Chitwan. 

With this, Rare India now represents three properties in Nepal, the third being Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge.

Shoba Rudra, founder of Rare India, said, “With the addition of Sanctuary Resort and Nepali Ghar Hotel, we continue to expand our journey in creating authentic experiences in Nepal.”

Nepali Ghar Hotel is a 61-room hotel in Kathmandu’s vibrant Thamel area, while Sanctuary Resort is located near the Chitwan National Park in Amaltari.

The collaboration with Rare India would help the two properties to promote authentic experiences while focusing on conscious, sustainable luxury.


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Tags: air asia, Air India Express, boutique hotels, domestic tourism, easemytrip, experiential travel, indigo airlines, trains, visa waiver

Photo credit: AirAsia has announced the launch of a new route from Ahmedabad to Kuala Lumpur. saku_y / Flickr

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