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India is taking steps to make its tourist and pilgrimage destinations more convenient for visitors. These projects are being developed at a rapid pace to boost the country's tourism potential.

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India is set to get multiple tourism projects worth INR 14 billion ($169 million). Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be inaugurating these projects on Thursday during his visit to Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. The projects aim to boost the domestic tourism industry in the country with the help of Swadesh Darshan and Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) schemes. 

Improving tourism infrastructure: The Government of India has launched schemes such as Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD with the aim to improve the tourism infrastructure in the country. The vision is to offer tourists and pilgrims world-class amenities and facilities at pilgrimage and tourist destinations across the country. Under these schemes, the Centre provides financial assistance to states, union territories, as well as central agencies to develop such locations. 

Projects to be inaugurated: Among the projects that are set to be inaugurated on Thursday is the ‘Integrated Development of Hazratbal Shrine’ in Srinagar. This would lead to improvement of ghats around the shrine as well as construction of a Sufi interpretation center. Apart from this, the project to develop Jogulamba Devi Temple in Telangana will also be inaugurated. 

Air India-Vistara Merger Gets Singapore Green Light

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has approved the Air India and Vistara merger. The intention for merger between the two full-service airlines was announced by Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons in November 2022, soon after Tata acquired Air India. 

To bring the merger into effect, Singapore Airlines acquired a 25.1% stake in the former national carrier as well. Post the merger, Vistara would merge into Air India, under which brand the carrier would then operate. 

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) had given its approval to the merger last year in September. The competition watchdog in Singapore, however, expressed concerns regarding the significant market share held by the merging parties in four sectors between Singapore and India. The involved parties proposed measures to address these concerns. The Singapore competition authority has given its approval to the merger on the condition that these proposed measures continue to be upheld by Vistara and Air India. 

Domestic Air Passenger Traffic Set to Surpass Pre-Covid Levels

The domestic air passenger traffic in the 2023-24 financial year is likely to surpass the pre-Covid levels. Rating agency ICRA has estimated that the domestic air traffic in 2024 fiscal year will grow by 8-13% at 150-155 million. The agency also maintained a stable outlook on the aviation industry in India. 

ICRA is also expecting this momentum of the aviation industry to continue in the next fiscal year, with a similar year-on-year growth. It said that factors such as improved airport infrastructure and increasing demand for both leisure and business travel are contributing to this growth. 

IHCL Signs Vivanta Hotel in Ujjain

Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) has signed a new Vivanta hotel in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. The hotel will consist of 130 keys. At the signing, Suma Venkatesh, executive vice president – real estate and development, IHCL, said that the hotel would be the company’s first property in Ujjain. 

The signing is in line with the company’s strategy of establishing its presence in significant pilgrimage destinations across India. Prior to this, IHCL had 11 hotels in Madhya Pradesh, of which three were under development. 

Park Hotels Reports Best-Ever Quarterly Performance

Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels has reported its best-ever quarterly performance. During the quarter, the company witnessed a 15% year-on-year growth in its total income, while its occupancy rate stood at 90%. 

During the first nine months of the 2023-24 financial year, the company opened five new hotels. With this, its footprint reached 30 hotels. Over the next five years, Park Hotels is looking to add more than 800 hotels in its portfolio. 

Indian Railway Partners With Food Aggregator Swiggy

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with online food aggregator Swiggy as its delivery partner. The partnership aims to leverage Swiggy’s network of restaurants and delivery agents in order to offer passengers pre-booked meals. The service is expected to begin in a week. It will be made available at four stations in the initial phase. 

Passengers with a valid ticket would be able to pre-order food from restaurants listed on Swiggy in a particular city and have it delivered to them at their preferred station. IRCTC had also partnered with Swiggy’s competitor Zomato last year as its delivery partner in order to provide passengers with options while pre-booking their food. 

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Tags: air india, air traffic, air travel, airlines, business travel, hotels, india travel, Indian Hotels Company, indian railways, jammu, singapore, singapore airlines, srinagar, tata, tourism, vistara

Photo credit: The project to develop Hazratbal Shrine in Srinagar will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 7. Incredible India

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