June 3, 2019
Building an Incredible Infrastructure | Tourism
One of the recurring themes of the Lok Sabha election was the government’s failure to create employment opportunities. In that context, tourism is a significant sector as it has an instant and tangible impact on job creation. According to government sources, the tourism sector has created 13 million jobs in the past four years. A 2017 report of the World Travel and Tourism Council says that tourism contributed a 9 per cent to India’s GDP and 8 per cent to its total employment. However, less than five per cent of foreign tourists who visit the Asia-Pacific region come to India. The Union government needs to spend much more on this sector than what it is doing now. The 2019 budget allocated just Rs 2,189 crore-0.08 per cent-of the total budgetary spend of Rs 27,84,200 crore for the development of the tourism sector.
The 100-day plan
- While in the past couple of years, the sector has seen several major pushes in terms of policies and schemes to turn India into a global tourist destination, infrastructure, connectivity and safety remain concerns for tourists. The World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report ranks India 104 and 114 out of 136 countries on hygiene and safety parameters, respectively.
- The new government must allocate at least 2 per cent of the total budget to the travel and tourism sector.
- The Union government needs a coordinated plan with states to provide and improve tourism-related infrastructure.
- Land is pivotal to the growth of the tourism industry and it remains in the domain of states. Proactive steps by the states are a must for new tourist infrastructure-from ease of land acquisition to encouraging private players to develop infrastructure. The new government needs to create a cohesive and formal structure for faster and effective coordination among government departments and agencies such as ministries of roads, railways, aviation, forest, urban and rural development; create separate budget in these ministries for tourist infrastructure.
- The inter-connectivity of major tourist attractions and monuments has to be improved.
- India needs to create a comprehensive campaign to improve its image as a global tourist destination.
- The government needs to create PPP models for participation of private players.
Source: India Today
June 18, 2019
Kochi airport to remain shut from 10am-6pm for 4 months
Recarpeting/refurbishment of a runway is done every 10 years or even before if required. We experienced the Mumbai airport closing both the runways for six hours for 6 weeks earlier this year. Dubai airport also undertook a refurbishment of the south runway from April 16 to May 30, 2019.
Next in line is Kochi (Cochin) airport. Kochi airport started operations in 1999 and refurbished the runway for the first time in 2009. Kochi airport will refurbish its 3400m long runway starting in November 2019. From November 20, 2019, to March 28, 2020, flight operations at Kochi airport will be halted every day from 10 am to 6 pm to conduct the refurbishment of the runway.
According to Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL),
As the mandatory runway re-carpeting work of Kochi airport is slated in November, CIAL has instructed all the operating airlines to re-schedule their daytime services for four months from November 20. The major re-carpeting work will start on November 20, 2019 and continue till March 28, 2020. There will be no flight operations from 10 AM to 6 PM in that period. The daytime flights will be re-scheduled to the night.
In addition, Kochi airport will upgrade Airfield Ground Lighting (AGL) system to CAT III from the existing CAT I. According to CIAL,
This will considerably improve the operational efficiency and aerodrome safety, especially during low visibility and adverse weather conditions. As part of the CAT III lighting system, the spacing of existing runway centreline lights would be reduced from the existing 30 metres to 15 metres and the runway would be provided touch down zone lighting and approach side row lighting.
A lot of domestic flights will be affected by the closure of Kochi airport. International flights operated by IndiGo, Air India Express, SpiceJet, Saudia and Qatar Airways will be affected as they have a scheduled departure post 10 am from Kochi.
According to CIAL,
As a majority of international flights operate from 6 PM to 9 AM, the re-carpeting would not affect international traffic in a big way. But around 35 domestic services have to be re-scheduled.
Since the intimation for runway closure has just come in, airlines haven’t rescheduled all the flights yet. Airlines may take some time to reschedule/cancel the affected flights as they have to maintain their overall schedule.
For those who use the Kochi Airport, get set for a big round of travel disruption coming your way later this year.
March 1, 2019
Helicopter service between Shimla and Chandigarh takes off under UDAN-II
The one-way fare between Shimla and Chandigarh is for Rs 2,880. The flight would take off from Chandigarh at 10 am, and would reach Shimla at 10:30 am. The flight would then fly back to Chandigarh by 10:55 am.
Under central government’s UDAN-II scheme, which aims to provide regional connectivity in the country, helicopter service between Shimla and Chandigarh was launched on Thursday by Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu. The helicopter service is scheduled to operate from Jubbarhatti airport, which is 22-kms from Shimla.
A “non-scheduled” helicopter service facilitated by the Himachal Pradesh government was operational between Shimla and Chandigarh since June, last year. However, with the launch of UDAN-II (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme, a dedicated helicopter will be provided by the helicopter service provider Pawan Hans will.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said the flight under UDAN-II would take off from Chandigarh at 10 am, and would reach Shimla at 10:30 am. The flight would then fly back to Chandigarh by 10:55 am. The one-way fare between Shimla and Chandigarh is for Rs 2,880.
The service would currently operate for three days a week. However, after a fortnight the service would be available for six days a week, the chief minister added.
Prabhu, who launched the scheme through video conferencing from New Delhi, said that other than facilitating better air connectivity to public, UDAN-II would help in providing faster connectivity to the people in times of health-related and other emergencies.
The scheme would also boost tourism in the state by providing air connectivity to the state, which would be availed by domestic and foreign tourists, Prabhu added.
UDAN-I, which provided air connectivity between New Delhi and Shimla, was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April, 2017.
A senior official from the Civil Aviation department said that helicopter services between Shimla and Kullu and Shimla and Dharamshala will also begin within a month.
Source: The Indian Express
February 15, 2019
PM Narendra Modi to flag off India’s first semi-high speed train ‘Vande Bharat Express’ today.
The first locomotive-less train in the country is being seen as a successor to the 30-year-old premier Shatabdi Express train.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off India’s first engineless train Vande Bharat Express, earlier known as Train 18, today from the New Delhi railway station.
The Indian Railways recently named the indigenously manufactured Train 18 as Vande Bharat Express in an acknowledgement of its made-in-India status. The semi-high speed train is set to run between New Delhi and Varanasi at a maximum speed of 160 kilometre per hour stopping at Kanpur and Allahabad enroute.
Officials have said the gleaming train comes fitted with amenities at par with the best in the world. It would have onboard WiFi, GPS-based passenger information system, touch-free bio-vacuum toilets, LED lighting, mobile charging points and a climate control system that adjusts the temperature according to occupancy and weather.
November 6, 2018
Tourism minister KJ Alphons inaugurated the Tourist Facilitation and Information Counter at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, New Delhi.
The ministry of tourism has set-up this counter with an objective to provide 24×7 information to both domestic and international visitors arriving into IGI Airport, New Delhi. This counter will be manned by 2 staff members and a supervisor to answer the queries of the tourists and also guide them with information.
The counter will also be connected to the 24×7 helpline- 1363 of the ministry of tourism through which the non-English speaking tourists will be able to speak directly with the foreign language agents and get guidance in French, German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Arabic.
This counter is located outside the arrival area in the international side of IGI Airport, New Delhi. The ministry of tourism is opening such facilitation counters in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Gaya and Varanasi initially.
Source: Economic Times
28 September, 2018
India is third most powerful travel and tourism nation: WTTC
India is ranked as the world’s third most powerful country for travel and tourism, according to World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) new T&T Power and Performance Report. China, USA and India take the top three spots in the new Power Ranking which ranks the performance of 185 countries combining growth over the past seven years in tourism’s contribution to GDP, international visitor spend, domestic tourism spend and capital investment.
Gloria Guevara, President and CEO, WTTC commented, “World Tourism Day is the global celebration of a sector that contributes 10.4 per cent of the world’s GDP and generates 313 million jobs. WTTC’s new report outlines power and performance rankings which showcase countries that have been most successful in growing their tourism sectors across the board.”
25 April, 2018
Air Italy to start flights to Mumbai from October 2018
As its first route to India, Air Italy is set to begin operations to Mumbai from October 31, 2018. The new service will operate between Mumbai and Milan with an Airbus A330-200, offering 24 flatbed seats in Business Class and 228 seats in Economy Class. This will be the Italy-based airlines’ fourth new international destination to be served from its Milan Malpensa hub. Air Italy will offer five weekly flights between Milan Malpensa and Mumbai and will be the only non-stop flight between Italy and Mumbai. The Milan Malpensa (MXP) flight to Mumbai (BOM) IG 927 will depart at 14:20 hrs and arrives at 02:50 hrs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The Mumbai (BOM) to Milan Malpensa flight (MXP) IG 928 will depart at 04:50 hrs and arrive at 09:20 hrs on the same days.
2 April, 2018
New Branch Office Shimla
The company continues to expand its network. With the opening of the new branch office in Shimla, the Company underlines the strategic importance of Shimla as a popular hill station where local representation is essential.
The new office is located at a prime location in Shimla near the city centre. Sita’s presence in Shimla will ensure that clients are serviced by a specialized team and will also help the company to stay connected with our local hotel partners.
With the addition of the Shimla office, Sita has increased its number of offices to 20 across India and Nepal. The Sita difference can be seen in everything we offer, a strong region -wide infrastructure, expert ground operations, best guide panel to deliver authentic, highly creative destination experience and the ability to obtain preferred rates and conditions while continuously educating suppliers on clients’ needs, quality controls to ensure delivery as promised.
India’s fastest train Gatimaan Express gets route extension, to cover Delhi to Gwalior in less than 4 hours
India`s fastest train Gatimaan Express, running between Hazrat Nizamuddin and Agra Cantt stations, will on Monday extend its services to Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh.
In the first phase the extension has been made up to Gwalior and will further extend up to Jhansi from April 1.
The train will run six days a week except on Friday.
Gatimaan Express, which was flagged off in April 2016, runs at the maximum speed of 160 kmph. However, the stretch after Agra cant will allow Gatimaan Express to ply at a speed of 130 kmph.
Gatimaan Express, covers 200 km distance between Delhi and Agra in 100 minutes. But with the cap in speed beyond Agra, the train will now cover 306 kilometres (between Delhi and Gwalior) in 3 hours 15 minutes.
Equipped with a 5,500 HP electric locomotive, two Executive AC Chair Cars and eight AC Chair Car coaches, the train has a high—power emergency braking system, automatic fire alarm, GPS—based passenger information system and sliding doors in the coaches. The passenger amenities have been enhanced by providing better catering service, improved coach interiors with wide windows, bio—toilets besides free multimedia services enabling passengers to view movies, news and cartoons during their journey. Hotspot devices have been installed at coaches to enable passengers to access multimedia services free of cost directly on their smartphones, tablets or laptops.
14 February, 2018
Launch of Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans
Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans opened its doors on 14 February 2018. Set in relatively undiscovered Havelock Islands, the resort is located on the crescent shaped Radhanagar Beach, reputed to be one of the best beaches in Asia. The hotel has been enveloped in the island habitat with focus on sustainability to create minimal footprint on the natural ecosystem. Fringed by a strip of mangrove, the resort on Havelock is a homage to the secluded Andaman and Nicobar archipelago and its magical medley of rainforests, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, unspoilt beaches and ancient tribal cultures. Designed to showcase and nurture the island’s natural resources, the Havelock island resort is dotted with 72 modern luxury villas on stilts – including a resplendent two storied Presidential Duplex Villa. The modish, 1580 sq. ft. plus residences in sustainable plantation timber, inspired by the ancient Jarawas, imitating the hut thatching of the tribe. The property is located 69 km from Port Blair’s Veer Savarkar International Airport.
23 January, 2018
Annual foreign tourist arrivals cross 10-million mark for 1st time
For the first time, annual foreign tourist arrivals in the country have crossed the 10- million mark in 2017, Tourism Minister K J Alphons said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a function organised by the National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology (NCHMCT) in Noida, the minister said that the sector saw a growth of 15.6 per cent in 2017 over 2016. Tourism in India alone earned $27.7 billion (approximately Rs 1,80,379 crore) in 2017 and contributed 6.88 per cent in the country’s GDP, he said. The sector also contributes 12.36 per cent in terms of total employment.
Source: Times of India
20 January, 2018
Inbound at BW Businessworld MICE Conclave & Awards 2018
The Company received the Best MICE Agency – Inbound at BW Businessworld MICE Conclave & Awards 2018, Powered by BW Hotelier from K.J. Alphons, Minister of State ( IC) for Tourism.
13 October, 2017
Explore Brochure Presentation
Mr. Dipak Deva, MD, Sita India was delighted to present our Explore brochure to K.J. Alphons, Minister of State ( IC) for Tourism, who appreciated the brochure.
13 October, 2017
Spice Jet Introduces Additional Flights
- Spice Jet has introduced additional frequencies on Jaipur – Udaipur – Jaipur, effective 13 October, 2017.
- The airline is also introducing daily direct services between Delhi – Jodhpur – Delhi starting 29 October, 2017.
- Spice Jet will also operate daily direct services between Jaipur – Varanasi – Jaipur starting 29 October, 2017.
Below is the flight schedule for all three sectors.
- Delhi – Jodhpur
- 13:05 hrs
- 14:20 hrs
- Jodhpur – Delhi
- 14:40 hrs
- 15:55 hrs
- Jaipur – Varanasi
- 06:25 hrs
- 08:15 hrs
- Varanasi – Jaipur
- 08:35 hrs
- 10:35 hrs
- Jaipur – Udaipur
- 18:35 hrs
- 19:45 hrs
- Udaipur – Jaipur
- 20:05 hrs
- 20:55 hrs
28 September, 2017
The Company Awarded Best Travel Agency India at 28th Annual TTG Travel Awards 2017
TTG Travel Awards honours the best of the best in the Asia-Pacific travel trade annually. This prestigious travel industry event marks a time for the industry to recognise the exemplary organisations that raise the bar of excellence.
This year at the 28th Annual TTG Travel Awards 2017 the Company received the Best Travel Agency India Award. The Company was voted as the Best Travel Agency – India by the readers of TTG Asia, TTG China, TTG India, TTGmice, TTG-BTmice China, TTGassociations and TTG Asia Luxury this year.
The award was received by Mr. Dipak Deva, Managing Director at a function held in Bangkok on September 28, 2017.
“It is a week of awards for us and I am delighted that Company is being acknowledged at an Asia Pacific platform with the TTG Travel Awards. Our focused marketing initiatives, unique and creative products and a team that is aligned behind an overall objective to retain our position as the No.1 DMC in India is the reason for this recognition,” said Dipak Deva, Managing Director.
27 September, 2017
The Company Receives Honorary Category- Hall of Fame in the National Tourism Awards 2015/2016
Winner of National Tourism Award for the 26th time
The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, presents National Tourism Awards to various segments of the travel and tourism industry every year.
For the last 25 years the Company has received the National Tourism Award in various categories;
Outstanding Performance as Inbound Tour Operator, Responsible Tourism Initiative, Best MICE
Operator and Felicitation for Contribution to the Growth of Inbound Tourism.
This year the company was conferred with an honorary award for Best Inbound Tour Operator, paying tribute to an elite group of National Tourism Award winners who have impressively won the same award at least 3 consecutive times, in the same category.
The awards were given away on 27 September, 2017 by the Ministry of Tourism at a function held in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. On the occasion of World Tourism Day 2017, The Hon’ble President of India, Mr Ram Nath Kovind launched the Incredible India 2.0 Campaign in addition to the new India Tourism website at the event.
Thank you for your contribution in helping us win the prestigious National Tourism Award this year.
25 September, 2017
New Office Location Goa
12 September, 2017
Explore Brochure Launch
Mr. Dipak Deva, MD Sita was delighted to present the first copy of our new brochure, Explore to Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO Niti Aayog.
To order your copy click here