Friday, June 29, 2012

Important Info and Tips for Students on Flights to India

There is no denying the fact that India is one of the most exotic holiday hotspots in world that has caught the fancy of almost every holiday maker. However, with world-class institutes, and enriching and cost-effective courses, educational tourism is perhaps the current hot tourism trend in India.

The country simply teems with globally recognized universities that offer enriching courses at a fraction of price of what is charged in many other parts of the world! Quite unsurprisingly, an increasingly high number of overseas students are happily spending on flights to India!

Studying in India is much more affordable and that includes the cost of cheap flights to India. While cost-effectiveness remains a significant reason for Indian study tour, the prolific usage of English language especially adds to the popularity of the educational tourism in India.

Besides the colleges and institutions, students are often seen in a lookout for cheap flights to India for historical and cultural trips, wildlife tours and spiritual breaks to get up-close with real India. With so much and more on offer, it is hardly surprising why cheap airline tickets to India are such a hot commodity amongst student travellers!

The sheer abundance of courses and universities may easily flummox student travellers on flights to India. Read on for some valuable money saving tips to score gratifying educational breaks to India and save a good deal of money.
  • Book with airlines that offer discounted tickets to students.
  • Hire travel agents who offer lucrative student travel package deals to India.
  • Seek cheap accommodations like hostel, dormitories, rental apartments and self-service apartments.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gulf Air unveils special Ramadan fares

Gulf Air has announced that it will offer passengers travelling from Saudi Arabia special deals on fares throughout the holy month of Ramadan.

Until June 30th, people planning to visit destinations in the Middle East, Europe, South Asia and the Far East throughout Ramadan and beyond can enjoy heavily discounted fares by booking online or in-person.

Despite Ramadan beginning on July 20th this year, travellers will be eligible for these discounts if they book a holiday between July 18th and October 18th.

Gulf Air country manager Rashed Al-Qeaoud revealed that the airline decided to introduce the offer to help expatriate Muslims from the region visit their families to observe a month of fasting.


Air India to start flying between Madurai and Kochi

Air India is set to launch a flight service between Kochi and Madurai in a move which could significantly boost tourism in the two cities.

From 1st July, the national carrier is set to begin running an ATR aircraft service with a capacity of 72 passengers between the two destinations.

The new flights will connect Madurai, also known as the Temple City, to a number of foreign destinations as airlines from across the world all operate from Kochi.

BSG Musthafa, president of regional travel operator the Travel Club, told the Times of India: "October to January is found to be the season where a large number of foreign tourists visit India, and Kerala and Madurai are their favourite destinations.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

India sets out tourism goals

India has set out its goals for boosting tourism, as it targets a one per cent share of the world's tourist arrivals.

At a meeting of the Tourism Advisory Council, union tourism minister Shri Subodh Kant Sahai said that Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) to India during 2011 were 6.29 million, up 8.9 per cent on 2010's figure of 5.78 million.

This growth rate is much higher than the global average of 4.4 per cent and in the first six months of this year, the figure has reached 7.8 per cent.

In order to ensure this continues, the minister outlined a number of strategies the country is taking.

“We have recently appointed a creative agency to develop new strategies and campaigns for promoting tourism world-wide," he said.


Singapore Airlines to up flights to Australia

Singapore Airlines is set to increase the number of flights it operates to Australia as it looks to increase its presence in the country.

Currently, the airline runs 102 flights a week but it is planning to boost this figure to 112 by the end of this year, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

It currently runs flights to five Australian airports and Singapore Airlines' regional vice-president Subhas Menon told the newspaper that it will focus on expanding capacity Down Under and in China over the year due to the strength of the two nation's economies.

''We see both of those markets as growing in terms of prominence in our network, as well as areas that we have identified as future growth centres,'' he said.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Farmer's cooking starts tourist boom in northern India

A farmer has been responsible for a remarkable tourism boom in northernmost India.

Mani Ram of Jana village near Manali in the remote district of Kullu has been wooing visitors with his desi (traditional) food, the Times of India reports.

A decade ago, only a handful of tourists would pass through the area, but thanks to Mr Ram's efforts, Jana has become something of a destination.

"I used to invite my foreigner friends to taste my desi food 11 years ago, who themselves advertised this place and people started searching for me. [The] number of my customers has increased from less than five in 2002 to more than 300 today and it is increasing every year," he told the news provider.


Amazing Thailand Grand Sale underway

The 14th annual Amazing Thailand Grand Sale (ATGS) is in full swing, with the Tourism Authority of Thailand hoping that 15,000 retailers will take part.

The event, which celebrates Thailand as a premier shopping destination, is being held between June 15th and August 15th in seven major cities: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Samui Island, Hat Yai, and Phuket.

Somboon Krobteeranon, country manager for Visa Thailand, which is sponsoring the ATGS, said: "Thailand is renowned as one of the best shopping destinations in the world.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Visit the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is a fantastic attraction for the whole family, located in the very heart of the emirate.

You can have all sorts of fun experiences at the impressive venue, including rides on glass bottom boats that let you peer into the water below; cage snorkeling; shark dives; and animal feeding.

The ten million-litre Aquarium Tank is the world's largest suspended aquarium. Situated in the Dubai Mall, it is home to all manner of sea creatures, including 400 sharks and rays. The 51-metre tank also boasts the largest collection of sand tiger sharks anywhere on the planet.


Cairns: where the forest meets the sea

Cairns in north-east Australia has the enviable position of being sandwiched between the beautiful blue waters of the Coral Sea to the east and the lush tropical paradise of the rainforest to the west.

Just north of Cairns lies the forest town of Kuranda, which acts as the hub for tourist activities in the area.

Highlights of the Kuranda region include the roaring Barron Falls, which is a raging torrent during the wet season but can run completely dry during less wet months, the Kuranda scenic railway and the Skyrail cable car, which provides an incredible aerial view of the densely packed trees below.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Film celebrates Ahmedabad kite festival

An Indian movie called Patang directed by Prashant Bhargava, which opens in the US this week, tells the story of a businessman from New Delhi who returns with his daughter to his childhood home, Ahmedabad, for its annual kite festival.

This real life event takes place every year on January 14th to mark the day in the Hindu calendar when winter turns to summer - known as Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan.

Taking place across the Ahmedabad - which hosts the International Kite Festival - and other towns in the state of Gujarat, the skies of western India are filled with thousands of kites from dawn until dusk during Uttarayan.


Discover rooftop living in Melbourne

Melbourne, like any urban setting worth its salt, has learned to be creative in its use of space and holidaymakers visiting the city will have a chance to discover this first-hand, with the rooftop bars, restaurants and cinemas that come alive in the summer.

According to Tourism Australia, you can enjoy drinks, live music and movies beneath the impressive city skyline, with a growing number of rooftop venues springing up across Melbourne.

Particularly on the banks of the Yarra, visitors will find rooftop eateries offering delicious food and drink alongside exquisite views of the river and its banks below.

It recommends a trip to Bourke Street for authentic alfresco Italian dining at Tuscan Bar and a cocktail or two at the tropical bar, as well as an enjoyable garden tea party in true 19th-century style.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bhaderwah set to host tourism-cum-cultural festival

Bhaderwah, a town in the Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir in India, is set to host a tourism-cum-cultural festival to celebrate the natural beauty and action-adventure that is on offer in the region.

Taking place between June 24th and 27th, the District Administration of Doda and the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department will be hosting various events including a 'mushaira' - a gathering of poets - the Press Trust of India reports.

For the adventurous, the Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering will be on hand to introduce visitors to the sports of paragliding, river crossing, rappelling and tree climbing against the stunning natural backdrop that defines the region.


Sebastian Vettel confirmed for Bangkok ROC event

Reigning Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel has confirmed he will be showing off his supreme driving skills in Bangkok this December at the 25th Race of Champions (ROC) event.

For the past five years Vettel has joined forces with fellow countryman Michael Schumacher to take Team Germany to victory in the ROC Nations Cup and the Red Bull driver says he is excited about this year's location change.

"I've never been to Thailand before so I'm very much looking forward to having the Race of Champions in Bangkok," he said.

This will be only the second time the competition has been held outside Europe, following in the footsteps of Beijing in 2009, and minister of tourism and sports Chumpol Silapa-archa is also keen to see motor racing's flagship event come to Thailand.


Monday, June 18, 2012

ATRA releases airline safety rankings

The Air Transport Rating Agency (ATRA) has published its list of the world's safest airlines.

Using 2010 data, it rated the airlines using 15 different factors and came up with a top ten featuring six carriers from North America, three from Europe and one from Australia, the Economist reports.

Included on the list are Air France-KLM, Delta Airlines, Lufthansa and Qantas.

As well as safety, French-Dutch company Air France-KLM is currently working on improving customer service by introducing in-flight connectivity on selected Boeing 777-300 aircraft.

This will give customers wireless internet access and the opportunity to send texts and receive emails.


Christchurch gets Ministry of Awesome

Ministries normally have grand and serious sounding titles such as Ministry of Defence or Ministry of Justice, but Christchurch in New Zealand now has a rather more interesting sounding department: The Ministry of Awesome.

The non-governmental organisation has been established by "a group of rabble-rousers" who are aiming to bring new life to the south island city.

Through its website the organisation gives people a chance to log on and share their awesome ideas for Christchurch.

Suggestions so far include turning every bike rack in the city into a sculpture and a drive in cinema.

"We've got to have these crazy elements in Christchurch, these really interesting things that are going to attract people here," said Awesome member Sam Johnson.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Sydney gets a craving for food

Top chefs from across the globe will descend on New South Wales in Australia for the annual Crave Sydney International Food Festival in October.

The month-long celebration of food will underscore Sydney's reputation as a global dining destination - something which is complemented by the abundance of great regional wines on offer from areas like Hunter Valley, which is less than 100 miles away.

A highlight of Crave will be the World Chef Showcase taking place on October 6th and 7th, featuring the likes of Massimo Bottura, the highest-ranked chef in Italy, and Jordi Roca from Spain. The Roca brother's El Celler de Can Roca was ranked second on the World's 50 Best Restaurants 2012 list.

"Everyone loves the World Chef Showcase, from our top chefs through to serious food-lovers, for amazing presentations by our wonderful stars," explained festival director Joanna Savill.


Puri gearing up for Ratha Yatra: the Festival of Chariots

The beach city of Puri in the east Indian state of Orissa is gearing up for the spectacularly colourful Ratha Yatra 'Festival of Chariots', which takes place later this month.

On June 21, more than 700,000 people are expected to descend on Puri to pull the chariots bearing the figures of Lord Jagannatha, Lady Subhadra and Lord Balarama, the Times of India reports.

In order to further promote the area, the government is set to unveil a new logo and slogan for the city, which is rumoured to read "Green Puri, Clean Puri".

This campaign has impressed local businesses that are keen to see more visitors coming to the city.

"Now we are hopeful that more tourists would come to Puri," explained Debasis Kumar, the vice-president of the Hotel Association of Puri.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Passengers to get connected with Air France and KLM

Air France and KLM are launching an in-flight connectivity programme on board their long-haul flights, with trials of the service beginning early next year.

The French-Dutch company Air France-KLM says that, once the service goes live, customers on selected Boeing 777-300 aircraft will be able to connect wirelessly to the internet via their smartphone, laptop or tablet PC at a fixed rate, as well as use their mobile phone for sending texts and using email.

An in-flight website will offer the latest news, TV channels, destination information and magazines.

This trial run forms part of a long-term strategy to offer in-flight connectivity across the group's entire long-haul fleet.

"Being permanently connected is now part of our customers' daily lifestyles," said Christian Herzog, senior vice-president of marketing at Air France-KLM.


Plans unveiled for huge tower in South Africa

Visitors to South Africa could soon be enjoying a unique and dizzying perspective of the country from 447 metres up, after plans were unveiled for a huge skyscraper.

Once built, Centurion Symbio-City would rank inside the top ten tallest skyscrapers in the world and dwarf structures such as London's the Shard, which stands at just over 300m high.

Plans for the development in Centurion, located between Pretoria and Johannesburg, show a complex consisting of three towers, the tallest of which is split into two columns - one topped by a roof garden and swimming pool.

As well as this truly spectacular pool, visitors will be able to visit shops and restaurants, while the whole site will be encircled by a moat with fountains spraying up giant jets of water to add a bit of Las Vegas glamour.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Tamil Nadu creating new facilities for tourists

The Indian state of Tamil Nadu is hoping to see an influx of tourists after the implementation of its Vision 2023 plan.

As part of the scheme, the government has allocated a significant pot of money for the construction of hotels (including four and five star premises), amusement parks and eco parks, the Times of India reports.

"If India is to realise its enormous potential in this sector, we must provide world-class facilities matched with technology qualified workforce to our guests," said Kalyani Mathivanan.

Tamil Nadu, whose capital is Chennai, lies at the southernmost tip of India and even before these additions already has a number of spectacular highlights which draw in many thousands of tourists.


Etihad airways buys part of Virgin Australia

Abu Dhabi airline Etihad Airways has purchased a four per cent stake in domestic carrier Virgin Australia.

It brought this share for $35.6m (£23.1m) and is reportedly keen to purchase as much as 10 per cent of the company, the BBC said.

The move is part of the airline's plan to expand its global operations by partnering with various airlines around the world.

Manchester City's sponsors have previously invested in Germany's Air Berlin, taking on a 30 per cent stake, Air Seychelles, of which it now owns 40 per cent, and a small share in Ireland's Aer Lingus.

James Hogan, chief executive of Etihad, said: "We're building a strong business model. And part of that business model is partnerships.

"Where we see opportunities to improve our business, stretch our networks and take out costs... we'll consider those accordingly."


Social seating plans: The future of flying

The days of having to suffer a long flight stuck next to a passenger with whom you don't get on could soon be over as more and more airlines move towards social seating plans.

As there's nothing worse than sitting down next to a screaming child who won't let you finish your important presentation or being a sociable person and getting stuck next to someone who only wants to sleep, several airlines are already trying to customise in-flight seating.

Malaysia Airlines offers a MHbuddy Facebook app which lets you book flights with friends and check in directly on Facebook, see the picture and seat number of friends travelling on the same flight as you and meet up with friends who will be at your destination.