More London flights to Goa, India for the adventurous

London Gatwick has said that Air India will be launching four new routes to Goa, Ahmedabad, Amritsar and Kochi (Cochin), starting from March 26.

In addition, Air India has also announced five additional services to London Heathrow Airport. These new routes strengthen the established links between the UK – particularly London – and India.

The Indian airline will be operating 12 flights a week between London Gatwick and the four Indian destinations on 787-8 aircraft, with 256 seats across business and economy classes. These include:

* Three flights a week to Goa, on the western coast of India, famed for its beaches and Portuguese heritage

* Three flights a week to Ahmedabad, in western India, and the largest city in the state of Gujarat

* Three weekly flights to Amritsar, the second largest city in the state of Punjab in north-western India

* Three flights a week to Kochi (Cochin), a major port city on the south-western coast, known as the financial, commercial and industrial capital of Kerala

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport said: ‘The arrival of Air India and its four routes to London Gatwick is fantastic news for the airport and passengers across London and the south-east.

‘India not only offers wonderful cities and beach destinations to explore but provides a wealth of opportunities for businesses and wider connectivity. These connections are also hugely important to our local and regional communities, with people looking to visit family and friends across India.’

Tickets for these new flights are now on sale and can be booked via the Air India website.

To Heathrow, Air India will add 5 additional weekly frequencies with Delhi increasing from 14 to 17 times a week and Mumbai from 12 to 14 times a week.

TUI UK announces new destinations for winter 2020

TUI, the UK-based holiday company, has announced its winter 2020 programme from Birmingham Airport with the addition of new destination The Gambia and the reintroduction of holidays to Sharm El Sheikh.

The new direct flights to The Gambia from Birmingham are now on sale with weekly flights operating on a Thursday, with the first flight departing on November 5, 2020. TUI also said that eight hotels are now on sale in The Gambia including in Kotu and Kololi.

Long haul flying from Birmingham airport for winter 2020 will see flights added to the popular winter destination of Goa (India) and new weekly flying days to Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) giving customers more choice.

TUI has holidays to Sharm El Sheikh, with new flights departing from February 2020 to continue to operate on a Wednesday from Birmingham. From May 2020, TUI will offer both 10 and 11 night holidays to Sharm El Sheikh with an extra flight also available on a Sunday. Known for the red sea and beautiful sandy beaches, Sharm El Sheikh boasts hotels including the exclusive 5T TUI Magic Life and the 5T Reef Oasis Blue Bay.

Further, for the winter 2020 programme TUI has added additional flying days across five of its current destinations that depart from Birmingham Airport, including customer favourites Lanzarote (Canaries), Tenerife (Canaries) and Hurghada (Egypt) giving customers from the West Midlands more choice of holiday destinations.

For summer 2021 Birmingham airport will see a further 46,000 additional seats, and the programme will also include additional flying days to Orlando Sanford (Florida).

TUI UK&I’s Director of Aviation Planning, Karen Switzer, said: ‘Earlier this month TUI announced its winter 2020 and summer 2021 holiday programme which has since expanded with more destinations and added flights. We are delighted that the additional flights provide holidaymakers departing from our regional airports with even more choice when deciding where to go away. With additional flying capacity and more than 1,000 hotels already on sale for summer 2021 it gives those planning ahead the opportunity to choose the most suitable airport, destination and hotel.

‘The customer is at the heart of everything we do and this additional growth to some of our customer’s favourite holiday hotspots from Birmingham airport demonstrates our continued commitment for people to discover their smile with us.’

Tom Screen, Aviation Director of Birmingham Airport said: ‘We are delighted to see TUI growing its long-haul route network from Birmingham, with the return of Sharm El Sheikh from February and new services to The Gambia, Goa, Punta Cana next winter. TUI is such a popular and respected brand amongst customers and the travel industry and we are proud to be able to serve these new flights as well as the existing 53 destinations available with TUI from Birmingham.’

Goa government opens travel mart in Panaji

The government of Goa has opened its tourism event, India Travel Mart (ITM), in Panaji, Goa.

The three-day travel and tourism event is to showcase tourism development and available tourism options in the area. It was inaugurated in Panaji on Friday by chairman of the Goa tourism development corporation (GTDC) Nilesh Cabral. The event is being attended by representatives of various states including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Pondicherry.

The minister said that the event would look to provide opportunities for travellers to learn about various tourist destinations in Goa. They would also receive information on tourist packages that are on offer in the state. The minister said that Goa was planning to kick start tourism road shows all over India soon and is immediately planning such an event in Himachal Pradesh.

The minister also said that the state was planning to attract more tourists by offering activities and more tourism attractions that deviate from the traditional fare that the state has been offering to date. This includes new activity-based attractions that are expected to keep visitors engaged in the events.

The ITM event would provide tourists with detailed information on a wide variety of attractive packages and unique tourist destinations for the winter season. For example, tourists who are not familiar with important festivals in India such as Dusshera, Diwali etc, would get a chance to know them in detail. There would also be events associated with more globally popular festivals such as Christmas, New Year etc.

The minister also said that the venue would allow tourists and business travellers to get good bargains on travel packages and hotel rates. This year, the highlights of ITM would be pilgrimage tourism, adventure tourism, eco tourism, health tourism and wildlife tourism. Authorities are offering free entry during the three days from 11AM to 7M local time.