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PTDC launches campaign to promote winter tourism

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) Friday launched a campaign to promote winter tourism in the country.

In first phase, children of different villages were taken to Tarbela Dam, where they enjoyed boat ride and beautiful surroundings.

Talking to media, General Manager Ali Akbar Malik said PTDC has initiated a campaign to create tourism awareness in younger generations.  PTDC has launched special discounted tour packages for students and families to various tourist places and lakes in the different areas of the country. He said that online booking system of PTDC motels has started and they were being introduced with modern facilities.

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Turkish-German carrier eyes expansion to back tourism

ANKARA (AA): Turkish-German carrier Sun Express will offer a record high capacity of 6.4 million seats inits international flights for summer 2019. The airlines will also significantly expand its flight frequencies between Turkey and Europe, it said in a statement.

Antalya-based SunExpress was founded as a joint venture of Turkish Airlines and Germany’s Lufthansa in 1989. The carrier flies to 90 destinations in more than 30 countries. SunExpress CEO Jens Bischof said that the company will operate direct flights from 16 points in Turkey to 36 destinations in Europe with adding new routes in the upcoming summer.

He remarked that the carrier offered 5 million seats to the touristic regions of Turkey last summer season.

“We will now continue to support Turkish tourism to get back to record breaking numbers in 2019,” said Bischof. The statement also said that the company will also start connecting Dalaman and Bodrum to Europe by March 2019.

The carrier will add new Anatolian destinations to its flight network as direct scheduled flights to Anatolia is the fastest growing market of SunExpress. Pointing the importance of Turkish customers living in Europe, Bischof said: “Compared to last summer, we will offer 30 percent or almost 1 million more seats to this beautiful part of Turkey.”

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Australia’s 7-kilogram cabin bag limit enforced by airlines

SYDNEY (CNN): Flying home for the December holidays can be a stressful experience, with passengers carrying gifts for their nearest and dearest as well as their own luggage.

Now Australian airlines have announced a renewed push to enforce hand luggage weight limits at the busiest time of the year.

Both Virgin Australia and Qantas have told domestic passengers that their hand luggage will be weighed at various points in the journey to ensure that it complies with seven-kilogram (15-pound) limit.

Budget airlines such as Tigerair Australia and Jetstar already weigh hand luggage for all passengers.

“As an industry, we’re seeing many passengers trying to bring everything but the kitchen sink on domestic flights which is causing flight delays as well as safety issues for cabin crew, ground crew and passengers,” said Paul Woosnam, General Manager Ground Operations at Virgin Australia, in a statement to CNN.

A Qantas spokeswoman told CNN that regular fliers have told the airline that passengers need to be reminded about the cabin baggage limit

Qantas rolled out a system of stricter checks from late November, while Virgin Australia announced that it would step up enforcement from December 10.

“We’re seeing injuries to our cabin crew caused by closing overhead lockers full of heavy baggage, shifting bags in overhead lockers to assist guests finding space and assisting passengers with lifting their bags into the overhead compartments,” said Woosnam.

“We also want to get our passengers away to their destination on time, and more and more we’re seeing flights being delayed due to cabin baggage issues.”

The drive to improve compliance is supported by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority, which says that “preventing non-compliant hand luggage from entering an aircraft is an important safety role of ground and cabin staff.”

Virgin Australia’s standard allowance includes up to 30 kilograms of luggage, including a checked bag of up to 23 kilograms and a seven-kilogram cabin bag. Each passenger is also allowed a laptop bag, suit bag or handbag.

Domestic Qantas passengers flying in economy class can check in a bag weighing up to 30 kilograms, plus two cabin bags weighing up to seven kilograms each.

The airlines will be putting on extra ground crew as part of the push over the holiday period.

“Christmas is an incredibly busy time of year for us so we do encourage anyone traveling over the holiday period and beyond to familiarize themselves with the carry-on allowances to help get them to their destination safely and on time,” said Woosnam.

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GDA issues traffic advisory for tourists

F.P. Report

ABBOTTABAD: The Galyat Development Authority has issued traffic advisory for tourists in the wake of first snowfall of current winter season. The spokesman of GDA said snowfall still continues and additional staff was deployed for assistance of tourists.

The Director General has directed staff to utilize all available resources and provide best facilities and assistance to tourists. The spokesman requested tourists to use petrol vehicles while travelling in Galayat areas and avoid wrong car parking. The tourists were further requested to contact control room No 09929310423 for any information.

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Railways to launch three tourist trains soon

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Railways is planning to launch three tourist trains soon with an aim to promote tourism in the country under the directives of Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

“The tourist trains with steam engines will be operated between Rawalpindi- Taxila, Peshawar-Attock Bridge, and Karachi-Keenjhar Lake” an official in the Ministry of Railways told APP. He said launch of these trains would help Pakistan Railways to earn extra revenue.

To a question , he said that different departments of federal and provincial government had to pay Rs 2715.41 million to Pakistan Railways on account of freight and level crossing maintenance Charges, etc. Giving details, he said Pakistan Railways has total outstanding amount against the departments of federal government is Rs 945.009 million and Rs. 1770.401 million against the provincial government departments.

He said that federal departments including Defence has to pay Rs 831.082 million on account of freight and level crossing maintenance charges, National Highway Rs 55.464 million of level crossing and maintenance authority charges, Postal Rs 19.994 million of land charges, Post Master General Rs 17.055 million of freight charges, State Bank of Pakistan Rs 12.799 million of freight charges and Controller General of Accounts, Islamabad Rs 8.615 million of pension share.

The outstanding amount against provincial department including Food, Communication and Works, Irrigation, Police and Local Government and Community Development (Municipalities TMAs, TMOs etc, he added.

He said that Pakistan Railways had to receive Rs 371.490 million from different departments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Rs 1228.872 from Punjab, Rs 146.208 million of Sindh and Rs 23.831 million from Balochistan government departments.

The official said that the provincial government departments had to pay outstanding amount on account of level crossing and maintenance charges, passion share and land charges.

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Turkey’s cultural expenditure on rise in 2017

ANKARA (AA): Turkey spent 44 billion Turkish liras ($12 billion) for cultural activities in 2017, with 19.4-percent rise from the previous year, the nation’s statistical authority said on Friday.

The government expenditures amounted to 64.2 percent of sum while the rest — 35.8 percent — was spent by private bodies, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).

“The ratio of cultural expenditures to gross domestic product remained same in 2017 compared to 1.4 percent in 2016,” the TurkStat said.

General government cultural spending reached 28.3 billion Turkish liras ($7.8 billion) last year, up 26.1 percent on a yearly basis.

The institute said that the cultural expenditures for household increased by 8.7 percent year-on-year to reach 15.3 billion liras in 2017.

Most of the household expenditure was made on television-TV broadcasting with 31.2 percent.

It was followed by books, newspapers and magazines with 14.7 percent, and wired/private TV broadcasting service charges with 12 percent. Data processing equipment got 10.9 percent, while stationery and drawing materials had 10.1 percent and cinema, theater and concert 5.6 percent share.

Cultural goods exports up 28.9 percent

Turkey’s exports of cultural goods rose 28.9 percent from 19.1 billion Turkish liras ($6.3 billion) in 2016 to 24.7 billion Turkish liras ($6.8 billion) in 2017, according to data.

Cultural goods’ share of Turkey’s overall exports was 4.3 percent last year.

Handcrafts took the lion’s share of Turkish cultural good exports in 2017 with generating 17.9 billion Turkish liras ($4.9 billion) of revenue.



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Investments needed to draw more tourists

DJIBOUTI (AA): Tourism only contributes 3 percent of GDP in the small Horn of Africa country of Djibouti, and more investment is needed to boost this figure, Djibouti’s top tourism official told reporters on Thursday.

Although Djibouti has a lot to offer tourists, with its sandy beaches, pristine coral reefs, and cultural and historical attractions, dramatic investments in infrastructure facilities are needed to draw visitors and diversify the economy, Osman Abdi Mohammed, the head of Djibouti’s National Tourism Office, said on the sidelines of the second Djibouti International Trade Fair.

With the resumption of Air Djibouti passenger flights in 2016, the 2018 inauguration of the new Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, the construction of two new international airports, and the modernization of the current airport, the country has taken important steps to develop its international connectivity, he said.

Djibouti’s economy depends largely on providing port services to its larger neighbor, Ethiopia, which has a population of over 100 million, over 100 times the size of Djibouthi’s.

According to Mohammed, within five years his office plans to increase the number of tourists coming to Djibouti from the current annual figure of 140,000 to half a million.

He added that the government is speaking with Ethiopia about harmonizing the two countries’ tour operation systems.

Separately, high-profile Djibouti officials attended the inauguration of a modern recreational facility by an Ethiopian investor on Thursday.

Tadios Tafesse, the owner of Kuriftu Resorts, said there was a good opportunity for Djibouti and Ethiopia to cooperate in the tourism sector.


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Turkish airports host nearly 197m passengers in Jan-Nov

ANKARA (AA): Turkish airports hosted nearly 197 million passengers on both domestic and international flights in January-November this year, the airport authority reported on Thursday.

The General Directorate of State Airports Authority (DHMI) said the number of passengers passing through Turkish airports in the 11-month period climbed 9.7 percent on a yearly basis.

Official figures showed that 46.7 percent of the total passengers travelled on international flights.

Among 56 airports in the country, Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on the European side was the most active one with some 63 million passengers — nearly 18 million passengers on domestic flights and 45 million passengers on international flights.

The second busiest airport was Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the city’s Anatolian side with around 31.5 million passengers, marking a 9-percent hike over the same period.

The airports in in the Mediterranean holiday resort city of Antalya (30.7 million), the capital Ankara (15.6 million), and the Aegean province of Izmir with 12.5 million passengers followed Istanbul’s airports.

DHMI also said that total aircraft traffic in Turkish airspace — including overflights — surged 6 percent to reach 1.87 million flights, while a total of 3.54 million tons of freight — baggage, cargo, mail — was carried in the same period.


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Sri Lanka’s political crisis spurs tourists

COLOMBO (Reuters): Sri Lanka’s travel industry is starting to suffer the fallout of a political crisis in the middle of its peak tourist season, as uncertainty prompts cancellations by both business and leisure visitors. Tourism makes up about 5 percent of the Indian Ocean island’s $87-billion economy, but the president’s sacking of the prime minister late in October triggered a crisis that credit rating agencies say has already hit economic prospects.

“We have cancellations in the region of about 20 percent,” said Chandra Mohotti, a manager at the luxury Galle Face Hotel in the capital, Colombo, which has about 200 rooms.




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Emirates introduces diamond studded plane

DUBAI (Timeout Dubai): Emirates revealed a diamond emblazoned plane, on Wednesday.

While the actual picture has not yet been aired, a mock-up image created by artist Sarah Shakeel was shared by the airline last night.

‘Incomparable’ $50 mn pink diamond smashes record at Geneva auction

The picture shows a dazzling plane parked under a starlit sky, which gives us just a glimpse of how this plane goes far beyond first class travelling.

And people were in fact, bedazzled. Several commented on the airline’s page appraising the plane for its ‘christmassy‘ outlook and most were tempted to board plane- a literal Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, but much to their dismay such a design does not actually exist and granted the artist’s creative aspirations, such an aircraft is yet to be seen. Rather, experienced.

However, the airline offers several cutting-edge features and onboard luxuries which hopefully make up for this rich publicity stunt.

This article originally appeared in TimeOut Dubai.