IT is the first time an Indian state has signed a tourism collaboration agreement with the airline sector. Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, and strategic partner Jet Airways, India’s full-service premium international carrier, have signed a ground-breaking agreement with the government of Maharashtra to promote tourism to the western Indian state. The partnership will enable both airlines to capitalise on their strong links with Maharashtra and propel domestic and international arrivals into the state capital Mumbai and beyond.
Under the agreement, the three entities will pool marketing resources to participate in travel-trade events in key international markets such as the UK and the UAE; jointly promote ‘Destination Maharashtra’ through advertising campaigns; and organise inbound familiarisation trips for media and travel agents. Etihad Airways and Jet Airways are key contributors to India’s thriving travel and tourism sector carrying the biggest combined share of international traffic to and from India with one in five travellers choosing either carrier.
James Hogan, Etihad Aviation Group president and chief executive officer, adds: “Being part of one of the world’s largest economies, Maharashtra has plenty to offer business and leisure travellers. We are therefore delighted to expand our links to promote tourism to this vibrant state, which we have been serving with dedicated flights for 13 years. Our combined operation with Jet Airways between Abu Dhabi and Mumbai, complemented by Jet’s widespread domestic services, is further testament to the importance of Maharashtra on our route map”
Mumbai, the international gateway to Maharashtra, is the country’s financial hub and home to numerous museums, architectural heritage and Bollywood, the world’s largest film industry in terms of movie production. Etihad Airways has carried more than two million guests on the route over the past 13 years with key inbound markets including Abu Dhabi, London, New York, San Francisco and Chicago.
Etihad Airways’ Indian network to and from Abu Dhabi covers 11 cities that also includes Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. Jet Airways offers the additional Indian cities of Pune, Lucknow, Mangalore and Goa to Abu Dhabi, as well as numerous domestic connections. Combined, both carriers operate over 250 flights each week between Abu Dhabi and 15 Indian cities.
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