There were plenty incidents in the world of Travel & leisure this year that made headlines around the world.
Incidences like the Lion Air flight 610 crash in October & the US Supreme Court’s decision in favour of Trumps travel ban shocked people globally.
But there was good news too & plenty of it!
As the year comes to an end, here’s a look at all things good in 2018 that made us believe that travel is becoming better each passing year.
1.Saudi Arabia Opens Up To The World
Saudi Arabia for a long time was off limits for leisure travellers, however, this year they started issuing tourist visas.
Earlier, one could only visit the country on pilgrimage, business and on being invited by family members who are residents in the country. It also finally allowed its women to get behind the wheel.
2.In-flight Connectivity Will Soon Become A Reality In India
In December, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) finally allowed the use of internet and calling services on airplanes under the Indian Flight and Maritime Connectivity Rules (IFMC), 2018.
The Government’s “In-flight Connectivity Scheme” will allow flyers to make calls and access internet through their phones during air travel within Indian territory.
It is still unclear as to how airlines will implement this and what will be the cost, however with this decision, Indian aviation took a step forward in making life easier for
3.Sikkim Gets Its 1st Airport, India’s 100th
The Beautiful north eastern state got its 1st airport and India got its 100th airport. An absolute stunner, Pakyong Airport is built into the side of lush green cliff at a height of 4,500ft above sea.
The airport wears a boutique charm, helped by the fact that it can only accept about 50 passengers at a time who will arrive in tiny ATR aircraft.
4.India’s 1st Domestic Luxury Cruise Sets Sail
Angriya, India’s first domestic luxury cruise set sail from the Purple Gate of Mumbai’s Indira Docks to Mormugao in South Goa.
If the sweeping views aren’t enough, the cruise boasts six decks, 104 cabins and an infinity pool, and has the capacity to ferry 399 passengers.
5.Singapore Airlines Relaunches The World’s Longest Flight
The race to fly the world’s longest flight was won by Singapore Airlines, when it introduced a non-stop, 18-hr-30-min Singapore-New York flight.
Since the time in the air can feel long, the aircraft has done away with Economy class, and has only Business and Premium Economy.
6.Heli-Taxis Took Off In India
If you’ve stayed in this southern city you’d know that Bengaluru’s traffic is so bad and its airport so far, it makes sense to fly from the airport.
Well this became a reality as south India’s first commercial heli-taxi service took off. The service from the airport to Electronics City replaces the two-hour drive with a 15-minute flight.
Up north, another heli taxi service allows you to cover the 120km or three-hour journey from Chandigarh to Shimla in just 20 minutes now.
7.Some Indians Can Now Go To Pakistan Without A Visa
Sikh devotees will not have to offer their prayers from the other side of border anymore.
In December, Pakistan inaugurated work on the Kartarpur Corridor, which will give some Indian citizens visa-free access to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Punjab, Pakistan, from Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district.
8. Myanmar and Zimbabwe Open Visa On Arrival For Indian Citizens
The next time you crave khao suey or wish to go on a safari for that matter, you can just get on a flight, as Myanmar and Zimbabwe began rolling out visas on arrival to Indian travellers.
Getting visas to Oman, Uzbekistan and UAE also became a bit easier.
9. No more Elephant Rides In Jim Corbett & Rajaji Tiger Reserve
In August, the Uttarakhand High Court banned the use of elephants for safaris and joy rides, stating that the government should not be a mute spectator to such exploitation.
The court also ordered a cap on the number of vehicles deployed on safaris to keep the sanctity of the reserve intact.
10.India Officially Becomes The Fastest Growing Aviation Hub In The World
A report given by International Air Transportation Association (IATA) shows that India’s air connectivity grew the fastest at 114 percent in the five-year period from 2013-2018.
In recent years, many foreign as well as Indian carriers have commenced flights to and from various Indian cities, making it the fastest growing domestic aviation market in the world as well.