A host of events are lined up by the Air Travellers Association (India) to welcome the first international flight arriving here from Dubai on March 25 and to see off the passengers of the first flight from Visakhapatnam to Dubai, the same evening. The celebrations will begin with the inauguration of a ‘travel mart' by Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao on the Beach Road near YMCA on March 23. AP Tourism Development Corporation, Air India, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, Airports Authority of India, travel agencies, tour operators and institutions dealing with travel will participate in the programme, which will continue till 8 p.m. on March 25. A kite festival on the theme ‘aircrafts' will be held on March 23 in which about 100 persons are expected to participate. A walkathon would be held from the NTR statue to the YSR statue on the Beach Road on March 24 in which about 200 walkers from Walkers International, Lions International, NSS, students of schools and colleges are expected to attend. A total of 25 members of Waltair Cycle Club would participate in the cyclathon from the Rama Krishna Beach to the Airport to welcome the first flight on March 25.

A convention on travel and tourism would be held for invitees only at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel at 11 a.m. on the same day. Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy will participate in the valedictory function.

Cultural programmes would be held on the beach the same evening. The Air India flight to Dubai would be flagged off by the Chief Minister at 6.40 p.m.

A mascot will be launched on March 22 and four helium balloons would be launched at Gajuwaka, Railway Station, and on the Beach Road.

ATA (I) president D. Varada Reddy said that Thai Airlines was keen on introducing direct flights from Visakhapatnam to Bangkok from July this year. He said that the Rs.6,400 fare per person (introductory offer of Air India) from Visakhapatnam to Dubai was applicable to those who book in groups of four or more.

Capt. Sriram Ravi Chander of ATA (I) also spoke.