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april 2013

magazine Vol 13 Issue 04

Pages 72

A MONTHLY ON HOSPITALITY TRADE

`50

By DDP Publications

Rising from the ashes A Perspective on ITDC

Tents &

Camps Eastern flavours ‘Sakae Sushi’ for good Japanese & Pan-Asian food

A fantastic canvas

The Leela Palace New Delhi Creating luxury benchmark

Tented accommodations evolving for niche travellers on demand

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Hospitality Trends by

Cornell


April 2013 Cover Story

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Opting tents to stay Distinct accommodation products have made a mark in hospitality and tented options are being considered unique. It is one which is niche, offers a comfortable stay in a remote location and are offered with many facilities comparable to the best of mid scale hotels. Picture on the cover: Monsoon Forest by Mohit Midha CEO, www.ihatecities.com

44 Cover Story

contents THIS MONTH

President’s Message Secretary’s Message FHRAI Desk News Updates Movements Products & Services Events

7 9 10 22 60 62 64

FEATURES

22 News You Can Use

50 Explore: Best Western Premier La Marvella

Report 32 Best rates at home The Hotel Price Index (HPI) report by Hotels.com states that Indians get the best value at hotel room rates domestically Conference 34 Hi-Aim 2013 The second edition of Hi-Aim in 2013 was held in New Delhi on March 21-22.The ‘conference + exposition’ was aimed at creating a knowledge base for the hospitality owners, designers and architects Dine Out 36 Eastern flavours Singapore-based brand ‘Sakae Sushi’ fills the void of a good Japanese & Pan-Asian restaurant which has entered India with its first outlet in the Capital

36 Dine Out: Sakae Sushi

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president’s message

Dear fellow members,

A

The launch of a web Public Service Delivery System (PSDS) for Hotel Approval and Classification will serve as a milestone in institutionalising an efficient mechanism for granting approvals for hotel projects and classification status to functioning hotels in a time-bound and transparent manner

t the outset, I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, for working closely with the Planning Commission and convincing it to approve an allocation of `15,190 crores for the Tourism sector in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17). This represents a near three-fold increase over the outlay of `5,156 crores under the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-2012) and had been the key thrust of a high-level presentation given by the Union Tourism Minister to the Hon’ble Prime Minister in June 2011 on the economic imperative of Tourism.

online proposals. The MOT plans to explore introducing such systems in other spheres as well, to infuse greater accountability in its own functioning and decision-making. We welcome this commitment to cut red tape and adopt the latest technology to streamline delivery of Government-to-Business (G2B) services.

In another positive development for our industry, the Hon’ble Minister of Tourism, Dr. K Chiranjeevi launched a web-based Public Service Delivery System (PSDS) for Hotel Approval and Classification on April 3, 2013. At the launch event, where I was requested to articulate the industry’s perspective, I expressed to the Hon’ble Minister our confidence that this innovative initiative will serve as a milestone in institutionalising an efficient mechanism for granting approvals for hotel projects and classification status to functioning hotels in a time-bound and transparent manner.

Hotel Classification, although entirely voluntary, is a powerful tool for the industry to provide assurance to our valued guests and patrons on certain uniform standards of amenities and services across various star categories. This assists informed consumer choice and enables hotels to offer a differentiated value proposition to their target market segments. With the growing maturity of the Indian hospitality industry and our increasingly discerning clientele, it has been a shared goal of the Ministry of Tourism and FHRAI to further strengthen our system of hotel classification. Forward-looking measures such as the PSDS which can fasttrack the administrative processes involved will incentivise even more establishments to transition from the unorganised category to the classified segment.

With the help of this system, all applicants will henceforth be able to track the progress of their cases online on a real time basis. The Ministry has also announced that now onwards, all applications will be examined by its officials within 15 working days from receipt to completion. Thereafter, all hotel inspections will be scheduled within the next 15 working days. The recommendations of the Hotel and Restaurants Approval & Classification Committee (HRACC) will be communicated on the spot to the applicant and these recommendations will also be put on the website along with the final decision within 10 days of the inspection. The new system will effectively resolve the unnecessary delay and uncertainties which our members often had to face at the project approval stage and at the time of classification/reclassification. This would also pave the way for them to secure timely approvals and requisite licenses from other agencies as well. The Minister has stated that in due course, the Tourism Ministry would move towards an e-regime and also accept e-applications and

I urge all members to take full advantage of this unique facility, which is available on the website http://tourismpmis.nic.in/scripts/ hotel/hotelhome.aspx and share your feedback with us.

FHRAI is simultaneously pursuing with the Ministry, the need to review its current Guidelines for Hotel Classification/Reclassification. Our detailed recommendations in this regard, take into account widely accepted international norms and best practices, and also address the genuine practical constraints and technical limitations which our members encounter in adhering to certain provisions which are mandatory as per the present criteria. We are greatly heartened by the tremendous support and encouragement extended by our members to FHRAI’s strong, principled stand in demanding a complete roll-back of the service tax which has been imposed on all airconditioned restaurants w.e.f April 1, 2013. With the exemplary cooperation and assistance of our Regional Associations, we have reached out to top leaders across the political spectrum, in order to seek a broad consensus in the continued on page 10...


Chairman Publications Sub-committee Vijai Pande - vijaipandit@yahoo.co.in Editor Deepa Sethi - deepa@ddppl.com Assistant Editor Sanjeev Bhar - sanjeev@ddppl.com sub-Editor Ramya JS D’Rozario creative Design Ruchi Sinha Advertising Gunjan Sabikhi - gunjan@ddppl.com

52 GM Canvas: Tamir Kobrin, The Leela Palace New Delhi

Delhi Prateek Sahay - prateek@ddppl.com (+919650911388) Shradha Kapoor - shradha@ddppl.com (+919650196525) Udit Pandey - udit@ddppl.com Mumbai Harshal Ashar - harshal@ddppl.com (+919619499167) FHRAI - Marketing S.P. Joshi

FEATURES

Production Manager Anil Kharbanda

Chef Talk 40 A delicious journey Sireesh Saxena, Corporate Chef and Vice President (Hotels), India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) is the proud recipient of the National Tourism Award

FHRAI B-82, 8th Floor, Himalaya House Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi 110001 Tel: 91-11-40780780, Fax: +91-11-40780777 Email: fhrai@vsnl.com FHRAI Magazine is published, edited and printed monthly by DDP Publication Pvt. Ltd. On behalf of Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India and published from DDP Publications Pvt. Ltd. 72 Todarmal Road New Delhi 110001 Email: fhraimag@ddppl.com Tel : 91-11-23731971 Fax: 91-11-23351503

Explore 50 Marvel in a city The Best Western Premier La Marvella in Bengaluru has cashed in on the south Bengaluru landscape to emerge as a top performing entity in the region

Printed at Cirrus Graphics Pvt. Ltd. B 62/14, Phase-II, Naraina Industrial Area New Delhi 110028 This issue of FHRAI Magazine contains 68+4 pages cover

GM Canvas 52 A fantastic canvas Tamir Kobrin, General Manager, The Leela Palace Chanakyapuri, New Delhi talks about the way he approached his task of shaping the hotel which completed two years of its operation Perspective 56 Rising from the ashes A comparison drawn on how ITDC has evolved in the last 22 years Profile 57 Swosti@30 Swosti Group completes three decades and continues to strive for a successfull journey

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Guest Column 58 Promoting sustainable tourism & developing CSR The development of tourism in the Indian context lays emphasis on sustainable tourism and the social dialogue within the tourism and hospitality sector

All information in the FHRAI Magazine is derived from sources, which we consider reliable and a sincere effort is made to report accurate information. It is passed on to our readers without any responsibility on our part. The publisher regrets that he cannot accept liability for errors and omissions contained in this publication, however caused. Similarly, opinions/views expressed by third parties in abstract and/or in interviews are not necessarily shared by FHRAI Magazine or DDP. However, we wish to advice our readers that one or more recognised authorities may hold different views than those reported. Material used in this publication is intended for information purpose only. Readers are advised to seek specific advice before acting on information contained in this publication which is provided for general use, and may not be appropriate for the readers’ particular circumstances. Contents of this publication are copyright. No part of FHRAI Magazine or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publication in writing. The same rule applies when there is a copyright or the article is taken from another publication. An exemption is hereby granted for the extracts used for the purpose of fair review, provided two copies of the same publication are sent to us for our records. Publications reproducing material either in part or in whole, without permission could face legal action. The publisher assumes no responsibility for returning any material solicited or unsolicited nor is he responsible for material lost or damaged. This publication is not meant to be an endorsement of any specific product or services offered. The publisher reserves the right to refuse, withdraw, amend or otherwise deal with all advertisements without explanation. All advertisements must comply with the Indian and International Advertisements Code. The publisher will not be liable for any damage or loss caused by delayed publication, error or failure of an advertisement to appear.


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secretary’s message

Member activeness: key to resolving tourism issues Vijai Pande Honorary Secretary FHRAI vijaipandit@yahoo.co.in

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HRAI for the last several years has been painstakingly bringing out a monthly magazine for its members and policymakers. The magazine is simultaneously playing several important roles. First and foremost, it is disseminating information. It keeps all FHRAI members informed and updated about the latest happenings of the hotel and tourism industry. Secondly, the magazine is our voice. FHRAI is an excellent vehicle to reach out to those who matter to us. The magazine is circulated not only among hoteliers and restaurateurs, but also amongst the policymakers of the country. Thirdly, the magazine is a platform to air our views and problems. Moreover, if we regularly read the magazine, then we can provide better services to our guests. It is a matter of happiness that the Centre and Ministry of Tourism have decided to resolve some issues that the FHRAI magazine had been prominently taking up. We have been demanding since a very long time that the rules for developing and expanding the hotel industry be simplified. The Ministry is finally on the course of accepting our demand. The Ministry of Tourism has recently declared that it will do away with red tape and intends to make its own functioning more transparent. FHRAI President Mr. Vivek Nair in his message (page 7) has elaborated the issues that the MOT has tried to resolve. We stand united on the issue of imposition of service tax on air-conditioned restaurants. FHRAI has vehemently opposed burdening of restaurants with a new tax. The magazine can keep hoteliers and restaurateurs bonded and it is the need of the hour. There is much room as far as response of the members of FHRAI to the magazine is concerned. In this issue, we are carrying an article elaborating India’s need to market itself aggressively as a tourist destination on the international platform. The Ministry of Tourism can and must take a cue on how to promote India as a tourist destination in the world. Another article says why tourism in Gujarat is flourishing and other state governments should also follow this example to promote tourism. We have thrown light on the importance of the Permanent Account Number (PAN) card, which is

vital for hospitality industry. I am happy to inform you that FHRAI forged an exclusive arrangement with the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research to bring you some educative articles. In this issue, we have featured an article on ‘Eight key trends in hospitality’, which is an interesting read. A meeting of All India Associations representing restaurants was held in Mumbai on April 15, 2013. It was held to deliberate on the issue of the newly imposed levy of Service Tax on sale of food by all air-conditioned restaurants. While talking about tourism awards, it’s worth ruminating that when the government has realised the importance of tourism, then why is the hospitality industry not being provided incentives that are being given to other industries, like the IT industry. It is yet to be realised that the tourism industry has become a major source for earning foreign revenue, and tourism along with the hotel industry is one of the biggest source of employment. Sadly, the country in the first quarter of the current year has witnessed a slump of 25 per cent in Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) as the recent survey by Assocham’s Social Development says. This is due to some untoward incidents that took place in the last few months. We have to understand that tourism can flourish with a strong law & order in force. Also, there is a need to educate our children in schools about the importance of tourism which depends on secured and safe society. There is no slackness on the part of the Home and Foreign Ministry and the state police forces. We need to sensitise the society so that no further unpleasant incident takes place and adversely affects India’s image in future. We are happy to inform that Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) has actively and enthusiastically started taking up the problems we have been facing over the years. FAITH has classified our demands to be taken up accordingly with the Central or State Government. We should be hopeful that FAITH will continue to work energetically and achieve what all it has planned and will not lose its steam midway. We are optimistic that FHRAI members will come up with suggestions in the magazine to make it more informative which will also help the hotel industry and tourism in India to thrive.


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...continued from page 7

The Government’s recently released Economic Survey rightly emphasises the importance of leveraging the untapped potential of service sub-sectors such as hotels and restaurants to augment GDP growth industry’s favour. At various Post-Budget interactions with senior Finance Ministry officials, FHRAI has also highlighted that the ambiguity which is inherent in the language of the CBEC notification dated March 1, 2013, could potentially open the floodgates for longdrawn litigation and needless harassment of restaurant operators. In the coming days, we will continue with our assiduous efforts to engage with various stakeholders and seek an urgent review of the expanded ambit of service tax, including carefully evaluating available legal options. It is certainly gratifying to note that FHRAI’s valid contention that the new levy will contribute only a meager amount to the exchequer but place an unfairly high burden on both customers and the industry, has found wide resonance in large sections of the national media. On behalf of the industry, I would once again appeal to the Hon’ble Finance Minister to withdraw this tax. Restaurants, be it large chains or independently managed establishments, constitute a vibrant part of the hospitality industry’s value chain. They not only render indispensable services to domestic and foreign tourists alike but also play a vital socio-economic role in the local economies of their individual cities. They facilitate job-creation, foster skill development and symbolise a much-needed spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Presently, our restaurant industry is being bogged down by extraneous factors such as sluggish business and consumer sentiment due to a slowing economy, high inflation, incessant shortages of inputs such as power and water, archaic laws, an arduous licensing regime, apart from multiple taxation. The Government’s recently released Economic Survey rightly emphasises the importance of leveraging the untapped potential of service sub-sectors such as hotels and restaurants to augment GDP growth. The focus of the Government’s efforts, both at the central and state level, should be on providing an enabling policy environment which can return our industry to its trajectory of robust double-digit growth. Viewing the industry simply as an

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avenue for short-term revenue generation by way of adding yet another tax to the existing maze of complex and multiple taxes will indeed be a myopic and retrograde policy. This would also be contradictory to the Government’s own stated objective of doubling India’s Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) and Domestic Tourist Visits (DTVs) and also expanding our inventory of classified hotel rooms to a total of 3,00,000 guest rooms by the end of the 12th Plan Period, i.e., 2017. At every forum, FHRAI lays particular emphasis on highlighting that by employing 9.2 per cent of the country’s workforce, tourism already serves as the single largest employment generator. The sector has the potential to create 25 million additional jobs within the next five years, provided we receive proactive support from the Government. The Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has announced a strategy aimed at harmonising India’s food safety standards with those laid down by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, established by the United Nations’ World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). As part of this initiative, the current standards and regulations are proposed to be comprehensively reviewed, taking into account the latest developments in food science across the globe, consumption patterns, use of new food additives and ingredients required by food producers etc. This process will commence shortly and is expected to conclude by December 2014 with the notification and adoption of revised standards. FHRAI has always maintained that the Food Safety & Standards Act should not be limited to just being a legislative overhaul of our food safety laws but also usher a flexible and industry friendly regulatory framework for Food Business Operators, which reflects contemporary business realities and is consistent with international best practices. Therefore, we welcome this ambitious endeavour and have already assured the FSSAI of our active participation. Vivek Nair President - FHRAI


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From Hon. Secretary’s Desk Changing tactics

Promoting India Aggressively

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he returns from promotion of tourism in India are as high as 36 times, said a report of the World Travel and Tourism Council released in November 2012. The report said if India spent $1 for promotion of tourism in the country, then it would have earned $36. This fact notwithstanding, India’s track record in promoting tourism in the recent past, both for domestic and foreign tourists has been poor. It was in the year 2002 that India for the first time was marketed as a tourist destination throughout the world. No concerted effort had been made to attract tourists to India. The aggressiveness and professionalism to promote tourism was missing.

The Ministry of Tourism, as part of its on-going activities, releases print, electronic, online and outdoor media campaigns in the international and domestic markets, under the Incredible India brand-line. Besides, the Ministry through its overseas offices organises roadshows like ‘Know India Seminars and workshops’; participates in various fairs, exhibitions and events to promote various Indian tourist destinations and products. The campaigns include holistic promotion of various Indian tourism products and destinations of the country. But a recent survey of countries as tourist destinations by World Economic Forum has placed India at the 67th position. The monetary allocation for the Ministry of Tourism in the current financial year is `1,297.86 crore, which is `88 crore more than the previous year’s allocation. But promotion of tourism finds no mention in the budget. The focus in this year’s budget is on infrastructure development and upgradation of existing facilities.

It was in the same year that the ‘Incredible India’ campaign was launched jointly by the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather and the Ministry of Tourism. The campaign was featured in print and electronic media of all developed countries. The results “While the allocation for tourism in the were incredible! In the very first year Union Budget 2013-14 has been hiked by of launch of the campaign, foreign `87.66 crore, its promotion has found no tourist inflow increased by 16 per mention,” comments Kamlesh Barot, the cent. The following year the campaign former President of Federation of Hotels focussed on spiritual tourism and While and Restaurants Associations of India arrival of foreign tourists increased by the allocation for on a travel and tourism website. “The around 29 per cent. tourism in the Budget has no mention at all of tourism Union Budget promotion. What can I say?” he questions. In January 2004, Lonely Planet 2013-14 has been conducted a survey in 134 countries to hiked by `87.66 The Ministry of Tourism in 2011-2012 select the world’s favourite destination crore, its promotion spent `355 crore for promotion of for individual travellers. India ranked has found no tourism in the country. In the following 5th among the top five favourite mention international destinations in the global financial year – 2012-13, the figure rose survey following Thailand, Italy, by just `2 crore and the amount spent was Australia and New Zealand. Much of `357.20 crore. the credit for India’s emergence as a favourite tourist destination went to Other developing countries like Egypt, the campaign. Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia who are at par with India are increasing their budget by manifold for tourism According to Dr K Chiranjeevi, Tourism Minister, promotion. Adel El Masry, Director, Egypt Tourism Govt. of India from 2002 (the year when the Incredible Office, sometime back told a travel information website India campaign was launched) to 2012 the Foreign that his country had doubled the allocation for promoting Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) to the country increased from tourism to Egypt. 2.38 million to 6.65 million. During the same period, Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) increased from Closer home, Sri Lanka is also investing heavily `150.64 billion to `944.87 billion. The domestic in attracting foreign tourists to the country. The visits during the same period rose from 269.60 million Sri Lankan government recently organised a three-week to 850.90 million. The campaigns are a regular long tourism roadshow in Russia and Ukraine in order to feature of the Ministry’s promotional activities and attract more tourists to the country. The roadshows were are carried out keeping in mind the Ministry’s goal held in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev. Since the end of overall development of tourism to and within of the internal strife in May 2009, the country has seen a the country. steady rise in tourist arrivals every year for the past four continued on page 18...

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From Hon. Secretary’s Desk Boosting tourism

Reasons Galore

for flourishing tourism in Gujarat

W

hen Amitabh Bachchan implores on television – ‘Kuchh din to guzaro Gujarat mein,’ in his signature sonorous voice, people just cannot ignore his proposal. No doubt, the number of tourists, foreign and domestic, visiting the western coastal state of India is increasing. That Gujarat is very serious to promote tourism in the state can be gauged from the fact that the Chief Minister Narendra Modi ended his address to the Indian-Americans in New Jersey and Chicago by saying, “Gujaratis are the best tourists but until recently, Gujarat was never a tourist destination.” Asking members of the Indian diaspora to make more frequent visits to Gujarat, he repeated Amitabh Bachchan’s tagline.

We have been allocated `25 crore for advertisements and promotional activities for the existing year. Last year it was around `18 crore

It was in early 2010 that Gujarat roped in ‘Big B’ for promoting the State as a tourist destination. Other states also promote tourism but Gujarat was the first state to cash in on the charisma of the Bollywood superstar to attract tourists. Kamlesh Patel, Chairman of Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited at that time had said the number of tourists to Gujarat had increased after making Amitabh Bachchan the brand ambassador of Gujarat Tourism. Amitabh Bachchan has endorsed Dwarka, Somnath, Kutch, Saputara and Gir National Park.

The Gir Sanctuary has benefited from the splurge, seeing a 30 per cent jump in tourists in two years. The Rannotsav Festival in Kutch and the pilgrim sites of Somnath and Dwarka too have become major draws. “We have been advertising widely not only on television and radio but also in in-flight magazines of prominent international airlines. In the last two years, there has been a flow of nearly 54 lakh tourists to Gujarat, which is an achievement,” Vipul Mittra, Principal Secretary, Gujarat Tourism recently said. According to the figures provided by the Ministry of Tourism, 18.8 million domestic tourists visited Gujarat in the year 2010. The figure rose by 11.43 per cent the following year. The number of tourists who visited the State crossed the mark of 20 million. A little less than that, 140,000 foreign tourists visited Gujarat in the year 2010. The number in 2011 was 166,042, a sharp rise of 21 per cent.

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Since 2009, an aggressive Gujarat has seen a five-fold increase in its budget for tourism promotion. A whopping amount of `10 crore was spent on promotional activities before the ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’ campaign kicked off in October 2010. The tourism department is hoping to spend around `55 crore by March 2013. Last year, the State government had set aside just `2.5 crore in the budget just for promotion. Gujarat has surpassed even Madhya Pradesh, another state that aggressively promotes tourism. The Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) has increased its budget by just `7 crore in the promotional activities this year. “We have been allocated `25 crore for advertisements and promotional activities for the existing year. Last year it was around `18 crore,” said Om Vijay Choudhary, Chief General Manager (Operations and Marketing), MPSTDC. There are no separate funds for television promos and social networking sites. Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TGCL) officials say that they are spending the maximum within the country. The corporation will also organise roadshows across the country and take part in trade fairs. The Gujarat government has taken a new initiative by signing an MoU with Indian Oil Corporation. Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) will set up amenities for tourists at 50 petrol pumps of Indian Oil Corporation on various highways of the state with an investment of `40 crore. Tourism officials believe that 80 per cent of tourists visiting Gujarat come by road. These centres developed will be given to organised food chain companies for operation on third party basis. TCGL will develop amenities like food courts, kiosks and toilets at IOCL petrol pumps. The amenities will be given to organised food chains for operations. The restaurants will also have logos of IOC and TCGL on it. “Close to 80 per cent tourists use roads to reach tourist places in Gujarat. So, creating amenities on national and state highways are very necessary,” Mittra told reporters recently. Three categories of amenities centres will be created over an area of 4,000 sqmt, 2,000 sqmt and 1,000 sq mt. Fifty petrol pumps have been identified for the purpose. The first outlet will be operational in six months, while the rest will be commissioned within a year. Furthermore, Gujarat is also trying to attract film producers to the State. No wonder, it has been achieving success so effectively on the tourism front.


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From Hon. Secretary’s Desk A key document today

The importance of PAN Card

PAN card is your sole identity proof in the financial world The importance of Permanent Account Number (PAN) card has grown over the years, and it is today an essential part of our lives. The most important purpose of allotting PAN to an individual is for the purpose of identification and to track all the related monetary information of that person. Initially, the significance of PAN was for filing income tax returns. Over time, PAN was used in dealings with the stock markets, banks and purchase of real estate and vehicles. Today, PAN has started finding use in unconventional areas as well. A detailed information on PAN is given below: Payment to travel agents: Cash payment of more than `25,000 for travel to any foreign country (fare or purchase of foreign currency) in a single payment requires you to produce a copy of your PAN card.

Do NRIs require PAN? As PAN is required for any financial transaction in India, an NRI will need to have a PAN card if he has an income in India. He also has to file returns if he wishes to invest in India, when he carries out banking transactions, purchases/sells real estate or for any transaction mentioned above. Sale/Buy/Rent agreements: Nowadays, landlords demand a copy of the PAN card of tenants, as the primary ID proof while letting out/selling/buying property. Bank Fixed Deposits: If you open a fixed deposit with your bank for an amount exceeding `50,000, a copy of the PAN card needs to be given. In the absence of a PAN card, the bank will deduct TDS of 20 per cent or at the prevailing rate, whichever is higher (instead of the normal 10 per cent). Further, the bank will not issue a TDS certificate. Form 15G/15H and other exemption certificates will be invalid in this case. Payment in hotels and restaurants: You may be asked to submit a copy of your PAN card if you pay cash in hotels or restaurants against bills for an amount exceeding `25,000. Jewellery shops: High-value purchase of jewellery in cash should be accompanied by a copy of the PAN card of the buyer, mainly as a means to curb black money usage. Other areas where the PAN card is required include: Payment in second-hand car dealings, installation of telephone and visa facilitation centres. It is seen that quoting or producing a copy of your PAN card is compulsory in practically every money transaction, and not restricted to income tax dealings. The significance of PAN cannot be questioned as this has become the primary document sought in all important legitimate dealings.

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PAN Frauds The increasing importance of PAN has increased the likeliness of PAN card identity theft. The safeguarding of the physical copy of the PAN card no longer assures that your card is not being misused. As a majority of transactions demand a photocopy of your PAN card, or simply quoting the Permanent Account Number, it is very easy for your information to be misused for high-ticket purchases or benami property transactions. A copy of your PAN card or simply its number can be quoted in transactions which you are not even a part of. Example of misuse of PAN: Recently, a consumer rights activist group revealed that the PAN card copy used in railway ticket tatkal bookings were misused by several jewellers. When an individual produces his PAN to book tatkal tickets, the information is fed in the Indian Railways system and also displayed on the ticket, reservation chart and train coaches. Unscrupulous jewellers use this information from such public displays and use it to furnish tax collected details, while they sell jewellery of very high value to high-net worth individuals who do not wish to produce their PAN.

If this happens to you? When your PAN card is illegally used, you may not even be aware of this for at least six months after the illegal transaction. You can check for such benami transactions by going through your Form 26AS, which is a consolidated statement of tax deducted, along with other details. If you are a non-tax paying PAN card holder, you may not even be able to check this form. The Income Tax department will require the PAN card holder to prove that the transaction was not carried out by him, and also give details on his source of funds. This becomes very difficult and time-consuming. As a PAN card holder, you should take care while disclosing your PAN details to anyone. You must hand over only signed photocopies and try to reduce using PAN in all casual transactions as ID proof, like hotel booking, ticket purchasing, meaning PAN is required in every sphere of life.

Phonetic PAN (PPAN) The phonetic PAN (PPAN) is a new concept introduced to prevent a single PAN being allotted to more than one assessee with same or similar names. When PAN is allotted, the PPAN of the assessee is compared with the PPANs of all the assessees to whom the PAN has been allotted in the country. A warning is sounded off if a matching PPAN is detected. A duplicate PPAN report is then generated. A new PAN can be allotted only if the Assessing Officer overrides this duplicate PPAN detection. Thus, PAN is a key document today and even takes predominance over your name as far as the tax authorities are concerned.


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Hospitality industry miffed

Over double taxation over and above VAT The Associations of Restaurants in India have decided to close down their establishments in protest on Monday, April 29, 2013. Accordingly all the restaurants, eateries, bars in India shall observe this closure for one day to protest their demand

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meeting of All India Associations representing restaurants was held in Mumbai on Monday, April 15, 2013. The meeting was held to deliberate on the issue of the newly imposed levy of Service Tax on sale of food by all air-conditioned restaurants, including those partly airconditioned. The representatives of all restaurants felt the said tax amounts to double taxation over and above the VAT being charged by the state governments. It was further felt that the consumers will be subjected to tax on 140 per cent of the total bill amount, which

is against natural justice and ultra vires of the Constitution. Several representations have been filed with the Union Government urging the withdrawal of the Service Tax which will have an adverse impact on the sales of all restaurants in the country. The Associations of Restaurants in India have decided to close down their establishments in protest on Monday, April 29, 2013. Accordingly all the restaurants, eateries, bars in India shall observe this closure for one day to protest their demand.

years. To the east of India, countries like Myanmar and Vietnam are emerging as major tourist destinations for North American and European travellers.

concern and efforts would be made to increase India’s share to 1 per cent of the World Tourist Arrivals by 2016.

It is high time that India once again markets itself aggressively as a tourist destination of the world. It is a known fact that tourism is a major sector that generates a big amount of foreign exchange earnings (FEE). According to a rough estimate, India’s FEE through tourism is nearly one-third of what India earns through exports.

Later, while presenting the National Tourism Awards for 2011-12, he said that the tourism industry has immense potential. He explained, “For this, we need to constantly monitor trends and re-invent our products for the marketplace.”

It is well understood that a lot has to be done to give a thrust to tourism in the country. Dr Chiranjeevi on his recent visit to Berlin, pointed out that foreign tourist arrivals to India constitute only 0.64 per cent of the World Tourist Arrivals and foreign exchange earnings account for 1.61 per cent of the World Tourism Receipts. He said that it was a matter of

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There is no doubt that the Ministry of Tourism has taken some steps worth appreciation to boost tourism in India. The Ministry has asked the Central Home Minister to bring more countries under the ambit of the Visa-on-Arrival Scheme. Many tourism experts were feeling that the Incredible India campaign has lived its life and lost its sheen. It’s commendable that the Ministry of Tourism has come up with a new avatar of the campaign.


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Eight Trends for the Hotel Industry CHRS Chair Professor Rohit Verma and Glenn Withiam, Director of Publications, Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, offer a summary of key trends shaping the global hospitality industry

Trend 1: The Expanded Role of Travel Intermediaries and Travel Portals The hotel industry’s need to determine how to work with OTAs has become only the tip of the distribution iceberg. The industry has seen the growth of major intermediary sites such as Expedia and Travelocity, properties have increased distribution through opaque sites (such as Hotwire and Priceline), and hotel brands have built up their own websites. The entry of Google has added a new dimension to hotel room distribution, since users can book directly from the search results page, instead of clicking through to another site. The challenge for hotels is to avoid being distributed as if they were package goods. Many guests will go to a travel purveyor for hotel rooms, just as they go to a food market for groceries. Trend 2: Mobile Apps and RFID Social media continues to grow exponentially, but mobile devices present another potentially big development for hotel distribution and operations. Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips may be of particular interest, since the cost of RFID has plunged. This can break out as its own trend soon enough, and the combination of RFID and mobile apps could allow guests to use their smart phones to book a room, check in, open their guestroom door, and settle their folio—all without direct contact with your staff. Even without RFID, guests’ use of mobile devices will create opportunities for innovation by hoteliers, including new services and operating efficiencies. Most critically, the dominance of electronic distribution as summarized in trends 1 and 2 will solidify the major trend of access to and transparency of information. Trend 3: Brand Management and Customer Relationship Building Given the strength of third-party distribution portals and the push toward commoditization, the hotel brand will become more important than ever, particularly in the context of developing customers’ loyalty. A powerful brand lineup can offset the equally strong forces for commoditization, and the hotel industry can draw from package goods companies’ brand strategies. A study of top brands found four critical elements of brand building: having an ideal, focusing on fundamentals to remain true to the brand’s heritage, recognizing the importance of leadership (in the form of a brand champion), and seeking engagement with customers. Trend 4: Customers’ Search for Value through Social Couponing Value comes in all forms, but in the current economic environment, it means special offers and discounts, which are a form of customer engagement. The rise of the daily deal sites, notably Groupon, melded social media with customers’ desire to get a “deal.” This trend will continue regardless of whether Groupon survives, because dozens of other websites are also offering social coupons. For hoteliers, this means developing packages that will provide value for all stakeholders, including both customers who seek a deal and those who are “regular” customers, as well as the hotel itself. Strategies include creating packages that are not directly comparable to existing services and

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controlling cost structures so that the social coupon is not a money-losing proposition. Although social coupons do involve some cannibalisation of existing customers, recent research has demonstrated that they bring in new customers and encourage infrequent customers to return. Trend 5: Sustainability Customers’ demand for sustainable hotel operations has taken root and expanded. The hotel industry has taken notice, as demonstrated by a push for consistent reporting standards and industry best practices coming from our industry roundtables in both Asia and North America. In that regard, meeting planners and corporate planners are now requesting that hotels’ provide sustainability-related information (such as energy use or recycling policies). Third-party certification of green claims has become an important part of sustainability reporting, as demonstrated, for instance, by Travelocity’s Green Hotel Directory, which does not recognize self-certified hotels. Trend 6: Blending of Hospitality and Health Care Although health care structures and financing vary substantially from nation to nation, it has become clear that the core principles of hospitality management apply to health care and assisted living facilities just as they do to hotels. In the U.S., for instance, we know of two major hospitals that have managers who were formerly with the Ritz-Carlton Company, and an offshoot of Hyatt Hotels is a major operator of lifecare communities. To maintain profitability, the healthcare industry maintains a tight focus on costs and revenues that the hospitality industry could emulate. Trend 7: Next Generation Globalization Not long ago, globalization meant that hotel brands from highly developed nations expanded into developing nations. Globalisation is also flowing in the reverse direction, as brands from developing nations are expanding globally. To give two examples, Jumeirah now manages the Essex House in New York, as well as properties in London and Frankfurt; and Taj operates U.S. properties in Boston, New York, and San Francisco, as well as hotels in London and Sydney. Thus, globalization will mean that hotel brands criss-cross the globe. Trend 8: Economic Uncertainty Although economic growth seems to have returned, it’s still not clear that the world economy, which is intertwined to a great extent, has fully recovered. Thus, it appears that economic and political turbulence will continue, and the hotel and travel industry will constantly be facing a “new normal” somewhere on the globe. (Credit: This article is reprinted from the report ‘2012 Cornell Hospitality Research Summit: Critical Issues for Industry and Educators’, through an exclusive arrangement between FHRAI and the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research. The article cannot be reprinted, in part or full, without prior permission from the authors.)


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Ministry of Tourism

makes hotel clearances speedier & more transparent

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n a quest to double its inbound and domestic arrivals, as envisaged by the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), estimates suggest that India needs more than double the existing room inventory. As a facilitative measure to speed up hotel projects, MOT has now launched a webbased project monitoring information system powered by the National Informatics Centre. “With a view to bring in transparency in granting approvals for hotel projects, we launched a web-based Public Service Delivery System for hotel approvals, classification and other allied services. All applicants seeking hotel project approvals, hotel classification and approvals for other related services will be able to track the progress of their cases online on a real time basis,” said Dr. K Chiranjeevi, Minister for Tourism.

Pic: Simran Kaur

“By putting this system in place, there will be a pressure on the officers of the ministry to deliver on time and increase accountability on their part. Now onwards, all applications will have to be examined within 15

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working days from receipt till completion. Thereafter, all hotel inspections will be scheduled within the next 15 working days. The recommendations of the Hotel and Restaurants Approval & Classification Committee will be communicated on the spot to the applicant and these recommendations will also be put on the website with the final decision within 10 days of the inspection,” he added. Further, the Minister added, “We will align our PSDS with the Hospitality Development Promotion Board (HDPB). The Tourism Ministry will move towards an e-regime and build such systems in other spheres of functioning also.” Present on the occasion, Vivek Nair, President, Federation of Hotels & Restaurants Association of India and Nakul Anand, President, Hotel Association of India among others lauded the efforts of the ministry and stated that this is a path breaking initiative taken to bring transparency and speed up hotel projects.


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New brand identity for The Leela

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n April 5, 2013, for the first time since its inception, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts has unveiled a new brand identity, including a new logo and a revamped website, designed to express the brand’s transformation over the last 25 years. A comprehensive plan will guide the transition of the new identity at existing and upcoming properties which also includes signages, advertising creatives, guest facing materials, sales and marketing collaterals, stationery and amenities. The group plans to double its portfolio in the next four years, adding four new luxury hotels and two branded Leela Residences to its portfolio. Commenting on the initiative, Vivek Nair, CMD of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts said, “The Leela Group’s new brand identity is a tribute to The Leela’s past and future, and articulates the brand’s promise to offer only the finest luxury experiences, in settings that are the essence of India. Now is the time to not only continue redefining luxury which the Group is known for, but also to reflect it in everything that bears our name.” The new logo, designed by Landor Associates, Paris, is a monogram - the timeless quality seal of luxury expressed in traditional Indian calligraphy. The singular L stands for Leela, luxury, legendary, lavish and lyrical. Indian calligrapher Satya Rajpurohit gives a true Indian

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character to the logo, which is further enhanced by a copper hue as seen in a tail of a peacock, the national bird of India. The symbol of infinity at the bottom is a salute to the future of the new optimistic India - boundless, limitless, everlasting. The new identity is designed to reflect the brand’s philosophy and commitment towards its four pillars - grace, luxury, nature and India. The project was based on an 18-month analysis of guest feedback and satisfaction surveys as well as in-depth interactions with key market influencers to identify brand perceptions and expectations. The Leela will undergo the change across its awardwinning network of eight luxury hotels located in prime destinations across India and new properties currently under development. In addition, new upcoming projects include a resort in Jaipur; a business hotel in Bhartiya City, Bengaluru, strategically located near the airport; a palace hotel at Supertech’s largest mixeduse development in Noida; a palace hotel in Agra, where every room will face the Taj Mahal; and Lake Ashtamudi in Kerala. Further, the group is introducing ultra-luxury residences in north and south India. The Leela is developing The Leela residences in Bengaluru at Bhartiya City and at Supertech’s largest mixed-use development in Noida.


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Four Points by Sheraton to debut in Ahmedabad

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tarwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide recently announced the debut of its rapidly expanding Four Points by Sheraton brand in Ahmedabad. Owned by SAMHI Hotels (Ahmedabad), Four Points by Sheraton Ahmedabad will be a conversion from an existing hotel and will be Starwood’s first managed Four Points by Sheraton in India. Brian McGuinness, Starwood’s Senior Vice President, Specialty Select Brands, said, “The Four Points brand offers travellers seeking great hotels at great rates, and has grown to become the second largest in the pipeline among all Starwood brands. We are excited to open our 5th Four Points by Sheraton in India and believe the brand has immense

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opportunity in the country. Our guests are seeking an honest value, genuine service, and the amenities they need to stay productive on the road.” Asset ownership is challenging in today’s competitive environment. “With Starwood’s distribution capability, the power of its award winning loyalty programme, SPG, and the strength of its brands offers great value. We do believe this partnership will prove fruitful in repositioning our hotel,” said Ashish Jakhanwala, Managing Director & CEO, SAMHI group. “The debut of the Four Points by Sheraton brand in Gujarat will strengthen the brand’s presence in the Indian market and is in keeping with our goal to continue to expand our footprint in tier 2 markets and in micro markets within larger metros. Our upscale brands offer a great opportunity for us to be able to do this,” said Dilip Puri, Managing Director India and Regional Vice President South Asia for Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels and Resorts. Four Points by Sheraton Ahmedabad is a 104-room hotel that is well situated in a visible location in the city. The hotel will have one food & beverage venue, approximately 2,500 sqft of meeting space and a fitness centre.


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JW Marriott Hotel launched in Pune

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n a recent move, The Pune Marriott Hotel and Convention Centre has now converted to the JW Marriott Hotel, Pune. The property is not only the first JW Marriott in the city and the 3rd in the country after the JW Mumbai and the JW Chandigarh, but also the first Marriott property in the Asia-Pacific region to undergo conversion. The conversion launch saw the presence of Rajeev Menon, Area Vice President for the Indian SubContinent, Maldives, & Australia for Marriott International Inc. Speaking on the occasion Menon said, “The hotel, which was the 500th Marriott property, was a HALO hotel under the Marriott portfolio. Through the two and half years of its functioning, the hotel has managed to effortlessly make its way beyond the MHRS brand guidelines, thus proving to be a befitting choice for a JW conversion. This change will see Marriott International come together to ensure that we surpass the hotels hospitality touchpoints, making it more luxury driven, promising and splendid.”

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The General Manager of JW Marriott Pune, Jatin Khanna said, “JW Marriott Pune celebrates constant innovation and will continue to offer to the city of Pune a life of elegance. The hotel that is a wedding, lifestyle and F&B destination will see the introduction of various luxury touchpoints over the next one year.” The unveiling of the Griffin marked the highlight of the launch evening.

Westin enters Chennai

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tarwood Hotels and Resorts said, “Chennai has tremendous potential for Worldwide has launched its 215-room MICE segment as the city has hosted some Westin Chennai Velachery property high-profile international conferences in in Chennai. This is its sixth in India and first the recent past. The lodging demand will of seven new Westin hotels opening this year continue to be dominated by the business in the Asia-Pacific region. The property has segment, but MICE is bound to grow at a 24-hour gymnasium, outdoor swimming a rapid pace in the next few years. The pool, Heavenly Spa and a group-running continued addition of branded rooms programme called Run Westin. It has three inventory in the city, especially over the last restaurants – all day-dining ‘Seasonal Tastes’, Shrikant Wahkharkar 18 months has led to a compression in the The Westin Chennai ‘Pan Asia EESTTM’ and the ‘Poolside Grill GM, city, but we are optimistic that the strength Velachery and Barbeque’ along with a cricket-themed of our brand, the power of Starwood and lounge bar ‘Willows’. The hotel also houses more than its distribution system and the value that our loyalty 1,170 sqmt of meeting space, including two pillarless programme, SPG brings will give us a definite edge to ballrooms and 12 breakout rooms for MICE events. ramp up our business and outperform the market.” According to Shrikant Wakharkar, General Manager, The Westin Chennai Velachery; after the successful launch of the Westin brand in cities like Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Pune, Westin brand’s entry into Chennai as a major metro city had to follow. According to Wakharkar, the hospitality scene in Chennai has metamorphosed over the last year or so with highly reputed new entrants across all brands and categories opening hotels in the city. Explaining the current scenario of hospitality sector in Chennai, he

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Besides being an important IT hub, the retail sector is also poised for quantum growth. “We want be a part of this growth story and the exciting time in Chennai,” adds Wakharkar. He informed that the average local has a lot more spending power now than a half a decade back due to the rise in income level. Hotels with innovative F&B offerings have a great opportunity to tap into the growing segment of locals who are spending more on F&B. With Chennai airport modernisation, more domestic and international flights are expected to be in service to/from the city in coming years.


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The Park Hotels unveils a new brand identity

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Pic: Simran Kaur

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he Park Hotels have introduced a new brand identity promising a refreshed approach to their boutique hotels in India. The new logo expresses The Park being the place to be and to be seen at. The new identity is simple and draws strength from its black and white colour coordination. Different from the previous branding, this is the fifth time the ApeejaySurrendra Group has redeveloped its brand identity in over 40 years. Priya Paul Chairperson, ApeejaySurrendra Park Hotels

Vijay Dewan Managing Director, ApeejaySurrendra Park Hotels

Discussing the new identity, Priya Paul, Chairperson, ApeejaySurrendra Park Hotels, says, “The new design is black and white, but bold with lots of depth and new layers to the identity. We are known for creativity and innovation and as we continue to grow, we realised the need to communicate boldly the strength of our brand. The fresh design language strongly reflects

contemporary India and our ethos. It is striking and captures our personality perfectly. It highlights our leadership through differentiation and reinforces who we are.” The brand revitalisation exercise has taken more than two years and has spends of about `12 crore. This process also integrates the execution of unique experiences that are present in the brand promise of ‘Anything But Ordinary’. “The origin of the new identity comes from the vibrant culture built around values of excellence, innovation, teamwork, commitment, integrity, empowerment and respect. Our creativity has been expressed in every detail,” says Vijay Dewan, Managing Director, ApeejaySurrendra Park Hotels. At present, the group is represented by 12 hotels across the country with three more scheduled to open in the near future. Already having an inventory of over 1,200 rooms, the hotel chain is awaiting an additional 800 keys in the next three to four years. The branding roll out starts April 1, 2013 and ‘Anything But Ordinary’ experiences will be there throughout the year.


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Rajat Sethi, General Manager, Hilton Garden Inn Gurgaon Baani Square says, “The convenient location of the property is the prime differentiating factor. The hotel is centrally located within the quadrilateral of NH8, Sohna Road, Golf Course Road and Golf Course Extension Road and can be approached from either of Rajat Sethi GM, Hilton Garden Inn the roads within a 4 km radius. The hotel Gurgaon Baani Square is a 10-minute drive which is 8 km from DLF Cyber City, the central business hub in Gurgaon and is 30 km away from the Delhi city centre.” The hotel is looking at working closely with the Indian travel trade. “Our hotel is strategically located for tourists transiting through Gurgaon to Jaipur and other tourist destinations. Making an alliance with the B2B segment, we aim to promote the hotel for the first night and last night destination for tourists transiting through Delhi as well,” he adds.

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Talking about the USP of the brand, the GM remarks, “Garden Inn is specifically targeted for the business travellers. Being a business hotel, Hilton Garden Inn Gurgaon Baani Square strives to ensure today’s busy travellers have everything they need to be most productive on the road. The features at the hotel include the brand’s signature offerings of complimentary Internet access, 24-hour complimentary business centre facilities and complimentary remote printing service from the guestroom to the business centre.” The 24-hour business centre at the hotel is equipped with state-ofthe-art audio-visual facilities, which will cater to all the needs of business travellers. The four meeting rooms, each with city views and natural light, can accommodate from 20 to 150 people. The hotel offers 18,000 sqft of conference and banqueting facilities with green lawns and a courtyard, perfectly suited for all business events, social gatherings, private receptions and weddings of up to 400 people. According to Sethi, there has been a tremendous inflow of hotel investments in Gurgaon with both national and international hotel chains vying for their footprint. “There has been a phenomenal surge in number of budget hotels leading to a correction in prices and average room revenue in the region,” he pointed out.

TUX Hospitality offers affordable luxury Tux Hospitality introduces its first ‘Hive’ - the affordable-luxury brand in Alwar, Rajasthan. After the success in the National Capital Region with Mosaic Noida, Tux seeks to deliver the best of facilities and services at Hive Alwar. The hotel is located at a convenient 3 hour drive from both Delhi and Jaipur. Having taken factors such as connectivity and convenience into account, the property is strategically placed not only in the best of surroundings but just 3 km away from the railway station and in close proximity to the Matsya Industrial Area (MIA). Several attractions of rich history such as the Alwar Fort, City Palace, Bala Qila, Bhangarh Fort, City Palace and Museum, etc., are in close proximity to the hotel. The surrounding attractions include the scenic beauty of rich natural woods, valleys and splendid lakes such as the Siliserh

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Hilton eyes new segment of travellers The newly-opened mid-priced Hilton Garden Inn Gurgaon Baani Square is the second Hilton Garden Inn brand hotel in the country. Cashing in on the location, the hotel aims to cater to the business, leisure and transit travellers in the region.

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Lake. Hive Alwar is also conveniently located from the famous Sariska Tiger Reserve for which Alwar is also known as the ‘Tiger Gateway to Rajasthan’. The hotel features 45 well-appointed rooms and offers three categories - deluxe, club and suite. The rooms offer amenities of great convenience, such as highspeed wireless Internet access, electronic safe and LCD television with national and international channels. The 24-hour guest room services include in - room dining and laundry looked after by a team of well groomed industry professionals. Hive Alwar offers a specialised Food & Beverage outlet, namely – ADD, a 24-hour access control gymnasium and a meeting room. The hotel is soon coming up with The Grill - a sophisticated Rooftop Grill Restaurant, The Bar and a banquet hall for business and social gatherings. It will also have a rooftop pool for the unwinding experience in the picturesque backdrop of the Aravalli Hills and has plans to come up with a spa as well.


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Dhiren Kanwar CEO, Puratos India

Your puff / khari just got bigger, better and healthier

uratos India, the fully owned Indian subsidiary of the Belgium-based multinational Puratos Group having a presence in 68 countries, has increased its product line by adding nine new products that were launched at AAHAR 2013 in New Delhi last month. Talking about the ambitious plan, Dhiren Kanwar, CEO, Puratos India said, “Puratos India was launched in 2008 to bring specialist products for the bakery, confectionery and catering industries. We have launched 90 products in four years. This year we are launching nine products in the three different categories we operate in.”

The company has three product categories viz., bakery, patisserie and chocolate. It has launched four new products each in the first two categories and one in the chocolate category. Kanwar informs, “Interestingly, 98 per cent of our products are vegetarian i.e., eggless. We import around 10-15 per cent of our ingredients for manufacturing the entire offering in India.” The company has an R&D centre for customising taste, functionality and cost of the various products that are manufactured in India, with its manufacturing plant in Navi Mumbai that was established in 2009. “We would like to use this platform as an opportunity to introduce new products which are

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The nine new innovative products launched by Puratos India: n Bakery l l l l

Easy Ciabatta Easy Focaccia S-500 Puff Tigris Power

n Patisserie l l l l

Easy Sponge Cocoa Egg free cake Hotfil Strawberry Creamfil Ultim Tegral Satin Red Velvet Cake Mix

n Chocolate l

Carat Coverlux white

unique and innovative. We look forward to bringing a change in the Bakery, Patisserie & Chocolate industry.” “We are the only company to provide bromatefree products. We have focussed on enzyme-based products,” remarked Kanwar. The company’s marketing response has been good in eight states. “We are educating the wide range of our target market by organising seminars in about 34 cities that would cover 8,000 bakeries. Our approach is to offer an exquisite taste with healthy products,” he added. The company is expecting a triple digit growth following the extension of product line.

Celfrost launches its 15th Brand Centre in New Delhi

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elfrost Innovations launched its 15th Brand Centre at Jail Road, New Delhi to tap the expanding West Delhi market. The company has marked its Brand Centre presence in Mumbai, Delhi, Goa, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Gurgaon and other cities in India to promote a globally acclaimed range of commercial refrigeration and food service products. These products include popular international brands such as Vestfrost of Denmark, Manitowoc of USA, La Cimbali of Italy, Taylor of USA, Merrychef of UK, Lincoln of USA, Hamilton Beach of USA among others.

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Puratos India launches new range of products

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Neeraj Seth, Managing Director of the company said, “The stores offer a wide range of products suitable for hotels, restaurants, bakery shops, coffee shops, bars & pubs, clubs & canteens, food retail stores and so on. After receiving an overwhelming response to our first 14 stores launched in India, we decided to open our second Brand Centre in New Delhi. The stores will enable us to reach a larger audience who prefer to touch and feel the products before buying.” According to him, the differentiating factor for the company is its assured after-sales service support which is missing in this sector.


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Wyndham Hotel Group expands India operations

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yndham Hotel Group expanded its India operations by announcing a new addition to its portfolio, Ramada Chennai Egmore. The opening of Ramada Chennai Egmore is an important step in expanding the group’s footprint in south India and will help strengthen its existing portfolio. Ramada Chennai Egmore is Ramada’s first operational hotel in Chennai and is owned by Ansari Estate. In India, the company will have 17 operating hotels and approx., 1,800 rooms under the Ramada, Wyndham Grand, Dream and Days Hotel brands. The group also has 26 hotels under construction

with near 3,000 rooms, which will expand its India portfolio significantly. Ramada Chennai Egmore brings the famous world-class Ramada experience to Chennai at affordable prices. The hotel is Chennai’s preferred destination for business as well as leisure travellers and is a perfect blend of comfort and functionality. The hotel offers guests a complete array of choices, including 113 elegant and spacious rooms including Suites, Executive, Deluxe and Classic rooms; state-of-the-art pool, world-class restaurants, bar-cum-lounge, a fitness centre, conference rooms, business centre and a salon-cum-spa. The hotel also has great banqueting facilities which can accommodate anywhere between 10 - 300 people, making it ideal for corporate and social occasions. The hotel is centrally located and is close to the airport, railway station and key tourist hotspots including the Marina Beach, Egmore Museum, St. Anthony’s Chruch and Connemara Library among others.


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Best rates at home According to the latest Hotel Price Index (HPI) report by Hotels.com, the global hotels expert, India beats other countries when it comes to getting the best value at hotel room rates domestically. Excerpts from the report…

Travelling at home The report revealed that in terms of the average price paid for a hotel room, Indians found the best value at home at `4,715, followed by the Portuguese paying `4,846 and the Spanish `5,009. Swiss travellers paid the most at `10,345 for a night travelling domestically with the Singaporeans in second place at `9,994 and Norwegians in third at `9,899. The Australians were in the fourth place at `9,531 and South Korea at the 6th spot at `8,319.

More at home or away? Of the 29 countries analysed, 20 paid more abroad than at home with some of them having a considerable gap between the two sums. The Chinese spent `3,513 a night more on average when travelling abroad, followed by the Argentineans who paid `2,866 extra and the Indians shelled out `2,816 more. Only nine nations paid more at home than away. Travellers from Singapore had the greatest difference, spending `2,283 more domestically than abroad, followed by the Swiss with `1,233 variation and the Norwegians with `958.

Top destinations: When it came to overseas travel, Southeast Asian destinations dominated the top 10 list for Indian travellers.

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Top overseas destinations for travellers from India in 2012: Rank Destination u Bangkok v Singapore w Dubai x Pattaya y Hong Kong z London { Phuket | New York } Kuala Lumpur ~ Las Vegas

India specific Free Wi-Fi trumps both free parking and complimentary breakfast when it comes to choosing a hotel for both leisure and business travel, showing that access to the online world is a necessity for modern-day travellers with over a third still looking to stay connected whilst on their holidays. In fact, just 11 per cent of global travellers said they would be willing to pay for Wi-Fi when staying in a hotel. Among Indian travellers, 26 per cent consider Wi–Fi as an important amenity while looking for hotel accommodation during leisure travel. The demand for free Wi-Fi doubles to 55 per cent for business travellers. “With an increase in airlines and airports offering free Wi-Fi, tech-savvy travellers expect the experience to continue upon arrival at their hotel,” said Zoe Chan, Senior PR Manager APAC, Hotels.com. “They are using their tablets, smart phones and laptops to plan activities, stay connected to family and even order a delivery meal straight to their hotel room, so it’s no surprise they require free and fast Wi-Fi.”

The Perks of New Technology – Favourite ‘Modern’ In-Room Amenities It would seem that the technological comforts of home are also high on the priority list for travellers with 23 per cent of global respondents choosing highend coffee makers as their top, modern desire in hotel room amenity. Fully wired rooms controlled by a single remote received 20 per cent of the votes. Guests also indicated they would like to enjoy free Wi-Fi on hotel-provided tablets for guest information, room service and local guides (15 per cent). However for Indian travellers, the preferred ‘modern’ in-room amenity is massage chairs or foot massagers (36 per cent) and 25 per cent of them would like to have totally wired rooms controlled by a single remote. It’s the Little Things that Count – Most Appreciated Simple Amenity Staying hydrated when travelling is important to hotel guests globally with 43 per cent choosing complimentary bottled water as the most appreciated simple amenity. Sharing the same sentiment, 42 per cent of Indian travellers also appreciate complimentary bottled water. Only respondents from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Brazil rated free power adaptors above bottled water. The Way to the Hearts of Hotel Guests’ – Through Their Stomachs! l 48 per cent of Indian travellers would like to see complimentary breakfast as a standard offering at all hotels in 2013, while 19 per cent travellers would like to enjoy the items in their room refrigerator without being charged for it.


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Five-Star Life – The Highs and Lows of Luxury Perks

Global price change

l Designer toiletries ranked the highest among favourite amenities while staying at luxury hotels for Indian travellers (31 per cent) while high-end fitness centre & spa was the second choice (29 per cent).

The average price of a hotel room around the world rose by 3 per cent during 2012 compared to the previous year, having reached 107, just seven points higher than when the Index was launched in 2004. The rate of increase has slowed when judged against the 4 per cent rise in 2011.

City with best hotels l 37 per cent Indian travellers voted the ‘sun & sand’ city Goa as the best destination for hotels with good facilities. l Metropolitan business city - Mumbai was the second choice among Indian travellers (18 per cent). l Other destinations popular among Indian travellers for good hotels include Jaipur, Hyderabad, Shimla and Kochi.

This highlights the fact that hotel prices remained at a great value for travellers throughout the year as the global Index for 2012 was still ten points behind its 2007 peak of 117 and only just ahead of its 2005 level of 106. Prices rose in all regions for the year, apart from Europe and Middle East, where there was a slight fall. There were particularly strong showings in the Caribbean, North America and the Pacific. Although not directly comparable, the relative stability of global hotel prices can also be seen in a less technical fashion by

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comparing the fluctuation of the HPI with other global commodities such as gold, oil and coffee in an index. Swings there have been considerably more volatile and prices have risen substantially, reinforcing the great value that hotel prices still represent. At the end of 2012, the index for gold, for instance was four times higher than in 2004, with oil three times and coffee more than double.

Asia on the rise l Hotel prices in Asia rose 2 per cent during the year, not keeping track with the global rise but a more robust result than in 2011, when prices fell by 2 per cent following the natural and nuclear disasters in Japan which deterred travel both within and to the region. The Asia HPI stood at 109 for 2012 and has the farthest ground to make up on its 2007 peak of 131. In fact, it is still behind its 2005 level of 110, although individual cities have performed well.


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conference

Hi-Aim 2013 discusses project implementation issues The second edition of Hi-Aim in 2013 was held in New Delhi on March 21-22. The ‘conference + exposition’ was aimed at creating a knowledge base for the hospitality owners who wish to delve deeper into the subject with designing and architecture possibilities to make projects economically viable and operationally effective.

Hi

-Aim 2013 was themed – ‘Challenges of Implementation’ – in order to address the concerns of owners who invest in hospitality projects. At the inaugural session, Romesh Koul, CEO, Naaz Hotel Consultants and Co-Founder, Hi-Aim said, “A decade back, with less hospitality events, the focus was primarily on conferences that deliberated

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on operations but projects and their implementation issues. That is why, Hi-Aim was created as a forum to address an owner’s issue like design development, ROI, architecture, project implementation and challenges of implementation.” The two-day seminar concentrated on the owners, their relations with architects, interior designers and facilitators of

projects and challenges thereon. Koul, talking to TravTalk, said, “The themes set up an apt debate between the two concerned parties which was informative and delved on the challenges they face as they go on to invest in projects. The primary objective was to find out costing and return on capital invested.” On the other hand, Anil Sharma, Founder, A Sharma Associates and


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Co-Founder, Hi-Aim remarked, “Over 300 people participated at the event. We tried to be specific and find issues that are problem areas for hospitality owners. More than just a conference and exposition, we have emerged as a workshop where we found solutions to core issues. Professionals sharing a common platform in Hi-Aim 2013 discussed the future course of better performance and raising benefits.” The list of attendees included speakers, hospitality owners, architects, designers, business delegates, sponsoring companies and exhibitors. “We have definitely grown as a platform offering sound quality deliberation on hospitality.” The next edition of the conference is scheduled from March 20-21, 2014 at JW Marriott, New Delhi Aerocity. “We will try to raise topics that would talk on the operational efficiency or could be related to an environmentally sensitive approach. Owners are taking a keen

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Business sessions The two-day Hi-Aim 2013 conference highlighted the needs of owners, developers, architects, interior designers, consultants, project managers, etc., through some critical topics as follows: n Return on Capital Deployment – Bang for the Buck n Adaptability of Brand Standards n Challenges of Implementation – Midscale Hotels n Multiple Stakeholders – Who Calls the Shot n Design vs Function n Design Overkill – Heart of the House – Midscale Hotels n Relevance of PMC n Running the Last Mile

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interest after getting a vivid perspective on the subject of design, architecture and interiors,” Koul added. Sharma informed, “Following positive feedback from owners, we wish to take Hi-Aim to other Indian cities and possibly to neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka.” According to Koul, the year 2014-15 will be promising for the hospitality sector. He said, “This year will see a similar growth like last year. In fact, there will be growth which will be accommodated by supply inventories that will be added up this year. Hence, we will be at the same level of market expectations like last year. Though, investors should not be demoralised by the dull phase where occupancy and RevPAR have dipped. These have to be seen on a long term basis with key considerations and focus on location, categories and brand. Owners need to do homework thoroughly to minimise costs for a positive result,” he summed.


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There are not many Japanese and Pan-Asian food joints in India yet. Keeping an eye on the void that exists, Singapore-based brand ‘Sakae Sushi’ has entered the Indian market by having a joint venture in order to expand its footprint. Keeping up with what the international chain does, it has customised the menu to suit local taste. Sanjeev Bhar

q Agedashi Tofu

Eastern

flavours

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series of bamboo columns gives the restaurant’s décor a touch of elegance. There is a feel of the Oriental as one enters Sakae Sushi in the upmarket Ambience Mall of south Delhi. The ceiling of this renowned restaurant chain with red-brown decorative art has dragons sprawled all over, reminiscent of the Japanese architecture, depicting a Japanese poem. Designed by an international firm, the ambience set for the restaurant outlet has been kept subtle that which is aptly complimented by the lighting and décor. Having a capacity for 120 pax, the restaurant is located on the third floor of the mall. It has a set-up divided into two floors which adds a dimension to it since the upper section is an open-air terrace space. The ‘Roof Terrace’ has a green ambience created with the use of artificial grass, with the open sky to give an apt setting for enjoyable cocktail evenings. A small bar addresses the

Chander Agarwal Executive Director, TCI

Lilian Foo Promoter & Vice President, Sakae Sushi

need of this exclusive space, and adds a portion of creativity accommodating a maximum gathering of 30 pax. Further, there is a private dining area which can accommodate 8-10 pax giving an exclusive dining experience in the lower level.

A new avenue One of the leading players in the Indian logistics sector - Transport Corporation of India (TCI) has forged a Joint Venture (JV) company with the Sakae Holdings

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Singapore, which promotes the brand Sakae Sushi. This is the first venture into hospitality for TCI through this JV. Chander Agarwal, Executive Director, TCI says that hospitality is a service industry and food is seen as the foremost service element attached to it. Food business is very much dependent on logistics and therefore, it was an easier way to approach the restaurant business and fulfill his lure for good food. He says, “I particularly chose Japanese cuisine as it is interesting and people like it a lot. Also, you will find only up-market Japanese restaurants in the city. Further, there are too many Chinese, Italian… restaurants. But a Japanese restaurant is a rarity. It has been a missing link and we want to capitalise on this gap,” he adds. Though this joint venture company did not reveal any investments made in the restaurant business so far, it would look forward to grow simultaneously through ownership and the franchisee route in


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q Salmon Cheese q Salmon Carpaccio

Food choices Sakae Sushi is amongst the most prominent and fastest growing restaurant chain in Asia. The restaurant has pioneered the concept of having tiered-plate pricing, incorporating built-in hot water taps for a fuss-free and efficient dining. Its elaborate Japanese menu includes signature dishes like Spicy Kimchee Seafood Kaminabe, Salmon Yuzu Shirataki, Spicy Sumiyaki Udon, Sakae Blossom, Sakana Isshi and Hotate Mentaiyaki to name a few. There is a also a seasonal menu and a kids’ menu, for tasty and healthy Japanese bites for tots. The team of global chefs specialises in an authentic menu.

p Salmon Mentaiyaki

India. “In the next three years, we plan to have a total of three outlets operational,” Agarwal says. “The franchisee option will be used for expanding our horizon but it would be through the JV company in India,” informs Lilian Foo, Promoter & Vice President, Sakae Sushi. The restaurant has been positioned between low and mid-market by bringing the most famous Singapore brand in Japanese and Pan-Asian cuisines. According to Foo, India was on its radar. “We want to be a globally strong brand by extending beyond the 200 outlets that the company has in 10 countries. We spent a lot of time in looking for a right market and India is a perfect place in this respect. Here, people are looking for more international cuisines and there is a lot of scope for Japanese cuisine. In other countries, we have expanded by having set our master franchisee and looking for inorganic growth. But, India happens to be our first joint venture market, where we are inventing,” she says.

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q Sakae Blossom

Localising flavours Majority of food served in the restaurant has been as per the authenticity of the cuisines. Japanese and Pan-Asian cuisines have been becoming quite popular in the Indian market following a set of diners who prefer these cuisines. “Yet,” says Agarwal, “We have tried to add some element of local taste in order to appeal to all tastebuds. “You have to understand that Japanese food would be bland otherwise to the Indians. But just by adding a bit of flavour by using spices we have been able to attract the attention of customers and have received great feedback,” he says.

The dining experience According to Foo, Sakae Sushi is a well known throughout Asia for it is premium food served in an innovative, fun and engaging setting, all at affordable prices. She says, “In addition

to serving fresh, healthy and delicious food as can be expected from our kitchen, the speed and ease with which our customers can have their food served via the conveyor belt is also the signature of our business. I am extremely excited to celebrate the opening of our restaurant in India now.” She is right. The conveyor belt approach that divides the entry level

into two halves is something new. The concept – Kaiten – gives the convenience of picking up the sauces, etc., as it moves on the conveyor belt. Further, a nice bar set up at the lower entry level has been designed aesthetically with a dragon tattoo adding a distinct charm to the restaurant outlet.


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A Delicious

Journey With over three decades of sheer excellence as a food professional, Sireesh Saxena, Corporate Chef and Vice President (Hotels), India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has scored many miles. Now, the proud recipient of the National Tourism Awards wishes to share his knowledge and experience with the upcoming generation of hospitality professionals.

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Q

How does it feel to be recognised with the ‘Best Chef’ award at the National Tourism Awards 2011-12? It is a proud moment for me and it certainly feels wonderful. Even though every award is special, this one is the biggest of them all, being recognised at the national level.

Q

You oversaw production & catering services to State guests at Hyderabad House, The Ashok and Vigyan Bhawan. How did you take up these challenges? When you are catering to the highest office, there really is no room for error. You know it and you accept it as a challenge. With each function/event, it is a new challenge with a new set of issues.

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p Chef Sireesh Saxena receiving the National Tourism Award from the Hon’ble President of India, Pranab Mukherjee as the Minister for Tourism, Dr. K Chiranjeevi and Secretary Tourism, Parvez Dewan look on.

Planning needs to be done independently for each event and that is the essence of the challenge. Executing it to the delight of the dignitaries is the satisfaction point that you work towards.


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Sireesh Saxena Corporate Chef and Vice President (Hotels), ITDC

Q

As Corporate Executive Chef of the Group, how have you developed your team to meet the strenuous requirements of banquets at the President’s House, etc. How was your experience? From amongst the large team that we have, we pick up the right person for the right job. The right person needs not only the right skill but also the mental toughness and presence of mind. It does sometimes happen that you are in a tight spot due to an unforeseen incident. On such an occasion, the chef needs to stay calm and find solutions to not only come out of the crisis but also execute it equally well. At this level, there is no second chance. Hence, constant training for the team is critical – not just for skill enhancement but also for mental agility and adaptability.

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How did you go about motivating your team as the F&B department is a demanding sphere with no scope for error? The team that works towards the success

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of such important events is highly However, the task of being the Corporate skilled, responsible and understands the Chef remains ever so important. Of seriousness of such occasions. This does course, the team at the next level has not happen in a day but is a result of years been trained to get into the nitty-gritty. of training and experience. The team However, a desired amount of focus is knows and takes pride in the fact that kept on catering for the VVIPs and they are providing services to the highest other guests. level of bureaucrats. What would be The very fact that they your advice for are catering to people a budding chef? What who are the ‘who’s are the few things to be who’ of the country is When you are kept in mind to succeed itself a big motivator. catering to the in this highly dynamic highest office, there How do you and challenging field? really is no room manage Before you enter the for error. You know the operational industry, be ready for it and you accept responsibilities that long and excruciating it as a challenge. come to you with working hours. You With each function/ your role as Vice can’t work by the clock event, it is a new President of ITDC? in this profession. It is challenge with new As Vice President, a highly creative field set of issues ITDC, the additional and not everything goes responsibility entails by the book. You need looking after all the to carve out new paths units of ITDC spread on your own. Creating/ across the country. innovating on an everyday

Q

Q


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It does sometimes happen that you are in a tight spot due to an unforeseen incident. On such an occasion, the chef needs to stay calm and find solutions to not only come out of the crisis, but also execute it equally well basis. And, you learn everyday. The budding chefs also need to be ready to meet the guests, which will make them understand and evaluate the worth and value of their product. No food is good unless it is relished and appreciated by the guest for whom it is meant for.

Q

As Vice President, ITDC, the additional responsibility is of looking after all the units of ITDC spread across the country. However, the task of being the Corporate Chef remains ever so important

Which are the characteristics vital to make a chef a true ambassador of food? An eye for detail, creativity on your mind and a love for food… if you have them, you are a ‘food ambassador’.

Q

How do you recall your career journey so far? As you are about to hang up your boots in about three months, what is your aim now? The journey has been ‘delicious’ – to put it simply in ‘culinary’ term. I do wish to share my knowledge and experience with the coming generation of hospitality professionals so that they benefit and do well to serve the industry in the coming times.

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Any unfulfilled wish in your career that you would like to pursue... My 37-year career has given me everything that I have ever aspired for and I am extremely happy and satisfied at this stage of my career. My hard work and sense of commitment have been suitably recognised in the industry.

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Opting tents

to stay

Offering a comfortable stay in a remote location with all facilities has been a niche mantra of hospitality that is offered through tented accommodations. Be it a casual camp or a luxury tent, there is something unique about this proposition that has struck a chord with travellers who are increasingly looking for options. Though the path of setting up a tented accommodation is riddled with operational issues and cumbersome marketing hurdles afterwards to attract customers, the scope is immense and the industry should explore this horizon of hospitality more. SANJEEV BHAR

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p Inside view of Manvar Desert Camp

Pic: Ameya Gokaran

p Kinner Camps


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This sort of stay facility arguably started with backpackers heading for isolated locations and choosing to set up tents for camping purpose. With time, organised players picked up the trend and ensured that tents offer not only a comfortable stay but a luxurious one as well. Facilities from hot water, wash basins to western commode… all find place in tents these days. Interiors can give competition to best of mid-scale hotels having properly arranged beds by refurbishing traditional ‘charpoys’, designed interiors and so on that add a glamour quotient to the tents and lure travellers to opt for it.

Critical issues Thinking of tented accommodations, one directly relates the facility with weather conditions. The usual question that pops up is how safe will it be to

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p The cultural evening at the camp

keep it hospitable. Anshul Mediratta, Managing Director, Virgin Travel Spots & Co Founder Kings Jungle, Sohna agrees, “Upkeep & maintenance, proper caretaking etc., are critical issues. Also, the same licensing issues as the other hospitality projects would have, is faced by the tented accommodations.” He also Mediratta Abbas A Zaidi says that one can club tented facilities Anshul Managing Director Owner Virgin Travel Spots & Jungle Niwas with eco-tourism/farm tourism and Co-founder, Kings Jungle Ranthambore can avail state loans for the projects. “Different states have nice prospects, like high operational cost owing to the need nice interest schemes, tax holidays, etc., of installation, de-installation and proper to lure the investors. Interestingly, we storage in each season. That requires have not faced any major hurdle in setting mobilising of personnel and specialising up tents. As a matter of fact, the State in these activities. Additionally, he governments turn supportive in such adds, to give the feel of nature in such kinds of projects,” he says. accommodation to tourists, the ‘pucca’ construction has to be maintained at the Abbas A Zaidi, Owner, Jungle Niwas, bare minimum - which makes storage in Ranthambore, ironically feels that off-season more expensive. the government departments don’t do anything to promote tented The tents also face an issue of climatic accommodations. That said, there are condition, which is of paramount other hurdles of workmanship and importance. Zaidi says, “We are open material related to tented camps which in the cooler period - October till April are confined to some very limited places. - which more-or-less coincides with the “Expert tent installers are difficult to get, peak season in Ranthambhore. There are standards for construction (platforms, a growing number of ‘green’ tourists, bathrooms, etc.), ventilation are not including nature photographers who existing yet,” he explains. According to prefer to stay in tents. Foreign tourists him, tented accommodations do have a actually look forward to staying in tented

Pic:Manvar Resort & Camp

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ould anyone give away the comforts of sofas, plush interiors, decorative arts and well cushioned beds for something basic like charpoys (khaats), offering basic needs to stay? Yes. The new age travellers see experience in nothingness and limited services that are available through tents and camping facilities.

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accommodation as they feel closer to nature than in a brick construction. On the environment front, tents can withstand moderate dust and rainfall. On the other hand, Pradeep Negi, Owner, Kinnercamps has never had any trouble with licenses and other permissions as such. “We got our licenses pretty easily having Himachal Pradesh’s tourism friendly policies. The biggest hurdle rather in tented accommodation is the weather condition as an off-season snowfall can damage our tents. Also, sometimes locals create problems because they feel tourists can cause security problems in these remote villages where thefts are unheard of.” This is an area where the government has a role to educate the locals.

Business dynamics The Indian hospitality industry contributes around 2.2 per cent of India’s GDP. The industry is expected to reach `230 billion (approx. US$ 5.2 billion) by 2015, growing at a robust CAGR of 12.2 per cent. India will be investing around `448 billion (approx. US$ 10.1 billion) in the hospitality industry in the next five years, according to a report ‘The Indian Hotel Industry Report - 2011 Edition’ by CYGNUS Business Consulting & Research Firm. In the next two years, a total investment of US$ 12.2 billion (approx. `545.2 billion) is expected that will add over 20 new international brands in the hospitality sector. Referring to the report, Mediratta says, “I feel that there is an urgent need for more rooms and more concept tourism to include large and tented accommodation, since with

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The best part is that tents can be erected in minimum time and anywhere, provided you fulfill all necessary requirements. States like Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, down south to northeast etc., have in fact indulged in promoting this avenue of accommodation its offbeat travel pitch it would play a very important part in this scenario. The tourism department demarcates areas in different landscapes such as deserts, riverbanks, forest reserves, etc., and therefore it is one avenue that is going to get bigger in the times to come.” The business dynamics for tented accommodations is growing. Negi says, “To my knowledge Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh actively promote tented facilities. Any natural environment near a water body is an ideal spot for tented accommodation, which should be explored far more.” He, nonetheless, feels that the only deterrent is the maintenance cost which is very high. “Since tents can get easily damaged in bad weather and also, seasonal dismantling and putting it together back again is a cost, the operational aspect becomes tedious and an expensive affair. A constant supervision is desired to make sure that the water and electric supply is fine to make the proposition profitable,” he elaborates. Rajasthan as a state offers an interesting

mix of hospitality products, and tents have been quite successful there too. To keep customers happy as they stay, special attractions are created for them. Bhanu Vikram Singh, Owner, Rajasthan Royal Desert Camp says, “We mainly organise fairs and festivals, cultural activities like puppet show, Kalbeliya dance, magic shows, etc. So, for a few days of tourist traffic one needs to make a lot of effort. And this can only be done if a good number of advance booking has been received, otherwise it could led to revenue loss.” Similarly, Negi organises campfires, treks, rock climbing, river crossing and other activities to engage travellers. There are no operational hurdles as such in maintaining tents. All is good, according to Singh, if one has good number of advance bookings, trained persons to assemble tents, set up proper water and electric connection in tents. Looking at the brighter side of these accommodations, Mediratta says, “The best part is that tents can be erected in minimum time and anywhere, provided you fulfill all necessary requirements. States like Rajasthan,

Pic: Ameya Gokaran

p Kinner Camps


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q The Jeep Safari Camp

With all the trouble and uncertainty, tented facilities are still liked by many as an investment proposition. The growing number of customers is good news. New sets of customers, though skeptical, try to make sure about the safety parameters Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, down south to northeast etc., have in fact indulged in promoting this avenue of accommodation. These days, tents offer the best of services with all the modern amenities and having them in ‘naturesque’ location would be a key for the hospitality sector.”

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Yet there are instances where companies are shutting down tented facilities. In south India, a company which was operating in tented accommodations refused to comment officially. Reason - closing the tents. The tents were not doing well and it warranted a closure of the facility in order to reduce the group’s losses. Not ready to come

on record, the company has now withdrawn its plan and is replacing the same with cottages. According to the spokesperson, the business viability of tents is not helping much. Mediratta agrees. He says, “Yes, it is tough on pockets. Regular upkeep and maintenance is important to match up with the standards of hotels as every traveller seeks comfort during his/her stay. Being made up of fabric rather than concrete it becomes essential to take extra care so as to prevent damage and losses.”

Offering perfect hospitality With all the trouble and uncertainty, tented facilities are still liked by many as an investment proposition. The


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q Jungle Niwas

availability, it will also make operation of tents more cost-effective.

Pic: Manvar Desert Camp

growing number of customers is good news. New sets of customers, though skeptical, try to make sure about the safety parameters. Negi explains, “The first question people ask is – ‘Is it safe?’ Secondly, people want to know if the toilet and bathing area are inside. Also, questions like ‘Will they get hot water?’ to funny questions like ‘Are wild animals likely to enter the tent?’ arise apart from standard of room service.” People also want discounts since it is not a brick and mortar construction, he laughs, forgetting that tents are costly too. Singh says, “A Swiss luxury tent costs around `75,000 - 1,00,000.” The basic necessity for a good tented accommodation is a good safe location, tents made of good material, hygienic waste disposal system and clean toilets.

Zaidi feels, the mainstream tourists in India still prefer ‘pucca’ accommodation but the younger generation, being more open to experimentation, is more amenable to tented accommodation. To that Mediratta argues, “It all depends on which part of the segment tent owners are targeting. We have luxury tented options near NCR, which targets mostly corporates and youth. We give them the best of adventure with sumptuous food options and a comfortable stay.”

Future course As tourism shifts from ‘popular’ to ‘green’ (the trends are already indicating this), Zaidi feels that such camps/tents will become more common. “And with better techniques, material and personnel

This is a niche segment. Hence, Mediratta explains, it would require a lot of marketing skills/initiatives and know-how of the trend to make projects successful. “In this context, we run a resort consultancy wherein we help people find out places and set up this kind of facility clubbed with loads of fun. We also make an ROI chart, where people can break-even in a shorter time horizon. We have a JV in the luxury tented accommodation segment clubbed with adventure facility in the NCR. For future, we also plan to set up more resorts in the lap of nature, alongwith the best of tented accommodation facilities,” he adds. Tented facilities will have its ups and downs. Negi says, “We have received good response to our tented accommodation. In our experience so far, people love staying in tents in spite of their initial apprehensions. It brings them closer to ‘Mother Nature’ and that is an enriching experience for them to explore on more such opportunities. We even have more and more student groups coming.” This avenue of accommodation brings a unique sense of joy for the owners and operators. Till the time people feel the need to stay connected to nature and prefer to stay that way while travelling, tented facilities can expect to grow and offer unique hospitality that they are known to offer.


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stablish yourself, gain confidence, increase the brand awareness and then move on to new highs with more expansion. This has been the mantra of La Marvella, a boutique five-star luxury hotel in the heart of south Bengaluru. The hotel that opened in mid-2010 is now the best performing hotel, claims Sudhir Sinha, President & Chief Operating Officer, Best Western India. On the hospitality front, Bengaluru’s landscape was initially limited only to its north side. However, with hoteliers making a beeline to the south region to set up shop, the demarcation between the north and south area has blurred in recent times. South Bengaluru is slowly but steadily

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acquiring the glamour tag with rapid transformation in recent times. Talking about the opening days of the hotel, Sinha reminisces, “When we first established our presence in this side of the city, we did manage to raise a few eyebrows. People thought it was a stupid decision to come to this side of the city as the action in Benagluru back then was limited to the northern part of the city. But we looked at it differently. This is the IT hub. There was demand for accommodation and we realised that supply needed to flow in.” The hotel opened in the middle of the recession. “Most hotels were cutting down costs when we commenced operations. But that did not make us

Marvel in a city Luxury does not necessarily need to come with a price. With this motto, Best Western Premier La Marvella has cashed in on the south Bengaluru landscape to emerge as a top performing entity in the region. MEGHA PAUL

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lose heart. The hotel began with a huge marketing campaign for spreading awareness. This showed results when business picked up in mid-2011. In the last three quarters of last year, the hotel performed extremely well with 8-10 per cent growth,” he reveals.

Nearer to business The hotel now is growing with leaps and bounds. However, the real revelation is not that the hotel is a commercial success. From a hotel industry perspective, the message from the hotel is that it is re-inventing the paradigm of luxury hospitality in India. One interesting new trend is that unlike in the past, when hotels were at the city centre, a large number of new hotels started coming up where their clients were based. There are three main reasons behind this, says the General Manager. “Availability of land, lower land price outside the central business district and huge catchment areas for customers, thanks to IT parks scattered outside the CBD are the primary causes. This hotel has positioned itself near the IT hub and thus, gets a huge chunk of corporate clientele,” he adds.

The F&B edge With 49 rooms, the hotel is currently luring customers with its F&B offerings. “Generally, in January F&B and conferencing drop. They pick up in the latter half of February. Unlike other business hotels where business drops during December, this hotel did exceptionally well last December, and the credit goes to our F&B segment. “F&B is the driving factor of the hotel.

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With hoteliers making a beeline to the south region to set up shop, the demarcation between the north and south area has blurred in recent times. South Bengaluru is slowly but steadily acquiring the glamour tag with rapid transformation in recent times Being close to the IT hub, we witness a number of corporate dining on weekdays,” Sinha says. In terms of performance, 45 per cent of the hotel’s revenues is garnered from ARRs and 55 per cent comes from F&B. “We do an occupancy of 60 per cent. Almost 40 per cent of our clientele are foreigners. The Best Western tag has helped us in grabbing eyeballs, in terms of inbound travellers,” he opines.

Meetings unlimited

We do an occupancy of 60 per cent. Almost 40 per cent of our clientele are foreigners. Thus, the Best Western tag has helped us in grabbing eyeballs, in terms of inbound travellers

Conveniently located with ample parking facility, La Marvella’s banquet halls are the perfect venues to induce guests. The spacious halls come with every modern amenity. Apart from a boardroom, the 49-room boutique fivestar property sports two grand banquet

halls – Colosseum and Aurum. The Colosseum is the biggest conference facility, which can accommodate up to 300 people in theatre style. With a capacity to accommodate 100 guests, Aurum is the second largest banquet venue.

Expansion spree

After having established its presence, the hotel is now looking at expanding its property. “We plan to increase the number of rooms by another 50. Thus, we are looking at almost doubling our room inventory. As banqueting and F&B are huge in the area, the new expansion would include at least two more banquets and one F&B outlet. We are also planning to double the size of the pool and spa. The hotel will start with restructuring of banqueting and lobby followed by the expansion of the rooms,” he points out.


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canvas A fantastic

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As a new entrant two years ago, The Leela Palace New Delhi at Chanakyapuri has now grown into business reckoning in a manner that every entity is taking notice of it. Tamir Kobrin, General Manager of the property, feels that the New Delhi market offered a challenge that has been met and surpassed creating a benchmark in luxury hospitality. SANJEEV BHAR

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oming to India and being here for five years has been an experience that Tamir Kobrin, General Manager, The Leela Palace Chanakyapuri in New Delhi relishes. He came to India immediately after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008 and took charge of the Leela Palace Udaipur as its General Manager. He recalls, “The hotel was pitted against two established brands in the city, but now we are among the top performing hotels.” After that he was asked to take charge of the Leela Palace Chanakyapuri in New Delhi. “It has been a stupendous journey for two years here. In fact, this hotel has changed the dynamics of Delhi hospitality completely,” he remarks.

Capturing the mindset The hotel raised many doubts as it entered at a premium cost in the city and offered premium room nights. Kobrin says, “We can only succeed through excellence in service and quality. Following our efforts, we are commanding the highest rates in the city. I am the lone player in the rates we are operating. We are charging a


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p The Lobby Lounge

premium. But why should people then come to me? The fact is we have been able to skim the top end of each hotel in Delhi.” According to him, with growing aspirations of people, they are ready to pay a bit more for even better quality having positioned as the premium product and sustaining it.

Service deliverance The hotel has been steadily raising its occupancy and RevPAR, both of which has doubled, confirms Kobrin. He says, “The city occupancy was at mid 70s last year, which came down to higher 60s. Considering just two years in operations, we are at low 50s and expect to go better by the end of this year.” From the days of infancy, this hotel was sustained by

decisions and interact with the F&B revenue, but now guests at a personal level. room revenue has outgrown it. Instant result can be achieved “For every `1 crore of room only if guests’ concerns are revenue, we earn `90 lakh addressed immediately. from F&B. With expectation of This is possible when we occupancy rising, we are going can reduce the protocols of to get better,” he adds. The taking permissions to deliver occupancy of the hotel touched service. It is vital to curtail 65 per cent in January 2013 Tamir Kobrin the delivery time to serve and it is expected to close the General Manager, The Leela guests better,” explains Kobrin. FY2012-13 at low 50s with the Palace Chanakyapuri in highest rates in the city. “Now, New Delhi According to him, hospitality is about we have a target to close at low 60s for bringing the best in people. And India is the current fiscal,” Kobrin asserts. the best place to showcase hospitality. “A hospitable nature is ingrained in Empowerment Indians that they bring from their home mantra environment. It allows you to paint a His simple philosophy to lead the team wide empty canvas,” he adds. is to empower staff to deliver the best of service. “They should be able to take He recalls, when I joined this hotel, it needed a leadership. “Capt. Nair had told me that ‘you have made the Udaipur property the best; now I want this property to be the best as well in the city’. I wanted to give this vision to my staff. A vision where we are the best, we are premium and for what reasons and finally, guests should feel that they get value-for-money,” he elaborates. He wanted that feeling to percolate down to the 1000-staff. Operational efficiency creeps in gradually with time and one can achieve consistency in performance far

Anything above and beyond an achievable goal is not good. We have to live in reality where we can exceed or meet it. Four things are vital in meeting reality i.e., occupancy, market, relationship with customers and expanding our success in the leisure segment

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more effectively. Due to this reason, the hotel now has 900 staff to manage it all. Motivation is a quality that can do wonders. If Kobrin has to be believed, he did wonders by motivating his staff to create a benchmark unprecedented for a city hotel. “I made sure that my sales & marketing team was not just selling an expensive hotel of the city, but also an experience and luxury for its guests which come at premium value. Initially, there was skepticism for selling rooms at a high rate but now, they are not selling anything less than `14,000 a night,” he exclaims. He feels that the premium factor comes with service deliverance and quality.

p TripAdvisor Accolades for The Leela Palace New Delhi. Brian Payea, Head of Industry Relations, TripAdvisor for Business (left) and Tamir Kobrin, General Manager, The Leela Palace New Delhi (right).

In today’s dynamic scenario, the SOPs of average, if one is have to be flexible to topping TripAdvisor adapt themselves, he then the chances feels. “Adaptability is of getting business acceptability. We can increases by threefold,” Hospitality is only do better if we he adds. about bringing listen to what customers out the best in have to say about our But all was not rosy. people. And service. It is vital to The hotel had its share India is the best evaluate customers’ of bad comments too. place to showcase experiences with the That did not deter hospitality. A hotel,” he emphasises. Kobrin. He says, “I hospitable nature It is also crucial to set always made sure is ingrained in targets realistically. to respond to those Indians that they “Anything above and customers individually bring from their beyond achievable goal with sincerity and home environment is not good. We have acknowledged our to live in reality where mistake if there was we can either exceed any. Guests seek the target or meet it. honesty and a sense Four things are vital of security from us. in meeting reality i.e., occupancy, Acknowledging mistakes is equally market, relationship with customers important as is patting your back in and expanding our success in the leisure times of success. Therefore every segment,” Kobrin professes. morning, there is a team meeting for 20 minutes where we review On the other hand, the hotel has been TripAdvisor comments and get to hear recognised by people for its standard the managers and their thoughts.” of service. “The hotel is awarded as the top big & luxury hotel in Asia and Scoring on the the top big, luxury & service hotel international in India by TripAdvisor. It tells you what customers have to say about market Delhi’s business is interesting as it you; whether you choose to look at ranges from leisure to corporate to it or ignore it completely. We chose diplomats and so on. He says, “Our to learn from it,” he points out. business mix consists of 75 per cent “The hotel gets 43 per cent repeat international customers and remaining customers. Also, according to the law

domestic. Of the international pie, 60 per cent business comes from America and then Britain, Europe, Southeast Asia and so on. “We have been selected to join the list of luxury properties featured in Virtuoso. Also, Preferred Hotels & Resorts is our marketing and operational partner. These associations have uplifted our luxury brand position in the US markets. In fact, now FTOs from those destinations are inquiring about our brand from DMCs operating in India. My thoughts are clear. The margins are high in the leisure segment and this is where I wish to command. We have been able to take out some chunks of leisure business from other leading hotel brands in the city,” claims Kobrin. “Delhi is also one of the markets where State officials visit and 60 per cent of the total business coming to Delhi and Mumbai is shared by The Leela Chanakyapuri and The Taj Mahal Mumbai,” he claims. In December 2012 and January 2013, there were four and five State guests visits in the city respectively, and in each of these months the hotel hosted three of them. The hotel claims to have been profitable since the first year of its operations with an aim where every Re 1 spent brings back Rs 2. “We want to achieve exceptional guest satisfaction. We started with a sense that we will do good and we have achieved the desired results for all to see and wonder,” Kobrin chuckles to sum up the conversation.


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Then & Now

ITDC rises from the ashes held press conference on March 19, 2013, Lalit K Panwar, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, ITDC evoked the need to use the power of being a public enterprise with absolute strong fundamentals of the private institutions that have changed the landscape of Indian hospitality. It aimed to become a pioneer in tourism and Panwar recalled the days where The Ashok came into the picture way back in 195556. He believes that ITDC still has in it to be at the forefront. But, comparing to the scenario 22 years ago, ITDC is again going through the same pages of history. After enough slogging for years under losses, it is showing some positive results. At a press conference held recently, Lalit K Panwar said, “We have evolved as a group by strengthening our performance in the last two years, which is also getting reflected with the positive outcome at the stock exchange where ITDC share has shown a strong gain. We are extremely happy with our performance.” The group is expecting to close the year as on March 31, 2013 at a profit of `30 crore with an aim to reach `50 crore in the current FY. Now it is a zero debt company.

Courtesy: TravTalk

The company is focussing on non-hotel avenues like Event Management, Duty Free/Travel Retail, Light & Sound shows, etc. Renamed as Ashok Events (erstwhile Ashok Reservation & Marketing Services), this event management arm has been managing the flagship events of Ministry of Tourism, but is now getting offers of managing events of other ministries. “In the last two years, Ashok Events have managed events of 20 different ministries, nationally and internationally,” Panwar said. ITDC has trained 7,000 youths in the last two years under ‘Hunar Se Rozgar Tak’ scheme by providing two months skill training, and aims to train 10,000 students per year for the entire 12th Five Year Plan through our 16 hotels. Further, it is conducting ‘light & sound’ shows at 20 heritage monuments and there are 20 additional requests to look into. It is also going aggressive in the Duty Free/Travel Retail division where it has opened seaport shops and adding airport shops at Coimbatore and Goa.

22 years on…

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hings have changed. It wants the best of both worlds; public as well as private. Now ITDC wants to capitalise on the front that it is a public sector enterprise and simultaneously, cashing in on the key stalwarts of the industry (in the private sector) who are ex-ITDC. At a recently

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Someone in the conference asked if ITDC (or MOT) needs a brand ambassador to promote itself more… the answer to that was Minister of Tourism himself; a popular actor from the south, said ITDC head. Now the question is - can Dr. K Chiranjeevi really give a performance for a tourism and hospitality blockbuster? Travel trade will have to again wait or watch, hopefully for not another 22 years. By Sanjeev Bhar


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Swosti@30!

Completing three decades in the hospitality industry is no small feat. The Swosti Group has achieved this not only to boost its business horizon but also to take forward the message of Odisha’s hospitality.

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urning 30 for many might be a sign of ageing. But for Swosti Group, it is a sign of maturity. It showcases a ‘fresh’ feel through its refurbished Swosti Hotel for the last three decades in the temple city of Bhubaneswar. An ISO 9001-2008 accredited hotel, it has gone through remodelling and is being presented as the finest boutique hotel of the city.

back in 1982. It was the first four star hotel in Odisha. We offered the best of facilities, the largest conference hall, and of course, great food. The wonderful guests we used to receive then continue to be a part of the Swosti family even today. It makes me nostalgic as I go back to those days.”

Looking back

The facade as well as the interiors now give a magnificent look which is new and modern. The lobby and guest rooms have been redesigned, along with the reception area, giving a completely different ambience to what existed. It appears far more beautiful and luxurious. The hotel now has a comfortable, intimate and welcoming setting.

With Swosti Hotel coming to the fore in 1982, it marked a new beginning for Odisha hospitality. Since it offered world-class services, Swosti had to make no extra effort to become a popular name. “I am very happy that Swosti has again bounced back as a leading hotel and the centre of attraction in Bhubaneswar,” he says.

Further, the property boasts Aqua – a brand new multi-cuisine specialty restaurant; Galeria – 24-hour Coffee Shop and Oceana – a world-class pub. J K Mohanty, Managing Director of the group recalls, “Those days were amazing when Swosti started its operations way

Recognition Meanwhile, the Swosti Group took up a new avatar and came up with Swosti Premium Ltd. (erstwhile Plaza), arguably eastern India’s largest convention hotels in 2006. This property has secured a fine position in the market. The hotel was renovated and it hasn’t looked back since then. In 2005, the group launched Swosti Palm Resorts at Gopalpur-on-Sea. Hotel Swosti, in particular, has had many awards in its kitty including the OASME Gold Star Award 1994, International Trophy 1994 for the promotion Touristique, Hospitality

India International Award 2007 and many more. Similarly, Swosti Premium had many recognitions coming its way including the CSR Award by Tefla 2009. This apart, JK Mohanty has to his credit awards like Rashtriya Samman Puruskaar by India International Council for Industries and Trade and the Global Samman Award.

Creating a brighter future The group is eyeing a new goal of expansion, but is concerned about the shortage of manpower. Mohanty says, “Having spent 30 years in the industry, I feel it was all through a Iearning process and establishing contacts worldwide.I now feel that I must give back to the industry my years of experience and contacts.” Hence, Swosti Group is foraying into the hospitality education sector and will start our first institute in the hospitality business this academic session. Swosti Institute of Management & Social Studies (SIMSS) has been formed understanding the need to provide high quality trained manpower for the requirement of the hospitality sector and the modern traveller. “Our experience is based on the analysis of the feedback received from our valuable guests staying in our hotels from within India and abroad, we wish to mould the students into high quality professionals, fulfilling requirements of the international hospitality sector,” Mohanty sums up.


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Promoting sustainable tourism and developing CSR

The development of tourism in the Indian context lays emphasis on sustainable tourism and the social dialogue within the tourism and hospitality sector. These form a vital aspect for attracting international cooperation for promoting tourism. GAURAV M J NEGI

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ustainable Tourism refers to a level of tourism activity that can be maintained over a long term because it results in a net benefit for the social, economic, natural and cultural environments of the area in which it takes place. The objective of sustainable tourism is achieved by balancing the needs of tourists with those of the destination. For sustainable tourism development to prosper, we have to involve the most important actor - the tourist. However, the image of tourism as an economic activity and the tourist as a client seriously hampers any effort to get the social factors count, involving future generations. Tourists have to start to understand that something is being expected from them. (See Figure 1) According to UNWTO, sustainable tourism should “make optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintain essential ecological processes and help to conserve natural resources and biodiversity. It should respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserve their established and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance. It should also ensure viable, long-term economic operations, provide equal socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders, including stable employment, income opportunities, social services to host communities, and contribute to poverty alleviation.”

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Sustainable development

A sustainable enterprise is a business that does not negatively affect the global or local environment, community, society or economy. It is a key source of growth, wealth creation, employment and decent work; and takes into consideration the differentiated impact of its policies and practices on men and women. Cooperation among governments, businesses, employee and society is required to promote sustainable enterprises and guarantee the quality of employment in a sustainable manner. The competitiveness and capability of enterprises within this fast-paced globalising environment depends on mutual trust, respect, non-discrimination and good employee - management relations among workers and employers. Figure 1 Customer Satisfaction

Employees who are qualified and satisfied with their working environment will produce a better outcome both in terms of enterprise performance and enterprise engagement with social and environmental issues. Investing in workers includes the development of training and the promotion of decent and efficient work environments by concentrating on the human dimensions of productivity and competitiveness.

CSR We now discuss the concepts that underline good stewardship for both the natural and social environment. This is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR is a voluntary, enterprisedriven initiative. Such programmes have emerged as a way for enterprises to

Components of sustainable tourism

Socio economy Local and National Economic and Social Development Job Creation Working Conditions Indigenous Groups

Ecology Environment, Natural Resources Business Profitability

S U S T A I N A B LE TOURISM DECENT WORK

Business Profitability Social Culture Monuments Cultural Heritage Ethnic Groups Living Culture Local Cultures

Fig 1 Source: Diagram prepared by the ILO based on K. Langenfeld: ‘Tourism and Sustainable Development’, GTZ, Sector Project, ITB Convention, Berlin, 2009.


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consider the impact of their operations on society and affirm certain principles and values within their own internal processes and interactions with external stakeholders. Companies are responsible for their products, services and the conditions under which they produce them. CSR initiatives go further than the minimal legal or contractual requirements, but they do not replace the role of the government, collective bargaining or effective industrial relations. Key factors of CSR are transparency and accountability. Different organisations have established principles related to CSR that among others, cover environmental and social responsibilities (see Table 1). Many companies including Carlson Rezidor, Four Seasons and Hilton have implemented skill enhancement programmes, employee empowerment and recognition initiatives, and mobility opportunities for their employees. (See Fig 3) Aim to promote tourism sustainability There is a wide range of international instruments and agreements that are designed to promote tourism sustainability and have clear implications in employment and decent work arenas. In May 2010, 42 governments committed to certain guidelines that provide voluntary principles and standards for responsible business practices in accordance with applicable laws. Their main objectives are: n To ensure enterprise operations remain consistent with government policies, n To enhance mutual confidence Figure 3 Areas of Engagement in Corporate Social Responsibility Actions Customer service Stakeholder involvement Supplier relations Host community support Internal management

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between enterprises and societies in which they operate n To assist the development of foreign investment environments and to strengthen contributions made to sustainable development by multinational enterprises. Table 1 Table

Main areas in which CSR comes into play Accountability Including stakeholder engagement, reporting on environmental and human rights issues, performance related to standards Business conduct Competitive conduct, corruption, bribery, intellectual property rights, political activities, proprietary information Community involvements Community economic development, employment of local and/or underutilised workers, philanthropy Corporate governance Shareholders’ rights, conduct of executive boards Environment Precautionary principles, input/ output, engagement of shareholders, employee training, management systems, public policy, sustainable development Human rights Indigenous people’s rights, health and safety, child and forced labour, freedom of association, wages and benefits, working conditions, discipline Marketplace/consumers Marketing and advertising, product quality and/or safety, consumer privacy

3% 6% 17% 34% 40%

Figure 3 Source: Figures prepared based on UNWTO: ‘CSR in Tourism Study’, Tourism and the Millennium Development Goals, Madrid, 2010, p. 11.

Workplace/employers Non-discrimination, training, harassment/abuse, downsizing, child/ elder care, maternity/paternity leave (Source: A. Kalisch: ‘Corporate futures, social responsibility in the tourism industry’, in Tourism Concern, London, 2002.)

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The Working Conditions (Hotels and Restaurants) Convention, 1991 (No. 172), and the Working Conditions (Hotels and Restaurants) Recommendation, 1991 (No. 179), set minimum standards to improve working conditions, training and career prospects in hotels, restaurants and similar establishments, and noted that collective bargaining is required to enhance job security. This Convention stipulates that the minimum standards adopted at a national level should not exclude workers. As of July 2010, only 15 countries had ratified this Convention. The European Commission reported, “CSR is the concept that makes an enterprise accountable for its impact on all relevant stakeholders. It is the continuing commitment by business to behave fairly and responsibly and to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families, as well as the local community and society at large.” (See: www.bsdglobal.com/issues/ eu_green_paper.asp, (accessed 24 Mar. 2010); C. Beddoe: Labour standards, social responsibility and tourism, Tourism Concern, 2004.) To conclude, tourism, by definition, involves a journey, a passage through time, space and through a diversity of cultures, peoples and pasts. In the Indian context, tourism has a critical role to play in generating knowledge, dialogue and understanding across and between cultures. It also has a critical role in the development process. At one level, the journeys of tourists may be individual in nature, but on another level the journeys of tourism forms a part of exchange for development that is inextricably linked. Therefore, this on-going journey of humanity is common for all and should be made accessible to all. This common journey needs research, reflection, mediation, and coordination to ensure that it functions as a creative and positive force that works in harmony and balance with the cultures that shape it. (The writer of the article is a Research Scholar. Views expressed by the author are personal.)


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within the hospitality trade PK Mohankumar

Rajeev Babbar

MD and CEO Roots Corporation Limited

P K Mohankumar has been appointed as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Roots Corporation Limited (RCL), subsidiary of The Taj Group. In his new role, Mohankumar will lead the Management Team in consolidating current operations of Ginger Hotels pan India and spearhead fast track growth and development in the domestic market.

Sharad Datta

Vice President – Finance & Planning, South Asia Premier Inn

Rajeev Babbar joins Premier Inn, a budget hotel chain in UK and part of Whitbread PLC, as Vice President – Finance & Planning, South Asia (India, Sri Lanka and Maldives).

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Prior to this new appointment, Mohankumar served as Chief Operation Officer of The Gateway Hotels & Resorts. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table after serving more than 39 years in the hotel industry. He will also be responsible to bring in sharper focus to customer engagement and deliver excellence in all Ginger moments. At present, Ginger Hotel has 27 properties across India.

Prior to joining Premier Inn, Babbar was working with Emaar MGF Land Limited as Assistant Vice President Finance – Hospitality and Treasury. Babbar brings with him substantial expertise, knowledge and experience in several key areas of Finance and Strategic Planning. At Premier Inn, his core responsibilities will include interaction with the capital markets and leadership of the finance, accounting, corporate mergers, acquisitions and divestitures for the company. In this role, he was responsible for business development, acquisitions, management tie-ups, financial reporting and budgeting.

General Manager Hyderabad Marriott Hotel &Convention Centre & Courtyard by Marriott, Hyderabad Sharad Datta joins Hyderabad Marriott Hotel &Convention Centre and Courtyard by Marriott, Hyderabad as its General Manager. He brings with him a rich and versatile experience gained from having worked with reputed brands such as The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt Hotels and Carlson Rezidor Hotels.

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Over the years, Datta has worked with The Regent, Renaissance, The Hyatt (all in Mumbai) and The Oberoi Hotels. His last assignment was with Radisson BLU Dwarka, New Delhi as its General Manager. He is also an enthusiastic golfer and thoroughly enjoys his Sunday morning rounds of golf. Datta is also extremely passionate about music and loves playing classics such as the Beatles on his guitar.

Shane Krige General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company announced the appointment of Shane Krige as General Manager of The RitzCarlton, Bangalore which is set to open in summer 2013. He is responsible for all the pre-opening stages of development and for the daily hotel operations of food & beverage, rooms and sales & marketing divisions once the hotel is launched. With over 15 years of experience, Krige joins The Ritz-Carlton from his role as the General Manager of The Plaza New York. Prior to this, he distinguished himself in leadership roles in London and Dallas. He re-joins The RitzCarlton Hotel Company after previously holding a senior management position at The Ritz-Carlton in Washington DC.

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Raman Deep Singh

Sanjoy Kumar Das

Sanjay Gupta

General Manager Mosaic Hotels, Noida

General Manager Radha Regent – A Sarovar Hotel, Chennai

General Manager Le Meridien Jaipur

Mosaic Hotels, Noida has recently announced the appointment of Raman Deep Singh as the new General Manager. He comes with 14 years of experience in the hospitality sector and brings with him an extensive pool of experience from implementing new food and beverage concepts to building strategic alliances with various key figures and corporations in the hospitality industry. Singh will play an active role in the overall management of the property with particular attention towards maintaining and developing high quality service and superior experiences.

Sanjoy Kumar Das has been appointed as the General Manager of Hotel Radha Regent – a Sarovar Portico Hotel, Chennai. Prior to joining Hotel Radha Regent, Das has led the team at The Raintree Hotel, Chennai and earlier worked at the Hilton Warwick, United Kingdom, Taj Hotels and Resorts, The Park Hotel Kolkata and Park Plaza Ludhiana.

Sanjay Gupta has joined the team of Le Meridien Jaipur as the General Manager of the hotel. Prior to joining Le Meridien Jaipur, Gupta had been instrumental in establishing Le Méridien Coimbatore, the newest hotel in India by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and the 100th Le Méridien hotel globally for the brand.

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Singh has worked with domestic and international brands such as The Imperial - New Delhi, Marriott, ITC, Clarks, Speke Group of Hotels & Sodexo Food Solutions India to name a few.

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As GM of The Raintree, he renovated and upgraded the F&B outlets making them more thematic and competitive to up-coming competition in Chennai’s 5-star scenario. He was associated with Hilton Hotels Worldwide in UK, where he spent two fruitful years learning the nuances of the European hospitality industry at Warwick’s finest luxury hotel.

Sheetal Iyer Director Sales & Marketing Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway Sheetal Iyer has recently been appointed the Director - Sales & Marketing in the Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway. With over 10 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, Iyer has been associated with brands like Zuri, Le Meridien and The Oberoi. Her key expertise lies in developing and implementing sales strategies in sync with market conditions.

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With a multi-faceted approach of open mindedness, transparency and an experienced leadership style, she helps her team to share their thoughts, feel important and celebrate success as a team. Speaking from a team parlance, her primary focus is to keep the team motivated and keep them from getting bogged down by pressures and stress.

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With a successful term at the Coimbatore property, Gupta is keen to replicate his significant work at Le Meridien Jaipur. Having spent almost 19 years in the hospitality industry, Gupta has also worked at The Royal Orchid Group of Hotels in Bengaluru. In his previous roles, he has worked with The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts and Trident Hotels, Mumbai in the capacity of Food & Beverage Manager.

Rakesh Chauhan

Dr. Jojy Abraham

Executive Assistant Manager Hotel India Awadh, Lucknow

Manager – Siddh Spa Hyatt Regency Chennai

Rakesh Chauhan has recently joined Hotel India Awadh Lucknow as an Executive Assistant Manager. He brings with him over 14 years of experience in the hospitality industry and possesses notable expertise in revenue, costing, management control and hotel operations. Prior to joining Hotel India Awadh, Chauhan was associated with Peppermint Hotel as a Food & Beverage Manager.

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Chauhan brings with him 14 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He is a hotel management graduate from the Institute of Hotel Management – Chandigarh.

Dr. Jojy Abraham has been appointed as Manager – Siddh Spa at Hyatt Regency Chennai. Hailing from Kerala, he brings along an industry experience of more than 12 years from various renowned properties.

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In his new role, Abraham will be supervising all activities related to the spa, anticipating, identifying and ensuring guest needs are met in the best way possible, developing spa marketing strategies by studying the market, ensure costs are controlled as per budget figures, manage inventory effectively and assist the team in their growth.


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Costa Coffee introduces ‘Mocha Berry’

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eading international coffee chain Costa Coffee has introduced Mocha Berry, an innovative coffee based beverage, across its outlets in India. The new Mocha Berry was the winning entry created by Sachin Chawrsia, the winner of Costa ‘Barista of the Year 2012’.

SUFI skincare range

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iding on the premium segment post the launch of SUFI essential oils and Eau de Toilette in early 2012, The Imperial Spa and Salon launches SUFI’s second phase of skincare range, its own brand of botanical and organic skincare. The retail products have been expanded to include a vibrant new selection and offering a tribute to women on the occasion of women’s day. All the ingredients are ethically sourced and packed in recyclable airtight containers that are lightweight and perfect for daily use or for travelling. Also to pamper the non – resident guests with the goodness of the all new range and the oils, an exclusive SUFI ‘Massage room’ was launched at The Imperial Salon on the occasion.

Greenways Foods & Beverages launches ‘Lounge Myx’

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reenways Foods & Beverages introduces Lounge Myx, a range of non-alcoholic mixes created by a crew of professional bartenders who are sticklers for perfection. All these recipes of cocktail mix has been approved and certified by Beverage Testing Laboratory, Chicago, USA (BTI Chicago). These cocktail & mocktail mixes are the exact replica of the internationally known cocktails & mocktails. Cocktails have been around forever, and now consumers can enjoy ready-mixed cocktails at home, at dinner parties and functions without spending the whole night behind a blender. Lounge Myx is priced at Rs 75 in 250 ml cans.

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Barista of the Year is a unique initiative from Costa Coffee to promote talent and creativity among their Baristas across countries of presence. Sachin Chawrsia won the latest Indian edition of the competition with his innovative creation - Mocha Berry. This coffee combines the taste of the finest Mocha with rich strawberry sauce and chocolate, giving a unique aroma, taste and body to the beverage.

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Victorinox knives & stand block

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he legendary Swiss Army Knife manufacturer, Victorinox brings its latest ‘Ceramic Line’ and ‘Knife Block XV’. Ceramic Knives are becoming increasingly popular. The benefits are the best possible cutting quality, the blade remaining sharp over a very long period and the blade’s neutrality with regard to taste. The Ceramic Blades (12 cm, 15 cm and 17 cm) are manufactured from high purity Zinconium Oxide powder compressed at very high pressures and sintered in furnaces at temperatures of 1500°C, resulting in an extremely hard blade that is comparable to the hardness of a diamond. Victorinox offers three sizes of ceramic knives - the 12-cm paring knife, the 15-cm carving knife and the 17-cm Santoku knife (a wellbalanced, all-purpose knife that originated in Japan). Thanks to the ceramic material, the knife is very light and weighs only half as much as a steel knife of the same size would.

Baby Saffron for aroma and flavour

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aby Saffron, a market leader of saffron in India, launches the all new 1gm pack of powdered saffron for instant effect with the same mesmerising aroma, colour and flavour. Powdered saffron is just plain saffron highly recommended for everyday users and busy chefs looking for powerful saffron qualities and enchanting essence within a fraction of seconds. The extra smooth powder is deep red in colour, which signifies their high mixing power in all kinds of recipes. The powder is stored in airtight glass jars with par to international packing standards to preserve potency. Thus, if stored properly it will not absorb moisture and the quality will remain intact for a long time. Powdered saffron is by no means inferior to saffron stigma and many gourmands enjoy the convenience and economical advantage of using Baby Saffron powder.

Cocoberry Sugar Free Frozen Yogurt

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he delectable sugar free and low fat frozen yogurt, that is part of Cocoberry’s latest offerings, goes a step further in pleasing the taste buds of the calorie conscious. Now Cocoberry offers not just low cal, but also sugar free yogurt. With its new Sugar Free variant, Cocoberry serves as the perfect heat busting delicacy for people of all ages. The company will also shortly introduce sugar free chocolates.


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National Tourism Award for Rajasthan

t Rakesh Srivastava, Principal Secretary and Commissioner,Tourism, Govt. of Rajasthan, receiving the National Tourism Award from Pranab Mukherjee, Hon’ble President of India.

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ajasthan was awarded the National Tourism Award for the year 2011 – 2012 for being the Second Best State in the category of Comprehensive Development of the Tourism Sector. Furthermore, the award for Best Heritage Hotel was also given to the State’s, Jaipur-based Samode Haveli.

The Hon’ble President of India, Pranab Mukherjee presented awards to all the winners of various categories. Rakesh Srivastava, Principal Secretary and Commissioner, Tourism, Govt. of Rajasthan received the award from the President. Dr K Chiranjeevi, Union Minister for Tourism, and Parvez

Dewan, Secretary, Tourism, Govt. of India, were also present at the occasion. The Rajasthan Relief Riders Programme was also conferred with a special award at the ceremony for the most ‘Innovative and Unique Tourism Project’.

Ministry of Tourism, Government of India annually presents National Tourism Awards to recognise and award the contribution of various players in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.

Convention Centre (HICC) to win this prestigious award for the fourth time in a row. With the growing MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Exhibitions) tourism sector in India, HICC has established itself as the preferred ‘convention destination’ in India and this award will further strengthen our efforts to position Hyderabad as the convention capital of India.”

HICC bags the National Tourism Award for ‘Best Standalone Convention Centre’

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yderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) has been awarded the ‘Best Standalone Convention Centre’ for the year 2011-12 by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Pranab Mukherjee, Honorable President of India, presented the award to Peter Frawley, General Manager - Delegate, Accor Andhra Pradesh at the award ceremony held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The

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Speaking on the occasion Peter Frawley said, “We are delighted to receive the award and this is indeed a moment of great pride for the Hyderabad International


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National Tourism Award for disabled-friendly monument

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ourism Minister Chiranjeevi, President of India Pranab Mukherjee, Sminu Jindal Managing Director Jindal Saw, Founder Svayam and Abha Negi at Nation Tourism Awards being awarded for Making Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Best maintained and disabled friendly monument.

Best Hotel in Five Star Category

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ourism Minister Chiranjeevi, President of India Pranab Mukherjee giving away Nation Tourism Awards to Rajindera Kumar of Vivanta by Taj Ambassador New Delhi for the ‘Best Hotel’ in Five Star category. The award was given in recognition to its significant contribution to hospitality excellence.

National Tourism Award for The Oberoi, New Delhi

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he Oberoi, New Delhi has been recognised for its significant contribution to tourism in the country and unremitting commitment to excellence. The luxury hotel has been awarded the prestigious National Tourism Award in the Best Five Star Deluxe category. t (From left) Dr K Chiranjeevi, Minister of State for Tourism, Pranab Mukherjee, President of India with Jay Rathore,VP & GM,The Oberoi, New Delhi; Reuben Kataria, EAM,The Oberoi at the event.


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HOTREMAI organised seminar during AAHAR 2013

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n March 16, 2013 during AAHAR-2013, the Hotel & Restaurant Equipment Manufacturers’ Association of India (HOTREMAI) organised a seminar on ‘Transformation of Hospitality Supply Chain Management’, a panel

discussion by Hospitality Purchasing Managers` Forum (HPMF) at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The core members of the HPMF were present on the occasion. They highlighted the importance of the supply chain management in the perspective

of the industrial arena in general and the hospitality sector in particular. The seminar was knowledge-oriented and was followed by a question-answer session. The event was well attended by the representatives of HOTREMAI member companies and ITPO officials.

HOTREMAI ‘Get-Together’

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s a part of its promotional activity and with a view to boost the recognition and brand building of Hotel and Restaurant Equipment Manufacturers Association of India (HOTREMAI), a ‘Get-together over Cocktail and Dinner’ was organised by HOTREMAI on March 15, 2013 after the AAHAR exhibition hours in the VIP Lounge at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. HOTREMAI exhibitors of AAHAR-2013, professionals from the

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hospitality industry and ITPO officials were present on the occasion. Earlier in the day, a jury comprising of reputed professionals from the hospitality industry was formed to adjudge display in stalls of HOTREMAI participants under three sizes of stalls and pronounce awards. The stall of M/s Ramsons Garments Finishing Equipments, New Delhi was adjudged the best stall in 100+ sqmt stall category, while the best smaller stalls (<36 sqmt category) and 36-99 sqmt

categories, respectively went to M/s House of Design, New Delhi and M/s Suresh Kumar & Co., New Delhi. Attended by 250 people, the event was a great success and drew appreciation from the participating members of HOTREMAI.


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Women’s Day celebration at The Suryaa, New Delhi

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he Suryaa, New Delhi in association with the Cancer Patients Aid Association organised a colourful and vibrant afternoon on the occasion of International Women’s Day. An initiative by Greesh Bindra, VP & GM of the hotel, the event was held at Sampan with the strong cause of breast cancer awareness attached to it. Cancer specialist Dr Kanchan Kaur spoke about breast cancer awareness and modes of self examination. The afternoon was complete with a lavish spread of Pan Asian Cuisine and fun activities like nail art and skin renewal therapies at the venue. Guests seen enjoying the afternoon were Sita Raina (theater personality), Shefali Talwar (actor and model), Neeta Mehta (author of famous cook books), Dr Kanchan Kaur (breast cancer specialist), Anuradha Bindra, Rachna Kohli and Kiran Hukku (CPAA) to name a few.

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Talents awarded @ Culinary Art India 2013 competition The Suryaa, New Delhi’s talent displayed and proved their culinary skills at the Culinary Art India 2013 competition. Culinary Art India is a five-day event hosted by the Indian Culinary Forum, held alongside AAHAR – an international food fair at Pragati Maidan. Culinary Art India is an internationally-modeled annual chef competition, where chefs from various properties are pitted against each other in various categories and cuisines. This year it saw more than 250 chefs from all of north India contesting for 16 different categories. The Suryaa, New Delhi won medals in Artistic Pastry Display – where Chef Anoop Paul won the Bronze Medal. Chef Rajesh Katoch won the Bronze Medal in Three Course Set Dinner Menu. Chef Amar Singh Bisht won the Bronze Medal in the Desserts category. Greesh Bindra, VP & GM of the hotel seen with the winners in ther picture below.


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Venus celebrates its 50th anniversary

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enus Industries celebrated its 50th year of its existence in the hospitality industry by organising a grand celebration party on March 16, 2013 at the hotel Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon. Keeping in view its long lasting relationship with the industry stakeholders, Venus Industries expressed its gratitude by congratulating others for its success. J K Khurana, Chairperson of the group welcomed the gathering. His two sons and directors of the company, Bimal Khurana and Vicky Khurana also played hosts for the evening.

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Grand Steinway Piano at The Imperial

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ostalgia at 1911 Brasserie known for classic European evenings with old world western fare and live music, unveiled ‘The Grand Steinway S -155’, synonymous with the finest pianos since 1853. World renowned for its high levels of craftsmanship and painstaking attention to detail, each handcrafted piano is an instrument

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to reckon with. The Steinway is now a part of the iconic heritage at The Imperial New Delhi and it is now the only five star deluxe hotel in India to be a proud possessor of this legendary piano. Sharing his views, Vijay Wanchoo, Sr. Executive Vice President and GM said, “Nostalgia

imbues reflections of the era gone by with exquisite specialties flambéed on tables, coupled with vintage and new wines in a picturesque setting. The launch of ‘The Grand Steinway S -155’ will enrich the Nostalgia experience and will throw a spotlight on unmatched piano music, unearthing the soul, while enchanting diners.

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RNI No. DELENG/2000/1230 Posting Date 15-21 (Every Month) Postal Reg. No. DL-(C)-01/1294/2012-2014 at MBC-1 Date of Publication 12-04-2013


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