Page 1

magazine `50 • January 2012

Survival in the Wild

Hospitality’s relationship with the national parks

Adding Luxury Quotient Chandigarh gets a new address

Reservations Up, Rates Down Advantage domestic tourism

FHRAI MAgAzIne JANUARY 2012 1


[Contents] Editor Deepa Sethi Assistant Editor Sanjeev Bhar Sub Editor Divya goyal Advertising gunjan Sabikhi Harshal Ashar Shovan Kanungo Prem Sagar Dheeraj Mangla Design Alpana Khare neeraj Aggarwal neeraj nath FHRAI REPRESENTATIVES ON THE EDITORIAL BOARD Chairman, Publications Sub-Committee Vijai Pande Marketing S.P. Joshi 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 Durga Das Publications Pvt. Ltd. On behalf of Federations of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India and published from Durga Das Publications Pvt.Ltd. 72 Todarmal Road New Delhi 110001 Email: info@ddppl.com Printed at Cirrus Graphics Pvt. Ltd. B 62/14, Phase-II, Naraina Industrial Area New Delhi 110028 For editorial Feedback sanjeev@ddppl.com For Advertising gunjan@ddppl.com Tel : 91-11-23731971 Fax: 91-11-23351503 This issue of FHRAI Magazine contains 68+4 pages cover

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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January 2012 6

President’s Message

54

Technology Evaluating Operations

8

Cover Story Survival in the Wild

55

Design Barrier-free Infrastructure

56

Strategy Rock-n-Dine

16 news Updates 30 FHRAI

Dine Out Woodpecker Comfort Inn Saffron Kiran

34 Report Forecast for 2012

56

36 explore JW Marriott, Chandigarh

62

Chef Talk Anurag Bali Fairmont Jaipur

64

FHRAI Desk FHRAI sub-committees for 2011-12

65

Taxation

66

Movements

68

events

44 Products & Services 45 gM Canvas Manoj Madhukar Best Western Maryland 48 Outbound Macau’s Old World Charm 52 guest Column Reservations Up, Rates Down

Request Note: Federation of Indian NGOs on Drug Abuse Prevention (FINGODAP) is a network of around 500 Drug de-addiction centres. We request members to donate used & discarded items of the Hotels such as furniture, linen, electrical items, fixtures etc for which you could contact Dr. Rajesh Kumar Executive Director, FINGODAP; Ph: 011 26893872, Cell: +91 9891268872, Email: spym@vsnl.com

Cover picture courtesy Aditya Singh

FHRAI MAgAzIne JANUARY 2012 5


President’s Message

[Message]

6 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

My dear FHRAI Co-members, On behalf of my FHRAI team, I take this opportunity to wish my fraternity, friends and their families a very happy and flourishing New Year. This year I have set-up a host of Sub-Committees such as, Seminar, Information, Secretariat Office, HRD, Sustainable Development, Food Safety, Hospitality Development Promotion, PR, Government, MOT, Copyright, FAITH, Restaurant and Newsletter, under the Chairmanship of some of our Executive Committee members. Kindly look at each one’s drive, in the future issues of this magazine. Your committee members are ably supported by our Secretariat team, actively committed to the cause of influencing policy makers to realise the true value of our hospitality industry. We have to create this awareness now among the masses and our elected representatives, to ensure our industry contributes to building the country’s infrastructure. I seek your valuable suggestions regarding what the FHRAI should be focussing on in the next five years and also topics that you feel research should be carried out on and published by FHRAI, which would jointly benefit all you members in the long run. I would appreciate receiving this at the earliest in order to set the wheels in motion, so that your association becomes a voice to reckon with, in years to come. I also wish to hear from you on how we can bring about a change, such that the hurdles you have faced till 2011 do not bother you ever again. Hope this year brings us rich dividends from the operations we so painstakingly undertake for our discerning guests.

With warmest wishes, Kamlesh Barot President kamleshbarot@revivalhotel.com

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[Cover Story]

[Cover Story]

Survival in the Wild

Tourism in the national parks and sanctuaries has always acted as a force to keep a protective eye on the wildlife. But the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed with the Supreme Court of India to invalidate tourism in tiger specific reserves of Madhya Pradesh to protect India’s national animal is seen as a drastic appeal. The stakeholders in tourism believe that their proposition to promote tourism deserves credit that stands for animal protection, learning recreation for general public and economic benefit that is passed on to the society at large. Sanjeev Bhar

W

ay back in 1973, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was setup for ‘Project Tiger’ with an aim to save tiger habitats and more importantly, to allow its tax paying citizens the right to enjoy some of India’s most cherished landscapes - for the purpose of recreation and education and study. It is also known that over the years, the tiger population has drastically gone down, even though it is improving of late (refer table on page no. 14) the concern has drawn a lot of attention. Numerous campaigns, slogans and active help from WWF and other NGOs working towards protection of animals have come forth to save the tigers. But questions are being raised about the symbiotic relationship between this beautiful animal and tourism. A PIL was filed by Ajay Dubey, Secretary of NGO Prayatna based in Bhopal, at the Madhya Pradesh High Court to ban Wildlife Tourism in critical tiger habitats of Madhya Pradesh. As he lost the battle there, he appealed for the decision in the Supreme Court in the Capital. Nonetheless, Madhya Pradesh High Court has asked the State Government about the extent to which tourism is carried out in the designated core areas of the parks vis-à-vis the parks in other states. The point to ponder is whether restrictive tourism activity really is a danger for tiger survival in national parks, asks Vishal Singh, Managing Director, Royal Expeditions & Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT) India Head. He argues, “If tourism really hurts, who can give us the justification for the rising numbers of tigers in conjunction with the rising number of tourists in the Tiger Reserves of Madhya Pradesh except Panna National Park, according to NTCA census for 2006 and 2011. It is also interesting to note that Panna is the only park where both the tourist inflow and tiger population has decreased.” In reality, according to TOFT, a verdict in the petitioner’s favour would be applicable

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across all tiger reserves, national parks and sanctuaries, putting an end to the possibility of Wildlife Tourism. However the hearing for the case which was slated for November 2011 did not take place, the case has drawn its share of attention from the travel and hospitality trade apart from conservationists and society at large and even from the political spectrum.

The Crux of the Matter

The framework of the PIL, according to Singh, is not clear to many. The fact that every stakeholder wants to preserve this animal and all other animals of national importance is a foregone conclusion. “What needs to be identified is that the ‘Core Tiger Area’ of the national parks are huge and only a limited part of these are designated as ‘Tourism Zone’. If a separate zone barred from tourism activities, can be created within the core area, it should address the concerns being raised by the PIL with respect to the extra care needed to protect the tigers. Instead, a particular zone should be created for tigersighting to contend with the prevalent issues. The court should maintain a status quo with stringent restrictions to protect the tigers,” he remarks. “Actually the PIL is missing the point. It is trying to divert the attention from the main reasons such as, poachers, habitat loss, vacant posts in the forest department, law amendments, etc. due to which we lost tigers in parks like Panna and Sariska,” says Manav Khanduja, Director - Marketing, Pugdundee Safaris. On the other hand, AP Nanaiah, President – Operations, Coffee Day Hotels & Resorts partly agrees with the PIL. “We need to be responsible as far as preservation of the wildlife is concerned. All said and done, we have encroached upon the ‘Home’ of the animals and of the inhabitants of these forest dwellers. We need to respect the fact that for once they are hosts in their homes and we are their guests,” he says. Simultaneously, he

FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012 9


[Cover Story] adds that there should be a limit to what is shown to the tourists. An overcapacity would lead to unnecessary problems and issues. The ‘carrying capacity’ of the parks should match the capacity of all resorts. Abhieshek Kumar, Managing Director of Trinayan Homes says, “The decision of the court in favour of the petitioner, if it has merit, shall definitely impact the business of operating resorts. We would certainly want the tigers to survive and grow in numbers. Any blanket-ban shall be a major retardant to India’s tourism industry. We’re therefore encountering a situation that needs a careful optimisation by competent agencies wherein neither the cause is defeated nor the very important tourism sector gets a kick in its belly.”

Tourism – Watchdog of Wildlife

Picture courtesy Aditya Singh

The entire travel trade has reacted strongly to the PIL filed by Dubey. As the case came to the forefront, Julian Matthews, Chairman of TOFT reacted by saying, “It’s quite ridiculous that we have got into this position. At a time when well planned Wildlife Tourism is saving and restoring

10 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

[Cover Story] the landscapes and saving endangered species across Europe, Africa and the American continent and giving locals an opportunity to benefit from the wilderness; India is taking a completely retrograde step in trying to stop it.” According to him there is a need for comprehensive vision, better policies and greater enforcement for the sustainable development of Nature Tourism in all its forms. On the other hand, Harihar Patra, Director-Marketing, Toshali Resorts International who have a property at the Simlipal Tiger Reserve says, “Tourism really has never been a dampening factor for the animal habitat. Rather it is in their interest to take care of the jungle. Hence the Department of Forest and Tourism should sensitise the resorts and stakeholders to ensure the co-existence of all.” Matthews adds that the ground reality is that Indian forests face infinitely greater threats due to factors such as overgrazing, widespread poaching of tigers and their prey, encroachment, illegal mining and wood extraction, continuous fires, a complete lack of prey species, huge shortage of protection staff, low morale and corruption rather than threats

due to Wildlife Tourism. According to a government report, the occupancy area for tigers has shrunk from 9 million hectare to less than 7.5 million hectare over the last four years. Another campaign by Greenpeace discloses a dampening fact about the forests i.e. they are becoming the victim of Government and Corporate greed to extract more coal. Actor Abhay Deol campaigning for the forests believes that the beautiful forest of Mahan in Madhya Pradesh is lurking in danger. Coal mining is threatening forests and its inhabitants. Leopards, bears and other animals will gradually disappear, he appeals. This second’s the proposition that factors other than tourism are also responsible for the destruction of the forests and wildlife. Also, without any tigers, tourism related to wildlife and especially the tiger segment will die. Kumar explains, “No state has complete dependence on only Wildlife Tourism. There are and would always be other attractive denotations which interest national and international tourism. However, banning tiger-sighting shall cause a detachment for people. The intense and increasing impetus to save the tigers may be affected because finding something just on photographs cannot cause a life-like relationship that we have with these mighty creatures.” Khanduja remarks, “Tourism is the only financial stakeholder in the parks; no one is affected more by the depletion of wildlife as the tourism industry.” The lure of visiting national parks, where tigers are the prime attraction, would be lost. “With a future that looks very bleak as far as preservation of wildlife is concerned, private operators in the hospitality and travel industry (as Responsible Tourism entities) need to implement certain stringent measures,” Nanaiah points out giving some suggestions. Tourism is an eye-opener of sorts, he says. “Seeing is far better than reading the dangers that wildlife faces. It showcases the truth, what is at stake and most importantly, what needs to be treasured. It is critical that we showcase the facts as they are; only then the next generation would really respect the importance of wildlife off the books,” he adds. Implementation of a minimum and maximum number of resorts could be developed in any wildlife destination. For instance, Nanaiah suggests, for a forest of ‘x’ hectare, the state government can allow only 2 resorts and ensure that the proposed guidelines are followed. Secondly, having all the guests abide by

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certain laws wherein they would need to respect and adhere to certain rules and regulations of the area. “Non-compliance of the same could lead to strict and punishable actions by the government,” he says. “For resort owners, guests need to be equally sensitised about wildlife protection. It is also necessary that the stakeholders are made accountable for the animal kingdom or else face drastic actions including closure of the jungle for some years, if needed. But, if the tiger numbers are increasing along with tourism – which the reports suggest – then there is no reason why tourism should be kept away from the national parks,” counters Patra. He also says that the state governments need to take stringent actions against the officers when poaching takes place, as in most of the cases it happens due to the connivance of the park personnel with the miscreants. The authorities too have a role to play. “They also need to understand the importance and significance of these forests and their inhabitants in our lives. We could have joint sessions addressed

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by known organisations/personalities for instance Greenpeace/National Geographic, etc.,” suggests Patra.

Hospitality Key to Tourism’s Existence

Since 2004, TOFT has campaigned hard for better and more sustainable Nature

Tourism practices in India. It checks on the resorts in the national park region with ‘Pug Audit’ to rate the environmental approach they undertake. Singh says, “If carrying capacity is an issue, then dynamics of demand and supply will always take care of the desired balance. In fact, lodge sizes are reducing, they employ locals and take

FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012 11


imperative measures to address local needs without disrupting the balance of nature.” According to him, apex associations like FHRAI should take the case of Sarai Act and demand for a more holistic wilderness act that would address the concerns of various voices that harm the resort propositions in such delicate locations. According to Kumar, the capacity of a park cannot be quantified. He says, “In fact opening of new resorts has value addition and indicator of increasing market size. It should not be specific to either existing or upcoming resorts. In addition to the imposition of a code of conduct based on the facts presented by the petitioner in the affected areas, safety measures to mitigate the cause must be taken for preventive measures rather than curative measures. Patra adds, “Tourism in the fold of

Vishal Singh

A P Nanaiah

12 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

hospitality can really help the restoration of national parks as this creates a positive sense around. Hence everyone is supposed to be a watchdog in the larger interest of wildlife.”

Preparing ‘Plan B’

Talking about economics, tourism is a key driver for high direct and indirect employment opportunities apart from self-employment that is apparent in remote rural areas adjacent to the national parks. Also, tourism sustains the surrounding population (tribal and rural) and the parks’ symbiotic relationship with them. Hence, creation of barriers to curb interests is very harmful. Kumar says, “National parks provide great business opportunities in India and abroad and as a service provider, it’s an opportunity for our organisation to position ourselves

Harihar Patra

at locations which are attractive and have potential for hospitality services. Domestic tourism is also moving northward in view of our demographic strength and dispensable income.” Trinayan Homes is coming up with a resort in Marchula, 15 minutes drive from Corbett’s Bijrani Gate, with 30 rooms. “We want to promote it as a weekend tourism destination apart from normal park season tourism. Further, it is equally good for MICE tourism, being situated in close vicinity of major industrial areas like, Rudrapur, Moradabad, Gajraula and Delhi-NCR,” Kumar adds. According to him, seasonal tourism is taking a backseat, gradually because of adventure loving youth population. Testimony to this is heavy tourism in Nainital and Ranikhet in acute winters, which was a rarity until a few

Manav Khanduja

Abhieshek Kumar

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[Cover Story]

years back. “We are also contemplating Wedding Tourism for the HNIs who want a different experience apart from the city denizen who looks forward to a break away from a routine lifestyle.” Similarly, Pugdundee Safaris’ focus is on offering trans-habitat experiences and we do a lot more than just tiger safaris. “Our core business also includes bird watching, walking safaris, rural tourism and nature education. Tiger being a glamorous species brings in a lot of support and is the driver for the industry. Losing this edge will affect our work in a significant way,” explains Khanduja. While tourism opportunities have been accepted with both hands, Nanaiah feels that the infrastructure is still an issue that would do good to promote the resort apart from the attraction of the parks. He says, “Lack of good infrastructure and motorable roads, for instance, is

vital to promote the resorts even during the ‘off season’ months. Also, the entry charges for the jungle safari are far too high for the services provided to tourists. For Kabini (in Karnataka) where we have the Serai resort, there is no supply of power from the Government and the resorts have to operate on generators.” While the tourism industry eagerly awaits the hearing of the petition and hopes that it would be seen in light of practicality, a sense of uneasiness still lurks. The ‘Plan B’ propositions for the resort business to also be looked at. This is also a benefit in disguise where the approach road toward wilderness can become a destination in itself. The business will continue eventually but in which manner, will remain a question that only time will answer. Kumar has faith in competent judiciary/agencies involved and feels that they would come out with a

solution. “Serious thought and meticulous planning is required for strict monitoring and enforcement measures for the operators and the tourists alike. I see an opportunity in this threat that things may get streamlined if taken proactively. I must add that jungles would remain refreshing for the urban folks because it has so much to say and offer,” says Kumar. Khanduja is of the opinion that the tourism industry, media, forest department and the government will support regulated and well governed tourism. “Therefore we should strive to create an atmosphere where this could be used as the most effective tool for conservation. Currently there is no coordination between the various departments. In a situation like this it is obvious that the industry would grow in a haphazard manner, which is detrimental to the parks,” he sums up.

Tiger Reserves in Madhya Pradesh

Tiger No. NTCA Census 2011

Tiger No. NTCA Census 2006

Tourism Numbers 2010/11 season Official Figures 2010/11

Tourism Numbers 2008/9 season Official Figures 2008/9

No. of Lodges 2011

Core Tiger Area NTCA 20/4/11

Tourism Zone Size in sq km

Percentage of Core Area used by tourism

Satpura TR

43

39

2,28,358

1,93,088

6*

1,339

100

7.40

Pench TR

65

33

65,133

54,027

16

411

257

62.50

Kanha TR

89**

89

1,74,773

1,32,601

42

917

485

52.80

Bandhavgarh TR

59

47

1,34,919

97,030

52

716

269

37.50

Panna TR

4***

23

12,515

37,696

5

547

81

14.80

Sanjay TR

5

unknown

44

0

1

812

Unknown

Unknown

* The majority of tourism goes to the hill town of Panchmari. Satpura National park gets limited tourism visitation. (<5000 pa) ** Revised figure after Tiger Census 2010 results disputed by MP Forest Department *** Reintroduced tigers into Panna after officially declared extinct in 2009. Official report suggested complicit staff and officials involved in poaching operations

14 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

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[News Updates]

Roadmap 2012:

35 new tourist circuits In a bid to attract more foreign tourist arrivals in 2012, the tourism ministry will aggressively promote India as a ‘12 months destination’. Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister for Tourism, after releasing the Incredible India promotional calendar 2012, said, “We will also be focussing on new markets like, CIS, Middle East and African countries to increase footfall here by organising roadshows, language campaign, promotional events and exchange programmes for travel writers.” The tourism ministry has also decided to create 35 new tourist destinations. “Besides developing infrastructure at the existing tourist centres, 35 new destinations will be developed,” he added. The tourism ministry has also sought more funds from the Government to develop several tourist places in the country. A statement issued by the ministry said the tourism ministry has decided to develop 35 tourism circuits by 2016 under the 12th Five Year Plan on a Public Private Partnership basis. The decision was taken at the National Tourism Advisory Council meeting held on December 12, 2011. The proposed outlay for 35 circuits is `9,450 crore. The tourism ministry has asked the Planning Commission to allocate `23,000 crore in the 12th Five Year Plan as against the allocation of `5,156 crore during the 11th Plan. “Under the 12th Plan, the ministry will focus on skill development, infrastructure development, promotion of tourism, hygiene and sanitation, Sustainable Tourism, Safe and Honourbale Tourism, Niche Tourism, taxation, incentives and convergence,” Sahai revealed. The tourism ministry has told the Government that the tax levied on tourism industry should be unified, rationalised and made globally competitive. He added, “The foreign exchange earned by hotels and inbound tour operators may be considered as ‘deemed exports’ and full service tax exemption be provided to them at par with other exporters.” The Government has also decided to develop 20 tourism parks in the 12th Five Year Plan on at least 50-acre of land. The Government has firm plans to open about a dozen representative offices abroad as part of an aggressive Incredible India campaign. “Our objective is to have more than 11 million foreign tourists in the next five years and for this we will launch an aggressive campaign abroad. We are looking at opening representative offices in about 12 more countries soon,” Sahai informed. Currently, India attracts about 5.6 million foreigners in a year and has tourism offices in 14 countries, including USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, Britain, South Africa and Dubai.

16 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

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[News Updates]

Volkswagen’s ‘ThinkBlue.’ supports Ministry of Tourism’s ‘Clean India’ campaign Volkswagen, Europe’s largest passenger car manufacturer had launched its ‘ThinkBlue.’ campaign in India in March last year; and now it has joined hands with the Ministry of Tourism to support their ‘Clean India’ campaign. In New Delhi, the inauguration of this campaign was held at India Gate, on January 9, 2012. January 9 will also be marked as the ‘Clean India Day’ every year. Keeping in line with this pledge, Volkswagen has undertaken many initiatives to keep Indian cities clean and green following the introduction of this campaign. The ‘ThinkBlue.’ campaign is a firm feature of Volkswagen Brand’s ecologically sustainable activities, which connects innovation and responsibility for the environment by acting as a unit. While the Brand stands on three main pillars of valuable, innovative and responsible, ‘ThinkBlue.’ stands on the pillars of solution, individual behaviour and involvement. On the occasion of the inauguration of this campaign Neeraj Garg, Member of Board & Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Group Sales India said, “Ever since the launch of our ‘ThinkBlue.’ campaign in India we have been initiating numerous cleaning drives and campaigns to plant more trees and to stop littering our surroundings by creating art pieces from the scrap that people throw.” He also added that they have taken another step in order to encourage more people to pledge towards a cleaner India by supporting the Ministry of Tourism’s campaign of ‘Clean India’. “It is an honour to be able to work together with the Indian Government towards fulfilling our pledge to ‘ThinkBlue.’ for a beautiful India,” he concluded.

18 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

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[News Updates]

Gujarat rolls out an array of activities to increase tourist footfall The advertising campaigns for Gujarat Tourism endorsed by Amitabh Bachchan has indeed increased the tourist arrivals to the state by over 20-30 per cent along with establishing the destination brand in the national and international markets. Thus, the Gujarat Tourism department has launched innovative strategies to increase tourist arrivals from 18 million in 2010 to 20 million (approximate numbers) in 2011 and further increase in 2012, with special measures to attract inbound travellers. Activities like organising and promoting fairs & festivals, television and radio promotions and campaigns, trade roadshows across India, agreements with other states to promote mutual tourism, developing infrastructure and enhancing inter-state and intra-state connectivity has brought it in limelight among domestic and international travellers in 2011. For 2012, Gujarat is going to continue with the activities of 2011 along with innovative marketing strategies for this year. Firstly, it is soon going to float tenders to sell 20 state-owned properties of the total 28 across Gujarat which is expected to fetch close to `50 crore. For the same, Gujarat State Government is forming a high-level committee, to be headed by the Additional Chief Secretary of its tourism department. It will also improve the infrastructure around the historical sites of Lothal and Dholavira and will spend `12 crore to make them UNESCO Vipul Mittra heritage sites which are under the ambit of ASI. Furthermore, it will soon start promoting the ruins of Buddhist monastery in Vadnagar of Mehsana district, Buddhist caves in Uparkot of Junagadh district and Buddhist relics of Dev Ni Mori in Sabarkhantha district to highlight Buddhist heritage sites in the state. Focussing on fairs & festivals aspect, the state spent close to `500 million for promoting Saputara festival (August 2011), Rann Utsav (December 9, 2011- January 15, 2012), Para Gliding Festival in Saputara (December 25 – 31, 2011), International Kite festival (January 10-15, 2012 ) and Global bird watchers conference from January 19-22, 2012. Moreover, it will also organise its first edition of Gujarat Travel Mart at Mahatma Mandir Convention Centre scheduled from February 13-15, 2012, informed Vipul Mittra, Principal Secretary, Gujarat Tourism. According to him, the state will start the inter-state air connectivity serviced by SpiceJet before the end of this fiscal.

Toshali to manage four Odisha Tourism owned properties Starting with four properties that it bagged from Odisha Tourism under Lease Development Agreement (LDA), Toshali Group forays into management of hotel units. It now plans to expand inorganically focussing on destinations that cater to particular segments such as the Buddhist circuit. Toshali Group won the bid for four hotels out of six it went for that was floated by the Odisha Tourism to be managed by private operators. The Department of Tourism, Government of Odisha had floated tenders for leasing out 33 hotel properties spread across the state from private hospitality investors recently. Harihar Patra, Director-Marketing, Toshali Harihar Patra Resorts International revealed, “We won the bid in October for Odisha Tourism-owned accommodation units for management.” The hotel group will be managing hotels in Pathrajpur, Ratnagiri, Udayagiri and Lalitgiri. The property at Pathrajpur will be developed as a wayside amenity with 24 rooms, which is near an excavated historical site and would address the local travellers. The Udayagiri will have around six rooms and we plan to add further rooms later. Rooms for Ratnagiri and Lalitgiri properties will be finalised soon. “Our emphasis has always been to promote tourism in the state. Now that we have won the bid to manage the four properties in October 2011, Toshali simultaneously enters the management of properties too and will look at lease/ management contracts for our brand expansion. We are still discussing the issues on the brand part with the tourism department,” he said. Apart from that Toshali has acquired Kolkata-based travel company Pan Asia. The company, with a team of five people, is a specialist in selling Buddhist segment to Southeast Asian countries and Sri Lanka. “Pan Asia will empower us with the knowledge on tapping Buddhist Tourism and now that we have properties in critical Buddhist locations of tourism importance, this knowledge force would be utilised to the fullest to promote the properties,” Patra summed.

20 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

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[News Updates]

Parliamentary Committee on tourism makes 25-point recommendations The Ministry of Tourism (MOT), Government of India, has set an ambitious target of doubling India’s share of global tourism to 1 per cent in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2016). Also recognising the need to undertake massive tourist infrastructure development, MOT has proposed an allocation of `22,800 crore to help it achieve its targets. However there is a lot more to be done than just promoting and marketing destination India, if the Government wants to achieve its target of 12 million arrivals by 2016 from the current arrival which is just over 6 million in 2011. The Parliamentary Standing Committee for Tourism, Transport and Culture has made a 25-point recommendations that don’t just help the sector plug the various loopholes but also help the sector to achieve its ambitious growth target.

The 25-point recommendation 1. Set-up more Institutes of Hotel Management (IHM) and Food Craft Institutes (FCI) because the existing ones are highly inadequate 2. The quality of existing institutions needs to be improved by providing modern infrastructure and facilities 3. The inadequacy of trained guides result in unpleasant experiences to the tourists; unauthorised persons posing as guides at important tourist locations such as, the Red Fort, Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar, etc. rip off the tourists 4. Allocated funds to the ministries are not utilised to its full potential and a large chunk of expenditure incurred during last one or two months of the financial year 5. If any state is earnestly implementing the scheme and is in the need of more funds, then unspent funds from another state may be given to the performing state to enable speedy completion of projects which are delayed only due to shortage of funds 6. Allocation to the tourism sector was not as per the actual demand. Any cut in the budget allocation has a negative impact on the pace of promotion of tourism 7. India has a vast potential for Cruise Tourism. However, potential ports in places like Goa, Chennai, Port Blair, Lakshadweep islands and Kerala have insufficient infrastructure and sub-standard facilities. Also high taxation has a discouraging effect on the growth of Cruise Tourism 8. Major ports do not enjoy the required autonomy. As a result, for every small initiative, they have to look up to the ministry, even if they have adequate funds with them 9. Normally tourism development in India is foreign-tourist centric. In view of the upsurge in domestic tourists as backpackers, the committee has emphasised to create affordable facilities including budget airlines and budget accommodations 10.High taxation on Aviation Turbine Fuel is an issue. The committee has emphasised the need for its rationalisation 11. Introduce trains connecting major tourist places mainly dedicated to tourists 12. Lack of good quality roads connecting the important monuments and other places of tourist attraction. Committee has also asked the NHAI to take an initiative to connect these places with good quality roads 13. In view of several problems with the functioning of DGCA, the committee has suggested the creation of a more powerful Civil Aviation Council empowered with better coordination and effective monitoring of the safety standards by the airlines, airport operators, training institutes and other aviation sectors 14. Encouraging the use of helicopter for promoting ‘Heli-Tourism’ by providing heli-ports at major tourist destinations. Also, evolve guidelines and norms for helicopters (i.e. Rotary Wing) which are currently being governed by those that are applicable to fixed wing aircrafts 15. Ensure safety in helicopter travel that has recently witnessed several mis-happenings leading to the loss of many precious lives. There is shortage of helicopter pilots and therefore fatigue may be one reason for helicopter accidents 16. Impact of the CRZ Regulations in the coastal area and in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is hampering the development of many tourism projects 17. Private companies/corporate sectors have minimum contribution to the maintenance of monuments. The committee has asked to try to incentivise them for this purpose 18. Facilities for the visiting tourists even at important places like, the Red Fort, Qutab Minar or Taj Mahal are very pathetic compared to the quantum of tourists coming per day. Clean washrooms, snackbars, etc. are very important factors for tourist promotion 19. The committee has asked to provide adequate wayside amenities on important highways/roads connecting the major cities and places of tourist attraction. Also, there is a lack of trauma centres along the highways, in case of accidents 20. Create seamless travel of the tourist vehicle through different states and union territories 21. High taxation in the hospitality sector including that on tourist vehicles is another issue that the committee has taken up with the Government 22. New tourist destinations are not explored properly. Beaches in the southern part of India can be developed aggressively. The Konkan region/Western Ghats can also be developed 23. Visa-on-Arrival is another area where the committee persistently demanded for extension of the scheme for more countries without compromising on the security aspects of the country 24. Northeastern region of our country is known as an ‘unexplored paradise’ but a lot has to be done to attract the tourists in this area 25. There is a need of strong convergence among the various agencies and activities that have linkages with the tourism industry such as, Civil Aviation, Road and Highways, Culture, Railways, MEA, Home, Environment and Forests, HRD, etc.

22 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

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[News Updates]

Marriott Hotels’ programme develops fresh sales talent The Marriott Hotels, after its Hotel Excellence programme, plans to roll out the Meetings Excellence programme aimed at building knowledge about the MICE industry, which will address the search of hotels, travel agents and operators for fresh talent. Marriott Hotels along with Kuoni Academy launched a programme in August 2011 to train undergraduates or even working professionals who wish to take sales as a profession; upon the successful completion of the Hotel Excellence programme, candidates were given ‘Hotel Sales Specialist Certified by Marriott’ certificates. Ramesh Daryanani, Regional Director, Global Sales, Marriott International said, “There has been an immense interest in these courses and now we wish to take it a step further. Next year, we plan to have at least 3,000 students successfully completing the programme so that our travel trade could hire quality work force themselves.” Initially, the Hotel Excellence programme was launched at Kuoni Academy’s Delhi centre as a pilot project but it would now be extended to all the cities, where Kuoni Academy has a presence, by incorporating it in the mainstream travel curriculum as well.” Further, students and working professionals in hotels can also approach this particular programme as a separate course. The hotel group is also contemplating another programme i.e. ‘Meetings Excellence by Marriott’ that has been officially rolled out worldwide but will soon start in India. Talking about the initiative, Daryanani informed, “The Meetings Excellence programme has been operational for 2-3 years now and so far 6 lakh students have graduated in this course. We wish to start it here in India too, which will address the concerns of Ramesh Daryanani Kapil Srivastava the MICE industry. Also, this kind of course would allow the students to be better equipped for the travel trade industry to utilise their fresh approach for sales.” Though Daryanani didn’t mention the particular month when this course will be launched but he hinted that it might be launched within this year. According to Kapil Srivastava, Regional Head (North & East), Kuoni Academy, usually, majority of travel course content focusses on ticketing and other travel related issues. “Now, with Marriott’s programme a lot of inputs have come on hotel content which would ensure that candidates completing these programmes have a holistic view of travel including hotels, well versed with the terminology needed for successful sales agents,” he summed.

Mayfair to open hotels in Kolkata and Gopalpur in 2012 Bhubaneshwar-based Mayfair Hotels & Resorts, a well established name in East India, is preparing to open two more properties in 2012 in Kolkata in West Bengal and Gopalpur in Odisha. The hotel company has also undertaken a mega project spread over 100-acre at the famous Chilka Lake, Asia’s largest backwater lake. Mayfair currently operates seven properties, including four in Odisha and one each in Darjeeling (West Bengal), Gangtok (Sikkim) and Goa.

Pradipta Mohapatra

Mayfair has recently acquired a 17-key Oberoi property located at Gopalpur in Odisha. “This was Oberoi’s third oldest hotel and was closed since 2005. The property is currently under renovation. Careful attention is being given to preserve the building’s old grandeur. It will open doors with 35 keys,” informed Pradipta Mohapatra, General Manager, Sales & Marketing, Mayfair Hotels & Resorts. Spread over 11-acre, the resort will have a swimming pool, world class spa facilities and villas with private dip pools. It is expected to be functional by around April next year.

Mayfair’s other property is a 100-key 5-star hotel in Kolkata located some 3 km from airport. The property is slated to open doors by the end of 2012. It will be a high-rise 5-star deluxe hotel spread over one and half acre of land. Mayfair is also undertaking a mega-tourism project at the Chilka Lake that is spread over 100-acre of land. The hotel company has already acquired 60-acre of land and is in the process of acquiring another 40-acre of land. The project will house a 9-hole golf course and a world class resort, which is expected to be completed by 2014. “Work on the project has already begun,” informed Mohapatra.

24 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

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[News Updates]

Fairmont Jaipur sets its eyes on wedding and MICE groups Scheduled to officially open on February 15, 2012, the Faimont Jaipur is upbeat about its luxury positioning attracting leisure as well as business segments. It is expected to soft open in the early days of the same month. Atul Lall, GM, Fairmont Jaipur said, “The property falls under the luxury segment and we are optimistic to get a lot of interest from wedding and MICE groups. Travel agents and operators would have the opportunity to sell the hotel based on the hotel’s plan to launch some packages especially focussing on wedding and MICE segment by and large.” The hotel also expects to attract a lot of international leisure traffic looking for short holidays. While the property is setting its eyes on burgeoning wedding and MICE market opportunity in India, it is upbeat about attracting leisure traffic as well. The hotel will position itself as a luxury property and would focus to sell rooms through DMCs, aggressive electronic marketing and selling, Lall said. The base rate for the hotel rooms is being placed at `38,000 per night. The hotel aims to rank the highest in RevPAR in the Pink City within three years of its operation. “As per the prevailing city average, the average rate the hotel expects to command is `24,000 per night. The hotel aims to attain the leading RevPAR in Jaipur in the next 2-3 years,” he informed. The hotel plans to open with 200 keys and will add villas in the later part of the year. “We will start with an inventory of 200 rooms initially and then plan to open 45 more keys in 2013 based on the results during the initial half of 2012. Though there is a definitive plan to open 10 villas in October 2012,” revealed Lall. Fairmont, as a hotel management establishment, will be strictly looking at the management possibilities pan-India and aims to have a count of 8-10 hotels in a short term which could either be constructed from the scratch or be an existing unit. Atul Lall

26 FHRAI MAgAzIne JANUARY 2012

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[News Updates]

MOT pins hope on the 12th Five Year Plan If judged solely on the basis of sound waves emanating, a watershed year perhaps for the tourism sector with the finalisation of the 12th Five Year Plan is expected in the first quarter of the New Year. With the dawn of the New Year, the foremost priority for the Ministry of Tourism is to secure the estimated amount of `22,800 crore for projects envisaged under the 12th Five Year Plan. While a waiting game is to be played to know how much is finally provided, the ministry has gone full steam to ensure its voice is heard above the din. The central theme behind the ministry’s propaganda for securing financial support is that the economic benefits that flow into the country can contribute towards the overall socio-economic improvement and accelerate the growth in economy. This will be in the form of increased national & state revenues, business receipts, employment, wages and buoyancy in central, state and local tax receipts. In India, the travel and tourism sector is estimated to create 78 jobs per `10 lakh of investment compared to 45 jobs in the manufacturing sector for similar investment. The process gathered momentum with the Planning Commission constituting a Working Group on tourism to work out the strategies for development of tourism during the 12th Plan. The first meeting of the Working Group was held on June 21, 2011. The performance of the tourism sector during 11th Plan and the likely strategies for its development during the 12th Plan were discussed in this meeting. It was further decided in this meeting to constitute Sub-Groups on specific areas. A report was finalised based on the recommendations of the Sub-Groups and the deliberations of the Working Group in its meeting held on September 21, 2011. Realisation of the country’s huge, barely tapped tourism potential is dependent on addressing multiple challenges thrown up by capacity constraints and inadequate policies. These constraints include inadequate transportation infrastructure, accommodation, land, multiple taxes and inadequate financial resources for enterprises, skills and safety and hygiene conditions around the tourist attractions. The challenges are further magnified in the context of a federal structure where the responsibility for policymaking and implementation is fragmented across various levels of government and co-ordination between them is often lacking. As per the broad guidelines for the formulation of strategies during the 12th Plan, the Approach Paper of the Planning Commission recommended a couple of key pointers. In order to realise the potential of this sector, the Government would need to adopt a ‘pro-poor tourism’ approach aimed at increasing the net benefits to the poor from tourism and ensure that growth in the tourism sector contributes to poverty reduction. A principal strategy to realise India’s enormous assets with tourism potential that includes, historical sites, places of religious significance and its vast range of national attractions, must be to focus on clusters or circuits around such assets. As per the forecast on the Indian economy, expected growth is around 9 per cent for the 12th Five Year Plan. However, to achieve this, services sector as well as tourism sector has to grow at the rate of 12 per cent per annum. The current rate of growth in tourism sector is about 9 per cent. To achieve this target, India’s share of international tourist arrivals has to attain one per cent by the end of 12th Plan. Further adequate facilities and reinforcing existing structures for sustained domestic tourist numbers is imperative for achieving the growth estimated. The Working Group has clearly made a point that active involvement of states is a pre-requisite for integrated tourism development in the country. Though some of the states are very pro-active in promoting tourism, some have not yet realised the full advantage of tourism in their economic development. With the ball in Planning Commission’s court, ambitious plans set by the tourism ministry are set for intensive scrutiny. If they manage to get anywhere near the proposed expenditure, it will be a spectacular victory as far as micro-perspective is concerned. With regard to the larger scheme of things, history has weighed heavily against them. Having said this, the whole process is moving towards the right direction 12th Plan

11th Plan (in crore) 2,606

Existing Strategy – destination/circuits

4,000

Strategy I – 35 destinations/circuits

9,450

Strategy II – 20 tourism parks

1,000

Strategy III – 70 RTCs Overseas promotion and publicity

770 3,000

1,010

Domestic promotion and publicity

1,500

426

Manpower Development

1,650

603

750

235

Incentive to Accommodation Infrastructure Other Schemes

276

MR

230

ITDC

250

IT

150

Land Bank

28 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

50

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[FHRAI]

[FHRAI] Dear Members At the outset I extend my warm wishes to all of you for the New Year 2012. In the past few months with the continuous efforts of our president we have come a long way with continuous engagements with the Ministry of Tourism in taking our concerns forward. The testimony of this is the strong steps that the ministry has taken to initiate a process of taking decisions after deliberations with the industry and the entire travel and hospitality bodies.

In this New Year issue of FHRAI Magazine, we are giving you some key details that have been discussed with the ministry and we wish to take them further. The various meetings that took place during the year 2011 made a strong impact on the hospitality sector giving it the much needed push towards future development. Some of the key issues have been pertaining to the National Tourism Advisory Council (NTAC), changes in the Classification Norms of hotels and restaurants and formulation of Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI). FHRAI is sharing the information with you and expects each member to come back with feedback and suggestions which will help our association to become stronger in raising the demands of the industry. We also welcome our member’s comments and suggestions related to the industry issues, which can be put before the Government through the FHRAI Magazine. Vijai Pande Chairman FHRAI Publications Committee

Formulation of STCI

O

n November 1, 2011, a meeting discussing the Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI) was held which was chaired by RH Khwaja, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism (MOT), Government of India. According to Khwaja, MOT’s initiative for formulating STCI was undertaken and a draft report on the STCI prepared was discussed in consultation with the Steering Committee constituted for the same. MOT took notice of the concerns advocating the association of STCI with the criteria developed by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). Khwaja requested the Committee to clarify on the legal status of GSTC and also the number of countries who are a part of GSTC. GSTC has developed the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, the minimum requirement that any tourism business should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources. The member stakeholders have market access as part of the membership benefit. Sudhir Sahi, an expert in the field of environment issues, indicated that of all the countries only Malta was a member of GSTC and since GSTC is a private membership driven initiative, the individual stakeholders in India could consider to be its members. However, the country needs to have an independent sustainable tourism criteria designed to meet the local needs. Anand Kumar, Joint Secretary (Tourism) outlined the proposal to incentivise the organisations adopting STCI. The Ministry proposed that STCI should be based on the principle of incentivisation. Khawja also urged that the trade representatives should suggest precise incentives by adopting the STCI. Khwaja asked the travel trade to come up with the proposals for skill certification of service providers directly related to the hospitality sector and offered 100 per cent financial support from MOT for capacity building programmes. Khwaja informed the members that it is important to organise a series of extensive workshops across the country to sensitise the stakeholders on this STCI initiative and present the Indian experiences of best practices. The workshops need to be organised within a time frame and a calendar needs to be drawn up for monitoring. Niranjan Khatri, GM – WelcomEnviron Initiatives, ITC WelcomGroup indicated that there is a need to change the syllabus of the catering institutes and include the subject of sustainability for the future managers to acquaint with the sustainability concept. Sustainability as an academic subject requires to be imparted to the students for both graduation programmes and the craft courses. According to him, there is a need for targeting travellers with disabilities/conditions affecting different phases of life and suggested sensitising the stakeholders to adopt various disable-friendly measures in their properties. Khwaja agreed to the suggestion.

Decisions arrived at the meeting:

• The report on Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India shall be put up for the approval of Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister for Tourism • The Principles and Indicators will be replaced on the Ministry of Tourism Website • A calendar for sensitisation workshop will be drawn up immediately • There is no requirement to engage a lead consultant for implementation of STCI • Sustainability as a subject to be included in the curriculum of IHMs.

30 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

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FHRAI raises its voice on classification norms

F

rom time-to-time, FHRAI has been constantly raising potent issues related to the hospitality sector with the Ministry of Tourism (MOT). FHRAI Secretariat, in December 2011, reiterated its pointof-view under the aegis of its President, Kamlesh Barot, through the Chairman of the sub-committee on the MOT and Star Hotels Classification, Bharat Malkani. The letter directed to the ADG Tourism, Government of India dated December 13, 2011 lists out the following points:

Proposal 1

Elimination of the compulsory requirement for kitchens in hotels. It is proposed that this requirement should be applicable in those hotels that operate less than 100 rooms.

Justification

Kitchens as we know are expensive to build and maintain. Hotels that choose to provide food to their customers in their premises can now outsource the same from FSSAI certified kitchens. This will achieve reduced project and maintenance costs, especially of this segment of hotels. This will also dramatically reduce wasteful expenditure of creating expensive infrastructure that has low utility. Such cost reductions will result in hotels being more inexpensive to the customers. With the current growth trend of high quality industrial kitchens, the customer will get much better food at a lower price. FSSAI will get a huge impetus with hotels requiring their suppliers to be appropriately certified, ensuring hygienic food even in small hotels, that we see a shortage of in the current scenario.

Proposal 2

Removing of the provision for compulsorily installing Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) for existing and new hotels.

Justification

Pollution Control is a central subject. There is no law that states that STP is compulsory for hotels and restaurants. It is proposed to let the local laws prevail rather than HRACC dwelling into it

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at the time of its classification. With most of the cities falling under a local governing body, MOT should remove this as a classification requirement from the HRACC guidelines.

Proposal 3

De-linking of classification and excise permission as in the case of Kerala state.

Justification

We have in our country, states that are still legally ‘dry’. Today, even districts in ‘wet’ states are ‘dry’ based on the local governing laws. It is therefore not possible to enforce the requirement of a bar or any such excise permissions as a precondition for classification. Some of these properties are located in the forest or pilgrimage areas and the requirement of such a regulation is contradictory to the conditions where these hotels are built. It is proposed that the requirement of a bar or excise permission be removed from the ambit of classification of a hotel or restaurant.

Proposal 4

The Rajasthan Government imposes an increase of the excise fees after a property gets classified.

Justification

This is arbitrary and is a dis-incentive to opt for classification for any FHRAI member in Rajasthan and must be taken up by MOT.

Proposal 5

To bring a uniform time for the service of food and alcohol across the country in restaurants (both stand-alone and in hotels) till 3 am and allow the service of F&B in a 24-hour coffee shop all through the day and night.

Justification

The local municipal corporation issues and regulates the Shops & Establishment License. This is arbitrary and the license is stamped till 1 pm, till when food and beverage can be served. The Police Department’s Law & Order section’s ambiguity allows some metros like,

Mumbai and Pune to serve F&B till 1.30 am in the food outlets mentioned above. These two departments come under the Home Department. The third department which allows the service of alcohol till 1.30 am is the State Excise and Prohibition department. Mumbai has a precedent where 30 pubs have been issued a special permission by the Police of Maharashtra State, to serve F&B till 3 am. The ambiguity among these three departments needs to be streamlined by the Union MOT, so that a common timing across India is given by all the above three departments. These 11 pm or 1.30 am etc. timings were given by various government authorities at a time when 6 million international tourists were not coming to our country. Now with the changed scenario, international tourists land at various airports at odd hours of the night, and due to these time restrictions, they cannot get food or beverage at their origin country’s time, till they are clear of the jet lag. FHRAI requests that MOT issues one directive to all India through the Department of Home, Government of India (under which all these above departments fall) to have the 3 am time sanctioned across the country, till when food and beverages could be available in all restaurants wanting to operate and serve its customers.

Proposal 6

Heritage Properties which have increased their capacity should be allowed to apply for re-classification.

Justification

Heritage properties that have gone into expansion of their room inventory cannot apply for re-classification since the HRACC guidelines don’t provide for re-classification, if there is a change in capacity of a property when it goes into a renovation, thereby increasing the rooms or public areas. FHRAI requests that this norm be added in the guidelines, so properties that expand now, with the need for additional 1,81,752 classified rooms and 20,78,288 unclassified rooms required by the year 2016 in various parts of our country, do not lose their classification.

FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012 31


[FHRAI]

[FHRAI]

NTAC takes industry needs forward

A

meeting of the National Tourism Advisory Council (NTAC) was held on December 12, 2011 at the Vigyan Bhawan Annexe, New Delhi. The meeting was chaired under the able guidance of the Union Minister for Tourism, Subodh Kant Sahai. The meeting was attended by the Minister of State for Tourism, Sultan Ahmed, other representatives of the industry, hospitality and travel trade associations, individual experts from tourism related fields, and representatives of the government ministries/organisations. In the approach paper for the 12th Plan for Tourism that happened for the first time, a meeting of NTAC was held in March 2011. Five sub-groups of the NTAC were formed to formulate specific action plans on the subject of Promotion and Marketing, Infrastructure, Taxation and Facilitation, Human Resource Development and Heritage, Rural and Eco-Tourism. Each of these five sub-groups met at least once and has submitted its report. In May 2011, the Planning Commission had set up a Working Group on Tourism (WGT) to examine all aspects of tourism and recommend measures for the development of tourism during the 12th Plan period. Many members of the WGT, or its subgroups, are also members of NTAC. WGT took into consideration the action plans prepared by the sub-groups of NTAC while finalising its report. Based on this report, Planning Commission’s Steering Committee on Tourism for the 12th Plan is now preparing its report, which will be placed before the Planning Commission. According to the minister, in 9 months after the last meeting, the ministry has been able to achieve political recognition of the importance of the tourism sector, which was lacking earlier. Sahai said that in view of tourism now having been accepted as an engine for economic development, employment generation and poverty elimination, it is expected to figure prominently in the 12th Five Year Plan document. He stated that MOT plans to develop integrated circuits and destinations and tourism parks in the country in mission mode on the model of

32 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

JNNURM and Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). MOT recently launched an important initiative of ‘Clean India Campaign’ in association with school students, NGOs, corporate sectors and media to achieve cleanliness in the country, in particular at tourism sites.

Inputs from travel trade to Ministry

The travel trade has appreciated the steps taken by the MOT for the 12th Plan and has extended its support. Some of the suggestions from the travel trade that were proposed to the ministry were: • Identification of a few integrated circuits or tourism parks for quick development to show that the proposed strategy can be effective to remove the problems faced by prospective visitors in getting Indian visa was a deterrent to tourism growth • The need of introduction of e-visas immediately on the pattern of Singapore and Dubai. Unless the process of visa issuance was streamlined, achieving 1 per cent share of world tourist arrivals will be difficult. Industry always desired the same service tax exemption for Foreign Exchange Earning tourism enterprises as is granted to export units • A target of developing 20 tourism parks is over-ambitious and the industry expects the ministry to take an initiative with a shorter goal of development of five tourism parks • He voiced concern at the inconvenience caused to tourists due to the cancellation of some flights in the recent past • The need of promotion of festivals in different cities • The state governments need to develop land banks for tourism activities and accord industry status to such activities • The luxury tourist trains were excellent tourism products but poor hygiene and cleanliness at the railway stations and the platforms has remained a major irritant. More creative and supportive participation should also come from the Railway Ministry in the operation

of luxury trains • The railway land may be made available on lease for development of budget hotels and theme parks • Development of the Indian Culinary Institutes for expanding employment opportunities • Promoting brand ‘Himalaya’ for developing Adventure Tourism in the country and also removing hurdles for adventure tourists, including removal of royalty for mountaineers • The proposed assistance under MDA scheme of MOT for the participation in seminars/workshops on sustainability workshop; seminars should be over and above other assistance provided under MDA scheme • To meet the estimated requirement of about 2 lakh additional rooms in classified hotels by 2016, huge investment is required. There is a need to provide incentives to attract investment in this area. In view of the severe shortage of skilled personnel, the high attrition in the hospitality industry need to be checked by motivating young persons joining the sector to stay on • Inclusion of information about tourism in course curriculum for school students to increase their knowledge and to encourage them to look for career in tourism • 35 circuits/destinations proposed for integrated development in the 12th Plan should be identified by giving due consideration to existing popular destinations/circuits and world heritage sites, as well as aspects of art and culture • According to the Ministry of External Affairs, outsourcing of visa services had been done to avoid delay in visa application processing. The MEA will look into any problems on visa issuance brought to its notice • Sultan Ahmed, Minister of State for Tourism informed that in view of the important role of the states in tourism infrastructure development, Minister for Tourism was meeting State Chief Minister on one-to-one basis and is requesting them to include tourism in their political and economic agenda

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FHRAI Executive Committee meeting held on January 11, 2012 at The Oberoi, Mumbai

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FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012 33


[Report]

Forecast for

2012

According to the recently released ‘Forecast & Hotel Negotiability Index’ for 2012 by Egencia, (an Expedia, Inc. company) Asia Pacific corporate travel market is predicted to grow in 2012. It also predicted that Indian Average Ticket Prices (ATPs) are going to increase and Average Daily Hotel Rates (ADRs) are expected to fall.

T

he report also revealed that ATPs and hotel ADRs for top corporate travel destinations will be slightly up overall in North America and Europe, with the most significant increases to occur in the Asia Pacific region. It also suggests that corporations will continue to face a weak to moderate negotiating environment in 2012 across the Asia Pacific region. Based on Egencia’s 2012 Global Corporate Travel Forecast, ATPs overall for corporate travellers to top business travel destinations are expected to rise by around 6 per cent in Asia Pacific destinations and by 4 per cent in North American & European destinations.

Average Ticket Prices Charts below illustrate projected year-over-year 2012 vs. 2011 ATP and advanced purchase projections in the local currency in selected business travel destinations around the world for Asia Pacific points of sale. Market

ATP Δ 2012

Advanced Purchase Savings 22 days >

Bangkok

11%

7%

Beijing

9%

20%

Delhi

8%

13%

Hong Kong

6%

14%

Jakarta

15%

3%

Manila

4%

4%

Melbourne

2%

18%

Mumbai

13%

18%

Seoul

-4%

14%

Shanghai

2%

19%

Singapore

9%

8%

Sydney

0%

11%

Taipei

3%

11%

Tokyo

3%

13%

London

10%

2%

Los Angeles

8%

11%

New York

10%

9%

Paris

7%

5%

San Francisco

4%

10%

34 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

The hotel environment continues to show signs of year-onyear growth relative to increased corporate demand, resulting in improved hotel occupancy worldwide. In key destinations for 2012, Egencia forecasts average daily rate increases in Asia Pacific by 7 per cent, North America by 5 per cent and Europe by 2 per cent. “We are predicting that India will offer a diverse corporate travel landscape next year. In India we will continue to see overall growth of the corporate travel market as a response to the Asia Pacific growth rates, ATPs are increasing in contrast to decreasing ADRs,” said Gaurav Sundaram, Country Director, Egencia India. “In this complex travel landscape, we work with our clients to ensure that they are well informed and leveraging the right tools and technologies to optimise their travel programmes and attain maximum cost control,” he added.

Asia Pacific Outlook

Travel Management Trends

Egencia surveyed more than 250 travel buyers in Asia Pacific, North America and Europe regarding cost control measures, travel spend (expenditure), technology trends and expectations for 2012. According to the survey respondents, 40 per cent of buyers have slightly or significantly increased travel over the last 6 months, compared to just one third of buyers last year, signaling a continued rise in overall travel demand.

Mobile

Mobile devices are becoming increasingly important to today’s travel managers. 70 per cent of the respondents said that mobile devices and functionalities are moderately important to very important to their travel programmes. Respondents identified, checking flight status (77per cent), online check-in (77per cent), urgent destination/flight alerts (60per cent) and review latest itinerary (59per cent) as the most important uses for mobile technology during business travel. “With over 5 million new subscribers a month in India for smartphones, we understand that the need of the business traveller has evolved. The release of ‘Egencia Mobile’ for the iPhone will deliver the global best in class experience and technology solutions to Egencia clients in India. This will soon be extended to all other smartphone platforms like Android, Blackberry, etc.,” said Sundaram.

Social Media

While the use of mobile device continue to gain popularity among travel managers and their travellers, social media appears to be a lesser priority, with 71 per cent of travel managers saying they do not use social media tools to communicate with their travellers. However, this number is anticipated to decrease, as mobile and social media continue to become increasingly symbiotic.

Traveller Duty of Care

ATPs

Egencia analysed that ATPs for Asia Pacific are likely to increase in almost every destination, signifying growth for the region. According to the IMF World Economic Outlook Database, rising demand and prices in business travel correspond with Asia Pacific GDP growth, whose average is expected to be around 4 per cent, except in China and India where it is expected to grow by 9 per cent and by 7.5 per cent respectively. Top business hubs of Delhi and Mumbai have increased significantly in comparison to the rest of the region at 8 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

ADRs

High occupancy rates and limited supply in the region in relation to the demand, is impacting the flexibility of negotiating corporate rates. However, new supply growth in Asia Pacific is stronger than the rest of the world and is now catching up with the demand growth. Indian cities, Delhi and Mumbai, both have decreased ADRs; occupancy rates continue to decline in Mumbai and Delhi’s occupancy rates return to normal after the increased demand spike during the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The availability of good quality hotels at relatively good prices continue to be an important factor in maintaining India as a key business destination. Asia Pacific ADRs are up overall, year over year, showing particularly strong growth in key business hubs of Hong Kong (up by 15 per cent), Singapore (up by 11 per cent) and Sydney (up by 7per cent), presenting challenges to negotiating corporate rates.

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Only 38 per cent of respondents cited that they have a formal traveller Duty of Care or security programme in place for their travellers.

Average Daily Rates Charts below illustrate projected year-over-year 2012 vs. 2011 ADR and negotiability projections in the local currency in selected business travel destinations around the world for Asia Pacific points of sale Market

ADR Δ 2012

Negotiability Index

Bangkok

3%

Moderate

Beijing

3%

Moderate

Delhi

-1%

Strong

Hong Kong

15%

Weak

Jakarta

3%

Moderate

Manila

-4%

Strong

Melbourne

5%

Moderate

Mumbai

-1%

Strong

Seoul

3%

Moderate

Shanghai

-6%

Strong

Singapore

11%

Weak

Sydney

7%

Weak

Taipei

5%

Moderate

Tokyo

-2%

Strong

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FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012 35


[Report]

[Explore]

Adding Luxury Quotient The JW Marriott, Chandigarh raised some eyebrows as ‘The City Beautiful’ was never thought to hold a high end hospitality proposition. Yet this second JW Marriott in the country claims to have not only thrashed assumptions but also gave a new high to this city to compete with its cousins in other states nearby. Sanjeev Bhar 36 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

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advertising where each guest will recall the hotel and experience therein when the phrase rings in their ears. during their stay in Punjab. Deepak Manocha, GM of the property says, “A few liked it and some didn’t give a positive response to this approach of welcoming guests. But, we still do it, as it immediately gives a sense of the geographical location the guest is in. A hotel will always be a hotel and to be beyond it, we have to humanise our approach to offer a different dimension altogether.”

Look & Feel

S

at-Sri-Akal! This is the Punjabi greeting one hears on entering the premise of the JW Marriott, Chandigarh. At the first instance, an international hotel using a regional phrase to welcome may appear difficult to comprehend but in the age of customisation and commercialisation it is not that hard to accept. People love special attention and it actually addresses that. Also, it works as an amazing tool of

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“Just like the hotel’s innate nature to welcome its guests with warmth, the entrance porch of the hotel has been designed inducing five elements of the earth that adds to what customers are going to experience during their stay,” explains Aditya Singh, Director - Sales & Marketing of the hotel. According to him, the hotel has given what the city has always craved for and never had the possibility to indulge in. “This property has given a new dimension to the city’s hospitality forum and has come of its own since it opened in June last year,” he says. The lobby says a lot. For a city like Chandigarh it comes as a fresh approach to provide opulence and expanse that the city had looked forward to. It has a harmonious mix of dark and light shades that give the area body and also space. This not only allows daylight to spread out but it also gives a sense of openness

during night time. It merges with the lounge, which is said to be the heart and soul of the hotel giving the guests a reason to enjoy their myriad moods. The architecture of the hotel draws a parallel approach. The structure showcases designs through continuous vertical line patterns, which can be seen all across. Even the round shapes would give a sense of lines with various layers. With the city administration restriction on the height of the building, the hotel is arguably the tallest structure with a roof top swimming pool giving an infinite view, adding to its distinguishing factors.

Selling the Need

Any hospitality unit’s prime objective would be to engage its customers. The bar in the lounge at the lobby level does exactly that. “It brings together like-minded people,” Singh says while showcasing the area where some customers cheer while viewing a Cricket match. Next to it, in continuation to the lounge is the Chandigarh Baking Co. (cBc), which is JW Marriott’s conventional approach to uniquely present its ‘Deli & Patisserie’ offerings. The name acts as a localisation tool which connects with the city immediately. In Mumbai it is the Bombay Baking Co. (bBc) and cBc for Chandigarh. Singh adds, “This area offers 50 covers which entertain people with light snacks and the world of bakery products and alcoholic drinks that they wish to indulge in. It has become a strong selling point for the hotel and

FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012 37


[Explore] addition to addressing the needs of the diplomats i.e. business from embassies, government offices, NRIs (from UK, USA and Australia). The market share of occupancy is increasing month by month and more importantly, Chandigarh has been able to position itself vis-à-vis cities like, Jaipur, Agra and Delhi as a MICE destination having a luxury property. The focus of the property will remain domestic, as the segment is on a growth path and tour operators and agents are consciously addressing this segment, especially focussing on smaller towns and cities. “We are in fact encouraging them to sell the hotel aggressively where we incentivise additionally above the special rates,” he asserts. Everything is market driven these days. Therefore, it is vital that the hotel stays dynamic in its approach. Manocha believes that the expectations from a hotel are twofold: brand perspective and customer experience. “Therefore, I have asked my staff to ask three simple questions to guests like, ‘How are they?’, ‘How has their experience been so far in the hotel?’ and ‘How can we make it even better?’. These questions give us great feedback about the hotel and that helps us to constantly reinvent ourselves to serve our guests,” he says.

something unique. “It is one of those gateway cities or markets where demand for luxury products is appreciated and gets absorbed easily. Thus, JW Marriott addresses the accomplished travellers of this so-called ‘arrived city’,” Manocha remarks. Manocha claims that there is no other comparable luxury brand Market Dynamics Aditya Singh Deepak Manocha in Chandigarh. He says, “Our growth has been quite steady. The people either place their special orders or “Apart from creating a shift in the hotels’ months of October and November were simply come and buyout their choices.” share in the city, our hotel has been good whereby at times, we pulled off 100 In the morning hours, many people grab able to address the latent demands in per cent occupancy. In some days, we did their bite of bakery products to complete the first course of the day rather than The Hotel Composition heading to the Café@JW for an elaborate The JW Marriott, Chandigarh offers the city 124 deluxe rooms, 35 executive rooms, dining set up. 4 junior suites and 1 Presidential suite totalling to 164 keys.

The Brand Essence

The hotel believes in the mantra of staying connected to its guests. It is invariably apparent that the various personnel would like to interact with the guests beyond the obvious. At every hotel, it is the call of duty to ask about the stay experience of the guests. But here, even a housekeeping attendant would like to take the conversation forward by getting into a conversation without being intruded upon. Manocha explains, “The business of hotels is about the people and therefore you have to be there with the customers all the time to understand their desires. I stay at the lobby most of the time to understand the state-of the -mind of the guests. It is important to connect with them and draw critical feedback to improve further.” With highest per capita income, Chandigarh has always demanded

38 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

The hotel has a large banqueting area of over 16,500 sq ft (indoors and outdoors included). The Grand Ballroom, which is pillar-less, is a closed area with 6 mt of ceiling height having 6,295 sq ft of space which can be divided into 4 break-away halls accommodating a maximum of 900 persons: • Ballroom I – 1,722 sq ft • Ballroom II – 2,421 sq ft • Ballroom III – 2,152 sq ft Apart from that, the hotel has three small meeting rooms of 75 sqm each. Whisky 111 At the entry point of Oregano is a cigar bar, which was launched on November 11, 2011 and offers a range of single malt and Bourbon and Scotch Whiskies. The section is divided into two parts; whereas one consists of a variety of single malts, the other one has Bourbon and Scotch whiskies. The Wellness Touch The award winning Quan Spa has been brought to the Chandigarh city. ‘Quan’ is a Chinese word for ‘the source of pure water’. Quan Spa comprises of six spacious private treatment rooms including five for western style treatments and one for Ayurveda. At Quan, natural ingredients and a range of ‘Thalgo’ products are used for Balinese, Swedish, Ayurvedic and western treatments. Quan Spa was opened in October last year and operates from 10 am-10 pm.

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[Explore] and banquets,” he says. The location of JW Marriott Chandigarh has worked in it favour to project itself in the city. The popular market places and attractive spots are nearby and Chandigarh being a small city, the travel distance to the railway station and airport will never be a hurdle for any property.

Delighting with Food

Chef Pallav Singhal

40 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

exceedingly well for the F&B outlets too,” exalts Singh. Top corporate travellers are interested in 2D3N conference packages and the hotel is getting corporate bookings from northern states like, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. These states find it convenient to have a luxury hotel. To cater to the MICE segment, there is a special team in Mumbai and Delhi which constantly taps the MICE market. “We are getting a lot of groups. With our international reach as a chain, the benchmark rates we command, for base category rooms, is `10,500 where rack rate is `15,000. Over the months, we have been able to achieve an average room revenue rate of `8000 for this category,” informs Manocha. “Businesswise, the room’s share has been 60 per cent of the total revenue earned and remaining is from the F&B

Food has been given an international touch keeping in mind the Indian likeness. Pallav Singhal, Executive Chef of the hotel says, “The first three months of operations were very hectic. As a part of introduction, we offered humongous lunch and dinner buffets at about `750++ which was a hit at Café@JW. Breakfast was offered at `550++. But soon we realised, as the price was increased it impacted our sales. We understood that this market too is price sensitive. Hence, we finally evolved a pricing of elaborate buffet at `650++, `750++ and `895++ for breakfast, lunch and dinner, respectively. While the Café@JW has 10 personnel at the minimum, the hotel has ensured that the concept of the kitchen is very home styled. The open format allows customers to peek into the food. There are sections in the buffet offering Indian, Grills (western), Pasta/Pizzetta, Thai, Mediterranean items (cold section) and dessert. Interestingly, as one enters the café it is the dessert section which comes into contact and then follows through other sections to end at the cold section to select appetizers. Singh says, “Food is a marketing proposition. Therefore, we allow customers to see the desserts section and also keep reminding themselves what they need to grab later. So, by the time they reach the appetizers section, they know what is on offer in the entire buffet.” “Despite the fact that Sector 26, which is a hub for restaurants in Chandigarh, is just some kilometres away, we get a fair share of customers for our standalone restaurants. For example, Oregano was launched in October and we have not done much of its promotions, yet we are averaging 40 covers per day for this 60-covers restaurant,” informs Chef Singhal. The restaurant that opened in October has not yet been actively promoted but the business so far has come through word-of-mouth publicity. “The approach has been niche, as people are looking for unique experiences and upscale dining options.” According to the Restaurant Manager of Oregano, the public coming to this restaurant have travelled immensely and have the

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[Explore]

knowledge and understanding of Italian cuisine. There is a bar attached to the restaurant. Customers coming here pair their wines according to their food and have an excellent understanding of the subject. The Indian offering, Saffron opened in September end has 70 covers and has registered quite an interest. “With time, we have also realised that 50 per cent of our customers are vegetarian which is ironical to what is perceived of a city like Chandigarh. We anticipated more non-vegetarians but eventually had to plan accordingly, based on the demand,” he adds. cBc has become quite popular with the young generation, as the alfresco (outdoor) area adjoining the zone has a seating area by a water body where people can enjoy an array of drinks ranging from distinctive wines to a cup of coffee or even relish a range of herbal teas; the guests can also relish their a la carte orders. Each restaurant has also created an enclosure for private dining, giving an additional option to customers to further customise their experience. The hotel effectively pushes its dynamic approach through four characteristics viz. consistency, evolving F&B, unique spa offerings, meeting and social experiences for the guests.

42 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

The JW Marriott brand entered India in early 2002 and positioned Marriott’s luxury essence and started commanding a position of respect. “Chandigarh was chosen for reasons mentioned earlier as the second property in India and the reason has been proven right. We have been appreciated a lot and we are emerging (performance wise) as the

frontrunners in the hospitality segment in not only Chandigarh but in the entire northern belt,” Manocha says adding, “performance wise, we turned cash positive operationally within five months of starting the hotel. Though not content, I think we have a long way to go, as the hotel is on an ascending curve of growth.”

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[ Products & Services ]

[GM Canvas]

Rational’s whitefficiency Rational, a leading company worldwide in thermal preparation of food for commercial catering and haute cuisine, having a 54 per cent world market share, will be showcasing its latest product - the SelfCooking Center whitefficiency at HOSTS 2012 during January 31-February 3, 2012 in Mumbai at stall no. KB41-45. The company, having set-up its office in Gurgaon is aggressively eyeing the growing commercial and industrial segments for its products. It has strengthened its sales and service network as well all over India. According to the company, visitors at the hospitality event, can experience the new generation of Rational units and see how they can combine excellent cooking performance and quality with energy efficient operation. The new feature HiDensityControl ensures that heat and humidity are introduced – precisely metred – exactly where they are needed according to how well cooked the product is. “This maximises the application spectrum and is the basis for 30 per cent larger load sizes, 30 per cent time saving in production and 20 per cent reduced power consumption compared to the existing combisteamers. No matter if the chef steams fish, grills chicken or bakes samosas, the result will always be perfect and the operation is a child´s play and can be done by everybody,” the company says. At the HOSTS exhibition, visitors can check out the product live and find out the ease with which one can cook and reduce operational cost of the kitchen. They can experience how fast and easily different kind of food – Indian, Asian and international food – is prepared in the SelfCookingCenter whitefficiency.

NEC’s IP-enabled communication solutions

Stretching the Limits

As the city of Chandigarh gets its satellite cousin Zirakpur, an emerging residential and commercial township, Manoj Madhukar, general Manager, Best Western Maryland finds that his hotel property is poised to make the most of the opportunity that its geographical location is going to offer in the times to come Sanjeev Bhar

As a part of its commitment to the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) market in India, NEC India, a leading IT and networking solutions provider, launched a new IP-enabled Communication Server – SL1000. With this solution specially designed for SMEs, NEC aims to increase its presence in the SME sector.

of SMEs and Small Offices and Home Offices (SOHOs).

may be going towards Delhi or heading to Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, find this a great spot to take a break,” he says. Madhukar adds, “A lot of transit traffic does come to us as walk-ins, its share of the total average occupancy stands at less than 20 per cent.” A hotel in the heart of the city, he explains, would get more walkins in comparison. At the moment, the hotel is getting an average of 70 per cent domestic and the remaining are international customers.

SL1000 is an intelligent cost-effective telecommunication system, which packs affordability, efficiency and IP-telephony all into one system. This cutting edge solution caters to the communication needs

As a part of NEC’s global strategy to grow its capabilities and technologies worldwide, the launch of SL1000 is an endeavor to bring the best-of-breed and proven integrated telecommunications solutions to India. NEC is also looking to partner with prominent telecom service providers who can help the company to reach its customers with a bundled offering. NEC India has strategic partnerships with Enkay Technologies (India) for customers in the hospitality & enterprise segment, Intellicon for Government & Enterprise customers and Arvind Telecom division (Syntel) to reach out to the customers in the SME segment through their dealer network. The company also has a strategic alliance with AGC Networks (formerly known as Avaya Global Connect) as a National Distributor for its Private Network Solutions.

Single Grill by Weber Fresh from the success of its complete styling of the wide range of grills, Weber continues to add new products to bolster its 2012 Weber brand line-up. Available in stores from January 2012, the world’s leading barbeque grill and barbeque accessories manufacturer unveils its new gas grill, adding to an extensive group of its Spirit and Genesis models. The new Summit S-670 gas grill offers an expansive cooking area in addition to the Snap-Jet individual burner ignition with infinite control burner valves, flush mounted side burners and smoker burners with stainless steel smoker boxes. It also incorporates the groundbreaking Sear Station technology, which is a dedicated area located in the middle of the grill. The extra centre burner, when fired up in tandem with the flanking burners on ‘high’, gives the food, ‘restaurant-quality’ sear marks and more caramelised flavor. However, unlike the other grills that sear, the centre burner can be turned off, transforming the Sear Station to a standard zone for normal direct or indirect grilling – without losing an inch of precious grilling space. Lighted control knobs is the other innovative feature in the top-of-the-line Summit model which allows avid grillers to fine tune heat settings – even in the dark!

44 FHRAI MAgAzIne JANUARY 2012

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Scope in emerging ‘zirakpur’

F

or a hotel to open at the right time is very critical. The Best Western Maryland in Zirakpur claims to have come up at the right time and is going to reap the benefits in future. Manoj Madhukar, General Manager of the hotel says, “Chandigarh as a city has been evolving. Undoubtedly, it has reached a point of saturation as far as hotel development is concerned. This has led Zirakpur to emerge as a strong satellite township. Our presence on the national highway gives us an edge.” The hotel falls right at the entry point of Chandigarh, as one enters the city while coming from Delhi on National Highway 22.via Ambala

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Its proximity to the airport (2 km) and railway station(5 km), also adds up to the hotel’s connectivity USP. The rate of the hotel has been strategically positioned to match the growing need of the market. It has been kept at `4,000 (plus taxes) for the lowest category of rooms and the suites are priced at `7,000 (plus taxes). According to Madhukar, corporate clientele is becoming a major target zone for the hotel. “The satellite township of Zirakpur on the outskirts of Chandigarh is not only coming up as a residential sector but also, as a critical zone for various offices. Further, being located on the highway ensures that the transit passengers, who

The fairly recent township of Zirakpur is coming up in a big manner. Best Western Maryland has capatalised the scope of being one of the few hotels which have entered early and are getting the benefit of the location. The value-for-money proposition is anyway a case in point, the hotels profess. In fact, there are eight hotels coming up within one sq km of this township which would address the dire needs of the corporate and residential segment growth, informs Madhukar. “There are some 8,000 apartments that are ready for possession and many are in the construction phase. The township is coming up in a big way because Chandigarh real estate prices have gone through the roof. Also, there are norms in relation to the height of

FHRAI MAgAzIne JANUARY 2012 45


[GM Canvas]

Manoj Madhukar

buildings. Hence, this township will change the dynamics of this zone,” he adds. Moreover, 2-3 business parks are also coming up this year, so the corporate segment will thrive in this region. “This is a case like Gurgaon and Noida, which emerged on their own in just a few years next to the Capital,” he draws. According to him, around 60 per cent of corporate travellers coming to Chandigarh prefer to stay in Zirakpur already. This satellite town is preferred for the close proximity of their offices within the township. “A lot of companies already operating in Zirakpur are the reason behind our numbers of in-house conferences,” Madhukar says.

Hotel’s Performance

The average occupancy of the hotel since its inception has been 70 per cent. He articulates, “The average room rate that we are commanding is over Rs 3000

46 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

(plus taxes). The revenue that the hotel commands has been surprisingly higher in F&B than the rooms.” On the other hand, he acknowledges, the operating profit on rooms is way higher than F&B. The hotel has been positioned as a 4-star property having 47 rooms with one specialty restaurant and one multicuisine restaurant. “We plan to add 60 more rooms and expect these to be added by 2014. In fact, a new block will be constructed where these rooms will come up and we have plans for a swimming pool, spa and two more specialty restaurants in that block.” Traditionally, the Punjab region has always been an attractive point for F&B ventures. People love to experiment with food and relish eating. Therefore, there is immense

potential in the F&B segment that the hotel wants to explore. That apart, the hotel is poised for a vital gain. “According to the master plan of the Chandigarh city, a bypass is being planned that would take the vehicles through the township of Zirakpur. The bypass will cut through the National Highway near the hotel and will connect Ambala. This is being seen as a reason that will open up avenues for not only the township to develop faster but would also ensure healthy concentration of corporate travellers that would look forward to quality hospitality in this area,” Madhukar sums up. Best Western Maryland, in that respect, has already put its best foot forward and expects to carve a niche in giving hospitality excellence that it promises.

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[Outbound]

[Outbound]

Macau’s Old World Charm Macau, the special administrative region of China continues to register impressive growth in arrivals. Macau’s legacy of centuries of being at the cross-roads of major international trade routes and being the meeting place of traders and merchants has held its old world charm. The destination today is increasingly attracting leisure and business travellers alike and has emerged as Asia’s new MICE destination. Shayan Mallick

W

ith its strategic location within the world’s fastest growing region, easy accessibility, state-of-theart tourism infrastructure including UNESCO World Heritage Site, Macau Grand Prix, Asia’s largest convention centre, world class hotels and billions of dollars worth infrastructure development underway, Macau has caught the fancy of global leisure and business traffic alike. The new Ferry terminal, MIA’s (Macau International Airport) five-year development plan, increase of flight handling capacity, Border Gate expansion project and Macau Light Rapid Transit system are some of its ongoing and future infrastructure development programmes. Spread over 30 sq km, Macau has

48 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

through combat, wit, creativity, incredible expertise and agility. Built at a cost of US$ 250 million, it has a capacity of approximately 2,000 people with Dragon inspired purpose-built ‘Dancing Water Theater.’ The theatre contains the world’s largest commercial pool with 3.7 million gallon water, 239 automated fountains, 11 ten-ton elevators, 80 performers and approximately 130 production staff from 25 nationalities.

Macau Tower

The Macau Tower is one of the major attractions for the tourist visiting the city. The fun activities include Bungee jumping, Sky jump, Skywalk that takes place at an altitude of 233-metre. It is also the only tower in the world that takes its guests right to the top, for mast climbing, which is 338-metre high. A true test of stamina and courage! The tower offers an array of European

a plethora of tourist attractions and is recognised as the gaming capital of the world. There are about 100 hotels and other lodging facilities that collectively account for about 20,000 rooms. And some of the major meeting facilities are the Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel, MGM Grand, Macau Fisherman’s Wharf, Macau Tower Convention & Entertainment Center.

and Chinese dining experiences. The convention centre within the Macau Tower can serve as the perfect venue for conferences, exhibitions, seminars and trade fairs and therefore an ideal choice for MICE travellers.

Wine Museum

Macau’s Wine Museum provides tourists with an opportunity to have a date with the history of Wine and Vineyards. The museum allows different opportunities of viewing exhibitions, reading and tasting to the world of the Wine. It is a component of social and cultural expression of great significance in the Portuguese tradition, making them appreciate wine, as a way of socialising, in the rhythms of routine and celebration. In an exhibition space of 1,400 sqm, the museum presents an allotment of more than 1,115 wine brands, with more than 756 commercial wines and 359 collection wines.

Grand Prix Museum

The Grand Prix Museum displays a collection of vintage racing cars, photographs, literature, trophies and various other pieces of memorabilia and efforts of all those who have participated both on and off the track during the Grand Prix’s long history. The Macau Grand Prix, an annual sporting event, has evolved into an event of international repute that attracts the best Formula 3 drivers in the world to compete for the championship.

Foodie’s Paradise

Macau is a foodie’s paradise. This tiny city boasts of a very high concentration of restaurants including Indian restaurants and an equally diverse range of food that can suite every budget. There are a number of good Portuguese restaurants serving the local Macanese food along with a vast variety of local and international

Macau Facts • Macau is well connected within the region by about four Macaubased airlines and scores of Asian airlines. • It takes 45 minutes by ferry from Hong Kong International Airport and 55 minutes from Hong Kong Island to reach Macau. There are a number of airlines flying from various Indian cities to Hong Kong daily.

Attractions The House of Dancing Waters

• Macau provides Visa on Arrival to Indian nationals

Located in the City of Dreams, the House of Dancing Waters takes the audience on an awe-inspiring journey through the heights and depths of human emotions. The spectacular water-based show takes physical performance to its ultimate limits

• Pataca is Macau’s official currency. About 8 Pataca are equal to US$ 1.

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FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012 49


[Outbound] drinks and cocktails and soups. Besides this, Chinese cuisines are also of excellent quality in Macau and there are a number of good restaurants serving the authentic Chinese fare.

Scintillating Nightlife

They say Macau wakes up after the sun sets. For ‘night owls’ the city never sleeps. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and night clubs along with casinos to keep the travellers busy. Visitors will have no problem if they wish to get a delicious meal or go dancing in the middle of the night. If one is looking for bars and pubs, there are a great many of them along the Avenida Sun Yat Sen close to the Kum Iam Statue and the Cultural Centre. The music is completely cosmopolitan, with bars throbbing to the rhythms of Brazil, Portugal, England, Africa and

[Outbound] every part of Asia. In some bars there are live bands performing clients’ request. For the most popular trendy discos in town head for NAPE and Avenida do Infante D. Henrique. Here the music is modern with some local touches; international pop sung in Cantonese, Mandarin, Thai or Japanese.

Shop Till You Drop

Come and indulge in Asia’s most exciting shopping experience! Shopping in Macau can be one of the most fascinating experiences while visiting the city. Macau is a place where you can purchase almost anything and have a wonderful time doing it. Luxury items are cheaper here than in the other cities of the region. Jewellery (particularly 24-carat gold), cameras, porcelain, electronic items, mobile phones, watches, Cashmere

Staying the Grand Way Recipient of laurels like the ‘Best Luxury Hotel in Macau’ and the ‘Best Business hotel in Macau’, Grand Hyatt Macau is located in one of Macau’s most talkedabout addresses, the City of Dreams, a new integrated entertainment resort. The hotel houses one of the largest event spaces in Macau; 15 individual function areas spanning almost 8,000 sqm, 791 guestrooms across different categories including suites and with separate living spaces; complimentary wireless internet access throughout, a variety of dining experience as well as entertainment, gaming and shopping experiences available within the vicinity of the City of Dreams. The hotel is a 5-minute drive from Macau International Airport and 15-minute drive from Macau Ferry Terminal. A complimentary shuttle service is available to chauffer hotel guest to all the territory’s major transport terminals, as well as the city centres, where they can explore the Portuguese architecture and other historic elements listed under UNESCO world heritage site.

MICE Venues The entire second level of the hotel is dedicated to the events space. The colossal, pillar-less Grand Ballroom with its 8-metre high ceiling covers 1,911 sqm and can cater to upto 2,000 guests in theatre style setting and 1,300 for a banquette. Salao do Teatro, measuring 1,208 sqm, is equally impressive. It has an open show kitchen and its pillar-less ballroom can cater upto 540 guests for a banquette. It has its own pre-function area, which can cater to upto 900 for cocktails.

sweaters and silk clothing are available at very reasonable prices. One can also hunt for Chinese antiques and collectibles, ancient coins, 19th century stocks, shares, stamps & other printed material and boxes of tea and coffee from around the world. Some of the finest duty-free shops, top of the market goods and up-market boutiques, sell internationally recognised labels at Macau Fisherman’s Wharf, New Yaohan department store, Landmark, Hotel Grand Lapa. For a more street-style hunt, you could try the most popular flea market in Macau, near St. Paul’s. Follow Rua de São Paulo to Rua das Estalagens and turn down the hill to the next narrow street. Go past the shops selling antiques, the tailor shops and other small shops until the road reaches a fork. Macau is the place to go gold digging. There are many grades of gold available in Macau which is imported duty free thus it can be an exceptional bargain. Silver, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones are also duty-free and available in abundance. In fact, the selection is limited only by the amount you want to pay.

There are eight flexible meeting Salons, suitable for gathering of between 40 and 100 guests. Nearby are two residential-style Salon Lounges for break-out receptions and a fully equipped business centre. The Pool Deck on Level 3 is an ideal alfresco location and one of the largest outdoor events venue in Macau. Centred around a 40-metre long, aqua green-tiled, heated swimming pool, it has eight private cabanas and expansive landscaped gardens and can cater a barbeque for upto 420 sitdown guests. The hotel features an array of restaurants, bars and lounges offering an incredible range of Chinese, Macanese and other international fare. The hotel boasts of one of the most impressive fitness centre overlooking the pool deck. The Isala Spa, spread over more than 2,300 sqm welcome the guests to its 15 spacious spa suites, each with a private rain-shower, vanity area and washroom. It has a range of signature massages and treatments.

50 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

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FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012 51


Global

[Guest Column]

Reservations Up, Rates Down Now is the time to capitalise on the domestic tourist segment, as low exchange rates have discourged them from travelling abroad. In addition, this the right time to attract those potential inbound tourists who believe that India is a costly destination. Julie Parodi

I

t is a pleasant sight to see that the November 2011 bookings are once again growing over the previous year. As discussed in last month’s article, October’s year-over-year performance is not as dire as it seems at first glance. The lower comparative booking volume is related to the aftermath of events

such as flash-flood; however, much is also attributed to Delhi’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games in October 2010. Nonetheless, the increase in November bookings was up by +4.7 per cent over the prior year, providing a positive sign for increased travel demand for the holiday season.

Not a welcome sight is another month of softening rates as compared to the prior year for India as a whole. November’s ADR decreased by -4.2 per cent from the prior year. It is this decline that negated November’s boost in bookings and caused the revenue to fall below last year, by -4.7 per cent. It likewise serves to point out

India, Regional, Global — % CHG Over PY GDS & ADS Channels Combined

India Asia Pacific Global

52 FHRAI MAgAzIne JANUARY 2012

Net Reservation CHG

Net ADR CHG

Net Revenue CHG

Nov

4.7%

-4.2%

-4.7%

YTD Nov

21.5%

2.7%

25.7%

Nov

1.8%

2.0%

5.2%

YTD Nov

6.5%

3.8%

12.6%

Nov

5.6%

2.4%

7.7%

YTD Nov

10.3%

4.6%

17.5%

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Nov

5.6%

2.4%

7.7%

YTD Nov

10.3%

4.6%

17.5%

Net Average Length of Stay (Nights)

[Guest Column]

Net Average Booking Lead Time (Days)

Nov 2011

Nov 2010

% CHG

Nov 2011

Nov 2010

% CHG

India

2.90

3.06

-5.3%

17.78

17.86

-0.4%

Asia Pacific

2.66

2.62

1.5%

18.09

17.94

0.8%

Global

2.06

2.07

-0.4%

16.48

15.84

4.0%

India, Regional, Global — % CHG Over PY the benefits to be gained by adhering likely to travel outside of India due to the to a well though-out price strategy. exchange rate will beGDS all the likely & more ADS Channels Combined Regardless of the total booking volume to vacation domestically. So it behooves strength, bookings should be consciously both hoteliers and Net travel agents alike Net ADR Net Revenue funneled through different distribution to target highReservation potential international CHG CHG channels via inventory allocations and sources of visitors and India’s own vast CHG price structures that support rate parity population of travellers who will chose Nov destinations. 4.7% -4.2% NOTE: The -4.7% and optimise total profit. intra-country above analysis is based Indiathat are Some of the factors Further evidence of less long-distance on the over YTD isNov 21.5%Length of Stay 2.7% 25.7%five billion monthly contributing to the pressure placed on travel the shortening transactions processed by Pegasus hotel rates are related to the slowing (LOS) Nov and booking1.8% lead times compared the world’s single largest 2.0% Solutions,5.2% of India’s economyAsia and financial to the prior year. November’s average Pacific global processor of hotel transactions. YTDtightened Nov by -5.3 6.5% 3.8% The data12.6% concerns over the recent record low of LOS per cent compared represents transactions from the Rupee against the Dollar. However, to the last year and the average booking both the GDS (Global Distribution Nov 5.6% 2.4% 7.7% often where there are challenges System) and ADS (Alternative Global there lead-time in November was just less are also opportunities. While a low than -0.4 per cent. Trips YTDlast Novyear by 10.3% 4.6% Distribution 17.5% System) channels, exchange rate may not bode well for that involve greater distances most often representing the business and leisure Indians wanting to travel abroad, it can involve more nights to make such a trip markets respectively for approximately definitely be a plus point for attracting more worthwhile. Along with longer time 90,000 hotels worldwide. All data is on inbound travellers whose money will away from home and work, such trips a date of booking basis unless otherwise stretch much farther than in many other also tend to involve more complex travel, stated. ADR (Average Daily Rate) competing destinations. Now is a perfect both factors usually necessitating more and revenue percentage changes are Netunique Average of Stay (Nights) Net Average Booking time to capitalise on all the and Length advanced planning. calculated fromLead valuesTime using(Days) a single appealing aspects of your hotel and the Once again, less outbound travel constant exchange rate to eliminate NovIndia 2011is rich Nov 2010 in more % CHG Nov 2011 the effects Novof2010 % CHG surroundings it has to offer. resulting domestic stays can currency exchange rate with diverse delights that include those end up being advantageous for hotels movements. India 2.90 3.06 -5.3% 17.78 17.86 -0.4% of a cultural, gastronomical, religious at the end of the day. Plus, if more is Senior Director of 0.8% Strategic and medicinal well as the international visitors can be attracted, Asia Pacific nature, as2.66 2.62 1.5% 18.09 (The writer 17.94 added relaxation and adventure to be who typically spend more money per trip Planning and Editor, The Pegasus View. 2.07domestic guests, -0.4% 16.48 The views expressed 15.84by the author are 4.0% personal.) foundGlobal at locations ranging 2.06 from beaches than quite a profitable to mountains. scenario could be created. The other challenge-turnedopportunity is that those who are less

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FHRAI MAgAzIne JANUARY 2012 53


[Technology]

[Design]

Evaluating Operations Technology has changed the face and functioning of the hospitality industry. Dexterous kinds of equipment are now making way into the industry and aim to evolve the standards of operations thereby yielding better results. Solomon James

T

he tourist season is picking up in India and the hospitality industry needs to capitalise on tourist demand to attain maximum hotel occupancy. The December-March quarter is expected to bring 60 per cent of the year’s turnover to Indian hotels and the industry needs to be prepared for this rally. The hospitality technology has grown leaps and bounds over the years, evolving from basic Point-of-Sales systems and simple Property Management Systems to sophisticated hotel Enterprise Resource Planning systems. By enabling hoteliers to efficiently manage their properties and ensure customer satisfaction, today’s hospitality technology solutions have evolved to be seamlessly integrated among departments, with centralised monitoring options, and even offer customised solutions to suit a hotels’ specific needs. Most hoteliers are happy to adopt the latest technology for their hotels, however as the pace of innovation increases, it becomes crucial to evaluate whether the hotel is leveraging its existing infrastructure to the fullest. It is here that the ‘Technology Audit’ comes into play. The ‘Technology Audit’ helps a hospitality property evaluate and streamline hotel operations, ensure maximum use of technology and align technology to business objectives.

Case Study IDS NEXT ‘Technology Audit’ Holiday Inn Resort, Goa implemented the ‘Technology Audit’ to power their business. IDS NEXT does progress engineering for business transformation and the one way they do this is through the ‘Technology Audit’ that transform businesses to enhance productivity and profitability. IDS NEXT audited each module of Fortune Enterprise deployed at the property to help them maximise their technology investment. The ‘Technology Audit’ helped Holiday Inn Resort, Goa improve their operations in their front office, Point-of-Sales, accounts receivables, F&B costing, inventory management, finance, payroll and engineering. The audit improved their front office operations and witnessed a 55 per cent improvement in application usage. Point-of-Sales systems also improved by centralisation and resulted in 35 per cent increase in application usage. F&B costing process sped up and could be completed in nine minutes. Inventory management and accounts receivable, increased in accuracy and reports were generated in lesser time. “We were not leveraging IDS Enterprise 4.1 to the maximum. IDS NEXT’s ‘Technology Audit’ helped us to identify areas of improvement that might have otherwise gone unnoticed,” said Loretta Vaz, Director, Business Development, Holiday Inn Resort Goa.

54 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

Benefits of the Technology Audit • Redundancies in manual activity • Operations that needed to be automated • Revenue leakages that could be plugged • Software features to be customised • M  ethods to reduce errors and increase operational efficiencies

Technology Audit

While the industry outlook remains positive, the number of players in the hospitality market has increased and in order to keep up with the industry growth, hoteliers need to optimise their use of technology, while reducing expenditure. The ‘Technology Audit’ enables hotel management to examine controls within their IT infrastructure. The audit determines if information systems are adequately safeguarding assets, maintaining data integrity and operating optimally to achieve the hotels’ goals and objectives. There are usually three areas of focus in the ‘Technology Audit’, namely, hardware, software and infrastructure. An inventory of all existing tools, software and hardware currently deployed at a hotel property is done through a 3-phase evaluation process that involves: analysis of asset utilisation, analysis of processes, policies and procedures and IT expense assessment. Analysis of assets is a key aspect of the ‘Technology Audit’. It analyses the relevance of a software tool in the department, measures its effectiveness and provides an analytical report of the same. The asset is broken down to analyse the purpose it serves and how it can be refurbished to serve more operations. In the process, the ‘Technology Audit’ also evaluates any drawbacks the hotel management faces and works towards addressing these challenges. During this exercise a hotel property also reviews its current policies and processes and upgrades to accommodate the latest version of the solution. Furthermore, an evaluation of software, hardware and networks within the hotel property is followed by a post-audit strategy that provides counsel to optimise the use of existing infrastructure and implementation of upgrades wherever necessary. The ‘Technology Audit’ also helps hotels restrategise and re-look at overall goals, and aligns technology to drive these goals. (The writer is the Vice President, IDS Networks Group. The views expressed by the author are personal.)

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Barrier-free Infrastructure To ensure best revenues and market reputation hotels must strive towards making their units easily accessible and user friendly. By inculcating Universal Design, any hotel can market their proposition better. Niranjan Khatri

I

t has been ITC Hotels’ experience that just employing people with disabilities is not enough. In order to enable them to work efficiently, the infrastructure also needs to be user friendly, so that they are able to access any infrastructure without or with minimal assistance. Assistive technology is also an important tool for enabling ‘PWD’ to work efficiently, much like visually impaired people use ‘Jaws Talking’ software to work on computers. The software works on the audio principle enabling the visually impaired person to hear. This empowers them to study or work in the software industry. Five years back, ITC hotels had conducted an access audit in its existing hotels and at the time we realised that old hotels could only become barrier-free to the extent of 85 per cent. This gave us an insight into the need to work from the design stage, if we hope to make all our future hotels barrier-free. It was with this concept in mind that ITC Gardenia in Bengaluru, became the first hotel in the country with universal design and all our future projects will be conceived in this manner. I invite all to check the details on the Universal Design book (UD) on www.itchotels.in.

What is Universal Design?

By Universal design, I mean a design of products and environment can be used by everyone to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialised design. Everyone include, obese, short, people with disabilities, senior citizens, pregnant ladies and so on. The soft copy can be shared widely with anyone as most of our infrastructure in the country is not barrier-free and stakeholders can gradually modify and include the same in their plans. With the rapid increase in the number of hotel rooms, while there is no increase in the size of the ‘pie’, there is a need to work towards creating a new segment such as Medical Tourism or we might say a segment for people with disability. The size of the disability tourism market is $75 billion per annum in the West. India does not event get a ‘whiff ’ of this segment due to poor infrastructure. With concerted efforts through Public Private Partnership, this lacuna can be bridged in

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the next 5-8 years and when we will be able to see the flowering of this important segment. This book will give an insight on the basics of what universal design stands for and has been made in order to democratise ITCHL’s learning in the disability space, for inclusive growth.

Simple Actions Reflecting UD • Many of us have senior citizens at home and they are unable to negotiate 2-3 steps. A simple wooden ramp can be made for their convenience • Most old people have accidents in the bath room. Hence in existing bathrooms anti-slip strips can be installed • A nail cutter with a magnifying glass for low vision senior citizens can be made available at home • While making your house, design it in such a way that it will cater for old age needs, without additional expenses at a later date

Universal design refers to a design where products and environment can be used by everyone to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialised design Many ideas can be inferred from this book to suit one’s own needs. As Hellen Keller said, “It is the fundamental right of everyone to realise himself however imperfectly and contribute for the common good – however little. It is the duty of the society to recognise this right – the right of the disabled to be contributing members of the society.” (The writer is GM – WelcomEnviron Initiatives, ITC WelcomGroup. The views expressed by the author are personal.)

FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012 55


[Strategy]

[Strategy]

‘Rock-n-Dine’ Music has always been a great company to food. Delhi restaurants are taking this phenomenon to another level to give them an edge in marketing their place and emerge at the forefront of choices when it comes to food.

I

f music be the food of love, then play on. The restaurants in Delhi are not just following the footsteps of Shakespeare but even lending a voice to the bustling musical, underground in the capital that is charting a progressive and experimental course to sing. And with an increasing number of customers who like to spend their evenings listening to high-octane rock and alternative music, the restaurants are in for good times. There is an interesting link between music and profits, which is good news for restaurant and cafe owners who are seeking alternative ways to improve their revenues.

It’s a Win-Win Situation

In these competitive times, the restaurants are compelled to think of innovative means to attract customers and increase their business. Today dining is not just

Megha Paul

F&B but an experience. To attract more and more customers and make dining a more enjoyable experience, restaurants in Delhi are playing the perfect host by organising music events. Playing good music has now become an important and in some cases a unique selling proposition. The music pubs that act as tools of integration - carrying music beyond the mere audiovisual experience - to include social issues are now big F&B revenue churners. The music cafes are doing brisk business, listeners are happier, artists are bigger and a whole new group of music enthusiasts have been able to make careers out of doing something they love.

Music as the Revenue Churner

“Restaurants can increase revenue in F&B segment if they invest properly in their music selection,” says Jay Singh, Co-founder and Executive Chairman, JSM Corp that owns Hard Rock Café in India. Talking about the contribution of music towards generating favourable revenues for the property, Singh informs,

56 FHRAI MAgAzIne JANUARY 2012

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FHRAI MAgAzIne JANUARY 2012 57


[Strategy]

fan following, therefore once you call them, their fans also come with them. That is a very good way for a new place to reach out to people. This drives sales for us,” he informs. Regarding whether the target audience list influences the gig list or vice versa, Ludhani comments, “Yes we plan gigs according to the clientele we target. Different bands have different types of following. Hence, we call those bands whose fans can become our regular customers in the near future.”

“As far as Hard Rock Café is concerned, there are two kinds of music – recorded music and live music in the form of bands. Revenue generation entirely depends on the frequency of the live acts. Hard Rock Café in India has live bands performing once a week.” The Café does excellent business on days with live gigs. “Hard Rock Café does live gigs/band nights on Thursday nights. So obviously on that particular day whether we have a live gig or not, we have a higher footfall compared to the other days of the week,” Singh reveals. The chain across India engages in causes like, the welfare of sex workers’ children, education and promotion of music among the deprived sections of youth and young adults in metros, etc. Believing in being truly ‘rockhearted’ is Cafe Morrison in Delhi that completed six years in 2011. Talking about the unique aspects of the restaurant, Sidharth Talwar, Director, Cafe Morrison, confesses, “Our biker’s night has become a rage in the city. We also recently hosted the Harley Davidson Biker’s Night which was a complete success story.” Talwar boasts, “We were the first in the city to serve the entire range of alcohol to ladies on ladies night. Today Tuesday Nights at Cafe Morrison have become a much-awaited affair. A leading national daily has even featured us as one of the safest places in the country for women for a night-out with girlfriends.”

and references and as business we have to customise and cater to it. Apart from Resident DJs playing various genres, we are also planning to organise a music fest which will be a quarterly or annual event this year,” he remarks. “In addition, regular guests start relating to the place thanks to music and even bring in official parties and events to our place such R&R (Rewards & Recognitions) as well as AGMs of their companies,” he says.

Music - the Sustainability Factor

Often, the genre of music being played at a particular venue is the deciding point for guests. People identify with certain genres and would choose a particular outlet over the other based on the music being played. To capture target clientele, the outlet has to ensure that the clientele is happy listening to what is being played and will come back based solely on that choice of music. According to the General Manager of The Second Sin, Gurshan Yashpal , music and live gigs helps a restaurant to retain its customers. “Target clientele will keep coming back to the outlet as they identify with the genre of music being played. Live bands always help to push sales further to the top as human interaction is much more than the case when it is the DJ playing music through a console. This human touch gives the feeling of warmth to the guests.”

The DJ twist

Increase in High-end Customers

With live gigs being an expensive affair, many F&B outlets also have another alternative – resident DJ. Arjun Chaturvedi, General Manager, SPOT in Gurgaon reveals, “We have resident DJs who play in our lounge but spurts of live bands keep happening to bring about a fresh bout of change. However, getting the knack of what the crowd wants is the key strategy in hospitality.” Betting big on music, the GM believes various formats of trade have come alive as a result of music. “Various genres attract different profile of guests who bring in their perceptions

58 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

Sahil Ludhani, owner of Blueberry Restaurants and Powerplay Sports Bar, feels that music boosts business at the F&B joint as more high-end customers frequent the place. “Music is one of the biggest factors that attract people to our restaurant. People look for a good ambience, drinks and great music. Therefore if a restaurant has a unique music offering, it becomes their USP,” he says. According to him, the restaurant does brisk business due to the large fan following of the bands that also come for the gigs of the more popular bands. “Live bands have their own

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FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012 59


[Dine Out]

[Dine Out]

Redefining Simplicity diners but Woodpecker differs, says Ravi Kant Kalra, Executive Chef of the hotel. The gourmet zone of the hotel offers simplicity that compliments its approach towards its food.

Presenting food in a not-so-elaborate set up is an uphill task. Yet, the Woodpecker in Comfort Inn Saffron Kiran, Faridabad presents itself as a simple restaurant that showcases food in a simplistic manner presenting a contemporary style in dining.

F

aridabad, the satellite town of Delhi-NCR has been waiting for the hospitality sector to enter after the massive growth of Gurgaon and Noida. Though it still lacks the numbers of operating ventures in the hospitality segment, its presence is felt and more importantly, a number of restaurants ensure that the ‘dining out’

offer is addressed first and foremost. The newly opened Comfort Inn Saffron Kiran, Faridabad by Choice Hotels has opened its first restaurant to add one more to the growing chart. Sunil Sharma, Chairman, Saffron India Hotels & Resorts remarks, “This is our first venture in the hospitality segment and we value our association with Choice Hotels

Simplistic Approach

India to give the best to our customers. We are delighted to open this hotel and are very confident in getting a good response by offering uniqueness in every area of its operations including our dining options.” These days, food has become a selling proposition for many hospitality establishments. Offering sophistication has also become a vital ingredient to attract

The restaurant gives a ship like feeling. Rajesh Kumar, F&B Manger of the hotel explains, “As one enters the coffee shop, the space widens on the face and emerges as a big open area. The ceiling imparts a distinction of being under natural light yet under a shade. The entire set-up appears like entering into a ship structure, which has attracted a lot of attention.” The ambience has been kept minimalist which makes this place very relaxing. The atrium styled coffee shop, is open and stationed at the centre of the hotel where one could see the floors above. Kalra says, “Woodpecker is our multi-cuisine restaurant. It has a contemporary approach where one can go for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a wide variety of menu that is prepared in a stylish manner. I have incorporated interpretations of my own to present a gastronomic journey,” he says. The restaurant has a capacity of 64 covers with a simple dining format; an island buffet is laid where cold cuts, salads and desserts are placed.

Extensive Food Options

The restaurant presents various cuisines every day offering a variety in the buffet selection in order to keep monotony at bay. Kalra feels that one can start the day with an energising and fulfilling breakfast. “Along with fruit juice and a fresh fruit platter, there is a choice of cereals, croissant, Danish Pastries, muffins and doughnuts; the breakfast presents, if not elaborate, a fair number of items to choose from. Also on offer is Continental, American and Indian breakfast dishes.” The extensive all-day dining menu includes multi-cuisine preparations with international as well as Indian flavours. Appetizers & Salads include, Shrimp

60 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

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Cocktail, Chicken Hawaiian Salad, Waldorf Salad, Dry Chilli Paneer, Vegetable Seekh Kebab, etc. which is followed by choices from a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian soups. International delicacies comprise, Prawns in Hot Garlic Sauce, Chicken Steaks, Chicken in Thai Red/ Green Curry, Baked Vegetable Princess, Exotic Chinese Greens in Chilli Garlic Sauce, Pan Seared Vegetable Steak and many more. The customers have been given the choice of Indian specialties, sandwiches, burgers, combinations of pasta, refreshing beverages and desserts. The hotel firmly believes that its food is going to play a distinguishing role in their locale. “An intriguing mix of mocktail namely, After Glow, Hawaii Twist, Cranberry Orange Power, Strawberry Banana Surprise, Electric Blue and Mint Mania, etc. will further enhance the dining experience in this outlet. More importantly, we have also featured a ‘no onion, no garlic’ menu consisting of soups & starters and main course that will address the need of many, who look forward to simple food in a good dining environment. We are confident to offer this,” Kalra sums up.

FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012 61


[Chef Talk]

[Chef Talk]

Offering Heritage Flavours

I also think that a menu that uses locally sourced seasonal/fresh ingredients are a lot more appreciated by guests! Which are the present trends in food that interest you? What is your perspective on food in general and how should it be treated as far as experimentation is concerned? New age restaurants that blend classic flavours with modern techniques and thematic dining spaces really amuse me. I am a big ‘foodie’ and I love to experiment. I think it’s a good idea to experiment with food because it often develops something unique and different, which may even surprise the diner. Such surprises are always good, isn’t it?

The Fairmont Jaipur is all set to open its doors by mid-February this year and is going to take everyone on a sumptuous and palatable journey into the past. Anurag Bali, Executive Chef of the property talks about the local approach the hotel intends to incorporate wherever it establishes its presence.

Chef’s Choice Zarin Challni Bater Farm Raised quail wrapped with restorative and therapeutic herb marinade of ‘Safed Mussili’, clove, rose petal, dill leaves, green cardamom, poppy seeds and roasted on a unique mess grill ‘Challni’

Sanjeev Bhar Fairmont Jaipur is all set to open in February 2012. How differently has the hotel approached its F&B operations? Our menus are a reflection of the Mughal era! It will bring back the lost food of the 15th century and will carry forward to the flovours of the 21st century. The Fairmont properties are always authentically local hence its Food and Beverage menus will always showcase local cuisine and local produce. For example, Fairmont Jaipur will offer the afternoon tea with an Indian twist and also cocktails will be served with heritage liqueurs from Rajasthan; with the produce grown in the local villages for the hotel the focus is really about creating experiences! Which are the various restaurants and cuisines the hotel would offer to its customers? What will be your approach towards the preparation of the menu for each of the food outlets? In terms of dining, Fairmont will please every palate with a broad range of culinary selections, also offering authentic regional dishes inspired by ‘Rajput’ flavours. At Zoya, the all-day dining restaurant, guests can enjoy a world cuisine menu with a dedicated section of ‘Rajasthani’ fare highlighting dishes from the royal households. The Indian specialty restaurant, Zarin will trace the journey of the ‘Mughals’ in India. Food here will be prepared to perfection using traditional techniques and spices but with a modern flair bringing back the lost Indian foods to the 21st century gourmet dinners. The tea lounge better known as Anjum will celebrate tea in true Fairmont style with a local twist featuring Indian tea delights, tea cocktails and delicious tea infused nibbles! Patrons will also find plenty of opportunities for relaxation at the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, an open-air modern Mediterranean Library Bar, Aza featuring an outstanding collection of ‘liquid history’ fine wines and malt whiskies.

62 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

How do you view food as a concept that propels hotel sales? Is the approach towards food these days far more logical than before? What changes have you registered in the way food is evolving in the commercial space? Food and Beverage is a great driver for hotels. It’s really the artistic side of the hotel business. Nowadays good restaurants and trendy bars not only help drive better revenue but can also be one of the reasons for the guests to choose their stay at the hotels. In today’s scenario a strong Food & Beverage setup can contribute to about 50 per cent of the hotels business. Food and Beverage is always about the experience it is; about having a great story! It is what makes people happy. While there is also a logical side to it, it’s really the emotional connect that makes a great restaurant. Food is constantly evolving and people are more aware of exactly what they want and what they don’t want to eat. I have observed that most of the guests want to experience dishes that are regional and authentic; dishes that are served fresh and are infused with local/traditional ingredients. In the present scenario, how would you assess the understanding of public’s regarding their food choices? Before opening a property what factors do you keep in mind to attract customers’ interest? Today’s guests have travelled extensively and are a lot more aware of the Food and Beverage trends. The key lies in doing the simplest of things with an innovative twist. The most important factor is to personalise/customise the food and treat each individual palate differently. Fairmont hotels are more than a place to stay; they are oneof-a-kind properties where sophisticated travellers can discover live experiences. Situated in some of the most exclusive and pristine areas in the world, we promise to provide our guests with experiences that are authentic and local.

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You have achieved your present supreme position while you are still young and learning the craft. What has been your experience so far? Which critical aspects till now have influenced your journey? It’s been an outstanding journey and I was blessed to be part of many pre-opening teams that built hotel brands from scratch in India. Fairmont is an outstanding hotel to be associated with and to be a part of India’s first Fairmont hotel is a great feeling. In our business, everyday is a new learning day and this makes work a lot more fun because you go back with something new every single day! In terms of food, what are the imminent challenges faced by a property that is schedule to open? Fairmont honours the value of great memories and we are dedicated to providing our guests with the best a destination has to offer. Hence all the research that has gone into creating an unparalleled culinary experience for our guests has been a great learning experience rather than a challenge. Good quality produce and suppliers that share your passion to try and create something different, in addition talented manpower and a super energetic F&B team on-board has helped us achieve our goals. What are the factors that generally contribute to high food revenue in a hotel? It’s really a mix of good food, engaging service and a great ambiance! I would second the thought ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’ and it really applies for all. In addition,

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Ingredients: Quail or Bater Sesame seed Oil Ginger-garlic paste Turmeric powder Yellow chili powder Butter milk Lemon juice Poppy seed powder Raw Almond paste Rose petal powder Mint chopped Dill leaves chopped Green Cardamom powder Safed Musli Powder Clove powder Salt

1 no. 15 ml 5 gm 2 gm 3 gm 20 ml 5 ml 5 gm 5 gm 2 gm 1 gm 1 gm 1 gm 2 gm 0.5 gm To taste

Method: • Clean and wash the Quail and marinate it with salt, ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice and set aside for 1 hour. • For second marination, rub oil with turmeric, chili powder and ginger-garlic paste. Add all the ingredients together and marinate the Quail. • Keep it aside for 2 hours. • Cook the quail on live charcoal over the wire mess by constantly turning sides. Basting at regular intervals with an emulsion of Sesame oil and butter milk Serves: 2 Preparation Time: 3 hours Cooking Time: 30 min

FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012 63


[FHRAI Desk]

[Taxation]

Women Tax Payers and the Income Tax Law

FHRAI Sub-Committees & Functioning

Subhash Lakhotia

Malvinder Narang

T

his year FHRAI has begun a new trend of decentralising the honourary function of the FHRAI President by the formation of various sub-committees that would facilitate working of more minds than one on issues pertaining to specific subjects for which members of a particular sub-committee are constituted due to their specialisation. This year FHRAI has begun a new trend of decentralising the honourary function of the FHRAI President by the formation of various sub-committees that would facilitate working of more minds than one on issues pertaining to specific subjects for which members of a particular sub-committee are constituted due to their specialisation. For the functioning of an association’s President and his team of committee members, a very effective and time-tested tool has been adopted by HRAWI since 1998, which is the nomination of various sub-committees. The sub-committee concept, though not a provision by the constitution, is very much a part of the yearly HRAWI procedure of activities, which ensures the smooth and efficient functioning of the association’s pursuits and resolving various concerns/issues affecting our fraternity. Numerous sub-committees are formed for specific purposes, as decided by the President and his team which is ratified by the committee members of the association, depending on its necessity. List of various sub-committees formed at the HRAWI and FHRAI for various matters, are attached for reference. Every sub-committee would have ex-officio members as the President and the Secretary of the association. Each subcommittee is required to mark a copy of all communication, etc. to both of them. For each sub-committee, the President approves the formation of the committee and appoints a Chairman from within or outside the Executive Committee. The selected Chairman of the sub-committee in turn selects his team of members who might or might not be from the Executive Committee. The Chairman forms the sub-committee by sending invitations to them. The sub-committee member nominated/ selected can be on various sub-committees depending on their field of expertise or as desired by the appointed Chairman. The number of members on each sub-committee is at the discretion of the Chairman, which could vary as per the exigencies of the sub-committee. The Chairman selects a team of members, who he knows would contribute meaningfully to the association. Email invitations are then sent out to the selected/nominated members who accept them and thus a sub-committee is formed, headed by its respective Chairman. The norm is that each sub-committee holds a minimum of four conventional (physically meeting at a brick and mortar venue) or soft meetings (over a conference phone call or through

64 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

email or video conferencing) or more, depending purely upon the exigency of the issue(s) on hand, in that year. To explain conventional or hard meetings is when the sub-committee meets physically, while soft meetings are when either emails are exchanged or video conferences or telecommunication are enough to discuss the matter in hand. The notice of the meeting and its agenda is circulated for these meetings as desired by the Chairman. Before the beginning of the year, each Chairman prepares a budget, if he requires any funds during the year, with his sub-committee and presents it for approval in the first EC meeting. The sub-committee discusses matters relative to their subcommittee; matters on any concerned issues are discussed and solutions are devised. The sub-committee then charts out a plan of action and allot/delegate responsibilities to each member of the committee to see that the same are discussed and resolved by them as soon as possible. Each meeting of the sub-committee is required to take down minutes of the meeting. The drafted minutes as recorded by somebody from the Secretariat are then circulated to the Chairman of the sub-committee for his approval soon after the meeting. After the approval, the minutes are then circulated to the President and his sub-committee members. Ultimately they are sent to all the EC members for transparency and updation. At the EC meetings, a point on the agenda mentions – ‘Reports of the sub-committees – Chairman of each sub-committee to update’. Each sub-committee Chairman or in his absence, any member of his sub-committee presents a report on the activities/ issues/status/concerns/achievements, etc., to the President and all EC members present in the meeting. Depending on the issues/concerns tabled by the Chairman of the sub-committee, the President and the EC members usually give their valuable inputs on how to tackle that particular issue. Also if any financial approvals necessitated spending of money, necessary approvals are taken and the resolution thus passed is put in the minutes of the meeting. This helps in saving a lot of time. The concept of sub-committee is simple – by neatly categorising fraternity issues/concerns and handing/delegating the responsibility of that to the sub-committee, it enables the President and his team to achieve a lot within the stipulated time available, thereby also save a lot of energy, time and results in finding timely solutions as required/felt necessary. The inputs of all the sub-committees are presented at the EC meeting, so that everyone is in-sync with the relevant issues/concerns faced by our fraternity members at large and which have been addressed and valuable feedback(s) gained. (The writer is Secretary General, Hotel & Restaurant Association Western India)

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Tax and Investment Consultant Director, M/s. R.N. Lakhotia & Associates & The Strategy Group

L

ike any other individual a woman tax payer can also obtain a Permanent Account Number and she can independently be assessed to income tax. The basic income tax exemption for the current financial year for a woman tax payer is `1,90,000. One very important point which women tax payers should note is that they should avoid receiving gifts from three persons namely their husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law. In case a gift is received from these persons, the income therefrom will be clubbed as per provision in Section 64 of the Income tax Act, 1961. Also please note that a woman tax payer can receive gifts from relatives as well as from non-relatives without any upper limit at the time of her marriage.

Tax treatment in a situation where a woman tax payer receives gifts from prospective husband and the prospective father-in-law and mother-in-law before the date of marriage, the same will not come within the provision of Section 64 of the Income tax Law and hence no clubbing provision would be attracted. This would however, be possible only when the lady receives the gift before her marriage from her future husband and her future father-in-law and mother-in-law. This point has already been settled by the Supreme Court of India in a number of cases decided long ago.

Another pertinent question which might come to the minds of the women tax payers, relates to interest free loan by a married lady, particularly from her husband. A married lady can receive interest free loans from any person. However, she should avoid receiving interest free loans from husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law, otherwise the provisions of deemed income and clubbing of income can arise. Thus, to avoid any clubbing of income in a situation where a married lady is taking a loan from her husband or her father-in-law or her mother-in-law, she should pay reasonable rate of interest to them on the loan so taken. Although the Income tax Act does not define any reasonable rate of interest which must be charged in case of loan to wife or to the daughter-in-law but it is recommended that reasonable rate of interest should be charged whenever the loan is advanced to the spouse or to the daughter-in-law. Another important query which may arise in the minds of the women tax payers is with reference to salary or commission received by them from the business organisation of her husband. In this situation the women tax payers may kindly note that a married lady can receive salary from her husband’s business organisation but whenever such salary is received, it should be noted that the married lady should be technically or professionally qualified so as to receive salary from the business organisation of her husband. If the woman tax payer receives some salary from the business organisation of the husband and she is not technically or professionally qualified, then the salary amount so received by the woman tax payer from her husband’s business organisation will be clubbed with the income of the husband. Hence, utmost care should be taken whenever salary payment is being made by the husband to the spouse.

Visit FHRAI Website: www.fhrai.com

FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012 65


[Movements]

[Movements]

Movements

Harish Chandra General Manager – IT Sarovar Hotels

Tapan Nanda Additional General Manager – Sales Jaypee Hotels

Keeping up with its legacy of bringing the finest talent on-board, Jaypee Hotels announced the appointment of Tapan Nanda as the Additional General Manager – Sales, Jaypee Hotels. Nanda, a hotelier with 18 years of enriching experience in many aspects of the hospitality industry, has hands-on experience with international hotel brands such as Holiday Inn, Hilton and the Intercontinental.

Sarovar Hotels announced the appointment of Harish Chandra as the General Manager – IT. Chandra brings with him a varied experience of more than 17 years in the hospitality, aviation, IT and telecom industry. He has worked in departments such as, customer service, operations, IT infrastructure, business development and system administration for several brands like, InterContinental Hotels Group, Essar (AGC) Group, Park Hyatt Goa, Air Sahara, Micros - Fidelio and The Park hotel in New Delhi, etc. In his capacity as the General Manager – IT, Chandra will oversee the IT and telecom needs of the existing and new hotels and corporate office. He has the responsibility of implementing technology and information management initiatives and policies to support business requirements at Sarovar Hotels and will be based at the company’s operational headquarters in Delhi.

With an enormous experience of handling the Asia Pacific market, Nanda embarks on his association with the Jaypee Hotels. Driven by a strong will to perform, Nanda is entitled to oversee travel sales business for Jaypee Hotels and ultimately develop business for the division.

Michael W. Schauss Executive Chef Pullman Gurgaon Central Park

Michael W. Schauss has joined Pullman Gurgaon Central Park as Executive Chef. His previous assignments include, Kempinski Hotels in Dalian and Amman, Swissôtel Grand Efes, Izmir, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and the Semiramis Intercontinental, Cairo.

Vikas Mittal Managing Director of India & Subcontinent region McCain Foods India

Dritiman Kabade

McCain Foods India, the Indian subsidiary of McCain Foods Canada, announced the appointment of Vikas Mittal as the MD of India & Subcontinent region. In this capacity, he will be playing a key role in shaping longterm growth strategies for the company besides building the McCain brand in India.

General Manager Spree Lotus Valley

Dritiman Kabade has been appointed the new General Manager of Spree Lotus Valley, the first property of Spree Hotels that marked its entry into the Indian hospitality market recently. With a career spanning over 18 years, Kabade is a skilled professional and entrepreneur and brings on-board his hands-on approach and extensive knowledge in the hotel and F&B industry. His career began as a Trainee Captain in Hotel Sagar Plaza, Pune. He then moved on to work with hotels like, Centaur and Le Meridien, followed by The Food Link Court, Pune where he was the General Manager. His last assignment was with Estique Hotels as the Corporate General Manager. Having successfully directed staff enhancement and concept development, he brings profitable and practical expertise of managing world class hotels. In his current role, his focus will be on the overall up-keep and management of the hotel. In addition to this, he is also responsible for human resource development, client servicing and improving corporate public relations.

66 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

An alumnus of IIM Lucknow and Delhi College of Engineering, Mittal has over 20 years of experience working across most competitive FMCG categories including, haircare, skincare, F&B, laundry, homecare, OTC and healthcare. In his previous assignment, he was working with Dabur India where he was the Executive VP (Marketing) for Dabur’s personal and homecare division and subsequently moved as Head of Innovations, Dabur India. Prior to joining Dabur, Mittal has held key positions in India, Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia in organisations like, Proctor and Gamble and Friesland Campina (a Netherlands-based dairy cooperative).

Nilay Saran Director of Sales Holiday Inn Cochin

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) recently announced the appointment of Nilay Saran as the Director of Sales at Holiday Inn Cochin. In this capacity, Saran will be responsible for building and establishing business relations, operations management and customer relations. Earlier, Saran was associated with the Golden Tulip, Jaipur as the Director of Sales. He also worked with the Four Point by Sheraton, Jaipur as the Director of Sales where he set-up regional sales offices in Delhi and Mumbai. Saran was the Head of Sales at Ramada Resort, Cochin too. With over 11 years of experience in hospitality sales and marketing, he has worked with several hospitality leaders including the Sarovar and Ambassador Group of hotels. His association with the IHG brand also included a stint as the Sales Manager in Crowne Plaza in Delhi.

Visit FHRAI Website: www.fhrai.com

Ashish Kaul General Manager Mahagun Sarovar Portico – Vaishali

Ashish Kaul has been appointed General Manager of the Mahagun Sarovar Portico, Sarovar’s first apartment style hotel in Vaishali - Ghaziabad. A Hotel Management Diploma holder from the Institute of Hotel Management, Aurangabad, Kaul has been associated with the hospitality industry for more than 12 years. In the past he has worked at Ramada Jaipur, The Imperial New Delhi and Burj Al Arab Dubai. His last assignment was as EAM - Rooms at Four Points by Sheraton, Jaipur. Kaul will be responsible for the day-to-day hotel operations of the property.

Graduating as Master of Culinary Art in Germany and Master in Hotel Management from Cornell University, USA, Schauss has held a number of F& B positions in the past, his last assignment being with Kempinski Hotels as Director F&B. In his current position, Schauss is responsible for food innovation at the Pullman Gurgaon Central Park. With a career spanning over 32 years, he brings with him a vast and valuable knowledge of F&B experiences from many countries across the world. Schauss’ culinary repertoire includes the cuisine of Southern France, which can be experienced at the hotel’s signature restaurant, La Rivera. His personal interests include hiking and cycling through the country side.

Vikas Chadha Chief Financial Officer Berggruen Hotels

Vikas Chadha has recently been appointed as the Chief Financial Officer at Berggruen Hotels. Prior to joining the hotel industry, he has had varied experience in a career spanning more than 15 years across various sectors like, FMCG, travel, telecom and retail. He was associated with companies such as, Tata Tea, Thomas Cook, Bharti Airtel and Marico in various leadership and strategic roles. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant besides being a qualified Cost Accountant. He has attended several management courses and is a speaker at various industry and professional forums. An avid reader, Chadha’s keen interests lie in business management books and autobiographies. He is a keen follower of the stock market, though he does not actively trade. His other interests include western instrumental music, travel, badminton and chess to name a few.

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FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012 67


[Events]

[Events]

Angostura/Monin Cocktail Challenge promotes bartending

Centenary anniversary of The Lalit Grand Palace Srinagar

The winners of the finals of the Angostura/Monin Cocktail Challenge which was held in November in Delhi are all set to participate in the finals of the 2012 Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge that will be held on Carnival Sunday February 19, 2012 in the Port of Spain, Trinidad. The global finals of the Monin Cocktail Cup 2011, was held on December 12, 2011, on the Eiffel Tower, in Paris. In 2011, for the India leg, the competition was held in New Delhi, although bartenders from other locations were free to submit their entries and participate in the competition. Out of the total 27 entries that came from 5-star hotels and leading independent bars & restaurants, from Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, Udaipur and even Nepal, 8 finalists were chosen. They were asked to prepare 3 cocktails in 10 minutes. For Angostura Challenge, Sahil Chauhan from the Polo Lounge of Hyatt Regency became the second runner up and the first runner up was Hemant Pathak from the Blue Bar, Taj Palace Hotel. The Angostura 2011 India winner was Dhanpal of Auma at the Emporio, who will represent India at the Angostura 2012 Global Cocktail Challenge in Trinidad and Tobago. The second runner up for the Monin Cocktail Cup, India was Mohit Saxena of Lap, the first runner up was Gunjan Thapa from Robben’s Resto Bar, Kathmandu. The Monin 2011, India challenge winner was Abhishek of Smokehouse Room, Mehrauli who represented India at the Monin Cocktail Cup on December 12, 2011 in Paris.

Cake Mixing Ceremony To spread the warmth of festive season, Hilton New Delhi/Janakpuri organised a traditional cake mixing ceremony at Pomodoro, the Italian restaurant. In-house guests, patrons and hotel staff came together to participate in this traditional cake mixing ceremony. We also brought in a few underprivileged students to celebrate with us the cake mixing ceremony with much enthusiasm and cheerfulness. All the vital ingredients required for cake mixing like, variety of dry fruits, etc. were arranged in separate sections along with spirits including wine, brandy and rum. Mixing of dry fruits including raisins, red cherries, blackcurrants and flavouring spices like ground cardamom, cinnamon and cloves with full fervor was indeed a sight to cherish. Everyone was dressed up in special aprons, chef caps and gloves and shared the joy of cake mixing with others. Cake mixing ceremony was followed by a scrumptious high tea of all attendees.

68 FHRAI MAgAzIne JANUARY 2012

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To celebrate the centenary anniversary year of The Lalit Grand Palace Srinagar, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group (an enterprise of Bharat Hotels) organised the screening of ‘Valley of Legends’ at The Lalit, New Delhi on December 7, 2011. Specially created by the group, the movie showcased beautiful memories of noted celebrities (from Mumbai film industry and politics) associated with Srinagar. Conceptualised by Dr. Jyotsna Suri, Chairman & Managing Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, the movie was an initiative to bring back the charm of the valley, to revive old memories and strengthen its association with the Hindi film industry. Following the screening, a cake cutting ceremony took place with 100 candles, marking the celebration of 100 years of the hotel. The evening saw the likes of Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Cabinet Minister, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, actors Gulshan Grover, Poonam Dhillon, Vinod Khanna, Biswajit Chatterjee and Aditya Raj Kapoor, reminiscing their experience in the valley. Other dignitaries like, Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister for Tourism, Rajen Habib Khwaja, Secretary Tourism, Capt. Satish Sharma and Rajat Sharma also graced the occasion. Dr. Suri at the occasion said, “It’s our emotional commitment towards the people of this beautiful region that made us invest and operate this property even during troubled times. The group had bought this palace in 1998, a time when militancy was at its peak and many residents were vacating the valley. The Palace was abandoned for a decade and was in a completely dilapidated condition, when the group invested substantially to restore the beauty of the Palace. Till date, the hotel has not been shut even for a single day irrespective of the conditions that prevailed in the valley.”

Aman New Delhi Chef wins Bocuse d’Or India 2012 Pankaj Sharma, Executive Sous Chef at Aman New Delhi has just won the Bocuse d’Or Award for India this year. The Bocuse d’Or (the Concours mondial de la cuisine, World Cooking Contest) is one of the most prestigious cooking competitions in the world as well as a biennial world chef championship. Chef Pankaj won the national leg of the event at the Indian International Food and Wine show. He will travel to Shanghai next year, to participate in the Bocuse d’Or, Asia where he will compete against other chefs from 11 Asian countries. On the last leg of the competition, the top four contestants will get a chance to compete in the international Bocuse d’Or that will be held in France in 2013. Chef Pankaj’s winning dish was ‘Sous vide cooked lamb’ which was infused with ginger and coriander roots. The lamb was accompanied with a curry leaf infused polenta, lamb liver croquets, red current chutney, bay leaf scented gravy, winter vegetables and smoked milk foam. Chef Pankaj has been working as an Executive Sous Chef at Aman, New Delhi for the last 18 months. He has been specialising in Indian fine dining cuisine. Speaking on his victory, Chef Pankaj said, “I’m lucky to get a challenging platform to prove myself to the world, as the real challenge now begins. I’m currently preparing myself for the big competition in Shanghai in 2012.”

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FHRAI MAgAzIne JANUARY 2012 69


[Events]

Christmas & New Year celebrations at The Claridges, Surajkund The Claridges, Surajkund planned a series of events to celebrate the Christmas and New Year celebrations. For Christmas, Day brunch at Oasis, the multi-cuisine restaurant were organised. Chef Yogender Pal, Executive Chef created a festive menu complete with all the creativity. Live music was also arranged for the occasion. To add to the festive mood, grand performances by BlackSlade, DJ Barkha and international dance troupes were also arranged on the New Year’s eve. The host of the New Year’s bash was the famous model and celebrity, Mehar Bhasin. “This festive season we are planning to have special times in different venues, exciting entertainments, marvelous decorations, selective set menus and rich open buffets at The Claridges, Surajkund, Delhi NCR, to suit everyone,” informed Oliver C. Martin, General Manager. As a part of the Christmas Celebrations in the hotel, a 7-feet tall Christmas tree, made out of dark chocolate and rice crispies was installed in Oasis. The lobby was decorated with a vibrant Christmas wood cart with Santa, ginger bread house and flower arrangements to match.

Hotels awarded for Energy Conservation during National Energy Conservation Awards 2011 Shekahar Bhargav, EVP, Royal Orchid Hotels receiving the award from the Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Sinde

During National Energy Conservation Awards 2011, the Ministry of Power, Government of India, awarded Aditya Park, a unit of Manjeera Hotels & Resorts and Royal Orchid Hotels for its contribution towards saving energy and sustainable conservation at its property in Hyderabad in the hotel sector. Royal Orchid Hotels bagged the ‘National Energy Conservation Award’, 2011 in the hotel sector for its contribution towards saving energy consumption in its property – Royal Orchid Central in Bengaluru.

Madhukar Nikam, CEO of Manjeera Hotels, receiving the award from the Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Sinde

70 FHRAI Magazine JANUARY 2012

The Ministry of Power, Government of India initiated the National Energy Conservation Award to various sectors including hotels, hospitals, shopping malls and many more that have taken special efforts to reduce energy consumption while maintaining their production and services. The award that comes under a scheme recognised by the Government of India is aimed to create an environment that would stimulate these establishments in achieving distinction in using energy.

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RNI No. DELENG/2000/1230 Posting Date 15-21/08-2011 Postal Reg. No. DL-(C)-01/1294/09-2011 at MBC-1 Date of Publication 12-01-2012

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