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SAARC for Tourism More job opportunities The recently-organised SAARC Tour Operators Conclave focussed on SAARC countries coming together on a common platform to promote tourism. The conclave was attended by over 30 participants from 7 countries. M E G H A PAU L



he maiden SAARC countries’ Tour Operators Conclave convened by the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), emphasised on various strategies to promote tourist destinations and products in the SAARC region. The recently concluded conclave was hosted as the follow-up of action by India since Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, India made an announcement in Maldives last year. During the 17th SAARC Summit in November last year in the Maldives, he had announced that India would host a conclave of the top tour operators from the SAARC countries in 2012. The conclave was inaugurated by Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister for Tourism, India. The maiden SAARC countries Tour Operators Conclave was attended by over 30 participants from seven countries of the region Contd. on page 12 

The 2010 study of the Market Pulse of MOT reveals the growth of tourism in the country as it estimates to open an additional 36.18 lakh jobs in the hospitality sector alone during the 12th Five Year Plan. It’s heartening to note that MP, Odisha and Punjab have done well under the said scheme


Subodh Kant Sahai

Sultan Ahmed

Union Minister for Tourism, India

Minister of State for Tourism, India

The SAARC nations have immense growth potential, which, till date, has not been fully utilised

VoA facilities for travel within the SAARC region should also be looked at to boost tourism within the SAARC countries

s per a study of 2004, carried out by the Market Pulse for the MOT, the annual supply of skilled manpower to the hospitality sector was of about 18,000 heads which further came down to about 12,000 after attrition. This is against an estimated annual requirement of about 2 lakh persons. The recent study (of 2010) of the Market Pulse for the MOT reveals the growing dimension of tourism in the country as it estimates that the hospitality sector alone will open up additional 36.18 lakh jobs during the 12th Five Year Plan at the projected growth rate of 12 per cent, as envisaged by the Ministry during the 12th Plan Period. Reckoning the need to reduce this skill gap, MOT has stepped up its efforts to create institutional infrastructure for training and to promote programmes of training for skill development. In fact, at the recently held national workshop to

RH Khwaja Secretary - Tourism, GoI

“Presently, only 9 states are participating in the HSRT plan. Servicing the sector effectively will be a pre-requisite for the anticipated delivery Contd. on page 12 

promote the Hunar Se Rozgar Tak Yojna (HSRT), RH Khwaja, Secretary - Tourism, GoI said, “It’s heartening to note that the states of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Punjab have done well under the said scheme. I don’t see any insurmountable difficulties in all the states coming forward to reap the benefits of the HSRT scheme in a common vision mission mode, which was launched by the centre in 2009.”




Time for a new paradigm Looking for solutions Sarab Jit Singh, Senior Vice President, IATO highlights The IATO Convention is moving ahead and is the need of a new policy to double inbound arrivals showcasing its might with its convention theme under the 12th Five Year Plan Period. ‘Moving Forward in Challenging Times - Together’. new policy paradigm to facilitate the private sector’s initiatives in line with the vision of achieving the 12th Five Year Plan Period target of doubling the inbound arrivals,” said Singh.



harged up on the eve of the XXVIII IATO Convention, Singh has a long list of recommendation and a strong case to reinvent the policy paradigm in such a manner that facilitates the private sector initiatives to double the inbound arrivals into India during the 12th Five Year Plan Period. “Looking at the economic scenario in USA,

Sarab Jit Singh Senior Vice President, IATO

Europe and many other leading economies in the developed and the emerging economies, We decided about our theme ‘Moving Forward in Challenging Times Together’ for the Annual Convention. Look at the average growth rate in the past decade. The private sector can’t achieve growth of more than 6-7 per cent with the support of present policy parameters. There is an apparent need to create a

“To move forward, the policy makers across the various ministries can be assured of private sector support if they give shape to many of the policy initiatives that otherwise had been pending for years. To begin with, the visa regime needs to be liberalised, while we normally witness ever increasing level of difficulties in getting visas for our clients. Similarly, the taxation should be in line to Contd. on page 12 

As per Anand, the theme of the IATO’s XXVIII convention has been chosen in line with the present scenario in tourism.



laborating on today’s economic scenario where inbound tour operator is facing challenges in promoting Incredible India, Arun Anand, Hony. Treasurer, IATO said, “Today, information in all respect, is incomplete, the competitive environment complicated and analytic techniques inadequate. Moreover, due to the dependence on partners like airlines, hotels, surface transportation, restaurant services, it has now become impossible for the tour operators to promote India with a certain degree of assurance. Hence, becoming a challenge in all respects.” “To deliver tourist satisfaction is the concern of all tourism promotions. So we need to think and deliberate on each segment, which has direct bearings on tourism activities. Through the con-

Arun Anand Hony. Treasurer, IATO

vention platform, we would look for the solutions viz. how to combat global terrorist threats by forming partnership with the Government, how to reach new markets in the present scene of global economic downturn, how we can form a competitive block in South East Asia or as SAARC like the GCC Countries, EU, ASIAN, COTAL, AFRICAN and be present in global tourism marketing competition,” he added.

“It’s heartening to note that even the Ministry’s old style of working is finally changing. Now, there is a continuous dialogue with all the stakeholders. Hence, it’s the right time to move ahead boldly into the future with courage and pride. We feel happy things are working in favour of the industry (though budget remained very dry for tourism) our inputs are being acknowledge by government officials. We as an industry have the talent and the commitment to deliver the best,” he added.




Get English-speaking guides ‘More tourist guides vital’ IATO’s Madhya Pradesh Chapter is working hard to The West Bengal Chapter has forwarded a proposal to the boost tourism in the state by addressing important issues, IATO head office for an agent training programme to be such as Wildlife Tourism and English-speaking guides. conducted in Kolkata, specifically for the State Chapter. T T B U R E AU


he State Chapter has also increased its strength from 11 members last year to 19 this year. Happy with this development, Rakesh Chopra, Chairman, IATO Madhya Pradesh Chapter, discusses achievements for this year, “We wish to get every member engaged in a proactive way but this is still lacking due to the distances between the cities. We have


done everything possible to keep our principal agents and IATO updated with the developments and problems.”


Though strengthening tourism and increasing tourist arrivals has been the main agenda, the State faces some major challenges.

“We do hope that the Tiger Tourism issue in core areas is sorted out soon and comes out in the favour of tourism. If the Court bars the movement of tourists in the core area then Wildlife Tourism will become the thing of the past as the buffer zone does not have much to offer. We have also been raising the issue of non-availability of good English speaking tourist guides in places, such

Rakesh Chopra Chairman, IATO - MP Chapter

as, Ujjain, Indore, Omkareshwar, Maheshwar and even Mandu. How can the tourist return satisfied if we do not have good quality guides?” asks Chopra. Happy with the State Government’s participation for tourism, Chopra feels that now the state and private sector needs to work together to further boost the tourism sector.

ATO is committed to get inbound tourists to West Bengal and help in boosting the infrastructure of the state. According to Sham Lal Soni, Chairman, IATO - West Bengal Chapter, the Chapter has been instrumental in IATO’s liaisoning with the West Bengal Tourism Ministry, which has been extremely cordial and effective. “The West Bengal Government has been proactive in promoting tourism in the state and has conducted a number of meetings with all travel trade partners, including IATO, ADTOI, TAB, TAAI, TAFI and FHRAI,” he claims.

There is a proposal for getting more tourist guides, especially those who are fluent in many languages Sham Lal Soni, Chairman, IATO - West Bengal Chapter Talking about this initiative, the Chapter Chairman remarks, “Such an initiative will enable the tour operaters and travel agents of West Bengal to improve their approach in exploring new ways and consequently have more tourist inflow. Hopefully, the West Bengal Tourism Ministry would participate in a big way in the forthcoming XXVIII IATO Annual Convention being held in Mumbai.”The West Bengal Chapter of

IATO has 44 registered members and six applications in line for approval currently, Soni informs. Talking about the plans in the pipeline for the betterment of tourism in the state, Soni opines, “There is a proposal for getting more tourist guides, especially those who are fluent in many languages. The Chapter has also forwarded a proposal to the IATO head office for agent training programme to be conducted in Kolkata, specifically for the West Bengal Chapter.”


Better transport facilities The J&K Chapter of IATO has introduced Radio Taxi services in the Kashmir province and will shortly start such services in the Jammu province as well. T T B U R E AU


alking about the importance of the State, Capt Anil Gour, Chairman, IATO J&K Chapter says, “Pilgrimage for Mata Vaishno Devi arrivals crossed the 10m mark last year and for

to plan their visits here but the domestic tourists have increased in numbers.” The IATO State Chapter has one active member and 29 allied members. The group will thus, look at increasing the membership

The J&K Chapter is pleased to inform that Radio Taxi services have started in the Kashmir province

high security involved also is of utmost importance.” Introduction of radio taxi services in Jammu & Kashmir provinces has also been discussed. “The J&K Chapter is pleased to inform that the same has started in the Kashmir province and would shortly also be taken up in the Jammu province,”

Capt Anil Gour, Chairman, IATO - J&K Chapter Amarnath Yatra, it crossed the 6 lac mark this year. J&K has three distinct regions; Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh regions for the incoming tourists.” Talking about why the state is still not receiving foreign tourists, the Captain revealed, “Unfortunately, the 22 years of militancy and turmoil have wrecked havoc for the tourism industry in the state. Right now, the various travel advisories are preventing the international tourists

now. Going forward, the IATO State Chapter has held various meetings with Nawang Rigzin Jora, Minister for Tourism & Culture, J&K Government and Airports Authority of India (AAI) to discuss certain issues. “We have organised talks to promote Jammu as an independent tourist destination and the various projects that should be undertaken to achieve this aim. Facilitation services at the Jammu & Srinagar airports due to the

he reveals. Introduction of Hop On-Hop Off tourist bus service in Jammu & Srinagar cities is also in the pipeline.

Focussing on Rural Tourism The Uttarakhand Chapter has immense potential for tourism and is now exploring Rural Tourism as an avenue for attracting more tourists to the region. T T B U R E AU


ith 60 per cent forest cover, Uttarakhand has attractive hill resorts, Chardham Hindu pilgrimage shrines, popular Adventure Tourism destinations for mountaineering and trekking in Himalayas and water sports for the discerning inbound traveller. Hence, KP Sharma, Chairman, IATO Uttarakhand Chapter looks at the state as a money-spinning IATO Chapter.

KP Sharma Chairman, IATO - Uttarakhand Chapter

“The new avenue that this chapter can explore is Rural Tourism. It is a new concept with bright future in the region. Appropriate infrastructure development here can generate self-employment opportunities for the rural youth.” The Uttarakhand Chapter has only 13 members. Giving suggestions to increase the membership

base of the chapter, Sharma suggests, “Entrepreneurs in the state are not inclined to take expensive membership of IATO. The association must invest on publicity to cultivate interest through its activities. The association should place an annual budget of ` 50,000 at the disposal of each Himalayan bordering states’ chapter chairman to promote IATO through regular periodicals, network meetings and addressing their difficulties promptly.” Sharma also bets big on Adventure Tourism in India that has crossed ` 400 crore by the end of the 11th Five Year Plan and will continue to grow at the rate of 15 per cent year-on-year. “There is a growing interest in the field and Uttarakhand holds a lot of potential. This is also in line with the Ministry of Tourism’s efforts to create more employment locally while promoting Rural Tourism,” he adds.




Educating the members Settling trade disputes IATO’s Legal and Grievances Committee aids and The Hotel Relations Development Committee is aiming advises members, on the settlement of trade disputes to resolve issues such as contracted rates to tour and byelaws, governing IATO as an association. operators and Best Available Rates (BAR) for hotel rooms. T T B U R E AU

of this committee this year, Kapur reveals,


he travel and tourism industry in India is facing a lot of challenges with issues like Supreme Court’s restrictions on tourism in core areas of tiger reserves, Service Tax, among others. This calls for the need of the Legal & Grievances Committee, especially now when IATO has formulated and implemented a code of ethics for its membership.

“The committee has been able to successfully negotiate several trade complaints.

Jyoti Kapur Coordinator, Legal & Grievances Committee, IATO

This Sub-committee boosts the proper functioning of the IATO as an association. Talking about the committee, Jyoti Kapur, Coordinator, Legal & Grievances Committee, IATO informs, “The committee aids and advices members on the settlement of trade disputes and byelaws governing IATO as an association.” Regarding the important achievements

The Code of Conduct has been drafted and forwarded to the IATO Executive Committee for approval and adoption.” Going forward, reviewing and revising the Memorandum of the Association would be the most important task of this committee. In the time where the role of tour operators is changing so rapidly in the industry, the committee faces a lot of challenges. “We need to educate and enlighten the travel trade members on business trends and possibilities in the changing economic and political scenario,” he adds.


ings and the sub-committee is trying to find a solution to this. Talking about a recent benchmark, “Very often, the tour operators could not receive contracted rates from bigger hotel chains such as the Taj and the Oberoi.


otel Relations Development Committee is an integral part of the IATO group. Talking about the role that this committee is playing in the recent times, Gajendra Singh Panwar, Coordinator, Hotel Relations Development Committee, IATO says, “As per the IATO manifesto, the role of this sub-committee is to resolve problems between the small tour operators and the hoteliers. The committee conducts a meeting every month to discuss and keep members updated on various issues.” Since the functioning of the new IATO team, the Committee has organised three such meetings, he adds. There are several issues that the sub-committee has to deal with. According to Panwar, one key issue is the Best

Gajendra Singh Panwar Coordinator, Hotel Relations Development Committee, IATO

Available Rates (BAR) for the hotel rooms. “This keeps changing on a real time basis due to the ubiquity of Internet and individual hotel websites. The small tour operators are mostly oblivious about these fluctuating rates. Hence, the lack of information and/or opportunity to offer competitive rates turns bane for their business growth,” he laments. This is an issue that has emerged in all the meet-

We invited Kanhai Kapoor, Director of Sales - Travel Industry, Delhi at Taj Group for a long discussion with tour operators irrespective of their turnovers. Due to this initiative, the hotel is now willing to give contracted rates to the smaller tour operators as well,” he claims.




Joining hands: SAARC Contd. from page 3 

(Afghanistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal and India) including policy makers and private stakeholders of the tourism industry. Deliberating on ways to promote travel within the region by removing the current entry barriers, Sahai pointed out, “We must motivate each SAARC country in such a way that tourism becomes the focus of economic and political motto. The SAARC nations have immense growth potential, which, till date, has not been fully utilised.” Looking at the economic significance of these nations, he further highlighted, “The SAARC region has the potential to steer the economy of the world. Most of the SAARC nations have already realised this potential at individual level but with a concerted effort, the success achieved will be manifold.”

Challenges Connectivity, both air and by road within the region, is a big roadblock Visa-on-Arrivals facilities for travel within the region should also be looked at

To give an impetus to travel within these countries, MOT will hold the International Buddhist Conclave during September 29-30 at Varanasi. India will also host the 25th joint meeting of UNWTO Commissions for Far East and the Pacific and South Asia in April 2013. This meeting is expected to be attended by approximately 100 delegates from 27 countries, which include tourism heads, tourism officials and officials from UNWTO, he added. Talking about various challenges in boosting tourism within the SAARC countries, Sultan Ahmed, Minister of State for Tourism, India remarked, “Connectivity, both air and by road within the region, is a big roadblock. Air connectivity should be improved by adding more flights and making them costeffective as well. Visa-onArrivals facilities for travel within the region should also be looked at.” The tourist arrivals from SAARC countries in India have been growing over the number of years. An important source market, India, received 10,13,516 tourists from SAARC region in 2011 as compared to 9,98,179 visitors in 2010.

Hunar Se Rozgar Tak Contd. from page 3 

of a unique travel experience. It’s a primary concern for MOT and ought to be a concern for all stakeholders including state

Servicing the Sector The HSRT scheme was launched by the centre in 2009 Presently, only 9 states are participating in the HSRT plan Other states and UTs are being urged to participate

authorities. Hence, we urge other states and union territories to come on-board and facilitate and harness the employment creation potential of tourism,” he added. According to Khwaja, HSRT will prove to be a boon for the industry as it will get trained manpower.

Keeping the monuments clean Issues pertaining to entrance tickets, parking, landscaping, cleanliness, licensed guides, touting are a few concerns, on the hit list of the IATO’s Monument & Infrastructure Development Committee. T T B U R E AU


he Monument & Infrastructure Development Committee (MIDC) has been given the key responsibility of keeping the treasures of Indian heritage in good functionality. This not only includes the visitors but even the travel organisers who face a lot of problems regarding the entrance tickets, cleanliness, guides, touts, etc. These issues need to be tended properly, as the functions of this committee, is really important for IATO to achieve its promised targets. According to Rocky Kerney, Convener, MIDC-IATO,

“The major focus initially was on sanitation facilities at various heritage monuments such as the Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutab Minar, etc. This is just the beginning. Going forward, issues pertaining to the entrance tickets, parking, landscaping, cleanliness, licensed guides, touting etc are on our hit list.” The new team is working towards bringing the lesser known monuments in the tourist map of India. One of the challenges the committee

Rocky Kerney Convener, MIDC-IATO

is facing is the lack of cooperation from the relevant authorities to enable the functionalities properly and the slow system. “We need a strong support from the bureaucracy,” he feels.

IATO lends ears to burning issues  IATO will look at many issues like exempting the service tax imposed on tour operators, granting an export status for foreign exchange earning for inbound tour operators etc. The job of an association is not just to hold conventions but also to facilitate business

of its members. Upholding this objective, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), soon after the elections, has outlined its plans for the next two years. They took up current issues and problems and aimed to resolve the roadblocks faced by the travel

fraternity pan-India. IATO, decided to look into the exemption in service tax imposed on the tour operators, export status for foreign exchange earnings for inbound tour operators, issuance of e-visas, etc. Talking about the issuance of e-visa, Subhash

Goyal, President, IATO remarked, “The tedious process and long queues can be avoided if e-visas are issued. Till the procedure for visa-on-Arrival comes in place, we have demanded for the introduction of e-visa facility for the inbound traffic.”

Liberalise visa regime: Singh Contd. from page 4 

make India a competitive destination. If, we levy taxes, higher than the global levels or the destinations that aggressively compete with us, Incredible India loses the battle by out-pricing itself. We also need to cut the travelling time between the various destinations via rail and road,” he added.

Singh also insists that the airports charges should not be phenomenally higher than the world average or those prevalent in our competitive destinations. Likewise, along with the cleanliness of tourist attraction, we should be equally concerned about the sustainability, maintenance and overall upkeep of such tourist attractions, he stressed.

On the need of the trained manpower to double the inbound visitor arrivals, Singh said “A lot of work is needed on the capacity building side. From, our inbound tour operator’s perspective, nothing has been done under the Hunar Se Rozgar Tak scheme for enhancing the skill of our staff, which has mostly been addressing the requirements of the hospitality industry.”

“Going forward, there is a need of building niche segments. Bollywood for instance holds great potential to attract incremental tourist into India across various cultures. Hence, in line with the Hollywood district in USA, Maharastra to begin with, should have a similar attraction with historic movie sets and amenities that showcase things behind the camera to tourists,” he added.




Mumbai: India’s Mecca for MICE events? Mumbai is forever buzzing with both business and pleasure activities and is bound to attract MICE activities from across the country. It is because of this trait that the city is considered to be the pulse of India. D E N C Y M AT H E W


owever in the past few years, Mumbai has earned itself a bad reputation as far as infrastructure and transportation are concerned. But, now it is once again edging itself as being the MICE capital of the country with world-class spaces to conduct meetings, exhibitions, conferences and tours. D Kavarana, Area Manager (West) & General

Manager, ITC Maratha says “Mumbai is fast becoming a huge MICE destination because, besides being the financial hub, the city has a great mix of leisure and relaxation options as well as increasing MICE facilities. To leverage this segment,

the city is gearing up to new supplies, more conference venues leading to both domestic and international companies choosing Mumbai. Therefore, Mumbai will always be a good option to hold conventions.” Some of country’s major conferences, meetings and exhibitions take place in Mumbai. The city has something to offer to anyone interested in Business Tourism. ITC Maratha, Trident,

D Kavarana

Saeid Heidari

Area Manager (West) & General Manager, ITC Maratha

General Manager, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel

Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel are some of the venues for a majority of MICE events in the city. Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel hosts a lounge with a total area of 12,500 sq ft. The hotel also has an expansive spread of 2,30,000 sq ft indoor and outdoor convention space. Properties like ITC Maratha take advantage of

the close proximity to domestic and international airports and offer 7,360 sq ft column-free ballroom that accommodates up to 600 guests. The hotel also has Royal Gardens which has 1.5 acres of landscaped gardens and is one of the most sought after venues for social and launch events. Apart from hotels, MMRDA Grounds and Bombay Convention &

Exhibition Centre (BCEC) are the other favourite venues in Mumbai. BCEC has 4 centrally air-conditioned halls ideal for conventions and can accommodate approx 7,000-20,000 persons along with parking facilities for over 2,000 vehicles. They also offer a discounted tariff structure to encourage organising of conventions, meetings, cultural events. What also favours, Mumbai is the fact that many head offices of major companies are based out of the city and it also has a big percentage of Expat movement. In addition to that, high volumes of inbound and outbound trade are conducted through the sea in Mumbai besides the land movements giving it an edge over other cities. However, there are still a few issues plaguing the city and hampering MICE events. Mumbai needs a

makeover in certain aspects and the local government needs to take on a bigger role and help establish a MICE bureau in the city. Saeid Heidari, General Manager, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel adds,

“There is a need to establish a body (bureau), where association management companies, MICE and meeting planners can expect to have all the possible assistance extended to them, to enable potential corporate to choose our city as the destination for their events.”




How strong a market is Navi Mumbai? With hospitality players keeping a keen eye on properties in and around Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, in a few experts to talk about the pros and cons of these two markets and the way forward for them. A N I TA J A I N


ndia is providing hotel chains exponential opportunities for growth, within which Mumbai is one of the main focus for the business development efforts of hotel chains. Known as the ‘Sapno ki Nagri’ (City of Dreams), the metropolitan city of Mumbai is indeed the city which offers luxury at the most. Be it the Marriott, Starwood, Oberoi, Taj, Accor, etc., and every international hospitality brand, either has a presence or is in the process of making one in Mumbai. Today, Mumbai houses more than 11,000 branded hotel rooms with more than 7,000 rooms proposed by 2015. With high land cost, intense competition to tap the same audience, difficult times to balance the quality and value preposition and saturating market conditions; hotel developers are now turning their focus on the neighbouring urban area of Mumbai – Navi Mumbai. At present, the city has close to 1,000 rooms under five, four and three-star category. With the latest addition of two more international brands, the total is close to 1,400 rooms with additional 3,000 proposed in next three years. The city will soon welcome a king-size convention centre and an international airport. So, what is it

that is attracting the developers to Navi Mumbai?

Test Drive is a must: Kiran Andicot, Vice President – Hotel Development, India and

Vimal Singh Managing Director – South Asia Louvre Hotel Group

By positioning our brand at the top end in this market, we are marketing ourselves as a commercial property Subcontinent, Marriott International, Inc recommends testing the market as per the brand of the Hotel Group. Every hotel group studies and understands the market before planning to come up with a property, but it is also necessary to check the brand and category of the hotel that will suit the market. By explaining with an example, Andicot said, “Navi Mumbai is still a pre-mature market to accommodate a full-service property like a JW Marriott. However, as per the demand and needs of the market, it is perfect for a brand like Four Points, which is apt for cor-

porate guests. Commercial office space demand is always followed by hotel room demand. Presently, Navi Mumbai is still a growing market but in next five to six years, it will be

Kiran Andicot Vice President – Hotel Development India and Subcontinent Marriott International, Inc

Navi Mumbai is still a growing market but in the next 5-6 years, it will be ready for a 5-star deluxe brand ready to absorb a 5-star deluxe brand.” Nonetheless, the city already got its first 5-star deluxe property in August this year – first in Asia Pacific - Royal Tulip Navi Mumbai managed by Louvre Hotels Group. Vimal Singh, Managing Director – South Asia, Louvre Hotel Group said, “There is enough demand from Navi Mumbai for us to grow and sustain our business. By positioning our brand at the top end in this market, we are marketing ourselves primarily as a commercial property. Occupancy will take time to build in this market but the time will

come soon when we will be registering cent per cent occupancy with healthy competition from other players.”

Micro-market Mumbai:


Nikhil Manchharam, Vice President – Acquisitions and Development – South Asia, Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts tagged Navi Mumbai, as one of the ‘micro’ markets of Mumbai. According to him, in the long term, Navi Mumbai will become an important market for the greater Mumbai area. He said, “The airport development is an important milestone (with the current dispute as a short term bump not unusual from an infrastructure perspective) that should be successfully achieved to. Induce new demand into the Navi Mumbai area.” However, every coin has two sides. Similarly, there are opportunities and challenges to operate a property in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. Highlighting few facts about Navi Mumbai, Manchharam said, “With a good planning for the development of Navi Mumbai, it is likely that the urbanisation of this area may happen, as quickly as the next development of Mumbai. The infrastructure development and city planning has been relatively sound till date which should continue to be a focus to showcase itself and attract further investment activity. While developing sound fundamentals to induce new demand through infrastructure development including roads, airports, business hubs, convention centres and entertainment activity, Navi Mumbai has the potential to complement Mumbai in the long term.” According to him, hotels and brands should be viewed as infra-

structure that has positive impact on urban development. With this, some ease towards regulations on hotel development including mixed-use can help accelerate the urbanisation of Mumbai itself.

Making a destination work: Most hoteliers focus on building properties in developed markets while Maverik Mukerji, General Manager, ibis hotel Navi Mumbai thinks the other way. According to him, it is often

Nikhil Manchharam VP – Acquisitions and Development – South Asia, Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts

Navi Mumbai has the potential to complement Mumbai in the long term with good infrastructure planning the hotel which makes up the destination. According to the General Manager, the property was planned looking at the commercial availability of the space and the demand index of the city. After Chennai, Navi Mumbai is the most vibrant city in


India showing 10 per cent growth every year (even Pune is showing the same rate but is already getting enough supply of hotel rooms). Explaining the destination building concept by hotels, Mukerji said, “When branded hotels started opening up in Pune, the properties started marketing the city instead of just the brand. So, it’s the hotels which induce the demand in a destination. Navi Mumbai is still at a nascent stage wherein it’s a cosmopolitan corporate market

Maverik Mukerji General Manager ibis hotel Navi Mumbai

With more hotel brands entering Navi Mumbai, the demand will surge higher and become a strong market like Mumbai

which is high during weekdays and low during weekends. However, with more and more branded properties entering Navi Mumbai, the demand will surge higher and it will become a strong market like Mumbai.”




Trident hosts the IATO 2012 Convention Trident Hotel at Nariman Point has been among the iconic hotels in Mumbai. With a marvelous view of the Queen’s Necklace from the hotel, IATO preferred Trident, Nariman Point, to conduct its XXVIII IATO Annual Convention 2012 in the city of Mumbai. explores further about the property and its USP... D E N C Y M AT H E W


rident, Nariman Point is proud to be the host hotel for the prestigious IATO Convention. We play host to events of all kinds, through the year, from the most intimate, exclusive events, to the largest, high-profile conventions, such as IATO. From the General Manager to every team member, everyone is thoroughly trained and

equipped to play a crucial role in ensuring that the convention goes seamlessly. Every detail is looked into and no element is too small, there are numerous briefings prior to the event and also during the event, to ensure the best possible service and facilities at all times. Our USP is our attention to detail and our service; no stone goes unturned for events large and small and the kind of emphasis we put on service is quite unmatched,” says Sanju Soni, General Manager, Trident, Nariman Point, Mumbai. The Hotel has several geographical and infrastructural advantages that makes it an ideal location to hold conventions and MICE events. The elegance, warmth and sheer luxury of the hotel makes it one of the most sought after banquet and conference addresses in the city. So it comes

as no surprise that MICE business accounts for approximately 20 per cent of the hotels total occupancy.

Sanju Soni General Manager Trident Nariman Point, Mumbai

Our USP is our attention to detail and our service where no stone goes unturned for events large and small

The hotel offers over 20,000 square feet of banqueting space in the heart of South Mumbai, including the Regal Room, the largest, pillar-less ballroom in South Mumbai, which can accommodate up to 1,500 people to the ‘The Rooftop’ & ‘Malabar’ perched 35 floors above the lobby with a breathtaking view of the Queen’s Necklace. Since 1973, when the hotel opened its doors, they have been welcoming the most discerning guests and accommodating a plethora of requests and preferences. The Executive Chef of the hotel and his team combine their years of experience with

tremendous expertise and a genuine passion for their craft. This result in the most innovative menus, based on guest preferences, but all with the

Trident is all geared up to give the members a quality and comfortable experience. “While our Concierge team is available for all guests of the

special Trident touch that ensures the use of the freshest and highest quality ingredients and highly personalised menus, that perfectly suit the occasion and the guest’s preferences.

convention, any additional services provided are those that have been requested by IATO. We have worked closely with the IATO team to ensure that their every need is met, and we have accommodated as many of their requests as possible,” adds Soni.

For the IATO Convention, the staff at




Indana Palace: Opening soon in Jodhpur The city is set to get a new addition to its hospitality landscape – Indana Palace, Jodhpur. The hotel is an ideal combination of the old world charm and new world luxury with architecture and interiors modelled on palaces with services and facilities that include modern comfort. T T B U R E AU


ndana Palace is slated to open in October 2012 at Shikhargarh, 2 km away from the Airport and 7 km from

the city centre. The hotel offers 80 rooms, 7 suites and a Grand Presidential Suite. Its F&B offerings comprise a

multi-cuisine restaurant with a menu of Rajasthani specialties as well as popular international dishes, a bar and a 24-hour coffee shop. The hotel’s palatial courtyard, which can be viewed from most of the rooms will make a vibrant entertainment venue, holding colourful cultural programmes and hosting themed buffets. Indana is an ideal venue for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) with an array of facilities including business centre, a boardroom and a conference hall. Jodhpur is also increasingly becoming a popular destination for weddings. And, Indana’s 3,000 sq ft prefunction area along with a sprawling 10,000 sq ft banquet hall & attached 40,000 sq ft landscaped lawn makes it a wonderful venue to create unforgettable fairytale

Paras Gundecha Chairman Gundecha Group

weddings. The property’s state-of-the-art amenities ensure that the travellers

feel well-looked during their stay. Facilities include a concierge service, travel desk, swimming pool, health club & spa, beauty salon, billiards room, children’s play area, Wi-Fi ondemand in all rooms and free Wi-Fi in the coffee shop. Indana Hotels & Resort is an endeavour

of visionary leader, Paras Gundecha who heads the Gundecha Group as Chairman and Deepak Gundecha as Managing Director. Gundecha, the Group’s head has extensive experience in the hospitality industry and was previously running Hotel Sea Princess, Mumbai. This is slated to be the first property of many Indana hotels, with more coming up in Jaipur, Udaipur, Nagpur and Mumbai.

The Gundecha Group, an ISO 9001:2000 corporation, stands as one of the leading entities in the housing, education and hospitality industry. Established in 1966, it went from strength to strength, making relationships with bonds of trust and a refusal to compromise on customer satisfaction. It has over a 100 residential, commercial and industrial projects under its belt and is greatly involved in several charitable institutes.

Highlight Indana Palace is a perfect blend of modern luxury and old palatial charm which serves the needs of leisure travellers. It also makes a strong offering for business usage through its state-of-theart convention facilities and services





Latest star in the Cochin skyline The recently opened Holiday Inn Cochin is a full service, mid market hotel that boasts of 212 rooms. Its close proximity to the airport and major IT hubs makes the hotel an ideal choice for business and leisure travellers. T T B U R E AU


oliday Inn Refresh is expanding its operations in South India with Holiday Inn Cochin. The brand commits to deliver best-in-class service and physical quality level. Holiday Inn Cochin is a full service, mid-market hotel that boasts of 212 spacious and lavishly furnished rooms including 199 rooms and 13 suites.

Kunal Shanker Executive Assistant Manager Holiday Inn Cochin

One can experience the very best of the hospitality world at the spectacular Holiday Inn Cochin enjoying unparalleled tranquility and peace “This latest addition to five star hotels in Cochin offers impeccable hospitality coupled with high standards of excellence for the guests to indulge in sheer luxury,” said Kunal Shanker, Executive Assistant Manager, Holiday Inn Cochin. Holiday Inn Cochin is located in the cosmopolitan city of Cochin with its bustling commercial port. It is known as the financial capital and biggest urban agglomeration in Kerala. Holiday Inn Cochin is conve-

niently located on National Highway 47 at a distance of 5kms from the city center and with approximately 40 minutes drive time from the Cochin International Airport. Apart from the close proximity to the airport and

major IT hubs in the state, advanced technology and modern facilities at all the meeting rooms make Holiday Inn Cochin cater to all the needs of the business and leisure travellers. “One can experience the very best of the hospitality world at the

spectacular Holiday Inn Cochin enjoying unparalleled tranquility and peace,” adds Shanker. The hotel houses five specialty restaurants. It also has banquet facilities which can be divided into three

halls to accommodate various types of meetings and gatherings. The three meeting rooms can accommodate 15 to 60 people. The meeting rooms are fully equipped with state of the art audio-visual facility and video conferencing facilities.

USP Holiday Inn Cochin cater to business and leisure travellers It also has banquet facilities which can be divided into three halls to accommodate meetings and gatherings




New look, same old warmth A treat for nature lovers The Mansingh Group of Hotels, Resorts and The Heritage Resort falls midway between Udaipur Entertainment is enhancing its facilities and expanding and Nathdwara and is located next to the Bagela its footprint to cater to the growing demands of travellers. Lake. The resort is dotted with scenic spots. T T B U R E AU


aipur-based Mansingh Group of Hotels, Resorts and Entertainment believes in the corporate philosophy where the emphasis is on personalised service. With a decade of excellence in hospitality services, the Mansingh Group has set culinary benchmark at its popular F&B outlets in all its properties. Says Bharat Aggarwal, Managing

Talking about revamping its properties, Aggarwal reveals,

“The company is currently involved in upgrading and renovating all its properties in Agra, Jaipur and Ajmer. The lobby at Mansingh Palace, Agra and Mansingh Palace, Ajmer have been given a new fresh look.” The group sees maximum growth in the domestic market, particularly in the

minimise waste production in different processes. Vast acreage of land is being developed to protect local fauna & flora while minimising habitat loss.


Director, Mansingh Group of Hotels, “Many of our F&B joints have become gourmet landmarks, such as Hightz at Hotel Mansingh, Jaipur, Garden Court at Mansingth Towers, Jaipur and Sheesh Mahal at Mansingh Palace, Agra and Ajmer.”


Bharat Aggarwal Managing Director Mansingh Group of Hotels

MICE segment. Hence, not only is the group enhancing its facilities but is also expanding its footprints to cater to the growing demands of the discerning traveller. “We are soon going to complete the Jodhpur project that is spread across 11 acres. Another property in the pipeline is a resort project of 150 rooms, which would be unveiled by March 2013,” he adds.

nature lover’s delight on Lake Bagela, overlooking Nagda temples amidst Aravali hills is the Heritage Resort. Promoted by a family with expertise in hotel management, cookery, landscaping, interior designing and agriculture; the Heritage Resort is all set to give a comprehensive environmental and cultural experience. The hotel has adopted the mantra of being a green hotel and

hence, all amenities in the property are eco-friendly. The

first priority of the hotel is to preserve the surroundings in their present pristine form. Vegetables and fruits being used in kitchen are grown in the group’s own farms, devoid of any chemicals, fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides. Thus, the concept of green food has been introduced at the hotel. Using green design approach, attempts have been made to

The hotel is cashing in on its location to attract more leisure customers. The hotel is located midway between Udaipur and Nathdwara. In the lap of the Aravallis, are a group of 108 temples, which is also in the nearby proximity. Situated at the foothills of Eklingji, this hotel is a place of great antiquity and was the first capital of Mewar rulers. Legend has it, that it was founded by Nagaditya, the Fourth Mewar king in the sixth century and soon became a stronghold of the Sisodia’s.




The Raviz takes luxury to the Backwaters The Raviz on Lake Ashtamudi in Kollam is tapping leisure travellers and paying special attention to MICE and wedding segments. The resort completed one year of its operations only recently. T T B U R E AU


s God’s Own Country beckons one and all, five-star property with sevenstar amenities -- The Raviz - on Lake Ashtamudi redefines luxury. In the heart of Kerala’s lush backwaters in Kollam, The Raviz welcomes you to the state that is renowned for its legendary hospitality, service and exquisite facilities, steeped in the values of Incredible India.

The property completed one year of its operations on August 19 this year. Talking about the property, Jaychandran, Vice President, The Raviz says, “We had a wonderful year and the hotel has attracted attention from the leisure segment.” True to the state’s speciality, the resort is betting big on Wellness Tourism. The resort has nine specially designed chambers allotted to Ayurveda & Spa and a meditation room. The soothing Ayurvedic Massages are known for their curative properties - offering lasting relief from chronic aches and pains such as backache, joint pains, stiff neck,

the experience and the expertise to ensure that the event is hosted smoothly and stylishly and can offer a wonderful palette of hotels to choose from, each with its own individual flair.

migraine and rheumatic pains. Trained masseurs conduct the massage under the supervision of expert Ayurvedic physicians. The hotel also makes a great MICE and Wedding venue. From an informal conference to a large social function, holiday celebration or special function, the team at the property will ensure that one has the corporate experience with added benefits of a lake view and beautiful surroundings. The hotel also has

Jaychandran Vice President The Raviz

“Adding to the USP of the property, the hotel is soon going to introduce a conference houseboat, which can accommodate 70 pax for an onboard conference for the first time in Kollam in Lake Ashtamudi,” he informs. To cater to the wedding segment, the property offers dedicated team that will offer a bespoke, luxury service. “A key aspect is that the dedicated team will work with the guests and the

chefs to tailor-make the wedding menu – anything from canapés to a full banquet,” he reveals. The Raviz is built on traditional Kerala architectural styles with 93 exquisitely furnished rooms and suites, including heritage villas and private villas with pool. Majority of the rooms overlook the pristine waters of the lake Ashtamudi. Buoyed by its current portfolio, the company has recently acquired Leela Kovalam – a five star luxury beach resort and Kadavu Resort and Ayurvedic Centre at Calicut.

The Raviz Way The property completed one year of its operations on August 19 this year The resort is betting big on Wellness Tourism The hotel also makes a great MICE and Wedding venue

India, market of the future Despite the key issues that the travel and tourism industry in India is facing, international travel industry leaders praise the country for its potential. T T B U R E AU


n 2011, the tourism industry (globally) accounted for nine per cent of GDP, a total of six trillion dollars. The industry supported 255 million jobs. This means one in 12 jobs on the planet. UNWTO forecasts reports that by the end of 2012, tourism will reach one billion international tourist arrivals. One seventh of the world population would have crossed international borders as tourists in a single year. “I believe tourism is a main pillar for economic growth.

India along with China and Brazil will emerge as the new wave of players bringing a positive change in the tourism sector. It is a resilient and flexible industry, but it’s time we come out stronger. Greece, last year, saw an 11 per cent growth in tourism,” said Taleb Rifai, Secretary-

David Scowsill

Taleb Rifai

President and CEO World Travel & Tourism Council

Secretary-General World Tourism Organisation

General, World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). By 2020, travel and tourism will account for 10 per cent of the global GDP, 10 trillion dollars and one in ten jobs.

“At present our industry is the third largest in the world. It is larger than automotive manufacturing, mining and chemical manufacturing. In the future, we will see an enormous tourism growth

in the BRIC countries. One must have a strategy for these countries, as they are the market of the future. It is worth noting that with 98 million people directly employed in 2011, the industry’s leading organisations have committed to work in a coalition for the common good, through coordination communication, open sharing of information and coalescing around those key global issues where effecting change is priority. Together with UNWTO, our coalition includes IATA, ACI, CLIA, PATA, USTA, ASTA and WEF,” explained David Scowsill, President and CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council.




‘North East tourism is in a nascent stage’ Besides suggesting ways to improve tourism inflow in the region, Ashish Phookan, Chairman, IATO North East States, proposes commencement of short-term capacity-building courses for tour operators of the region at a minimal cost. T T B U R E AU What has the IATO North East Chapter been working towards this year? Tour operators based in the seven states of North East India are comparatively smaller in scale. Hence, it is important that the IATO North East Chapter carries out short-term capacitybuilding courses for tour operators of this region at a minimal cost. Courses on presentation of tourism destinations, tourism marketing, training for wildlife guides and naturalists etc. would greatly enhance quality and standard of service. IATO North East is in touch with the IATO head office in Delhi to conduct such courses at the minimum possible cost and would offer such courses to junior and mid-level employees of tour operators based in the seven states of Northeast this year.

How has tourism in the North East been affected by the airline turbulence in the country? Jet has

asked for Government clearance to reduce North East flights... The terrain of North East India is such that a lot of people depend on the airlines operating in this region. Obviously, the recent turbulence in the airline industry has affected the people of this region. The reduced number of flights to and from the North East and rising prices of air tickets are affecting not only tourist arrivals to the region but also the residents of the region. IATO greatly opposes this move by Jet Airways. With the virtual exit of one airline from the region, we are already facing problems. If the government allows Jet to reduce flights, it will set a dangerous precedence. Other airlines too will ask for the same and may even want to exit the region altogether. The government should actively help airline companies to continue operating in the region and should also help to set up operations using smaller aircraft.

The Asian Development Bank and Government of India have signed a

runways, night landing facilities will see increased trading relationship with neighbouring countries. And the same will bring in more tourists from this region too.

Ashish Phookan Chairman IATO North East States

$74.8 million loan to improve connectivity with the northeastern region of the country. How will this move help the tourism sector of the region? One of the major challenges of promoting tourism in the Northeast is the rudimentary connectivity in many areas. The tourism in the region will receive a great boost if connectivity by means of better road and railway network is spread all across the region. Since Northeast India is far closer to South East Asian countries, airports with better facilities, expansion of

How are tour operators coping with natural disasters and the political situation in the Northeast to ensure that tourist inflow is not affected? Natural disaster and political unrest affects tourist inflow adversely in any region. While the direct responsibility lies with the government in charge to ensure that the state returns to normalcy as soon as possible; it is equally important for stakeholders in tourism to keep in regular touch with partners elsewhere and pass on correct information about prevailing situation in the region. The sporadic political unrest has been mostly contained in three districts of Assam (which does not have any particularly important tourism destination) and we are confident that the government and the right thinking population of Assam will

ensure that these problems will end soon and life in these areas goes back to normal. While it is true that the floods this year in the state of Assam has been particularly severe, we must also remember floods in Assam is an annual affair and the industrious people of Assam have always managed to overcome their flood-related problems. It is important that IATO presents the actual facts and situation to the entire membership so that we can pass on the message that though the current status of certain small parts of the region is tense, it is altogether likely that it will improve soon and will be completely back to normal by the onset of winter when the tourist season starts.

What are the issues that need to be addressed to improve tourism inflow in the Northeast? Tourism in the Northeast is still in a nascent stage. We need to put particular emphasis on development of road, rail and air connectivity in the region. The

other important aspect of infrastructure development we need to focus on is development of accommodation facilities at all important places, wayside amenities of high standards etc. A lot of hotels in important places of the Northeast are coming up in recent years. However, most of these hotels are brick and concrete affairs and do not blend in with their natural surroundings. Government agencies should ensure that new accommodation projects are built of locally available material as much as possible and in the local ethnic style, so as to retain a specific identity as well as remain ecologically balanced. Governments of the region should also promote homestay facilities and community based facilities. This in itself could be an attraction and draw more people to the area. The region’s state governments should jointly focus on promotion of tourism and conduct joint FAM Tours for tour operators from all parts of India as well as from other parts of the world to showcase the Northeast.

High taxes affecting MICE India expensive credit taxes CN Prasad, Chairman, Tamil Nadu Chapter, IATO Harmit Singh, Chairman, Punjab, Haryana & Himachal highlights the adverse impact of high taxes, VAT and other Pradesh-Chapter, IATO highlights the loss of competitive taxes on hotels, conference and MICE potential of the state. edge because of high taxation, which varies across states… “To address many of the emerging challenges, we require the state-recognised guides who should charge less than Govt of India Guides, being used for foreign tourists primarily. We also require better road signs in English besides local language to show monuments and temples,” he added.



amil Nadu, which has witnessed consistent jump in business traffic, is grappling with the challenges thrown upon due to higher taxes. As per Prasad, “Chennai has emerged as the centre for automobile and other industries, which has led to an increase in business traffic. We have the state-of-the-art convention and exhibition facili-

CN Prasad Chairman, Tamil Nadu Chapter, IATO

ties in Chennai Coimbatore.


But, the high taxes on published tariff on hotels, VAT and other taxes are affecting conference and MICE potential. Similarly, most of the hotels have 40-60 rooms inventory, which during the peak season, creates problems in accommodating groups.”

Elaborating further on the strengths of the destination, Prasad told that Tamil Nadu has wide roads to connect all these places and lately, many 3-star hotels have come up even at religious places. “Tamil Nadu is a roundthe-year tourist destination. It has temples, 5-world heritage sites, beaches, wild life and hill stations which attract both the domestic and the foreign tourists. UNESCO has declared Mamallapuram as an example of Dravidian art and architecture,” he added.

that the government at state and central level should promote travel sector as industry. He also insists that the service standards in the industry should also be raised. Singh is also wary of the online industry, where there is ample scope to increase transparency.



n an increasingly competitive world, all destinations compete and are committed to build an environment that facilitates tourism inflow. But as per Harmit Singh, Chairman, Punjab, Haryana & Himachal PradeshChapter, IATO- the travel and tourism in India is a hightaxed industry, which makes India expensive as a tourist destination.

“The most important issue related to tourism growth is taxation. Various taxes are levied across the entire industry right from tour operators, transporters, airline industry to hotels and these include service tax, luxury tax, tax on transportation, tax on aviation turbine fuel (airline industry), and various taxes on trans-

Harmit Singh Chairman, Punjab, Haryana & Himachal Pradesh-Chapter, IATO

portation. In addition, these tax rates tend to vary across different states in the country. It is affecting the growth of the industry in India and India is losing out to other low-cost destinations. In fact, the inbound tourism segment is the one that gets the mostaffected,” said Singh. Further, to undo the negative image of Incredible India as an expensive destination, Singh recommends

“Use of Internet in the travel and tourism industry has increased rapidly in recent years and has emerged as one of major segments for online spends. However, some of the biggest frauds have been detected in this segment. While the online travel industry has registered robust growth, major concerns relating to security of online transactions persist. The industry needs to take measures to make the process of online bookings more secure and transparent and also needs to create awareness regarding this,” said Singh.




Fillip to leisure tourism

An address for biz travellers

Aiming to increase its portfolio in leisure destinations of The New Age Hotels & Resorts’ property will be created India, A To Z Barter is planning to acquire more properties especially for discerning business and conference travellers who want quality services at a reasonable price. in Jaipur, Agra, Mussorie and Rishikesh.



cting as a clearing house, A To Z Barter offers flexibility, in that a trader can trade with any other participant without the need for a direct exchange. This has been extended to its hospitality vertical as well. Aiming to increase its portfolio in the leisure destinations in India, A To Z is planning to acquire more properties in destination such as Jaipur, Agra, Mussorie and Rishikesh.

“Our first venture is Shilon Resort at Chail near Shimla. It is a five-star resort with a picturesque view. The resort is spread over 3.5 acres and has 50 cottages. The property is well-equipped with all modern facilities and entertainment facilities.

generated from inbound tourists. “The B2B segment is very vital as it can help in driving customers to our properties in Chamba, Delhi, Nainital and Haridwar,” he adds.



We have a bar as well as a gym, spa, restaurant and a conference hall that can accommodate 250-plus people,” says Ashish Chaturvedi, Managing Director, A TO Z Barter. Talking about the group’s recent initiatives, Chaturvedi informs, “We, at A To Z group, are keen to work on destinations, which can cater to the corporates and individuals in Delhi and NCR. We want to help our clients relax during their holidays.” According to Chaturvedi, the rupee slide and existing turmoil in the international travel scenario

will drive travellers to the domestic leisure destinations and therin lies the big opportunity in India’s domestic tourism sector. “As domestic travellers explore India, domestic hoteliers have a lot of potential to seek new avenues from this everincreasing pool of clientele. We have seen a rise in domestic travel over the past year.” He further adds that Shilon Resort at 7,200 ft is an ideal destination for domestic travellers to unwind. “We have got a great response from corporate as well as frequent individual travellers (FITs),” he concludes.

he New Age Hotels & Resorts endeavours to position itself as India’s finest chain of business budget hotels. Created especially for the discerning business and conference travellers who want quality services at a reasonable price, a typical hotel under the New Age Hotels & Resorts will be located in or close to a business district, managed by professionals and will provide standardised services. Manmohan Singh Chawla, MD, New Age Hotels & Resorts, says,

“All our properties are located at good locations in the cities. Owing to this positioning of our hotels and the fast growth in the tourism sector, we have witnessed an increase in occupancy in the last few years.”

Manmohan Singh Chawla MD New Age Hotels & Resorts

According to Chawla, three factors determine the USP of the hotel – these are location, comfort and value proposition. Talking about the new initiatives the company, Chawla informs, “In the past year, our group has launched a business hotel near IGI Airport, New Delhi, called Classic Diplomat. We have also explored new dimensions in hospitality and renovated our property located at Chamba in Uttarakhand that is spread across a hill. This property till date remains an attraction point for leisure and corporate travellers.” The group sees maximum growth in business

The group currently has four properties under its portfolio of Classic Group of Hotels – Classic Diplomat in Delhi, Classic Residency in Haridwar, Classic Hill Top in Chamba and Classic The Mall in Nainital. The group’s resort in Chamba has 32 well-facilitated rooms, which give a panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks and valleys all the year. “We have another 47-room property named Classic Residency at Haridwar. Nowadays, the concept of religious tourism is on the rise and people, both Indian and foreigners, throng Haridwar for a holy dip in the Ganga. The city is also becoming a business hub with a number of industries coming up here,” he adds. The group’s property in Nainital also bets big on its scenic location. There are 25lake facing suites and family cottages which come with their individual kitchens.

Concept’s go green mantra Boost for the hotel business As environment-sensitive travellers become the fastest KSM Hotel Connections caters to 20 hotels in 14 places growing segment in the travel industry, Concept and has recently added an office in Jaipur. The company Hospitality is pulling all stops to cash in on this. now has offices in Ahmedabad, Kolkata & Jaipur. to launch our resort property in Mahabaleshwar as well.



oncept Hospitality sets up and operates hotels, clubs, resorts and restaurants for different owners. Says Param Kannampilly, Chairman and Managing Director, Concept Hospitality, “The company has just finished the launch of its new brand The Fern, which will soon become a trademark for environmentally sensitive hotels across India. Within the next two

Param Kannampilly Chairman and Managing Director Concept Hospitality

years, we will be operating Fern Hotels in the three different categories based on facilities viz, the Fern Luxury, the Fern Residency and the Fern Select across India.” By 2014, the group will have hotels in Guwahati, two three-star hotels in Udupi, one in Asansol in West Bengal, four-star hotel in Sholapur, three-star hotel in Jalgaon and four-star hotel in Koregaon. “All these would be mid-tier properties. We are soon going

Our aim is to position our brand Ecotels, as the environment -friendly hotel brand in India and grow our number of rooms from 1000 to over 2000,” he adds. About challenges, he opines, “There are three kinds of challenges we are facing right now. Firstly, we need to establish the market for our new hotels. To achieve this goal, we have increased our sales team to about 40 people across India. To get quality operational staff is another bottleneck. There is an acute shortage at the middle and junior levels.”



SM Hotel Connections India is one of the most prominent and professionally managed hotels marketing group headquartered at New Delhi. Discussing the existing portfolio of KSM Hotel Connections India, KB Mahanta, Director, KSM Hotel Connections India informs, “At present, we have a total inventory of 800 rooms to sell in the market per day. We cater to 20 hotels in 14 destinations broadly categorised in three groups. In the first sector, we have chosen prime locations of royal Rajasthan, including Jaipur, Bikaner and Udaipur. In the second category, there are the business hubs like Kochi, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Mumbai. The last category is for leisure sectors such as Rishikesh,

Amritsar, Shimla.”



According to Mahanta, the main focus of the company is on the corporate sector, especially in South

new tie up hotels along with marketing support,” he adds. The group has recently added a new property -- Swagat Holiday Resort at Kovalam in Kerala with inventory of 850 rooms.

“We plan to increase our emphasis on both the corporate and the domestic market.

KB Mahanta Director KSM Hotel Connections India

India. “We are looking for a few more properties in South India for marketing and management tie ups. We are also adding management support service to our

Also, we have received good response from our corporates for the international sector. Currently, we are also promoting Thailand, Hong Kong and Ma\cau.” KSM recently opened its third office in Jaipur on August 16. Thus, now the company has three associate offices in Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Jaipur.




Platform for small & medium-sized hotels White Feather Hospitality is working on business customisation for every small and medium-sized hotel enterprise to create tailor-made business deals and promotions based on in-depth market research. T T B U R E AU


he hospitality segment is by and large a fragmented sector, with majority of its inventory falling in the unorganised sector, while only a miniscule proportion falls under being the organised one. This is where; White Feather Hospitality is making a strong stride to create business platforms for all small and medium sized hotels.

“Our company ensures providing a ‘business platform’ to all small and medium sized hotels in the industry across India. India being a diverse country as a destination has everything that the travellers want to experience and offers them a complete holiday package soothing both their emotional and physical needs. India amidst the countless ways that it can capture world attention as a tourist paradise, also open a dynamic business opportunity as a splendid venue for international conferences and conventions of no less than global standard. This is very near to how we aim to project India,” said Mrinal Upadhyay, Principal Consultant, White Feather Hospitality. “Currently we are working on business customisation for every small and medium sized hotel enter-

prise and their different needs and proposals to suit acordingly. We make tailormade business deals and promotions which involve an indepth market research.

We also deal with all possible budget and luxury hotel properties and work out on their business and best possible deals that can take place and help them grow in the market. B2B is the first step for us to achieve these goals,” he added. Moreover, Upadhyay insists that after years of economic downturn and shrinking budgets, it is the B2B marketers who have weathered challenges and at the same time have learned to embrace a variety of marketing tools.

their target he added.

Mrinal Upadhyay Principal Consultant White Feather Hospitality

“Today, the budget outlook is strong and the majority of marketers will use both traditional and digital channels to reach and engage potential customers. However, the Internet is the most effective channel to reach the B2B audience. And our marketing growth strategy helps us agree on one fact that digital is an all-rounder and the most effective channel for businesses to reach


As per Upadhyay, India is like no other destination, this country has a unique strength which manifests in terms of its Travel friendly, warm and welcoming nature and even if you are not born here, within a short time, you will experience a unique factor of its own. India offers a different aspect of her personality – exotic, extravagant, elegant, eclectic; to each traveller to the country. In his opinion, what makes India different from any other destination is the myriad of experiences that it offers. “This is one land where the ancient and the modern co-exist. And the most obvious manifestation of what I said is palpable when you observe places like Rajasthan, Ladakh, Kerela in terms of warmth and enjoyment and Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru in terms of Business. Every for-

tune 500 company wants to mark its major existence in India as it has become a big market for global companies,” said Upadhyay. He further added, “Email marketing ranks as the best way to prime, close and maintain customers. We are also making this a 2-way process for an easy access through traditional channels in market like events/tradeshows, Display Ads and Other.” “We are trying to work our way out however it would be an applaudable and winning task if the Government works out on tax policies and helps in making communication easy and accessible throughout, which could be the only way. Technical literacy is gaining a big importance as all modes of communication require a certain literacy level; which is easy to understand for all,” he concluded.




26 years and still growing Aim for 100% rise in inbound After the completion of their 25th year in the industry, For a bright future for tourism in India, infrastructure Swagatam Tours registered a splendid growth of over along with other facilities, needs immediate attention, 13 per cent in 2011 and is now exploring new markets. says EM Najeeb, Chairman, ATE Group of Companies. T T B U R E AU


hile talking about the company, Pronab Sarkar, Managing Director, Swagatam Tours said, “We

We are now focussing on the future growth of our company. We are looking for new markets for business development, which we were not concentrating on earlier.”

“We hope with the new business policy of Government of India with South American countries and BRICS nations, there is ample scope of increased business from there. Pronab Sarkar Managing Director Swagatam Tours

have completed 26 successful years in the business. Fortunately, since our company started in 1986, we never had to look back while our business grew every year. For instance, amid several hurdles in business last year, we could finish with a positive growth of over 13 per cent.

Also from those countries, our Government has extended the new visa rule of getting visa upon arrival i.e. Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Finland, Luxembourg and New Zealand, which shall show a positive growth in the near future,” added Sarkar. Elaborating on the key to their success, Sarkar happily attributes it to their

strong hard working dedicated team of young executives, who are making it possible for Swagatam. “We value our employees’ inputs and suggestions in our day-to-day work. We also give value to the present growing and ever changing technology and marketing strategy and believe that unless we follow the present trend, we shall not be able to survive,” he added. In fact, Sarkar is of the opinion, “The entire Indian tourism industry can grow much faster and get more tourists from abroad, if we get good support from the Government by allowing Visa upon arrival from major tourist generating markets in Europe and America.” He also insists that rationalisation of Central and State Government taxes on hotels, transport, road and fuel for airlines will help Incredible India have a better stance in the increasingly competitive world.



irtravel Enterprises Group (ATE) has been contributing to the travel and tourism industry for the last 36 years, mainly focussing on travel, tourism and hospitality. The Group Chairman, Najeeb suggests some changes to increase the inbound figures,

“The immediate aim of India Tourism is to double its inbound tourism traffic. This requires more infrastructure and facilities. We need almost 1,00,000 more classified rooms in the country. Our sanitation and garbage disposal system should be world-class. Safety and security of tourists should be strengthened. Hygiene in food production should be made mandatory. Apart from all these, soft infrastructure

EM Najeeb Chairman Airtravel Enterprises Group of Companies

should be in place, such as, systems, procedures, protocols and also tourism-friendly taxation. India is one country with high taxation on tourists. Our taxation should ideally be less than 10 per cent, all put together. That will surely show immediate results in increased inflow of tourist. We need more trained manpower for the industry. We should have a network of training institutes to produce professionals for all levels.” ATE Group has 15 ventures under its brand, 600

professionals working and a group turnover of ` 450 crore. The Great India Tour Company is the company under this brand engaged in tourism. The company has pioneered in different specialised segments, such as Medical Tourism, Golf Tourism and Heli-Tourism in Kerala. The group has diverse business in travel, tourism, hospitality among others. Discussing the future of the industry, Najeeb adds, “The future of the tourism industry is excellent in the country. Tourist inflow will keep on increasing, as destination India is attractive in many ways. We also have huge potential for the tourist traffic within our country. We need to develop a conducive climate for the growth by providing right tourism policies, fair taxation, better infrastructure, trained manpower, outstanding facilities and a tourism friendly attitude.”

Unique tours to sell Incredible India Vijay Dadhich, MD, Blue Moon Travels says India needs tour operators with thorough knowledge to conduct unique tours. T T B U R E AU


he company offers unique luxurious experiences and emphasises on the finer aspects of travelling. Blue Moon Travels has been successful in executing the various requirements of our global customers. Vijay Dadhich, Managing Director, Blue Moon Travels says, “A visit to India can no longer be delayed; India may be the last and only real adventure that lives on as civilisation and riddle.

Vijay Dadhich Managing Director Blue Moon Travels

With a fine combination of food fit for royalty and shopping that’s as seductive as its varied and comfort levels that raise the bar; India is truly on the map as one of the most sought for destinations in the world.

Come and discover India with us. India being a diverse country needs tour operators who have thorough knowledge of the country to conduct unique tours.” Blue Moon Travels comes with several years of work experience behind them and a wide knowledge of the country, leading to distinctive Indian holidays. A lot of research goes into tour selection, ensuring maximum comfort, enjoyment and a multi-

dimensional look at India. “We use our personal knowledge to augment holidays for our clients while ensuring throughout that the customer gets their special brand of customised service,” explained Dadhich.

Portfolio The company offers unique luxurious experiences for the finer aspects of travelling




12,760 VoAs in 2011  Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) was initially offered to five countries - Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Singapore. In 2010, 6,549 VoAs were issued to New Zealand (1,944), Singapore (1,814), Japan (1,457), Finland (1,263) and Luxembourg (71). In January 2011, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Laos and Mayanmar were includ-

ed in the scheme, bringing a total of 11 countries under the VoA scheme. In 2011, a total of 12,761 VoAs were issued that included New Zealand (2,762), Japan (2,344), Indonesia (2,063), Philippines (1,956), Singapore (1,848), Finland (1,335), Cambodia (149), Vietnam (145), Luxemburg (74), Myanmar (71) and Laos (14).

Double VoA Countries

VoA in 2010

VoA in 2011

New Zealand Singapore Japan Finland Luxembourg Cambodia Indonesia Vietnam Philippines Laos Mayanmar Total

1944 1814 1457 1263 71

2762 1848 2344 1335 74 149 2063 145 1956 14

71 6549


‘Customised itineraries is our USP’ Banking on its experience of customised itineraries for its B2B trade partners in the Western Region, Shree Tours and Travels is building on this segment in a big way. The group has its offices in Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar and Delhi. This will help the growth in astronomical figure, if the associations are perfect. Here, the Government should have rational tax structure, as simplification of tax deposit helps in enhancing the business,” he added.



n its tenth year of operations, Shree Tours and Travels has earned a goodwill with its trade partners and many of them have been serving for over a decade, says S P Mohapatra, Proprietor, Shree Tours & Travels.

“The multidimensional diversity in culture, lifestyle, food habits, seasons and biotic region of India are our strength. Our company offers tailor-made itineraries for indi-

S P Mohapatra

Arati Mohapatra

Proprietor Shree Tours & Travels

Partner Shree Tours & Travels

viduals, B2B companies and corporate. We create different and unique itineraries as per the guest’s demand and try to provide a combination of different aspect of travel areas that can be visited. It ensures that our guests get sufficient time to

explore the areas along with a professional guide,” explained Mohapatra. “Today, B2B plays an important role in enhancing the business. But I feel that the association should be bisymbiotic and not parasitic.

The Group also owns a fleet of over 15 vehicles, which include medium sized coaches, Indigo’s, Xylo’s and other vehicles that serve unique requirements of the various clients. It has opened offices in Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar and Odisha. It also has sales representatives in different regions to cater to a strong number of inbound guests that are supplied by their B2B clients in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Budget & luxury tie up

B2B integral to our business

Launched in 2006, Jai Shree Holidays & Tours has substantially expanded in the last five years. Happy with their progress, the company now plans to tie up with budget and luxury hotels.

Shree Tours, a Rajasthan based tour operator, is now focussing on the recently launched range of its Medical Tourism packages and the corporate market to attract international tourists.



opular for providing a comprehensive travel solutions for leisure, group, charters and small business travellers, backed by realtime websites and unmatched products, Jai Shree Holidays & Tours have been spreading their wings and capturing the market. “Since our inception, we have been growing rapidly, aspiring to emerge as one of the foremost travel companies in India. We are receptive to new ideas and are flexible and adaptable to our clients’ needs. We started operation in the year 2006 and in the last five years, the company, has grown substantially in


terms of volume as well as customer satisfaction,” informed Ajay Aggarwal, Managing Director, Jai Shree Holidays & Tours.


o attract International tourists we have launched variety of packages according to regional diversi-

are also focussing on our newly launched Medical Tourism packages and corporate group packages. We do have our packages for domestic market as well, wherein,

The Company offers all types of packages; premier, standard and budget with personalised services in India and abroad.

“We are involved in both inbound and outbound as tour Operator while offering specialised services to our clients as per their requirements. We are experienced in providing tailor-made packages in cultural, spiritual, religious, tribal, adventure, battlefields of India and wildlife tours, along with other basic packages of Rajasthan, Kerala and other major tourist destinations in India. Our future plans include tie-ups with luxurious as well budget hotels in India and abroad,” adds Aggarwal. Currently they specialise in, China, Hong Kong,

Ajay Aggarwal Managing Director Jai Shree Holidays & Tours

Macau, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Kenya, Oman, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In the domestic market they focus on, Kerala, Goa, Manali, Mussoorie and Ooty.

QUICK READ Foreign tourists from SouthEast Asian countries, Nordic countries and USA spend more money than tourists from other countries in Goa.

Archana Thanvi

Umesh Thanvi

Director Shree Tours

Advisor Shree Tours

ty and state packages, as every state has its own taste and occurrence few of them are Colourful Rajasthan, Vibrant Gujarat, Sun-N-Sand Tour for Pushkar, Thanda Thanda Cool Cool Himachal and Goa too. Apart from this, we are targetting tourists according to occasions like Valentine’s and Friendship day special,” said Umesh Thanvi, Advisor, Shree Tours. “One thing I also would love to mention here that we

we are targetting different age groups and diversities as we have launched educational tours, small village trips and promoting packages for Ladies and Senior Citizens too,” he added.

As per Thanvi, the geographical and cultural diversification of India makes it different than any other destinations. He insists that the B2B segment in India is very important and is an integral part of any business. “Our services are customer centric, which facilitates our clients to choose the best destinations and trade partners to be assured of the quality of service and the end experience. One needs to deal with hotels, transport channels and other stakeholders, which is possible only through B2B relationships,” said Thanvi. “The Tourism sector in India has soared to greater heights in the last few years. However, the tourism industry’s growth will need proper policy orientation to ensure systematic, sustainable and orderly development. Hence, it is imperative that a clearly defined policy paradigm addresses issues related to facilitating travel business, safety, security, and infrastructure development aspects,” he added.




The Suryaa beefs up its F&B segment The Suryaa New Delhi is looking ahead to capture a big share of the hospitality market in the city with the recently relaunched SAMPAN – the Rooftop Pan Asian restaurant – and the yet to be relaunched 24-hour coffee shop Le Café and its Indian restaurant – Seven. T T B U R E AU


he Suryaa New Delhi is all set to garner more business this year. The hotel has beefed up its F&B segment. Talking about the

development, Greesh Bindra, Vice President and General Manager – The Suryaa New Delhi remarks, “Just recently we relaunched SAMPAN – our Rooftop Pan Asian restaurant. This summer we are

looking at relaunching our 24-hour coffee shop Le Café and Indian restaurant Seven, which will be converted into a 140-seater top-of-the-line World Cuisine restaurant, will be ready before Formula

Greesh Bindra Vice President and General Manager The Suryaa New Delhi

One.” The hotel is also planning to open several new properties in India and overseas, he adds. Regarding the performance of the hotel in calendar year of 2011 vis-à-vis the previous year, Bindra informs,

“The calendar year of 2011 has shown encouraging results. With the stabilisation of the business coming from various sectors, the revenue has definitely gone up. The last quarter has been very positive, although it has been a challenge as the inventory has increased.” According to him, the upcoming year looks even more promising and the team is aggressively working towards achieving the set targets.

The Suryaa New Delhi with its host of meeting & conferencing facilities is betting big on MICE segment as well. The hotel is cashing on its strategic location. The property is suitably located in the heart of the city, a mere 30-minute drive from the International Airport with close proximity to Pragati Maidan. It is also adjacent to Delhi’s business districts Nehru Place, Jasola, Okhla and Noida promotion zones. With banquet halls such as Elysee, Vendome and Caprice Lounge, the hotel is fully geared to be the perfect host for wedding and other events. Recently the hotel hosted a pool party on a bright sunny afternoon that swayed into an enthralling evening with splashes of water and fun pool games.

Banon Resorts beckons tourists in Manali Banon Resorts is a combination of traditional architecture and modern designs which blends beautifully into the environment and offers its residents the best of both worlds. The brand is soon adding 40 luxury cottages. T T B U R E AU


he Banon Resorts was built and is managed by the descendents of Capt AT Banon who started the first hotel in Manali in the early 20th century. The property is an expression of a family’s efforts towards perfection spanning over a hundred years.

“With an experience of about 100 years in the hospitality industry,

the hotel has tried to create a unique experience for our guests by designing a resort which combines the past and the present, to give a feel of the ancient cultural heritage of Kullu Valley in a modern setting with world-class comfort and exclusive style. The resort is a combination of traditional architecture and modern designs which blends beautifully with the environment and offers

Chairman Vikramajit Publisher SanJeet Editorial Director Rupali Narasimhan Editor Deepa Sethi

Editorial Ratan Kr Paul Vivek Sethi Megha Paul Devika Jeet Anita Jain Dency Mathew News-Editor Peden Doma Bhutia Desk-Editor Archana Sharma Sub-Editor Raina Mandal

Marketing Gunjan Sabikhi Harshal Ashar Karishma Khanna Geetika Pathak Shovan Kanungo Manish Singh Priyanshu Wankhade Udit Pandey Shailendra Shukla Amit Sarkar Prem Sagar Gaganpreet Kaur Rishika Karra Elizabeth Rani

Manohar Negi General Manager - Sales and Marketing Banon Resorts

its residents the best of both worlds,” says Manohar Negi, General Manager - Sales and Marketing, Banon Resorts. “Capt Banon, an Irish gentleman, disturbed by the British reprisals against the Indians during the 1857 uprising, got himself out of the British army. He went to the Himalayan shrine of

Design Nityanand Misra Sudhir Mudgal Vikas Mandotia Nitin Kumar Production Manager

Anil Kharbanda Circulation

Ashok Rana

Badrinath and studied Astrology under the head Priest. He married the head priest’s daughter and eventually settled in Manali in the 1870’s. He imported English apple and other fruit saplings, planted them and started Himachal’s famed apple orchards. The Banons played an important part in making Manali known to the modern world. The descendents of the Captain built roads, bridges, generated electricity which was also supplied to the circuit house during the late Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru’s visits and were the pioneers of the tourism industry in the Kullu Valley,” Recalls Negi. While being a world away in terms of lifestyle and seclusion, the resort is within a kilometre from the town. The resort is situated in one

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of Manali’s best preserved areas, close to the circuit house, amidst apple orchards and reserved deodar forests with magnificent views of snow covered peaks of the great Himalayan range. Elaborating on the infrastructure of the resort, the General Manager informs, “The Banon Resort is a beautifully designed resort. The resort has cottages and consists of a

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main building with large public areas and cottages spread over two acres of landscaped gardens which gives a feeling of great space and privacy.” Very soon 40 luxury cottages are going to be added in the property. The resort is centrally heated and the cottages have beautiful wood-fired stoves to make a traveller’s stay comfortable during the winter months.

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IATO day2 2012  
IATO day2 2012  

IATO day2 2012 Magazine