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Ready for the big ‘What If?’ Dollar appreciating, profits receding, airfares going high, and travel industry dreading the ‘What if’ question. shares strategies ‘if ever’ another slowdown hits the market. not abandoning them. Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager – India, TripAdvisor said, “Though the balance may have tipped marginally in favour of domestic holidays, the overall holiday estimates remain healthy with 60% respondents still looking at taking between two to four holidays this year.”

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here are reports in the media everyday talking about travellers cancelling their international trips due to the freefall of the rupee, airlines increasing fares due to shooting ATF prices, Indian economy going down, etc. To provide relief to cash-strapped airlines which are reeling under the impact of the rupee slide and hike in crude prices, the Civil Aviation Ministry of India will continue to press the state governments to reduce taxes on ATF. Industry leaders and experts expressed concern over the rising cost of operations of the airline industry, but cautioned it not to take ‘irrational steps’ like getting into a price war, as such a move would further impact their financial bottom-line. However, the airlines have already started taking steps to sustain during these tough times. Since air travel occupies a major portion of the Indian outbound and domestic travel packages, overall price of tours has gone up.

country instead of Europe or USA or even a luxurious domestic vacation.

On the other hand, to cope with the increasing tour package costs; travellers are either cutting short on their holiday duration, adjusting with their accommodation price or opting for an Asian

Meanwhile, the question is that how are travel agents gearing up for the big ‘What if ’ question? What kind of strategies are they opting to ensure sustainable business?

Rajeev Wagle

Nikhil Ganju

Managing Director Kuoni India

Country Manager – India, TripAdvisor

We haven’t seen any kind of changes/ cancellations as of now. It’s too early to predict anything

The overall holiday estimates remain healthy with 60% respondents still looking at taking between two to four holidays this year

Survey by TripAdvisor According to TripAdvisor’s Traveller Sentiment Survey, while inflation, falling rupee and high airfares seem to be primary factors impacting holiday budgets, 75% of those surveyed say that they are modifying holiday plans and

About 19 per cent respondents said they replaced their international holiday with a domestic one on account of the staggering fall in rupee value. This will give impetus to domestic tourism as domestic holidays show no detraction from travellers’ estimates for 2013 taken at the beginning of the year, indicating that domestic vacations stay stable. While 36 per cent respondents said their international holiday plans stood unchanged, 16 per cent picked a more economical foreign destination for their vacation than initially planned. Only 10 per cent respondents said they had cancelled their foreign holiday for this year altogether.

Unique strategies Considering the fluctuating falling rupee, Kuoni SOTC recently announced the launch of its holiday packages at ‘fixed exchange rate’ to desContd. on page 9 

Inside: TAAI Interview Change is the new challenge The TAAI Convention 2013 focusses on adapting to change, says Sampat Damani, Western Region Chairman, TAAI See full story on page 3 

‘Every agent needs remuneration’ NG Shankar, Treasurer, TAAI, talks about his expectations from the Convention in Bengaluru. See full story on page 4 

Connect, cooperate, collaborate The TAAI Managing Committee members call for a more proactive and evolved association. See full story on page 6 


INTERVIEW

TAAI DAILY 2013 – DAY 3

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Change is the new challenge: Damani The TAAI Convention 2013 focusses on adapting new technologies and upcoming market trends, says Sampat Damani, Western Region Chairman, TAAI. T T B U R E AU

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e it the ‘Growth through Evolution’ theme for 2007 in Chennai; ‘iNOW’ for 2008 in London; ‘Fittest will forge ahead’ for 2009 in Dubai; ‘Be a game changer’ for 2010 in Phuket; last year’s ‘Involve to Evolve – A New Beginning’ or the latest ‘Connect, Co-operate, Collaborate’; the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has always stressed upon the need for evolution and growth. It’s said that when all else comes unstuck, it becomes necessary to return back to the basics. That, in no uncertain terms, is the message TAAI is going to dissipate among its members during its 61st annual convention in Bengaluru. Too many new opportunities have come knocking for the travel agent to typecast himself as a bargain-bucket shopkeeper. Evolution, however, is not about momentary brilliance or excitable moments of affir-

Evolution is not about momentary brilliance or affirmation – it’s about the struggling moments, often waged against one’s own flawed culture Sampat Damani Western Region Chairman, TAAI

mation – it’s about the struggling moments, often waged against one’s own flawed culture. But TAAI is an association of determination and is thus, drilling the message of evolution, change and harnessing technology in the minds of its members over

the years, says Sampat Damani, Western Region Chairman, TAAI. India, as a tourist market is growing in every front – domestic, inbound and outbound. However, most agencies are focussing only on the outbound, whereas there is a lot Contd. on page 4 

Voice of Industry: TAAI TAAI as an association has worked consistently over the years to promote the interest of Indian travel trade. It not only preaches the message of evolution to its members, but has evolved itself to bring a revolution in the industry,

informs Damani. He said, “Everyday, travel agents are facing new challenges. It’s not the ‘survival of the fittest’ anymore, as there is need for a collective effort by all the service providers of the industry to work together for the success

of every player. Through its annual convention and business sessions, TAAI has effectively assisted its members with multiple solutions for the challenge they face.” The association has not only worked as a body to raise voice of the

industry against service providers (when needed) and appealed to the government for travel agents’ interests,but also acted as a responsible association for making the travel and tourism business more fruitful.


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INTERVIEW

TAAI DAILY 2013 – DAY 3

‘Every agent needs remuneration’

Growing on every front

NG Shankar, Treasurer, TAAI, talks about his expectations from the Convention in Bengaluru and why more clarity is needed in the service tax area.

of potential in the domestic and inbound markets. According to Manoj Sogani, Managing Committee Member, TAAI; India is a ‘value for money’ destination offering the best of hospitality across the world, thus proving the ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ verse true. He said, “Domestic tourism in India is growing in leaps and bounds. There’s no need to depend on just inbound or outbound tourism. With the strong spur in the middle-class segment, Indians are now travelling round-the-year and not just during summer-/Diwali vacations. Segments like religious tourism, medical tourism, heritage and cultural tourism, weddings and even MICE are showing immense potential.” To educate its members on services and products offered by various states in India, TAAI has now started working closely with a few states,

PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA How will the TAAI Convention help travel agents? Every convention helps one to nurture and share one’s knowledge. The TAAI Convention helps bring every category of membership – hotels, NTOs, airlines and travel agents – together. This year, we have taken a conscious decision to hold the ITTE exhibition during Day 2 and Day 3 of the convention, so that this allows for better networking facilities.

What are your expectations from the convention?

We want maximum mileage to market the product. We want better networking and connect with people from all sectors of the tourism industry. We want to make sure that the business sessions are relevant to the representatives of the industry. We hope to increase the knowledge and expertise of our members in their line of business and increase overall awareness.

Any policy initiatives that you would suggest? We want more clarity in the multiple service tax areas for various sectors, be it for airlines, car rentals, hotels, and coach companies. For example; for airline tickets, tax is being levied by the airlines, the airport authorities and the agents, we just need to streamline this, so that the interest of

the client is also taken into consideration. Also, a point that we have been stressing on for long is that tourism has to be recognised as an industry. This is our key concern that will help streamline things for representatives of the travel and tourism industry. NG Shankar Treasurer TAAI

We want maximum mileage to market the product. We want better networking and to connect with people from all sectors of the tourism industry.

Will we get commission back in 2014? Commission is the component payable to the agent – every single agent needs to be remunerated. The fares should include the remuneration payable to the authorised agent. If this remuneration is not fixed, the customer may be misguided as different agents may charge customers differently for their services. Commission should be collected as part of the fare. It should be a component of the fare collected from the passenger. These are testing times, and as an industry we need to collaborate, connect and co-operate.

 Contd. from page 3

Fast Fact N TAAI has now started working closely with a few states, and organising tours for its member agents

Manoj Sogani Managing Committee Member TAAI

Domestic tourism in India is growing with leaps and bounds. There’s no need to depend on just inbound or outbound tourism organising educational tours for its member agents. This not only helps the participants to experience the product first-hand but also gives an opportunity to meet the suppliers directly, and network with them.


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ASSOCIATIONS

Connect, cooperate, collaborate for a cause As TAAI matures and grows stronger, and celebrates its 61 st Convention in Bengaluru, the Managing Committee members call for a more proactive and evolved association to tackle ongoing challenges. M E G H A PAU L

Pazhani Murugesan

Harmandeep Singh Anand

Manoj Sogani

The activities that TAAI would love to focus would be allied services, which includes passport services, visa services, better insurance services and tour operations. All the travel trade associations in India should come together and have dialogue with the representatives of the airlines to reinstate the desired level of commission to the travel agents’ fraternity. The surge of the Indian rupee did have an adverse effect on the cost of travel products, but the curve has to move up now. The industry should focus on knowledge-intensive service activities in conjunction with external or internal experts. Innovative and creative ideas emerge out of young fresh minds under the guidance of experts. So it’s essential to connect with customers both internal and external to deliver value and trust.

‘Connect, CoOperate and Collaborate’ is an apt theme for the current convention in Bengaluru. So I expect to connect with new business opportunity options and service providers and co-operate with our current business partners like the airlines and related services to reestablish old relationships. Finally I will look forward to collaborating with our principals and network with the trade to see what the future has in store for the travel industry. Going forward, TAAI needs to educate the members and show them new ways to earn revenues and in particular promote the airlines and products that are agent-friendly. Domestic air ticketing has been the bread and butter for majority of our agents.

TAAI convention is one of the most awaited and appreciated events in the travel trade fraternity. In fact, the theme aims to attract more people in the form of our own agents, to give more benefits to their customers via better rates, knowledge and superb services. Also, we need to cooperate and collaborate to fight for our rights, specially agency commission and weekly payments. There may be difference of opinion among the leaders of various associations but it is time to fight like a joint mission. In cases like legal matters, our collaboration will help to reduce the exorbitant counsel fee burden.

Amarjit Singh Gujral Co-operation of our inter-connected industries starting from our counters, taxis, hotels, airlines, etc is of utmost importance. The time calls for specialisation and more collaboration. Right from the first call of our esteemed client, the whole team puts their brains together to work out the best itinerary, keeping in view all the relevant factors of cost, short routes, leisure, food of his/her choice, etc. Starting from the ground staff of our agencies, to the airlines working round the clock to connect the vast services in the travel industry with the help of our latest technologies, the industry needs to be connected all the time.


AVIATION

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Record year for Virgin Atlantic in India Virgin Atlantic India has had a record year, with large growth in capacity. As the share of market to London remains robust, the airline also sees many passengers choosing to fly onwards to US destinations. T T B U R E AU

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e have witnessed a strong demand in premium economy from India, with impressive growth last year from both Delhi and Mumbai, making us the market leader in this sector,” said Stephen King, General Manager, Virgin Atlantic India, “Our Mumbai route is doing extremely well since its launch and has stimulated the Premium Economy market. For example, the Mumbai-to-London market has grown by 67 per cent

Stephen King General Manager Virgin Atlantic India

We have two non-stop flights daily into India, making it the second biggest country we serve

since we launched our flights,” he said. With robust growth of routes from Mumbai to the US, the airline remains focussed in growing their market share. “We are currently focussed on Delhi and Mumbai, with connectivity from Tier-II cities through partnerships. However, we

will begin to take more fuel-efficient Boeing 787 aircraft next year, and it would present an opportunity for us to add additional services to India in the future,” he added. India is an extremely important market for Virgin Atlantic. "We have two non-

stop flights daily into India, making it the second biggest country we serve. Our strategic alliance with Delta Airlines has created an expanded trans-Atlantic network offering connections to more places in the US, via London Heathrow for customers originating in India.”

On their India routes, they have tailored the service to meet Indian passenger needs, and the biggest factor is offering an extra bag for free (two bags of 23 kg in Economy and three in Premium Economy). The airline works closely with the travel trade and a

large proportion of their business comes via travel agents in India. With the airline’s domestic flying service, Little Red, they added 26 domestic flights a day within the UK. The new schedule has been tailor-made to ensure great connectivity from Delhi and Mumbai.

Fast Fact N With robust growth of routes from Mumbai to the US, the airline remains focussed in growing their market share


AGENTS

Bonton Tours in Kolkata In India, the company has established offices in all the metropolitan cities of the country, besides offices in Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi, Hyderabad and Noida. T T B U R E AU

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company offering endto-end travel solutions for inbound and outbound tourism across all segments and with a global presence, Dubai-based Bonton Tours & Travels is concentrating on India in a big way. And to make its base stronger in the country, the leading multinational travel management company recently launched its Kolkata office. This comes on the back of its opening the Noida office and a much bigger office in Ahmedabad in the past four months. The company already has a wellestablished presence in the Middle East with two fullfledged destination management companies present in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, respectively. The company is also on the verge of opening an office in Bengaluru. The company will shortly be opening another office in Mumbai, where it is already present through its corporate headquarters. Presently, the

company has 19 offices across the country, which also includes franchisee outlets. The Kolkata office will cater to the needs of its corporate clients, B2B agents and retail clients while also

Avanish Sharma Managing Director Bonton Group

providing MICE services for corporate houses. Commenting on the opening of the Kolkata office, Avanish Sharma, Managing Director, Bonton Group said, “We have had exceptional support from

the travel agents’ community in this part of the country. Our investment in Kolkata is a logical extension of our vision and focus to provide local support to the fraternity and we believe that this move will further reinforce our promise for delivering unmatched customer experience.” Sharma also mentioned that the group is presently scanning options of opening destination management companies in other parts of the world. He added, “We are thankful to our friends and partners from East India. It is their encouragement and belief in our products and services that we are today in this position of opening offices in the region. To further strengthen our presence, we will shortly be opening offices in other key markets of the region, including Bhubaneswar and Guwahati.”

BRYS for weddings & MICE The company engages with its travel partners to ensure the partners know about its products. Also, the group is adding more B2B partners to its network as it expands. Mohan, Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand is another landmark in itself that the group has recently added, says Navneet Kaur Bhadla, Managing Director, BRYS Group. It’s built with a fusion of ancient art and modern architecture to lure the uberluxury market with its chic interiors in 37 caves.

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or the uninitiated, the BRYS Group has business interests in four distinct areas including real estate, medicare, advertising and hotels. It works very closely with its B2B travel partners. It engages with its travel partners to ensure the partners know about its products. In fact, the group is adding more partners to its network as it expands. The group owns its flagship Hotel, BRYS Fort in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. The hotel reminds travelers of the bygone era, where the king resided in forts and palaces in luxury and style. With 48 keys, it has already added 42 more rooms, which also includes suites in a new wing at the

Navneet Kaur Bhadla Managing Director BRYS Group

property. These suites will offer super luxurious experience. The Jaisalmer Hotel has seen major movement through the inbound market and we have most of the countries doing business with us, be it UK, US, France, Germany. The group is also looking forward to host weddings and tap the MICE segment more rigorously. The newly-introduced BRYS Caves, on the hill-top of

The exterior of the property have been designed in such a way that it keeps visitors away from the usual building designs and yet providing all the comfort. It is a destination itself with amenities that include swimming pool, gym, extensive spa, a 5D theatre at the Hotel, a Joy Trail Train on track, kids’ play area and two conference halls. Further, BRYS Elan is coming up at Sahibabad to cater the MICE segment. Having made its presence felt substantial in the leisure segment, BRYS Elan clearly expands the group’s horizons. This property targets both domestic and inbound market, banqueting and conferencing with 56 rooms.


COVER STORY

Combating challenges  Contd. from Page 1

tinations like Malaysia and Singapore. The interesting aspect of these packages are: It’s for a South-East Asian country (means airfares are

Tour companies are now pitching certain destinations to their clients where the local currency’s fall is comparable to that of the rupee, so that the impact is not felt by

preparing for worse circumstances. He said, “India is a very interesting market with unique customer behaviour. We haven’t seen any kind of changes/ cancellations

Fool-proof plan for recession ☛ Avoid pricing wars: When demand becomes inelastic, it is the pricing strategy that must change. If firms try to use price to increase sales, competitors respond and price wars break out.

☛ Offer both high- and budget-value offerings: One of the most effective tools to deploy in tough times is lower-price, lower-value ‘flanking’ products.

☛ Focus on creative pricing power: Think about both the demand-side and the supply-side elements of pricing. Travel firms have to convince customers that their products are worth the price.

☛ If you've been giving products and services away, it will be hard to charge for them again when the recession ends: Remember, if your product or service carries a benefit, it is worth charging for, even during a recession.

lower and currency exchange rate is better than euro or dollar) and secondly, the fixed rate currency exchange allows travellers to book without bothering about the fluctuat-

the traveller. For instance, apart from South Asian destinations which have a ‘comfortable’ exchange rate as compared to Europe and US, companies are also promot-

ing currency rate. On the other hand, Cox & Kings launched their winter packages with lucky-draw offer for 100 customers to win a car/bike/free holiday/smart phones/ home appliances, etc.

ing destinations like Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Turkey and Mexico. According to Rajeev Wagle, MD, Kuoni India; it’s too early to comment on this issue, but it’s a good thing for

as of now as it’s too early to predict anything. However, we have introduced a few interesting and attractive packages for customers who are planning their dream holiday, but are worried about the falling rupee.” When asked about what kind of strategies a travel company can adopt during such challenging times, Wagle said, “Travel companies should work on more budget packages for the booming middle-class travellers. This is the segment in India which is growing at the fastest rate for tourism. Also, they should try to build in more transparent pricing and finally, never compromise on quality and service. These are the challenging times when you can build life-long loyal customer base with your service, pricing model and knowledge.”

India’s 1st Ritz-Carlton in Bengaluru  The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., has officially opened the doors of its first hotel in India. Located on Residency Road in the heart of downtown Bangalore, the hotel is part of a destination renowned for its world-class shopping, dining and entertainment. Bengaluru is India’s third largest city and best known as the Silicon Valley of India, though vast expanses of lush greenery have also earned it the name of The Garden City. Bengaluru is home to 400 of the Top Fortune 500 companies and is the fastest growing major metropolis in India. The city also enjoys a rich cultural heritage with a thriving theatre and arts scene. The 277 room contemporary Ritz-Carlton hotel embraces tradition with the Jaali (lattice

screen) design from the Mughal era and many

architectural and interior design features, including pointed archways and ample white marble reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. “We are redefining the international standard for luxury hospitality in India with a truly unique property in Bangalore,”

said Herve Humler, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. “The hotel will bring our Ritz-Carlton service philosophy to life in this magical country, and blend it with traditional Indian hospitality to create memorable experiences for our guests. Our first hotel in India underlines our commitment to the Indian people who have long been supporters of our hotels overseas” Humler added.


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AGENTS

TAAI DAILY 2013 – DAY 3

Progressing towards strategic expansion To introduce niche and focussed products for target audience, TrawellTag Cover More aims to further grow the travel insurance market in India in the coming years. T T B U R E AU

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ne of India’s leading travel assistance company – TrawellTag Cover More is in the process of introducing a variety of travel insurance products suitable for each type of traveller. The company, which recently partnered with Australia-based Cover More, currently offers valuable travel and medical assistance services which includes Travel and Global assistance, 24X7 worldwide medical assistance, telephone medical information, medical service provider referral, personal health manager, concierge assistance, pre-trip information services,

weather and exchange rate information, family protection back home etc. In addition to the comprehensive medical coverage, the customer will benefit from unique and exclusive cover for adventure sports, car rental excess, overseas supplier insolvency and trip cancellation. Moreover, luggage tracking and retrieval of baggage at destination with ease is one of the many other services offered by the company. Talking about the product-line, Dev Karvat, MD, TrawellTag Cover More said, “We intend to build our brand and product line in strategic manner. To start with, we will

ITQ renews contract with Via.com  InterGlobe Technology Quotient (ITQ) through Calleo Distribution Technologies recently announced the renewal of its multi-year contract with Via.com. Travelport’s global distribution system (GDS) powers Via.com’s portal. Sandeep Dwivedi, Chief Commercial Officer at InterGlobe Technology Quotient, added, “ITQ is proud to be part of Via.com’s success story where they have been instrumental in revolutionising the Indian travel industry.” Swaminathan, Chief Executive Officer, Via.com said, “Our partnership with ITQ has provided customers of Via.com with consistent 24X7 access to inventories and air fares.”

We intend to build our brand and product line in a strategic manner. To start with, we will introduce travel insurance products which are specifically targeted to niche travellers, products which are currently not available in the market Dev Karvat Managing Director, TrawellTag Cover More

introduce travel insurance products which are specifically targeted to niche travellers, products which are currently not available in the

market. For example – adventure travel insurance, not offered by any travel insurance provider at present. Next is, educating travel

agent about such products through training, roadshows, seminars, etc. For the same, we have developed Travel Agent Engagement Programme which has kickstarted since November 2013 and will continue in 15-18 cities across India by mid-2014.” Adding further, he said, “Our travel insurance product is one of its kinds in India which gives the freedom to customise insurance cover for leisure, business or study. In addition to the comprehensive medical coverage, the customer will also benefit from unique and exclusive cover for adventure sports, car rental excess and over-

seas supplier insolvency and trip cancellation services.” Moving ahead, the company is also in the process of introducing global mobile sim cards with attractive calling rates, internet plans and even a few travel applications. Karvat said, “We will be introducing the global sim service by March 2014 which is right before the peak outbound season for India. This SIM card will be available for use in 175 countries to call India and across the globe at cheaper rates. Also, with attractive mobile internet plans, our customers will have better access to local information and updates.”

Celebrations leverages Bollywood The company stays above competition by helping its clients market their destinations by leveraging its presence through several Bollywood projects. T T B U R E AU

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elebrations has carved a niche for itself, providing marketing consultancy and representation to tourism boards around the world. It has its main offices in USA and India and regional managers in UK, China, Germany and Dubai to serve the unique needs of its clients in most flexible manner.

“We started with Polish Tourist Organisation in 2006, Saxony Tourism in 2008, launched Jordan Tourism in 2009 and Zagreb Tourism in 2012. We continue to represent Poland, Saxony and Zagreb. The team at Celebrations pools in a wealth of knowledge,

skills, resources, networking and all the necessary connections to ensure sustainable growth of its clients,” said Ashish Sharma, Vice President & COO, Celebrations. India has become a major source market for the entire world. Here, Celebrations concentrate on introducing new and lesser known areas to the Indian industry since the demand for new destinations is always on the rise. Moreover, their clients also get advantage of leveraging the Bollywood connect. “Celebrations promote destinations with the Indian film and entertainment industry. We take pride in keeping an edge

Because of our Bollywood connection, we can easily target the right filmmakers by ensuring that the story of the film is in line with the destination

above competition and in identifying genuine and rewarding projects. Every destination looks towards benefiting from the Indian film industry, but most are lost in this highly confusing

appropriately bring economic benefits to our clients,” said Sharma.

“The biggest advantage for any tourism ministry to trust Celebrations is the compound benefit derived from its global operations and expertise in sustainable marketing of responsible Ashish Sharma tourism. An associVice President & COO ation with us Celebrations stretches beyond our activities in worldwide markets, and disintegrated industry. where our team of Because of our Bollywood dedicated professionals connection, we can easily identify the right target the right filmmakers mix between the product by ensuring that the story and the customers,” of the film is in line with he added. the destination and will


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STATES


HOTELS

Leisure & Business The latest international hotel brand with contemporary and chic design, IHG’s Crowne Plaza Kochi has the largest room inventory in Kerala with 269 rooms, says the GM. TT B UREAU

great events right from Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to World Economic Forum confirmed with us. Also with IATO happening in Kochi, we are really looking forward to welcome our key trade partners and offer great experi-

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usiness and leisure travellers in India are seeking a hotel with a brand name they can trust, that caters to their specific needs and delivers a great stay every time. That’s what Crowne Plaza Kochi promises. The latest international hotel brand with contemporary and chic design, IHG’s Crowne Plaza Kochi has the largest room inventory in the state of Kerala with 269 rooms, claims Sanjay Kaushik, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Kochi. Approximately 45 minutes’ drive from Cochin International Airport, it is strategically located on NH-47 Bypass with a beautiful view of straddling backwaters and coconut groves. According to Kaushik, Crowne Plaza Kochi has helped in the evolution of Kochi’s hospitality landscape

Sanjay Kaushik General Manager Crowne Plaza Kochi

along with boosting the brand positioning of IHG in the region. With the launch of two brand defining properties within a span of 18 months, namely the Crowne Plaza Kochi and Holiday Inn Cochin, IHG has established a lead in the Kochi region. Both the hotels are leveraging on their scale of having a combined inventory of 480 rooms plus state-of-the-art convention facilities. “We have had some

The property offers one of the largest meeting space area of 24,110 square feet in the region ence to them. Crowne Plaza is globally a strong brand. My key responsibility is to strengthen the IHG presence in the region through Crowne Plaza Kochi,” he affirms.

A Biz hotel for Panjim Being located in Panjim, the capital of Goa; Country Inn & Suites By Carlson has created a niche for itself as the leading mid-market business hotel. TT B UREAU

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eing located in Panjim, the capital of Goa; Country Inn & Suites By Carlson has created a niche for itself as the leading midmarket business hotel. Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Goa Panjim is the newest property of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group to have been unveiled in Goa. The property is betting big on the state’s booming hospitality market. The hotel, which was unveiled in the first week of June this year, is already witnessing a good mix of leisure and business clientele. According to Manveer Kapoor, General Manager, Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Goa Panjim; the hotel will cash in on its strategic position. “Being located in Panjim, the capital of Goa, we have created a niche for ourselves as the leading mid-market business hotel. Our close proximity to the airport and the business hubs of Goa (Verna and Pernem) has proved advantageous,” he says.

The occupancy at the hotel has been steadily growing in the last few months. “We have been doing 50 per

Manveer Kapoor General Manager, Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Goa Panjim

cent plus and all indicators show an upward growth. Goa itself is growing and even the charter business this year looks more promising than before,” the GM confirms. On whether the recent influx of hotels in the region is affecting the ARRs of the hotel, he adds, “Goa has seen an influx of hotels and will

keep on seeing this trend. With the increase in competition, the ARRs are affected slightly, but not as adversely as expected. More than the increase in the supply hotels, it is the increase in airfares that hurts the ARRs. Currently, the property has an ARR of 4,000.” To attract corporate and MICE traffic, the hotel has a state-of-the-art boardroom for 2-12 people, with built-in video conferencing facilities. This is matched with a chic business centre. The ballroom, with a pre-function area, is ideal for conferences and gatherings of up to 150 people. Also, the hotel provides free WiFi connection to all inhouse guests.”


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NEWS

TAAI DAILY 2013 – DAY 3

Learning tourism the TMI way

In the lap of luxury  Best Western Premier Vedic Village Spa Resort offers seamless fusion between five-star amenities and an ethnic ambience. It is amongst the select 125 Premier Hotels of Best Western and the first one in India. A NABH-accredited medical spa resort which rivals the

world’s finest, it offers the largest range of health, wellness and fitness facilities through a range of Ayurveda, Natural Wellness and feel-good therapies and rituals. Supervised by highly-qualified doctors, Sanjeeva Spa offers residential packages as well as customised treatments. The resort, located in the Rajarhat New Town area of Kolkata, is a convenient 25-minute drive from the Kolkata International Airport and 50-minute away from the city centre. The spa-resort, which rivals the world’s finest in luxury and holistic wellness, has

earned its reputation as one of the best, offering seamless fusion between five-star amenities and an ethnic ambience. The international standard infrastructure of the resort facilities represents luxurious comfort for individual holiday makers and corporate guests. The residential corporate conferencing and banqueting facilities are amongst the best available. Endowed with 250-plus rooms, 6 conference halls and the upcoming Convention Centre (70000 sq ft), VDen (lounge / nightclub and gaming zone), Vedic Vibration Zone etc, the resort is the best facility for organising Theme Weddings as far as Eastern India is concerned. Vedic Village is used extensively by Corporate Houses for both residential programmes and day conferences. The conference rooms have a seating capacity ranging from 30 to 200 participants. There is a wide range of break-out spaces during conferences. For corporate executive, theme nights can be arranged to help them relax after a hard day’s work or they can just relax in a serene environment and soak in the village ambience.

Since its inception in 2002, TMI Academy of Travel Tourism & Aviation Studies is meeting the needs of professional education in the field of travel and tourism in the country. TT B U R E AU

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tarted in the year 2002, TMI Academy of Travel, Tourism & Aviation Studies is one of the upcoming centres for excellence

Kuku S. Kumar Managing Director, TMI Academy of Travel, Tourism and Aviation Studies

in tourism education. The academy has been set up to meet the needs of professional education in the field of travel and tourism in the country. Both qualitative and quantitative tourism will require trained tourism professionals to equip various information centres, airports, airline

companies, travel agencies, tour operators and event management groups, etc. Talking about the milestones achieved by this academy, Kuku S. Kumar, Managing Director, TMI Academy of Travel, Tourism and Aviation Studies informs, “TMI Academy has taken a lead in professionalising the human resource for vast and rapidly expanding travel and tourism industry with full commitment for co-relating tourism education with employment. TMI has been successful in its short term of 11 years to be able to find employment for more than 12,000 individuals. The company offers different training programmes based on simulation technique that is the students are taught not just theory but also provided with realistic exposure related to these programmes.” These programmes are geared towards enabling individuals in the field of tourism and hospitality to excel in their professional roles, thereby contribut-

Make way for 24x7booking.com Gateway IT & Travel Solutions, a Bangalore-based IT services company, has launched its online travel portal www.24x7booking.com. T T B U R E AU

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global travel portal, 24x7booking.com offers end-to-end, round-the-clock travel services to business and leisure travellers. The product offering includes booking of domestic and international air tickets, bus and car tickets, hotels and holidays, and even movie tickets. In an industry first, it offers never-before applications such as a Social Seating Platform, a Destination Guide Mobile App and more. The Social Seating Platform service is ideal for frequent travellers for business purposes and networking. It allows airline passengers to choose seatmates based on their interests and social network profiles, hence providing an elegant, savvy way

to meet new and like-minded co-passengers. The Destination Guide Mobile App is possibly the only travel app a traveller would ever need. It allows them not only to carry their e-tickets and hotel vouchers on their smartphone, but also guides them on destination weather, restaurants, local events, maps, cab numbers, exclusive offers and lot more. All of this real time! For instance, if the traveller lands at Dubai airport, the app will prompt him on what all deals are going on within the airport, where the nearby restaurants are and so on. A committed customer services team and a host of other revolutionary product offerings is what gives 24x7booking.com its competitive edge in the travel ecommerce space. “We know that in a price sensitive market like India, the differentiator has to be

noticeable difference in traveller experience,” elaborates Raja Natesan, President and CEO, 24x7booking.com.

Raja Natesan President and CEO 24x7booking.com

In an industry first, it offers never-before applications such as a Social Seating Platform, a Destination Guide Mobile App and more unique and provide something significantly new. Our core offering is innovation through technology - which empowers travellers with more control and leads to a

While the portal offers travellers a unique experience while planning their journeys, on the backend, its robotic 24x7Genie searches through a live inventory of over 800 domestic and international carriers from across the world and over 75,000 hotels to get travellers the perfect fit for their travel needs. Providing an industry perspective, 24x7booking.com Chairman and Founder Sidharthan says, “The Indian online travel market is one of the fastest growing travel markets in the world and India’s IT development is one of the key reasons behind this boost. This $25 billion industry contributes to about 70% of all the ecommerce activities in India. For us at Gateway IT and Travel Solutions, 24x7booking.com is a natural extension of our capabilities – our experience of the travel ecommerce industry, our IT expertise and our unique insights into the online ecommerce consumer.”

TMI has been successful in its short term of 11 years to be able to find employment for more than 12,000 individuals ing positively towards organisational efficiency and profitability, she adds. Looking at the growth in the industry and the ever-growing demand for trained personnel in the industry, coupled with the eagerness of the aspirants for the same, TMI is expanding its horizon to take it to an all India level. “With the opening of 11 branches pan-India, we intend to cover the entire North, South, East and Western regions,” she reveals.

Oberoi launches Trident Hyderabad  The Oberoi Group recently launched Trident, Hyderabad in the HITECH City. The property features 323 rooms and suites along with extensive conference and banquet facilities. The dining options at Trident,

include Spa, Yoga room, Fitness centre and a swimming pool. PRS Oberoi, Executive Chairman of The Oberoi Group said, “Over the years we have added hotels at various locations in

Hyderabad include Amara, an all-day dining restaurant offering world cuisine, Kanak, the Indian restaurant which serves the Indian cuisine with a strong regional influence from Hyderabad, Tuscany is the Italian restaurant and offers a display kitchen with a wood fired pizza oven and a wine tasting room and Ninety Six, the bar. Leisure facilities

India and overseas which have become industry benchmarks. Hyderabad has emerged as a significant business destination and Trident, Hyderabad has been created with the discerning business traveller in mind. This hotel is a testimony of our vision for the “Trident” brand and its standards of excellence.”


16 TRAVTALK

HOTELS

TAAI DAILY 2013 – DAY 3

First Fairfield in Asia for mid-segment The 148-room Fairfield Bengaluru is the first Fairfield by Marriott in Asia. With 12 hotels signed in India and additional properties signed in Nepal and Indonesia, the mid-priced brand represents an excellent opportunity for Marriott to move into new locations and markets. T T B U R E AU

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ith the opening of its first Fairfield in Asia in Bengaluru, international hotel chain Marriott has expanded its brand offering here. Considered a growth engine for the company’s expansion in Asia with 12 hotels signed in India and additional properties signed in Nepal and Indonesia, Fairfield represents an excellent opportunity for Marriott to move into new locations and markets. Marriott offers nearly 20 brands globally with eight in Asia Pacific. The addition of the Fairfield brand to this area has enhanced the company’s ability to meet the increasing

demands for international moderate tier brands. Talking about the new development, Don Cleary, COO-Asia, Marriott International pointed out, “As we see millions of people entering the middle classes across India and Asia, the Fairfield product represents excellent value for transient travellers as the entry price point into the Marriott portfolio. The timing is right and the market is primed for a brand like Fairfield. The brand has a long history in service and offers innovative design at an affordable price, which when combined gives us a huge strategic advantage in many markets across the region.”

The hotel which is five minutes away from the Bengaluru city station will be targetting 85 per cent business travellers and 15 per cent leisure travellers. Throwing more light on the Bengaluru property, Pranay Verdia, GM, Fairfield by Marriott, Bengaluru Rajajinagar elaborated, “The Fairfield Bengaluru is a 148room property with a threemeal-a-day restaurant, Kava. We have currently opened with 125 rooms. The rest of the rooms would be ready in the next two weeks. In addition, the hotel has a functional lobby with a bar lounge and 24/7 market for drinks and snacks; ample banquet and meeting room space with

modern technology, a wellequipped business centre as well as a fitness centre and a rooftop pool.” According to the GM, the property is already attracting room nights from the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC). Regarding the ARR of the property, he added, “The ARR commanded by the budget category segment hotel players is 5000. We will start with an ADR of 4700.” Marriott is also banking on partnering model in India. For its India foray, Marriott has partnered with SAMHI, a hotel investment and development firm, to develop few properties.

Don Cleary

Pranay Verdia

COO-Asia Marriott International

GM, Fairfield by Marriott Bengaluru Rajajinagar

The brand has a long history in service and offers innovative design at an affordable price, which gives us a strategic advantage in many markets

The ARR commanded by the budget category segment hotel players is 5000. We will start with an ADR of 4700

It’s all about the location In the heart of business With the debut of JW Marriott in Bengaluru, JW Marriott Located in the industrial hub of the city, Radisson Blu Hotels & Resorts now has five hotels in India. Other Hotel Haridwar witnesses a healthy ratio of 75 per cent locations include Chandigarh, Mumbai and Pune. business visitors and 25 per cent of leisure visitors. M E G H A PAU L

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ver the next five years, Bengaluru is expected to witness the highest number of new hotel rooms in the country, of which 75 per cent is under active development. Adding to the inventory is Marriott Hotels & Resorts, which launched its first JW hotel in the city in the last week of September. With a 297-room hotel, built at a cost of ` 750 crore by The Advantage Raheja Group, the group has now positioned itself well across several brands in the city. The US hotel chain marked its entry into Bengaluru this year. The first Marriott hotel with 344 rooms was opened at Whitefield in February. Now the group has unveiled JW and Fairfield as well. Currently, there are three operational properties of the group in Bengaluru. Talking more about the JW property, Parul Thakur,

Parul Thakur General Manager JW Marriott Bengaluru

We aim to tap around 70 per cent business travellers, 25 per cent MICE and 5 per cent leisure travellers General Manager, JW Marriott Bengaluru says, “The 5-star property features 297 rooms and suites, including a Presidential Suite. The JW Marriott here offers one of the city’s largest

MICE facilities as well. It features more than 10,500 square feet of meeting space with the largest ceiling in the city, catering to a variety of meetings and events, from small scale board meetings to global conferences. JW Marriott Bengaluru also offers an array of six dining options.” As of now, the hotel has opened its public spaces along with 110 rooms. The hotel is betting big on its strategic location. According to the GM, it is the USP of the property. “We are located in the central business district opposite Cubbon Park. Our rooms overlook Cubbon Park and UB City. Thus, we aim to tap around 70 per cent business travellers, 25 per cent MICE and five per cent leisure travellers.” The best available rates or introductory rates for the property are ` 13,500.

Highlights N The US hotel chain marked its entry into Bengaluru this year N The first Marriott hotel with 344 rooms was opened at Whitefield in February

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adisson Blu Hotel Haridwar, which is the first 5-star luxury hotel of the region started in 2011, has set many commendable benchmarks. It offers an

excellent experience of spirituality, adventure, luxury and business. As per the spokesperson, “The property witnesses a healthy ratio of 75 per cent business visitors and 25 per cent leisure visitors.” “We are located in the industrial hub of the city. Offering the most extensive hotel event and meeting facility in the region, Radisson Blu Hotel Haridwar is the perfect choice for conferences, weddings and social

functions. Wok 12 restaurant serves Pan-Asian cuisine. The interactive show kitchen adds to the aura of the restaurant. Our multi-cuisine restaurant Next2 remains open for 24 hours. It offers a superlative dining experience to food and

gatherings at the Radisson Blu Hotel Haridwar. It has been made possible through state of-the-art technology that meets the needs of any modern business visitor. “We have 4 boardrooms equipped with a range of amenities,”

wine connoisseurs. “Mints”, our tea lounge, offers a selection of the world-famous teas and coffees from around bakery and confectionery items. Our After 11 Bar, located adjacent to the lobby, offers a wide variety of liquor,” said spokesperson.

he added. On its marketing promotions strategy, he further said,

The fact that business visitors come in such large numbers, they surely have now got used to hosting their business meetings or small

“These days, B2B is one of the best tools for promotion to interact in the global market with your latest updates, promotions and offers. We also use electronic, social and print media.”


18 TRAVTALK

NEWS

TAAI DAILY 2013 – DAY 3

Karnataka bets on wildlife tourism The state is eyeing to tap the wildlife tourism segment by launching new innovative products, which were seen at the World Travel Market-2013. T T B U R E AU

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arnataka has always promoted its tourism industry on its heritage, culture and architecture. However, the World Travel Market 2013 witnessed the state pitching wildlife and adventure tourism for the first time. Some of the leading tour operators have hinted that wildlife could become the backbone of Karnataka’s future, and will be an ideal platform to expand its product portfolio, especially amongst foreign travellers.

Talking about new initiatives this year, Arvind Jadhav, Additional Chief Secretary, Tourism, Govt. of Karnataka said, “One of our key focus areas of this year was to push tie-ups with some of the leading organisations in world tourism. With the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), we are trying to host one of the immediate PATA Travel Marts and even offer many of our properties and destinations for smaller PATA meets. With the ITB, we are trying to look for training and development

The Karnataka Tourism delegation at WTM 2013

that can be imparted to the tourism trade in the State.” The state tourism department also launched the ‘Kenneth Anderson Trails’ brand, which will lure travellers who are interested in wildlife and nature trails. Kenneth Anderson is an Indian-born British gamehunter and writer who chronicled all his thrilling escapades in the jungles of South India. Jadhav said that Anderson is the perfect brand name to lure wildlife tourist to the state, “Almost every destination in a particular stretch, ranging from BR Hills to Malnad to Dandeli, has been explored

Arvind Jadhav with Martin Craigs, CEO-PATA

Encashing on MICE

We are trying to host one of the immediate PATA Travel Marts and even offer many of our properties and destinations for smaller PATA meets Arvind Jadhav Additional Chief Secretary (Tourism), Govt. of Karnataka by Kenneth Anderson and we had discussions with the Ecotourism Board to create these trails. Three have been identified and we are in the process of getting the required number of things to be set up in order to finalise the tour program.”

Meanwhile, the state tourism board also claimed that South India’s only luxury tourist train The Golden Chariot has received 50 per cent bookings at WTM for 2014 and 2015. After the first two years, the train has clocked a steady occupancy

rate of 40 per cent. The department claimed that tour operators from the UK, USA, Canada, Germany and even South America approached The Golden Chariot and bookings for up to 50% of the train’s capacity for the years 2014 and 2015 have been made. An increasing number of agents have shown interest to market the luxury train exclusively in their respective markets. Enquiries to charter the train trips and also for special events (incentives, marriages, conferences) aboard The Golden Chariot were also received.

Transitioning to Leisure

Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield has recently Earlier, Kochi was treated as a typical transit introduced attractive hotel deals for corporates, families destination. But now, it has evolved as an emerging and FIT guests. gives details. destination for leisure and MICE. TT B UREAU

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ocated next to Inorbit Mall, Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield is one of the most popular choices for business and leisure travellers in the IT city. Featuring 324 guest rooms, including 17 suites, the five-star property is positioned ideally for corporate and MICE events. For MICE, the property offers ten meeting rooms and 10,000 square feet of the total meeting space. Talking about the offerings, Matthew Cooper, General Manager at Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield said, “We present a one-stop destination for the

local and international residents of Bengaluru.” He also informed that The Grand Ballroom with

business. There is also an on call professional event management team ensuring every event meets and exceeds the guest’s expectations. To further enhance the experience, the property is also offering attractive packages and deals. For example, the property is offering a last minute weekend deal with nightly rates starting from Rs 8400 per night from December 27- 29, 2013.

Matthew Cooper General Manager Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield

maximum meeting space of 6,361 sq ft and maximum capacity of 800 pax is one of the biggest USP for the property to attract MICE

Cooper adds, “No matter why or where one travels, our goal is to create a complete guest experience that exceeds his/her expectations. Across all our brands, we invite people to experience the new look and feel of Marriott International. With 500 locations around the world, Marriott Hotels & Resorts is always there to help people balance work and relaxation in perfect harmony.”

the dependability on seasonal international leisure travelers. Consequently, it has helped the industry to have an equal mix of domestic and international, or business and leisure travellers.”

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ochi has emerged as a gateway to Kerala over the last five years. The hospitality industry has seen a major transformation from the city being dominated by local and regional players to the launch of almost all major global hospitality players. Talking about Kochi charting out its own track in the MICE map of the country, Shrestha says, “The growth in corporate and IT segment has increased tremendously, since most of the corporate giants have anchored in the

Raju Shrestha General Manager Holiday Inn Cochin

city with their corporate offices. This has boosted the hotel industry by reducing

The hotel offers one of the city’s highest inventories of 211 rooms in the heart of Cochin. Reveals the GM, “Holiday Inn Cochin is the first ISO-22000 certified international hotel brand for food safety standards. The property has five Food & Beverage award-winning outlets that provide a variety of options for the discerning business travellers. It is also the first hotel to engage tailored risk-mitigation solutions with security personnel trained by veteran commanders of the Israeli Defense Force.” He affirms, “The hotel is trading with a year-to-date occupancy of 47 per cent.”


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NOSTALGIA

TAAI DAILY 2013 – DAY 3

Networking in Turkey@TAAI Convention takes its readers back to its last convention organised in Istanbul, Turkey. TAAI had organised its diamond jubilee (60th) Indian Travel Congress, Convention & Exhibition at Hotel Green Park, Pendik in Istanbul. Over 1,500 delegates attended the event with great enthusiasm.

Vikramajit Chairman SanJeet Editor & Publisher Deepa Sethi Editor-in-Chief

Editorial Ratan Kr Paul Vivek Sethi Megha Paul Devika Jeet Anita Jain News-Editor Peden Doma Bhutia Desk-Editor Archana Sharma Sr. Sub-Editor Hritvick Sen

Marketing Gunjan Sabikhi Harshal Ashar Aarti Nagrath Karishma Khanna Manish Singh Shovan Kanungo Priyanshu Wankhade Amit Sarkar Gaganpreet Kaur Rishika Karra Elizabeth Rani

Design Nityanand Misra Sudhir Mudgal Vikas Mandotia Nitin Kumar Aarushi Agrawal Production Manager

Anil Kharbanda Circulation

Ashok Rana

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AGENTS

TAAI DAILY 2013 – DAY 3

TRAVTALK

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B2B network provides winning edge Considering business-to-business (B2B) relationship extremely important for growth of travel business, Mountain Edge promoters believe that it should be backed by an assured high standard of service. T T B U R E AU

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s per Prakash Kumar Raj, Managing Director, Mountain Edge Tours &

Prakash Kumar Raj Managing Director Mountain Edge Tours & Holidays

Many travel companies, around India and overseas, rely on us for fulfilling their business needs Holidays, the most treasured assets for a company are its B2B network and consistency

Etihad charts plans for India operations  Following the recent announcement of the approval of the 24 per cent investment in Jet Airways, Etihad Airways has commenced major expansion of its Indian operations. The initial flight increases by Etihad Airways take off first with Mumbai and New Delhi, with flights increasing from seven to 14 per week from December 9, 2013. The flights to Kochi will go double daily from June 2014, flights to the cities of Bengaluru and Chennai will increase from 7 to 14 flights per week in July 2014.

in quality of service delivery. “Mountain Edge, over the years, had served over 7,500 families and groups. We have consistently worked on sustaining and raising the bar in terms of service standards. As a result, the word-ofmouth publicity, through our guests’ feedback, has made

us a reputed brand. Many travel companies, around India and overseas, rely on us for fulfilling their business needs.” “Further, the B2B network is extremely important for growth of our business, backed by assured high standard of service delivery that

can be trusted every time. Here, travel expos and events are good platforms to interact with tour operators, travel agents for representing products, promote our destination and also get knowledge about other destinations so that we can expand our services and business,” he added.

Mountain Edge Tours & Holidays, a company based at Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, offers a broad spectrum of services that include honeymoon packages, special interest tours, escorted tours for groups and senior citizens, weekend trips, hotel reserva-

tions, car rental services, airline reservations and charter services to name a few. “All our package tours and programmes are designed thoroughly with safety measures that bring real enriching holiday experience,” said Raj.


24 TRAVTALK

TAAI DAILY 2013 – DAY 3

NTO

Yunnan calling Indian travellers Li Qianguo, Dy. Director China National Tourist Office, talks on the sidelines of China International Travel Mart 2013 about increasing Indian arrivals in China and how important the India market is for China. PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA

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hina National Tourism Administration (CNTA) is giving significant importance to the Indian tourism market as it is well aware that there is tremendous potential in this market. The tourism exchange and cooperation between India and China has been increasingly growing over the recent years. From January to July, 2013, the total visits from India to China were 399,400, registering an increase of 13.77% over the same period last year; the direct first-stop visits from mainland China to India were 85,000, increasing 11.3% over the same period as last year.

FROM

CHINA

Li Qianguo, Dy. Director China National Tourist Office, says that this momentum is very encouraging, especially in the face of the current global travel trends where the international arrivals increased only about 5% from January to July, 2013. The China International Travel Mart 2013 that was hosted at Kunming had a good number of Indian agents participating at the event. Talking about his expectations from the event, Qianguo says, “Through CITM 2013, we expect to build a lasting partnership between the Chinese and the

Indian tourism fraternity. I also hope that through this, we will be able to promote Yunnan destinations in the Indian market.” Upbeat about the increased Indian arrivals to China, in spite of the fall of the rupee, Qianguo hopes that next year will be even better than this year. “India is an important emerging source market for China. The increase in Indian arrivals has been very encouraging and we hope that there will be a continuous growth of Indian arrivals to China in 2014 as well. We hope to achieve a growth of above 5% next year,” he says. About CNTO’s attempt to woo Indian travellers to

Through CITM 2013, we expect to build a lasting partnership between the Chinese and the Indian tourism fraternity. We will be able to promote Yunnan destinations in India Li Qianguo Dy. Director, China National Tourist Office

China, he says, “We have many plans to further tap the Indian market. The CNTO office in Delhi will be hosting

events, including travel fairs, seminars and of course fam tours for the Indian travel trade community. We also

plan to come up with a new roadshow of China Tourism next year.” In September, CNTO had hosted roadshows in Delhi and Bengaluru in which tourism officials, executives and travel agents from different regions of China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Guangxi, Shaanxi etc were also present. About the new destinations that they are planning to promote, he says, “Besides the big cities of China, we will continuously promote medium and small size cities with well known attractions and modern tourist facilities, such as Dali and Lijiang in Yunnan, Dalian in Liaoning, Sanya in Hainan, Changsha in Hunan, etc.”

Bringing Japan & India closer Trends in global roaming The India-Japan Tourism Expo, to be held in Delhi from January 21-22, is a platform to encourage the interaction and exchange of information, communication and tie-ups between players of the travel sector from India and Japan.

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resource development, exchange of tour operators, investment in the tourism sector and exchange of information related to the tourism sector.”

The Japanese contingent will be represented by officials from Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA), Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO), Japan Travel Bureau (JTB), top Japanese travel & tour companies, Japan Airlines and the Japan Foundation. The Indian team, on the other hand, will be represented by the Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Ministries from the State Governments, Air India, IRCTC, luxury hotels and resort groups like the Oberoi, Taj, Leela, Lalit, Lemon Tree, Ananda Spa etc, as well as major travel and tour companies.

Tewari says that this gave him the idea to organise an event of this order. “The idea would be to exchange information about destinations in India which the Japanese tourists may not have focussed on earlier and are unaware of. Normally, the Japanese tourists who come to India, do the Buddhist circuit or the Golden Triangle, but Agra and Jaipur are not all what India is about. There are numerous destinations that are yet to be explored, so on this occasion I expect that the profile of some of the most magnificent destinations in India will be made more visible for the Japanese. The purpose is to bring them together, bridge the communication gap, market each other’s destinations, find out ways in which the infrastructure can be upgraded to meet the demands of the high-end tourists.”

T T B U R E AU he India-Japan Tourism Expo will witness participation of Japanese and Indian government officials, top Japanese and Indian travel and tour companies, airlines, hotels, tourism bodies and chambers of business. Aseem Tewari CEO, Avenues

Talking about the conception of the event, Aseem Tewari, the CEO of Avenues, that is organising the IJTE, says, “Japan has made tourism one of its major focus areas to generate revenue for its economy. Japan's Senior Vice-Minister of Tourism, Hiroshi Kajiyama was here in Delhi on February 2013. He met K Chiranjeevi, the Union Tourism Minister of India for Tourism, and the two ministers had made a statement and resolved to ramp up tourist traffic in India and Japan. It was decided that both countries will identify areas for working together and exploring new opportunities in the tourism sector, especially in the field of human

Tewari says that he is happy with the response that he has been getting so far and hopes that will promote dialogue and shrink the geographical distance.

Credit card misuse, the inability to control bill amount, and the lack of transparency are the pet peeves of customers opting for global roaming sims (Report by Roam1 research that covered 20,000 participants in 16 cities of India). TT B UREAU

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ith international roaming now a well-defined telecom sector, the preferences of customers are getting increasingly welldefined. “Gone are the days

Adds Gokul Tandon, Executive Chairman, Roam1, “We have conducted extensive research to understand the pulse of Indian consumers and adapted our products based on the findings. For example, we real-

Manpreet Singh

Gokul Tandon

CEO and Managing Director Roam1 Telecom

Executive Chairman Roam1 Telecom

when the travel agent handed the customers an international roaming sim and they went along with the recommendation without blinking an eyelid.

Today’s customers are value-conscious. They compare products. They question,” says Manpreet Singh, CEO and Managing Director, Roam1 Telecom.

ized that 80% of customers faced some kind of credit card misuse or billing glitch, wherein they were billed for a number that they had not used for 2 months, or the bill was an extremely high amount. To include transparency, Roam1 offers prepaid use and throw numbers for almost all destinations. After every call, the customer gets an alert on how much balance he is spending. Even when the customer opts for postpaid, we offer an itemised billing

with an option to view it online anytime.” “Another issue that the business customers face is the nuisance of having to share a new number each time they go abroad. To prevent this, we have designed two special products- The One Global Number and the Glocal Sim. The first one is meant especially for frequent business travellers. This is a lifetime valid permanent global number which they can share once and for all on their visiting cards. When they are in India, the calls on the Global number are conveniently routed free of charge to their Indian number. The second product, the Glocal Sim can add up to 53 local sims onto any existing roaming sim. So based on the country they frequently visit, they can choose to give local callers the advantage of calling them at local rates at nominal prices. Can you imagine how much this product can rev up a business?”, he said. Singh asserts with a proud smile, “We invest highly in our technology teams to create customised services based on ever-changing market needs. I don’t think any of the competition in market is as customer-centric as we are!”



TAAI Day 3 2013