Page 1


Pages: 84 (excluding 4 cover) + 16 pages supplement

Vol. XXIV No. 5; March 1 st fortnight issue 2012

` 50/-




Reality check on tourism

In a freewheeling interview, RH Khwaja, Secretary, MOT, GoI talks about budget issues affecting the travel trade and Ministry of Tourism’s current and upcoming projects. JUSTIN THOMAS


R H Khwaja, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, GoI

lanning commission has approved ` 1210 crore for the first year – April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013 – of 12th Five- Year Plan. This was confirmed by R H Khwaja, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, GoI in an interview with . In the current financial year, the original estimates were ` 1100 crore, which was reduced to ` 1050 crore in the Revised Estimates. “We will

achieve this target by the financial year end,” asserts Khwaja. On the sensitive issue of giving an industry status to Tourism, which has been in demand by associations and related bodies of the sector, Khwaja replied, “Tourism is not a manfacturing sector. An industry by definition is a manufacturing process. Tourism is a service sector, it is not an industry.” Though he admits that hotels and restaurants are an industry.

He further adds that “Already a number of incentives have been given to the tourism sector in the past five to ten years. For example, 100 percent FDI in the hotel industry is permitted. When operators of Adventure Tourism import equipments, they get tax exemptions on many items. Also, the rate of interest is low for anybody from the sector who goes for borrowing from financial instititutions.”

Khwaja speaks on ` 1,210 crore for FY 2012-13 Tourism is a service sector not a manufacturing industry Organising a Global Travel Mart to match the best in the world like ITB, WTM and Fitur Promoting cinema



Contd. on page 40

Budget 2012-13: Rationalise taxes The Union Budget is of critical significance for the Indian tourism and hospitality sector as the country’s 12th Five Year Plan is being drafted this year. voices industry demands... IATO FHRAI WTTCII We strongly recommend that tourism be brought in the Priority List and be allotted atleast ` 2500 crores in the plan outlay of the ensuing Union Budget so that efforts of the Ministry of Tourism for promotion of tourism are not disrupted. For last one decade, we have been demanding that tourism industry should be declared as export industry on the basis of their foreign exchange earning. Tourism should also be brought at par with other export industry and given all concessions and tax relief as are being given to other exporters from time to time.

In this 2012-13 budget, our industry shall get its infrastructure status and inclusion in the Infrastructure lending list of RBI. We are keeping our fingers crossed for the service tax on rooms and food to also be rolled back in this budget. The extension of Section 35AD of the Income Tax Act should also come in this budget to hotel management companies also, as per our Pre-budget memorandum.

In order to achieve the set target of attaining 11.24 million FTAs and 1451.46 million domestic tourists by the year 2017, suitable tax incentives and fiscal operating environment needs to be given to the Tourism Sector. The Industry needs to be given equal sops and benefits in the tax regime planned for the Union Budget 2012 and should be spanned over the next 5 years. Taxes levied on Tourism Industry should be unified, rationalised and made globally competitive. GST on Tourism should not be more than 8 per cent. Contd. on page 10


A fam trip to Egypt Aiming at making a successful and grand TAAI Convention with an innovative theme, attractive packages and additional post tours, TAAI has set a stage for its annual convention in Istanbul, Turkey. conference in Istanbul it being TAAI's Diamond Jubilee and 60th year of Indo Turkish cultural relations.



he forthcoming annual TAAI convention scheduled from March 11-14 in Istanbul is expected to strengthen the trade relations between Turkey and India. With close to 1000 delegates (expected figures

TAAI delegates get free Visas to Egypt The Egypt Tourism Board announced that Visa fees of ` 1,300 have been waived for the delegates of TAAI travelling on the fam trip The fam trip and airfare will be sponsored by Egypt Air

Iqbal Mulla President TAAI

by TAAI) from India and local sellers from Turkey, the convention will be an excellent platform to exchange tourism ideas and strategies. According to Iqbal Mulla, President, TAAI, its the best time to hold the

To pamper TAAI delegates from India, Turkey is offering free visas as a special offer which is not only reducing the cost but is also pleasing the TAAI members. Alongside, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Qatar and Etihad are also providing special offers. Furthermore, free visas were offered to TAAI delegates for a free pre and post fam to Egypt for maximum 30 passengers on twin sharing basis. Mulla said,

"This year, TAAI Convention will have more apt and robust business sessions; exciting pre and post fams, fruitful networking sessions and grand opening and closing ceremony to showcase our celebration mood. We look forward to enhance trade and tourism relations in both the countries with mutually beneficial strategies."

STATISTICS PWC-CII latest survey report


‘Hospitality insights: From the Indian CEOs’ desk’

High hopes


ith the annual budget around the corner, trade associations have actively started putting forward their wish list to both the Ministry of Tourism as well as the Ministry of Finance. Some of the demands have been in place for a long time with possibly little result.

India’s hospitality sector is expected to witness a high growth over the long-term as per the PwC-CII survey report titled ‘Hospitality insights: From the Indian CEOs’ desk’. More than 80 per cent of CEOs interviewed believed that India will not be affected by the economic downturn over the long run. Excerpts:

The Ministry of Tourism has identified certain key issues that need attention and mention in the budget. One of the longstanding requests from the travel trade is that their services be considered as deemed exports. They feel that all other products that bring in foreign exchange are considered exports, then why not the service sector? The only argument against such a theory is that while other sectors are manufacturing industries, tourism is a service sector. There is nothing tangible except a service that is being exported.

Key to sustainable growth

The year before last, the hotel industry had been accorded the benefits of income tax section 35 AD. This facility was available to all 2-star and above hotels. Indian Heritage Hotels Association has asked that they be extended the same benefit. While they do not construct new hotels, they argue that they invest exorbitant amounts of money for refurbishing their properties. Increase in demand has led to various hotels opting for expansions and want this expansion be covered under the scheme. The hotel industry has been asking that they be included to become a part of the infrastructure sector. The definition of infrastructure varies with time and will evolve as well. This request has been taken seriously with a committee constituted that will decide what is considered infrastructure. The industry demands of seamless travel within the country and rationalisation of road taxes are all state concerns and will not be addressed by the Union budget. Also the roll back of the service tax levied last year looks highly unlikely.

Vikramajit Chairman SanJeet Publisher Rupali Narasimhan Editorial Director Deepa Sethi Editor

Editorial Ratan Kr Paul Megha Paul Anita Jain Justin Thomas Desk-Editor Archana Sharma Sub-Editor Raina Mandal Divya Goyal Photographer Simran Kaur

Advertising Gunjan Sabikhi General Manager N. Sanjiba Singh Sr. Manager Marketing Karishma Khanna Sr. Manager Marketing Amit Sarkar Sr. Marketing Co-ordinator Advertising (Mumbai) Suchita Saran Branch Manager

• Converting


• Reducing en ergy costs • Managing manpower

A) Achieving operational synergies With the emergence of multi-location and multiformat strategies, an appropriate exploitation of synergies will be critical. Majority of respondents believe that to ensure consistency of service and fulfilment of brand promises, it is best to build synergies only across properties under the same brand or formats. However, less than 15% of the respondents also plan to avail synergies across different formats and locations. Almost 75% of the respondents consider procurement as a suitable function for centralisation. There is a belief that


costs to variable

costs • Decrease project costs

C) Cost management While improved cost management was a priority among the participants, creating employee engagement introduction of Goods and Service Tax (GST) will make it easier to avail synergies in procurement. Apart from procurement, respondents also saw IT, sales and marketing as suitable areas to derive synergies.

B) Building efficiencies While CEOs are putting in place strategies to expand,

they are taking initiatives to build efficiencies in their current operations. Better management of costs is at the top of the agenda. Almost half of the respondents said that improved cost management would be their primary imperative. The big ticket initiatives to reduce costs include the following:

and delivering high quality were also perceived as imperatives to deliver a unique experience to hotel guests. As per the survey results, energy conservation strategy, investing in right technology and training workforce have emerged as the top initiatives towards managing costs in the hospitality industry.

Summary of the report 1. The Indian hospitality sector is expected to witness high growth over the long term. 2. Domestic travel is expected to be the primary driver of the sector’s growth. High disposable income and the advent of better locations are driving this growth 3. Business travel and MICE are expected to be the possible growth segments 4. Evolution into a multi-location and multi-format player is emerging as the most

Harshal Ashar Deputy General Manager Advertising (South India) Vinu V Nair Regional Head-South India Advertisement Designers Vikas Mandotia Nitin Kumar Renuka Mahich Design: Nityanand Misra Sudhir Mudgal Production: Anil Kharbanda Circulation: Ashok Rana

TRAVTALK is a publication of Durga Das Publications Private Limited. All information in TRAVTALK is derived from sources, which we consider reliable and a sincere effort is made to report accurate information. It is passed on to our readers without any responsibility on our part. The publisher regret that he cannot accept liability for errors and omissions contained in this publication, however caused. Similarly, opinions/views expressed by third parties in abstract and/or in interviews are not necessarily shared by TRAVTALK. However, we wish to advice our readers that one or more recognised authorities may hold different views than those reported. Material used in this publication is intended for information purpose only. Readers are advised to seek specific

preferred strategy for in the sector 5. Maximum investments are expected to take place in Tier-I towns followed by Tier-II towns 6. Budget and mid-market segments have emerged as the most preferred investment categories 7. Managing costs better is on the top of the agenda for CEOs, in the operational effectiveness space. 8. Potential synergies in operations exist in multiple functions including IT, procurement and sales and marketing.

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9. The hospitality sector has unanimously voiced the need for gaining an ‘infrastructure status’ 10. Effective single window clearance for obtaining licences has been identified as a key sector requirement 11. Rationalisation of the number of tax levies and implementation of single tax regime will benefit the hospitality industry 12 Talent management is a major challenge for the sector.

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Now directly import jet fuel




Gateway to Tiger Tourism

In a decision taken by Group of Ministers on Civil Aviation, the Government has allowed domestic airlines to directly import jet fuel. T T B U R E AU


he initiative will come as a major relief since air turbine fuel prices in India are up to 40 per cent higher than those in the international market because of the high base price and even higher taxes, both at the national and state level. The Indian states levy sales tax on jet fuel, which varies from four to 30 per cent and the current move will help in cutting operating costs by saving as much as 30 percent in local taxes. Kingfisher Airlines, Jet Airways and SpiceJet, all posted losses in the three months to December 31 as jet fuel costs and competition eroded gains from the rising travel demand. This had forced the carriers demanding the right to import jet fuel directly. Importing the fuel will pose its own challenges like storages and logistics involved in moving the product from sea ports to consumption points at the airports. Civil Aviation Ministry has already informed the air-

Airports in Jamshedpur and Bokaro  Recently, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Government of Jharkhand have signed an MoU to build two airports in Jamshedpur and Bokaro. According to Arjun Munda, Chief Minister, Jharkhand, the work for survey of land for these airports has already started. This airport will promote air connectivity and will help in promoting economy of the state. VP Agrawal, Chairman, AAI, mentioned that the State Government will provide land to the AAI on priority so that after developing the airports, charter and regular flighst can start at the earliest. He also informed that initially the operation would start with ATR-72 aircraft initially and later on once the traffic is increased, operation of bigger aircraft would also start from these airports. Presently Jamshedpur is served by a small airport at Sonari and there was a long standing demand to have a fullfledged airport in the city.

lines to tie-up with suppliers for oil storage infrastructure.

Airlines wanting to import ATF would have to

apply to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) for an import licence. In the meeting of GoM, it was decided that the Ministry of Commerce may permit direct import of ATF by or on behalf of the Indian carriers as actual users and on actual use basis.

Friends of Tiger Country Central India (FTCCI) has been launched to endorse Nagpur as the gateway city to a tiger country and endorse central India as the tiger capital. FTCCI was initiated during the Wagh Utsav, jointly organised by Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED) and Cenin Travels. “FTCCI has been formed to bring together all the stakeholders of the tiger country together on one platform to better enable the development of the region and capitalise on the unique status of Nagpur as the gateway city to Tiger Country,� says Vilas Kale, CMD, Cenin Travels and FTCCI trustee.


‘Trade fairs are extremely effective’ International Tourism Bourse (ITB), an international tourism trade show in Berlin often branded as the think tank of the industry, will be held from March 7-11, 2012. Before the start of the event, David Ruetz, Head of ITB Berlin spoke to discussing industry trends and highlighting growth patterns for the following year. T T B U R E AU What, in your views, are the latest trends in the tourism industry? At present, we are seeing a new product marketing trend in the industry. Earlier, the most important question from the booking and a marketing point of view was, “Where are you travelling to?” Now the emphasis is on an individual holiday experience. From a marketing perspective, tour operators focus on a customer’s reasons for travelling. The bottom line question is, “What kind of holiday experience do you want?” Visits to attractions are still an important part of vacationing. However, custom travel packages which include meeting people at destinations are now more in demand. Do people have enough confidence in the world economy that they are willing to travel for leisure? UNWTO forecasts that in 2012, more than a billion people will be travelling abroad. Worldwide figures are expected to rise by 3-4 per cent, which globally speaking is a very good outlook. Naturally one has to distinguish between various regions and markets. The biggest growth will be in Asia, the prospects for which remain positive. When asked about their travel intentions for 2012, 32 per cent of the respondents said that they aim to travel more this year than in 2011, 37 per cent wanted to travelling as often, and only 19 per cent said they would travel less. These are the results of the IPK International trend analysis. Whereas the South American market is still buoyant, international arrivals in North America are expected to rise only slightly and the US travel abroad will be weak. Germans are as keen on travel as ever. Almost one in four Germans aim to travel more in 2012 than in 2011. In the present scenario, how are the other sectors of travel trade performing particularly, the MICE and the luxury segment?

Regarding the luxury segment, I can say that those people will always travel and request personalised services and unique experiences. As far as the meetings and events sector is concerned, a 2012 European survey by Carlson Wagon Lit Travel (CWT) has forecast cost per delegate figures. It estimates a drop between 5-6 per cent, as more and more conferences take place

David Ruetz Head ITB Berlin

locally instead of international venues. In Europe, the average participant numbers will stay the same or fall by 3 per cent. At the same time, the global demand for meetings is likely to rise. Many of our MICE exhibitors say that their customers are engaging in the meetings and events sector. The trends these findings reflect are a preference for local event venues, packed conference agendas and greater sustainability.

What is the future of the exhibitions industry in both near future and in the long term? Will technology really be able to replace the human interface? Trade fairs are extremely effective marketing instruments that offer excellent value for money. The costs of establishing customer contact at ITB Berlin are far below those of buyers’ business trips or organising roadshows. These contacts are of a higher quality as meetings take place between interested and wellprepared business partners in the presence of products being offered by the exhibitor and also by the representative

display of the industry. Every year, ITB Berlin attracts more number of decision-makers from abroad. Currently over 40 per cent of buyers are from foreign countries. As such, ITB Berlin not only boasts of the world’s most diverse and international range of exhibitors, but is also the event being visited mostly by visitors from abroad. In the light of these advantages and in terms of the value they offer, nothing can be better than face-to-face meetings at a trade fair. We use many of the possibilities offered by internet and social networking sites in order to improve our trade fair services. However, there is no substitute for faceto-face meetings at trade fairs.

How will the exhibitions industry evolve in order to keep up with the times? Trade fairs reflect the current market situation of any given sector. In recent times, there has been no serious change to trade fairs in Berlin as these events are always being adjusted to satisfy the latest market needs. Eight years ago, Messe Berlin was the first trade fair company worldwide to develop a virtual market place and make it available to the exhibitors and visitors. This communication instrument tailored to the needs of its trade fair partnerskeeping them in touch beyond the physical limits and time constraints of an actual trade fair-has proved to be an outstanding tool. In future, other communication instruments will become increasingly important. They must serve the aim of making it easier for the trade fair partners to acquire information, communicate and to do business. For example, over the last three years with its Blogger Summit, ITB has been successful in attracting a wide range of interested participants far beyond the circle of technology professionals. ITB Berlin also offers a mobile phone guide which guests can use as an easy navigation tool, for the Berlin Exhibition Grounds. It provides them with a map of the grounds, lists of exhibitors, conferences and events, as well as helpful information for their remaining stay in the capital.





Now, ‘4-Dham Yatra’ in 4 days Starting May 2012, New Delhi-based Heritage Aviation will introduce ‘4Din 4Dham Yatra’ packages for individual passengers and small groups by helicopter. T T B U R E AU


o make the helicopter services more affordable and ‘Char Dham Yatra’ faster, the company will introduce ‘4Din 4Dham Yatra’ packages starting May 2012. Starting ` 1.31 lakh per person, the passengers will get one night

Inclusions in ‘4Din 4Dham Yatra’ package Night halt accommodation at all points Cost of ‘Palki’ at Yamunotri All transfers at Gangotri and Badrinath VIP darshan Kedarnath



Special ‘Abhishek Puja’ slip at Badrinath Dinner and breakfast at all places

halt at each temple in addition to VIP darshan facility at all temples along with accommodation and major meals. Earlier available only on charter basis for groups, the company will now offer helicopter services on indi-

Chhattisgarh & Social Media  Chhattisgarh Tourism Board (CTB) is taking initiatives in a big way on social media to attract tourists to visit the state. As part of its digital strategy, CTB is marking its presence on digital and several social media platforms to engage with tourists and highlight the unexplored beauty and marvels of architecture of the state. Few months back with the vision to establish Chhattisgarh’s digital presence, CTB appointed Internet Moguls as its social media firm. The board has initiated a campaign tapping various social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and many more with the aim of highlighting the lesser known facts of Chhattisgarh. With regular updates and constant engagements, the board has been able to acquire considerable fans and followers on the social media platforms.

vidual basis. To increase the sales and market the product, the company is getting in touch with top tour operators for religious tours and pilgrimage tours in 4-Dham. Talking about the focus markets and trends in religious tourism in India,

Rohit Mathur, Director, Heritage Aviation said, “We are striving hard to make religious and pilgrimage tourism more comfortable and accessible to travellers from India and overseas. We receive maximum traffic on our daily services from Gupt Kashi to Kedarnath which

are priced at ` 7300 per person. However, with this new package, senior citizens, people with low mobility and elite travellers can visit 4-Dham in just four days which earlier used to take more than a week through road travel. We are focussing on markets

like Mumbai, Kolkata and Gujarat followed by Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. On international front, we will work closely with the travel agents from UK, US, South Africa, Canada and Dubai.” The company operates through a wide range of executive jets, turbo prop luxury aircraft and single and twin engine helicopter including

Rohit Mathur Director Heritage Aviation

B407 and Euro Chopper B3 offering services for maximum 19 passengers in one flight.




WTA Grand Final 2012

The Oberoi Gurgaon steals the WTA deal Despite being launched on April 12 last year, the hotel has added several India Shining on 12.12.12 feathers to its hat. Winning accolades all the way, the biggest vindication During WTM last year, came in November when the hotel took over the country with the Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister for Tourism highest occupancy and RevPAR for any city hotel in the country. announced the ‘Global Travel M E G H A PAU L

The Oberoi Gurgaon The ceremony will include regional legs in Dubai, the Algarve, South Africa, Miami and Thailand. At WTA the hotel was voted the ‘World’s Leading Luxury Hotel, 2011’ in Doha More than 300 leading travel and hotel representatives from across the world are expected to participate in the event The hotel recently organised a gathering of 50 top travel CEOs at Amaranta to educate the travel trade about our rich coastal cuisine

Awards ceremony would happen for the first time in the country.


he spotlight of the world’s travel industry will shine on India this December. The crème de la crème of the travel industry will be in India as The Oberoi Gurgaon would play host to the world’s biggest travel awards - World Travel Awards (WTA) Grand Final 2012 on December 12, 2012. The ceremony to be held in India for the first time will include regional legs in Dubai, the Algarve, South Africa, Miami and Thailand. The winners of the regional awards will progress to the finale in India. This comes as a followup to the recently concluded WTA where the hotel was

Executive Vice President The Oberoi Group

More than 300 leading travel and hotel representatives from across the world are expected to participate in the event.”

recently voted the ‘World’s Leading Luxury Hotel, 2011’ in Doha. Talking about the event, Kapil Chopra, Executive Vice President, The Oberoi Group says, “While India has hosted the Asia ceremony twice earlier, the Grand Final World

As it looks to strengthen its partnership with the Indian travel trade, the hotel recently organised a gathering of 50 top travel CEOs at Amaranta. “The idea is to educate the travel trade about our rich coastal cuisine. When people visit Delhi, they visit the

Kapil Chopra

Mart India’ that would be organised on 12.12.12. Addressing an ‘Incredible India evening’ at WTM, London, the Minister had said that the coming year would be the Year of India.

Subodh Kant Sahai Union Minister for Tourism

With the muchacclaimed World Travel Awards and the debut of the Global Travel Mart on the

same date, all eyes would be on India. The country will feature prominently in the travel map of the world.

Golden Triangle and experience the tradition. Hence, the idea is to let the travel trade industry know about our coastal food restaurant – Amaranta, which presents the rich culinary heritage of the coast in India,” Chopra states.

informs, “With the hotel opening its doors on April 12 last year, the biggest vindication came in November when the hotel took over the country with the highest occupancy and RevPAR for any city hotel in the country.” The hotel did 73 per cent occupancy at an ARR of ` 17,502 with a RevPAR of ` 12,888, making it the highest RevPAR for any hotel in India.”

Talking about the performance of the hotel, the Executive Vice President



BUDGET 2012-13

Contd. from page 1



Though tour operators are deemed exporters as service providers under the foreign trade policy, but they are not being treated at par with other exporters and they are not being extended the same exemptions which are given to the exporters.

Our recommendation of encompassing hotel management companies also under Section 35AD of the Income Tax Act is a step in the new development direction.

IATO has also been demanding abolition of service tax on the foreign exchange earning on the basis of exemption being given to the exporters, which has not been considered. Later, IATO requested for abatement of 90% on the package tours which is presently 75. It is requested that a separate category for “Inbound Tour Operators” earning foreign exchange and approved by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India service tax be exempted on the foreign exchange earning as is being given to exporters.

The gap between the demand and supply of hotel rooms across the country will slowly narrow down starting next financial year if our Kamlesh Barot pre-budget memorandums are President, FHRAI accepted suo motto and India shall be able to stand up to the competition on international room rates.

The ATF prices be further reduced by bringing down the custom duty. IATO also recommend that ATF should be declared as “Declared Goods” by the Central Government and uniform 4% Sales Tax on ATF is levied by all the States Governments. This will help in bringing down the airfares and make tourist packages more competitive. In the documents of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers which were released last year, we have found that that service tax and luxury tax have been considered under GST and we presume that this will avoid double taxation. However, the following vital issues, which are concerned to tourism and are not considered:i. Interstate Passenger tax, State Road Tax and Toll Tax are not covered - Therefore, our demand of Seamless travel and uniform road tax would not be possible if this is not covered under GST. ii. Petroleum products, crude oil, spirit Air Turbine Fuel (ATF) and High Speed Diesel (HSD) would be kept outside GST. iii. CENVAT credit for tourism is not clarified. - If no CENVAT credit is given, it will lead to multiple/double taxation. Therefore, 100% CENVAT credit is to be given.

The implementation of GST and DTC are still out of the Collation Government's budget aperture, our pre-budget memorandums have submissions on certain Direct and Indirect tax corrections.

HAI The Hospitality sector has to create additional infrastructure of about 1,70,000 hotel rooms in classified categories and 2,80,000 hotel rooms in unclassified categories. This require massive mobilisation of financial resources which is only possible if the long standNakul Anand ing demand of grant of President, Hotel Association Infrastructure industry status to of India and Chairman of the CII National Committee hotels under Section 80 IA/IB of on Tourism the Income Tax Act 1961 is announced in the forthcoming budget. GST introduction can be a welcome step towards the resolution of the Industry’s problems related to multiplicity of taxes and high rates of taxation.

WTTCII In order to achieve the set target of attaining 11.24 million FTAs and 1451.46 million domestic tourists by the year 2017, suitable tax incentives and fiscal operating environment needs to be given to the Tourism Sector. Inclusion of Hotels in the Infrastructure Lending List of RBI will give a higher debt equity ratio of up to 4:1 (instead of 1.5:1 at present.

Vikram Madhok Chairperson WTTCII

Rationalisation of Taxes on the whole will provide a better fiscal operating environment for the Sector to thrive Sec 35 AD of Income Tax Act, 1961 should be extended to Real Estate companies and other developers who award Management Contracts to other specialised Hotel Operators who have expertise in the running of Hotels to manage the properties; Luxury tax on hotel rooms should be limited to 4% to make India’s accommodation globally competitive. Levy of luxury tax on hotel accommodation is a State subject. The State Governments/UTs levy taxes ranging from 4% to 20%. The foreign exchange earned by hotels and inbound tour operators may be considered as ‘deemed’ exports and full service tax exemption be provided to them at par with other exporters; Similarly Road Taxes for Tourist Vehicles should be one time and uniform across India. Introduction of a separate Tourists Vehicles (T.V.) series as registration number for Government of India approved Tourist Transport Operators; Rationalisation of tax structure on air fares/airport charges and ATF charges and reduction of multiplicity of taxes on Aviation Sector. ATF Charges vary from 4% to as high as 20% from State to State, taxes on fuel and other airport charges constitute of 50% of the Airline’s operating Cost thus making air travel costlier. See more on page 40




Vanya for nature takes you  Vanya back to nature. Built exclusively for the ardent nature lover, the tree top cottage is a private gateway, set in 8 acre plantation surrounded by dense forest area. It is also an ideal opportunity for animal sightseeing. Says Rahul Tom, CEO, “At Greenwoods, we have always aimed to achieve two priorities – foremost

being to provide exemplary service and secondly do everything we can to ‘conserve and protectnature’. The Group has invested in maintaining the highest guest to employee ratio in Thekkady. “We believe excellence is achieved by delivering the right standard of service constantly and scaling up over the period of time,” he adds.

Vanya is located in a terrain almost 2000 feet height from the sea level. As many guests defined, ‘Vanya is not just a tree house’, its an experience where you travel back to life where there is nobody other than you and serene nature. “Our constant endeavour with campaigns and in creating awareness has contributed to our cause

of preserving nature. Greenwoods ‘Not for profit’ efforts in keeping the forest intact and planting new trees is a way of paying our gratitude to Mother Nature. You can be a responsible green tourist too!!!!!!! Just ask us and we shall tell you the various ways in which you can contribute by joining our cause to ‘conserve nature’,” he concludes.

Holiday Inn Kochi draws on travel trade to get big numbers The IHG-managed property that opened doors in July 2011 is looking to step up its association with the travel trade in India to garner more business. M E G H A PAU L

rooms. In December, the hotel witnessed occupancy of 45 per cent and in January, we were targetting occupancy of 55 per cent.”


s Holiday Inn Cochin gears to grab a bigger share of the hospitality pie in the leisure destination of Kochi, the hotel is betting big on the travel trade industry in India. Anticipating a tremendous growth from this segment, Kunal Shanker, Executive Assistant Manager, Holiday Inn Cochin says, “After the much-coveted ITB this year, we will tie-up with large Indian DMCs and domestic operators who are looking forward to promote Kochi.” Targetting an increase in the business share with a stronger tie-up with the travel trade, Shanker reveals, “We are expecting almost a 40 per cent contribution from the travel trade industry in our business growth. Our

Regarding the positioning of Kochi as a MICE destination, Shanker believes,

Kunal Shanker Executive Assistant Manager Holiday Inn Cochin

hotel opened last July and currently, around 15 per cent of our business is generated through the travel trade.” The hotel will also further strengthen its nexus with the aviation industry to garner another 15 per cent increase in business. Talking about the occupancy at the hotel, he feels, “The hotel is operational in its full capacity with 212

“The government is doing a lot for promoting MICE tourism in the region. The city also gets a lot of feeder business. If there is a large conference, all hotels in the city are sold out.” The IHG-managed property caters to mid-sized MICE from a boardroom requirement of eight people to 150 people. The property has five conference halls. “We are expecting a mixed profile

of market segments. Our main targets are the air cruising, leisure and MICE segments,” he states. With the opening of its sister hotel, Crowne Plaza that is slated to be launched in December this year, IHG is expected to be the largest brand operator in Kochi with 500 rooms in total.

Pitching in Agents Holiday Inn Cochin will tie-up with large Indian DMCs and domestic operators who are looking forward to promote Kochi Holiday Inn Cochin expecting almost a 40 cent contribution from travel trade industry in business growth

is per the our

Main targets for the Hotel are air cruising, leisure and MICE segments




5 Hiltons in Delhi, 1 more to come in Gurgaon With the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton New Delhi-Noida-Mayur Vihar, Hilton New Delhi-Noida-Mayur Vihar and Eros Hotel – Managed by Hilton New Delhi/Nehru Place, the hotel has marked its presence in Delhi NCR strongly. The hotel, which has five operational properties in Delhi, will also open its next Hilton hotel in Gurgaon. Managed by Hilton New Delhi/Nehru Place, the hotel acquired the rebranding to Hilton last year. Following this, there has been a significant development in terms of the occupancy and other areas. “The target for this year remains increasing revenues



ne of the fastest growing hotels globally, Hilton Worldwide has charted its own growth track across India. Talking about the past year, Rajesh Punjabi, Vice President – India, Development, Hilton Worldwide reminisces, “Last year, we more than doubled our trading estate in India by launching six hotels. We also introduced two hotel brands in the country - the upscale, fullservice DoubleTree by Hilton and the mid-priced, focussedservice Hampton by Hilton. Our other brands that have a presence in India include the upscale Hilton and the midpriced Hilton Garden Inn.” In 2011, the hotel chain also entered two important markets with the launch of Hilton Mumbai International Airport and Hilton Chennai. With the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton New Delhi-Noida-Mayur Vihar, Hilton New Delhi-Noida-

Rajesh Punjabi

Monisha Dewan

Rubal Chaudhry

Vice President – India, Development, Hilton Worldwide

General Manager Hilton Garden Inn New Delhi/Saket

General Manager Hilton New Delhi/Janakpuri

Last year, we more than doubled our trading estate in India by launching six hotels

Being a new concept, one of our most important tasks is to build brand awareness and educate the customer

In 2012, apart from rooms, our focus will be to drive incremental revenue from our conference and banqueting facilities and F&B outlets Mayur Vihar and Eros Hotel – Managed by Hilton New Delhi/Nehru Place, the hotel has consolidated its presence in Delhi NCR as well. The chain will also open its sixth Hilton property in Delhi-NCR in Gurgaon this year. Talking about the newly opened hotels in Mayur Vihar, Scott Thomson, GM, DoubleTree by Hilton New Delhi-Noida-Mayur Vihar and Hilton New Delhi-NoidaMayur Vihar says, “We are reiterating Hilton New DelhiNoida-Mayur Vihar and DoubleTree by Hilton New Delhi-Noida-Mayur Vihar as being among the first international hotel brands in East Delhi. We expect the hotels to become the first choice of international business travellers and domestic business and leisure travellers.” According to Julian Ayers, GM, Eros Hotel –

Scott Thomson GM, DoubleTree by Hilton New Delhi-Noida-Mayur Vihar and Hilton New Delhi-Noida-Mayur Vihar

We expect the hotels to become the first choice of international business travellers and domestic business and leisure travellers from rooms and F&B segments with emphasis on banquets/MICE options.” The only five-star hotel in the area, Hilton New Delhi/Janakpuri has cashed in on the geographical location of West Delhi. Rubal Chaudhry, GM, Hilton New Delhi/Janakpuri feels, “Last year, we hosted several special events like movie promotions and artist performances, which are new to the West Delhi market and were well appreciated.”

Regarding plans this year, the GM says, “In 2012, apart from rooms, our focus will be to drive incremental revenue from our extensive conference and banqueting facilities and F&B outlets.” The first Hilton Garden Inn brand hotel to open in

Julian Ayers GM, Eros Hotel – Managed by Hilton New Delhi/Nehru Place

The target for this year remains increasing revenues from rooms and F&B segments with emphasis on banquets and MICE options Asia Pacific, Hilton Garden Inn New Delhi/Saket has been operational for two years. Monisha Dewan, General Manager, Hilton Garden Inn New Delhi/Saket comments, “This hotel opened at a time when the concept of a mid-market brand was relatively new in the country. Hence being a new concept, one of our most important tasks was to build brand awareness and educate the customer.”

1 lakh pilgrims visit Somnath every Monday With an inflow of 1 crore and around 10-15 lakh pilgrims visiting to Gujarat every year, 15 lakh devotees visit Ambaji everyday during the Bhadarva Purnima festival. Similarly, Dakor and Dwarka get around 5 lakh pilgrims everyday during Janmashtami, and Somnath has 1 lakh people visiting them every Monday during the month of Shravan in Gujarat. If the above figures are anything to go by, consider all India figures: The National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) shows that of the 230 million tourist trips undertaken in India, the largest proportion is made up of religious pilgrimages. And of the estimated 400 million journeys undertaken by Indians every year, close to 100 million journeys are to pilgrimage centres like Tirupati, Shirdi, Golden Temple, Vaishno Devi or even the Char Dham Yatra.




Bhopal, Jabalpur & Indore get connected After almost five months of operations, Ventura Airconnect, an intra-state, non-scheduled operator, is settling into its operations with some of the sectors running on full capacity. These are Bhopal-Jabalpur, Indore-Jabalpur and Rewa-Bhopal. Attention Travel Agents Booking system is through websites and travel agents The operator is working with more than 300 travel agents in MP For business from other parts of India, they have tied up with For agents in MP, we give them a particular code to log on; they deposit the money online and buy tickets People can also buy tickets directly from the site Currently, in terms of business, both the sources generate equal share. A one-way fare costs anywhere around ` 4000 to ` 5000



e are presently connecting seven cities with 15 flights a day. Apart from these flights, we also do chartered operations. There is a demand for these services particularly in the sector of tourism. Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Agra and Khajuraho are such destinations where we provide our services,” informs Uttam Bose, Managing Director, Ventura Airconnect. The operator is connecting cities with smaller cities and towns within the state. Madhya Pradesh government was the first one to accept the proposal, though the airline went to other state governments as well. A non- scheduled operator can connect two cities as many times a day. “We are able to follow this pattern because we are a non-scheduled operator. We fly like a scheduled operator

without cognizising our schedules,” says Bose. This form of operations is viable in this concept as with the scheduled operator, a minimum requirement for an aircraft is 5700 kg. Further, the operator is tagged as a regional scheduled airline, hence is remaining centric to one region. By being the former, the airline can go anywhere. The airline is in talks with Jharkhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar and Maharashtra. An announcement in this reference is expected soon. It is a 12seater Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft, however DGCA has approved it as a nine seater for operations. With their operations, Madhya Pradesh has more intra-state connectivity than any other state. Booking system is through websites and travel agents. The operator is working with more than 300 trav-

el agents in MP. For business from other parts of India, they have tied up with For agents in MP, we give them a particular code to log on; they

Uttam Bose Managing Director Ventura Airconnect

deposit the money online and buy tickets. People can also buy tickets directly from the site. Currently, in terms of business, both the sources generate equal share. A oneway fare costs anywhere around Rs 4000 to Rs 5000.

Corporates, as expected, cover the major share. For eg, for flights from Bhopal to Jabalpur, there are two flights a day. The High Court of the state is located in Jabalpur. Therefore, there are return flights in morning and evening between the two cities. State government underwrites about three seats on every flight in the next three years. One sector where government is not supporting but the operator has been getting good business is JabalpurNagpur. It is their only interstate operations. It was prompted by travel agents asking for connecting Nagpur. During research, they found out that almost 32 Volvos were plying on this route. With an average of fourty seats each, there were almost 1300 travellers using this option. “We felt we could get at least nine of these passengers for our flight,” says Bose.

Current bottlenecks concern with the Airport Authority of India. Problems facing is with the AAI. Ifd an aircraft arrives craft is coming in, one hour before or an hour after the scheduled landing, the landing charges is less. If you miss that time slot you are applicable for watch hour charges. Recently, in December, the government increased the charges ten fold. Secondly, though night operations are operational in Jabalpur, however, the landing permission is disallowed if the flight is late being a non-scheduled operator. However, if a scheduled flight faces a similar scenario, it is allowed to land. Meanwhile, the operator is seeing a gradual increase in business and hopes to see the trend to continue. “Because air travel is still considered luxury where people travel by rail or road, emphasising that time is money took time and now we are getting regular business”, says Bose.

Complimentary 96-hour UAE visas  Etihad Airways is offering complimentary 96-hour tourist visas to guests transiting through the UAE. The visas, ideal for travellers making stopover visits, are being offered in cooperation with Radisson Blu hotel on Yas Island. Eligible guests must have confirmed overnight accommodation at the Radisson Blu Yas Island, available at promotional rates from USD 70 per person per night. Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Airways, says, “Not only is Abu Dhabi the place where East meets West,

making it ideal for transiting to destinations worldwide, but it is also a world-class destination in its own right. With complimentary visa services on offer, more

Etihad Airways guests will have the opportunity to experience Arabic hospitality and exciting attractions of the UAE in a convenient and affordable way.”

Peter Baumgartner Chief Commercial Officer Etihad Airways

The offer is valid for travellers previously eligible for Etihad Airways’ paid-for visa service, including Indian passport holders. Guests booking a minimum three night stay will also receive a complimentary Abu Dhabi City Tour.

Lufthansa introduces self check-in kiosks at Mumbai airport passengers  Lufthansa departing from Mumbai can now save time and start their journey more conveniently. The airline has introduced four self check-in kiosks at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai. “Introducing this smart way to travel proves our commitment to continuously invest in new products and services for the benefit of our Indian customers,” says Axel Hilgers, South Asia Director, Lufthansa.

Axel Hilgers South Asia Director Lufthansa

With the new easy-touse kiosks, Lufthansa is upgrading its passenger serv-

ices and introducing a new service standard in Mumbai. Passengers can now check-in using their booking code in combination with their first and last name, credit card number or Miles & More or Star Alliance mileage card number, individually or in groups of up to four persons. A graphic seating plan helps passengers to easily select seat numbers or change their pre-selected seats (in case of prior web check-in).


IndiGo rises on LCC mantra IndiGo’s performance in 2011 reinforced that low-cost carrier (LCC) does not mean low quality. Continuing this vision, Aditya Ghosh, President, IndiGo, discusses the airline’s future expansion plans. D E V I KA J E E T


011 was a landmark year for IndiGo with the introduction of its international sector and 2012 promises to be bigger and better. “The launch of our international operations is a new chapter for us, so we definitely see that we can provide sustainable low fares over a long period of time on the routes we’ve chosen. IndiGo will continue to expand its network to meet the requirements of both business and leisure travellers wherever they demand - both in India and abroad,” says Ghosh. With the aim to provide enhanced connectivity across India, the airline has already introduced 18 new flights connecting key metros, such as, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Goa and Jaipur.

“By the year end, we would have 60 aircraft to our existing fleet of 48 brand new Airbus A320s. Vizag will be our next domestic destination, which should be on our network map in the current win-

ter schedule. We are also connecting some new routes such as Bengaluru with Jaipur and Lucknow with daily direct flights. In addition, we will soon connect Ahmedabad with Goa,” adds Ghosh.

Aditya Ghosh President IndiGo

With so much new to offer, the airline is promising growth in these turbulent times of the Indian aviation sector. Their mantra for this success is not very different from the international lowcost carriers. “If you see examples from around the world, the most successful airlines happen to be low-cost airways. This does not

depend on the size or geography or whether it is a developed or developing country. Ranging from WestJet in Canada or Southwest and JetBlue in USA, to Ryanair, Easyjet, Air Arabia, AirAsia and Jetstar, all of them are very successful carriers. In the same market, there are large full service carriers, which are either bleeding or going bankrupt,” explains Ghosh. Expanding on his expectations from the Indian market, he says, “It is a combination of long-term potential in India as well as the success of low fare model anywhere in the world that gives us a lot of hope and strengthens our resolve that we are in the right business and want to be in the low fare business. What we had seen in the last few years is that one section of the airlines business in India that has done well and expanded and even financially been stable is the low fare segment. Today more than 50 per cent of the Indian aviation market is just the low cost airlines.”

SpiceJet outperforms  High fuel prices coupled with an unprecedented depreciation in the Indian Rupee during the December quarter, made the operating conditions extremely challenging for all Indian carriers. However, for another quarter, SpiceJet was able to successfully grow passenger traffic by 29 per cent, outperforming the domestic industry passenger growth of around 16 per cent.

SpiceJet Statistics The average passenger yields in the quarter increased 9.5% as the to compared corresponding quarter a year ago. Market Share in December 2011 increased to 16.8% from 13.6% in September 2011, the largest growth of any domestic carrier.

Aircraft fuel expenses were 90 per cent higher than the same period last year and fuel cost as a proportion constituted 50 per cent of the total revenue in the current quarter as compared to 37 per cent in the comparable quarter for the previous year. Increased cost of crude oil plus 24 per cent tax on ATF is continuing to impact the Indian civil aviation sector very adversely.

Now, book all seats in a row at a nominal fee  AirAsia X and its technology partner, Optiontown, have introduced an innovative new service, called ‘Empty Seat Option (ESo)’, available on AirAsia X is the first airline in Asia Pacific to offer its guests travelling in Economy, an option which provides a chance to get all three seats in a row for a nominal fee. Azran Osman-Rani, CEO, AirAsia X said, “We offer them the option to purchase only what is required depending on individual needs rather than bundling

options in the near future.”

Azran Osman-Rani CEO AirAsia X

the cost to our fare offerings. This way, guests are able to enjoy continuous low fares from the airline. We’re delighted to expand our product offering to include ESo now, and other flexibility

He adds, “AirAsia X remains focused on maintaining its global leadership position in the low cost, long-haul segment. The airline is constantly looking for ways to boost customer satisfaction and enhance their flying experience with us. I believe that the ESo will be a great addition to our family of ancillary products which will further increase our ancillary revenue stream. We estimate that we could earn up to US$1 million in 2012,” concluded Azran.




Foreign carriers and the Indian market? The extremely competitive aviation sector in India is going through a turbulent period. While some foreign carriers are cutting flights and pulling out of India, others are strengthening their market share and offering new products for the Indian passengers. gets details. D E V I KA J E E T


t least five global airlines have given a second thought to decide on their decision to fly to India. Between reducing flights and stopping operations, Lufthansa, AirAsia X, Qantas, Austrian Airlines and American Airlines have been compelled to cut costs. One of the fastest growing aviation markets has not been promising for these airlines, the reason being steep rise in airport costs, slowing economy and increase in fuel prices. While this is the case for a few, some beg to differ. “The Indian market is the fastest growing aviation market across the globe and is the ninth largest in the world already. With international passenger traffic growing rapidly from the Indian market, we expect it to attain a double-digit growth in the coming years. There is a considerable investment expected in back-end aviation infrastructure and maintenance, repair and overhaul facili-

Airline’s Plans Bahrain Air has now decided to add destinations in India with operations beginning on March 15, 2012 from Thiruvananthapuram Air Mauritius has decided to increase its frequency from Mumbai and New Delhi Cathay Pacific re-launched services on the DelhiBangkok sector and is now utilising all its traffic rights At present, Oman Air operates from 10 Indian destinations

ties,” says Orhan Abbas, Vice President – India & Nepal, Emirates Airline. Bahrain Air has now decided to add destinations in India with operations beginning on March 15, 2012 from Thiruvananthapuram; where as Air Mauritius has decided to increase its frequency from Mumbai and New Delhi. “We look forward

now utilising all its traffic rights. “We have a great deal of confidence in the longterm future of the Indian market and we look towards playing our full part in growing the aviation business here. India is, of course, emerging as an economic super power and aviation will play its part in realising that economic potential. It also has the same geographical

The airline will continue to roll out its new business class; new lounges in Hong Kong and Premium Economy will make its appearance on our long-haul flights from March 2012. Cathay Pacific has invested in new systems and processes that will enhance their offerings and also provide a more efficient passenger reservation system known as PSS.

Tom Wright, General Manager –

Sunil VA

South Asia, Middle East and Africa, Cathay Pacific Airways

Country ManagerNorth India, Oman Air

India is emerging as an economic super power and aviation will play its part in realising that economic potential

Some airlines, such as, Swiss and Finnair are providing an Indian touch on their flights to increase their popularity in this market. Finnair crew surprised its passengers with a dance performance onboard a Delhi flight to celebrate India’s Republic day on January 26. This was a wellappreciated surprise by the Orhan Abbas

Richard Nuttall

Vice President – India & Nepal, Emirates Airline

CEO Bahrain Air

The Indian market is the fastest growing aviation market and the international passenger traffic is growing rapidly from the Indian market in boosting our route network to the Indian Sub Continent. This is another step in our route expansion process this year,” says Richard Nuttall, CEO, Bahrain Air. Cathay Pacific relaunched services on the Delhi-Bangkok sector and is

We look forward in boosting our route network to the Indian Sub-continent as another step in our route expansion process advantage as the Middle East so there is no reason why India should become not just an origin and destination but an aviation hub,” says Tom Wright, General Manager –South Asia, Middle East and Africa, Cathay Pacific Airways.

An Indian touch Some airlines are providing an Indian touch on their flights to increase their popularity in this market Finnair crew surprised its passengers with a dance performance onboard a Delhi flight to celebrate India’s Republic Day on January 26. This was a well-appreciated surprise by the passengers and gained instant popularity Swiss has introduced Indian cuisine on India flights, in cooperation with the Oberoi group. They have also initiated a new smar t phone application that allows passengers mobile access to services like check in and upgrades as well as real time flight information passengers and gained instant popularity. Swiss has introduced Indian cuisine on India flights, in cooperation with the Oberoi group. They have also initiated a new smart phone application that allows passengers mobile access to services like check in and upgrades as well as real time flight information.

Etihad Airways on the other hand is focussing on the travel industry and has introduced an agent engagement programme, providing an opportunity for agents to win prizes while selling tickets. Oman Air hopes to make the most of 2012 as Muscat is the Arab Capital of Tourism for

We want to strengthen our presence in India, as it is a very important destination for us

this year. The airline is offering opportunities to visit Oman and recommending it as a stopover destination. “We want to increase our presence in India, as it is a very important destination for us. At present, the airline operates from 10 Indian destinations and the load factor is 87-88 per cent,” Sunil VA, Country Manager-North India, Oman Air. While the foreign carrier’s decisions seem to show opposite ends of the spectrum, Delhi airport’s proposed charges will make it one of the most expensive airports in the world. “Airlines, if they make money at all operate on wafer thin margins; making Delhi the most expensive airport will force airlines to reexamine their operations,” says Wright. At this point along with weathering the adverse conditions, understanding and catering to the needs of the Indian passengers seem to be the need of the hour for foreign carriers.



Austrian Summer for Indians T

he tourism board has set sight on another year of equally healthy growth in 2012. Talking to , Christine Mukharji, Director, ANTO India

Christine Mukharji Director ANTO

Bhutan & Arunachal Pradesh join hands  Laying a highway connecting Tawang with towns of Bhutan is a major step in bringing together two culturally close regions… Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan have agreed to boost tourism through mutual cooperation. A fivemember Poverty Reduction Committee of Bhutan's National Assembly, led by its chairman Dupthop, who visited the state recently, discussed the matter with Nabam Tuki, Chief Minister of the state. Pointing out that Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh had several similarities culturally and geographically, Tuki said that the cooperation would eventually generate gainful employment and reduce poverty. Tuki said that “construction of a road from Tawang to Bhutan was progressing at a rapid pace” and sought the Bhutan government's cooperation to speed up work in its territory. "Once this road is completed and connects towns of Bhutan with Tawang, we could work on border trade, which would be beneficial for both sides economically," Tuki observed. The chief minister also wanted the helicopter services to be introduced between Tawang and Bhutan, which, he believed, would increase the tourist arrival substantially.

informed that Austria recorded a whopping 47 per cent increase in the Indian tourist arrivals with a total of 85,000 in 2011. The bednights by the Indian visitors totalled to a 1,65,000. Mukharji informed that the NTO is confident of continuing this momentum in

2012 as well and is targetting anywhere between 20 to 40 per cent increase in tourist arrivals this year. The Austrian official tourism agency recently concluded a three-city B2B (trade) roadshow in India promoting Austria as a dream destination for the coming

summer. The ANTO annual workshop (held in February 7-9, 2012) brought some 14 Austrian suppliers, including regional tourism boards, incoming agencies, attractions and other travel partners, to India to showcase Austria as a ‘dream destination’ for summer 2012.


Austria woos Indians

The Austrian National Tourist Office (ANTO) India, recently concluded a three-city India roadshow promoting Austria as a dream destination for Summer 2012. T T B U R E AU


The roadshow was held in 3 cities - Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi and attracted close to 400 travel agents and tour operators, who came to scout and shop for the Austrian tourism products. The Austrian suppliers especially highlighted the cultural diversity, their unique landscape,

The roadshow was held in 3 cities - Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi It attracted close to 400 travel agents and tour operators, who came to scout and shop for the Austrian tourism products The Austrian suppliers highlighted the cultural diversity, their unique landscape, Austrian hotels and hospitality

Austrian hotels and hospitality while showcasing Austria as a year-round snow destination to the Indian buyers.




‘Youth to the edge’ in NE

African Safaris in West Bengal

Aimed at increasing the number of guides, DONER, an The West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamta Banerjee initiative in collaboration with North Eastern Council (NEC) is personally ensuring that the project is viable and the Ministry of Sports, is a first of its kind in the region. and generates tourism numbers to the state. T T B U R E AU


pilot project, ‘Youth to the Edge’ was launched at the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) by Paban Singh Ghatowar, Minister for Development of Northeastern Region to promote adventure activities in the remote areas of the Northeast.

under the project. The young talents would be trained through the National Mountaineering Institutes and other adventure training organisations. After the completion of the courses, they will get an opportunity to work as escorts and guides in the region.

skiing, water rafting , canoeing and kayaking. Around 3000 youths - 1,500 from Northeastern region and 1,500 from other states - will participate in adventure and cultural activities. The project involves an expenditure of ` 2.87 crore. It will be funded by the Ministry of Development of Northeastern Region through Northeastern Council and executed by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports through National Service Scheme. On a trial basis, three trekking trails have been planned for the volunteers.

DONER Offers Volunteers from National Service Scheme and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports will participate in the adventure activities

The project has been envisaged to tap the tremendous potential for various adventure and outdoor activities like mountaineering, trekking and camping, rock climbing and rappelling, water

The youth will be trained by the National Mountaineering Institutes and other adventure training organisations After the completion of the courses, they will get an opportunity to work as escorts and guides in the region



est Bengal is preparing a comprehensive Sundarbans tourism development package covering Patharpratima, Jharkhali, Pakhiralaya, Gosaba, Hingalganj areas, for which the World Bank may extend assistance. A team of officials from infrastructure leasing and financial sectors from Delhi, entrusted by the state government had visited the Sundarbans to explore its tourism potential. “We are contemplating if anything can be done on the model of African safari in the Sundarbans,” says Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, West Bengal. A task force had been created for the purpose of bringing the largest mangrove forests on earth in the world tourism map. The task force is composed of officials from the departments of tourism, pub-

lic health, engineering and Sundarbans development. Besides this, an EcoTourism hub would be created surrounding the Pakhiralaya (bird sanctuary) between Sonakhali and Sajnekhali. The CM said she had already talked to the Planning Commission in this regard and it evinced keen interest in the project. "I have also talked to the Prime Minister who has agreed to provide the required funds," says Banerjee. She spent a considerable time inspecting the area.

In fact almost the whole of Writers' Buildings was in her entourage, clearly indicating her support for this project.

Sundarbans Safari The comprehensive Sundarbans tourism development package covers Patharpratima, Jharkhali, Pakhiralaya, Gosaba, Hingalganj areas An Eco-Tourism hub would be created surrounding the Pakhiralaya (bird sanctuary) between Sonakhali and Sajnekhali




Finding a foothold in the Middle East From plans to extend financial assistance to private entrepreneurs for developing tourism products, to marketing the state as a year-round holiday destination, Kerala Tourism has roadshows planned to capture the tourism market this year. D E V I KA J E E T


ven though 2011 was not a good year for the travel industry due to economic slowdown in Europe, Kerala Tourism recorded an increase of over 11 per cent. “This is a remarkable achievement and we plan to sustain this growth rate even this year,” says AP Anil Kumar, Kerala Tourism Minister. Apart from concentrating on their main source markets in Europe, mainly UK, France and Germany, Kerala Tourism has been making earnest efforts to increase their visibility in other European countries, especially in the Scandinavian countries and in Spain. Their plans are to increase their visibility on the international front and participate in the international trade exhibitions and travel shows.

Efforts to increase global presence and see accelerated growth figures in tourism are incomplete without the help of trade partners and private players. “It is mainly the private stakeholders who conceive and develop the products and I feel that it is the duty of the State Tourism Department to assist them to market the products.

We are actively considering to extend financial assistance to the private entrepreneurs who come up with innovative ideas and this has been included in the draft tourism policy of the state,” adds Kumar.

AP Anil Kumar

Rani George

Minister Kerala Tourism

IAS Director, Kerala Tourism

Looking beyond the European markets, Australia is also a potential market for Kerala Tourism and they have already kick-started certain activities such as organising roadshows in Melbourne and Sydney. In order to woo the Arab travellers, Kerala Tourism is planning to launch an aggressive marketing in the Middle East,

especially in Saudi Arabia and UAE. “Last year, there was a tremendous increase in the arrivals from these sectors. It is because of these initiatives that tourists from the Arab countries are travelling during JuneSeptember, which is a lean season in Kerala. This would help us to make Kerala a round-the-year destination,” explains Kumar.

Though the international markets are a focus for the state but they are not ignoring their domestic potential. Kerala Tourism will continue to promote the state in the domestic market as well. “In order to woo the domestic travellers, Kerala Tourism has launched several activities, such as participating in all major travel trade fairs and organising partnership meets in at least 25 cities across the country in a year. With a view to make the off-season more attractive to the domestic travellers, the tourism department has introduced 'Dream Season Campaign' with the help of stakeholders from Kerala. The campaign has recorded a remarkable growth in the past four years,” says Rani George, IAS, Director, Kerala Tourism.

The tourism department has many initiatives, such as organising roadshows and participating in trade fairs to promote the state. But their initiatives and plans include contributions from the travel trade and also a helpful hand from the industry.

Kerala Woos Travellers In order to woo the domestic travellers, Kerala Tourism has launched several activities, such as participating in all major travel trade fairs and organising partnership meets in at least 25 cities across the country in a year In order to woo the Arab travellers, Kerala Tourism is planning to launch an aggressive marketing in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia and UAE With a view to make the off-season more attractive to the domestic travellers, the tourism department has introduced 'Dream Season Campaign' with the help of stakeholders from Kerala





Expanding in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Kerala Holiday Merchants, a consultancy service launched last year helps create an operation team for travel agents. They promise complete back-office support and are the one-stop solution to inbound, outbound, domestic travel and ticketing requirements. T T B U R E AU


ith core competence in excellent negotiated tariffs and quick and efficient reverts, Holiday Merchants offer premeditated itineraries, and specialise in bespoke travel. They provide back-end solutions to the travel trade and function as an operations team with global competency. Holiday Merchants plans to expand their network by focussing on opening Associate Sales and Service Offices (ASSO). Already established in nine cities across the country, they hope to expand their network to 100 by the end of the year. “ASSO can further create sub-ASSO network, which is a sub-agency with access to the network. These agencies can also earn through a commission dependent on an earning model. This is a volume based game,” says Preetinder Singh, Relationship ManagerIndia, Holiday Merchants. The present network comprises an option for the travel agent to choose from a database of 1,000 itineraries highlighting

Empowering traditional travel agents  Mumbai-based ETravel Online has recently introduced an innovative tool to empower the traditional brick-and-motor travel agents by XMLbeds. It is a hotel inventory distribution system operating on multiple suppliers’ strategy (partnering with hotel suppliers and destination specific wholesalers) and offering real time access to over 1,00,000 hotel rooms. XMLbeds supply XML connectivity to travel agents featuring hotels, excursions and future upcoming products of Etravel Online. Talking to about the new product, Rajiv Gokani, Managing Director, ETravel Online said, “With evolving travellers, there is a need for travel agents to improve and evolve alongside to keep at par with the expectations of their clients. Through XMLbeds, we are empowering travel agents to go online and enhance their services through improved product range.”

34 countries or even create their own itinerary. “We have special city tours with different prices so one does not have to join an already existing tour but can create their own”, explains Singh.

Ensuring that the hotels, international destinations, inbound travel facilities and ticketing solutions are easily available, Holiday Merchants also brings forward the nation specific products. “We have developed a

well-networked portal focussing on B2B growth with niche market products, country specific, especially where there is demand. Initially, we will target tier II and tier III cities where agents do not have an easy

access to knowledge but we want to expand our network all across the country,” says Singh. These associate offices across the country will have operational teams with global access and knowledge on tourism products.

Preetinder Singh Relationship Manager-India Holiday Merchants




Aamod for MICE and Leisure

SFTO’s first overseas workshop in Finland and Estonia The tourism workshops will be a 4-day affair in Helsinki (Finland) and Tallin (Estonia) and around 150 tour operators from India are expected to attend it. Finland as a tourist destination in India. “We see huge potential in this workshop as it will provide exposure of the destination to the tour operators.”



Gaurav Jain Managing Director Aamod Resorts

n order to work closely with the Indian travel trade for promoting outbound tourism from India, the Society of Foreign Tour Operators (SFTO) will hold its first-ever overseas workshop event with business-to-business meetings at Helsinki (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia). The event is scheduled to take place in the third week of September 2012, the exact dates for which would be announced at a later stage. To be organised in association with Finland Tourism, Estonia Tourism, Finnair, Tallink Silja Line, Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau and two local Destination Management Companies Reisiekspert and Baltic ELL, the workshops will be a fourday affair in each country. Around 150 tour operators from India are expected to

Ajay Jaipuria

Papori Bharati

President SFTO

Marketing manager-India Visit Finland

attend the workshops in Finland and Estonia. Talking about the event that will further enhance the position of India as a strong outbound tourism market, Ajay Jaipuria, President, SFTO said, “The mission of SFTO is to promote the lesser-travelled destinations in India. Hence, we chose these two destinations for our first overseas workshop.” He also

added that the aim of these workshops is to position Finland and Estonia as tourist destinations in India and educate Indian outbound tour operators of the tourism products and destinations in these countries. According to Papori Bharati, Marketing ManagerIndia, Visit Finland, this initiative by the SFTO is expected to give a boost to

Regarding the positioning of Estonia in the Indian outbound market through this event, Siim Sikkut, DirectorEstonia-India Foresight, Estonian Development Fund said, “This event will boost economic relations and create business opportunities for both the countries. Tourism is one of the areas with high potential and we are looking forward to tap this burgeoning market.” According to Desmond Chacko, Sales ManagerIndian Subcontinent, Finnair, “The tour operators will receive direct knowledge of the destinations which will help them sell the same effectively,” he stated.




We stand united, claims FAITH The newly formed umbrella federation FAITH has claimed confidence on the tie-up between ten Associations of India’s travel industry. The MoU was signed on February 9, 2011. while four presidents were deliberating others were not available. Being from the travel trade, a common time factor was also an issue.”



embers of interim managing committee of the newly formed Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) have asserted strongly that there is no conflict of interest among the 10 associations under this umbrella organisation. They also claim that there are enough checks and balance put in place if any such situations arise. They pointed out that the signing of MOU on February 9 by presidents of the ten organisations is a proof of unity in FAITH.

The Federation is expected to look into issues concerning growth of tourism and hospitality in the country, infrastructure, skill development, investments, taxation policy and other government policies. “We will take up everything which is not unique to individual organisations,” says Sarab Jit Singh,

(L-R):Ajay Prakash, President, TAFI; Tejbir Singh Anand, President, ATOAI; Sarab Jit Singh, President, ITTA; Chander Mansharamani, Vice Chairman, ICPB; Iqbal Mulla, President, TAAI; Subhash Goyal, President, IATO; Maharaja Gaj Singh, President, IHHA; Nakul Anand, President, HAI; Kamlesh Barot, President, FHRAI; and, Subhash Verma, President, ADTOI

President, Indian Tourist Transporters Association. It was felt by the leaders of the tourism and hospitality industry about 20 years ago that for a common voice they need a collective strength, therefore a federation should be formed. But, because of disagreements on various issues, all four viable attempts made could not yield any result.

“The larger cause of the industry is at hand and the government is welcoming it. They have been encouraging us to get this organisation in place for years,” comments Subhash Verma, President, Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India. He admits that similar efforts were made earlier but it met with roadblocks. The planning behind the recent initiative has taken

around two years of discussions and deliberations. When asked what finally clicked to put the Federation in place, Tejbir Singh Anand, President, Adventure Tour Operators Association of India.“It is a matter of timing. Many times, we try to do things which do not work out,” he said. He further adds, “There were problems in deliberations like

“Associations will keep their working identity in its original state,” informs Verma. “FAITH is all about being united. It’s about having common goals and adjectives. It is not about duplication,” asserts Anand. This translates to common problems like visa issue. The Federation members point out that it does not make sense for every association to go individually to Ministry of Tourism (MOT) and talk about the same issue. It is a waste of resource and time. As far as niche problems are concerned, it will come from respective associations. For example, if there is an issue on adventure tourism, ATOAI has the mandate to bring it to the notice of FAITH and they will bring up the issue with MOT or concerned authority.


The interim members have stressed that there is absolutely no question of conflict of interest. “We have taken care of everything and there is no point of contention between associations. If a situation arises, we have enough checks and balances. We have reached a situation where a document is in place which has been agreed upon by every association,” informs Singh. “The federation has got no political agenda,” says Anand. The process of registration is on and a formal announcement is expected anywhere between two weeks to a month’s time.


Germany for MICE 62% Indian companies choose Germany as the most preferred business travel destination Germany continues to lead in the MICE travel destination market as a preferred choice for India’s corporate sector, says a recent report on India Outbound MICE Market by Synovate Business Consulting. T T B U R E AU


s per the findings of the report, mid-sized and large corporates who have organised MICE trips in Europe between 2010-11 have opted for Germany with a lead percentage of 73 per cent, followed by UK with 52 per cent, France by 51 per cent and Switzerland by 45 per cent. The leading cities of choice include Frankfurt with per cent followed by Berlin at 51 per cent and Munich at 44 per cent. Speaking on the reaffirmed interest in Germany, Romit Theophilus, Director Sales & Marketing, GNTO said, “I am happy to report that Germany has received repeated interest from the Indian outbound business travellers. This year, we are also celebrating ‘Year of Indians in Germany’ with a growth of 20.1per cent yearon-year from Indian travellers. Keeping that in mind, we have implemented a focused market strategy for the Indian market, focussing on ‘Affordable Hospitality’ which is the reason for the resonance of this interest. Germany offers unconventional meeting facilities; from huge city vibes to culturally infused charm of the castles, which are now modern conference centers. Germany has a variety of choices for companies to be innovative when organising their MICE trips.” German National Tourist Office (GNTO), India confirmed that the number of visitor overnights have

grown by 26.2 per cent over the corresponding period in 2010 (January-December), highlighting an average growth of over 15 per cent every month. The report highlights that lower hotel rates and carrier options in Europe supported by outstanding infrastructure, reliable and profes-

Romit Theophilus Director Sales & Marketing GNTO

sional partners, state-of-theart technology and high quality service are the reasons for the success of Germany as a business travel destination. In 2011, Indian outbound MICE market was estimated to be around US$ 550-600 million. Indian outbound travel grew strongly resulting in an outbound trip volume of 6.2 million and is still on the positive scale. While 1.5-1.8 million passengers travelled outbound only for MICE, pharmaceutical, cement, FMCG, IT and financial services are the major industry verticals contributing to outbound MICE sector. Interestingly, Indian companies are now conducting MICE trips across all func-

tions as a part of rewards and incentives under employee engagement and talent recognition programme. Innovative experiences and events like gala dinners, wellness spa, white water rafting, etc. are also forming an integral part of itineraries for MICE providers. The report highlights that nature tourism, food & dining and cultural tourism are important activities looked by the corporates. Germany, thus continues to attract these corporates with its placid landscapes, an intriguing culture, modern economy, great escapes, etc. Further sharing the outlook for 2012, Theophilus said, “We believe 2012 will witness an increase in Indian outbound tourism to Germany. We are upbeat that travel for incentives will continue to grow as desirable choices for many corporate in the years to come. This year, we will continue with our affordable hospitality theme and also focus on promoting ‘The Fairytale Route’ in Germany which passes all the enchanting castles, town and villages from where all the famous fairytale characters have originated.”

Making the Most In 2011, Indian outbound MICE market was estimated to be around US$ 550-600 million. Indian outbound travel grew strongly resulting in an outbound trip volume of 6.2 million and is still on the positive scale

Argentina comes calling  After Indian travel trade started selling South America, Argentina from South America has realised the potential of India as a market. The tourism authority was recently present at a trade exhibition in New Delhi and Mumbai with a delegation of seven suppliers from the country. Leonard Boto, Chief, Argentina National Tourist Office said, “We are currently at the evaluation stage for the Indian market. However, with more and more Indian trade showing interest in South America and

With more and more Indian trade showing interest in South America and specifically for Argentina, I suppose it’s the right time to enter the Indian market Leonard Boto, Chief, Argentina National Tourist Office specifically for Argentina, I suppose it’s the right time to enter the market while bringing in suppliers to make travel bookings easier for the Indian trade through networking

sessions. Once the final plan is ready, we will be able to judge and decide on our target segment, focus markets and marketing plans which is possible after mid 2012.”




Ethiopia explores Indian market  Ethiopia Tourism stakeholders, including government representative as well as private sector players, were recently in India to explore opportunity to develop India as its key future tourism source market.

The delegates participated in the tourism fair in New Delhi and interacted with the local trade in order to chart its market development strategy for India.

Speaking to Tadelech Dalacho, State Minister, Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Ethiopia said that her country recognises India as a highly potential source market and therefore she is here along with private sector representatives to develop strategy in consultation with the Indian trade to grow this market. In order to introduce and give a hands-on experience of Ethiopia as a destination to the Indian trade, Dalacho said that Indian visitors will find it a great place to explore and experience.

Centre and Kerala Govt to spend ` 500 cr to boost tourism  The Central and Kerala government together will spend ` 500 crore to boost tourism in the state. The plan is to further promote the state as a popular tourism hub by creating better infrastructure like roads, hotels, shopping centres and houseboats. In the first phase, the central government has provided ` 50 crore and an equal

amount has been given by the state. Besides, special emphasis would be given on backwaters of Alappuzha in Kerala which is one of the major attractions for tourists. As part of the plan, a number of houseboat terminals, resting points, night halt centres, curio and souvenir shops would be built along the banks of the backwaters.

35% more Indians to Sri Lanka Over 1,70,000 Indians visited Sri Lanka in 2011, registering a growth of 35 per cent over 2010 and becoming the number one tourist source market for the country. A N I TA J A I N

cities to which we have direct flights (Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Trivandrum, Trichy and Cochin). Along with Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru, the traditional VFR markets like Chennai, Trivandrum, Trichy and Cochin are matur-


s per the figures released by the Consulate General Office of Sri Lanka in India, Indians constituted close to 20 per cent of the total international arrivals to Sri Lanka in 2011. A growth of about 35.1 per cent was registered with 1,71,374 Indian arrivals in 2011 over 2010. The country is aiming to cater to over 2 lakh Indians this year and over 4 lakh arrivals from India by 2016, with the global arrivals target of 2.5 million. To sustain the growth level and enter new markets, the Sri Lanka Tourism Board has roped in Sri Lanka Convention Bureau, Sri Lankan Airlines and key suppliers from the country to increase destination awareness across India. During the 7-city roadshow in India, the Sri Lankan Convention Bureau along with Sri Lankan Airways and 14 suppliers highlighted the various aspects of the country and encouraged the travel trade

Upekkha Samaratunga Consul General Sri Lanka to India

Expected Indian Arrivals to Sri Lanka Country India

to promote Sri Lanka among the Indian travellers. The numbers from India are expected to reach an all-time high this year, owing to the T-20 World Cup scheduled in Colombo during September. On the sidelines of relaunching the ‘Meet In Sri Lanka’ campaign to attract MICE travellers, Upekkha Samaratunga, Consul General of Sri Lanka to India said, “The whole of India offers tremendous potential for us but to start with, we are focussing on the

Samaratunga said, “Effective January 1, 2012, Indians along with nationals from other 192 countries are allowed to apply for visa online due to ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) visa. This has not only eased the visa application process for

China UK






200,000 230,000 265,000 325,000 400,000 30,000

60,000 125,000 200,000 275,000

130,000 150,000 180,000 220,000 250,000



85,000 130,000 160,000 200,000

Middle East


80,000 110,000 150,000 200,000

ing for leisure and business visits. Along with holding roadshows and MICE events in top seven cities, we will be working closely with the travel trade and MICE operators and conducting educational workshops, FAMs to increase destination awareness.” Giving precise information on the new visa system,

the travellers from the corners of India but has also helped us streamline the Visa process. Till March 31, 2012, Indians will be provided visa for free with a mere US$ 10 as visa processing fee for a one month visa. For a three month visa, they will be charged ` 150 over and above the visa processing fee.”





Singapore wooing Indians With the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) being bullish about the India outbound market, finds out about their current plans and strategies to tap the potential business. M E G H A PAU L


ith a total of 7.18 lakh Indian tourists visiting Singapore in the first ten months of 2011, a robust year-on-year growth of 5.2 per cent, India has become the fifth largest source market for Singapore. Hence, it is obvious that Singapore Tourism Board is leaving no stone unturned to increase its focus on the Indian market.

The Tourism Board is extremely bullish on the FIT segment in India. Throwing light on the importance of the segment, Randall Tan, Regional Director, South Asia, Middle East & Africa, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said, “The fastest growing segment from India is the FIT segment. Both FIT and groups have witnessed a surge. However, groups have been sustained but what is actually growing continuously is the FIT business from India as they are more experimental.” Also what draws FITs and groups from India to Singapore is the Cruise sector. “The Singapore Tourism Board is expecting a lot more cruise business with the upcoming International Cruise Terminal at Marina South that will become operational by the later half of this year,” he informed. According to Tan, cruising is synonymous with Singapore for the Indian travellers. Cruise travellers from India include not just holidaymakers but even Indian companies who have included a cruise leg in their varied incentive schemes, Tan revealed. Singapore Tourism will also target large event and exhibition organisers in India and convince them

Singapore for Indians Total of 7.18 lakh Indian tourists visiting Singapore in the first ten months of 2011 India has become the fifth largest source market for Singapore The Tourism Board is extremely bullish on the FIT segment in India Singapore Tourism will also target large event and exhibition organisers in India and convince them about the various facilities available in Singapore for such MICE events

about the various facilities available in Singapore for such MICE events. To cater to the above segments, the Tourism Board is also looking at unveiling a new marketing campaign in

India within a few months. According to GB Srithar, Area Director – Marketing, South Asia, Singapore Tourism Board, the new campaign will strengthen the board’s engagement with the India market. “We have not

conducted any major campaigns in the Indian market for a long time. And now, we are almost ready to launch the new campaign based on our assessment,” Srithar confirmed. The focus of the new campaign will be on four dif-

Randall Tan

GB Srithar

Regional Director, South Asia, Middle East & Africa, STB

Area Director – Marketing, South Asia, STB

ferent types of experiences that Singapore can offer to an evolved traveller. It

will also aim to attract repeat travellers into Singapore from India.




Enjoy, Connect, Discover in France Through just one event, Indian hosted buyers were able to experience France in three different ways. Anita Jain brings you the best of Evenement France 2012 ANITA JAIN IN PARIS


icked off in 2007, Evenement France has been one of the top MICE exhibitions in Europe successfully attracting buyers from across the globe. As wine becomes better with every passing year, the exhibition has improved and expanded

over the course of five years. Talking about expansion in 2011, 170 international buyers from 20 countries attended Evenement France while in 2012, 170 hosted buyers from 23 countries were invited. Atout France, along with Bedouk MC&IT Exhibition and Air France, organised ‘Evenement France 2012’ in

Paris during early February hosting a total of eight Indian MICE specialists. Participating agencies from India were, Dewan Holidays, Mercury Travels, Omraaga, Parul Tours, Sunday Pure Holidays, Tour Kraft and Vacations Exotica. All the representatives from the hosted agencies were able to ‘Enjoy’



an unforgettable stay in Paris and Dijon, ‘Connect’ with French suppliers and ‘Discover’ what France has to offer in Paris and other regions of the country for MICE. Talking about the Indian market’s potential, Patricia Barthelemy, Marketing Manager – Asia & Middle East, Paris Tourism

Paris has always been loved and well-accepted by the Indian business and leisure travellers. Patricia Barthelemy, Marketing Manager – Asia & Middle East Paris Tourism said, “Despite being a longhaul destination, Paris has always been loved and wellaccepted by the Indian business and leisure travellers. Through Evenement France

2012, we intend to educate and improve the destination and product knowledge of MICE operators, hence aiming to increase MICE traffic to France.”


Valerie Olivier, Sales Manager, Dijon India is still a very small market for us but holds a huge potential. Being known for wine and history, we are keen to get incentive groups and small meeting groups in our region from India. Along with attractive packages, tourism products, stylish and unique accommodation facilities, we also have three Indian restaurants. We are positive to receive excellent support from our Indian trade partners and establish Dijon as a destination among Indian travellers to France and Europe.

Mitesh Dani, Director Parul Tours

Jagadish Bhat, Director, Vacations Exotica

Devesh Khanna, Head- MICE,

Excellent event with variety of suppliers! There was enough time for experiencing the city, the local cuisine, MICE facilities and network with suppliers handling interesting and innovative products for the Indian market.

We are already selling Paris and some parts of France to our group and FIT clients. However, this event provided the best platform to interact with our local partners here and also meet new companies offering unique MICE facilities.

MICE segment in India is growing and we constantly need new regions in the same destination for clients who desire to travel to repeat destinations. Through this event, it was possible to meet new suppliers and also explore the beautiful region of Dijon on a post tour.

Self drive to Queensland Marketing the destination with fam trips, traveller and trade promotion activities, Queensland targets MICE, self drive and study tours in 2012 from the Indian market. TT B UREAU


ueensland, also referred to as Australia's ‘Sunshine State’, has introduced new products like Fraser Island and Lady Elliot Island to the Indian travellers. The new products offered are apt for families, FIT and MICE segment with interest ranging from adventure, self drive, heritage tourism, beach tours, water

activities and culture. To promote these products, the tourism board will educate the travel trade about the services, activities and facilities offered by these islands for the travellers, especially the well-travelled travellers. With 26000 Indians visiting Queensland till September 2011, an 8 per cent growth has been attained as compared to the previous year in the corre-

Paul Buggy International Director Tourism Queensland

sponding period. Giving an insight with regards to the plans in 2012 for India, Paul Buggy, International Director, Tourism Queensland revealed, “India being the top emerging market with bidding potential, we have targeted a growth of 8 – 10 per cent in 2012. Spreading its presence in India since six years, helping Indian travel operator gains knowledge and this enables them to

sell the destination effectively; the board has participated in seven tier-2 city roadshow in September 2011, followed by eight tier1 city roadshow in early 2012. We are engaging trade to extend the length stay in Queensland from the current 8 nights to 10 nights.” It covered cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune

and Kolkata during the recent 8-city roadshow. More than 50 per cent of the total international arrivals to Australia visits Queensland to indulge in unique experiences offered by the destination. India is still at the eighth or ninth position for international arrivals, but it is moving upwards in bullet speed, informs Buggy. Traditional markets like Europe, UK and US have stabilised with emerging markets like China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia picking up. To boost the Indian arrival figures, the board is combining efforts with airlines such as Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Emirates.


Bollywood takes Spain to exciting new heights In 2011, Indian visitors to Spain grew by 50 per cent from 2010. This year, it is expecting at least a 30 per cent increase in arrivals from India. explores their growth post the release of ZNMD. D E V I KA J E E T


eing at the backdrop of the blockbuster movie, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD), ensured that a widespread audience saw Spain and its offering. “Spain was projected as a destination full of memorable experiences. The movie helped generate interest in the country and people began exploring it as

Ortiz Says We will offer the agents with all the tools required to make them experts in selling Spain. We are planning a Spain B2B roadshow in the third quarter of 2012 which will provide agents a platform to interact with Spanish suppliers

issued. The pre booking for Spain for the forthcoming holiday season is very promising and we can safely project a 30 per cent increase in arrivals for 2012.”

a possible holiday destination. Agents have now started to add Spain packages in their brochure which was almost non-existent last year,” says Arturo Ortiz, Director, Tourism Office of Spain- Mumbai. Riding high on their Bollywood fame, the country saw a major increase in their tourist arrivals. “Spain has seen a 9.5 per cent increase in tourist arrivals from all over the world in 2011. Indian outbound for Spain grew by 50 per cent over 2010. From July to December, we registered a growth rate of 65 per cent,” adds Ortiz. The major contributor for growth last year has been the leisure segment. MICE was not far behind and contributed almost 20 per cent to the overall travel.

Arturo Ortiz Director Tourism Office of Spain- Mumbai

“Spain has become a popular choice with travellers seeking an unforgettable experience out of their holiday. They want to follow an itinerary similar to the one in the movie. In the first month of 2012, there was a 30 per cent increase in the number of visas

This year, the tourism office plans to focus their marketing campaigns to reach out to the consumer. Not leaving behind the Indian travel industry, they will focus on regular training programmes, provide updates and destination information. “We will offer the agents with all the tools required to make them experts in selling Spain. We are planning a Spain B2B roadshow in the third quarter of 2012 which will provide agents a platform to interact with Spanish suppliers,” concludes Ortiz.

Hungarian Visa for ` 520 only In a move which is expected to fasten visa application process, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary and VFS Global have signed an agreement for outsourcing Hungary’s Visa processing in India. T T B U R E AU


iming to deliver 10,000 visas by the end of this year in India, the Embassy of Hungary has collaborated with outsourcing and technology service provider,

Visa @ ` 520 Almost 70 per cent of travel from India to Hungary is by MNCs who have presence in the country Hungary targets 10,000 visas in India by the end of this year

VFS Global to speed up the application process. Talking about the new development, H.E. Janos Hovari, Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hungary said, “With an aim to provide a high level, customer-oriented service during the visa application process, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary pursuant to a selection by tender process, came to the decision to partner with VFS Global.” Regarding the significance of India as an outbound market, Hovari informed,

“Hungary is keen to attract more investment, boost travel and encourage Indian students to study in Hungary. Almost 70 per cent of travel from India to Hungary is by multinational companies who have a presence in the country.” Murali Raghavan, COO – South Asia and CIS, VFS Global said, “Applicants and travel agents in India no longer need to send their documents to the Embassy and can now submit their applications with VFS Global.” According to Raghavan, the key features of the centre will be longer operating hours,

dedicated website, visa info including visa types, application status, professional staff, separate submission facilities for travel agents, dedicated call centre, email support and door-step delivery of passports. The service attract fee of ` 520 payable at the time of submitting the application. The office will remain open from 9 am to 4 pm keeping in mind the convenience of the applicants. This network may also be expanded to other cities in India in phases. VFS Global already serves the Hungarian Government in UAE andUK.

India’s domestic air fares increase by 18 per cent  As there has been an increase in the air fares across various regions of the globe which, in fact, has increased by 4 per cent in the last quarter, the domestic air fares within India has increased more than any other fare type, with fares up 18 per cent. The recent American Express Business Travel Monitor has reported

on February 23, 2012, that the fares to the EMEA region and Americas were flat last quarter whereas in the Asia Pacific region fares overall were up by 2 per cent and domestic fares were up by 4 per cent. It is believed that the increase in inflation rates and disruption in networks have narrowed the supply

market leading to increased air fare across the world. Sandeep Shastri, Vice President and General Manager of Global Business Travel, India quoted that the economic pressures and supply variance has meant that LCCs have also increase airfares, which, has pushed the price of domestic travel up signifi-

cantly, particularly during the last quarter. Fares from India to EMEA sector remained flat last quarter, though has seen a significant increase in fares (9 per cent YoY in fares compared to the region’s 3 per cent), which can be attributed to high inflation rates, as well as lack of supply and rising fuel costs.





The Suryaa, New Delhi steps up operations The hotel is looking ahead to capture a big share of the hospitality market in Delhi with the relaunching of SAMPAN – the Rooftop Pan Asian restaurant and with its yet to be relaunched 24-hour coffee shop Le Café and 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

Greesh Bindra Vice President and General Manager The Suryaa, New Delhi

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 140seater top-of-theline World Cuisine restaurant, which will be ready before Formula One.” The hotel is also planning to open several new properties in India and overseas, he adds.

QUICK READ This year’s trade fair guide has numerous new features, including ‘What’s on’, an overview of current events, plus an A to Z of ITB, which lists everything visitors need to know about the travel trade show. For the first time the Android and iPhone versions showing the grounds are linked to a comprehensive map of the halls.

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 in on its strategic location. 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.




Leisure is the new buzz word for hotels speaks to a number of hoteliers in the key leisure hospitality markets in India. We picked one leading destination from each of the four geographical zones in India - Jaipur, Kochi, Goa and Gangtok to unearth the emerging trends, developments, issues and challenges faced by the industry this year. M E G H A PAU L


ith the spurt of hotel development activities and avenues for expansion of hotel brands, leisure destinations have managed to witness an exponential growth

pressure will be huge in 2012." According to Birla, Jaipur has huge potential to drive MICE demand as the city has a lot to offer both in terms of history and culture. Focus in 2012 with additional supply coming in the market

In the beach town of Goa, hotels are digging out innovative ways to attract the travel agents. Remarks Anurag Jain, Director - Sales, Best Western Devasthali, Goa, "We have launched a new process, especially for

agents that will result in a hike of FIT and GIT numbers," he feels. The Hotel also mulls on expansion plans wherein another 100 rooms would be added to the existing property by the end of this year. Regarding new plans at The Zuri White Sands Resort & Casino, Goa this year, Priti Chand, VP, Communications, Zuri Group Global reveals, "The Zuri White Sands Resort & Casino, Goa will get a facelift and go for renovation during the off season. In order to upgrade its facilities and offering to the guests, we also now have on

Pankaj Birla

Vikram Khettry

Anurag Jain

General Manager Mariott Jaipur

General Manager Four Points by Sheraton Jaipur

Director - Sales Best Western Devasthali, Goa

On the supply side, we will see additional room supply of over 600 rooms enter the market in 2012 in the star category in international and domestic visitations. Hotels help in promoting the destination. The hospitality industry hence, has a big role to play in shaping the growth of these destinations. With the emergence of foreign hospitality chain in Jaipur, the city is positioning itself as a one-stop MICE destination. Says Pankaj Birla, General Manager, Mariott Jaipur, "We have been successful in creating new demand for Jaipur which did not exist before, especially in the MICE segment. On the supply side, we will see additional room supply of over 600 rooms enter the market in 2012 in the star category. Hence, it will be very critical to create new demand. Rate

Y-o-Y we have been able to achieve a 12% growth in 2011. While we aim to cash in on leisure and corporate segment in 2012 would be to drive big conventions to the city. The hotel is targetting an occupancy of 60 per cent for this year. Going forward, it will also unveil the signature QUAN Spa in early 2012 to boost revenues further. Since the commencement of operations in October 2009, Four Points by Sheraton Jaipur has seen an uptrend in occupancy. "Year on year we have been able to achieve a 12 per cent growth in 2011," informs Vikram Khettry, General Manager, Four Points by Sheraton Jaipur. Foreseeing an occupancy of almost 70 per cent, the hotel aims to cash in on a healthy mix of leisure and corporate segment in 2012.

More cooperation is required from the travel agents that will result in a hike of FIT and GIT numbers the travel agents. In this process, they are going to be provided with their agency code which they have to put while making their bookings online directly through our website. This process is extremely beneficial because they can check rates instantly on the website along with the availability. Also they can avail special promotions which we run on our website on regular intervals. As far as their commission is concerned they have to deposit the amount after deducting their commission." According to Jain, the factors that will drive growth this year are strong presence on the online portals, new promotions on website and corporate tieups. "More cooperation is required from the travel

Mumbai and Pune and using the franchise route, it has planned to penetrate in all major cities across India. According to Vikram Kamat, Executive Director, Kamat Hotels (India) Limited; there

is a shortage of quality five star Eco-friendly hotels in India, hence KHIL eyes a vast business potential for the ‘The Orchid’ brand and has aimed to add 10 new properties to its portfolio by 2014.

In the eastern part of the country, Gangtok is wooing more and more tourists with its mountain peaks and also growing Casino Tourism. Comments Pradipta Mohapatra, General Manager - Sales & Marketing, Mayfair Hotels & Resorts, "Mayfair Spa Resort & Casino in Gangtok opened its doors to the guests during June 2009. This is the only 5-star deluxe resort in the entire north eastern region with a casino and thus, this is the USP of the property." Regarding the casino being a great

Madan, General Manager, Le Meridien Kochi, the hotel experienced a slight improvement in the Revpar in 2011 due to marginal increase in occupancy as compared to 2010. "There is only a flat increase in occupancy. But there has been an essential increase in F&B revenue and banquetting revenue," he confirms. The hotel expects increase in the MICE segment. He says,"Going forward, Spas would do well. Government has been promoting Medical Tourism and Ayurveda in the state. Kerala has specialised hos-

Priti Chand

Pradipta Mohapatra

Rajesh K Madan

VP, Communications Zuri Group Global

GM- Sales & Marketing Mayfair Hotels & Resorts

General Manager Le Meridien Kochi

The Zuri White Sands Resort & Casino, Goa will get a facelift and go for renovation during the off season board with us three world class GMs, who will include several best practices in guest service." Talking about the developing trends in the Goa property, Chand opines, "One new key trend we are seeing is that customers are shifting from offline to online channels." More bookings are coming from the online portals. "We also see that guests

Now, franchising ‘The Orchid’  Kamat Hotels India Limited (KHIL) announced franchise opportunities for The Orchidclaimed as Asia's first certified Eco-friendly five-star hotel. The Orchid is a luxury Five Star Ecotel hotels brand in

are moving towards affordable luxury."

Talking about the latest trends and developments, Kamat, informed, “Today 87 per cent of business travellers globally patronise green hotels and corporate have shown increased

Casino plays a major role in enhancing the occupancy in our Gangtok property as it gives us long stayers

revenue driver, Mohapatra says, "Casino plays a major role in enhancing the occupancy in our Gangtok property as it gives us long stayers. Nepal crowd is slowly diverting towards Sikkim as well. It also helps us in generating a good volume of F&B revenue." Going down South, Kochi is becoming a leisure hub in Kerala. According to Rajesh K

interest in hotel properties that adheres to Eco-friendly norms. We attempt to drive professionalism in the properties managed and marketed by us. The 74 international awards reiterate the efforts of The Orchid of being a pioneer

There is a flat increase in occupancy. But there has been an essential increase in F&B revenue and banquetting revenue pitals with special treatments comparatively economical to the rest of country and this would cater to the increase in occupancy in the region.” Le Méridien Kochi is in the process of revamping its international convention centre to meet specifications of different global clientele along with the latest technology.

amongst environment friendly hotels.” Under management arrangements, The Orchid offers marketing expertise among other services and has a 412 strong sales force across the country and an established global sales network.



COVER PAGE Contd. from page 10

Hotels & Restaurants-an industry Contd. from page 1

He clarifies, “When the travel trade wants to declare Tourism as an industry, what they mean is give us more concessions. That is an unending process”. Responding to the recent setting up of the subcommittee under the interministerial coordination committee for Tourism Sector under the chairmanship of Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary, he informed that the sub-committee has already met once and one more is scheduled soon and pointed out that it is a continuing process and “we know what to do, the question is how to do it”. As far as the Global Travel Mart which was announced by Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai last year is concerned, it is on schedule for December this year and the Ministry is working hard to match up with top marts like ITB, WTM and FITUR. “Our challenge is to match up with them and though we have announced the probable timings, we won’t launch it

unless we are sure to match such marts,” affirms Khwaja. Recently, the Ministry of Tourism signed an MoU with Information & Broadcasting ministry for promotion of Incredible India brand in movies shot in India. It has been observed globally that many destinations become popular for tourists when they see them in movies. Recent example is ‘Zindagi Na Mile Dobara’. Spanish tourism played an active role in the movie. Lot of Indians are going to Spain after the launch of this movie. From an Indian perspective, when ‘Junglee’ was shot in Kashmir, there was an avalanche of hundreds of movies which were shot in Kashmir, prompting the region to become a mega tourist destination before the advent of terrorism in the region. The idea behind this MoU is that I&B ministry and MOT will collaborate and promote film based tourism. “We have requested the states to set up a small committee in the office of Chief Ministers, to expedite all permissions for shooting and we

are willing to give some token amount to facilitate the procedure. This token amount is just to indicate the commitment of the ministry and is not a subsidy. It will probably cover areas like processing fee,” informs Khwaja. It is clear from the discussion with the Tourism Secretary that Hunar Se Rozgar tak scheme is close to the heart of ministry officals. This scheme is to be seen from the prisms of generation of employment oppurtunities. Nurturing and sustaining of skills and giving full employment for skilled and semi-skilled youth. Upscaling unskilled to semi-skilled and semi-skilled to skilled. “This entire process contributes to state and national GDP. By the end of this year we would have trained up 33,000 youths out of which 15,000 would be under Hunar. Rest will be under short term courses and skill certification is done”, says Khwaja. Absorption rate by the trade is around 85 percent under this scheme, as per the official statement.

ITTA We are expecting the Government to be more pro-tourism this year, especially when the planning commission and Ministry of Tourism have stated to work for the growth of the tourism in India. We expect the finance minister to ease-out taxes on the tourist transport industry by finding different ways. The interstate taxes is state subject and most of the states are unfortunately not tourism friendly. Several states have not been able to understand the importance of tourism and hopefully, the Government will come-out with some schemes, where funds will only be released once states show their commitment to the tourism industry by not only removing the inter-state taxes on tourist vehicles, but also doing their bit by promoting cleanliness and hygiene, which is a major concern across India. On implementation of the GST: Unforunately, GST is not covering the taxes on tourist transport operator. The major taxes paid by us are on fuel, that is not adjustable. The interstate taxes will not come under GST regime. Still, we think that implementation of GST will reduce several anomalies in the tourist transport business that we have today. On barrier-free travel: It is not a matter that can be resolved in the budget, but definitely Ministry of Finance can link the exemption of Road Tax and passenger tax on tourist vehicles to some financial grants being made by the Government of India to states.

ADTOI Budget expectation: To increase travel between neighbouring states, the government should give stimulus to tourism industry from time to time. Firstly, the Leave Travel Concession (LTC) is currently limited to the government PSUs. In order to increase travel, there is a necessity to extend similar benefits to the private companies as well. LTC in the private corporate sector will enhance the growth further reaping good business for hotels and domestic tour operators. Secondly, domestic travel is poised to grow. Hence, it is important to give some incentives for domestic billing to the travellers for their travel within the country.

Subhash Verma President, ADTOI

GST implementation: A number of taxes are currently levied on the travel and tourism industry. This hinders the full-fledged growth of the industry, which is a deterrent to economic growth. Going forward, all the taxes on tourism should be streamlined and brought under a single umbrella of the GST.




Immigration Officers trained Continuing its pro-active role, MOT is expanding its ongoing programme in India to provide vital trainings at all international airports. A N I L M AT H U R


nitially, the scheme, which involves two days of intensive training to the men and women manning the counters

Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Now, IITTM has been asked to conduct similar courses in six additional airports, these are Thiruvananthapuram,

320 more will do so now, bringing the total to 937.

from other experts as well in special areas like grooming.

Great care has been taken by Manjula Chaudhary, Director, IITTM, Sandeep Kulshreshta, Chief Co-ordi-

Manjula Chaudhary says, “Active participation of the trainees in the training has been very enthusiastic and their feedback has been encouraging.” She adds that the content and delivery of

Manjula Chaudhary

Prof. Dr. Sandeep Kulshreshtha

Director IITTM

Nodal Officer and Chairman-Academics, IITTM & Sr. Vice President, Indian Tourism Congress

the training was carefully planned by the experts from IITTM and the industry was also engaged in it.

The purpose was to improve the interaction between the visitors and the immigration officers, she says. Narendra Singh Bundela, FRRO, Delhi says, “The impact of training has been positive and the trainees realise that ‘customer is important”. However, the long term effect of the training is yet to be seen, he added.

Tourist go gaga...

at the airports, was conducted at six airports, with the Indian Instituite of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM), a prestigious organisation of the MOT, being the implementing agency. The airports covered were Delhi,

Kochi, Calicut, Goa, Ahmedabad and Jaipur. This is a clear sign of success of the training programme. So far, over 617 immigration officers have undergone training and about

nator, Nodal Officer and Chairman-Academics, IITTM & Sr. Vice President, Indian Tourism Congress and Pawan Gupta, Co-Ordinator, Nodal Officer, IITTM, Delhi in designing and implementing the programme taking help

Pawan Gupta notes that the positive impact of the programme can be gauged from the fact that in the survey of the Visa on Arrival scheme, the tourists had praised the role of the immigration officers. Also, in the recent Airports Council International report, Delhi Airport has been listed as the second best in its category and DIAL has commended the efforts of agencies such as customs, immigration, CISF etc for contributing to the image makeover of the airport. One of the main challenges faced by the trainers has been to change

Pawan Gupta Nodal Officer, IITTM Delhi

the mind set of the trainees who, coming from a police background have a different approach this approach should be made service oriented without compromising on security angle.

Sandeep Kulshreshtha, who is overseeing the training programme, notes that each officer at the counter on an average deals with 400 passengers a day. And for each one, as many as eight steps are to be done, including taking the passport, opening of pages, looking at the tourists, asking questions, putting seal, taking the embarkation or disembarkation form and Contd. on page 50 u





PATA Gold Awards

India grabs 3 awards And, yet again India proves its worth by scoring three awards at the‘2012 PATA Gold Awards’. T T B U R E AU


acific Asia Travel Association (PATA) announced the winners of the Gala event that recognises

India @ ‘PATA Gold Awards 2012’ Marketing - Secondary Government Destination (SG): The White Rann Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited, India Marketing Media Consumer Travel Brochure (BR): Luxury Escapades Cox & Kings, India Marketing Media - ENewsletter (EN): Art of Travel Sita, India

the achievements of the tourism fraternity. The Awards were given to the winners where India made a mark by grabbing three ‘PATA Gold Awards 2012’. For Marketing Secondary Government Destination (SG), the award went to ‘The White Rann’ campaign by the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat

Shirdi receives 13.5 lakh visitors  The temple town of Shirdi was the most visited tourist destination in Maharashtra in December 2011, followed by Shani Shingnapur and Mumbai’s Gateway of India. The survey was conducted by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) for the month of December 2011. With 13.5 lakh visitors, Shirdi had 1/6th of the total tourist visits across the state. Shani Shingnapur, also located in Ahmednagar district, had 8.5 lakh visits while the Gateway of India figured third with 7.74 lakh visits. The Siddhivinayak temple at Prabhadevi had 7.24 lakh visitors. Pune had 6.62 lakh vistors during the period, which is less as compared to Mumbai (11.60 lakh), Ahmednagar (11 lakh) and Aurangabad (10 lakh). About 15,000 foreigners visited Pune while Mumbai scored the highest in this category too with 1.55 lakh foreign visitors. Ahmednagar had only 1,480 foreign tourists.

Limited. For the Marketing Media - Consumer Travel Brochure (BR) category, the Luxury Escapades of Cox & Kings won the award. The Art of Travel, Sita, India was

given the award for Marketing Media - ENewsletter (EN) category. The Awards have long been proudly supported and sponsored by the

Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO). This year, the awards recognised the achievements of 21 separate organisations and individuals. Some 27 ‘PATA Grand Awards 2012’ (4 categories) and ‘PATA Gold Awards 2012’ (23 categories) were presented this year, with multiple awards going to Hong Kong Tourism Board as well as to the Tourism Authority of Thailand and

Tourism Malaysia. The Awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at The Royale Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the PATA Annual Conference, which takes place April 20-22, 2012. Joao Manuel Costa Antunes, Director, MGTO said, “Our applause goes to all the winners for their remarkable achievements. We are proud to commend their excellence as a spon-

sor to the PATA Gold Awards again this year. It is no easy task for the judges to determine the winners, given the number and quality of the entries, and the 27 PATA Grand and Gold Awards are testimonies to the efforts of these NTOs, organisations and individuals who have done their best in the sustainable development and promotion of the travel and tourism industry.”




‘Love Carnival’ by Turkish Airlines

Visa on Arrival scheme registered a growth of 72 per cent in January 2012  During the month of January 2012, a total of 1,359 Visa on Arrival (VoAs) were issued as compared to 790 VoAs issued during January 2011, registering a growth rate of 72 per cent.

Turkish Airlines with DLF Promenade, Vasant Kunj celebrated the grand finale of their integrated Valentine’s campaign, ‘The Love Carnival’. During this campaign, customers shopping worth ` 7,500 or more were eligible to participate in a lucky draw that could win them couple return tickets to a romantic destination sponsored by Turkish Airlines.

According to the Press Information Bureau, Government of India, the number of VoAs issued under the scheme, during January 2012 for the nationals of eleven countries was New

Zealand (360), Japan (263), Indonesia (220), The Philippines (206), Singapore (173), Finland (95), Cambodia (5), Vietnam (13), Luxemburg (11) Laos (1) and Myanmar (12).

‘Incredible India’ promotions via cinemas  Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Ministry of Tourism signed an MoU on February 16, 2012 to promote the ‘Incredible India Campaign’ and Cinemas of India as a sub-brand of Incredible India at various international film festivals and markets abroad. The

MoU is expected to enhance the reach of ‘Incredible India’ through the Medium of Cinema, develop synergy between tourism and film industry and provide a platform for enabling partnerships between the Indian and global film industry. The MoU will also provide an

impetus to frame policies and guidelines for facilitating shooting of International films in India and promote India as a filming destination, both for international and domestic film producers. This in turn will promote various locations as tourist spots.

Fiji offers 47% tax rebate for Bollywood film shoots in the country  In order to promote tourism in Fiji, the Fiji government has decided to offer 47 per cent tax rebate to film productions happening in the country. “We are planning to meet some of the producers in Bollywood shortly during this trip to promote film tourism in Fiji,” Aiyaz Sayed-

Khaiyum, Attorney-General and Minister for Tourism, Justice, Anti-Corruption, Public Enterprises, Communications, Civil Aviation, Industry and Trade, Fiji said. Sayed-Khaiyum was in Delhi to attend the roadshow organised by Fiji Tourism. Fiji Tourism is cur-

rently conducting roadshows in four cities – New Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Mumbai. According to Fiji tourism director – global destinations – India representative Pranav Kapadia, the main focus of the roadshow is to educate the Indian travel trade about Fiji’s offerings.




‘I like JAPAN’ on Facebook  Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) has announced the launch of its latest ‘I like JAPAN!’ contest, exclusively at its Visit Japan from India official India Facebook page. The contest will involve an exciting quiz on the destination Japan for its Facebook fans in India. At the end of the campaign, 20 lucky winners will win a brand new digital camera from Sony Cyber-shot. In addition to being a fun contest and a chance to win exciting prizes, the ‘I like JAPAN!’ contest also

aims to draw greater focus about Japan as a thrilling and adventurous destination for Indian outbound travellers. JNTO would leverage on this opportunity to share interesting facts about Japan with the potential Indian visitors. To take part in the contest, the participants can submit their answers to the quiz questions after registering themselves at the ‘Visit Japan from India’ Facebook page. The contest is open to the Facebook users from India till 20 March 2012.

Immigration officers training

IT&CM China sold out Event to also deliver high in educational and networking content made possible by influential strategic alliances… T T B U R E AU


ooth sales for IT&CM China 2012 have concluded with the event boasting a 30% larger MICE exhibition showcase. More than 300 international and Chinese exhibiting companies will fill exhibition space amounting to over 6,000 sqm.

IT&CM grows

Contd. from page 44 u

returning the form. So, 3200 actions – 400 X8—have to be performed by each immigration officer during his duty hours. The flight timings and often the airlines’ lack of sensitivity and cooperation only make things worse. Interestingly, during the course of the training, the CCTV recordings are shown to the trainees, so that their behaviour and conduct can be improved. The key to success of any such programme is the content and quality of the training and here the IITTM

team has done a lot of homework, including seeing similar operations in airports like Bangkok and Hong Kong. As many as five Modules have been developed, which include basics like challenges, understanding of importance of tourism, tourism variants in India, cross cultural differences, communication skills, reading body language, essentials of good conversation, and most important, perhaps-management of self handling conflict, stresses and work pressure.

Some 50 new international and domestic exhibiting companies, covering over 25 per cent of the total IT&CM China 2012 showcase, will offer buyers fresh procurement opportunities The show’s expansion in terms of numbers and its global footprint is mirrored in its buyer delegation, as IT&CM China 2012 draws participating interest from a host of new countries

The larger exhibition showcase has been attributed primarily to new participants. Some 50 new international and domestic exhibiting companies, covering over 25 per cent of the total IT&CM China 2012 showcase, will offer buyers fresh procurement opportunities.

The show’s expansion in terms of numbers and its global footprint is mirrored in its buyer delegation, as

The returning exhibitors include Anantara Resorts and Spa, Asian Trail, China Eastern, CITS & American Express, Furama Hotel Dalian, etc. The confidence of both new and returning exhibitors to IT&CM China 2012 reaffirms IT&CM China as the leading international MICE event in China – a choice business platform for both international and Chinese industry players to seek outbound, inbound and domestic opportunities. CITS’ coming on board as co-organiser has been a big draw for local and international participation alike.

IT&CM China 2012 draws participating interest from a host of new countries. International Buyer registrations have crossed the 400 mark, with representation from first-time participating countries, Czech Republic, Denmark and Morocco. With a new venue, IT&CM China 2012 will be supported by a fresh line-up of 4 official hotels, namely Gran Melia Shanghai,

InterContinental Shanghai Expo, Marriott Shanghai Luwan and Sheraton Shanghai Hotel and Residences, Pudong, all conveniently located at close proximity to the exhibition venue and will serve as the accommodation for all hosted buyers and media. In addition, IT&CM China’s strategic alliances with leading international and local MICE organisations – such as Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration (SMTA), Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE), Australian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE), Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) – to deliver educational and networking content, will contribute to a compelling programme. IT&CM China is proud to once again be a part of the Shanghai Business Events Week’s stellar line-up of industry business, education and networking events that will take place from 16 to 19 April 2012.




Indian shopaholics on a red carpet Shopping has become an important vertical of the travel and tourism industry. Thus, state tourism bodies and NTOs are promoting shopping festivals in a big way. M E G H A PAU L

Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF), the signature shopping festival of Kerala promoted by their Department of Tourism.


raditionally considered as a subsidiary activity to travel, shopping has now emerged as an important vertical to boost tourism. Just as leisure travel is being deemed therapeutic for those engaged in busy and stressful lifestyles, shopping has become an indispensable activity of that holiday. In recent years with the relative decreasing cost of travel, shopping has become an important part of travelling to foreign and domestic destinations and statistics indicate that this is likely to be a continuing trend. With tourism and shopping sharing a symbiotic relationship, it is obvious that the state tourism bodies and even NTOs are taking steps to promote shopping festivals for garnering an increasing amount of tourism receipts. One clear example of tourism growth due to shopping and vice versa is the home-grown

Dr Rathan Kelkar

Azizan Noordin

Additional Director, Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala

Acting Director General Tourism Malaysia

The state is setting the benchmark by offering a right mix of tradition with new age marketing modules like this shopping festival

Indians spend 30 per cent of their travelling budget on shopping. Malaysia hosts 26 per cent repeat travellers from India for pure leisure

Dr Rathan Kelkar, Additional Director, Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala and Director, GKSF said, “The state is setting the benchmark by offering a right mix of tradition with new age marketing module like this shopping festival. Our objective is not only limited to shopping but to take it beyond and evolve it as a product brand that compliments the state’s and country’s tourism to give a fillip to economic growth. Therefore, for the recently concluded GKSF, we tied up with the Kerala Travel Mart.” During the recently concluded fifth GKSF, around 5,382 retailers showcased their products in Kerala. Foreign exchange earnings had surged from ` 3,797.37 crore in 2010 to ` 4,221crore. The total revenue, both direct and indirect from tourism touched ` 19,037 crore last year compared to ` 17,348 crore in 2010. In 2011, GKSF promotion was also taken to WTM London. This was for the first time that the state took an initiative to promote off-shore to make the festival grow stronger as an international brand. The Department of Tourism, Kerala Government wants to benchmark this festival as the only major international shopping festival in India and make it emerge as a travel product internationally, informed Dr Kelkar. NTOs are also stepping up initiatives to woo Indians for the shopping festivals in their respective countries. Tourism Malaysia is betting big on promoting shopping festivals as one of the main verticals for luring the India outbound market. According to Dato Hj. Azizan Noordin, Acting Director General, Tourism Malaysia, there is almost a 25-30 per cent increase in arrivals from India during the shopping festivals in Malaysia. “Indians spend 30 per cent

of their travelling budget in shopping. Also, Malaysia hosts 26 per cent repeat travellers from India for pure leisure and these are the ones who splurge on shopping in a big way,” he informed. Indians are now staying longer in Malaysia (from 6.5 in 2009 nights to over 6.7 nights in 2011 on

estingly, the people in Gulf visit Istanbul for shopping. We have media campaigns and other marketing strategies in the pipeline to promote this festival in India.” Talking about the ongoing Korea shopping festival, Jae-Sang Lee, Director, Korea Tourism Organisation said, “The Korea Grand Sale 2012 will be even more successful than the last one as we are adding experience pro-

Ozgur Ayturk

Jae-Sang Lee

Counselor Turkish Culture & Tourism

Director Korea Tourism Organisation

Normally, Turkey has been known as the shopping paradise in European countries. Now we want to enter new markets such as India an average) and a larger share are visiting Malaysia as a mono destination (as opposed to visiting other countries during the same trip), Noordin added. The Istanbul Shopping Festival in Turkey aims to position the country as a shopping destination. Ozgur Ayturk, Counsel, Turkish Culture & Tourism commented, “This year, we have the Istanbul Shopping Festival from June 9-29, 2012. Normally, Turkey has been known as a shopping paradise in European countries. Now we want to enter new markets such as India. From India, most people go to Dubai for shopping. But inter-

We are actively working on marketing activities to attract shopping lovers from India to visit Korea grammes for international tourists. We are actively working on marketing activities to attract shopping lovers from India to visit Korea.” “Going forward, we are expecting over 15,000 Indian visitors from India to Korea during the Grand Sale,” he added. More than 14,000 shops from 57 different types of businesses joined the Korea Grand Sale 2011. It produced more than $12 million in revenue. Also, tourism revenue exploded by 32.7 per cent ($17.5 million) and tourism revenue per tourist also increased by 28 per cent ($1,399).

Shiva weds Parvati in Khajuraho The temples of Khajuraho, considered to be a commemoration of the wedding of Shiva & Parvati and the life forces of the entire Universe - a manifestation of Shiva as the Ardha - Narishwar (half male & half female), were brought alive by The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group at Shiv Vivaha. On Maha Shivratri, Khajuraho bedecked itself in bridal glory to rejoice this celestial night. This divine union of Shiv Shakti formed the main theme of The Lalit Arts Festival 2012 and was held at The Lalit Temple View Khajuraho from February 19th – 21st, 2012. With Shiv Vivaha in its third year, Dr. Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson & Managing Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group aims to revive the essence of art & culture in the city of Khajuraho.





The Department of Tourism has rolled out a new campaign promoting the Philippines as a friendly and enjoyable tourist destination. A new slogan, ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’, highlights the fun-loving Filipino spirit. T T B U R E AU


he Philippines has always been considered as one of the friendliest destinations and the new campaign promotes its core strength of making every visit fun and enjoyable. In 2011, the country saw a 23.89 per cent growth in Indian arrivals over the previous year.

“We are working towards further strengthening relations between the two countries. Jet Airways is planning to start flights between Mumbai and Manila from early summer this year. Cebu Pacific Air is looking at entering the Indian market in 2013 and SpiceJet is also considering this route,” says Ronald B. Allarey, Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines. At present, the embassy processes 100 to 150 visas a day and if complete documents are provided they will process the paperwork and issue the visa on the same day. The Philippine peso is also at par with the Indian rupee making the country an ideal vacation hotspot.

Air Asia for the ChennaiBangkok route recently  AirAsia announced the launch of its first ever direct flights from Chennai to Bangkok, Thailand starting from March 22. Tickets started sale from 9th February 2012 with a special allinclusive, return fare of 6,666 INR. Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO of Thai AirAsia commented,

“India is still a very important market for us. We recognise that there is a very strong demand for travel between Bangkok and many major cities in India. Today we are very glad to announce that low fares and direct flights will be available 5 days per week (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday) for travel between Chennai and Bangkok.”

Discussing the growth opportunities from India, Verna Esmeralda Buensuceso, Director and Group Head, Europe, India and Middle East, Department of Tourism, Philippines, says, “India is the 13th largest tourist market for the country

and at present is our investment market. Now the tourist profile is shifting from business to leisure. Group tourist and MICE travellers are also on a rise.” The Philippines offer a plethora of tropical beaches,

beautiful sands, dive sites and a unique culture that mixes Asian, Spanish and American influences. Their mangoes and a wide shopping selection is very popular with the Indian traveller. The tourism board with their innovative marketing strate-

(L-R): SanJeet, Raymund Glen A. Agustin, Ronald B. Allarey and Verna Esmeralda Buensuceso

gies continues to lure Indians towards its shores. This year, the tourism office plans to organise workshops and roadshows to work with the Indian tour

operators and offer packages highlighting the fun activities Philippines has to offer. Last year, 66 per cent of their tourists were from New Delhi and Mumbai.




FITUR a great show in 2012 The global meeting point for tourism professionals and the leading trade fair for inbound and outbound Ibero American markets, FITUR in 2012 put up a spectacular show. With 9,506 exhibiting companies from 167 countries/ regions, 1,19,322 trade participants and 91,555 people from the general public during FITUR, it was an event to transform leisure into business and business into development.




Alpine Premier League promotes skiing Exciting adrenalin pumping action is the only way to describe a skier hurtling down the snow covered mountainside at top speed, heading straight towards the edge of a precipitous fall. The audience gasp, holding their breath, then heave a sigh of relief as with a deft flick of the skis, the competitor alters direction and heads towards the next flag on the giant slalom course! explores more… MOHIT MIDHA


he Solang valley near Manali in Himachal Pradesh was the location of the first-ever Alpine Premier League from February 5 – 9, where the top Skiers and Snowboarders of the country participated in an enthralling event

Fresh powdery snowfall a day before the main event followed by 48 hours of brilliant sunshine was the best thing the competitors could ask for. The organisers, Ski Himalayas, left no stone

an annual event, but also to the area too as an adventure sports destination. This is the main goal of Ski Himalayas according to its MD, Amitabh Sharma.

Skiing in Manali The organisers, Ski Himalayas, left no stone unturned to ensure the event was a huge success and would bring even more popularity not just to the competition, slated to be an annual event, but also to the area too as an adventure sports destination The company has ambitious plans of developing the infrastructure at Solang.

unturned to ensure the event was a huge success and would bring even more popularity not just to the competition, slated to be

The competition was intense and finally ended with Heera Lal from the Manali Club taking top honours in the main event, the

Giant Slalom, while in the women’s category, the winner was Varsha from MSA. The prizes were given away by Anurag Thakur, Joint Secretary BCCI, while his father, chief minister PK Dhumal inaugurated the event on the opening day. This camaraderie between the private sector and the state government can only be good for the development of this area. With ambitious plans of developing the infrastructure at Solang, the first step of which was the creation of the Ski Centre and the excellent Gondola Ropeway, Ski Himalayas seem headed in the right direction to

making it not only an even more attractive tourist destination but also putting it

on the world map as an international level winter sports hot spot.

Manali isn’t all about languid rest and replenishment. Plenty of adventure sports are available here for thrill-seekers. One such activity is white water rafting. During summers, you can arrange a ride down the rocky rapids of River Beas for the thrill of a lifetime.





Discover new MICE complex in Hyderabad With 460 rooms, the property will add to 1000 rooms by early 2013 along with adding more experiences and capacities for every segment of traveller. It will also have a mega tourism complex. T T B U R E AU


ear Hyderabad, Leonia Holistic Destination is undergoing a drastic change with additional rooms, water theme park and mega tourism complex coming in by early 2013. Currently offering 460 rooms in various categories of rooms ranging between ` 1500 to Rs 5 lakh; it also houses Leonia International Centre for Exhibitions and Conventions (LICEC) and Leo Juventa Centre for Integrated medicine. The property is recording an average of 70 per cent occupancy and is expecting to increase it by further

Second in the world Indira Gandhi  International Airport (IGIA) has been ranked 2nd in the 25-40 MPPA category in the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) awards given by the Airports Council International (ACI) for 2011. Expressing his delight, DIAL CEO, I Prabhakara Rao said, “IGIA has come a long way in the last five years since we took over. We have ensured that quality has become a way of life not just with DIAL employees but with all stakeholders of the IGI Airport family. We are confident that all 30,000 plus members of the IGI Airport family will continue to strive for excellence and we hope to improve our position even further in the coming years” With the award, IGIA has reaffirmed its position as the premier airport in the country and the true gateway to India. The airport now boasts of an annual passenger capacity of over 60 million, including the state-of-the-art Terminal-3 (T3) which can handle 34 million passengers. Almost 35 million passengers passed through IGIA in 2011, including 10 million international passengers, both records in Indian aviation. The airport also handled over 600,000 tonnes of cargo and over 300,000 aircraft movements in 2011.

enhancing sales network and travel agents network. Without divulging any investment details on expansion, Prawesh Kumar Das, General Manager, Leonia Holistic Destination said, “We are a destination property with guests from segments

like families, groups, FITs and MICE. Hyderabad is coming up as a MICE capital of India and we being close to the city are contributing at our best. Our convention centre can hold up to 7500 delegates at a time in a theatre style seating along with 101 rooms for residential conferences and

an in-house expertise in event management. With more rooms, a new international standard water theme park and mega tourism complex coming soon, we are positive to attract more guests from domestic and international markets. We are also in process to launch a

Sports Bar, multi-utility auditoriums, outdoor spa, infinity pool and a night club. To sustain the occupancy levels after expanding our inventory, we are going to further enhance our sales channels, expand our sales team and extend our promotions on B2B and B2C level.”

Prawesh Kumar Das General Manager Leonia Holistic Destination




Impact of Internet

Enter, alter & escape to your destination Several young companies in the travel industry make aggressive use of internet for their business development efforts. It therefore presents a new challenge to some existing industry players who are used to traditional methods. T T B U R E AU


ehavioural patterns of tourists have changed (ABTA, 2004). Consumers display low levels of loyalty to any particular site and appear to be motivated by bargains. The bargain hunting behaviour is fuelled by recent trends towards shorter but more frequent trips and tendency of the consumers to piece together hybrid wants in one holiday, like, for instance, taking cheap flights but staying in four star hotels. Overall, there is a shifting trend towards customers

Online Travel Industry The internet reach has grown much beyond being only an enabling communication medium. E-commerce has become a new buzz-word over the last decade and likely to grow exponentially year after year in an under-penetrated country like India. In fact, e-commerce is expected to fast catch-up with the growth in overall trade market. This can be gauged from the fact that e-commerce penetration is still quite lower even among active internet users who look for information regarding products. Therefore, gradually the

increasingly relying on various self-service technologies but higher expectations of choice, value, customization and convenience (Wynne C, Berthon P, Pitt L, Ewing M and Napali J, 2001). There is however, an apparent dichotomy between building strong and lasting customer relationships and at the same time in encouraging consumer autonomy by developing more self service technologies. This is particularly evident in travel and tourism industry, which is expected to satisfy diverse needs. The

industry must support tourist needs of social interaction, entertainment and authentic information, besides or at the same time also respond to the trend to provide customers with the autonomy not only to search for information but also to complete their transactions. This article, therefore, examines the concept of online customer relationship management (e-commerce and m-commerce models of CRM) and self-service technologies (SSTs) in the travel and tourism industry.

Online travel industry (in INR billions)

*Source: Indian Business Blocks, Track In

conversion ratio of these users which currently stands at around 40 per cent, from being mere on-lookers to having brought any product over the internet could only rise from here.

financial services, online classifieds, etc. The above ratio of e-commerce market share has been skewed not just recently but has remained almost the same since the last 5 years.

Electronic commerce market size and share

Surprisingly, the IAMAI report on online commerce indicates that almost 80 per cent market share of current online commerce industry is dominated by the travel business and the remaining 20 per cent share is constituted of non-travel businesses such as e-retailing (electronic retailing), digital download, paid content subscription,

The survey also indicates that there would not be any drastic changes in the trend until the end of this year. However, online users in India have exhibited willingness to make purchases over the internet, which is evident from the increasing awareness and growth of the net commerce industry.

Growth of E-commerce and M-commerce ASSOCHAM studies have suggested that e-commerce grew in volume by 150 per cent and reached to a figure of INR 550 billion during 2007, in comparison to the total ecommerce sales during 2006-07 which was INR 220 billon. The online travel industry in India has grown to US $ 6 billion (over INR 2800 billion) in 2010 in terms of revenues (Business Standard, December 23, 2009). Fuelled by the sustained growth of the online travel industry, the Indian e-commerce market will gallop at an impressive growth rate of 47 per cent to over INR 4600 billion in the 2011 calendar year. A recent IAMAI report mentioned that “this growth is primarily driven by the online travel industry, which contributes 76 per cent to the total net commerce industry in India today.” The internet commerce industry in India has seen a manifold increase in the last couple of years, with the total market size increasing from INR 1968.8 billion by the end of 2009 to INR 3159.8 in 2010. By the end of 2011, the net commerce market size is expected to grow by 47 per cent and touch INR 4652 billion, study conducted by ASSOCHAM. Comprising about 81 per cent of the total e-commerce in the country, the online travel market, which includes booking rail and air tickets, hotel accommodations and tour packages, are estimated to grow by 50 per cent and touch INR 3789 billion by December, 2011.

B2B Transactions According to Outlook Business (May 20, 2008), the total B2B transactions in India in the year 2008 was US$100 billion and B2B tourism and travel market could have accounted for almost US$15 to US$ 20 billion. India’s largest B2B portal Trade India, maintained by Infocom Network Ltd., also stated that e-commerce transactions in India demonstrate a growth of 30 to 40 per cent and will soon reach the US$ 100 billion mark. In near future, e-commerce is going to play a major role in multimedia, entertainment and fashion industry. The foreign branded companies are eager to take full advantage of the growing Indian market and are trying to a create market for their products over the internet. Some of the key B2B exchanges in India are,,, Indiamart. com,,, etc.

Conclusion The results suggest that while several travel consumers are increasingly turning to the internet, many are still hesitant to book online. Many travellers who were surveyed as a part of the study had utilised the internet for various uses. The main

Figures in INR billion. Percentage Indicate share of the Overall Market Size Year






Market Size






Online Travel Indutsry

62.5 (77%)

105 (75%)

149.53 (76%)

252.58 (80%)

378.9 (81%)

Online Non-Travel Industry

18.96 (23%)

35.3 (25%)

47.35 (24%)

63.4 (20%)

86.3 (19%)

*Source: Indian Business Blocks, Track In

Management of Customer Relationship in Online Environment Currently 43 per cent of the world’s 2 billion internet users are in Asia, with online penetration expected to increase by more than 39 per cent by 2015. The Asia Pacific online travel market is valued at US $ 53 billion or 21 per cent of the total travel market. The online travel booking market in the region is expected to reach a value of US $ 51.6 billion by the end of 2011 at a growth rate of 30-40 per cent per year. Travel sites in the Asia Pacific region are outpacing growth from the general internet audience by almost three to one, showing a strong affinity for travel growth, adoption of technology and the web in travel. More than three-quarters (79.6 per cent) of agents indicated that the web will continue to influence and drive their agencies through increased speed, efficiently and productivity of internet travel bookings as well as internet based reservations or ticketing. Of late, the internet usage has become so pervasive that it has touched almost all facets of the business. The internet revolution has consequently led to achieving a substantial size and greater potential to reduce costs (Gurau, Ranchhod and Hockney, 2003). • Larger displays, touch screen interactive displays, cloud computing and the rise of applications for the tablet devices, whether via Apple App Store, Google Android or Blackberry AppWorld, will all play a role in the ways in which the next generation travel agent will be able to leverage these devices in the future. • HTML5 is widely regarded as the next standard for website design and creation and this new evolution in HTML will allow for greater compatibility with video, audio and other interactive media. With this new code, Andriod and iPhone operating systems without flash plug-ins will be capable of watching YouTube videos. HTML5 is the wave of the future that will help drive technology further. With increasing mobile internet access speeds and newer mobile devices such as tablets and larger screen smart phones coming to the market, this new code will allow a reduced need for applications and a higher usage to mobile. • Social internet content is becoming an essential part in making travel decisions, whereby three in every ten travellers share travel experiences and 35 per cent interact with travel companies on social networks. Many agents indicated that social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have proved highly successful in reaching out to their existing customers

barrier that discouraged consumers from booking travel via the internet is the perceived lack of a secure payment method. Other significant barriers stated include lack of confidence in working with latest technological advancements and the need for personal service and human interface. The

results of this research conflict with suggestions that travel agents will lose their client base overnight when secure payment methods are developed and consumers become more experienced with using newer forms of technology. The study highlights that many experienced internet users still prefer to

book their travel via traditional distribution channels and furtherbelieve that there will be a need for travel agents in the future. (Excerpts from white papers submitted by R Rajesh, G Anjaneya Swamy at the Disha Event organised by Thomas Cook)




Hi-Aim Hospitality Summit India’s rates recover in December and booking activity stays solid I

ndia’s December booking activity was substantial, but it could not measure up to the vigorous volume reached last year. Demandinspired gains made in 2010 over 2009, set a high bar for 2011, particularly with a tepid global economy. However, December reservations did not fall far and stayed within 7.0 per

reservations against prior year is being experienced globally, just in varying degrees based on local circumstances and influences. India is also following the general trend of stays being equal to or shorter than last year while being booked a little further in advance. Shorter trips reflect

cent of last year’s level. This is a commendable performance from two aspects. One being that while India certainly has a vibrant leisure market, much of its travel is business-oriented. December is typically a slower month for business travel and it is difficult to gain additional ground during low-demand periods. The other aspect is that consumers are keeping a leash on leisure spending overall. This is especially in key feeder markets such as Europe and USA, where uneasiness over the potential impact of sovereign debt issue hits closer to home.

a desire to control the cost per trip in order to take the same or more trips than last year. Similar or slightly wider booking windows indicate a stable degree of willingness to commit time and money for travel. Both are

India’s swelling demand however, is most evident in its rate performance. Aside from November, ADR has remained essentially equal to or just higher than prior year. December was no exception with its ADR back on track with prior year after slipping by -4.2 per cent in November.

positive signs for sustaining business and leisure travel.

According to the Department of Tourism, nearly 80 per cent of India’s hotel sector is made up of independent properties. Major hotel chains are eager to fill the void for those whom more standardised or widely recognisable offerings are preferred. Whether independent or affiliated with a group or chain, more options are enabling travel providers to better suit different styles and needs across all segments. The overall trend for ADR to be faring better than

it is important to target domestic markets and the highest potential feeder markets. China, Brazil and Russia have active outbound travel markets and so do portions of Europe such as Germany and Scandinavia. With portions of the Middle East and North Africa still experiencing unrest, travellers considering these

areas may be more easily swayed to make India their next meeting or vacation destination. Customise your messaging to promote that India and its hotels have everything that these markets need and more.



Net Revenue CHG

Dec YTD Dec

-6.9% 19.4%

-0.1% 2.3%

-9.4% 22.9%

Dec Asia Pacific YTD Dec

-2.0% 6.0%

1.5% 3.6%

0.4% 11.8%

Dec YTD Dec

-3.8% 9.5%

4.2% 5.3%

-0.7% 16.4%



Companies recognise travel as being vital in building relationships with existing and new customers. Consumers value travel for enjoying time away and enriching their lives with new experiences. India is in an enviable position as it caters to both audiences and

Julie Parodi Sr. Director, Strategic Planning and Editor, The Pegasus View

The above analysis is based on the over five billion monthly transactions processed by Pegasus Solutions, the world’s single largest global processor of hotel transactions. The data represents transactions from both the GDS (Global Distribution System) and ADS (Alternative Distribution System) channels, representing the business and leisure markets respectively for approximately 90,000 hotels worldwide. All data is on a date of booking basis unless otherwise stated. ADR (Average Daily Rate) and revenue percentage changes are calculated from values using a single constant exchange rate to eliminate the effects of currency exchange rate movements. For more analysis on regional trends, visit, where you can also sign up for a free monthly subscription to The Pegasus View.

Hi-Aim, one of the foremost hospitality summit addressing areas of eco-friendly design, interiors and management is to be organised from March 22-23, 2012 in New Delhi at Le Meridien. T T B U R E AU


n its debut edition, Hi-Aim will try to showcase itself as the mega event presenting an elaborate exposition, featuring as many as 50 niche brands, showcasing state-ofthe-art products, which are a part of the hospitality industry. This was notified at a curtain-raiser event of the summit, which showcased its approach as India’s first hospitality summit and exposition based on interiors, design and management. At the curtain raiser event, the agenda Hi-Aim was declared through a presentation. Ramesh Kaul, Director, Naaz Hotel Consultants outlined the list of confirmed panellists, which includes some of the top names from the global hospitality, design and architecture scenario. Up for discussion during the 2-day event will be issues like the

Hi-Aim features The mega event presenting an elaborate exposition will feature as many as 50 niche brands, showcasing state-of-theart products, which are a part of the hospitality industry The 2-day event will be issues like the future hotel, designs that are ecofriendly and contain a business-related realism and other technical knowhow for entrepreneurs and operation-related personnel

future hotel, designs that are eco-friendly and contain a business-related realism and other technical know-how for entrepreneurs and operationrelated personnel. “Every industry requires brand ambassadors and the hospitality industry is no different.

With Hi-Aim, we want to create that kind of brand value and create a product that attracts discussions, initiatives and charts the road ahead,” said Kaul. In its debut year, HiAim looks forward to become an annual event on the global hospitality calendar and become a forum for discussions on the present technicalities of design and operations, as well as preempting future trends, all within the perspective of current and expected economic uncertainties. “This kind of conference will bring to the table, people involved in developing design, construction of a hotel, project managers and chief engineers for the first time on a hospitality forum. They can evaluate present and future technical requirements,” remarked Anil Sharma, Director, Hi-Aim.

Royal Orchid’s new ‘Regenta’  Targetting the growing segment of marriages, events and conventions, Royal Orchid Hotels (ROHL) has ventured into a new segment by opening a new brand in Delhi ‘Regenta Hotel & Convention Centre’. The Group now has set up a target of adding 3,000 rooms in its portfolio in the next two years as its short term goal. The new convention centre in Delhi has been positioned in the upscale category. According to Chander Baljee, CMD, Royal Orchid Hotels, the market for wedding and events is growing and there is a void for good event venues. “Our first Regenta property in New

Chander Baljee CMD Royal Orchid Hotels

Delhi will address the space concern, as demand for events is growing and the possibility for spaces that would address the need of the market.” The property was soft opened in October last year and it was only formally launched on February 3, 2012. The hotel is man-

aged by ROHL which is spread over 6 acres of land with 50 Deluxe rooms and 2 Suites. It has conferencecum-banquet halls with space of 850 sq ft to 6,500 sq ft that can host upto 300 guests. The property has open lawns that can cater up to 1,000 pax for wedding or other banquet needs. Regenta Hotel & Convention Centre in Delhi is in close proximity to Delhi's domestic and international airports and is located at Rajokri. “Targetting the next six months, we are going to open hotels at Chennai, Surat, Faridabad, Bharuch and Hyderabad in different segments,”Baljee revealed.

Wining and Dining Night On February 01, 2012, Wildfire, the Brazilian restaurant at Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon (Sector 29, NH – 8, Gurgaon) hosted a sixcourse prix fixe dinner paired with award-winning Fernand Engel Wines, including their renowned Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Muscat. Master Chef Edmilson, prepared six delectable courses of his Brazilian-inspired cuisine, which perfectly complimented the wine selections of the evening. Each Fernand Engel wine has unique character, while maintaining the style of the region and earned recognition. Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon’s Wine Dinner offered a truly exceptional night of ‘Wining and Dining’ where guests had the opportunity to speak with Master Chef, Edmilson and Wine master, Xavier who were discussing Fernand Engel Wines and speaking with guests.





Rocky Mountaineer grows by 75% Rocky Mountaineer launched its dedicated India sales office in October 2010 and has received an encouraging response from the Indian Marketplace in 2011. T T B U R E AU


rowing the sales by 75% in 2011 over the previous year according to Ashish Saran, Group General Manager, India, Rocky Mountaineer, is now gearing up and looking to further their efforts and activities to carry on with the momentum in 2012. “Creative marketing, productivity-linked incen-

Check-in at Metro Station  The Airport Metro Express Line has recently started baggage check-in facility for international passengers. The launch of the facility coincided with the Airport Metro’s first birthday. International passengers will be able to checkin their luggage and col-

lect boarding pass at New Delhi and Shivaji Stadium stations, up to eight hours prior to the scheduled departure of their flight. The move has allowed passengers to relive themselves of the luggage, and either shop at stations’ retail outlets or tour the city. Air India was the first to offer this facility to its passengers. Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines, which already have their counters at the stations, will soon follow. Reliance Infrastructure, operator of the line, is in talks with the other airlines and more counters are expected to come up at the two stations, officials said. According to officials, passengers will have to check-in at at least two and half hours prior to their flight time. Unlike the airport, at Metro stations passengers will have the liberty of walking out of the station premises after collecting their boarding pass. They can also board the Metro from any other station, or take any other mode of transport to the airport.

tives, a dedicated real time back office in India specialising in Rocky Mountaineer itineraries, along with the great push from the Canadian Tourism Commission in India as well as the Indian economy remaining buoyant in 2011, were some of the factors in an escalated perform-

ance and sales from India,” Saran adds. Targetting a 100 per cent growth in 2012 over 2011, Rocky Mountaineer will focus on developing the knowledge quotient of the agents, strengthen its relationships and reach in tier-II , tier-III

cities and will create some amazing offers for its clients in the Indian market place. “We have just recently launched a special offer for our early bookers who can avail substantial add-ons, as much as CA$ 1,150 per person for bookings received on

the Rocky Mountaineer for 7 days or more,” advises Saran when asked about the new offers. With Cruising amongst the affluent Indians on the rise, Rocky Mountaineer also provides a perfect fit for land based packages and extended holiday experiences as well and 2012 would be the year

Ashish Saran Group General Manager, India Rocky Mountaineer

that we can see complementing tourism concepts coming together to enhance the overall guest experience.


Drivers finally trained


imed at aiding cab companies, rental car agencies, tourist transport companies, airline and hotel, Pawan Ko Kahin Dekha Kya? is a programme designed to improve the skills of a driver. Global Travel & Hospitality Education Network (GlobalTHEN) aims at transforming the learning process in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry using technology and interactive media.

“The workshop combines cutting edge media, technology and physical and pranic practices with a classroom experience. This module uses a mythical character called Pawan, the ultimate driver, to teach chauffeurs everything they need to know. Through the course of the workshop, Pawan will be like a guru to the participants, explaining rights from wrongs in a friendly and nonpreachy way. Most importantly, the training programme is highly engaging, scalable ondemand and economical,” says, Ram Badrinathan, CEO, GlobalTHEN. To engage with the chauffeurs thoroughly, the entire module has been treated in a manner of a movie, complete with dialogue and riddles and songs. Issues, such as, punctuality, knowledge, personal hygiene, safety, vehicle hygiene and maintenance, communication and etiquette will all be dealt with in the course of six sessions, 26 activities, group exercises,

To be a good driver Through the course of the workshop, Pawan will be like a guru to the participants, explaining rights from wrongs in a friendly and non-preachy way To engage with the chauffeurs thoroughly, the entire module has been treated in a manner of a movie, complete with dialogue and riddles and songs

and a mix of music, drama and poetry sessions. GlobalTHEN feels that chauffeurs in India don’t take pride in what they do and for the most part have little

respect for themselves and their customers. To fill this gaping void in what is expected of them and what they are currently achieving, the company partnered education visionary Sourabh J. Sarkar to deploy



Disclaimer: The contents of this column are based on information collected from sources believed to be reliable. does not guarantee the accuracy or adequacy of any information and has no intentions of maligning any person or office. The publication will not be held liable for any indirect, special, incidental or consequential damages.

An interactive workshop has been designed and launched to train drivers in soft skills, teach them the tenets of customer service and instill in them a sense of dignity. This is a one day, effective and inexpensive learning experience aiming at transforming the way chauffeurs think and work. T T B U R E AU


OmniDEL. This platform blends entertainment and education, and engages with every aspect of the learner. It inculcates a spirit of participation and of practice, thereby maximising learning.

Two e-toilets, horde of people SurajKund Fair was under the media scanner for two reasons. Firstly, the use of plastic and polythene inside the premises was prohibited and special arrangements were made for the sale of non-plastic carry bags by the regulatory authorities. Alas, the media personnel on the day of the inauguration were handed mementoes wrapped in plastic.Secondly, going a step further, two fully automated electronic toilets were set up. But unfortunately, the Mela authorities had probably miscalculated the number of people who would use the facility. Thus, this led to extensive queues infront of the two toilets hence, disturbing the traffic at the fair.




On the house  Etihad Airways recently launched a trade incentive promotion whereby the airline will cover the cost of living expenses for one travel agent in India for an entire year. One grand prize will include funds to cover personal bills for rent/mortgage, utilities, transportation and groceries. To enter, travel agents must first register at Once registered, agents can log in to the site to enter details of Etihad Airways flight bookings made during the entry period, February 06 and March 05. Points will be awarded for each booking made: five points for Diamond First Class; three points for Pearl Business Class; and one point for Coral Economy Class. To be eligible to ‘Live Free for a Year’, an agent must accumulate 30 points during the entry period. One grand prize winner will be randomly drawn from the eligible entrants. Etihad Airways will

also offer mini prizes of 10 iPads and 10 iPhones every week throughout the promotional period. Agents with any number of booking entries submitted during the respective week are eligible to win in the weekly draws. Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer said, “To live for free for an entire year with the peace of mind that all personal living expenses will be taken care of is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We are thrilled to offer this opportunity to our valued travel agent community.

“Our trade partners act as our brand ambassadors abroad, bringing our brand to a wider base of clientele, and we hope to show with this promotion the immense gratitude we have for our loyal supporters.”

Global meet gives many an idea Interserve is a home grown travel and destination management company and has members from all over the world. It organised a first of its kind, 2-day Annual Global Meet for its members on February 12 – 13, 2012 in New Delhi. M E G H A PAU L


he worth of the tourism and travel trade industry in India is ` 1,50,000 crore and yet the income earned by the travel trade in the country is just a meagre ` 10,000 crore. This reflects the kind of potential that lies in the segment. Exploring opportunities to increase the rele-

Opportunities The main objective of the conference is to understand the opportunities for Interserve in the Indian outbound space, establish an online and offline advantage for it in the outbound sector in the country The 2-day conference was attended by 38 Indian and 11 international Interserve members

future business models, the chairman added.

vance of the travel trade in the country and to become useful to each of its stakeholders, Interserve, a travel and destination management company comprising professionals from the travel, tourism and aviation industry worldwide organised its first ‘Annual Global Meet’ for its members. Regarding the importance of the global meet, Asgar Ali, Chairman, Interserve Travel said,

“The conference has given the members a huge value addition as it offers them a common platform on which they can network and interact with each other.”

Interserve: Co-creating future for travel and trade

Asgar Ali Chairman Interserve Travel

The main objective of the conference is to understand the opportunities for Interserve in the Indian outbound space, establish an online and offline advantage for it in the outbound sector in the country, understand how suppliers from the travel industry perceive the Company, as well as give members an opportunity to co-create

Offering delegates an opportunity to network and build business partnership for their members, the 2-day conference was attended by 38 Indian and 11 international Interserve members. The meet was accompanied by brainstorming business sessions with eminent speakers, both domestic and international who discussed various key issues and topics pertinent to the travel trade industry. Talking about the benefits of a partnership with the consortium for small and medium travel agents, Ali said that the Company provides confidence, good partnership and value for money for its members. The consortium provides customers a guarantee of good service.

The first Interserve Global Conference was a much-coveted affair. Organised at the Hotel Ashok in New Delhi, more that 60 Interserve leaders assembled recently in a workshop to co-create the future of this unique business model.




TAAI MP & CG Chapter meet in Manila, Philippines TAAI MP & CG Chapter organised its third meeting at Manila, Philippines on February 3, 2012. The TAAI meeting was supported by Philippines Airlines, who sponsored the airfare of the visiting TAAI delegates and also provided the hotel stay at a reasonable cost. The Philippines Tourism Board arranged to sponsor one night stay at ‘Resort World Manila’ along with the guided tour of their resort followed by lunch. The TAAI delegates also went sightseeing to get first hand knowledge of the beautiful country.




Boost tourism the Madhya Pradesh way


FICCI and the Department of Tourism, Government of Madhya Pradesh successfully organised the first ever Madhya Pradesh Tourism Meet - Conclave and B2B, from February first to second, 2012 at The Lalit Temple View, Khajuraho. Brainstorming and interactive sessions on, inbound tourism, investment opportunities in tourism infrastructure and domestic tourism were held between the policymakers of Madhya Pradesh Tourism and leading inbound and domestic tour operators and investors of India.

In order to bring industry concerns to the forefront and deliberate on it, 10 National Associations of Tourism and Hospitality formalised its cherished dream of being together as one by formally signing the Memorandum of Association for ‘Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality’ (FAITH) on February 9, 2012 in the Capital. In order to bring industry concerns to the forefront and deliberate on it, 10 National Associations of Tourism and Hospitality formalised its cherished dream of being together as one by formally signing the Memorandum of Association for ‘Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality’ (FAITH) on February 9, 2012 in the Capital. It was felt by the Industry about 20 years ago that for a common voice it needed a collective strength. But, because of disagreements on various issues all the four attempts made earlier, could not yield any result.




Domestic Tourists generate 52% revenue In the recently released report on Tourism and Hospitality 2012, India Brand Equity Foundation displays a steady growth of tourism in India. According to report, the domestic tourists earn 52% growth in tourism sector in India, while the foreign tourists generate 23% to the total revenues.

Foreign arrivals are rising

Foreign tourists arriving in India (million)

• Over 5.4 million foreign tourist arrivals were reported in 2010 • The number expanded at a CAGR of 6.6 per cent during 2005–10 Source: Ministry of Tourism, Aranca Research

Foreign exchange earnings from tourism in India (USD billion)

Foreign exchange earnings increase • The total foreign exchange from tourism in India was estimated to be over USD14 billion in 2010 • This is forecast to cross USD19 billion by 2015, rising at a CAGR of 8.5 per cent during FY09–15 Source: Ministry of Tourism, Aranca Research

Kerala Shines: Blend of good marketing and natural beauty

Revenue generated from tourism in Kerala (USD million)

• Kerala is on the Malabar coast of Southwest India • In the early 1990s, the Indian state was known as a single beach destination • The state successfully marketed its serene backwaters, wildlife sanctuaries, ayurvedic treatments and temple festivals • The revenue from tourism rose at a CAGR of over 17.5 per cent during 2005–10 Source: Kerala’s Ministry of Tourism

Annual number of tourists visiting Kerala (million)

Important figures on tourism in Kerala • In 2010, tourism contributed over 9 per cent of the state’s total output • The share of foreign tourists in the total number of tourists increased from 5.5 per cent in 2005 to 7.1 per cent in 2010 • The average per day spending by a foreign tourist in Kerala stands at USD75 compared to the estimated USD37.5 by a domestic tourist Source: Kerala’s Ministry of Tourism Contd. on page 80 u




Contd. from page 78 u

Hospitality sector sees upward trend

Revenues of India’s hotel industry (USD billion)

• The Indian hotel industry grossed revenues of over USD3.8 billion in 2009 • The Indian hotel industry expanded at a CAGR of 11 per cent during 2005–09 Source: Datamonitor, Aranca Research

Various segments’ revenue share in Indian hotels (2009)

Hospitality and the Indian Market • Domestic tourists are the biggest source of revenue in the Indian tourism sector with a share of over 52 per cent of the total revenues • Foreign tourists contribute about 23 per cent to the total revenues Source: Datamonitor, Aranca Research

Foreign tourist arrivals are set to rise

Foreign tourists arriving in India (million)

• Foreign tourist arrivals are expected to increase at a CAGR of 10.9 per cent during 2011–15 • The number of foreign tourists arriving in India by 2015 is anticipated to be over 8.8 million Source: BMI, Aranca Research, Note: F stands for Forecasts

Foreign exchange earnings from tourism in India (USD million)

Rising foreign exchange earnings • Foreign exchange earnings from tourism is expected to rise at a CAGR of 8.7 per cent during 2011–15 • Foreign exchange earned is forecast to cross USD19 billion in 2015 Source: BMI, Aranca Research Note: F stands for Forecasts

Hotel capacity set to increase • The number of hotel beds in the nation is expected to rise to 461,000 by 2015 from the current capacity of 235,000

Source: Datamonitor, Aranca Research

Capacity of hotels in India (‘000)





In the lap of nature Orissa is a fascinating state with unspoilt beaches, sprawling lakes, luxuriant forests, teeming wildlife, superb monuments, exotic handicrafts, traditional tribes, colourful fairs and festivals. It is a land of unforgettable memories and hidden treasures that is comparatively undiscovered and relatively unexplored.


raditionally known as the land of Lord Jagannath, Orissa has innumerable temples. It is probably the only state where one can find the chronological development of temple architecture starting from 2nd century B.C. to the 13th century A.D. and beyond even to the modern times.

Orissa has a 480 km long coastline. Stretching from North in the West Bengal to down South touching Andhra Pradesh, it abounds with beautiful and unspoilt beaches. The Beaches of Orissa at Chandipur, Konark, Puri,

Gopalpur, Paradeep, Pati Sonapur, Balighai, etc. are rated among the best. Asia’s largest brackish Water Lake, Chilika lies in an area of more than 1,100 sq km. It is home to millions of resident and migratory birds who come from as far as Siberia during winter. The confluence of the Bay of Bengal and the lake at the new mouth near Rajhans Island provides a panoramic view.

Orissa. Rath Yatra of Puri is perhaps the grandest festival of Orissa that attracts pilgrim tourists alike. Festivals like Konark Festival, Rajarani Festival, Shreekshetra Festival, Kalinga Mahotsav, Puri Beach Festival, Baripada Chhow Festival, Sambalpur Folk Festival, Koraput Tribal Festival are theme-based tourism festivals which have become a major draws for tourists.

Orissa is a treasure house of nature. More than 37 per cent of the land mass is covered with thick and dense forest. There are two National Parks, Similipal and Bhitarkanika, and more than twenty sanctuaries. Similipal is one of the best tiger reserves in the country. Bhitarkanika is one of the two Mangrove Forests of India and is rich in crocodile population and migratory birds.

Orissa is known for its own form of classical Odissi Dance. The graceful dance is mentioned in scriptures and depicted in sculptures. The Orissan Handicrafts like the Silver Filigree of Cuttack, Applique work of Pipili, Pata Paintings of Raghurajpur, Stone Sculptures of Puri and Textiles of Sambalpur represent creativity expressed in art.

There are a plethora of fairs and festivals, celebrated with pomp and gaiety in every nook and corner of

There are 62 tribes in Orissa. The Tribals mostly inhabit the hilly regions of Orissa.








Wyndham Grand Agra Hotel & Resorts Agra

Fraser Suites New Delhi

The Orchid Hotel Mumbai

Dilawar S. Nindra joins Wyndham Grand Agra Hotel & Resorts as the new General Manager. He possesses more than 13 years of total experience with almost 10 years of managerial experience. His past experience has been in resort and Business and worked with brands like Le Meridien (Starwood), J.W. Marriot (Marriott Group) Holiday Inn (IHG) Zuri. Nindra has developed and implemented standards for both style and quality and used them in his operations. In addition, he has worked closely with other departments including marketing, sales, finance and food and beverage.

Kapil Syal has been appointed as the Director of Sales at Fraser Suites, New Delhi. His responsibilities will entail organising and directing all Sales & Marketing effort towards achievement of objectives and operational goals for the property. He is a Hotel Management Graduate from IHM Jaipur 2000 batch. Syal comes with over 10 years of experience in Sales & Marketing. He has worked with Radisson MBD Noida, The Oberoi New Delhi & The Leela Hotel Group.

Pradipta Narayan Biswas has been appointed as the new General Manager – Operations for The Orchid Hotel, Mumbai. He has over 16 years of experience in Sales and Marketing and has worked with some leading hotel brands in India. Biswas passed out from Presidency College - Hotel Management Bangalore BHM. At The Orchid, Mumbai he is in charge of overall operations.

Vivek Mahajan is the new Accommodations Manager

The Suryaa New Delhi

Ramada Gurgaon Central Gurgaon

Surojit Ghose is appointed as the Head - Sales Leisure in The

Sameer Malhotra has joined Ramada Gurgaon Central as the

Suryaa in New Delhi. Ghose started his career with ITC Maurya and has worked in various capacities in some of the very well known hospitality brands including ITC, The Leela Hotels and Intercontinental Hotels Group in the past. He was working as the Director Sales India for the Soaltee Crowne Plaza Kathmandu - India Sales Office prior to taking up this new assignment. His key focus in his present profile will be on increasing the Travel Agency segment business for the hotel.

new Associate Director Sales & Marketing. Prior to this, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing in 32nd Milestone. He is a Graduate in English (Hons) from Delhi University. With about more than 15 years, Malhotra has worked with some of the leading brands in the Hotel and the Aviation industry like Virgin Atlantic, Seasons Hotel Gurgaon, Sri Lankan Airlines, Usha-Lexus Hotels & Resorts, etc.

Cathay Pacific Airways Mumbai

Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts Mumbai

Punitha Edwankar has been appointed as the Assitant PR & Loyalty Manager for Cathay Pacific Airways. She had joined the airline in June 2008 as a Customer Sales Agent in the Reservations and Ticketing Department. Her total work experience has been around 5 years. In her present profile, she will further raise the awareness of the airline’s world class services to India and the significance of Cathay Pacific’s global brand among the Indian consumer.

Jeewan Samuel Bakhtawar has been appointed as the Vice

for Wyndham Grand Agra Hotel & Resorts. Mahajan has worked with major Indian hospitality brands such as the Taj and Oberoi’s and has completed his Bachelors in Hotel Management from Bangalore in 2002. He has a managerial experience of 8 years in revenues and room management. His skill developed from the past experiences has helped him to manage Sales and Marketing too along with handling the working of the staff efficiently and keeping up the standard of the hotel in terms of cleanliness.

Shitanshu Bhargava has joined as the new F&B Manager of Wyndham Grand Agra Hotel & Resor ts. Bhargava has completed his Diploma in Hotel Management from IHM Kolkata in 2002. He star ted his career with Trident Hilton Udaipur (Oberoi Group of Hotels) and has 10 years of work experience with Oberoi group of hotels, Taj Rambagh Palace Jaipur and Radisson Resort & Spa Alibaug as a pre-opening team member. In his last assignment he was handling the Food and Beverage operation of Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug.

President, Human Resources of The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts Group. Bakhtawar has nearly 20 years of extensive business experience across various industries in different parts of India and the Middle-East. He holds a Post Graduate degree in Human Resource Management from XLRI, Jamshedpur. He also holds a degree in Commerce from Hislop College, Nagpur and is an alumnus of Sherwood College, Nainital.

Form - IV Statement about ownership and other particulars about newspaper TravTalk to be published in the first issue every year after the last day of February

Talking People is a special dedicated corner, created as a sounding board for who’s who of the Indian and International travel industry. With Talking People, it is our endeavour to bring you face-to-face with people. Contributed by: Megha Paul


Punam Singh Country Representative–India for London & Partners

Singh is Country Representative–India for London & Partners. Singh is a practising Buddhist and loves reading books on Buddhism. An avid reader, Singh likes to read crime novels. During her leisure time, she also does gardening. The lady has numerous potted plants in her house. Interestingly, Singh has also adopted a colony park and is instrumental in the maintenance of the park. A dog lover, Singh has one dog and she also takes care of eight other stray dogs who reside in her colony.

Ozgur Ayturk , Counsellor, Turkish Culture & Tourism loves to spend time with his family when he is not working. A doting father, Ayturk is always looking forward to spend quality time with his oneand-a-half year old son and Ozgur Ayturk wife in Delhi. Ayturk con- Counsellor, siders Delhi his second Turkish Culture & Tourism home and loves the city. Besides this, he likes Kerala for its tranquility and has travelled to the state twice already. Ayturk also finds Mumbai interesting for its dynamic nightlife. A music buff hooked on to the MTV during his free time, Ayturk plays the guitar and also likes listening to Turkish and Bollywood songs.


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Exploring the Spanish market Euromonitor survey on outbound travel trends from Spain reports that the travel from the country continued in 2010 during recession. Spaniards continued to take breaks and long-haul budget holidays. However, as 2011 drew to a close, approx. 4,000 travel companies shut shop including Nobel Indoriente. RUPALI NARASIMHAN


t was against this backdrop that India participated in the 32nd edition of FITUR. The number of trade visitors showed an increase from 62,446 last year to 63,628 visitors this year.

Speaking on the trends of the Spanish market, Padmja Vashisht, Director-France, Spain, Switzerland & Portugal, India Tourism said, “The Spanish economy is in deep recession and this definitely is influencing the travel trade negatively. We, however, with the cooperation of the tour operators, are trying to bring the growth patterns back on track. As a result, India has registered a positive growth in the tourist arrivals from Spain

Vinay Maheshwari Director Services International

during the period from MarchDecember 2011 and a positive growth in January 2012 over the same period in 2011.” In an attempt to capture virgin markets, India Tourism is participating in consumer shows in the Spanish hinterland. “While we continue to tap the high-end Spanish outbound leisure market, we are also focussing on the rest of the market and trying to

Padmja Vashisht Director-France, Spain Switzerland & Portugal, India

change that to budget travel,” added Vashisht. Adding to his point of view, Vinay Maheshwari, Director, Services International said, “The situation in Spain is far worse than last year. The economy is high-

Ramesh Punjabi

Jatinder Taneja

Executive Director Le passage to India Tourism

Managing Director Travel Spirit International (TSI)

Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Venezuela and Columbia have started sending tourists to India,” he added. To some extent, contradicting both these thought processes, Ramesh Punjabi, Executive Director, Le pas-

Rajeev Rao

Shivraj Singh

President Travel World Experience

Managing Director Athithi Voyages

ly polarised as the rich are unaffected by any turmoil and the poor have suffered a lot. What is hitting India hard is also the fact that India is no longer in fashion. The countries today that are driving numbers are from the African continent, Sri Lanka etc.” Maheshwari feels his outing to FITUR has been justified because of the business that he has generated from South America. “Countries like

sage to India said, “The real problem is that the high-end business is untouched while it is the middle segment that is not doing very well and it is this segment that has converted to short haul or domestic travel.” He, however, agrees that the next year will be tough for tourism. Punjabi also witnessed a fair amount of business queries from the South American countries.

Though admitting that the Spanish market had slowed down considerably in the last year, Jatinder Taneja, Managing Director, TSI said that his company still managed to produce numbers from this market. “While the business will be slow all across Europe, Spain will be hit particularly badly. This market was always price sensitive and has become even more so.” In the current scenario, pricing will be a certain game changer. Commenting on this aspect, Rajeev Rao, President, Travel World Experience said, “This market has become very cautious and pricing will be critical in the near future. Last summer business was down by approximately 30%.” A new entrant into the Spanish market, Shivraj Singh, Managing Director, Athithi Voyages, was of the opinion that if India were to market new products, the chances of success will be higher. “India has oversold culture and if we promoted off beat products like motor cycling tours, trekking in Ladakh etc., India will regain the top spot. We are targetting the age bracket of 45+ and this generation is certainly not a back packer lot.”

TravTalk March12 1st  

TarvTalk March12 1st

TravTalk March12 1st  

TarvTalk March12 1st