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Vol. XXV No. 17; September 1 st fortnight issue 2013

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TRAVTALK

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SEPTEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

TRAVTALK TV heralds a new era

Lalit Panwar, Jyotsna Suri, VK Duggal, RH Khwaja, Parvez Dewan, Sanjay Kothari and SanJeet at the launch event of TRAVTALK TV

As takes the industry a step ahead, industry stalwarts gathered at The Lalit Hotel on 23 August to show their support for the launch of TRAVTALK TV. T T B U R E AU

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t was a big day in the history of travel industry when the industry stalwarts of the travel trade gathered at The LaLit Hotel for an event which scripted a history of its kind. TRAVTALK TV was born. SanJeet, Editor and Publisher, DDP Publications delivered the welcome speech and invited the dig-

nitaries on stage for the ribbon cutting ceremony. These dignitaries included VK Duggal, Member, National Disaster Management Authority; RH Khwaja, Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Mines; Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India; Lalit Panwar, Secretary to the government of India - Ministry of Minority; Sanjay Kothari,

Secretary to the Government of India Administrative Reforms &

Public Grievances and Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson and Managing Director, The LaLiT Suri Hospitality Group. Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, Association Presidents from the industry Subhash Goyal, President, IATO; Subhash Verma, President, ADTOI; Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI and Rajan Sehgal, President, IGTA were called on the stage and the TRAVTALK TV logo was

launched. The TRAVTALK TV launch saw a gathering of 450 distinguished guests from across different value chains of the travel and hospitality industry. The senior representatives of the travel and hospitality industry included top leaders from hotels, airlines, GDS, car rentals, travel trade associations, NTOs, cruises and state tourism bodies to name a few. See more on page 4 

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BULLETIN

For local and global partnerships The IATO Convention-2013 has a dual objective of bringing all local and global stakeholders, exploring innovative ideas to take India’s inbound segment to new highs… VIVEK SETHI

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he Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) is back with a special message for its members and stake-

Subhash Goyal President Indian Association of Tour Operators

holders in the inbound travel business through its annual convention in Kochi. As per Subhash Goyal, President,

IATO, the need of the hour is to strike global and local partnerships. “The theme for this year’s Convention is very apt, taking into consideration the present scene of tourism.

Globally, countries are forming partnerships for tourism marketing, sharing databases, developing strategies, common booths at global travel fairs, pooling resources and exchanging ideas. This partnership is also visible in research partnership, investigating tourism as

a social-ecological system, civic governance and tourism in the face of uncertainties created by global warming and peak oil pricings, etc,” said Goyal. “Public Private Partnerships (PPP) are becoming increasingly important in tourism infrastructure development opportunities. These will be explored in course of the business sessions and inputs from the experts who have been invited from India and abroad,” he added. Further, IATO is keen to lift the growth momentum forward by taking partnerships ahead into creation of innovations. Here, Goyal said, “Innovation can be defined in a multiplicity of ways as new products, processes, new materials, new forms of

organisations, use of technology; creating centres of excellence that disseminate new operational research-based knowledge, focussing on incremental raise of quality and staff, including niche innovations and revolutionary innovations can really impact positively for tourism and its sustainability.” “This quantifies how much importance the theme holds for stakeholders. The above note amplifies the major aspects. The sessions will touch other related matters of social media, taxation, visa issues, global marketing, skill development and overseas marketing efforts. IATO’s business sessions are aimed at educating members on all these aspects of tourism and new trends,” he added.


COVER STORY VIEWPOINT

Celebrating the birth of TRAVTALK TV Contd. from page 1 

Over 10,000 people viewed the first news capsule on the same night when TRAVTALKTV was launched. Going forward, the 2-minute and 10-minute news capsule will be circulated to around 500,000 viewers

Launch of

TRAVTALKTV

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3 August 2013, 2030 hours was a proud moment for all of us at DDP Publications and the culmination of a lot of hard work, late nights and head banging! We had finally launched TRAVTALK TV , in the midst of 450 industry and government leaders – all our friends and supporters.

SanJeet Editor & Publisher Deepa Sethi Editor-in-Chief

Photographers Simran Kaur-Delhi Bharat Dangiya-Mumbai

– VK Duggal, Member-National Disaster Management Authority

– RH Khwaja, Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Mines

TRAVTALKTV is a pathbreaking initiative.

It will help the stakeholders access news in a flexible manner. – Lalit K. Panwar, Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Minority Affairs

We have taken the advantages of TV & Internet to create this... A new product that has a global distribution through the Net and can be viewed at our convenience and forwarded to people we want to share it with.

Advertising

This is a constructive and positive initiative. I hope that in some time, it becomes interactive.

– Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India

All this exclusively for the travel & hospitality industry, so all our friends stay abreast of what is happening, even during their constant travels in India and abroad. It can be seen on your laptops, tablets and smart phones, even on WhatsApp so don’t forget to add TRAVTALK TV to your WhatsApp friends list, and watch it week after week, month after month.

Gunjan Sabikhi Asst. Vice President Karishma Khanna Sr. Manager Marketing Udit Pandey Sr. Manager Marketing Geetika Pathak Manager Advertising Amit Sarkar Asst. Manager Marketing

address the needs of the travel trade industry. With news on the go,TRAVTALK TV will address a long-standing wish of the industry to be able to get latest news anywhere and anytime.

The initiative is most imaginative, and more importantly, it is most needed.

This has taken TRAVTALK into the middle of the 21st century.

These news episodes will come to the entire tourism and hospitality industry every week. The 2-minute ‘Headlines’ episode will come as weekly attachment with an email. At the same time, it will be loaded on our website, www.travtalktv.com along with the complete 10-minute ‘News’ episode. There will also be a ‘Specials’ page on this website containing interviews, news about conventions & exhibitions and extensive coverage of industry events and celebrations.

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

Australia, Thailand, Canada, Singapore, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy and Malaysia etc. The dignitaries spoke about how the merging of technology and news-distribution had progressed, and how this will

Sound-bites from the veterans for TRAVTALK TV

It was a moment of great pride when the ceremonial ribbon was cut on stage and the curtains opened to reveal the TRAVTALK TV logo to the sound of bugles and drums. And the final applause for the first news episode shown on large screens to a silent room of watching audience, brought a tear of joy to many of our eyes…

Vikramajit Chairman

domestically and internationally. This module can further be forwarded to friends and business. The news capsule also got international audiences, in as many as 25 countries, including UK, USA, UAE,

Advertising (Mumbai) Suchita Saran Branch Manager Harshal Ashar Deputy Genral Manager Priyanshu Wankhade Asst. Manager Advertising Rishika Karra Sales Coordinator Advertisement Designers Vikas Mandotia / Nitin Kumar Aarushi Agrawal Design: Nityanand Misra Sudhir Mudgal Production: Anil Kharbanda Circulation: Ashok Rana

It was a great event. This is the perfect vision and the perfect answer. – Sanjay Kothari, Secretary to the Government of India, Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances

I hope TRAVTALK TV will take advantage of the great destinations in India and abroad to promote them. – Stewart Beck High Commissioner of Canada to India

It will help boost tourism and I hope we will all benefit from it.

Over 500,000 travel industry professionals globally will be able to see it every week.

– Jyotsna Suri, Chairman & Managing Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group

– SanJeet, Editor and Publisher, DDP Publications

I think it is a great initiative for the travel industry and I congratulate everyone behind it. My best wishes to all.

We have always known SanJeet to think beyond his times. So as a dear friend and a well wisher, I wish him all the luck.

– Subhash Goyal, President, IATO

– Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI

has responded to the need of the hour with this new venture. This is what the industry needs in competitive times.

I am sure it will help us put forth industry issues to the government more effectively.

– Subhash Verma, President, ADTOI

– Rajan Sehgal, President, IGTA

TRAVTALK is a publication of DDP 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

advice before acting on information contained in this publication which is provided for general use, and may not be appropriate for the readers’ particular circumstances. Contents of this publication are copyright. No part of TRAVTALK or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publication in writing. The same rule applies when there is a copyright or the article is taken from another publication. An exemption is hereby granted for the extracts used for the purpose of fair review, provided two copies of the same publication are sent to us for our records. Publications reproducing material either in part or in whole, without permission could face legal action.

The publisher assumes no responsibility for returning any material solicited or unsolicited nor is he responsible for material lost or damaged.

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MOT

SEPTEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

MOT campaigns to put India on top Find What You Seek, Go Beyond and 777 Days of Indian Himalayas are three major campaigns which will take care of bringing incremental international tourists and augment domestic growth. TT B U R E AU

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inting at a revival in growth ahead of the peak inbound season, the Foreign Tourists Arrivals (FTAs) clocked an impressive growth of 7.9 per cent in July 2013 over July 2012 as per recent statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism (MOT). The campaigns launched by MOT here have worked as ‘silent crusaders’ and kept alive interest in Incredible India, which now merits due praise. Beginning with a major new campaign being worked out, the MOT will be launching a special campaign ‘777 days of Indian Himalayas’ on World Tourism Day. As per K Chiranjeevi, Minister for Tourism; the new campaign will publicise the tourism potential of the Indian Himalayas and promote this tourist product internationally.

The aim of this campaign is to promote not only the Himalayan States, but also the gateway cities which will serve them with their international and domestic airports and railway stations. The Ministry plans to launch the campaign on

`317 crore in infrastructure investment for Nashik region The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has chalked out a ` 317.50-crore plan to boost tourism in the Nashik revenue division. The state government has approved the plan, which will promote tourism in North Maharashtra. Out of the total fund of ` 317.50 crore, ` 126 crore has been sanctioned for various tourism projects in the Nashik district, ` 46 crore for Dhule, ` 36 crore for Jalgaon, ` 57 crore for Ahmednagar and ` 52 crore for Nandurbar districts.

September 27 this year on the occasion of the World Tourism Day. The earlier two major ongoing campaigns, ‘Find What You Seek’ and ‘Go Beyond’ herald a change in marketing focus of the MOT. The Incredible India campaign, which was launched in

2002, in its second phase has moved away from a product or destination focus to go consumer-specific. The shift is in line with MOT’s objective to promote India as a 365-day destination in the overseas market and deliver to the interna-

tional visitors exactly the experience they desire. MOT’s International campaign is called ‘Find What You Seek’ highlighting the fact that India offers wide range of experience like no other destination that include conventional cultural, heritage, history, nature based experience

to niche products like adventure, sports, eco, golf, and wellness to name a few. Further, MOT is also focussing on encouraging domestic travellers with another campaign called ‘Go Beyond’, which will help them undertake exploring newer destinations in India.

K Chiranjeevi Minister for Tourism India

TRAVTALK

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ASSOCIATIONS

PTM-2013 to push China inbound Members of PATA India Chapter will exhibit PTM 2013 to showcase the best of Incredible India. Moreover, Vikram Madhok, Vice Chairperson, PATA-India Chapter shared his insights on the resurgence of inbound in India likely by end of 2013. Here are the selected excerptsT T B U R E AU

PATA Travel Mart 2013 This year, the PATA Travel Mart is being organised at Century City New International Convention & Exhibition Center (CCNICEC)

China is a big market that all countries are trying to tap. Our members will do their best to represent Incredible India to the entire Asia Pacific. I would also like to see growth in numbers of foreign travellers to India from China post the PTM 2013.

Our members will do their best to represent Incredible India to the entire Asia Pacific Vikram Madhok Vice Chairperson, PATA-India Chapter in Chengdu, China from 1517 September 2013. All our PATA-India members participating in the Mart will get a superb opportunity to tap several business opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. This year, there will also be a lot of Chinese buyers.

PATA India roundtable At PATA India Chapter, our focus is to promote Incredible India through the PATA network. We are determined to sensitise different bodies about importance of tourism and the important role it can play in an econo-

my. Also at the same time, we will like to highlight the areas and the impediments that impede growth of tourism in India. We had a very lively interactive session with the PATA CEO in April. We had invited various segments in the travel and hospitality industry including airlines, tour operators and other stakeholders. We intend to hope another such roundtable towards the end of 2013, where we bring all leading stakeholders across all value chains in travel and hospitality segment and chart future growth roadmap.

Bouncing Back In last 2-3 years, due to the global economic slowdown, we all had been impacted across the board, including the luxury inbound business. India is extremely well-poised for luxury travellers and inbound in general on account of simplified visa process, enhanced connectivity to India, world class

hotels, state-of-the art international airports, good road connectivity and improved visitor experience at our monuments. Most of the bright sparks are expected towards the end of 2013. To give an illustration, at A&K, our large chunk of business comes from upscale luxury market. The luxury traveller is far more inelastic to the vagaries of the slowdown. They most certainly recalibrate the destinations they will like to travel to, but they don’t stop travelling. In simple words, nothing can take away the right to enjoy a vacation from luxury travellers. We had seen a dip of about 10 per cent in the first quarter of the 2013. However, we are hopeful that on back of the jump in demand as indicated by initial booking trend in the third quarter onwards, the year will close with about 20 per cent growth.

` downslide to boost inbound If the dollar stays beyond 60 levels, there will automatically be incremental growth in terms of revenues. While the same pace is not likely to be seen in terms of visitor arrivals in India. reports. VIVEK SETHI

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he rupee depreciation can further create a mirage effect and distract the inbound industry that is fighting global and domestic odds to increase foreign tourists arrivals to India. Because, the fall in the value of rupee will in one way enhance revenue earnings, when computed in rupee terms. “The inbound space is still a long way off the highs it had scaled in 2007-08 before the crisis. The core source markets that used to give us business are still suffering. Leading economies in Europe except the likes of Germany, France and U.K are still recovering. Here, many countries including Spain and Italy are yet to show strong signs of recovery. The conventional source markets are taking time to recover. However, the growth opportunities emerging in the CIS countries and Latin America are commendable. The same bullish senti-

ment is the case with Asia,” said Dipak Deva, Vice Chairman, WTTCII and CEO, Destination Management, India & South Asia, Kuoni Destination Management “In my opinion, it will be a commendable task if the industry could end up with double digit growth. Here, one also needs to clearly define growth in terms of visitor arrivals and revenues. If, the dollar stays beyond 60 levels, there will be automatically incremental growth in terms of revenues, while same pace is not likely to be seen in terms of visitor arrivals. We can talk about any number of world heritage sites, the UNESCO heritage sites, world class hotels, state-of-the-art airports. But mere infrastructure is not enough to bring tourists to a country,” added Deva. Visa Liquidity in addition to air-liquidity is one of the most important aspects that ensures increase in visitors arrivals to a country. India

had grown air inventory in the recent past, which is now growing at desirable pace. To leverage, India now needs to enhance Visa liquidity.

we are not going to take facilitative steps in visa procurement, we will never reach our true potential in terms of inbound tourism,” said Deva.

Our visa processes need to gear up to meet the tourist’s expectations of a hassle-free experience Dipak Deva CEO, Destination Management, India & South Asia, Kuoni Destination Management Giving an example, he says, “If next week I need to go Turkey. My office will get me an online visa in, literally speaking, no time. These are the initiatives that differentiate the countries that want to generate tourist arrivals from the rest. In the Indian context, we have, to some extent, addressed issues related to visa. However, if

“As of today, our visa processes needs to further gear up to meet the tourist’s expectations of a hasslefree visa experience, without any undue delays. The recently announced extension of Visa on Arrival facility to five new ports including Goa and Kerala are steps in the right direction,” he added.


MOT

SEPTEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

TRAVTALK

VoA to help reach 12 mn inbound The Visa on Arrival facility was started at Bengaluru Airport in early August, while the Goa Airport is to start this service by October... A N I TA J A I N

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ith the dwindling rupee going for an all-time low, the inbound season starting from September this year is looking better. The Ministry of Tourism, India has set a target to attract 12 million international tourists by 2016. To achieve this target, it has undertaken an array of activities in top-performing and potential source markets. However, one of the best initiatives undertaken by the Ministry is facilitating Visa on Arrival (VoA) for 11 countries (another 10 countries are under consideration for the same) at Indian international airports. Currently, this facility is available at Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru; while Goa, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad and Kochi will soon offer this facility. According to Parvez Dewan, Tourism Secretary, Ministry of Tourism; the VoA scheme has been a huge success and contributed to increase the number of inbound tourists in the country. He said,

“Visa liberalisation would be soon coming to Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram to facilitate faster and convenient entry of inbound tourists into India. Our country entered into the liberalised visa regime last year, and the ministry intends to expand this service to all the international airports in the country. This will boost tourism, not only in select states, but across India. Soon Imphal in North East will become an international airport and by activating VoA, inbound tourists can easily access the beautiful North East region of India.�

Rise in VoA  The VoA scheme registered a 22.6 per cent growth in July 2013 (with 1154 visas being issued) over July 2012. Similar growth was registered during June (22.9 per cent), May (37 per cent), April (23.5 per cent), March (63 per cent), February (54.6 per cent) over the same months in 2012.

The Bengaluru Airport started VoA facility in early August with separate desks, special seating arrangements and appropriate signage at the airport. The facility will soon have enclosures for Forex counters and photographing foreign nationals. Additional immigration offi-

cials will also be available in the coming months to ease the entire process. As the third busiest airport in the country after Mumbai and New Delhi, Bengaluru daily handles about 400 passenger and cargo flights of both domestic and international airlines.

The Goa Airport will start this facility by October - starting of the peak season for the state for inbound tourism. Infrastructure facilities at the Goa International Airport Vasco da Gama Airport at Dabolim are being upgraded and more ameni-

ties are being set up. This includes exclusive visa desks, holding areas, special enclosure for photographing foreign nationals, foreign exchange counter, proper signage and display, and telephone connec- Parvez Dewan Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India tions.

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HOTELS

Lalit’s debut in Kolkata The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group has commenced with its first batch of the hospitality school. reports. TT B U R E AU

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he Lalit Suri Hospitality School has commenced classes for the first academic batch from its new campus at Faridabad in Delhi-NCR. The batch for the threeyear Bachelor of Hotel Management Programme was welcomed by Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson and Managing Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group. According to her, the current batch has 20 students. Ultimately, the school will see 200-student batches from next year, Suri informed during an exclusive interaction with . The course will be offered in affiliation with Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) Rohtak, Haryana. The school is the first industry-integrated hospitality institute to be approved and affiliated by MDU. The institute has appointed HS Dewan, former Principal, IHM Faridabad, as the Nodal Officer. MDU is a National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)-accredited ‘A’ Grade State University offering various programmes, including Hotel & Tourism Management. The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group is offering two new hotels in the luxury

Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson and Managing Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group

segment by the end of the current year.

“We are looking at adding two luxury hotels to our portfolio by the end of 2013. The first hotel of the two was recently opened in Chandigarh,” she said.

The second hotel–The Great Eastern Hotel, an iconic landmark of Kolkata, will reopen in November. “A property of Lalit Suri group, the 171-year-old hotel is in an advanced stage of restoration. We will unveil the hotel on November 19 this year. This is very karmic for us. The first owner had opened the hotel on November 19, and this year, we will inaugurate it on the same day. It also coincides with the birth anniversary of Lalit Suri,” she elaborated.

Increase in room rates Hotel chain Marriott International Inc is concentrating on making sure that it gets right price for its rooms. TT B U R E AU

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arriott International Inc, plans to increase its room rates in 2014. The company which will have 22 hotels in the country by the end of 2013, also plans on driving bookings through its online channels. Ramesh Daryanani, Area Director Sales & Marketing – South Asia, Marriott International, said,

“The average room rates have been under pressure and this will continue in the second half of the year. I think there will be a marginal decrease. Our focus is to make sure we get the right price for our hotels and we will be looking at rate increase for next year. Our typical pricing season is

where all the RFPs kick in by August. We lock our RFPs down by December, generally for corporate travellers. But in most cases, our ARRs start increasing from January onwards.”

Ramesh Daryanani Area Director Sales & Marketing, South Asia, Marriott International

Daryanani also informed that Marriott International was very keen on driving online bookings in India, especially through its own website. He added, “Marriott.com contributes close to US$ 8 billion in revenue to Marriott

International. Additionally, we also have partnerships with OTAs like MakeMyTrip and Yatra to distribute our inventory.” The company is also promoting its two training programmes in the Indian market – the Hotel Excellence programme which is targetted at educating the travel trade about Marriott as a brand and Meeting Excellence, which aims training partners who are focussed on the MICE segment. According to Daryanani, “2013 has been positive a year for Marriott across all segments, and even the newly-launched hotels such as The Courtyard by Marriott Bhopal, Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield and The Courtyard by Marriott Kochi are all ramping up well.” Occupancies across India for Marriott International have dropped 0.6 per cent in the period of January-June 2013 compared to JanuaryJune 2012.”


ASSOCIATIONS

Kerala to grow with IATO IATO has extended invitation to Chief Minister of Kerala to inaugurate the Convention, and the Minister of State for Tourism will be the Chief Guest of Honour. public and private domain. Similarly, Anand highlights that as per the tentative programme, IATO has invited Chief Minister of Kerala to inaugurate the Convention and the Minister of State for Tourism will be the Chief Guest of Honour.

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s per Arun Anand, Convention Chairman, IATO Convention 2013; it has been seen and acknowledged that wherever IATO hosts a convention, the movement of tourists in the host state also takes a leap.

“In Kerala, the government is pro-active and the trade is very professional. The state has high literacy rate, rich culture, beaches, wildlife, easy air-connectivity with three international airports, luxury as well as budget hotels. We will boost Kerala with our efforts, and that will in turn bring tourists in numbers. We are confident that IATO will succeed in enhancing tourist arrivals to Kerala after the Convention, due to efforts that members will be putting in with their new experience,” said Anand. Talking about his responsibilities, he clarified, “The smooth operation of this year’s Convention is my responsibility. In addition, I also need to ensure greater number of participants, increased sponsorship, advertisements, bookings of space in Travel Mart which coincides with the Convention, and overall coordination with all sub-committees’ setup for

Arun Anand Convention Chairman IATO Convention 2013

We are confident that IATO will succeed in enhancing tourist arrivals to Kerala after the Convention, due to the efforts that members will be putting in efficient running of the Convention.” Further, the inaugural ceremony of the IATO convention had been a mega event, which had seen participation of important players from

“We are very optimistic and expectations are high. As IATO, we are putting in sincere efforts and have formed strong partnerships with government bodies and all stakeholders. We have already got confirmation from Kerala (the host state), Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha and Delhi; and have assured participation of Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and West Bengal. All these states are regulars at IATO Conventions and we value their support,” said Anand. “Air India as the national carrier, is our airline partner. IndiGo, SpiceJet, and Jet Airways are helping us in the best possible way. The hospitality partners are Le Meridien (Convention Venue) and other partner hotels include Crown Plaza, Holiday Inn, Vivanta Malabar Taj, Casino, Trident, Dream Hotel, Ramada Resort, Abad Atrium and Whyteforte,” Anand added.

Chapter tally is 5 for ADTOI Unity among travel trade associations will be the key focus of this chapter, assured the ADTOI Maharashtra chapter president. A N I TA J A I N

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fter working for over a year, the Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) successfully launched its fifth chapter –

ADTOI; Iqbal Mulla, President, TAAI along with other ADTOI members and people from trade, hospitality and state tourism boards. Abhijeet Patil, CEO, Raja Rani Tours & Travels is

Parvez Dewan, Secretary, MOT (centre) with the ADTOI team

Maharashtra Chapter in Mumbai recently. Parvez Dewan, Tourism Secretary, Ministry of Tourism inaugurated the chapter in presence of Subhash Verma, President, ADTOI; PP Khanna, Vice President, ADTOI; Ravi Luthra, General Secretary,

the new Chairman of Maharashtra Chapter. He would be responsible for appointing the Secretary and Treasurer for this chapter and expand the membership base. Talking about the new position and responsibility, Patil said, “I won’t set tar-

gets or say what all things we would achieve in this chapter, but I will achieve them and prove it. I assure the Managing Committee (MC) of ADTOI that the Maharashtra chapter will be the most vibrant and dynamic in the association. However, there is one thing that I would strive to work towards, and that is unity among travel trade associations. If we are united against industry challenges and changes, we can survive better. Also, we are starting with just 15 members, but I assure the team that we will have high quality in membership criteria. Moreover, I urge the MC to consider Maharashtra as their forthcoming convention venue and we assure that we will come up with best possible options.” See more photos on page 44 


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TRAVTALK SEPTEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

FAMILY ALBUM

Discover Germany India Pool Road Show The German National Tourist Office organised a Discover Germany India Pool Road Show in New Delhi on 22 August at The Imperial, Janpath. The event saw a huge gathering of the travel trade fraternity who interacted with the India Pool members from Germany.


STATES

Kerala to tap new markets It has already started promoting Bekal in the North and Kollam in South Kerala, while paying attention to develop new markets like USA, Japan, and Finland among others. T T B U R E AU

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erala has made a substantial mark with its beaches, backwaters and Ayurveda in the international and domestic tourism segment. Going forward, S Harikishore, Director, Kerala Tourism explains in a candid interview with that the state is developing more attractions and new product offerings. Here are the selected excerpts:-

Travel attractions in KeralaBeaches, backwaters and Ayurveda are the most popular Kerala Tourism products among international travellers. With domestic tourists, the backwaters, especially houseboats, are very popular. Hill stations such as Munnar and

Wayanad are also a big hit among travellers from other parts of India. As far as international marketing is concerned, we are trying to tap new markets like USA, Japan, Finland etc. Visa on Arrival facility will significantly help boost tourist arrivals from these areas.

S Harikishore Director Kerala Tourism

industry conventions and meets because we believe these will bring out new ideas, schemes and projects to attract more visitors, improve services and serve the tourists better.

We are also keen to promote Kerala as a MICE tourism destination with its unique settings for conferences by the beaches, back-

For a city like Kochi which has a fairly advanced MICE infrastructure, hosting 1,200 delegates poses no difficulty at all. It has success-

waters and hill-stations, and innovative incentive holidays. The Government is very keen to provide substantial increase in the budget outlay every year for tourism. This year, there is a budget provision of ` 28 crore for marketing alone, against ` 25 crore last year.

fully hosted national and global events on a far bigger scale, such as the Kerala Travel Mart, the Emerging Kerala Global Connect and the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

Kochi: The new MICE hub

In the domestic market, we are planning to intensify our campaign targetting TierII and Tier-III cities.

New travel attractions? We are working closely with the private sector in developing new destinations across the state. Bekal in North Kerala, which now has

excellent accommodation infrastructure, is one among them. The other one is Kollam in South Kerala. We have already started promoting these destinations through fam trips, brochures, roadshows etc. We are now looking at new products like adventure

Nijhawan for Dubai Dolphinarium  Dubai Dolphinarium, the region’s only dolphin and seal show, has appointed Nijhawan Group as its sales and marketing representative in India. The group will focus on designing sales and marketing strategies to keep positioning Dubai Dolphinarium as the leading family entertainment destination in the Middle East. Nijhawan Group will have direct access to issue dolphinarium tickets which will provide the Indian travel trade with immediate benefits and additional revenue streams. Steven Preston, General Manager, Dubai Dolphinarium says, “India is one of the strongest feeder markets for Dubai’s travel and tourism sector and the highest market to

tourism, and monsoon holidays which will add to our state's attractions. Kerala has the potential to become a major player in the country's adventure-tourism circuit. Ecotourism too holds great promise for the future.

Dubai Dolphinarium. As the region’s only dolphin and seal family entertainment centre, we are showcasing the different experiences we offer and the advantages the travel trade enjoy by including the dolphinarium in their itineraries. We chose Nijhawan Group due to their ability to take products to the Indian market and generate robust sales and distribution relationships’. According to Ankush Nijhawan, MD - Nijhawan Group, India, with an estimated potential of 50 million outbound Indian travellers by 2020, makes it a key market to be captured by Dubai Dolphinarium. It will offer Indians with a unique high value family entertainment.

Role of travel agents in promoting Kerala Travel agents, hotels and hospitality businesses all play a very important role in tourism promotion. Their role in the growth of Kerala’s tourism sector has been significant. The state government is very supportive of

MICE tourism has great potential in Kerala, and we are looking to develop world-class infrastructure in other destinations across the state. The Government has supported travel-related events in the past, and we actively encourage businesses and organisations to take advantage of the MICEfriendly environment that Kerala offers.

Delhi Tourism for Nature Bazaar

The permanent Nature Bazaar at Kisan Haat, Andheria Modh was inaugurated on 25 August 2013 in a ceremony by Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister, Govt. of Delhi. Manish Chatrath, Chairman, Delhi Tourism and GG Saxena, MD & CEO, Delhi Tourism were also present during the inauguration ceremony. The Nature Bazaar is an initiative of Govt. of Delhi and Delhi Tourism in association with Dastkar


16

ANALYSIS

TRAVTALK SEPTEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

Hotels see double whammy in ` fall In 2007, when the dollar was on a weak wicket, international as well as domestic hotel chains in India had decided to charge their domestic and international customers in rupees. That policy could now be changed, with the rupee in reverse gear. MEGHA PAUL

T

he Indian rupee has fallen to a new all-time low against the US dollar, amid concerns that the Federal Reserve will soon scale back its stimulus measures. Several domestic segments are reeling under this rupee fall, but the tourism and hotel industry has not lost much. The depreciating rupee has made inbound travel cheaper. It is also making hotel rooms cheaper for foreign tourists, who now have to shell out fewer dollars for the same tariff against a few months back. Also, the depreciating rupee has made the dollar more charming for hotel chains in India. In 2007, when the dollar was on a weak wicket, international as well as domestic hotel chains in India had decided to charge their domestic and international customers in rupees. That policy could now be changed, with the rupee in reverse gear. Many chains are now planning to switch to charging their customers in dollars. According to Michel Koopman, General Manager, The Leela Gurgaon, given the concerns about the

rupee slide, hotel chains are considering switching back to dollar tariff. “However, at

ments.” However, with the rupee depreciating against major foreign currencies,

Michel Koopman

KB Kachru

General Manager The Leela Gurgaon

Chairman, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group - South Asia

We are surely looking at a revision of our F&B menu card rates, as prices of imported food are rising our hotel, we are not following a dollar tariff. So there is no windfall gain with the rupee fall. But the rupee slide surely makes it affordable luxury for the inbound travellers and this will help in buoying travel senti-

We will see how the currency behaves. Now, we have a mixed structure, with US$ and ` denominated payments prices of imported products have shot up by as much as 20 per cent. “Thus, we are surely looking at a revision of our F&B menu card rates, as prices of imported food ingredients and spirits are rising,” he adds.

KB Kachru, Chairman, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group-- South Asia feels the group will have to see how the currency behaves from here on. “At present, we have a mixed structure, which contains both US dollar and rupee denominated payments,” he says. Reacting to the rupee depreciation, Arjun Sharma, MD, LPTI and Co-Chairman, Tourism Committee—CII says the tour operators quote in various currencies depending on the marketspecific needs. Urging the hoteliers to follow the rupee rate during these times, he feels, “In India, hotels follow rupee pricing. It has been felt that a few hoteliers, perhaps stressed due to dollar dominated loans, are toying with the idea of quoting dollar rates. It is an abhorrent move and they should understand the difference between profits and profiteering. Hotels should follow rupee rates and command market share on its basis.” In many key source markets, including Europe, these developments have been very well received. “In fact, we are getting more queries from our partners for ad-hoc visit of clients, to whom we can pass on additional benefits that are pos-

sible, only due to devaluation of our currency. But one needs to understand that it

by hotel builders. According to Dilip Puri, Managing Director-India and Regional

Arjun Sharma

Dilip Puri

MD, LPTI and Co-Chairman, Tourism Committee—CII

MD-India and Regional VP-SA, Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts

Hoteliers are toying with the idea of quoting US$ rates. They should follow ` rates & command market share on its basis

also leads to increase in costs, such as fuel and other inputs coupled with inflation, which is another major hazard,” he affirms. The domino effect of the falling rupee is also being felt

Equipment and interior items for hotels under construction have become 15% more expensive Vice President-South Asia, Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts, equipment and interior items for hotels under construction have become 15 per cent more expensive.

Lonavala gets its first luxury adventure property  Della Resorts & Villas has recently unveiled its 92room luxury resort in Lonavala in Maharashtra. Jimmy Mistry, the Chief Architect and Managing Director of Della Tecnica, the parent company of Della Resorts & Villas and Della Adventure, stated, “The con-

cept of organised adventure sport resorts is relatively new in India. There are hardly any establishments which provide a safe and secure way of attempting such sports. Mostly such activities are conducted in an uncontrolled environment with locallytrained personnel and sub-

standard equipment.

I believe India still has a long way to go where secure adventure sport resorts are concerned.

Della Adventure along with Della Resorts & Villas seamlessly addresses the same to resultantly provide the first-of-its-kind setup in the country for adventure enthusiasts within India and beyond.” Having built its first

property with an investment of ` 250 crore, Della Tecnica plans to expand the Della Resorts & Villas and Della Adventure on a pan-India basis with similar properties planned in cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Goa, Jodhpur, Alibaug and Panshet.

Jimmy Mistry Chief Architect and Managing Director, Della Tecnica


OTA

TBO to expand to Asia Pacific Ankush Nijhawan, Co-founder and CEO, Travel Boutique Online, talks about his plans to expand into the international markets. He also talks about his plans to come up with a mobile app for their B2B travel partners in India. Qatar, Saudi Arabia (Riyadh and Jeddah) Morroco and Egypt. Almost 800 agents buy all their hotel needs from us in the Middle East and North Africa. We are the largest hotel content provider of Amadeus in India and also in the Middle East with 21 online suppliers integrated with Travel Boutique Online.”

PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA

W

ith a presence in almost 350 Indian cities, Travel Boutique Online is now the leading online B2B travel portal, which works with almost 14,000 travel agents everyday, who transact with them on air, hotels and any other travel-related services. “We currently have 39 offices in India and cover the entire length and breadth of the country. We are doing well in a slow market. Although 2012 and the current year has been slow for the market, TBO is growing at the rate of 40 per cent month-on-month and we are very proud of this,” says Nijhawan. Talking about TBO’s latest offering for agents, Nijhawan says they’ll soon be coming up with a mobile app for their Indian B2B travel partners. “Technology is something we believe in building, we continue to innovate and we are now coming up with a mobile app for our B2B travel partners in India, which will be available in Android, iOS and Blackberry. This will be free to use and agents will be able to access TBO from everywhere,” he says. However, he says that they will continue to focus on the hotel segment. “We will keep adding suppliers and inventories on the hotel side, because we believe, in the near future, hotels are the way to make money. This is where it is going to be a big contributor to the bottom line, whether it is us as a B2B player or a retail travel agent.” With hotels entering the online domain, Nijhawan says it is hardly a threat to the B2B players, “Hotels are pushing their online channel, but Indians will still talk to a travel agent and book. There is a big phobia regarding using one’s credit card online in our

Ankush Nijhawan Co-founder and CEO Travel Boutique Online

Although 2012 and the current year has been slow for the market, TBO is growing at the rate of 40 per cent month-on-month and we are very proud of this country. Travellers might use the hotel website as an encyclopedia, they check out the hotel online and then they call the travel agent and book telling the agent what exactly they want. The trend will shift, but then it still has a long way to go.” Talking about TBO’s presence in the international market, he says, “TBO has done a lot in the international market in the last one-and-ahalf-years. Currently we operate in the Middle East and North Africa; we are doing very good numbers there and we sell only hotels there right now. The biggest win for us was last year when Amadeus Middle East and North Africa contracted with us exclusively to power their hotel content store with the online Amadeus agents in 22 countries of the Middle East and North Africa, which includes Dubai, Kuwait,

After Middle East and North Africa, TBO has moved into the other markets as well, especially the emerging markets, so now as a way to move forward, after North Africa they have moved into Kenya and have also started a South African set up. With offices in the Middle East and Africa, TBO now has its sights set on Asia Pacific. With an office in Thailand and Sri Lanka, Nijhawan says, “In the future, we are definitely eyeing Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines and Vietnam. We plan to launch operations very soon in 2 of these 5 markets. With this, we intend to replicate the relationship that we have in Middle East and North Africa in the Asia Pacific as well. With an office in London, he says, “We are focussing on the emerging markets right now. We will slowly penetrate the European market, but for the short term, we have nothing planned for Europe.” “Rupee depreciation affects my India business outbound but that does not affect my international market,” he adds talking on the burning issue of rupee slide.

Trends  Travellers might use the hotel website as an encyclopedia, they check out the hotel online and then they call the travel agent and book telling the agent what exactly they want

AI to connect Mumbai to Gwalior, Agra and Allahabad Air India is scheduled to introduce new services linking Mumbai to Gwalior and Agra from September 9, 2013. The Mumbai-Gwalior flight will operate on Monday and Thursday while Mumbai-Agra flight service will be on Tuesday and Friday. It is also introducing four times a week service on Delhi-AllahabadMumbai route. In addition, the airline will also operate a flight connecting Mumbai to Allahabad and then onwards to Delhi on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.


AVIATION Guest Column

Growing business in India Adnan Aykac, General Manager, Northern and Eastern India of Turkish Airlines talks to about his ‘wishlist’, the MoCA nod to fly to 8 Indian cities .

L

ast year, we carried more than 350,000 PAX for these two destinations (Delhi and Mumbai). We are fully using our bilateral capacity on India routes. At the end of the new bilateral, we would like to include Amritsar, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. We would also like to fly Delhi and Mumbai double daily. Everybody seems to be moving towards South India now; after Air Asia, Air India is talking about starting a second hub in South India. Airlines want to come to the South because of the opportunity to get more mileage and benefits. India, of course, has a huge population base, is the second biggest country in terms of geographical size and population, so big opportunities are there. Bureaucracy, regulation and processes are an Indian reality. I can say easily if you can survive in this market, you can survive anywhere. There is a heavy competition, and we look at the big picture; today, Emirates is the best airline in the world and

we are the best airline in Europe for 2013. In India, Emirates has 10 destinations and seat capacity is more than 60,000. Qatar has 12 destinations with more than 30,000 seat capacity. Etihad has nine destinations with a capacity of 28,000. Lufthansa has five destinations with more than 20,000 seat capacity. India is the biggest player in the aviation sector. British Airways, Air France, KLM, all the carriers want to be here. Competition is not bad for a company if it is fair, and beneficial for airlines; the country and the customers. Today, flying to 103 countries, Turkish Airlines is the biggest in terms of networks. Destination-wise, we are the second biggest airline, after Lufthansa. We want to use these destinations to improve our network and to offer more alternatives for passengers. Delhi and Mumbai remain the two biggest gateways for India. Last year’s data shows 70 per cent of international travellers use these two gateways (BSP figures). Growth rate in international traffic in Delhi

and Mumbai could be slower, but the figure is bigger. These cities have the most expensive airport fees in the world. But because of the volume of business in these two cities, you cannot shift your operations. If we have the alternative of a second airport in Delhi, we may think about it. In London, if you can’t fly to Heathrow for slot availability, you can fly to Gatwick.

The Indian market is a mixed market. You can find every kind of passenger; business, leisure, student etc and percentages are really similar. The profile changes with the seasons; summer is leisure, school holiday season - student travellers, however, the business traveller brings business through the whole year. For the last two years, our business traveller profile has been stable. Since we offer full-flat seats, entertainment, catering, business bookings have increased by 25 per cent. We offer special

packages to companies like yearly-contracts, discounts and packages. Our main secret for the busiest routes from India is that we are flying to different destinations in same country. This is a huge advantage for both business and leisure travellers. We have 5 destinations in the US, 6 in Spain, 5 in France, 4 in UK, 7 in Italy, 12 in Germany, 8 in Russia, and 7 in Ukraine. We get a lot of passengers because of our multidestination strategy. Excerpts from conversation with Adnan Aykac, General Manager, Northern and Eastern India of Turkish Airlines

Looking for more connections The airline intends to further enhance its connectivity to India if the bilateral air service agreement is revised between both the countries… T T B U R E AU

C

urrently flying from 10 destinations with 14 flights and 2100 seats a week from India, Oman’s flag carrier – Oman Airline is keen to further intensify its presence in the country. The airline

and Bengaluru which are showing growth potential in the coming years. Both India and Oman revised their air traffic bilateral agreement last year and currently Oman Air is flying

airline is recording a healthy 80-85 per cent loads of which 80 per cent of the booking comes from travel agents. Harthy said, “Travel agents contribute a major portion of sales in our distribution network.

More routes on the cards Before revising the bilateral air service agreement between Oman and India, the traffic entitlements were 11,500 seats per week between India and Sultanate of Oman. While Oman Air had rights to land in ten different cities in India, Indian carriers had rights to land only at Muscat and Salalah airports. If the bilateral revision happens, Oman Air also intends to connect Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Trichy and Mangalore from Muscat.

Hamad M Al Harthy Country Manager – India Oman Air

operates double-daily services from Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad as the major chunk of passenger loads comes from these cities throughout the year. On the other hand, the airline operates daily flights to Lucknow, Jaipur, Calicut (Kozhikode), Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi

on its full capacity rights to India. “If the bilateral air service agreement is revised, then we intend to first enhance our frequency to the current destinations we are operating to as they are the top markets where air travel demand is growing every year. Later, we would look at expanding to other cities in India,” informed Hamad M Al Harthy, Country Manager – India, Oman Air. At present, the

To encourage and maintain healthy relations with the travel trade, we provide attractive incentives depending on their performance and volume of business they generate for us.”

The airline is also working closely with the Oman Tourism Board to promote the country as a high-end leisure destination among Indian travellers. According to Harthy, till 2003, the airline has majority of labour traffic from India to Oman. However, with the repositioning of the country as a leisure and business destination, today, the airline carries mix of leisure, business, VFR and labour traffic from across India. The airline has over 17,000 members in India under ‘Sindbad’ – its Frequent Flyer Programme. When asked if the airline intends to introduce extra charges for seat selection, luggage limitation, etc, Harthy said, “We are a full service carrier and such services are part of our package. The trend is increasing in India with LCC and legacy carriers charging extra for those services but we still intend not to charge for such services.”


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TRAVTALK SEPTEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

FAMILY ALBUM

Lo and Behold! A star is born••• With the guest count spiralling upwards of 450, the launch of TRAVTALK TV was most definitely a first in the history of travel trade journalism. Along with travel agents, there were dignitaries, path-breakers, chairmen and CEOs from travel, aviation, hospitality, tour operators, and government heavyweights to share the excitement of an event of this magnitude. A veritable list of who’s who, everybody who was anybody in the travel trade industry was seen at the launch of TRAVTALK TV.

Contd. on page 36 


ASSOCIATIONS

SEPTEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

TRAVTALK

21

TAAI NR’s new team to get more engaging Rajen Sehgal, Chairman, TAAI NR feels the need to create a strong lobby for discussing issues regarding travel agents and ensuring that if the need arises, their voice is also heard in the Parliament. T T B U R E AU

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AAI Northern Region announced its new team on basis of elections held on 8 August, 2013. The new

Rajen Sehgal Chairman TAAI NR

I have been involved with TAAI NR for over 15 years. I feel there is a further need to create a strong lobby for discussing issues team comprises Sehgal, Neeraj Malhotra as Honorary Secretary and Gaurav Dogra as the Honorary Treasurer. The new team office will resume office, post the TAAI national election due in September 2013. “Travel agents today have so many issues. Diminishing commissions; onset of weekly payments and the difficult global economic scenario are among the major travails. Today, the travel agents can only stay relevant if their issues are addressed in due course of time,” said Sehgal. “I have been involved with TAAI NR for over 15 years and have also served three terms as its honorary secretary. I feel there is a further need to create a strong lobby for discussing issues pertaining to travel agents. In my tenure, our team will

Redressing Issues  Travel agents today have so many issues. Diminishing commissions; onset of weekly payments and the difficult global economic scenario are among the major travails

surely focus on inviting parliamentarians and political leaders so that, if the need be, our voice is also heard inside the Parliament,” he added. Moreover, Sehgal feels that TAAI NR should get more engaging with

media that will help them create favourable representations for travel fraternity. “We have been mostly focussed on our principals and kept discussing our issues with them. We shall continue doing so. But, the

time has come that we also work closely with the media, both mainstream and trade media. It will help us create a favourable image of travel agents and get all our just demands addressed faster,” said Sehgal.

Neeraj Malhotra

Gaurav Dogra

Honorary Secretary TAAI

Honorary Treasurer TAAI


STATES

SEPTEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

TRAVTALK

J&K gets 21 new projects in its kitty In 2012, Jammu and Kashmir recorded the highest ever tourist influx with 13.11 lakh tourists, including 37,000 foreigners visiting Kashmir valley and over 38,000 foreigners visiting Ladakh during the last season. T T B U R E AU

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oping for yet another successful holiday season, Ghulam Ahmed Mir, Tourism Minister, Jammu and Kashmir, talks to about the newly sanctioned mega infrastructure and heritage projects by the Centre and

Ghulam Ahmed Mir Tourism Minister Jammu and Kashmir

safety measures undertaken for tourists ahead of the holiday season.

Q

Please share details of the mega tourism projects sanctioned by the Centre recently The construction of Kashmir Haat at Chinar Bagh, development of picnic spot at Pahalgam, light and sound show at Shalimar Bagh, construction of budget accommodation at Aharbal and Lolab-Bangus-Drangyari would be completed at a cost of ` 22.28 crore. The construction of TRC at Yousmarg, eco-friendly development of Sutkudi base camp to Vishansar, Sonamarg, development of Sarbal lake, development of Jamia Masjid Heritage Corridor as a tourist destination, development of Doodpathari as tourist resort, setting up of laser show/multimedia show at Dal Lake and development of wayside facilities and upgradation of Amarnath Yatra track would be carried out at the cost of ` 22.52 crore in Kashmir valley. In Jammu division, sanctioned projects include development of tourist infrastructure at Natha Top and development of Sanasar Lake, conservation and restoration of Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex as mega tourist, development of tourist infrastructure at Mansar Lake, development of Mughal road, Lake Circuit, Poonch, development of tourist spots in Ballwan Basoli and Bani area and development and promotion of pilgrim circuit at Gurudwara Nangali Sahib in Poonch besides integrated

development of tourist circuit in Darhal as base camp and Shaker Marg as gateway to the tourist destination of Pirpanchal range would be completed at the total cost of ` 38.68 crore. Projects worth ` 4.45 crore for development of tourist infrastructure

in Kargil tourist spot have also been sanctioned by the Centre.

Q

Tell us about the progress of tourism projects being executed under the Central Financial Assistance

Many of the centrally sponsored schemes have been completed like TRC Srinagar, TRC Ladwdora at Qazigund, Chanirbagh Kulgam, trekkers’ huts at Ahrabal Kulgam, Club centre and dormitory at Sanamarg, Contd. on page 28 

23


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STATES

TRAVTALK SEPTEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

South India – A hidden tourism gem With Mumbai and New Delhi still acting as top source markets for service providers in the tourism sector, the South Indian metros – Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad are in the limelight! Considering this, in association with the Ministry of Tourism is organising South India Travel Awards this year. A N I TA

JAIN

C

onsidering the potential of Indian outbound travel market, major global service providers – be it airlines, hotels, tourism boards, cruise lines, etc; are turning their focus on India to tap the maximum market share. Despite the increasing number of competitors in the market, the service providers are confident of profits. They feel that the competition is expanding the size of the market, resulting in a healthy distribution of market share for each of them. The top five metro cities are the major focus for everyone, while mini metros are coming into their view as well. However, the most interesting market trend is ‘South India’ coming up as a major tourism hub for these service providers. According to Partha Chatterjee, Advisor, Keys Hotels; South India is becoming an attractive breeding

ground for tourism service providers. “Look at the growth in domestic, inbound and outbound tourism traffic from South Indian cities – it is an excellent rate. The Bangalore airport is proving to be an excellent connectivity point for international airlines, and now the new terminal at Chennai airport will further act as a gateway to South India. With improving infrastructure at tourist locations, more and more hoteliers are entering this region. And with better accommodation facilities, even MICE is becoming an emerging segment in South India.”

Action Down South For global and domestic tourists, South India is popular for two things action by Superstar Rajnikanth and for its cuisine. The tourism boards are also working hard to popularise their culture, heritage, festivals, wildlife, hill stations, etc by participating in

Partha Chatterjee

Tony Fernandes

Advisor Keys Hotels

CEO AirAsia

With improving infrastructure at tourist locations, more and more hoteliers are entering this region

domestic and global travel trade shows, and working with tour operators.

AirAsia India will initially operate in the South Indian market as we understand this region

Spreading wings According to the Civil Aviation Ministry; Mumbai

and New Delhi airports handle about 200 international flights a day, Chennai receives 100 flights a day (expected to increase with the new international terminal) while Hyderabad and Bengaluru receive about 50 flights a day. However, with increasing airport charges at Mumbai and New Delhi airports, airlines are also considering to shift focus to South Indian airports. According to a recent study, India is the biggest market for Emirates outside UAE. Bengaluru and Hyderabad contribute to about 20-25 per cent of its total market share, while Chennai contributes about 13 per cent, which is much higher than its market share from Mumbai and New Delhi. AirAsia India will soon start its India operations with its head-office in Chennai and operational bases in Bangalore, Chennai and Kochi. Tony Fernandes, CEO, AirAsia said, “A lot of

Malaysians fly to South India. AirAsia India will initially operate in the South Indian market as we have a good understanding of this region.” According to him, the operational cost and airport taxes are also much lower in South India, as compared to Mumbai and New Delhi. Multiple European, Middle Eastern and Asian carriers are now either connected or have applied to connect South Indian cities. India’s flag carrier – Air India is also planning to have a third hub in South India (probably Chennai or Bangalore) to tap the growing air traffic (both international and domestic). Domestic carriers like Jet Airways, GoAir, SpiceJet and IndiGo are constantly improving their connections in South India.

States’ connection The ‘God’s own country’ is still considered as the Contd. on page 56 


26

STATES

TRAVTALK SEPTEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

Heathrow Express enters Indian market, to work with agents  The rail link between Heathrow and Central London has appointed Global Destinations as its whole-

Pranav Kapadia Director Global Destinations

saler in India. In order to tap the Indian market, highspeed rail link service between London’s Heathrow airport and Central London, Heathrow Express has appointed Mumbai-based Global Destination as its wholesaler in India. Pranav Kapadia, Director, Global Destinations said, “Heathrow Express is the fastest route between Central London and Heathrow. It carries over 16,000 passengers every day and it has departures from Heathrow Airport and London Paddington station

every 15 minutes. The rail link is the speediest and most comfortable way to travel between London and the airport” Kapadia also informed that the main target segment for Heathrow Express would be corporate travellers to London as well as leisure and VFR traffic. He stated,

“We will work with Indian agents on a commission basis and will also offer them incentives to promote Heathrow Express to their clients. Additionally, they will also have an XML-based solution to book tickets online.” Mumbai-based Global Destinations is also planning to participate in activities organised by VisitBritain and London & Partners as well as approach airlines offering flights to London from India to jointly promote Heathrow Express.

Pitching for coastal tourism To leverage on over 300 kilometres of virgin coastline, the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) plans to focus on developing coastal tourism. L YA N D R A D ’ S O U Z A

T

he state is currently in the process of formulating a plan to develop tourist facilities, infrastructure and seaplane services along the

CD Dyavaiah Managing Director KSTDC

Karnataka coast. This information was revealed by CD Dyavaiah, Managing Director, KSTDC. Dyavaiah said, “KSTDC plans to develop these facilities on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis. Once

the policy is finalised over the next couple of months, we will be in a position to reveal more details.” Dyavaiah also said that KSTDC was keen to launch intra-state air services. He said that KSTDC had invited expressions of interest from private players to launch these services but that it was yet in the planning phase.

“This will boost tourism in the state and we are working on a strategy to ensure the longterm sustainability of the service.” Positioning Karnataka as a culture and heritage destination for the domestic segment, the state plans to promote Hampi, Mysore and Gokarna to attract tourists from all over the country. Further, state tourism development corporation also plans to conduct roadshows

later this year in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, according to Dyavaiah. Karnataka has also signed an MoU with Andhra Pradesh for cross promotion of tourism in both states earlier this month. The possibility of extending Karnataka’s Golden Chariot train to Andhra Pradesh was also mooted. "We are extremely happy to associate with Andhra Pradesh government for this MoU. We are optimistic that this will be a step forward in terms of increas-

ing tourism initiatives in both states," Dyavaiah said. Additionally, Karnataka will also announce new ecotourism guidelines by the end of the year in order to regulate eco-tourism within the state to avoid an overdependence on tiger reserves. The Karnataka Govt also plans to introduce a grading system to rate private resorts to allow access to tiger reserves. Karnataka’s eco-tourism board is also planning to develop its reserve forests for sustainable eco-tourism.


STATES

Haryana perks for agents The state introduces new scheme for agents to book rooms online and earn handsome commissions. reports. T T B U R E AU

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nderstanding the growing importance of travel agents and tour operators in domestic market scenario, Haryana Tourism has launched a new scheme wherein agents can register online and start earning commission on hotel-room bookings. As per the new scheme, travel agents and tour operators registered with any of the trade associations (TAAI, TAFI, IATO, ATOAI and ADTOI) or with Government of India can register with a non-refundable fee of ` 1,000 with Haryana Tourism Corporation, and access the online hotel booking platform managed by the tourism board. Along with a minimum of 10 per cent commission of per night per room booking, the commission will vary for group bookings and number of room nights booked in certain period of time. Divulging further details, Sunil Bhatia, Marketing Head, Haryana Tourism Corporation said, “Haryana Tourism Corporation operates over 40

properties with close to 800 rooms across the state. To increase awareness and improve sales, we are collaborating with members of reputed travel associations. Along with offering attractive commissions and incentives,

Sunil Bhatia Marketing Head Haryana Tourism Corporation

we are also providing assistance to the registered members for local suppliers, packages, attractions, sightseeing, etc. It was important for us to collaborate with reputed agents, and thus, we selected top five travel trade associations.” The corporation is also expanding its focus area by exploring other tourism seg-

ments like highway tourism wherein it is targetting the transiting tourist travelling to Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab via Haryana. As per the report filed by AC Nielsen, titled as ‘Tourism Survey for the State of Haryana (April 2011- March 2012)’ and submitted to Ministry of Tourism (Market Research Division), Govt of India; during April 2011March 2012, the corporation recorded 50 per cent occupancy which was the highest. Bhatia concluded, “We are sure that the members will bring us substantial business this year.”

Highlights  The corporation is also expanding its focus area by exploring other tourism segments like highway tourism wherein it is targetting the transiting tourist travelling to Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab via Haryana.

Project completion on time  Contd. from page 23

budget accommodations at Lolab, Kupwara, North Circuit Caridoor, development of Gurez as tourist destination, TRCs at various locations and tourist villages like Watlab, Akhangam, Sharshali, Nowgam Abad and Tiger Smoor.

Q

What is being done to ensure timely completion? The centrally sponsored project must complete within a period of two to three years and our state has been able to meet most deadlines.

Q

What are the demands of tourism trade delegations and travel associations, and what steps is the government taking? Travel and tour associations here have been demanding for growth of good accommodation facilities, easy access by rail and air on a fix price and quota. They also demand more destinations to be opened with adequate facilities.

Q

Highlight challenges to convince nations to lift travel advisories

During last year, nearly 120 lakh pilgrims visited Jammu, 13 lakh tourists visited the Valley which included 37,000 foreigners from the UK, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, Germany, USA, Holland, Russia, etc. Whosoever visited J&K, returned home safe. Had there been any disturbance, so many foreigners would have never visited the state. All the countries who imposed Travel Advisories need to lift them, so that their people can visit J&K without fear.

Now, AI becomes carrier of Indian art  With more constructive developments being made by Air India such as starting the direct Delhi-Birmingham flight followed by the scheduled launch of triangular Delhi-Sydney-Melbourne in August, the carrier also aims at promoting the Indian art. “Our connections to these centres will certainly open new vistas to promote tourism to India,” said Rohit Nandan, Chairman, AI on the sidelines of the AI’s first ever art exhibition in Delhi. The art exhibition called ‘Air India Salutes Indian Masters’, was recently inau-

gurated by Ajit Singh, Union Civil Aviation Minister in presence of KN Srivastava, Secretary, MoCA; Rajeev Lochan, Director, National Gallery of Modern Art, Ministry of Culture and many other eminent dignitaries. “In fact, we wish to take the exhibition to other

centres in India including Mumbai and Bengaluru. Going forward, we will like to take our art exhibition overseas as well. We will like to work closely with all government agencies to spread Indian culture through India’s finest art exhibition,” he added.


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The new MICE hub in East Delhi Kempinski has cashed in on the unsaturated market of Shahdara in East Delhi. This flagship luxury property is strategically located in one of the capital’s most developed districts, as released by the recent Census data. M E G H A PAU L

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urope-based Kempinski Hotels re-entered the Indian hospitality market last year. After parting ways with The Leela Group, the company formed a partnership with the Delhi-based Ambience Group. The strategy is for Ambience to own the hotel asset, with Kempinski managing its day-to-day operations. The first property under the partnership, the Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi, will complete a year of operations this December.

Vella Ramasawmy General Manager Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi

We are the biggest MICE capacity hotel in the country. Any conference for over 800 people comes to us now Talking about the past one year, Vella Ramasawmy, General Manager, Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi said, “When our owner decided to build this hotel here, people were skeptical about this venture in East Delhi and that too, with over 400 rooms. However, the last one year here has proven that the owner was correct.” According to the GM, the hotel has cashed in on unsaturated market of Shahdara in East Delhi. This flagship luxury property is strategically located in the capital’s most developed district by most standards, as released by the recent Census data on hous-

USP THE BIG IDEA: Banqueting has done extremely well. Besides MICE, wedding is a big market segment for us BUSINESS: Currently, 55 per cent of our business comes from banqueting and 45 per cent from the ARRs

es, household amenities and assets. The hotel is strategically located and is well-connected to the airport, Metro stations and prominent entertainment destinations in Delhi and Noida, he revealed. The first Kempinski Hotel in India has 480 rooms

and suites encased within two towers, a 25,000 sq. ft. Pillar-less ballroom -- the largest in a five-star deluxe hotel in India accommodating up to 6,000 guests, two swimming pools with jacuzzi and water curtains, spa with hammam treatment room, two fitness centres, a yoga

deck and other facilities, the GM claimed. “We are the biggest MICE capacity hotel in the country. At the moment, we have created East Delhi as the preferred MICE destination. Any conference for over 800 people comes to us now.” Regarding the performance of the hotel

in the last one year, he replied, “We will close this year at 38 per cent occupancy-wise. Banqueting has done extremely well. Besides MICE, wedding is a big market segment for us. Currently, 55 per cent of our business comes from banqueting and 45 per cent from the ARRs.

As it is about volume, we did not want to be arrogant and raise our ARRs. We charged what the market expected. For brand positioning, we put ourselves at an ARR of 6,500. We wanted to be affordable luxury. We will look at increasing ARRs only next year.”


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Asia-Pacific chases another record Japan, Thailand and Maldives have been at the leading edge of the rise in tourism in the Asia-Pacific. There have been eight million additional visitors, over and above a figure consistent within three per cent of PATA forecasts. TT B U R E AU

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nternational visitor arrivals into Asia-Pacific destinations have expanded at better than eight per cent over the first part of the year, according to preliminary estimates released by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) recently. Across 31 destinations for which data is currently available, this translates into more than eight million additional arrivals over and above those

Martin J. Craigs Chief Executive Officer PATA

Numbers such as these alert investors to the risks and of course, the many rewards offered by Asia Pacific's world-leading visitor economy received for the corresponding periods of last year. These results are consistent with the growth predictions made by the PATA forecasts of visitor demand and place the region well on target to achieve an expected international inbound volume of around 495 million for the full 2013 calendar year. First half results for 2013 are available for 16 of the Asia Pacific destinations – which incidentally also account for 84 per cent of the inbound arrivals volume so far this year – and at close to 145 million foreign arrivals, are within three per cent of the predictions as made in the PATA forecast report. “Forecasts with this degree of accuracy, detail and a timely quarterly update are essential if we are to effectively respond to opportunities as they emerge,” said Martin J. Craigs, Chief Executive Officer of PATA.

“Additionally, numbers such as these alert investors to the risks and of course, the many rewards offered by Asia Pacific's world-leading visitor economy.” A number of these destinations are performing well above expectations. Japan, in particular, is rebounding at a

much faster rate than predicted with an inbound volume of around five million as of June this year. Thailand, a rapidly growing source market for Japan, has generated growth in arrivals of almost 53 per cent so far this year, and that is expected to grow even more strongly since the

visa exemption took effect on July 1, 2013. The Maldives is another destination that is performing well above predicted expectations with continued growth coming out of the China market, but also with substantial gains from a number of

other areas including Central and Eastern Europe and West Asia. A total of 41 destinations are covered in PATA's Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2013-17 report, with predicted volume flows by origin given quarterly over a fiveyear horizon until 2017.

Rising Numbers  Japan, in particular, is rebounding at a much faster rate than predicted with an inbound volume of around five million as of June this year. Thailand, has generated growth in arrivals of almost 53 per cent so far


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FAMILY ALBUM

The screening of Khajurpura at the Lalit The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group hosted the screening of Khajurpura- The Legacy of Khajuraho at The Lalit New Delhi on the eve of Independence Day. The occasion was graced by the who's who of the travel industry.


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Creating a new horizon for the industry  Contd. from page 20


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Celebrating a first of its kind

Contd. on page 40 


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Nitish woos tourism investors for Bihar At the ‘Bihar Calling: Conference on Tourism, Heritage and Hospitality’, tourism experts brainstorm on the need to promote the spiritual heritage of the state through a new branding strategy. T T B U R E AU

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t is not possible for the government to develop the tourism and hospitality sector in any state without the support of private stakeholders, Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister, Bihar, feels. Urging private companies to invest in the tourism and hospitality sector

Nitish Kumar Chief Minister Bihar

I guarantee security to the investors, but first they should invest in the state, he said, “We had discussions with the travel and tour operators during the last Udyami Panchayat. I guarantee security to the investors, but first they should invest.” Kumar was speaking at the ‘Bihar Calling: Conference on Tourism, Heritage and Hospitality’ organised by the State Tourism department in association with the Indian Chamber of Commerce. “Right now, tourists are coming on their own, but once development starts, there would be a lot of competition in the market, and you should make full use of the opportunity now,” he said to the investors. According to the Union Government report, over 11 lakh foreign tourists visited the State in 2012, compared to only 94,000 in 2006. The CM informed that over 50 lakh visitors are expected in the State to celebrate 350 years of Takht Sri Harmandir at Patna Saheb in 2016. The state had sought funds from the Centre to facilitate the event. Bihar needs to have a refined roadmap for tourism that concentrates on every element, Shaun Mann, Tourism Programme Manager, International Finance Corporation (IFC) opines. “We have signed an agreement

with the Government of India and the Government of Bihar recently in May for developing the Buddhist circuit in Bihar, utilising funds to the tune of ` 5 crore. The project is basically aimed at filling up the infrastructure and the resources gaps in the Buddhist

tourism sector in India. We would start identifying the infrastructure gaps in the Buddhist circuit in the state by the end of June,” he added. According to Karan Anand, Director, Cox and Kings, there is much to be done in the field of infrastructure

development, hotels and highways among others. Kamal Sahi, Resident Director, Bihar State Office, Indian Chamber of Commerce feels,“We are planning another event in October or November that will focus on inbound tourists to the state.”

Shaun Mann

Karan Anand

Tourism Programme Manager, International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Director Cox and Kings


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When everyone wishes well!  Contd. from page 37


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A toast for a new tomorrow

Contd. on page 42 


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Well begun is well done•••


STATES

West Bengal woos tourists The state had recently launched a campaign Chalo Chalen Bengal to project its tourism potential and attract more domestic and foreign tourists. T T B U R E AU

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onths after launching the promotional video featuring Bollywood superstar and state brand ambassador, Shahrukh Khan, West Bengal is now banking on tourism to be its sunshine sector. The state had launched a one month-long intensive campaign in Delhi with the tagline-- Chalo Chalen Bengal (Let’s visit Bengal). The new government has resolved to bring in both qualitative and quantitative change in the tourism sector. The increasing annual outlay for tourism in the last two state budgets is a testimony to it. This was revealed by Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury, Minister-inCharge Tourism, Government of West Bengal who was in New Delhi to flag off the event. “Allocation made by the state government for Tourism sector was ` 38 crore in 2011-2012. It increased to ` 90 crore in 2012-2013 and ` 120 crore in the current financial year 2013-2014. This clearly reflects the budg-

Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury

Vikram Sen

Minister-in-Charge Tourism Government of West Bengal

Principal Secretary-Tourism West Bengal

etary support has increased 33 per cent,” he added. Currently, the state ranks ninth in domestic tourist arrivals. It is both a concern and an opportunity. Thus, WB wants to work closely with the travel trade to promote packages in other regions of India, especially North and South India, he pointed out. The State Tourism Department will conduct roadshows in major cities of India such as Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, etc, in the coming months. He said, “We are looking at starting night flights from Bagdogra airport. The state government is in talks with the Airport Authority of India for this.”

The state is betting big on promoting Durga Puja tourism packages in a big way. “This year, we plan to offer 10 tourist packages that include Kolkata and other districts of state where tourists can soak in the festive spirit culture and heritage of the state at various zamindari puja homes,” Vikram Sen, Principal Secretary Tourism, West Bengal added. The government through the PPP mode is developing infrastructure, including Gajoldoba Tourism Hub, the Kolkata Giant Wheel, Sylee Tea Tourism Hub, Kunjanagar Nature and Adventure Park and Eco-Tourism in Jhadhali, Sundarbans.

ADTOI launches Maharashtra Chapter

The Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) recently launched its fifth chapter in Maharashtra at a grand evening in Mumbai recently. Parvez Dewan, Secretary –Tourism, Govt of India was the Chief Guest at the event and inaugurated the chapter. Abhijeet Patil, Chairman, Raja Rani Travels was inducted as the Chairman of the ADTOI Maharashtra Chapter. Members of the travel trade from across the state, TAAI, TAFI, ETAA and other chapter heads were also present at the launch.


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STATES

Madhya Pradesh and its glory The most recent TV commercial depicts the various tourist attractions of MP through shadowgraphy or ombromanie -- the art of performing a story using images made by hand shadows. Various ad makers have presented romantic, mystical and fantastical depictions of MP, but the state is surely more beautiful than any of its eyecatching commercials.

Mahakaleshwar, Ujjain

Ujjain Omkareshwar, Madhya Pradesh

Omkareshwar Seen from high above, and through the eyes of faith, the two hillocks on this riverine island, separated by a gentle lowland, assume the form of the sacred syllable OM.

What to See Mamleshwar Temple: Built in the 10th century, this ancient temple is under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI). In its heyday, it must have had two large shrines and a number of smaller ones. Nowadays, only one large shrine seems to be open to worshippers. Omkar Mandhata Temple: To the right of the hall is the sanctum holding the greatly revered Jyotirlinga. The idol is a small shivling rising out of a shallow pit, protected by a broad silver flame. Parikrama Path: It accesses many

Maheshwar Maheshwar was a glorious city at the dawn of Indian civilization when it was Mahishmati, capital of King Kartivarjun. This temple town on the banks of the river Narmada finds mention in the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Revived to its ancient position of importance by the Holkar queen Rani Ahilyabai of Indore, Maheshwar’s temples and mighty fort complex stand in quiet beauty, mirrored in the river below.

What to See Rajgaddi and Rajwada : A life-

places of reverence like the Omkar Math, Ananda Mai Temple and the Ramakrishna Mission among others. Sangam: This river is the confluence of the Narmada and the Kaveri . Gauri Somnath Temple: This is at the top of a flight of 270 steps, that rises up from the ghats, for those who want to do a half-parikrama. Patali Hanuman: In a pavilion, out of which a tree grows, is a three metre long idol of Hanuman, the powerful and greatly loved monkey god who is a great devotee of Lord Ram. Here, Hanuman is shown sleeping, his enormous mace by his side. Chand- Suraj Gate: This MoonSun Gate, which is what Chand-Suraj means, is set in massive walls of dressed stone with carved corbel projections to support the topping stones.

size statue of Rani Ahilyabai sits on a throne in the Rajgaddi within the Fort complex. This is the right place to begin a tour of Maheshwar, for this pious and wise queen was the architect of its revived importance. Ghats : Peshwar Ghat, Fanase Ghat and Ahilya Ghat line the river Narmada, flights of steps lead down from the sandy banks to the river, and through the day a kaleidoscope of rural India can be seen here. Maheshwari Sarees: Introduced into Maheshwar 250 years ago by Rani Ahilyabai, the sarees are renowned throughout India for their unique weave. Woven mostly in cotton, the typical Maheshwari saree has a plain body and sometimes stripes or checks.

Siddinath Temple: Many visitors find this ruined temple the most impressive one on the island. Its unroofed pillars rise from a plinth richly sculpted with a frieze of elephants and equestrian warriors. Arjun Bhim Gateway: This is a massive gateway set in thick walls, largely ruined now, with sculptures of two warriors of the epic Mahabharat War: the Pandava brothers Arjun and Bhim.

How to Reach: BY AIR: The nearest airport is Indore (77 km), connected by regular flights with Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Kolkata, Jabalpur, Gwalior and Bhopal. BY RAIL: Nearest railhead is Omkareshwar Road(12 km) on the Ratlam-Khandwa section of the Western Railway. BY ROAD: Omkareshwar is connected to Indore, Ujjain, Khandwa and Omkareshwar road by regular bus services. Your Host: Narmada Resort (MPT)

Maheshwar Fort: It stands on a hill overlooking the Narmada on the South and the modern town of Maheshwar to its North. Historians argue that it was done by the Parmaras while other historians stretch the antiquity of the fort to the 4th-5th century AD and attribute its construction to a local ruler called Subandhu.

How to Reach: BY AIR : Nearest airport is Indore(91 km). BY RAIL : Nearest railheads are Barwaha (39 km), Khandwa (110 km), Indore (91 km) and Mhow on the Western Railway. BY ROAD : Regular buses are available from Barwaha, Khandwa, Dhar and Dhamnod. BEST SEASON : July to March Your Host : Narmada Retreat (MPT)

The ancient city of Ujjain lies on the banks of the river Shipra. Legend has it that Ujjain is one of the saptapuris, or the seven holy cities of India that grant moksha or liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Ujjain hosts the Simhasth, as the Kumbh Mela is known here, every 12 years, the latest of which was in 2004.

What to See Travellers to Ujjain generally start their tour of this historic city by visiting the Mahakaleshwar Temple. The Mahakaleshwar Temple: It enshrines one of the 12 jyotirlingas and is thus one of the most sacred Shiva shrines in India. The original structure of Mahakaleshwar Temple was rebuilt by the Marathas in the 1850s. Legend has it that no one can rule over Ujjain without first surrendering their faith to Mahakaleshwar. Bade Ganesh Ka Mandir: This temple situated above the tank near the Mahakaleshwar temple, enshrines a huge artistic sculpture of Ganesh. Harsiddhi Temple: The site where Sati’s elbow fell is consecrated as Harsiddhi Temple. The Sri Yantra, or symbol of shakti, is also enshrined here. The central deity here is goddess Annapurna. Vedha Shala or the Observatory: Ved Shala, locally known as Jantar Mantar, is an observatory built in the 17th century by Raja Jai Singh(1688-1743). It is located on the Ujjain – Fatehabad Road, 2 kms from Mahakaleshwar Temple. Jai Singh also constructed similar observatories in Jaipur, Delhi and Varanasi. Chintamani Ganesh: The temple is built across the Shipra on the Fatehabad railway line. The Ganesh idol enshrined here is supposed to be swayambhu- born of itself. The temple itself is believed to be of considerable antiquity. Riddhi and Siddhi, the consorts of Ganesha, are seated on either side of Ganesha. The artistically carved pillars in the assembly hall date back to the Paramara period. Worshippers throng to this temple because the deity here is traditionally known as Chintaharan Ganesh meaning ‘ the assurer of freedom from worldly anxieties’. Gopal Mandir: Gopal Mandir, one of the largest temples in Ujjain, was built by the Marathas in the mid-19th century. The huge silver plated doors of the garbhagriha once belonged to the famed Somnath Temple in Gujarat. Mazar – E- Najmi: Here are the white marble tombs, or mazars, with silver doors, of the 39th , 40th , and 47th Syednas, or spiritual heads, of the prosperous trading community of Bohra Muslims. Chausath Yogini Temple: Dedicated to the 64 aspects of the Mother Goddess, this temple depicts them in a largely non-representational form:64 red faces, most of them virtually indistinguishable from each other. Mangalnath Temple: It is mentioned in the Matsya Purana as the birthplace of Mars (Mangal). The garbhagriha enshrines an image of How to Reach: Shiva in his Mahadev man- BY AIR: Nearest airport is Devi Ahilya Bai ifestation. Incidentally, the International airport at Indore (55 kms). site of the temple offers BY RAIL: Ujjain has its own railway station one of the clearest views of which is well connected to the major cities Mars and is hence consid- of India. BY ROAD: Regular bus services connect ered suitable for astronom- Ujjain with Indore, Khargone, Jalgaon, ical studies. Khandwa, Omkareshwar, Maheshwar, Dhar and Bhopal.

Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh

Your Hosts: Shipra Residency and Avantika (both MPT).


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Online rating tool for travel agents roomsXML introduces ‘Preferred by Agent’ tool that ranks hotels in chosen destinations, based on the nominations of travel agents. This would provide agents with more trustworthy system of recommendations. TT B U R E AU

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he reviews and recommendations that people write on social networking sites and other third-party websites are now serving as a determining factor for travellers to plan their trip ahead. These reviews and recommendations hold especially effective while booking rooms in unknown hotels or

Prakash Bang Managing Director roomsXML Solutions Limited

We are removing the guesswork whilst booking hotels. We want travel agents to book with confidence venturing into a destination for the first time. From a travel agent’s perspective, the recommendation would be all the more important if the hotel reviews

VoA increases 23% YoY The Visa on Arrival (VOA) scheme of the Government registered a growth of 22.6 percent during July 2013 as compared to July 2012. During the month, a total number of 1,154 VoAs were issued as compared to 941 during July 2012. The VoAs issued under this scheme during July this year for nationals of the 11 countries were Japan (327), New Zealand (251), Indonesia (173), the Philippines (172), Singapore (149), Finland (44), Vietnam (14), Myanmar (8), Cambodia (8), and Luxembourg (8).

come from fellow travel agents. The agents will make recommendations only if they are happy with the deliverables. This is where roomsXML has bridged the gap. It has developed a tool that ranks hotels in chosen destinations – ranks that are

based on nominations of travel agents. Only those properties would become ‘Preferred’ if a minimum of 10 travel agents nominate that property. The ranking of the property goes up as more and more unique agents nominate that property. Since the agent can only nominate a property

where his or her customer has stayed recently, the feedback is authentic. When results are displayed, the hotel that is preferred the most shows up first followed by others. Once all the preferred hotels are displayed, only then other hotels show up. roomsXML

has so far 73,346 de-duplicated hotels that are ready to be booked at net rates and in real time. Talking about the website, Prakash Bang, Managing Director, roomsXML Solutions Limited, says, “We are removing the guesswork whilst booking hotels. We

want travel agents to book with confidence. It’s good for business when we have happy customers around. Like always, roomsXML attempts to do things to enhance Travel Agent’s experience and confidence. ‘Preferred by Agents’ is one such facility.”


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Qatar Airways increases free baggage allowance  Effective 1 September 2013, passengers flying Qatar Airways routes worldwide will have enhanced baggage allowances with additional baggage weight allowed per person. Economy weight allowances have increased from 23kg to 30kg, while Business and First Class have each increased from 30kg and 40kg to 40kg and 50kg respectively. The number of bags remains the same and dependent on the type of ticket purchased. The increased weight allowance does not apply when travelling to points that are regulated by perpiece allowance. Those passengers who have travelled prior to 1 September will be able to take advantage of the increased baggage allowance on their return trip if travel is on 1 September or later. The airline will also publish new excess baggage rates in September, which will also see an increase.

MP wraps up all projects on time! Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department implemented its 51 projects on time and utilised funds worth ` 162.76 crore released to them under the 11th Five Year Plan (up to 2010-11). The state has completed all its projects as per the guidelines of MOT. by the Ministry of Finance on the utilisation of funds.

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he Government of Madhya Pradesh has become the first state in the country to fully utilise Plan funds released to them by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India for the development of tourism infrastructure at various tourist sites in the State.

“It’s a matter of great pride that MPSTDC has utilised all the funds of grant given by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. In addition to the utilisation of funds, all projects have been completed as per the guidelines of Ministry of Tourism.

Om Vijay Choudhary Chief General Manager Madhya Pradesh Tourism

These projects were visited from time to time by the officials of Ministry of Tourism and they praised the quality of work and completion of projects within the stipulated time,” says Om Vijay Choudhary, Chief General Manager, Madhya Pradesh Tourism.

Commission report, this includes 51 projects and funds worth ` 162.76 crore. In the last year of this 11th Five Year Plan, the amount was raised to ` 203.19 crore and 59 projects.

The State Tourism Department implemented the projects on time and utilised its funds released to them under the 11th Five Year Plan (up to 2010-11). According to a Planning

“The fund was used for projects to provide basic infrastructure at various tourist destinations in MP. It improved the connectivity and tourists were provided better facilities which result-

ed into unforgettable experiences. The facilities provided include public conveyances and last mile connectivity,” adds Choudhary. Madhya Pradesh is thus the first state to have submitted all utilisation and completion certificates and has achieved ‘zero pendency’ of Government of India funds lying with them, thus fully complying with the directions issued

“MP developed tourist destinations such as Mandu, Vidisha, Shivpuri, Burhanpur, Maheshwar, Datia, Indra Sagar, Mandsaur, Handia, Betul and Chitrakoot. Tourism development at these sites has increased footfalls and the sites are becoming popular with domestic and foreign tourists. The state government has now come up with plans to develop more destinations with potential to attract tourists to sites such as Bhopal, Indore, Nagod-Maihar, Noorabad, Nemawar and Vindhya in Phase II. These destinations will be taken up for the integrated development of tourism infrastructure from 2013-14 onwards,” he highlights.


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Outbound can help inbound: Sahni Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) will work on a whitepaper that will highlight contributions of the outbound sector to stimulate the inbound sector in the country. T T B U R E AU

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he global economic slowdown, coupled with the steep rise in value of the US Dollar has posed several challenges for the outbound segment. Assessing the present situation, Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI,

Guldeep Singh Sahni President OTOAI

The contribution of outbound segment is huge, and most of the times, is neglected in terms of acknowledgment. highlights the inbuilt strength of the robust numbers of outbound travellers. “A strong 16 million base of Indian outbound travellers has shown remarkable resilience and prospects of growth, amid the slowdown in global economy and weakness. The dollar component had impacted long-haul travellers. But, fortunately, those travellers are now opting for medium- and short-haul destination. This takes care of the numbers,” said Sahni. In fact, OTOAI is keen to bring about a whitepaper that will highlight the contributions of the outbound sector to stimulate the inbound sector in the country. “The contribution of outbound segment is huge, and most of the times, is neglected in terms of acknowledgment. It needs to be accepted that inbound and outbound are two important constituents necessary to realize the true tourism potential of our country, which will be one of the focus areas in our whitepaper,” said Sahni.

“The outbound tour operator contributes to massive employment across the country, including the Tier-I and Tier-II cities. The state earns taxes on the infrastructure it creates in forms of airports and other travel-related infrastructure used by the outbound traveller. The out-

bound also brings substantial investments through various national tourism development organisations. The government should acknowledge the effort of the best outbound tour operators in form of special recognition in the outbound sector that can be part of national tourism awards,”

he added. Going forward, people will start to accommodate some part of the increase in costs in outbound tours, as travel is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Sahni highlights that even outbound tour operators are equipped to lure travellers with innovative products. “There has been a

lot of interesting developments. Long-haul destinations are aware that, in such situations, state-of-the-art training should be imparted. The short haul destinations are also revamping their product profile. At the end of the day, a lot depends on product engineering,” said Sahni.

Quick Fact  The state earns taxes on the infrastructure it creates in forms of airports and other travel-related infrastructure used by the outbound traveller


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Indian carriers face $450 million loss in second quarter: CAPA  Indian airlines, excluding the grounded Kingfisher Airlines, are expected to lose a combined US $400-450 million (around ` 2,400 crore-2,700 crore) in the second quarter of the current fiscal, consulting firm Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) has said. In a report, CAPA said that Air India would account for the largest share of the loss, but as the airline continues to be funded by the government and its overall financial performance has improved in the past year, it is not expected to press the panic button.

In the first quarter of the current fiscal year, the airline industry lost nearly US $200 million although low-fare carriers had posted profit in the range of US $40-$50 million. The airlines lost an estimated US $1.95 billion in the last fiscal on combined revenue of US $9.5 billion

Rajasthan adds new product variety As part of its repositioning, Rajasthan Tourism announced a shift in focus towards innovative tourism products. RTDC has also decided to handover 22 accommodation units to the state government. TT B U R E AU

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reaking the shackles of history and heritage, Rajasthan is now looking at repositioning itself in the tourism world. The state will now be promoted as a destination for eco, adventure, wildlife and sports tourism. Bina Kak, Minister for Tourism, Government of Rajasthan said, “This is a major shift from the traditional focus on culture and heritage. We are changing the positioning of Rajasthan to a multiple-interest destination, attractive to diverse tourist groups from India and abroad. The focus will be on bringing efficiency in service delivery to visitors to increase the number of repeat travellers.” Kak, who was speaking at the inauguration of the sixth edition of the Great Indian Travel Bazaar in Jaipur, said the B2B travel market has evolved into a productive forum for businesses as well as policymakers in the country ever since its inception.

Bina Kak

Rakesh Srivastava

Minister for Tourism Government of Rajasthan

Principal Secretary-Tourism Government of Rajasthan and MD, RTDC

We are changing the positioning of Rajasthan to a multiple-interest destination. The focus will be on bringing efficiency

The state will also be promoting resort, archaeological and tribal tourism.

Incentives are offered for hotel development. These include a 50% reduction in luxury taxes in the low season In addition, new incentives are being offered to spur hotel development,

Rakesh Srivastava, Principal Secretary-Tourism, Government of Rajasthan and MD, RTDC revealed. These include a 50 per cent reduction in luxury taxes in the low season for new hotels in selected locations, land conversion charges at almost 20 per cent lower than commercial market rates and higher floor area ratios for the construction of hotels and resorts. RTDC will also hand over 22 accommodation units, identified as non-performing, to the state government. According to Srivastava, the ‘current market value’ of these units has been assessed and will be handed over to the government. These properties will be managed by the Power Finance Corporation. With the handing over of these accommodation units, RTDC will be left with 20-odd units under its ownership, Srivastava added. Two mega tourism projects in the state-Jaipur and Jaisalmer-are currently under

the scrutiny of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India for approval, he informed. Creation of tourism infrastructure and new circuits is of utmost importance to the state tourism department. The department is supporting the joint initiative of ITDC and Hindustan Salts for developing Sambhar as a major tourist destination. While long-term projects will be undertaken by Hindustan Salts, the department also will focus on basic infrastructure works like repair and renovation of temples, museums, circuit houses, etc, around the area.

New Tourism Circuits  Eco-Tourism  Adventure Tourism  Wildlife Tourism  Sports tourism  Resort Tourism  Archaeological Tourism  Tribal Tourism

Good news for AP, courtesy ITM 2013 Sonam Chombay, Secretary, Tourism, Arunachal Pradesh, talks about witnessing a steady flow of tourists this summer and how a dedicated airline can help its destinations. TT BUREAU How has the response of the tourists been to Arunachal this summer season?

Sonam Chombay Secretary, Tourism Arunachal Pradesh

Having the longest stretch of Himalayas in the country, Arunachal Pradesh has been a favoured destination for tourists in the summer to escape the heat. When the rest of the country is reeling under extreme heat, Arunachal is blessed with pleasant weather. This year

too, we are witnessing steady flow of domestic tourists and I am told that hotels around the State have witnessed more than satisfactory bookings this summer.

How are you promoting Arunachal among tourists? Arunachal Pradesh is a destination which has something to offer to everyone! It is a delight for adventure seekers. The state is also a treasure trove of culture and heritage- here you can find

the 400-year-old, second largest Buddhist monastery in the world. We are also planning to sell the state as a destination ideal for creative people- writers, painters, lyricists, etc.

What are roadblocks in promoting tourism in the state? I don’t see any roadblocks. Yes, we do have challenges before us, but all efforts are being made to overcome these very challenges.

Do you think a dedicated airline in the region will help promote tourism in the Northeast? Air travel definitely is easy and a faster mode of transport as it cuts down a lot of travel time. Presently all metros are well-connected with Guwahati airport. Yes, a dedicated airline for travelling within the Northeast region will help integrate all the tourist destinations of the states in the region. This will provide a very whole-

some package, especially for the foreign tourists.

ITM in Guwahati this year was the first-of-its-kind mart in the region. How has the event helped attract tourists to Arunachal? ITM has been a revolutionary initiative of the Ministry Of Tourism. This has put the entire region on global platform as a tourist destination. Arunachal Tourism, in particular, has reaped a lot of benefits from ITM.


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STATISTICS

TRAVTALK SEPTEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

Old monuments, but steady visitors Despite a slight slowdown in 2007, the tourism ďŹ gures for ASI monuments have risen steadily over the years. T T B U R E AU

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ny monument or site which is 100 years old and is considered to be of national importance is called an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Protected Monument or Site. Such monuments/sites are also commonly referred to as Centrally Protected Monuments/Sites.

The statistics on number of visits to monuments are maintained by the office of the Director General, ASI based on the records of number of tickets sold at the monuments to both Indian and foreign Nationals. For the purpose of conservation of monuments, the country has been divided into 24 ASI Circles, each under the jurisdiction of a

Superintending Archaeologist. Table 1 gives the number of domestic and foreign visitors to all centrally-protected ticketed monuments for the years from 1996 to 2011. Taj Mahal, Agra (4.65 million) was the most visited monument in 2011 for domestic visitors followed by Qutub Minar, Delhi (2.98 million) and Agra Fort (0.31 million).

Visitors to Centrally Protected Ticketed Monuments, 2001-2011 Year

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

No. of Centrally Protected Ticketed ASI Monument

Number of Visitors Domestic

Foreign

126 126 126 116 116 116 116 117 119 117 117

N.A 17333055 19551820 20356940 21035864 23815252 23450419 28786608 30804103 35770242 40534481

N.A 837012 1216615 1788753 2122436 2250502 2614254 2679763 2195382 2998175 2948065

Annual Growth Rate Total

20364901 18170067 20768435 22145693 23158300 26065754 26064673 31466371 32999485 38768417 43482546

Domestic

12.8% 4.1% 3.3% 13.2% -1.5% 22.8% 7.0% 16.1% 13.3%

Foreign

45.4% 47.0% 18.7% 6.0% 16.2% 2.5% -18.1% 36.6% -1.7%

Total

Source: Ministry of Tourism

4.2% -10.8% 14.3% 6.6% 4.6% 12.6% 0.0% 20.7% 4.9% 17.5% 12.2%

Source: Ministry of Tourism

Source: Ministry of Tourism


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TRAVTALK SEPTEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

AGENTS

India’s first ‘liveaboard’ to appoint PSAs A liveaboard is the only practical option for exploring many of the dive sites in the Andaman Islands. The primary focus markets are Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata. TT B U R E AU

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argetting adventure enthusiasts in India, Karina Tourism & Adventures, who owns and operates Infiniti, India’s first scuba diving liveaboard vessel, is in process of appointing Preferred Sales Agents

India’s first liveaboard vessel The 130 feet long INFINITI houses 12 cabins (three for crew members) with capacity to handle 18-22 passengers at a time. A typical five-day itinerary in Andaman Islands costs close to Rs 50,000-55,000 depending on the season. The price includes pick-up and drop at the airport, food, four scuba/deep dives a day, certification for scuba-diving, kayaking, surfing, island excursions and memorable experiences.

(PSA) across India. It has already appointed Punebased Uniglobe Odyssey Travel and will be soon appointing five more PSAs each in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chennai. Through these six PSAs, the company intends to have a strong sub-agent

network across the country. Apart from PSAs, the company is also in talks with Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI); has tied up with top ten dive centres in the country and working closely with liveaboard operators worldwide.

Sunil Bakshi Founder Karina Tourism & Adventures

Apart from targeting experienced travellers, we also intend to attract young adventure enthusiasts, scuba divers, families and even incentive groups Talking about the new product, Sunil Bakshi, Founder, Karina Tourism & Adventures said, “Experienced Indian travellers are looking for newer destinations and experiences. We are offering something very unique in Indian waters with affordable rates, double the comfort and luxury as compared to liveaboard experiences in Thailand and Maldives. Apart from targeting experienced travellers, we also intend to attract young adventure enthusiasts, scuba divers, families and even smaller incentive groups.” A liveaboard is the only practical option for exploring many of the dive sites in the Andaman Islands. Divulging the strategy, Bakshi said, “We will start with inviting our PSAs on board to provide them with firsthand experiences. We will then start inviting operators who show us enough business potential for our business growth.”

Now, gesture for Kerala Tourism’s new website The Kerala Tourism has launched a new website (http://when-it-rains.com) with gesture-controlled features. Launched as a part of the monsoon campaign by Kerala Tourism, the new website is one of the few tourism websites in the world to use the gesturecontrolled technology.


RAILWAYS NATIONAL

SEPTEMBER

4-6

Chandigarh

4 6 6-8 6-8 8-11 12-14 13 13-15 16 17 18 18-21 19 24

Ahmedabad Hyderabad Mumbai Pune Kochi Mumbai Mumbai Delhi-NCR Bengaluru Chennai Kolkata Kochi Delhi Mumbai

25

Bengaluru

25 26

Mumbai Delhi

27 27-28

Delhi Mumbai

Macau Government Tourism Office's Sales Blitz Oman Tourist Office’s Roadshow Oman Tourist Office’s Roadshow IITM Mumbai TTF IATO Annual Convention IBTM India European Quartet’s Roadshow IITM Gurgaon European Quartet’s Roadshow European Quartet’s Roadshow European Quartet’s Roadshow FHRAI Annual Convention European Quartet’s Roadshow Tourism Office of Spain’s B2B Workshop Tourism Office of Spain’s B2B Workshop Love For Africa Roadshow 2013 Tourism Office of Spain’s B2B Workshop Love For Africa Roadshow 2013 Locations

27-29

Delhi

Great Domestic Tourism Bazaar

INTERNATIONAL 2-4 8-11 4-6

Beijing Prince Edward Island Philippines

10-12

Seoul

12-15 15-17 24 24-27

Tokyo China Ukraine Paris

25-27 Kazakhstan 27 Almaty 30-3 Oct Mexico

OCTOBER

NATIONAL 4-6 22

Indore Delhi

23

Mumbai

24

Chennai

29

Delhi

31

Mumbai

CIBTM Canadian Tourism Commission’s Canada Go Media Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX 2013) World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) The Asia Summit JATA TABIHAKU PATA Travel Mart 2013 Luxury Travel Market International French Travel Market Top Resa Astana Leisure Luxury Travel Market International Luxury Travel Market Americas (ILTMA)

INTERNATIONAL 1-3 14-18

Bangkok China

23-25

Singapore

Indian International Travel Exhibition Scandinavian Tourism Board’s Seminar Scandinavian Tourism Board’s Seminar Scandinavian Tourism Board’s Seminar Austrian National Tourist Board’s Roadshow Austrian National Tourist Board’s Roadshow IT&CMA and CTW Asia-Pacific Canadian Tourism Commission’s Showcase Asia ITB Asia

NOVEMBER NATIONAL 11 13 22-24 26

Mumbai Bengaluru Pune Delhi

27

Bengaluru

29

Mumbai

29-Dec2 Hyderabad

Monaco Tourism’s B2B Roadshow Monaco Tourism’s B2B Roadshow IITM Pune German National Tourist Board’s B2B Event German National Tourist Board’s B2B Event German National Tourist Board’s B2B Event IITM Hyderabad

INTERNATIONAL 4-7 11-14

London Spain

World Travel Market Golf Travel Market

For more information, contact us at: talk@ddppl.com

IRCTC revamps website for better With an objective to provide a better user service in terms of response time, IRCTC is now revamping its train ticketing website. P EDEN D OMA B HUTIA

A

s there has been a substantial increase in the number of users accessing the IRCTC website over the last few years and with the bookings growing, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) is planning to revamp its website and relaunch it by early next year. According to IRCTC, an online Rail Reserved ticketing activity involves complex system of Networking and Integrations of various constituents. Constraint in any of the component in this complex chain of equipment involving multiple entities severely affects website performance and the user gets a degraded experience. “Though we have in place a mechanism of continuous identification of bottle-

Pradip Kundu Joint General Manager PR IRCTC

necks and up-gradation of the system, identification of such issues may, at times, be tricky and resolution may be a complicated exercise. So, that gives an unhappy experience to our users. Moreover, the existing data centre was set up in 2002 for Internet ticketing. Since then, it has been upgraded several times. The experienced IT team of IRCTC

has been working hard to get maximum output from the existing system with minimal upgrades whenever required. But it is now time to look for options for complete revamp to cater to the future needs, to give our users a smoother experience in booking a ticket. The main focus is to provide a user better service in terms of response time,” says Pradip Kundu, Joint General Manager PR, IRCTC. Talking about the focus areas for this revamp, Kundu says, “Development of new Application Software is in progress. We are trying to include changes based on the experiences gained over the last decade. New IT Hardware is being procured and new Data Centre, equipped with the latest technologies in Networking, Communication, IT Security, Cooling, Power backup etc., is also being set up.”

IRCTC is also working closely with the CRIS to set up the new data centre. Since Passenger Reservation System is also managed by the CRIS, the closer coordination between the CRI S and the IRCTC with expertise of both the organisations coming together should be helpful in providing users a better service.

Process  An online Rail Reserved ticketing activity involves complex system of Networking and Integrations of various constituents  Constraint in any of the component in this complex chain of equipment involving multiple entities severely affects the website

Tying up with neighbour states  Contd. from page 24

most popular state from South India in the global market. However, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are now coming forward and participating at global trade fairs to improve visibility and awareness. Recently, Andhra Pradesh Tourism signed an MoU with Karnataka Tourism to facilitate easier and discounted booking of trains and hotels for travellers from mutual states. Also, Karnataka is in discussion for the possibility of taking its luxury train Golden Chariot to Andhra Pradesh. Talking about outbound tourism; increasing number of NTOs are now focusing on Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and even Kochi for their roadshows, trade fairs, sales meeting, etc to tap the tourist traffic from these cities. Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager – India, South African Tourism said, “India is an important source market for us, and interestingly, South India is coming

Hanneli Slabber

Mischa Mannix-Opie

Country Manager – India, South African Tourism

South & South East Asia Regional Manager, Tourism New Zealand

India is an important source market for us, and interestingly, South India is a potential market up as a potential market for us. We have included Chennai this time.” New Zealand tourism’s ‘Kiwi Link’ road-

We are going to continue to focus on Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi through our sales team show only touches Mumbai and New Delhi, but for the first time this year, it was organised in Bangalore and Kolkata as well. Mischa Mannix-Opie, South &

South East Asia Regional Manager, Tourism New Zealand said, “With 26 suppliers from New Zealand, we extended Kiwi Link for the first time in Bangalore, because our suppliers got many queries from South India in last few years. With the growing potential of South India, we finally decided to tap this region and meet the travel trade. We are positive to receive extensive response from this market, and are going to continue to focus on Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi through our sales team in India.” The potential in South India is immense. All that is needed to tap this region is the right focus, right marketing and business strategies, mutually beneficial tie-ups with tour operators, correct market understanding, balanced market segregation and last but not the least – product awareness and right knowledge amongst travel trade.

Targetting FITs from Mumbai & Delhi  Mario Cordero, Director of Regional Development, Gray Line Latin America said, “We understand the potential of India and we are eager to develop the market. We want to tap the growing Indian outbound segment to Latin

America, especially the FIT segment and the small family groups segment.” Gray Line Latin America which is represented in India by Mumbaibased Global Destinations offers sightseeing tours, package tours, charters and airport

shuttles in Mexico, Central and South America As part of its India Sales Mission 2013, Gray Line Latin America engaged with travel agents and tour operators in Mumbai and Delhi. Cordero said, “This has been our first

visit to India since appointing Global Destinations as our India representative last year. In the future, we plan to conduct seminars and workshops for the travel trade. We also plan to tap Bengaluru and Hyderabad in the future.”


HOTELS

Ideal for business travellers Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi has been running between 70-80 per cent occupancy for the past two quarters. concept called Grab & Run for people who have to check out early. It includes coffee, tea, bottles of water, whole fruit and breakfast energy bars. Also our check-out can be as late as 6 pm (subject to availability) at no extra cost. All these are unique to us,” he adds.

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ccording to Vishvapreet Cheema, General Manager, Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi, the property is ideal for today’s business and leisure travellers. Talking about the USP of Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi, the GM affirms, “Our key differentiators are the 100 per cent ‘Guest Satisfaction Guarantee’, the ‘Yes I Can!’ spirit of service and a location close to the corporate hub of Gurgaon and the New Delhi Airport, and convenient connection to many of the city landmarks. The hotel is ideal for business travellers and tourists eager to experience India in the city and beyond.”

Vishvapreet Cheema General Manager Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi

The hotel’s rates represent excellent value. “For instance, we provide complimentary breakfast, airport transfers as well as complimentary WiFi access for all rooms in the hotel. We also have an innovative breakfast

In meeting spaces, the ballroom and function rooms Crystal and Ebony offer state-of-theart Conference venues for business meetings and social functions.

Crystal is an ideal banquet hall for conventions and parties for up to 800 people and can be divided into five separate meeting rooms of various sizes, which have a clear ceiling height of 15 feet. Supporting all these venues is a state-of-the-art Business Centre with meeting facilities for 8-12 people. Talking about the performance of the hotel, Cheema reveals, “Our hotel has been running between 70-80 per cent occupancy for the past two quarters. This is at the same level as it was last year. We believe that our guests are appreciating the investments we have made in renovating the hotel and in creating new values and amenities for them.”

New packages for FIT traveller Targetted at providing unique holiday packages to the Indian FIT traveller, the World Travel Studio also plans to introduce domestic and cruise packages. TT B U R E AU

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umbai-based World Travel Studio has recently launched new packages to exotic international destinations across the globe for the Indian FIT traveller. Alongside popular destinations in the Indian market such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Europe, Far East & Islands; World Travel Studio is also aiming to tap the evolved Indian traveller through vacations to off-beat destinations like Alaska, South America, Vietnam, Cambodia, Morocco, Jordan, Antarctica expeditions, etc.

Haresh Koyande Founder & Managing Director World Travel Studio

Haresh Koyande, Founder & Managing Director, World Travel Studio said, “Some of the interesting experiences being offered by World Travel Studio are

like journeying through Italy in a Ferrari, visiting Iguazu Falls in Argentina/Brazil and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam – both ranked amongst the new Seven Natural Wonders of the World; experiencing the Rocky Mountaineer’s Rail Journey in Canada, visiting Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, the Acropolis of Athens in Greece and the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Germany, among many others offer one-of-a-kind experiences.” Additionally, World Travel Studio which is targetting a double-digit growth this year, also plans to introduce a range of domestic vacations as well

as cruise vacations in the near future. Koyande concluded by saying,

“These are all well-crafted, value-for-money FIT vacations, where clients can book them as it is or they have an option of customising. Travellers can also visit their online portal www.worldtravelstudio.com where they can access information and previews of these packages and make an informed decision.

New experience with hospitality Xperience India Hotels & Resorts operate in Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and in the capital city of Delhi. TT B U R E AU

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start-up venture with a vision of being the leading hotel management company in North India, Xperience India Hotels & Resorts was established by a team of young and energetic entrepreneurs. Talking about the growth of the group, Ashok Kumar, Director, Xperience India Hotels & Resorts says, “With 12 properties in Uttarakhand starting from Jim Corbett to Munsiyari, we have two prop-

With 12 properties in Uttarakhand starting from Jim Corbett to Munsiyari, we have two properties each in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattishgarh and one in Delhi. Ashok Kumar Director, Xperience India Hotels & Resorts erties each in Rajasthan, MP, Chhattishgarh and one in Delhi. The property portfolio includes a fine mix of leisure

resorts and hotels.” Regarding meeting and conferencing facilities, Kumar adds, “In our portfolio, the brand new prop-

erty in Jim Corbett -Corbett Tusker Trail has got the largest conference hall, which can accommodate 550 people in theatre style. This is also the biggest meeting facility in Jim Corbett as well. ” Satyendra Marken, Director, Xperience India Hotels & Resorts elaborates, “We aim to do branding, marketing and promotion exercises in best possible manner for our client properties among the right customer cluster -- the tour operators, corporates, overseas clients and the inbound market.”


CLIPBOARD

SEPTEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

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MOVEMENTS

TRAVTALK SEPTEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

Korea Tourism Organisation

Radisson Blu

AirAsia India

New Delhi

Greater Noida

Chennai

Myong Kil Yun has joined Korea Tourism Organisation, New Delhi branch as the Deputy Director. He has more than 13 years of experience in the field of marketing. Prior to joining the New Delhi branch, he has worked in the outbound tourism centre of Korea Tourism Organization in South Korea and with LG. In his new position, Yun will focus on strengthening the position of Korea as a tourist destination for Indian travellers.

Jitendra Kumar has been appointed as the new General Manager of Radisson Blu Hotel Greater Noida. A graduate of IHM Chennai, he has spent close to five years with BJN Hotels as Director-Food Production & Operations, taking care of both front and back of the house operations. Before that, Kumar has spent 19 years with Taj Hotels, Resorts & Palaces as an Executive Chef in all three SBU’s Luxury, Business & Leisure.

Vijay Gopalan has been named as the Chief Financial Officer for AirAsia India. Gopalan is a Chartered Accountant with over a decade’s experience from Chennai as well as a holder of an Advanced Diploma in Marketing and Sales from the National Institute of Sales. Prior to AirAsia, Gopalan was attached to the Compass Group India, as well as Ernst & Young and has worked in the USA and the UK with experiences in various industries including oil & gas, as well as hospitality. He was an All-India rank holder in the CA entrance examination.

Hyatt Regency Pune Pune Vivek Braganza has been appointed in the capacity of Director of Sales & Marketing at Hyatt Regency Pune. A post-graduate in Business Administration specialised in Sales & Marketing from Indira Institute of Management, Pune; Braganza started his career in 2003 with the Taj Group of Hotels as an Assistant Manager in Commercial Sales. In 2008, he joined Marriott Hotels, India as an Associate Director of Convention & Exhibition Sales – India, and in 2010, Braganza was promoted to the Director of Sales position at the Goa Marriott Resort & Spa.

Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel

Landmark Tours & Travels

Mumbai

Shahnawaz Zafar has been appointed as the Business Development Manager of Landmark Tours & Travels. A postgraduate in Tourism Management from AMU, Aligarh, Zafar started his career in 2000 with Globotel. He has earned over 12 years of experience from travel industry. He has worked with brands like Globotel, Ascon Travel and HRG Dnata during his past assignments. In his new role at Landmark Tours, Zafar will be responsible for sales and marketing of the Dubai DMC – Al Rais Tours & Holidays LLC under the banner of Landmark.

Akhil Arora is the recently appointed Director of Rooms of Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel. In his current role, he oversees all areas of the Rooms Division which include Front Office, Reservations, Airport services, Housekeeping, Laundry and Spa. Arora brings with him over 10 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He was the pre-opening Front Office Manager at The Leela Palace Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.

New Delhi

Courtyard by Marriott, Bhopal

The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore

Bhopal

Bangalore Nilesh Singh has been appointed as the Executive Assistant Manager (EAM) of Food & Beverage of The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore. In this role, Singh will be responsible for the management and successful operations of all food and beverage venues in the hotel. A hotel management graduate from Institute of Hotel Management Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, Mumbai; Singh comes with a experience of 13 years with the Oberoi Hotels and has worked with their finest restaurants across their hotels in India.

Husnavaz F Dastur has recently been appointed as the Spa Manager of Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel. An expert in the Wellness Spa and Beauty industry, she is responsible for skills development, operational and holistic health management in the hotel. Prior to joining Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, she has been associated with popular hospitality majors in Mumbai like the Oberoi, Taj, Hyatt and Westin Starwood.

Amit Vashist has recently joined Courtyard by Marriott, Bhopal as the Executive Chef. Vashist comes with over a decade of experience in the food and beverage industry and his core expertise lies is in European and Indian cuisine. Prior to joining Courtyard by Marriott, Bhopal, he was associated with Oberoi Group of Hotels, where he headed kitchens at Trident Jaipur, Trident Udaipur and prestigious Oberoi Clarkes Hotel Shimla. In his most recent assignment, Vashist was the Executive Chef at Dream Hotel, Cochin (Vikram Chatwal Hotels).

Pradip Kundu, Joint General Manager PR, IRCTC, is an avid music lover. Though he confesses to not

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: Peden Doma Bhutan, Megha Paul, Anita Jain & Lyandra D’Souza

Vella Ramasawmy, General Manager, Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi likes going to the malls. "I like going to malls as I like watching people and their behaviour. I want to understand the country through its culture.” Interestingly, Ramasawmy loves watching Bollywood movies. But language is a barrier for him. “I watch all movies twice. I go to the hall, watch the movie and enjoy without understanding a word. Then I come back and buy the CD and watch it all over again with subtitles. I recently saw Chennai Express. I enjoyed the fighting scenes and the brilliant locales. Now I am eagerly waiting for its CD. I will watch it again,” he says.

being a singer himself, he says he loves listening to Indian classical music and has many favourite singers. Kundu also says he loves travelling. "I love travelling and I love being amid nature, the mountains in particular." But in spite of having travelled, he says there are still many places in India that he wants to discover. "My work doesn't permit me to travel as frequently as I want, but I do take time out for my travels. And while travelling I like to travel on my own." Kundu has also backpacked a few times to Shimla, Manali and McLeod Ganj.

Mischa Mannix-Opie, South & South East Asia Regional Manager, Tourism New Zealand considers herself more of a traveller and not a tourist. Whenever, she gets time from work (which she hardly does), she loves spending time with her husband, trying out new adventures and cuisine, shopping and exploring new destinations across the world. She also reads a lot and considers books as her best friends.

Pranav Kapadia, Director, Global Destinations says, “Weekends are my favourite time as I get to spend time with my family and unwind after a hectic working week. I’m a movie buff and I love to watch films as well as to swim.” Kapadia is also very fond of the beach and his favourite holidays comprise the sun, the sand and the sea. He says, “Aside from Fiji, which is my favourite beach destination, I also enjoy New Zealand very much. I also love to experience adventure activities on my vacations.”


Postal Reg. No.: DL(ND)-11/6044/2012-13-14; WPP No.: U(C)-178/2012-14 for posting on 1st-2nd and 15th-16th of the same month at New Delhi P.S.O., RNI No.: 53492/91 Date of Publication:30-08-2013

HIGHLIGHT

Higher aspirations for industry From planning to opening PATA’s office in India to providing solutions to the very debated tax issues, Martin J. Craigs, CEO, PATA, discusses the current difficulties faced by the industry and recommends possible solutions. D E V I KA J E E T

“S

ell with all the resources you can muster. Reshaping public opinion is a hard path, but one

ically, the saviour of our modern politicians. It is one industry that can create jobs quickly and cost-effectively. The one thing that modern politicians have to do is to create jobs. Yet

Our tourism superstar Craigs was also full of praise for India’s very dynamic tourism minister and said, “Imagine a combination of George Clooney and John Travolta as tourism minister, how cool will that be! And in India, you have got the two in one package and he’s a really nice guy. I am definitely a big fan of the Indian tourism minister Chiranjeevi”. which is worth taking”, said Margaret Thatcher at the PATA Conference in Honolulu, in the April of 1993. Discussing the relevance and importance of this saying, Martin J. Craigs, CEO, PATA, stresses, “The travel industry today is not selling with all its resources. The travel and aviation industries are world-class when talking amongst themselves, but they are average at external advocacy. And then, they wonder why they are not respected and reasonably treated by governments in terms of taxation and regulation!” “Well, the answer is, if you don’t turn up, you don’t change anything. If you stay in your comfort zone, talking within your own circle, then you won’t change the external environment.” Highlighting the importance of the complete visitor economy, Craigs adds, “The travel industry is at a crossroad. It is potentially, and iron-

K Chiranjeevi Minister for Tourism India

industry does for the economy, and more importantly, raise our status. The entire travel chain needs to realise that we all are into this together. Most importantly, politicians generally don’t see the light, until they feel the heat.” Martin J. Craigs

PATA’s important shortterm goals include putting a spotlight on self-harming taxes that weaken the travel trade, and secondly create unreasonable and unrealistic costs and therefore, disincentive travel. The association feels that governments usually tax the weakest link and will continue eating into the travel and tourism industry.

CEO, PATA

by complementing MOT for its great work done in Hyderabad. “I was so impressed with what I saw at UNWTO’s Hyderabad event. We should get a major PATA event back there (Hyderabad) in the next three years. The city is definitely on our radar.” Craigs also mentioned that

India tourism: A way forward  India’s significant problem areas include

taxes imposed on tourism (inbound and outbound), India’s inbound opportunities and challenges, and emerging challenges in South Asia.

also has the lowest airfare, compared to the rest of the world.  Billion-dollar investments near the Delhi

map. But if it is high on the tourism inconvenience curve, then it will not attract too many tourists. Word-of-mouth is still very powerful, and the most important customer is the one being served now.

airport for the growth of 4,000 hotel rooms in Aerocity have come to a halt because of security concerns. Hotels on the eve of opening their doors were told not to till they don’t get security clearance. Now the Ministry of Tourism promises to take this matter up with a forum, which is looked into by the Prime Minister’s Secretary.

 Hold on to the long-haul, long-stay

 Hotels and airlines can now promote

passengers. India is in a sweet spot and holding on to the long-stay visitors is eminent. The matrix of tourism has to be changed. The world average expenditure of a tourist is $600, but for India, this average is $2,700.

themselves through the Incredible India website free of charge. The MOT is building a very strong website, which will also deliver services electronically. The Ministry reassures that all individual hotel chains and airlines who want to have a link or button on the home page (front page) of the website can do so free of cost.

 India is getting noticed on the global tourism

 Aviation is not the impediment for the

growth of inbound tourism. Outbound tourism, going on the same routes, is growing by leaps and bounds. India

politicians are blind to the impact of not just tourism, but the visitor economy. We need to set higher aspirations for what the travel and tourism

(Excerpts from PATA’s Hub City Roundtable Forum in New Delhi)

The prime example of this is the £94 APD to be paid for anyone travelling outside Britain. Craigs focusses on the India market

PATA would have an office in India sooner than later and is aspiring to have a full-time office here within the next three years.


Travtalk sept1st13