Page 1


Pages: 52 (Excluding cover)

Vol. XXIV No. 17; September 1 st fortnight issue 2012

` 50/-

Tourism with safeguards

RH Khwaja, Secretary, MOT, Government of India, shared the ministry’s views by stating that Wildlife Tourism should be regulated in protected areas and permitted with appropriate regulations. V IVEK S ETHI


he recent interim ban on Tiger Tourism imposed by the Supreme Court of India has put the travel fraternity in fear of losing the opportunity to create wildlife tour experience for wildlife enthusiasts, as they pray for relief in the final verdict. Khwaja in his very own style painted a detailed canvas to highlight the importance of harmonious relation-




ship between humans and Mother Nature. “So far the matter is in the apex court, I’ll not comment. However, I can share my opinion on the larger issue. I have always said that the paradigm today can be easily summed as – ‘Jahaan Hai To Jaan Hai’, unlike earlier when people used to say - ‘Jaan hai to Jahaan Hai’. Or, in others words - ‘Woh Shakh Hi Na Rahi, Jo Thi Ashiyan Kabhi’.”

“To understand the broader issue, we should first ask; what is environment? Then we should come to the sub-issues and ask: what is the importance of forests? What is wildlife? What is the interface between human species and the other species of nature?,” he added. In the Indian context, Khwaja says, our country has 16 different types of forests

and 10 different bio-geographical zones. We are the 8 th richest country in terms of biodiversity. Hence, we are called a mega bio-diversity country. We have 2.4 per cent of the world’s habitable landmass, wherein, we support about 17 per cent of the world’s population. We are roughly emitting about 6 per cent of global green house gases. Contd. on page 16 

Soin felicitated

Mandip Singh Soin President, ESOI

Mandip Singh Soin was awarded the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure ‘Lifetime Achievement’ Award, popularly known as the Arjuna Award for Adventure for the year 2012. The award recognises the achievements of persons in the field of Adventure.

RH Khwaja Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, GoI

Our backbone: Domestic tourism The second edition of the ‘The Great Domestic Tourism Bazaar 2012’ (GDTB) was inaugurated by Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister for Tourism, in New Delhi on (L-R) SanJeet; Verma; Kidwai; Sahai; Khwaja; Suri and Deva at the inaugural ceremony August 24, 2012. The two-day event was organised by FICCI and Ministry of Tourism, Government of India with the See full story on page 16  support of Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI).

Fund allocation for Incredible India’s marketing See full story on page 7 


PMO calls to strengthen tourism An Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee for the Tourism sector set up by the Government under the Chairmanship of the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, had its second meeting in the PMO recently. T T B U R E AU


he Principal Secretary emphasised the importance of tourism as a key sector for employment generation and economic development and stressed the need for all the Ministries concerned to work towards the development of this important sector.

Some of the important decisions taken in the meeting were: 1. A Sub-committee consisting of Secretary (Tourism), Secretary (Labour & Employment) and Secretary (Rural Development) will identify employment potentialities of tourism and hospitality sector, particularly in rural areas. This

Committee will make recommendations regarding specific training and skill development requirements and prepare an action plan. 2. The Ministry of Culture will expedite the development of essential facilities like tourist facilitation and information centres, souvenir shops, toilet facilities, etc., to begin with, at the 19 World Heritage Sites managed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) through an appropriate agency. The Ministry will also take an early decision on the proposals received, in this connection, by the Archaeological Survey of India from the India

ASI monuments. The committee noted that basic amenities and high standards of hygiene and cleanliness are essential for enhancing quality of experience that the country offers to the visitors.

Dr Manmohan Singh Prime Minister of India

Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC). 3. State Governments/ UT Administrations will be requested to partner the exercise for creation of tourist facilitation and infrastructure facilities in stages in all 116 ticketed

4. The ASI will introduce computerised ticketing in 116 monuments and audio-visual guides in 36 monuments in phases over a period of six months. 5. The on-going exercise of rationalisation of visa regime will be completed by the Ministry of Home Affairs within two weeks. 6. The Ministry of Tourism will work out an action Contd. on page 41 


Indians spend highest on hotels


Accor Asia-Pacific Business Traveller Survey 2012 revealed that the modern Indian business travellers were either A-level or C-level executives who like staying ‘connected’ through frequent travel updates online.

Time to walk the talk


he Ministry of Tourism is going full throttle with all the projects started since Mr Sahai took office as Union Minister for Tourism. Hunar Se Rozgar Tak Yojna, Clean India Campaign, single-window permissions etc are some of the most important initiatives that have made the mark. This seems to be an exciting time and you can feel the vitality when Mr. Sahai speaks so knowledgeably about the industry. He definitely has his finger on the pulse! At the recently-held Great Domestic Tourism Bazar, Sahai had highlighted the initiatives being worked out at the Centre. For instance, Film Tourism holds great potential. Lately, movies like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Don-2 and Cocktail had been instrumental in increasing tourism greatly to Spain, Germany and South Africa respectively. Hence, the Ministry of Tourism is working out the modalities to create a single-window for permission to shoot films in India. “We also need to aggressively tap the Middle East, which has a huge potential for inbound traffic into India. I would like to help states that don’t have grants, so that we can double the growth of FTAs.” He went on to add, “Tourism is surviving in India currently because of domestic tourism. States and tour operators must work together to invest in wellness projects, building clean budget hotels and motivate people to spend weekends and holidays within the states.” Trade bodies like FICCI and others should play a pivotal role in sensitising and motivating states to augment budget hotels. One faster way can be allowing the private sector to run budget hotels on properties owned by the government, which otherwise are clearly not fully utilised and only serve as various guest houses all over the nation. Most importantly, they need to take the PPP path for revenue generation. Then, why are we not taking full advantage of a government that is so proactive? Here, the advice of Mr Khwaja, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, comes handy for all stakeholders, “Do not just talk the talk, but walk the talk, with one spirit.”

Vikramajit Chairman SanJeet Publisher Rupali Narasimhan Editorial Director Deepa Sethi Editor

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

Advertising Gunjan Sabikhi General Manager Karishma Khanna Sr. Manager Marketing Geetika Pathak Manager Advertising Amit Sarkar Asst. Manager Marketing Advertising (Mumbai) Suchita Saran Branch Manager Harshal Ashar Deputy General Manager


Travel Habits – First 6 months of 2012


he survey interviewed over 2,500 respondents from nine countries in AsiaPacific. It divulges that Indian travellers have one of the highest hotel budgets in AsiaPacific, spending an average of US$ 399 per trip. Only Singaporeans spend more, averaging US$ 468. In terms of nights spend on accommodation, Indians rank third at US$ 133, up from US$ 128 last year. Australians and Singaporeans took the top spots, at US$ 173 and US$ 156, respectively, with Mainland Chinese (US$ 98) and Indonesian (US$ 81) travellers spending the least. The survey also revealed that compared to fellow travellers in the region, Indian business travellers were mostly entrepreneurs with 17% of respondents saying they own their own business. Across Asia-Pacific, the average is 10%, with Australia and New Zealand tied for second place

(Mumbai) Rishika Karra Sales Coordinator Advertisement Designers Vikas Mandotia Nitin Kumar Design: Nityanand Misra Sudhir Mudgal Photographer Simran Kaur - Delhi Bharat Dangiya - Mumbai Production: Anil Kharbanda Circulation: Ashok Rana

S1: Average number of business trips in first 6 months of 2012=13 2011=7

Q1: Compared to first 6 months of 2011?


35% Less




Number of Trips (%) TOTAL Domestic International





8 13

4 6 21

20 28 50

23 21 7

10+ Average MICE 53 37 8

13 9 3

Q2: Reasons for increase (%) Business has increased since last year Increased sales and marketing effort requiring business trips I changed role: new position requires more travel Attending more external conference and seminars Attending more internal meetings Q3: Reasons for decrease (%) Business has decrease since last year I changed role: new position requires less travel Increased usage of technology for meetings e.g. video conferencing My company has implemented a travel freeze Change in personal circumstances effecting travel patterns Caution: Small base for MICE (N=28)

at 14% each and Singapore (5%) and Mainland China (4%) rounding out the bottom. Indian travellers also take

business trips to visit customers, with 58% of respondents citing customer visits as a reason for travel, followed

13 8 5

47 44 39 35 21

MICE 57 65 35 35 22

43 29 29

MICE 67 0 33

14 7

0 0

Source: ACCOR

closely by Mainland China (57%). Regionally, an average of 40% of travellers are engaged in customer visits, with Indonesian travellers making the least customer visit at 26%. India had the lowest female-to-male ratio among Asia-Pacific business travellers, with women making up a paltry 6% of travellers. The regional average was 26%, with Thailand (40%), Australia (33%) and New Zealand (30%) leading the pack. Even countries with not-so-stellar ratios, like Mainland China (16%) and Indonesia (10%) led India. Also when it comes to making reservations, business travellers from India book directly on the hotel’s website. 69% of respondents say they usually make reservations via the hotel’s online booking channel and further 19% say they use online travel agents. None of the respondents said they used offline travel agents or call centres. This result is substantiated by the finding that Indian business travellers believe that hotel branded websites provide the most competitive rates, whereas only 12% of them think independent websites offer the cheapest prices.

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MTDC goes green to develop tourism Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) joins hand with the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra and signs an MoU to enhance Wildlife Tourism in a sustainable way. T T B U R E AU


ith a view to develop four major wildlife sanctuaries of Nagzira, Tadoba, Navegoan and Melghat, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has recently signed a MoU with Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM). Both the entities are

Dr Jagdish Patil Managing Director MTDC

It’s our duty to follow the eco-friendly ways for sustainability of the tourism sector. Thus, we tied up with FDCM jointly implementing the Vidharba Eco-Tourism Mega Circuit Development Project for building, developing and enhancing the four listed sanctuaries for tourism. MTDC is in the process of connecting the forest rest houses with MTDC website for easy access to tourists for booking the accommodation here. Additionally, it is also coming up with a 30-room resort at Tadoba Wildlife Reserve within the next two years to increase accommodation facilities. Talking about the importance of developing and promoting Wildlife Tourism, Dr Jagdish Patil, Managing Director, MTDC said, “Maharashtra’s Tadoba Wildlife Park accommodates maximum number of tigers in India. Our parks offer real experience of Indian Wildlife Tourism but loses when it comes to infrastructure. However, being a member of ICTP (International Council of Tourism Promotion), it’s our duty to follow the eco-friendly

ways for sustainability of the tourism sector. Thus, we tied up with FDCM.” Under the Vidarbha Eco-Tourism mega circuit development project, the MTDC will develop accommodation facilities for tourists at Nagzira, Navegaon, Tadoba

and Melghat sanctuaries, while the FDCM will look after developing other facilities such as nature trails, information boards, signage and ‘machans’ (platform for watching animals in wildlife reserves), flora and fauna information

system, tree labels, displays on species and their habits, among other things. Adding further on enhancing the online tool for bookings, Patil said, “Reservation of forest rest houses via MTDC website is

in process. Once the facility is implemented, tourists can reserve forest rest houses online, instead of having to personally visit the site or the forest department.” Rest houses in Nagzira are being handed over to the FDCM,

which is upgrading them with the help of funding provided by the MTDC. A lot of ‘green upgrades’ are being added, such as solar heating, cooking through biogas, bio-degradable toilets and the likes.


TAFI Convention in Feb’13 Earlier, scheduled for the first week of October this year, the TAFI Annual Convention has now been postponed to February 2013. A N I TA J A I N


ith extra time in hand, the new managing committee of TAFI aims to enhance the convention settings and preparations to showcase the Annual Convention with more grandeur in South Africa. This was announced in Mumbai on the sidelines of the visit by Michael Mabuyakhulu, (MEC Economic Development & Tourism Province) KwaZulu Natal, South Africa along with a delegation from that region and Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA). The new Managing Committee of TAFI along with key members of the association were also present at the event, organised by South Africa Tourism and TAFI. During the event,

(L-R) Michael Tatalias, CEO, SATSA; Michael Mabuyakhulu, Hanneli Slabber, Country Head-India, South Africa Tourism, Nqobile Majozi, General Manager, Marketing, Tourism KwaZulu Natal; Lulla and Sadha Naidoo, Board Chairperson, Tourism KwaZulu Natal

Durban is a long-haul destination.

We need time to put together the best arrangements, statistics and business sessions for the convenience and benefit of our members and delegates.

According to Mabuyakhulu, India is one of the strategic tourism markets for South Africa and for KwaZulu Natal region. He said, “From 2003-2008, close to 1.7 million Indians visited KwaZulu Natal region. Through the forthcoming TAFI Convention in Durban, we are sure that the numbers will double in next five years. It will highlight the People-to-People and Business-to-Business

The new team in action Z

akkir Ahmed was selected as the President at the recently held National elections of TAFI for the term 2012-14. Other elected members include: Praveen Chugh (Vice President), Pradip Lulla (National General Secretary) and Darshan Shah (Treasurer) along with Aditi Bhende, Basheer Ahmed, Urvashi Dogra, Jayesh Tharani and Sanjay Arya. According to Lulla and Chugh,

the issues to tackle in the immediate future include weekly payments, web parity in fares, agency commission, reintroducing joint bank guarantee scheme, transactional fee structure, etc. Talking about the new transparency model in the association, Lulla said, “After every meeting held by the Managing Committee, a Joint Council meeting will be organised where the details and discus-

sions of the Managing Committee will be discussed. For the Joint Council meeting, every Chapter Head will be invited for transparency in the committee .”

Pradip Lulla, National General Secretary, TAFI said, “By postponing the Convention, we are buying time to make extra efforts for the success of the event. Over the years, TAFI Convention was hosted at short-haul destinations (except Mauritius) and

With a more experienced team (three Managing Committee members are past presidents of TAFI), we will put in all possible arrangements. The KwaZulu Natal Tourism Board and South African Tourism Board, India are putting their best efforts to showcase their region to our participants.”

aspects which will mutually benefit both the countries in terms of tourism and economy. Along with TAFI, we will also get additional time to talk with the airlines for adding capacity, frequencies and route during the TAFI Convention for the convenience of the participants.”

Zakkir Ahmed President,TAFI

Aditi Bhende to chair TAFI Convention rience of co-chairing  The newly elected team under the Presidentthe acclaimed Macau ship of Zakkir Ahmed had Convention and Shah their first Managing has been associated Committee meeting in with the highly successful conventions at Mumbai on the August 22, 2012. The Managing Singapore, Kota Kinabalu and Chiang Committee decided to appoint Aditi Bhende as Mai. As TAFI has postAditi Bhende Bharat Shah Chairperson Co-Chairman the Chairperson and poned the convention TAFI Convention Committee TAFI Convention Committee Bharat Shah as the dates, Bhende & Shah Co-Chairman of the will have sufficient convention at Durban, South Convention Committee to time to make the event a Africa. Bhende has the expeorganise the forthcoming success.


Funds galore for Incredible India The Ministry of Tourism, GoI, as part of its ongoing activities, releases campaigns in the print, electronic, online and outdoor media, both in the international and domestic markets, under the Incredible India brand line, to promote various tourism destinations and products of the country. T T B U R E AU


ncredible India campaigns are undertaken centrally by the Ministry of Tourism and no funds are released to the State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations for the purpose. The expenditure on campaigns released in the International and Domestic Markets is incurred from funds allocated under the “Restructured Scheme of Overseas Promotion and Publicity including Marketing Development Assistance (OPMD)” and “Domestic Promotion and Publicity including Hospitality (DPPH)” heads respectively. Details of budgetary allocation and funds utilised under these heads are given in the box on the top: The campaigns have helped in achieving a steady increase in FTAs to the country as well as the foreign exchange earnings through tourism. The foreign tourist arrivals have grown from 2.38 million in the year 2002 (when the campaigns were launched) to 6.29 million (provisional) in 2011, Foreign Exchange Earnings from tourism have increased from ` 15,064 crore to ` 77,591 crore (advance estimates) during the same period. The Domestic Tourist Visits increased from 269.60 million in 2002 to 850.86 million in 2011 (Provisional). The Incredible India campaigns are part of an ongoing and continuous process for promotion of tourism to and within the country. This information was given by Sultan Ahmed, Minister of State for Tourism, in a written reply to Shri Rajendra Agrasal in Lok Sabha recently. (Source: PIB)

Promote inbound jointly  The Andhra Pradesh Tourism signed a Memorandum of Understanding with India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) on August 23 in the presence of RH Khawaja, Secretary for Tourism in New Delhi to promote inbound tourism jointly.




Budgetary allocation & funds utilised (` in crore) OPMD

2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13



Revised Allocation

Funds Utilised

Revised Allocation

Funds Utilised

240.00 249.00 238.50 267.00 (BE)

242.67 249.02 238.50* 25.93* (Upto Aug. 6, 2012)

56.00 74.75 60.00 84.00 (BE)

53.86 74.67 60.00* 3.86* (Upto Aug. 6, 2012)

Source: PIB OPMD: Overseas Promotion and Publicity including Marketing Development Assistance

DPPH: Domestic Promotion and Publicity including Hospitality


Don’t shut wildlife parks Tour operators and resort owners in tiger reserves across the country received a major setback with the temporary ban on Wildlife Tourism in core areas of tiger reserves across the country. Hector Dsouza, a passionate wildlife lover, spells out ten reasons to reconsider the decision.


Sariska and Panna Tiger Reserves were lesser known National Parks in the nineties, because sighting of the tigers and leopards were declining. Tourism to both these parks had fallen. Poaching, manipulation of numbers and inadequate security were the main reasons why tigers disappeared completely from the park around 2008. Tourism is not the cause; secondly there were only a handful of resorts in both the parks. This discouraged visitors from going to the park. Hence, it is being clearly made out that tourists are not the villains here.

wildlife? How effective will monitoring be in these parks considering visitors are not allowed?


Don’t close the core area on a permanent basis. Keep it closed two days a week, to reduce the pressure of constant flow of vehicles twice a day. Further safari timings can be reduced by 15 to 30 minutes depending on the season and time of the year. The most important is the number of vehicles allowed to enter the park each day.


Forest eco-development committees constituted in villages surrounding the park, are gaining as much as 25 per cent, from gate receipts to tiger reserves, which is further being used for the development and upliftment of the villages. For example, the Kanha National Park has contributed close to ` 1 crore during the last financial year to these committees.


In order to encourage community-based tourism parks, Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Tiger Reserve only employ local tribes to perform the role of guides and drivers.


Activists and naturalist point of view of prohibiting tourism in core areas gives rise to yet another question. Are tourists not naturalists as well, will their knowledge of exotic species of flora and fauna is restricted to viewing television programmes and films on

Hector Dsouza President, L’orient Travels


Regulatory method needs to be adopted, in cases like when a rare species is spotted and crowding of vehicles take place. Systems need to be set in place, including guards equipped with means like digital cameras that can record sightings and crowd behaviour.


In a spirit of give and take, the tourist must be willing to make some sacrifice as well. For example, the well-known tiger shows at Kanha need to come to an end.


It is believed poaching will come to an end once the ban is introduced. To

assume that, poaching happens because of tourism is untrue. To ban tourism in wildlife areas, will probably indulge local populations to seek alternative sources of income, considering all tourism-related activities like driving, guiding, working in resorts and acting as naturalists will come to a sudden end.


Crowding of dwellings and resorts in buffer areas constrict space for movement and puts strain on limited resources. This is a prime reason for wanting to ban tourism in core areas. Though justifiable, the repercussions are several and range from loss of livelihood to local communities, tour operators and resort owners. The solution lies in putting a ceiling on new development, making it mandatory for resorts to switch to solar energy for power requirement, eliminating conference facilities, and further betterment of waste disposal facilities, to name a few.


More attention also needs to be paid on highways. Especially the ones which crosses on state or national national parks. Only then stealing forest wealth ranging from precious wood to elephant tusks and poaching of rare and extinct species will be a distinct possibility. Here too, the tourist is not to be blamed. Unscrupulous elements interested in robbing forests of its precious reserves are the main culprits. (The views expressed in this column are of Hector Dsouza, President, L’orient Travels)

Soaltee Crowne Plaza thanks all Soaltee Crowne Plaza, Kathmandu recently hosted cocktails and dinner at Thai High, New Delhi, to thank the travel trade for their suppor t in making the group a success.




Launching low cost carriers in emerging Asia: Is there a good time? Background • •

The aviation industry faced several challenges that caused international carriers to re-evaluate their bottom lines. Figures have emerged recently from airline industry group IATA warning that global profits would more than halve in 2012 due to surging oil prices and the Eurozone crisis, with European carriers suffering losses of US$1.1 billion (S$1.4 billion). The airline industry is caught between trying to satisfy customers who demand low prices, highquality service and comfort, and contending with the economic challenges of profitably operating an airline.

Squeezed by slowing growth, rising costs and added competition, Asia's premium airlines are creating discount airlines to bring in new passengers and control expenses. How do global issues such as soaring fuel prices, turmoil in Europe and a sluggish US economy impact the growth of LCCs in Asia, particularly the emerging markets? Over 80% of aviation industry stakeholders believe that network carriers have to change their strategy and pricing models to compete with LCCs on regional point to point routes, according to the 2012 Full Service Airline Market Intelligence Survey released by Terrappinn, organiser of the Aviation Outlook Asia.

Is there a good time for LCCs? •

The challenge ahead for Asia's premium airlines, which consistently get top ratings from travellers, is how long they can maintain high-quality service. •

Asia Travel Leaders Summit where it was noted that the Middle Affluent Consumer (MAC) segment in Asia is on the rise. This segment is estimated to grow by 20 per cent and will account for approximately US$ 430 billion in tourism spending by 2020, making it the highest contributor of tourism spending. The number of MAC households in Asia is also estimated to grow by 18 per cent annually from 160 million in 2010 to 369 million by 2015.

Until recently, these airlines were relatively immune to competition from low-cost carriers. But budget airlines now account for 24.9 per cent of Asia's total passenger traffic, up from 19.1 per cent in 2011 and 9 per cent in 2006, according to consulting firm UBM Aviation.

At least five low-cost carriers are being set up by full-service Asian airlines, including Scoot from Singapore Airlines Ltd., Jetstar Japan from Japan Airlines Corp., Peach Aviation by ANA and Thai Smile from Thai Airways International PCL.

The rise of LCCs could now be opportune. Asia's big carriers are challenged by slowdowns in premium and business travel, their most profitable businesses. High operating costs and persistent weakness in the lucrative airfreight business are also reasons why LCCs could offer a stable, alternative revenue stream.

At the same time, there are tremendous growth opportunities in Asia. Findings from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) predict positive growth for the Asian travel sector. In addition, countries such as China and India are expected to perform strongly. In support of this, the Air Transport Action Group’s regional and group analysis of Asia Pacific states the key drivers of the robust expansion of the region’s air transport market to be steadily rising incomes and rapid urbanization of the very large populations in China and India, as well as other dynamic Asian economies. This is further augmented by discussions at TravelRave’s 2011

These figures, together with the rising intra-regional travel among Asians1, show the timeliness of investing in Asia.

In addition, as a part of the travel business chain, LCCs create a domino effect on other travel partners. Keenly aware of this growing trend, industry leaders are convening at TravelRave to engage in meaningful discussions about optimising their business opportunities at events such as Aviation Outlook Asia and ITB Asia.

Mr. Si Thu, Managing Director, CEO, Myanmar Airways International, will be one of the many in the business attending TravelRave’s Aviation Outlook Asia this year to discuss the pertinent issues faced by the Airline industry. He shared, “Myanmar has emerged from its isolation and seen exponential growth in the high season of 2011-2012. This is just the beginning of the growth of Myanmar’s aviation industry and we will see continued growth as Myanmar Airways International, readies itself to capture the region’s burgeoning market. I am looking forward to meet and learn from other key players in Asian aviation at Aviation Outlook Asia 2012!”

Synergy of opportunities: •

TravelRave events provide the perfect platforms to network, allowing airlines to strike unique partnerships to further their business objectives.

Sharing of these best practices is made possible at TravelRave events via a myriad of networking and breakout sessions

Aviation Outlook Asia continues to be the primary platform for C-suite leaders of the regional aviation industry to convene. Past luminaries who have attended include Chong Phit Lian, former Chief Executive Officer, Jetstar Asia; Si Xianmin, Chairman, China Southern Airlines and Azran Osman Rani, Chief Executive Office, AirAsia X, to name a few.

Findings and meaningful insight shared by industry leaders and experts. For e.g., an industry leader survey2 was conducted for the Asia Travel Leaders Summit 2011. Respondents felt that LCCs have spurred domestic travel in India, which further enhanced the development of mid-range and budget hotels due to improved connectivity.

One of the topics that will be discussed at Aviation Outlook Asia during TravelRave is how airlines will optimise their distribution mix especially in the face of LCC competition.

Eleanor Uy, General Manager of Terrapinn Pte. Ltd, event organiser of Aviation Outlook Asia (AOA), the region’s premier aviation industry leadership forum says: “In its 5th year, AOA 2012 is the biggest one yet and continues to convene senior aviation executives to determine the business strategies and growth outlook for the industry. This is where new ideas and perspectives are threshed out, when you can meet and connect with potential business partners; and discover new and innovative technologies powering airline business, alongside aviation leaders from Garuda Indonesia, Myanmar Airways International, Malaysia Airlines, Pacific Royale Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines, and many more.“

Connect with like-minded industry experts to improve service quality and provide value-add for consumers: •

One way forward is for carriers to continue to find innovative ways to provide passengers with greater control, save them time, reduce hassles and make the airline experience more enjoyable and comfortable.

Call to action: • 1 2

For more information, visit or follow us @TravelRaveSG on Twitter This is reflected in the visitor arrivals to Singapore where 76 per cent of total international visitor arrivals hail from Asia, with a healthy spread over several regions and markets . The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) jointly conducted an online survey of ~110 industry leaders and interviewed ~20 eminent CEOs about their perspectives on the opportunities and challenges facing the Asian travel and tourism industry over the next three to five years.






Ring road for monuments Give Jaipur an Expressway Calling for an Expressway to connect UP’s monuments, While saying that Jaipur-Udaipur air connectivity is an Sunil C Gupta, Chairman, Uttar Pradesh Chapter, IATO, urgent need, Bhim Singh, Chairman, Rajasthan Chapter, offers some solutions to bring more tourists to the state. IATO, adds that a Jaipur-Delhi Expressway is also needed. T T B U R E AU


upta says he feels blessed as Taj Mahal, the icon of Indian tourism, is situated in Uttar Pradesh, along with other leading tourist attractions like the Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Highlighting the other tourist attractions in UP, Gupta says, “We have the holy city of Varanasi. Jhansi is the gateway to Bundelkhand; Ayodhya is the birthplace of Lord Rama; Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna; Allahabad is known for its Sangam and Kumbh 2013 shall be held in this city. Also there are Buddhist shrines at Sarnath, Kushinagar, Sravasti and Sanksya, which draws huge tourists for Buddhist tours. However, the poor infrastructure impede the state of UP from attaining its true tourism potential.

Sunil C Gupta Chairman UP Chapter, IATO

“It is pathetic that Agra, which houses the Taj Mahal, has no air connectivity.

The Indian domestic pilgrimage has huge potential but there is no or poor air connectivity. In Agra, thousands of cars come daily via the new Expressway, but find it frustrating to reach the

Taj Mahal after they leave the Expressway,” said Gupta. According to Gupta, these challenges can be addressed by keeping tourism on top priority in the government planning as well in the allocation of budgets. This should be followed up by more investments in infrastructure, local tourism committees working closely with ASI, DOT, civil administration and tourism industry. More airports and flights should be introduced. “There is an urgent need to plan a ‘Ring Road’ in Agra, to seamlessly bring tourists to Taj Mahal and also connect other major monuments. The Delhi to Mathura helicopter service should start soon and similar initiatives may be taken to connect Ayodhya and Allahabad. The upkeep of Mathura and Varanasi ghats and cleaning of Ganges and Yamuna should be accorded priority,” added Gupta.

more Greenfield airports should be developed and smaller airlines should be promoted between major tourist attractions like Kishangarh (Ajmer), Bikaner, Kota & Chittaurgarh,” said Singh.



he opening of the Yamuna Expressway, it seems, has opened many opportunities by connecting Delhi to the tourist centre of Agra. In fact, key stakeholders in tourism also desire to have such expressways in their region.

“Jaipur-Delhi Highway should be constructed on similar lines of the Yamuna Expressway. The road connectivity between JaipurRanthambore and Jaipur-Bundi-Kota needs urgent attention,”

Bhim Singh Chairman Rajasthan Chapter, IATO

said Bhim Singh. But, Singh insists that the lack of air connectivity in the key destinations within Rajasthan restricts growth of tourism in more than one way. “The main hurdle is the air connectivity and the availability of only a few roads leading to the important tourist destinations. There is no flight between JaipurUdaipur and Jaipur-Jodhpur for the last two years. In fact,

“Jaipur Airport is likely to be closed for renovation and therefore, the flights here will be re-scheduled. This will continue for 18-24 months, which is likely to affect the tourism to Rajasthan. Arrival of flights should be regulated in a way that the airport extension work is not disturbed and maximum flights land at Jaipur Airport. Besides this, Rajasthan Tourism department should be given more budgetary allocation in the state budget and from the central budget. The state allocation for development of tourism is only ` 40 crore as against the other state budgets ranging between ` 200-300 crore,” he added.




Grappling with tax issues Taxes make India expensive While business traffic is being driven into Tamil Nadu, Calling the Indian travel industry, high-taxed, Harmit Singh, CN Prasad, Chairman, TN, IATO, says taxes on hotels, Chairman, Punjab, Haryana & Himachal Pradesh Chapter, VAT, etc, are affecting the state’s MICE potential. IATO, says taxes are also eating into the industry’s growth. nect all these places and lately, many 3-star hotels have come up even at religious places.



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

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

CN Prasad Chairman Tamil Nadu Chapter, IATO

“To address many of the emerging challenges, we require state-recognised guides who should charge less than Govt of India Guides, being used for foreign tourists primarily. We also require better road signs in English besides local language to show monuments and temples,” he added. Elaborating further on the strengths of the destination, Prasad told that Tamil Nadu has wide roads to con-

“Tamil Nadu is a roundthe-year tourist destination. It has temples, 5-world heritage sites, beaches, wild life and hill stations. UNESCO has declared Mamallapuram as an example of Dravidian art and architecture,” he added.

Suggestions Tamil Nadu requires staterecognised guides, who should charge less than what the Govt of India Guides charge. These guides are being used for foreign tourists primarily The state also requires better road signs in English besides road signs in the local language to show directions to monuments and temples

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



n an increasingly competitive world, all destinations compete and are committed to build an environment that facilitates tourism inflow. But according to Harmit Singh, the travel and tourism in India is a high-taxed industry, which makes India expensive as a tourist destination.

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

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

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

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


Agents’ hopes rise as ` falls The fall in the value of the Indian Rupee may have hit the economy hard, but it gave reason to cheer for tour operators and travel agents as it brought more revenue. With this, India has become a lucrative market. D E N C Y M AT H E W


he depreciating value of the rupee has made India a lucrative market for tourism, among foreigners and boosted the inbound traffic of the country. Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India, during 2011 were 6.29 million with a growth of 8.9 per cent, as compared to the FTAs of 5.78 million with a growth of 11.8 per cent during the year 2010 over 2009. The growth rate of 8.9 per cent in 2011 for India is better than UNWTO’s projected growth rate of 4-5 per cent for the world in 2011 and 7-9 per cent for Asia and the Pacific. In the first quarter of 2012, India has already received 3.24 million tourists, making a growth of 7.4 per cent over the same period in 2011. Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) from tourism in rupees terms during January-July 2012 were ` 52,149 crore with a growth of 23.3 per cent, as compared to the FEE of ` 42,279 crore with a growth of 14.8 per cent during January-July 2011, over the corresponding period of 2010.

Lally Mathews

Arup Sen

Hony. Secretary IATO

Director, Special Projects Cox & Kings

The fluctuating rate of rupee has benefitted India. It is profitable for foreigners to visit India

says Lally Mathews, Hony. Secretary, IATO. The tour operators and agencies in India are cashing in on this renewed interest in India as a destination. Destinations like Rajasthan, Kerala, Goa and Ladakh are among the top searched

Daniel D’Souza

Rajesh Magow

Head, Sales-B2C SOTC

Co-Founder & Chief Financial and Operating Officer, MakeMyTrip

With outbound travel prices increasing, people are opting for breaks where price is controllable “Fluctuating rate of rupee has benefitted India. It is more profitable for foreigners to visit India as they get more rupees in exchange of their Dollars or Euros and also India is a relatively cheaper destination with a lot to offer. Hence, there was bound to be a large influx of tourists from outside India,”

The travel industry needs to invest in business models that offer cost-effective scalability places to visit in India. Spas, adventure, wildlife tourism in India are some of the indirect beneficiaries. “Inbound tourists come in for a range of experiences to India. Many of them come to explore historical places, visit wellness centres and also opt for adventure holidays. Most of them coming to India prefer

Most of the inbound tourists coming to India prefer the mid-market to luxury

the mid-market to luxury as we do not have adequate options for budget travel. India being a long-haul destination, travelling to the country, is not cheap in itself,” says Arup Sen, Director, Special Projects, Cox & Kings. “India is fast emerging as a Luxury Tourism destination. Over the years, India has witnessed emergence of niche holidays like adventure sports including river rafting, scuba diving and rock climbing; spa & wellness retreats at exotic locales of Kerala and Rishikesh and wildlife vacations at Jim Corbett Park and Ranthambore Sanctuary, amongst others. India, as a confluence of different religions, also attracts tourists to India for Pilgrim Tourism,” adds Daniel D’Souza, Head, Sales-B2C, SOTC. The rupee slide has also influenced the mind of the Indian traveller. In spite of being challenged with a sharp rise in airfares, accommodation and fuel prices in India, the number of Indians travelling on domestic routes has gone up significantly. Travel has become a necessity to destress and people do not mind, paying additional rupee to enjoy a good vacation. During 2011, the number of domestic tourist visits to the States/ UTs was 851 million as compared to 748 million in 2010 and 669 million in 2009. The figures for 2012 are expected to be higher. “Domestic Tourism received a fillip this year with Contd. on page 16 


Khwaja for wildlife tourism Contd. from page 1 

He further adds that this year, we are facing failure of monsoon. Here it’s important to ponder over the reasons that lead to the failure of rains. What is the concept of ‘EL Nino’ and ‘La Nino’? Here he insists, one needs to realise the importance of forests, as trees constitute an ecosystem. An ecosystem has hundred of constituents. If the forests and wildlife disappears and the bio-diversity fades away, the human race suffers adversely. In this century the cellular and molecular biology is very important.

“Now coming to the tourism aspects, a tourist goes to forest to see beautiful trees, rivers, lakes and the wildlife. If wildlife enthusiast’s seriously wishes to experience Natural and Wildlife Tourism, they should first learn to respect them.

Forests and wildlife must be protected. At the same time, people who are genuinely interested in wildlife and forests should get an opportunity to visit the forests and experience the wildlife.

On the regulation aspect, obviously there should be a carrying capacity analysis, sustainability and people going in forests should not in any form harm the environment. They should also not indulge in any activity that leaves a carbon foot print like disposing garbage in the forest area, teasing of animals, setting fires and the likes,” said Khwaja. “MOT’s view is that tourism should be regulated in the protected areas and be permitted with appropriate safeguards and regulations. Now, it’s on the Court to decide on the appropriate regulations,” he added.

Motivate domestic tourists Contd. from page 1 



omestic Tourism is the back bone of the Indian tourism industry. Over 70 per cent of domestic tourist visit is centered on religious and spiritual travel.

The tourism industry needs to motivate the domestic travellers to extend their stays and explore places beyond their chosen destination,”

Government of India, said, “We should work on a pragmatic approach based on the tenets of sustainability and to ‘walk the talk’. There is a need to focus on creating hygienic lodging facilities and other tourism-related infrastructure to attract tourists and all the stakeholders should support the Clean India Campaign. The State Tourism Department at Tourism Bazaar should take up inter-state partnerships, particularly in pilgrim circuits, to motivate the travellers to spend additional nights for visits around the chosen destination in other States.”

said Sahai. He also urged FICCI to sensitise and motivate States to build budget hotels on properties owned by the government and bring tourism development on their political and economic agenda to boost revenues and create jobs,” he added.

Here, Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson, FICCI Tourism Committee announced that the next edition of the Great Domestic Tourism Bazaar would be held in the last week of September 2013.

Sahai also released the FICCI-Yes Bank Knowledge Paper on ‘Domestic Tourism - Evolution, Trends and Growth’. Building on the momentum, RH Khwaja, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism,

“We had delivered on the promise to organise a Great Domestic Tourism Bazaar in the previous edition of our Domestic Tourism Conclave in 2011. We hope the event will replicate the

success of our inbound eventGITB that had recently celebrated its fifth successful edition in 2012.” Moreover, Naina Lal Kidwai, Senior Vice President, FICCI in her address raised the importance of a growing domestic market, which also facilitates national integration. Here, Subhash Verma, President, Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI), also pitched in by adding Domestic Tourism as a national movement and encouraged all tour operators to promote India to all the Indians. He also raised the need for creation of more theme parks, extension of LTC to corporate and compulsory travel for school and college students on annual basis. The inaugural session was efficiently moderated by SanJeet, Co-Chairman, FICCI Tourism Committee, while Dipak Deva, Co-Chairman, FICCI Tourism Committee extended a warm vote of thanks summing up all the insightful takeaways from the inaugural session.

` fall, a boon for the industry? Contd. from page 14 

the rupee depreciation. Kashmir and the North-East India are the new destinations that have become popular this year. Kerala and Goa are also seeing more tourists, this monsoon season, due to the bargain deals. MakeMyTrip’s charter holidays to Ladakh and Bhutan have also opened up to more Indian tourists this year. Among the beach destinations, we have seen enquiries and bookings grow for the

Andamans andLakshwadweep Islands,” says Rajesh Magow, Co- Founder & Chief Financial and Operating Officer, MakeMyTrip. The attractive ‘Incredible India’ campaign has no doubt helped in luring many more foreigners while the brand ‘India’ also received a huge impetus. The industry feels that tourism during harsh economic times can be generated profitably through innovative pro-

motions. Magow adds, “Travel being a discretionary expenditure cannot remain de-linked to the economy. Therefore, the industry needs to invest in business models and partnerships that offer cost-effective scalability.” With the downfall in the value of rupee and the global economic meltdown, this can be the golden period for Indian tourism as far as inbound and domestic travel is concerned.


Expressway boost to hotels Hoteliers in the city feel the recently-unveiled Yamuna Expressway will offer a double bonanza for them to boost occupancy while increasing their F&B revenues. M E G H A PAU L


ith the recent opening of the new toll road that has greatly helped in reducing the travel time between the Delhi and Agra, the hoteliers in Agra are expected to get a boost. Agra hoteliers are confident that

erties have been designed and we are highly confident about the increase in traffic to Jaypee Palace, Agra with the opening of the Expressway.” Today, corporates prefer to break away from closed offices and opt for off-sites to strategise and churn out ideas. This whole

new development might pose in the long run, Bhowmik says, “There are also speculations of falling room nights as this may also encourage more day trippers. My suggestion is, in case the traveller wants to enjoy or experience the beauty of the heritage monuments in Agra,

Manju Sharma

Debasish Bhowmik

Kamlesh Barot

Director Jaypee Hotels

Senior Vice President Hotel Clarks Shiraz

President FHRAI

Hotels in Noida, Greater Noida & Agra have started promoting packages in international and domestic markets the Yamuna Expressway will turn the city into a preferred destination for corporate events and weddings in the backdrop of the Taj Mahal. Hoteliers believe that the expressway would see more tourists heading to Agra not just to admire the beauty of the Taj but also to stay overnight for more days. One of the key properties of the region, Jaypee Palace Hotel & Convention Centre Agra has geared up to meet the increasing demand and is offering exclusive packages to welcome the travellers in the inaugural month of the Expressway. Says Manju Sharma, Director - Jaypee Hotels, “The eagerness can be witnessed from the hotels in Noida/Greater Noida and Agra regions that have already started promoting packages through tour operators in international and domestic markets. Jaypee has hotels in prime locations at both the ends - Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort in Greater Noida and Jaypee Palace Hotel and Convention Centre in Agra. Through the rigorous study of travel pattern of the discerning inbound and outbound tourist visiting Delhi and other destinations, special packages for Agra and Greater Noida prop-

We are expecting a significant and sustainable growth in the domestic, leisure and MICE segment

This region holds great potential for the hotel industry as domestic and international tourists will flock this place

connectivity promises to deliver a splendid package to hold business meetings along with a leisure trip to one of the wonders of the world. The connectivity promises to encourage companies to combine business meetings with a leisure trip to one of the wonders of the world. Thus, MICE movements are bound to see a steady increase, she adds.

one need to spend a considerable amount of time in the city. Agra is not all about the Taj Mahal and one need to give time to explore Agra beyond the Taj.”

The first five-star in the state and the third five-star established in India, Hotel Clarks Shiraz considers the recent development of the new expressway from Delhi to Agra as a boon to the property. Opines Debasish Bhowmik, Senior Vice President, Hotel Clarks Shiraz, “We are expecting a significant rise in domestic, leisure and also the MICE segment. It is too early to put a figure as target but the industry is expecting significant and sustainable growth.” Development in good infrastructure is an integral part of tourism promotion and for its subsequent development and growth as well. The entire tourism and travel trade will benefit from this. Business inflow and customer’s overall experience would increase manifolds. Talking about the threat this

The day trippers, however, are certainly expected to increase and there is a likelihood that Food & Beverage (F&B) revenues will jump now. “We expect an increase in the Coffee Shop/Fast Food business through more number of day trippers in the near future,” he adds. In the very first week of its opening, the Yamuna Expressway has also emerged as a hot investment destination for domestic and international hoteliers. Land, along the 23 km NoidaGreater Noida Expressway has generated huge interest from the hotel industry. According to Kamlesh Barot, President, Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI), this region holds a great potential for the hotel industry as domestic and international tourists will flock this place en route to the Taj Mahal. This stretch is now being called as the ‘hot belt’. As compared to any other tourism destination in the country, it promises huge returns in the future.




Yes I can, says Radisson Blu Hyderabad Having opened almost a month-and-a-half ago in Hyderabad, the Carlson Rezidor property is living up to its tagline and guaranteeing 100 per cent satisfaction to its guests. Nishan Silva, General Manager, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills, says, he’s happy with the way things are moving forward. P EDEN D OMA B HUTIA


s you go around the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills, you can’t miss the ‘Yes I Can!’ badges that the hotel staff sports. According to their General Manager, these badges embody the very spirit of the brand, the positive

potential and we are moving ahead in the right direction.” About Hyderabad as a city for the hospitality sector, he says, “Hyderabad has good infrastructure and the IT sector here is also doing very well. The expansion of the airport is another key decision that the government has taken. That’s why not

panies. It’s a city you must be in and in the month-and-ahalf that we have been here we have seen tremendous potential.” Proof of this can be seen in the fact that there are around four major hotels located within a close distance of each other. The recent spurt in the number of hotels has only turned the tables around and the city which was once said to have an undersupply of hotel rooms now has an oversupply of hotel rooms. As

Silva points out, “Now, we have more hotels than what is needed and in the next 18 months we have another 600 rooms being added to the market as more hotels are coming up. Hyderabad is not the easiest cities to drive occupancy rate and if we look at the current market there is an oversupply of rooms. However, the future is looking good and we, at Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills, have taken strategic partnerships with the corporate world and are

Biodiversity conference attitude that guarantees 100 per cent guest satisfaction. While speaking about the hotel, Silva says, “I am happy with the way things are moving for Carlson Rezidor’s first Radisson Blu hotel in the city. We have seen tremendous

only us but some of the major hospitality players are now venturing into the city. Even the local hospitality companies are also doing very well. The competition is growing and we have a great mix of local and international com-

We are looking forward to the international biodiversity conference in October which will take place in the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, a state-of-the-art, first of its kind convention facility in South Asia. It is the largest bio-diversity conference that this part of the world has ever seen. This is another important decision that the government has taken and will act as a major fillip for the hospitality sector of the city.

Nishan Silva General Manager, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills

driving forward to a very good business model.” On being asked why the hotel at Banjara Hills has been categorically positioned as a business hotel, he says, “We are not driving much business from the leisure sector as people coming to the city are mostly business travellers. It is one of the biggest hotels covering 44sqm of area (it has 142 Superior,

Deluxe & Business class rooms and 13 suites) and with facilities such as free internet, a great breakfast spread and great F&B facilities. However, the city has a small leisure market with 67 prominent locations for sightseeing. But even then almost 80 per cent of our business is from the corporate sector.”

First Of Its Kind The hotel also boasts of India’s first Dilmah T Bar. With more than 26 varieties of single origin teas, this tea bar serves an extensive range of tea-based mocktails, cocktails and drinks. On August 19, the hotel also hosted a Sunday brunch, the largest in the city, that offered the best of the five food and beverage outlets of the hotel - Holy Basil, Chill, Terrace @ Chill, Dilmah T Bar and Bar 41 – to the patrons


‘India is under-prepared’ In a recent report, CAPA has found out that India is under-prepared for the growth challenges ahead and will need to plan for massive investment of up to ` 2.2 lakh crore in airport development by 2025. The incremental growth in Indian domestic airport passengers in the last decade is striking. The increase between 2001 and 2011 was three times the growth that had been achieved in the previous 50 years. And with strong growth expected to continue, but this time off a dramatically expanded base, the task ahead is enormous.



ndian aviation is set for a transformational growth. CAPA projections show airport passenger traffic growing from 143 million in 201011 to 452 million by 2020-21. Over the same period, the scheduled airline fleet is expected to grow from 430 to 1,030 aircraft, while general aviation could see even faster growth from 750 to over 2,000 aircraft.

Kapil Kaul CEO, South Asia CAPA

India needs investment in infrastructure In the 11th Five Year Plan period from 2007-2012, $ 425 billion was invested in overall infrastructure, which fell short of the planned $500 billion. The private sector was expected to contribute 50 per cent of this capital. During this period, the private sector played an unprecedented role in terms of its contribution to the development of airports which, with one exception at Cochin, had previously been the exclusive domain of the state-owned airport operator. Total investment by private airport operators in the construction of greenfield airports at Bengaluru and Hyderabad, and the modernisation and expansion of Delhi and Mumbai airports, totalled ` 300 billion. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) invested ` 125 billion in upgrading Chennai, Kolkata and 35 non-metro airports. India’s 12th Five Year Plan from 2012-2017 was initially expected to see planned infrastructure investment of US$1 trillion. However, this assumed an average GDP growth rate of 9 per cent per annum. With recent moderation to below 7 per cent and the likelihood that growth will remain below target for the next 12-18 months, planned expenditure has been reduced to $800 billion. Estimated investment in the airport sector is set at ` 675 billion of which almost 75 per cent is expected to be contributed by the private sector. Domestic funding will not be sufficient to support this level of activity. But if foreign investment is to be attracted, India will need to provide external capital with greater confidence with respect to market risks.

Critical master plan Developing airports is an important objective, but this should be carried out within the framework of a national aviation master plan – integrated into an overall national transportation plan - which identifies clear economic reasons for building a new airport. CAPA proposes the establishment of an Airports Approval Commission within MoCA to review the business plans of proposed airports prior to granting clearance. At present, the threshold for clearance are largely technical nature and do not take viability into consideration. The development of an integrated national master plan is imperative to replace the current ad hoc approach. There is a need to adopt a new proactive mindset which does not wait for current infrastructure to become saturated before planning for expansion, but instead starts to anticipate future requirements ahead of time.

Q1 profits  CAPA projected that India’s airlines would post a combined loss of $ 1.3-1.4 billion for the 12 months ending March 31, 2013. In the first quarter ended 30 June 2012 those four private carriers are estimated to have achieved a profit of approximately $ 40 million, with a breakdown as follows

IndiGo: ` 1.06 billion (CAPA estimate) SpiceJet: ` 560 million GoAir: ` 300 million (CAPA estimate) Jet Airways: ` 240 million JetLite: ` 117 million

Radisson Hotel in Gujarat & NCR  The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has expanded its portfolio of hotels in India with the opening of two new properties -- 117-room Radisson Hotel Kandla in Gujarat and the 147-room Radisson Blu Hotel Ghaziabad in DelhiNCR. The hotel chain now

has 99 hotels in India in operation and under development. According to Simon C Barlow, President, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, to continue the growth momentum, the group is establishing hotels in emerging cities such as

Kandla and Ghaziabad. Radisson Hotel Kandla is Carlson's first hotel in Kandla. Radisson Blu Hotel Ghaziabad is the first Radisson Blu for Carlson in the eastern part of NCR with proximity to Delhi, Noida and Meerut.











LH upgrades reflect India’s importance Lufthansa rolls out improved services in India with the new B747-8 aircraft, a new lounge at Delhi airport and better business class products. The airline focusses on end-to-end services and is set to revamp the brand positioning. D E V I KA J E E T


ufthansa makes India the second destination to receive the B747-8 aircraft enhanced with new business class cabins. The aircraft is already flying on the DelhiFrankfurt sector and will serve the BengaluruFrankfurt network from September 14, 2012. The airline chose India as the second market worldwide for the all-new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. The

arrival of the B747-8 also turns India into the Asian launch market for Lufthansa’s sophisticated new Business Class, which includes a seat that converts into a 6.5 feet long, horizontal sleeping surface. “Choosing India as the launch-pad for our latest two products in Asia underlines this market’s importance in our global network as well as our commitment to grow here. We are upgrading Lufthansa in India and are excited about the different possibilities. We expect an enthusiastic passenger response for the B747-8 and its great new on-

board products. Serving India with this exceptional aircraft underlines our strong commitment to build on our success story here,” says Axel Hilgers, Director, South Asia, Lufthansa. Axel Hilgers

Sangeeta Sharma

Director, South Asia Lufthansa

Manager - Marketing Communication South Asia, Lufthansa

Choosing India as the launchpad underlines this market’s importance

We are changing the way Lufthansa has been seen for the last decade

The new aircraft is configured with 8 First, 92 Business and 262 Economy Class seats; B747-8 brings exceptional travel comfort in all classes. “The B747-8 features outstanding innovations in terms of technology, efficiency and in-flight comfort,” adds Hilgers. The new Lufthansa Business Class offers excep-

tional comfort in a sitting or horizontal position, with intuitive adjustments, additional storage space and an enhanced entertainment system. Another novelty is the innovative V-shaped seating arrangement. This virtually doubles the distance between two neighboring seats at shoulder level. The flat bed facilities are also available on the Munich-Mumbai route. Contd. on page 29 

10-point roadmap for sustainable growth of tourism A FICCI-YES BANK Report expects that the number of domestic visits will go up from last year’s 851 million to close to 1 billion in 2012 and further to 1.3 billion in the next three years. The following are report’s suggestions: Develop Hygienic Budget Accommodation: While many budget accommodation options are available in the country, the cleanliness and hygiene standards are mostly below par. This is not only detrimental to the destination image, but also means that the tourist at the 'middle' of the value chain has to opt for higher categories of accommodation, implying that the expenditure on other principles of the product (sightseeing, shopping etc.) goes down, leading to skewed earnings. Improve Connectivity: This refers to both improving the infrastructure in terms of roads, rail networks etc., and providing a greater number

of options in terms of services like buses, trains, flights etc. Many destinations in the country fail to realize their worth owing to poor connectivity options. Repackage products: Many tourism products/ destinations can be revived by introducing new elements. One that can be sighted as a successful initiative is the case of Madhya Pradesh, which revived the BhopalBhimbetka-DelawadiBhojpur-Sanchi through the use of campervans. Forge inter-state partnerships: For many states in the country, owing to geographical or demographical congruencies, it makes sense to collectively market as a des-

tination, especially if one is targetting longer stays. The group of Northeast states, even though very diverse demographically, constitute a single unified geographical entity of the Himalayan ecosystem, and have common entry/ exit points. Niche-based Capacity Building: Certain niches can be made affordable for the domestic market by simply upscaling the capacity building measures. Take the instance of adventure sports, bungee jumping in particular. Capacity building measures in these areas could go a long way in expanding the affordability of experiential products. Accessibility to remote areas: Elaborating further on

adventure tourism, many places in the Himalayan (and other sensitive) regions of the country require permits and other permissions to be issued for exploration, procurement of which often becomes an arduous process owing to the multiple agencies involved (tourism department, forest department, police/ army etc.), and some of the best destinations of the country are left unexplored. There is a need to have a single window clearance system in place. Educational Trips: Introducing inter or intra state trips for educational institutions, particularly schools, has a two-fold advantage. While it brings

numbers into the state, students are the most probable clientele to become repeat tourists, desirable for any market in the long run. Support to Backpacking: Although hitchhikers/ backpackers have traditionally been associated with the Hippie movement of the 70s, the present movement is entirely different, with people from all walks of life, including those from the upper economic strata, choosing this option owing to the freedom of travel and the 'authenticity' of travel that it offers. Student Discounts for Events/ Festivals: There is a need to offer affordable facilities for travel segments like

students. Take for instance the Rann Utsav package offered by Gujarat Tourism at INR 3000 per day per tent. While this is competitive pricing for the average tourist, it often becomes a notch high for students, for whom these events are a platform for academic research as well. Use of ICT-based tools: While certain states like Kerala have adopted IT-based tools and services to leverage their product offerings and promotional efforts, other states also need to tap these tools to fully harness their tourism potential. Mobilebased technologies can be tapped as an enabler for mountainous and other remote regions of India.

AVIATION 10 more Malaysian Airlines flights to India Malaysia Airlines is increasing its frequency to India with 10 daytime daily flights from September 1. T T B U R E AU


f the ten flights from Kuala Lumpur, three will head to Mumbai, three to Chennai and four to Bengaluru. Talking about this increased connectivity, Duncun Bureau, Senior Vice President Global Sales & Distribution, Malaysia Airlines said, “We are in our 40th year of service in India and are receiving positive response from the Indian market and

Duncun Bureau Senior Vice President Global Sales & Distribution, Malaysia Airlines

to continue with such interest, we are providing various opportunities for our customers.

From India, in 1998, we carried 30,000 passengers a year and now we carry over 7,00,000 a year which is a significant growth on YoY basis. We are looking at a 26 per cent capacity growth in terms of seats and are expecting a 15 per cent growth in terms of passenger load in 2012 as compared to last year. We hope to have a mix of leisure and corporate travel to drive this 15 per cent consumer growth.” “We think India is going to be one of the largest travel consumer markets in the world and that is why we are making this investment. Being one of the youngest and efficient fleets in the world also gives us an edge. In this market, we will be operating the Boeing 737-800 NG and will also be adding wide bodied aircraft,” Bureau adds.




12 Indian cities, 95 weekly connections Qatar Airways will launch its nonstop daily Doha-Chicago services from April 10, 2013. This will offer one-stop flights to Chicago from 12 cities in India via Doha through 95 weekly connections. T T B U R E AU


he airline will be deputing B 777-300 extended range passenger aircraft on this route. It will feature 335 seats, 42 Business Class and 293 Economy Class seats. The flight will

depart daily from Doha at 0915hrs and arrive in Chicago at 1550 hrs. Conversely Chicago departures will begin at 2130 hrs and arrive in Doha the next day at 1900 hrs. This new

List of 12 cities • Mumbai • Delhi • Chennai • Bengaluru • Hyderabad • Kochi

• Thiruvananthapuram • Kozhikode • Amritsar • Goa • Ahmedabad • Kolkata

daily connection will provide convenience to a majority of Indian business travellers and holidaymakers. Earlier, this year, the airline started flying to other European capi-

tals such as Baku, Azerbaijan; Zagreb, Croatia; and Tbilisi, Georgia. Other recent additions to the airline's portfolio include Kigali, Rwanda; Erbil and Baghdad, Iraq; Perth, Australia; and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.




Sahai inaugurates GDTB 2012

Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister of Tourism inaugurated the much-awaited second edition of the ‘The Great Domestic Tourism Bazaar (GDTB) 2012’in New Delhi on August 24, 2012. The two-day event was organised by FICCI and Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, with the support of Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI).

Look who reads

Contd. on page 40 





Costa aims for 100% growth from India Costa Cruises, in partnership with Singapore Tourism Board, will launch a new itinerary for the Indian market to the Far East, on-board Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantic. The ships will have Indian entertainment and Indian meals. T T B U R E AU


osta Cruises aims to achieve 100 per cent growth in the number of Indian arrivals on-board their cruises in 2013. They expect Tier-1 and Tier-II cities to constitute the maximum passengers from India. To cater to this market more efficiently, the cruise company will also open a representative office in October in India.

Alessandro Bottaro Head - Sales & Marketing Mediterranean New Markets, India Africa and Middle East, Costa Cruises

The cruise company in partnership with Singapore Tourism Board announced a new offering for the Indian market to the Far East, onboard Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantic. These cruises will commence operations from Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Singapore and will be operative from November. The two

Chang Chee Pay Executive Director, South Asia Middle East & Africa Planning Projects Singapore Tourism Board

itineraries designed for the cruises departing from Singapore have been made keeping in mind the Indian traveller who will get a chance to explore the best of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Also, on-board the cruise will be Indian entertainment as well as Indian meals.

“We believe we have the right product for the Indian market. The travel trade in India is going to be our main tool to reach the market.

We receive a lot of requests from India not only from MICE groups but families, individuals and couples as well. Dubai, Singapore and Mediterranean are the most sort out destination for cruising from India. And to cater to

these requests we will be launching cruises from Dubai and Abu Dhabi in November,” says Alessandro Bottaro, Head - Sales & Marketing, Mediterranean New Markets, India, Africa and Middle East, Costa Crociere.

“We will play a complimentary role to what Costa is doing. India is the largest foreign market for cruises in Singapore. Indians like to cruise and we continue to see a strong interest in cruising from India. We hope by pro-

viding this product, they will continue to visit Singapore and continue to discover the pleasures of

cruising,” adds Chang Chee Pay, Executive Director, South Asia, Middle East & Africa Planning Projects, Singapore Tourism Board. The Indian food and entertainment will also help to woo Indians, says Pay.




Mumbai’s new competitor: Navi Mumbai As high land cost, intense competition, difficulty to balance the quality and value proposition and saturating market conditions pose problems for hotel developers in Mumbai, they now turn their focus to Navi Mumbai. A N I TA J A I N


ndia is providing hotel chains exponential opportunities for growth, within which Mumbai is one of the main focus for the business development efforts of hotel chains. Known as the ‘Sapno ki Nagri’ (City of Dreams), the metropolitan city of Mumbai is indeed the city which offers luxury at the most. Be it the Marriott, Starwood, Oberoi, Taj, Accor, etc., and every international hospitality brand, either has a presence or is in the process of making one in Mumbai. Today, Mumbai houses more than 11,000 branded hotel rooms with more than 7,000 rooms proposed by 2015. With high land cost, intense competition to tap the same audience, difficult times to balance the quality and value preposition and saturating market conditions; hotel developers are now turning their focus on the neighbouring urban area of Mumbai – Navi Mumbai. At present, the

Vimal Singh

Kiran Andicot

Managing Director – South Asia Louvre Hotel Group

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

By positioning our brand at the top end in this market, we are marketing ourselves as a commercial property

Navi Mumbai is still a growing market but in the next 5-6 years, it will be ready for a 5-star deluxe brand

city has close to 1,000 rooms under five, four and three-star category. With the latest addition of two more international brands, the total is close to 1,400 rooms with additional 3,000 proposed in next three years. The city will soon welcome a king-size convention centre and an international airport. So, what is it that is attracting the developers to Navi Mumbai?

term, Navi Mumbai will become an important market for the greater Mumbai area. He said, “The airport development is an important milestone (with the current dispute as a short term bump not unusual from an infrastructure perspective) that should be successfully

towards regulations on hotel development including mixed-use can help accelerate the urbanisation of Mumbai itself.

Making a destination work: Most hoteliers focus on building properties in devel-

Test Drive is a must: Kiran Andicot, Vice President – Hotel Development, India and Subcontinent, Marriott International, Inc recommends testing the market as per the brand of the Hotel Group. Every hotel group studies and understands the market before planning to come up with a property, but it is also necessary to check the brand and the category of the hotel that will suit the market. By explaining with an example, Andicot said, “Navi Mumbai is still a pre-matured market to accommodate a full-service property like a JW Marriott. However, as per the demand and needs of the market, it is perfect for a brand like Four Points, which is apt for corporate guests. Commercial office space demand is always followed by hotel room demand. Presently, Navi Mumbai is still a growing market but in next five to six years, it will be ready to absorb a 5-star deluxe brand.” Nonetheless, the city already got its first 5-star deluxe property in August this year – first in Asia Pacific - Royal Tulip Navi Mumbai managed by Louvre Hotels Group. Vimal Singh, Managing Director – South Asia, Louvre Hotel Group said, “There is enough demand from Navi Mumbai for us to grow and sustain our business. By positioning our brand at the top end in this market, we are marketing ourselves primarily as a commercial property. Occupancy will take time to build in this market but the time will come soon when we will be registering cent per cent occupancy with healthy competition from other players.”

Micro-market Mumbai:


Nikhil Manchharam, Vice President – Acquisitions and Development – South Asia, Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts tagged Navi Mumbai, as one of the ‘micro’ markets of Mumbai. According to him, in the long

Nikhil Manchharam

Maverik Mukerji

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

General Manager ibis hotel Navi Mumbai

Navi Mumbai has the potential to complement Mumbai in the long term with a good infrastructure planning achieved to. Induce new demand into the Navi Mumbai area.” However, every coin has two sides. Similarly, there are opportunities and challenges to operate a property in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. Highlighting few facts about Navi Mumbai, Manchharam said, “With a good planning for the development of Navi Mumbai, it is likely that the urbanisation of this area may happen, as quickly as the next development of Mumbai. The infrastructure development and city planning has been relatively sound till date which should continue to be a focus to showcase itself and attract further investment activity. While developing sound fundamentals to induce new demand through infrastructure development including roads, airports, business hubs, convention centres and entertainment activity, Navi Mumbai has the potential to complement Mumbai in the long term.” According to him, hotels and brands should be viewed as infrastructure that has positive impact on urban development. With this, some ease

With more hotel brands entering Navi Mumbai, the demand will surge higher and will become a strong market like Mumbai oped markets while Maverik Mukerji, General Manager, ibis hotel Navi Mumbai thinks the other way. According to him, it is often the hotel which makes up the destination. According to the General Manager, the property was planned looking at the commercial availability of the space and the demand index of the city. After Chennai, Navi Mumbai is the most vibrant city in India showing 10 per cent growth every year (even Pune is showing the same rate but is already getting enough supply of hotel rooms). Explaining the destination building concept by hotels, Mukerji said, “When branded hotels started opening up in Pune, the properties started marketing the city instead of just the brand. So, it’s the hotels which induce the demand in a destination. Navi Mumbai is still at a nascent stage wherein it’s a cosmopolitan corporate market which is high during weekdays and low during weekends. However, with more and more branded properties entering Navi Mumbai, the demand will surge higher and it will become a strong market like Mumbai.”


Incentives galore for agents Besides some lucrative offers for travellers, Rail Europe is also introducing certain incentives for the travel trade along with a chance to visit Switzerland on a familiarisation trip for 10 lucky winners. A N I TA J A I N


o push off the Indian travellers to Switzerland in the low season of September and October, Rail Europe along with Switzerland Tourism and Swiss Travel System have launched the global promotion of ‘2 for 1’ offer in India. However, all the three companies are also investing close to CHF 1,00,000 for a unique joint marketing campaign especially for the Indian market. Through this promotion, travellers get 50 per cent off /one pass free with every one four-day pass. The promotion starts from September 1, 2012 and runs till October 31, 2012 with travelling dates between September and November

Kunal Kothari

Ritu Sharma

Executive Director Rail Europe India

Deputy Director and Media Manager (India), Switzerland Tourism

Our travel partners are our biggest support system and we keep rewarding them from time-to-time

How the campaign benefits travel agents: • •

For every three ‘2-for-1’ promo passes sold, agents earn guaranteed gift – Gift voucher worth INR 1,000 For every six ‘2-for-1’ promo passes sold, agents earn one nomination to the trip lucky draw, two nominations for 12 passes sold and so on Grand Prize will be a familiarisation trip for 10 winners selected from a mix of GSAs and retail travel agents, including partners of GSAs (sub-agents/PSAs) – 5 winners from each category GSAs with maximum sale of these passes during the said period will be automatic winners for familiarisation trip

2012. To encourage the travel trade, there are certain incentives offered along with a chance to visit Switzerland on a familiarisation trip for 10 lucky winners. All Swiss promotional passes issued through Rail Europe GSAs or their partners and through Rail Europe’s B2B website during this period will qualify

for the promotion. Travel agents should register the pass CIV number (system ticket number) by email on Talking about the promotion and campaign, Kunal Kothari, Executive Director, Rail Europe India said, “India is the fourth largest source

The destination is expecting to record further growth from the coming season starting October till December market for Rail Europe and recorded a turnover of 16 million Euros in 2011. In India, close to 40 per cent of products sold are Swiss related with Swiss passes being the most popular. We intend to sell over 2,500 passes in these two months which means 5,000 passengers. Our travel partners are the biggest support system for us and we keep rewarding them from time-to-time to acknowledge their support.” According to Ritu Sharma, Deputy Director and Media Manager (India), Switzerland Tourism, “The destination recorded close to 12.5 per cent growth in overnight from January–June 2012. The destination is expecting to record further growth from the coming season starting October till December.”

Ready for brand positioning Contd. from page 22 

“In our three key markets, Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, we offer our best products. With 92 business class seats on the new aircraft, the airline has increased its premium offer. The economy cabins have also been improved with better leg room,” says Hilgers. In their commitment to service the India better, the airline is focusing on end-toend services and has opened a new exclusive lounge at the

Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. This is the first lounge in Asia designed according to the airline’s new global design concept. Lufthansa lounge spreads across 3,767 square feet and seats 131 travellers. Along with offering a range of new premium products, the airline is also revamping its marketing initiatives and brand positioning. The airline’s new marketing campaign ‘non-stop you’ addresses the con-

sumers directly and also portrays Lufthansa’s current position as an affordable airline focussing on all segments of flyers. “We are changing the way Lufthansa has been seen for the last decade. Addressing the different needs of each segment, Lufthansa is highlighting its products and organising promotional activities in select cinema halls and shopping malls,” says Sangeeta Sharma, Manager Marketing Communication, South Asia, Lufthansa.




Agents work and play at Canada The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), India recently hosted a familiarisation trip for their Indian trade partners between July 29 and August 6, 2012. During the trip, the agents were taken to the beautiful locales of Ontario and Quebec. The fun-filled and educative trip helped to give a first-hand experience of the destination to all the participants.


WTM Meridian Club member A WTM Meridian Club member would be a buyer for a tour operator looking to purchase product from exhibitors, or an IT director looking to purchase technology. T T B U R E AU


orld Travel Market (WTM), the leading global event for the travel industry, is inviting the industry’s most senior buyers to apply for WTM Meridian Club membership for WTM 2012.

WTM Meridian Club – the leading global business network: making contacts, concluding deals – is WTM’s exclusive business club for the travel industry’s most senior buyers with direct responsibility for purchasing. At WTM 2012, a Reed Travel Exhibitions event, WTM Meridian Club will celebrate its 21st anniversary. A WTM Meridian Club member would

be a buyer for a tour operator looking to purchase product from exhibitors to put in its brochures, or an IT director looking to purchase technology for their organisation. Membership is open to the entire travel industry with a strict selection process in place to ensure that only the most senior industry buyers are awarded membership. To apply, buyers should visit WTM Meridian Club facilitates business opportunities between buyers and exhibitors to meet, network and conclude business deals. Some of the atevent benefits include the WTM Speed Networking sessions and exclusive Meridian Club lounges and access to pri-

vate meeting rooms and fasttrack cloakroom. Some of the year-round Meridian Club benefits include annual discounts on trade conferences, opportunities to attend Meridian Club Think Tank events on key issues within the industry. World Travel Market Meridian Club Manager, Raj Thakkar, said: “Meridian Club is the industry’s original and only truly global buyers club. All buyers should register at to guarantee their entry to WTM 2012. WTM 2011 was a great success for Meridian Club’s buyers with members agreeing contracts worth £1,653 million with exhibitors.”

Enroute facilities are limited Raj Bajaj, Convener, IATO Railways/Surface Transport Committee, says airline turbulence has affected travel by road, but the high fuel cost makes the difference negligible. P EDEN D OMA B HUTIA What has the IATO railway and surface transport committee been up to this year? There are several pending issues with railways which are impacting tourist movements and the IATO delegation of Railway and Survey Transport Committee has had several meetings with railway officials to resolve these issues.

Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India and are issued airport entry pass by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, after police verification is completed, may be allowed to enter the platform as well as at the Railway Stations for receiving their foreign clients. Railway may issue Photo IDs to the IATO

• Name change facility for Foreign Tourists needs to be introduced by the railways. • The procedure for group booking needs to be simplified. • Entry passes for tour operators (IATO members) should be introduced to facilitate foreign clients for meet and assist at platforms: Members recognised by the

• Similarly, for surface transportation, providing wayside amenities and streamlining the road tax process for seamless travel at the borders and rationalising road taxes are our major priorities.

How has the airline turbulence in the country affected travel by road?

The concerned departments in the railways are reviewing our representations to streamline the following: • With effect from March 10, 2012, the advance booking window has been increased to 120 days. It should be brought down to 45-60 days in order to avoid touts from taking advantage.

demand has been long overdue and had been assured by the Railway Board/ Northern Railway Officers in the past but has not yet been implemented)

Raj Bajaj Convener, IATO Railways/Surface Transport Committee

members who are recognised by the Ministry, Govt. of India for entry at railway stations up to the platform. • Presently, 19% commission is offered to overseas GSAs on USD Indrail passes. We propose at least 17% commission to IATO members who could be designated as PSAs to purchase Indrail passes from International Tourist Bureau against payment of INR bank draft along with FIRC (This

The airline turbulence has affected travel by road mainly because weekend travel has increased, but then because of the high fuel cost, the difference is very negligible. It is not possible to take long journeys byroad as road conditions are bad and enroute facilities are limited.

What are the challenges that travel operators face? The main problems plaguing us are service tax, road tax, toll tax and luxury tax on accommodation, VAT on hot food, hike in fuel cost, lack of facilities on road routes, safety hazards etc which are our main challenges as travel operators. We are trying our best to streamline the operations by having proper partnerships.




Philippines aims 40% growth from India For the first time since its promotion in India in 2007, Philippines Tourism has taken the roadshows to two more cities-Bengaluru and Chennai-this year to further boost the growth of Indian arrivals to the Philippines. we have taken the roadshows to Bengaluru and Chennai this year. With its IT industries, the two cities offer a lot of promise. We will target Tier-I and II cities,” Verna CovarBuensuceso, Director, Group Head for Europe, Middle East and India, Department of Tourism, Philippines said.



ost the recent move by the Philippines government to boost the entry of Indians in the country, the Philippines is targetting a manifold increase of 40 per cent in arrivals from the India outbound segment. According to the new norm, Indian passport holders with valid multiple visas for the US, Japan, Australia, Canada, Singapore, UK and the Schengen Visa can have a 14-day Visa-free visit to the Philippines. “The Philippines hopes to achieve a target of 40 per cent growth in the number of Indian arrivals in 2012 as compared to 2011. There has been a 23 per cent increase

Glen Agustin

Verna Covar-Buensuceso

Tess Mauricio

Head - Team India, Chief Tourism Operations Officer Philippines Tourism Department

Director, Group Head for Europe Middle East and India Department of Tourism, Philippines

Officer-in-Charge Marketing & Promotions Department of Tourism, Philippines

in the number of Indian tourists to the Philippines this year. The number of visitors who entered the country in 2011 was around 43,000. When it comes to outbound travel, Mumbai ranks first with 26 per cent and Chennai

ranks fifth with 16 per cent in the country,” Glen Agustin, Head, Team India, Chief Tourism Operations Officer, Department of Tourism, Philippines said during the roadshow organised by the Philippines Tourism.

Having established itself in the mature markets, the Tourism Board now plans to reach out to Tier-1 and Tier-II cities to boost its presence in the country. “For the first time since our promotion in India in 2007,

Going forward, the Philippines Tourism is gearing up to target the business and honeymoon travellers in India. “Our country has unexplored virgin beaches such as Boracay, Bohol, Cebu and Palwan along with well-equipped facilities for MICE. This would be ideal for the honeymooners and corporate events. Business

travellers comprise almost 80 per cent of the inbound travel from India and we would like to tap this potential segment,” Agustin added. “We have seen the number of Indians visiting Philippines growing year to year. We know the value and potential of this market and hence this year, we want to tap more Indian tourists to Philippines,” said Tess Mauricio, Officer-in-Charge, Marketing & Promotions, Department of Tourism, Philippines. “Aggressive advertising and participating in major travel marts across India is high on priority for the Philippines Tourism Board,” added Mauricio.

Meet to optimise business@Singapore TravelRave is scheduled to be conducted in Singapore from October 15-19, 2012. The event will serve as a platform for travel industry’s professionals to meet, connect and share their insights. T T B U R E AU


ccording to consulting firm UBM Aviation, LCCs account for 24.9 per cent of Asia’s total passenger traffic, up from 19.1 per cent in 2011 and 9 per cent in 2006. Many attribute this growth to the fact that the Middle Affluent Consumer (MAC) segment in Asia is on the rise. This segment is estimated to grow by 20 per cent and will account for approximately US$ 430 billion in tourism spending by 2020, making it the highest contributor of tourism spending. These figures, together with the rising intra-regional travel among Asians, show

Si Thu Managing Director, CEO Myanmar Airways International

the timeliness of investing in Asia. In addition, LCCs create a domino effect on other travel partners. Keenly aware of this growing trend, industry leaders are convening at TravelRave to engage in the

meaningful discussions about optimising their business opportunities at events such as Aviation Outlook Asia and ITB Asia. Si Thu, Managing Director, CEO, Myanmar Airways International, will be one of the many in the business attending TravelRave’s Aviation Outlook Asia this year to discuss the pertinent issues faced by the Airline industry. He shared, “Myanmar has emerged from its isolation and seen exponential growth in the high season of 2011-2012. This is just the beginning of the growth of Myanmar’s aviation industry and we will see continued growth as Myanmar Airways International, readies itself to

capture the region’s burgeoning market.” With the rise of LCCs, premium airlines in Asia are feeling the heat. They face a challenge on how to satisfy customers who demand low prices, high quality service and comfort yet profitably operate an airline. Until recently, these airlines were relatively immune to competition from LCCs. 80 per cent of the aviation industry stakeholders, according to the 2012 Full Service Airline Market Intelligence Survey released by Terrappinn, feel that premium airlines will have to change their strategy and pricing models on regional

point-to-point routes. This is one of the ways to compete with the rising profits of LCCs. The other way premium airlines can channelise profits is by operating LCCs under their flagship. This strategy is already being tested by a few airlines as five low-cost carriers are being set up by full-service Asian airlines, including Scoot from Singapore Airlines, Jetstar Japan from Japan Airlines, Peach Aviation by ANA and Thai Smile from Thai Airways International. A platform like TravelRave will help the aviation industry to come out

with solutions to problems faced by them in Asia. Another topic of discussion at TravelRave will be how airlines can optimise their distribution mix especially in the face of LCC competition. TravelRave showcases world-class business events for tourism leaders and professionals from across the travel ecosystem to maximise business opportunities. Leveraging the buzz and dynamism of the Asian travel and tourism industry, TravelRave sets the stage for collaboration and enables the industry to better harness the vast growth potential presented in the region.




A world of wonders A rich history, meandering waterfalls, wilderness at its best and some of the most famous temples in the country... That’s Odisha for the discerning traveller.


hubaneswar, the capital town boasts of some of the finest temples and shrines that are counted among the top tourist attractions in Odisha. An exemplary instance of the blend of age-old customs and traditions and contemporary aspirations are Lingaraja Temple, Rajarani Temple, Parasuramesvera Temple, Yogini Temple, Mukteswar, Siddheswar and Kedargauri Temples. Famous for the Sun Temple, Konark is a small hamlet that plays host to a large number of visitors who are spellbound by both the size of the temple as well as the detailing of the sculptures in the temple. One of the most frequented tourist destinations of Odisha, Puri is known to be the abode of Lord Jagannath. Its beaches and splendid temples form the most important tourist attractions of the state. Puri is also among one of the four important Hindu Dhams in India. The leading attraction of Puri is the Jagannath Temple, one of the most popular, as well as the biggest temples of Odisha. Dedicated to Lord Jagannath, this temple was established in the 12th century. Just South of Puri, the sea mixes with the 1,100 sq km inland Chilika Lake to create the largest brackish water lake in Asia. This brackish water lake attracts around 150 species of migratory birds every year during winter and hence is a birdwatcher’s paradise. The Irawady Dolphins can be seen playfully cavorting in the channels approaching the sea mouth near Satapada.

NEWS Travel in style, rent a Limousine ECOS India Mobility & Hospitality (ECO) introduces American Stretch Limousines in the Indian car rental industry. T T B U R E AU


he Chrysler Stretch limousine (stretched by 10 feet) in silver colour will be driven by a chauffeur. The limousine has a seating capacity for eight passengers with fiber optic ceiling, 10 inch LCD monitors, indirect floor lights, beverages cooler and glasses, partition between guests and chauffeur, hands-free intercom and power points.

Aditya Loomba Director-Sales ECOS India Mobility & Hospitality (ECO)

Speaking on the occasion, Aditya Loomba, Director-Sales, ECOS India Mobility & Hospitality (ECO) says, “While adding a stretch Limousine service to our existing car rental services, the decision to induct American stretch Limousines in ECO fleet was based on the growing demand for luxury services and lifestyle statements.” The vehicle targets audience who could be anyone with a desire to impress their business clients, international dignitaries etc. It is all about feeling special, making heads turn and being driven in ultimate luxury, he adds. The addition of American stretch Limousines into the fleet is part of the management’s resolve to provide a differentiated service in a mostly unorganised industry with few differentiators. Recently ECO became the first car rental company in the organised sector to provide BR6 level bulletproof vehicles on rent. The company maintains a fleet of other luxury brands such as Mercedes, BMW and Audis in addition to the regular rental cars.




Tee time at The Grand Resort Bad Ragaz The two golf courses on-site; 18-hole PGA Championship Course and the 9-hole golf course and its golf academy are the best attractions of the resort. T T B U R E AU


he Grand Resort Bad Ragaz is the only resort in Switzerland to have two golf courses of its own. The 18-hole PGA Championship Course has been a venue on the Annual European Seniors Tour for more than ten years.

The Golf Club Bad Ragaz is a member of ‘Leading Golf Courses’, the association for golfing quality and value. Each golf course has its own golf shop. Talking about the USP of the property, Christina Bärtsch, Director - Public

Relations & Communications, Grand Resort Bad Ragaz informs, “The two golf courses on-site; 18-hole PGA Championship Course with its astonishing panorama view and the 9-hole golf course and its golf academy are the best attractions at the resort.” The property has always been

known as leisure-cumwellness destination. Regarding how the golf amenities enhances the portfolio of the resort, she says, “For about two years, golfers can undergo a special golfer medical treatment. This gives the golfer more self-control and self confidence for playing.”

Christina Bärtsch Director - Public Relations & Communications, Grand Resort Bad Ragaz




LAMA hosts 60 Indian agents in Dubai LAMA Tours hosted over 60 Indian B2B partners from North India to Dubai on a familiarisation trip ‘Lama Flight to Dubai’ during August 11-13, 2012, to brainstorm and look into the various possibilities to attract Indian tourists to Dubai during Ramadan. Ramadan is a non-peak season and the primary objective of the trip is to highlight the various attractive vacation options available at most competitive prices. IndiGo and Hyatt Hotels partnered with LAMA Tours for this one-of-its-kind initiative. This unique flight also marked the 15th anniversary of the LAMA Tours. Commenting on this marketing strategy, Kulwant Singh, Managing Director, LAMA Group, said, “With the grateful support of our joint promotional partners, in this unique activity, we offer to our Indian travellers, more value for money through competitive air fares, world-class hotel accommodation and professional ground services.”

Refreshing UK experience Cross-cultural meet The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) partnered a product training session for London & Partners, Visit Britain, Guoman & Thristle and Globus & Cosmos. The event, organised in New Delhi, was well-attended by tour operators from North India. All participants have been awarded with e-training certificates from OTOAI.

The Turkish Embassy along with the Educational Endowment Trust organised an Iftar party in New Delhi during the auspicious month of Ramadan. The event brought together people from different religions to enjoy a grand feast. His Excellency Burak Akcapar, Turkish Ambassador to India, was the guest of honour for this event.




Virgin Atlantic all set to connect Mumbai to London and USA Virgin Atlantic is starting flights to London from Mumbai, India’s thriving Commercial Centre, from October 29, 2012. The daily flight will serve the UK route and open up fabulous connections from London’s Heathrow Airport to New York, Boston, Washington and Miami among other USA destinations. Sir Richard Branson, President, Virgin Atlantic Airways


brand new A330 aircraft offering the best in the airline’s new product and service will be deployed on the route which is also home to the innovative Upper Class Dream suite. The redefined business class cabin features new super lounger seats, the longest bar and


business class bed in the sky, and revolutionary touch screen JAM entertainment system fitted in every cabin. The daily flight from Mumbai will depart at 0310 (local time) arriving into London Heathrow at 0755 GMT. On the way back, the flight will take off



from London Heathrow at 1015 GMT arriving into Mumbai at 0055+1 (local time). Flights have been timed to offer excellent seamless connections to the USA. Sir Richard Branson, President, Virgin Atlantic Airways said, “Virgin Atlantic is proud to be fly-

ing to Mumbai again, linking this wonderful city to our key destinations of London, New York, Boston, Washington and Miami. India’s phenomenal growth continues to drive travel to the UK and the USA and we know our passengers are going to love the connections the new flight offers. “We are passionate about providing a unique service to customers and our new Airbus 330-300 will feature our brand new Upper Class Dreamsuite. We’ll continue to offer Indian entertainment and delicacies on board served by local Indian crew. Importantly the plane is also our most fuel efficient aircraft, delivering Virgin Atlantic’s commitment to flying a lower carbon fleet.”

The Schedule: Departs




London Heathrow 07:55

London Heathrow


New York JFK


London Heathrow




London Heathrow




London Heathrow




Since 2009, the number of people who have flown between Mumbai and Heathrow has grown by nine per cent to more than one million passengers, making it Heathrow’s 12 th busiest long-haul route. The new Mumbai service is being launched on the back of another Indian success story with Virgin Atlantic’s New Delhi to London and Newark service enjoying 20 per cent growth in 2011. The airline continues to lead on the Delhi-London route and has been number one on the Newark route also in first half of 2012. The airline’s also announced a new

connection out of Delhi to fly more passengers out of New Delhi to New York JFK. The A330-300 aircraft will be configured in the airline’s three classes: Upper Class with 33 seats, Premium Economy with 48 seats and Economy with 185 seats. The aircraft will also feature Panasonic’s latest in-flight entertainment system with VA’s renowned programmes. The new cutting edge system uses the latest touch screen technology which allows passengers to scroll and swipe through over 300 hours of content including Bollywood and Indian movies and TV channels quickly and easily. Gearing up for Mumbai operations, the airline has also established their Sales team and a new office in the city.

Virgin Atlantic Daily service to connect to USA powerhouses – New York, Boston, Washington and Miami Brand new A330 with the new Upper Class Suite to be deployed on the route




Domestic tourism gets a new look Contd. from page 24 

Connecting to boost domestic growth


Is Mumbai the new hub for MICE events in India? Besides being the financial hub, Mumbai has a great mix of leisure options as well as a lot of MICE facilities. To leverage this segment, the city is gearing up for more conference venues D E N C Y M AT H E W


n the past few years, Mumbai has earned itself a bad reputation as far as infrastructure and transportation are concerned. But, now it is once again edging itself as being the MICE capital of the country with world-class spaces to conduct meetings, exhibitions, conferences and tours. D Kavarana, Area Manager (West) & General Manager, ITC Maratha says “Mumbai is fast becoming a huge MICE destination because, besides being the financial hub, the city has a great mix of leisure and relaxation options as well as increasing MICE facilities. To leverage this segment, the city is gearing up to new supplies, more conference venues leading to both domestic and international companies choosing Mumbai. Therefore, Mumbai will always be a good option to hold conventions.” Some of country’s major conferences, meetings and exhibitions take place in Mumbai. The city has something to offer to anyone interested in Business Tourism. ITC Maratha, Trident, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel are some of the venues for a majority of MICE events in the city. Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel hosts a lounge with a total area of 12,500 sq ft. The hotel also has an expansive spread of 2,30,000 sq ft indoor and outdoor convention space. Properties like ITC Maratha take advantage of the close proximity to domestic and international airports and offer 7,360 sq ft column-free ballroom that accommodates up to 600

guests. The hotel also has Royal Gardens which has 1.5 acres of landscaped gardens and is one of the most sought

inbound and outbound trade are conducted through the sea in Mumbai besides the

Saeid Heidari

D Kavarana

General Manager, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel

Area Manager (West) & General Manager, ITC Maratha

We need a body, to help association management companies, MICE and meeting planners

Mumbai is fast becoming a huge MICE destination and it will always be a good option to hold conventions

after venues for social and launch events.

land movements giving it an edge over other cities.

Apart from hotels, MMRDA Grounds and Bombay Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) are the other favourite venues in Mumbai. BCEC has 4 centrally air-conditioned halls ideal for conventions and can accommodate approx 7,000-20,000 persons along with parking facilities for over 2,000 vehicles. They also offer a discounted tariff structure to encourage organising of conventions, meetings, cultural events. What also favours, Mumbai is the fact that many head offices of major companies are based out of the city and it also has a big percentage of Expat movement. In addition to that, high volumes of

However, there are still a few issues plaguing the city and hampering MICE events. Mumbai needs a makeover in certain aspects and the local government needs to take on a bigger role and help establish a MICE bureau in the city. Saeid Heidari, General Manager, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel adds, “There is a need to establish a body (bureau), where association management companies, MICE and meeting planners can expect to have all the possible assistance extended to them, to enable potential corporate to choose our city as the destination for their events.”

PMO’s push for tourism Contd. from page 3 

plan for imparting training to the Immigration Staff within four weeks. 7. The Ministry of Railways will start Agra-Jaipur Shatabdi by November, 2012. The Ministries of Railways and Tourism will work jointly to prepare an

action plan for up gradation of 5 Railway Stations (Amritsar, Agra, Rai Bareily, Gaya and Thiruvananthapuram) within two weeks and 19 other Stations in three months. 8. The Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Human Resources Development

will partner to introduce tourism related vocational courses in the school syllabus of various States/UTs. Efforts will also be made to further enlarge the capacity building base for tourism and hospitality sector under CBSE. Industry stakeholders will be involved.




LPTI celebrates a decade of success Le Passage to India (LPTI) celebrated its 10th anniversary in the presence of eminent members of the tourism and hospitality industry in New Delhi. LPTI grew by leaps and bounds in the last decade and promises an even brighter future. The evening was attended by members of the Ministry of Tourism headed by the Minister himself. The party dazzled with the who’s who of the industry and was a night not to be forgotten.

Contd. on page 44 




Another milestone in the making for LPTI Contd. from page 42 




Philippines ‘travels’ to


New Delhi

Empowering its reach in the Indian outbound travel industry, Philippines Tourism Marketing Office organised a four-day workshop in Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi from August 6-9, 2012, respectively. Inviting the travel trade partners, Department of Tourism, Philippines aims to join hands with them to promote the brand amongst Indian consumers. The roadshow was attended by the top delegates of the Department of Tourism, Philippines along with representatives from its India office.





four Indian cities this year






Minar Travels’ 20 glorious years SEPTEMBER 4

New Delhi



6-8 7-8

Goa New Delhi

10 10 11 11-13

Phoenix Hanoi San Francisco New Delhi

12 12 13 14 12-14

Seattle Ho Chi Minh Vancouver Warsaw Kochi



17 18 18-21 19-22 20-23

St Petersburgh Moscow Paris Moscow Tokyo

25-28 26-28 27-30

Philippines Kazakhstan Kerala

ATOUT for France’s B2B Workshop ATOUT for France’s B2B Workshop 47th FHRAI Annual Convention Indian Tourist Transporters Association’s 4th Convention Incredible India Roadshow MOT’s Roadshow Incredible India Roadshow HAI’s “Hotel Opening: Soft & Grand” Incredible India Roadshow MOT’s Roadshow Incredible India Roadshow MOT Roadshow Emerging Kerala Global Connect The China Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition MOT Roadshow MOT Roadshow Top Resa Luxury Leisure Jata Congress & World Travel Fair PATA Travel Mart Astana Leisure Kerala Travel Mart

OCTOBER 2 2-4 3 5 7 9 11 17-19 19 19-21

Melbourne Thailand Sydney Auckland Muscat Istanbul Ankara Singapore Singapore Canada

20-29 22 22 23 23 24 28-31 29 30

Noida Kuala Lumpur Rome Torino Bangkok Milan Guwahati Sao Paulo Alegre

PATA India Roadshow IT&CMA and CTW PATA India Roadshow PATA India Roadshow MOT Roadshow MOT Roadshow MOT Roadshow ITB Asia MOT Roadshow The International Tourism & Travel Show India Travel Mart MOT Roadshow MOT Roadshow MOT Roadshow MOT Roadshow MOT Roadshow Annual Convention of ATOAI MOT Roadshow MOT Roadshow

NOVEMBER 5-8 12-15

London Portugal

14 16 19 23-25 27-29

Switzerland Shanghai Beijing Pune Spain

30 -2 Dec Hyderabad

World Travel Market (WTM) International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) MOT roadshow China International Travel Mart China International Travel Mart India International Travel Mart The Global Meeting and Events Exhibition (EIBTM) India International Travel Mart

For more information, contact us at:

Minar Travels completed its 20 years of incorporation this year. As part of its 20th anniversary celebration, a gala evening was held at Hotel Alila Diwa, Goa. The party was well attended by trade partners.

BRYS Fort debuts in Jaisalmer To cater to the MICE segment, the hotel has a dedicated event management team that caters exclusively to corporate clients. T T B U R E AU


art of the BRYS Group of Companies, the BRYS Hotels, an enterprise of Rahul Gaur, Chief Managing Director, BRYS Group launched its maiden hospitality project in the land of sand dunes at Jaisalmer. Launched in December 2011, BRYS Fort Jaisalmer is one of the largest ultra-modern luxurious hotels constructed to evoke memories of Rajasthan’s medieval glory. With a background in real estate, the company claims to have identified the needs of a traveller. Inspired by the sprawling ramparts

has vintage cars available for drives around the premises.

of Jaisalmer Fort, BRYS Fort carries forward the magnificent architectural legacy of Rajputana and blends it with state-of-the-art facilities. With spacious banquet areas and open air spaces for special events, the hotel is the ideal option for MICE activities for those who are travelling to western India. BRYS Fort has created several theme evenings and fun activities for its corporate clients. These include camel rides and fun-filled evenings with folk performers with Jaisalmer’s breathtaking sand dunes serving as the backdrop. The BRYS Haveli is a two-storeyed luxuri-

Rahul Gaur CMD BRYS Group

ous bungalow, with services to match its ostentatious décor. Hindola Mahal and Ras Mahal are two Premium Suites on the property. The hotel also has 36 Deluxe Rooms. There are plans to add 42 more rooms by February 2013. Groups coming to the hotel can also choose to stay in tents under the clear, pollution-free Jaisalmer sky. At a given point of time, 10 tents are available for bookings. BRYS Fort also

To cater to MICE more extensively, the hotel has a dedicated event management team that takes care of the specific requirements of corporate clients. The hotel works with its own list of suppliers. Corporate groups can bring in their own suppliers but this will entail special charges. Indoor and outdoor team building activities can be organised as per the requirement of clients. The property also has a 24-hour multi-cuisine restaurant and a rooftop restaurant-Phalak- that overlooks the Jaisalmer Fort. According to Gaur, the company has chalked out plans till 2013. The company will come up with its second property, Jungle Resort in Jim Corbett National Park by the end of this year. It will also unveil a third property, a business hotel in Sahibabad by 2013.

Fireworks and music show at Taiwan Rated as one of the top attractions in Taiwan, the Sun Moon Lake, situated in Nantou County’s Yuchi Township near the center of Taiwan, is the island’s largest lake. Experience the beautiful, romantic ideal destination for a relaxed holiday with family or for honeymoon. The eastern part of the lake is round like the sun and the western side is shaped like a crescent moon, giving the beautiful lake its name, ‘Sun Moon Lake’. The waters of the lake are crystal

clear in shades of green and turquoise blue and reflect the surrounding hills and mountains perfectly. The best way to see the

Sun Moon Lake is to take a stroll along its shores or ride a bicycle along the road circling the lake while soaking up the in the tranquillity and peace of the lake and the area around. The biking trail along the lake is very famous and popular with riders. Or you can board a boat and take a leisurely cruise over the waves as you soak in the beauty of the mountains and waters. There are also a number of rowboats on rent which can be hired to enjoy the scenery at leisure. Sun Moon Lake

also hosts the grand Music and Fireworks festival every September which forms a bright and eclectic part of tourist carnival activities. The reflection of brilliant bursts of colours, sparkles and fiery trails of light on the lake’s crystalline surface is a sight to behold. This year, the Sun Moon Lake Music & Fireworks Festival Programme is extensive and incorporates music, traditional tea ceremonies and Opera performances with grand fireworks display.









Air France-KLM Gurgaon

TAFI Mumbai

MSC Cruises - India Mumbai

Yeshwant Pawar joins Air France-KLM as its new General Manager – South Asia. He comes with almost 27 years in Aviation and will be in-charge of this profile, effective September 1, 2012. He will be responsible for accelerating the airline’s growth in South Asia, strengthening teams and enhancing relationships with partners and alliances in the region. Prior to this role, Pawar was the General Manager for the Eastern Africa market for Air France KLM. He began his career with KLM in East Saudi Arabia in 1985.

Gladwyn Pinto has been appointed as the new Executive

Amit Mathur has been appointed as Country Head – India, for MSC Cruises, based in Mumbai. He comes with over 15 years of experience with GDS and airline business in India. In his present profile, he will be responsible for the growth of MSC Cruises’ business in India. Mathur started his career with Galileo India and spent 10 years with them. Post Galileo, he was with Jet Airways as Sales Manager – Mumbai. After which he had a stint with InterGlobe Air Transport as Sales Manager - Western & Southern India for Turkish Airlines.

Travel Designer India Group Mumbai

The Westin Mumbai Garden City Mumbai

Holiday Pacific Mumbai

Vijay Puthran is appointed as the National Head Sales – India for and will be based out of the Mumbai office. Puthran has an experience of 34 years in the travel trade, in-depth functional knowledge in overall functions of the organisation including Sales, Marketing, Operations & PR work pertaining to cruise lines, leisure outbound and inbound. He is well known for his association with the cruise industry in India. He comes with 14 years of experience with one of Asia’s leading cruise liner.

Mohit Kanwal has been appointed as the Director of Sales at

Bijal Thanavala is the new Country Manager for Holiday Pacific in India. She comes with a vast experience of 13+ years in the tourism industry out of which she was with Qantas Airways as their Key Account Manager for the last 8 years. She has an experience of handling top key accounts of different segments like tour operators, leisure agents, MICE agents, consolidators, marine agents, student bodies, tourism bodies, corporate houses, TMCs etc. She is well known in the travel fraternity and carries her goodwill everywhere.


Secretary General of The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) for the term of 2012-2014. He takes charge from M Bharthan who served the association for six and a half years. Pinto comes with a rich experience of over 30 years out of which he spent 22 years in the travel and tourism industry of India. In his last assignment, he was with the Bombay Management Association as Executive Director for five years. In his past stint, he has also worked with Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) for 22 years.

The Westin Mumbai Garden City. He comes with over 8 years of experience. His prior assignment was with Trident BKC as Sales Manager. His previous work experience includes Sales Manager at The Oberoi Mumbai and Trident Nariman Point. With photography as a passion, Kanwal has completed his IHM from Mumbai and Post Graduation in Business Administration from SIES College of Management Studies.

Qatar Airways Ahmedabad

Arimardan Saraswat is the new Manager - Key Accounts & Leisure for Qatar Airways, India. He brings in with him over 13 years of industry experience and will be based in Delhi. Prior to this, Saraswat was with a travel company as Head - Sales for online business. In his past, he had couple of long stints with Malaysia Airlines, Asiana airlines where he handled trade and corporate business. Followed by Amadeus India as Area Manager –North India where he worked for over 5 years.

Bijoy Padmanabhan is appointed as the Commercial Manager – AMD for Qatar Airways. He brings with him an experience of 13 years. In his last assignment, Padmanabhan was with Kingfisher Airlines in CMB. In his past stint, he had a long working relationship with AirFrance/KLM where he held the position of Area Sales Manager in Yemen and Corporate Sales Manager in Tamil Nadu. His expertise lies in Country Management, Sales, Marketing, Customer Services, Government relationship. He has worked in several countries and regions, as well as departments and roles in the industry.

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

Sanjoy Pasricha

Axel Hilgers, Director, South Asia, Lufthansa, is an avid sportsman and especially enjoys running and swimming. Before joining Lufthansa, Hilgers was a sports teacher.

Axel Hilgers Director, South Asia Lufthansa

Four Points by Sheraton Navi Mumbai Mumbai

His immediate family includes his French wife and two children, a 27-year-old boy and a 25-year-old girl. Before New Delhi, Hilgers lived in Paris. He enjoys staying in the capital but prefers Mumbai and its coastline to Delhi. “India has so much to offer. I like exploring the country and want to see it all. I enjoy rafting in the Ganga and visiting Rishikesh, Sikkim, Darjeeling and Himachal Pradesh.”

CEO Unique Global-Hospitality Division

Arbind Kumar Singh is the new Food and Beverage Manager for Four Points by Sheraton Navi Mumbai. He possesses over 12 years of experience in this industry. In his new role, Singh will concentrate on increasing overall F&B Revenue including Banquet and Catering Sales. He has made significant contributions in setting up food and beverage operating policies and procedures of the hotels. Prior to this, he was heading the Food and Beverage department for Meridien, Keys, and Ramada Hotels.

Sanjoy Pasricha, CEO, Unique Global-Hospitality Division, says, "I am a product of three cities. My formative years were spent in Kolkata where I grew up. For work, I then shifted to Delhi and then went on to Mumbai. My survival in these three cities has taught me a lot about people. One needs to move around geographically to understand various sets of people," he feels. Watching stupid entertainment movies and romcoms where one does not need to rattle his brains is what Pasricha loves doing in his pastime. "This is a part of escapism and one needs to escape the mundane life in order to dream," he says. "I love surfing the net a lot." Pasricha is also an avid sports lover. Interestingly, he has represented West Bengal state in the rare sport of rowing as well during his college days at St. Xavier's Kolkata. "I also follow cricket, football, golf, tennis and F1," he informs.

Sanjeev Banerjee, VP, Sales & Marketing, Hotel Hindusthan International, a true traveller, loves taking road trips. My family has just shifted to Kolkata from Bengaluru and there is so much to see here. In West Bengal, there are a plethora of road trips renowned for scenic beauty and food offerings. For example-- there is a place called Shaktigarh on the way to Durgapur. Here you get amazing sweets. "Another road trip we just went for is Kolaghat. This is famous for exotic Hilsas during monsoon. I go along with my family to such places, get soaked in the rustic charms and then head back to work," he chuckles. Sanjeev Banerjee VP, Sales & Marketing, Hotel Hindusthan International

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:30-08-2012


1 Howard Johnson in Bengaluru st

Four weeks after taking charge of brand’s new vertical of the company, Sanjoy Pasricha, CEO, Unique Global-Hospitality Division speaks exclusively to about its initiatives and key strategies for the debut of the Howard Johnson brand in India. M E G H A PAU L


nternational hospitality major Wyndham Hotel Group has entered into a partnership with Ahmedabad-based Unique Mercantile to develop 35 hotels in India under Howard Johnson brand in the next five years. The partnership will mark the entry of Howard Johnson brand into India from Wyndham’s global portfolio. Talking about the recent development, Pasricha says, “The company’s Unique Global-Hospitality Division is a vertical of Unique Mercantile, an insurance company in Gujarat. As per the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) rules, 51 per cent of the revenues of insurance firms need to be from noninsurance segments. Thus, the company had combined insurance policies along with time-share concept in hotels. They would buy and block bulk rooms from small hotels and then package it with insurance policies. They are also into real estates in Ahmedabad. One of their key partners was the company that built the Marriott in Ahmedabad.” In January this year, the company tied up with Wyndham to build 35 Howard Johnson hotels in India. This would be managed and operated by Unique Global by 2017. In the next five years, the target is to build, manage and operate 35 Howard Johnson properties in India, he adds. According to Pasricha, Wyndham is a late entrant in the Indian hospitality market and has had a chequered

Sanjoy Pasricha CEO Unique Global-Hospitality Division

The opportunity in India lies in the mid-market segment. Mid market is a wide segment and therefore, within this, there is scope for division growth till now. Thus, the group is now looking to bring about standardisation in its new product. “When Unique Mercantile tied up with Wyndham this year, the idea was to get some standardisation of experience. Howard Johnson itself is a mixed brand. In the US it operates as a budget brand whereas in China, it is a five-star level category. But the opportunity in India lies in the mid-market segment. Mid market is a wide segment and therefore, within

this there is scope for division. There is upscale midmarket, upper mid-market and the budget mid-market. Into the upscale mid-market comes the Marriott Courtyard. Into the middle mid-market comes brands like Aloft, Lemon Tree and Hilton Garden Inn. Thus, there is a great opportunity in the upscale mid-market which is just a notch below the five-star hotels. Thus, you give five-star facilities for prices that are lesser than five-star. What price you build these hotels is of utmost importance.” After working with groups such as Taj and Leela, Pasricha feels that the new buzzword today in the hospitality sector is the mid budget segment. "The number of hotel rooms that are coming in the mid-market segment in the next five to ten years is over 50,000," he reveals. Talking about the characteristics of the hotel brand which will be positioned in the upscale mid-market category in India and built under the partnership with other developers, the CEO reveals, “At the Howard Johnson properties in India, each room would be 32 square metre. Amenities that every hotel in the brand would see include all-day dining, minimum 100 rooms, speciality restaurant, bar, meeting and board rooms, pool and gymnasium. A spa could be a possibility as well.” The group is betting big on the emerging markets and thus, it will have a slew of openings in the tier-II and tierIII cities. The first Howard Johnson property will be

unveiled in Bengaluru next year. A 130-key property behind the Manyata Tech Park, the group will be the first organised hotel player in the area. “The trick of mid-market hotel is the cost of land. Going forward, we have identified 15 cities where the brand would be present. The confirmed cities include Hyderabad, Shirdi, Lucknow, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai, Mangalore and Tirupati. Most of these hotels will come up by 2015. After getting into these destinations, we would also scout for properties in cities such as Goa, Ahmedabad, Surat, NCR, including Noida and Ghaziabad, Mysore, Hoobli and Patna. This gives us a total of almost 16 locations,” he confirms. Unique Global has also taken over the erstwhile Monsoon Palace Hotel in Udaipur. It is being rebranded as the Ramada Udaipur Resort and Spa. “This is the only non- Howard Johnson property in our portfolio. A 72-room operating hotel, we have spent ` 15 crore for its upgradation. The hotel will be relaunched this October,” he concludes.

Future Plans The group is betting big on the emerging markets and thus, it will have a slew of openings in the tier-II and tierIII cities Going forward, it has identified 15 cities where the brand would be present The confirmed regions include Hyderabad, Shirdi, Lucknow, Bhubaneshwar, Mumbai, Mangalore and Tirupati Most of these hotels will come up by 2015


TravTalk India