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A DDP PUBLICATION

Pages: 68 (Excluding covers)

travtalkindia.com

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Vol. XXVI Issue 9; May 1 st fortnight issue 2014

` 50/-


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Lausanne gives IHM a one-up As per an agreement, Lausanne Hospitality Consulting SA shall assist the National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology and provide consulting services to NCHMCT institutes and faculty on a short-term basis. K ANCHAN N ATH sha Sharma, Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, said that the collaboration with Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Switzerland, will lead us to further reviewing the existing curriculum, identifying opportuni-

U

We need to go back to our traditions of the Gurukul, to inculcate in students the confidence to have a questioning mind with more practical training ties of improvement to the requirement of the global mar-

ket and faculty development programme leading to global

standards of academic delivery. With regards to the same, 72 faculty members from IHMs all over India are to be trained by LCH Switzerland. As per the agreement between the two parties, Lausanne Hospitality Consulting SA (LCH) shall assist the National Council for

News Bulletin Push for regional connectivity by air A bigger travel platform See full story on page 10 u

Going beyond plain vanilla ticketing Usha Sharma Additional Director General Ministry of Tourism

Contd. on page 4 u

The Dubai government has introduced the 'Tourism Dirham' tax from March 31, 2014. It is a minimal charge to be applied to guests staying in all genres and rating of holiday accommodation including hotels, hotel apartments, guesthouses and holiday homes. T T B U R E AU

T

Comments on page 4 u

1

See full story on page 6 u

Shrugging off ‘Tourism Dirham’ his minimal charge will vary between Dh7 to Dh20 per room, per night, depending on the hotel category and rating. The move is based on global benchmarking and funds raised will

TRAVTALK

travtalkindia.com

MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014

Seema Pande

Spencer H. Wadama

Vincent Mercurio

Michael Sorgenfrey

Group Director of Sales and Marketing, The Address Hotels and Resorts

General Manager The Address Dubai Marina

General Manager The Address Dubai Mall

General Manager The Palace Downtown Dubai

See full story on page 18 u

Mobile is the way to go for Yatra See full story on page 70 u


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ASSOCIATIONS

‘We have to stop working in groups’ Sunil Kumar, Acting President, TAAI, chats with about pressing industry issues and how the association must proactively handle uncertain situations. PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA What are the pressing issues of the industry right now and how do you plan to address it? My first goal is paying attention to the challenges faced by our members. The key setback before the industry is the existing ‘connect’ between our principals and agencies. The practices of our principals unfortunately do not meet the expectations of the travel fraternity. There is an urgent need for us to re-establish a mutual win-win approach. We lived that way before. We understand that airlines are having a hard time, but that must not imply that those who have taken up travel as a profession must face the same crisis. Surely the pressing issues include reasonable remuneration for the investments we made, credit card pass-through, parity in pricing, airlines settlement period not in rhythm with business practices, uncertainty in insurance cover, growing costs versus depleting profits, service tax challenges, the NDC (IATA’s new distribution capabilities) and many more that keep occurring frequently.

I am willing to listen to all, meet up with all, and join all to herald the dialogue. Let’s do it, together. Sunil Kumar Acting President, TAAI

The bottom line is clear: Many of us are uncertain about sustainability, which is the key issue. Getting together, working with all associations to make our voice heard, making our plight visible and addressing these issues with the principles amidst industry players rather than limiting it to leaders, is one way to address these challenges. Keeping members updated and trained is another way. The association must proactively handle uncertain situations.

immediate urgency for us to get together and be united in our way forward. One of the major weaknesses in TAAI, growing over the years, is our working in groups. This has to stop. I am willing to listen to all, meet up with all, and join all to herald the dialogue with the principals and authorities. Let’s do it, together. This must complement our joining hands with other associations as well. This must be tried out and I will soon initiate this process.

What do you think is the way ahead for TAAI?

Being the oldest association, what is the growth in membership that you are targetting?

TAAI and its committee must focus their attention on member needs. There is an

Our members are our customers. My immediate priority is to cater to them. However, we may not be able to please all the people, all the time. As long as there is a sincere desire to address members’ issues with higher levels of commitment, members will respect TAAI and our actions. Of course, more industry players will be admitted. TAAI has the unique glory of successfully facing challenges for over six decades. This is truly outstanding. What we do in the immediate future will determine how many more will join us.

How important are your regional chapters, and which is your strongest chapter? Every region, every chapter of TAAI is important and strong. The structure in TAAI is that we access our members, we brief them on challenges and updates, and we seek their participation through our regions/chapters at our meetings. They are an integral part of TAAI and an immediate access for our Contd. on page 4 u


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COVER STORY

For excellence in hospitality VIEWPOINT

Advantage India ndia has the advantage of being a long-stay leisure destination, the average stay being of one week to a fortnight because of the variety of tourist destinations within the country. India is a destination that has to be planned for in advance, you can’t just pack your bags and move for a short weekend. And now, with its announcement of extending the Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) facility to all countries (except eight), India is hoping to double the number of tourists visiting the country over the next 2-3 years.

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VoA and Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) to visit India should both greatly boost tourism into the country. In fact, India inbound tourism is expected to experience the biggest surge as ETA becomes operational in October this year. The government is taking major steps to be prepared for this swell. India may not be riding high in FTAs but the average amount of money spent here on a per-capita basis by international travellers is more than anywhere else in the world. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), although India is ranked 41st in terms of inbound tourist arrivals, it is 16th in total tourism receipts. This shows that India is attracting high-spend travellers. In 2013, India tourism earned $18 billion with only 6.8 million foreign tourists. In spite of an economic slowdown, the rate of growth in tourist earnings has been higher than the global average. For instance, in 2012 when world tourism receipts grew by 3.2 per cent, India's earnings went up by 7 per cent. Despite all these positive trends, challenges persist. Inbound tourism was slow in 2013, but with all the sops being offered by the government and the depreciated rupee value, travel companies are hoping for a better 2014. Newer destinations are being developed, 360 degree online virtual tours of our historical sites, the Clean India Campaign being taken on strongly by corporates, improved infrastructure and better distribution network should help attract not only leisure travellers but also corporate travellers.

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

Editorial

Advertising

Megha Paul Devika Jeet Kanchan Nath

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

News-Editor Peden Doma Bhutia Desk-Editor Archana Sharma Neelam Singh Sr. Sub-Editor Hritvick Sen Photographers Simran Kaur-Delhi Bharat Dangiya-Mumbai

u Contd. from page 1

Hotel Management and Catering Technology (NCHMCT) in providing the following consulting services to upgrade NCHMCT institutes and faculty on a short-term basis by: 1) Conducting a gap-analysis to NCHMCT institutions in New Delhi and Mumbai to identify discrepancies and possible improvements for NCHMCT institutions. 2) Creating and coaching the implementation team from NCHMCT, which will work closely with the LCH. 3) Delivering qualified learning facilitator programmes to the NCHMCT faculty. 4) Conducting annual academic audits to NCHMCT institutions to assess their progress in the implemen-

tation of LHC recommendations. The new agreement is likely to give a new lease of life to the curriculum and teaching style at IHMs all over India. This will not only encourage students to pursue their education in hospitality in India itself but also prepare them for global careers in hospitality. Sharma adds, “We need to go back to our traditions of the Gurukul, to inculcate in students the confidence to have a questioning mind with more practical training. A liking, interest, passion and a sense of pride can be inculcated in students through the right education.” As per the recommendations of UNWTO, a need was felt to bring further improvement in the curriculum and syllabus of IHMs. Taking cognizance of the same, the

Ministry of Tourism got in touch with six international universities, two were shortlisted, and finally an MoU was signed with Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Switzerland. She added “As per the recommendations of the 12th Plan, there will be a requirement of 36.18 lakh persons for jobs related to tourism and hospitality. In view of this, there is a need to build capacity with education. Keeping the above need in mind, NCHMCT has come up with various shortterm skill-based courses, diploma, hunar se rozgar, and graduate courses.” The National Council of Hotel Management and Catering Technology is an autonomous body under Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. NCHM JEE 2014 scores will be

accepted by 21 Central Institutes, 14 State Government Institutes and 15 private institutes of Hotel Management. Sharma added that till date 20,000 applications have been received to get admission in these prestigious institutes across India. Induction is on merit basis followed by counselling.

What This Means N The new agreement is

likely to give a new lease of life to the curriculum and teaching style at IHMs all over India N This

will not only encourage students to pursue their education in hospitality in India itself but also prepare them for global careers in hospitality

“Enough value in Dubai for India” u Contd. from page 1

support the international promotion and marketing of the Emirate and drive growth of its tourism and trade industries. The measure will help strengthen Dubai’s position as a leading tourist destination, bringing the Emirate in line with international industry standards.

Seema Pande, Group Director of Sales and Marketing, The Address Hotels and Resorts, said that, “Though, Dubai is a short-haul destination, just

two and a half to three hours away, India has only discovered Dubai truly in the last few years. Tourism Dirham is something that has been implemented there and it is something we have to embrace. I do not see the demand going down because of that. The demand is very much there for Dubai.”

does not affect the inbound tourism to Dubai. I think there is enough value of Dubai for the Indian market. The Indian community is very large in Dubai specifically and we hope as a result of the tax people do not shy away.”

Spencer H. Wadama, General Manager, The Address Dubai Marina,

think taxes are inevitable in life. It has happened and it is going to support our market. I think it is kind of minimal and exists in other countries as well. There will be an impact but it will

said that, “Tourism Dirham was initiated by the Government. We hope that it

Vincent Mercurio, General Manager, The Address Dubai Mall, said, “I

slowly go behind us and people will understand.”

Michael Sorgenfrey, General Manager, The Palace Downtown Dubai, said, “I do not think that the tax is going to impact tourism at all. If you go to Germany, where I am from or if you go to Austria or Switzerland, you always pay a tax. Even when you drive on the highways you pay a tax. Bearing in mind, what all is happening internationally, It is only 20 Dirham or 4 Euros and knowing what you will spend for the family in Dubai it is not much.”

We have to act as a unit: Kumar u Contd. from page 3

members. That is why our MC meetings have chairpersons present, who join us in drafting our policy and our decisions. Every chapter is our strongest chapter. There surely are some who represent a large percentage of our members and thus are of great value to us. But

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

that should not imply that midsize or smaller chapters are not strong. Every member in TAAI is important and is capable of making TAAI strong.

How do you plan to strengthen the regional chapters? We plan to strengthen our chapters by organising

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

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regular meetings, member debriefing, active member participation and a system to keep the meetings formal, business-like and receiving solutions from members towards the challenges we encounter. Our chapters must invite those who are ready to volunteer their services to help us.

Have you decided on anything about the TAAI Convention? That is not our immediate priority. Let us work towards refocussing on our prime issues first, seek member participation and oneness, for unless we are together, we can’t achieve much. Then, we can talk about the convention.

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

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STATES

MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014

TRAVTALK

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Village Tourism on West Bengal’s radar The `25-crore project aims to take tourists to spots beyond Digha like the pristine Tajpur beach, which got electricity only a few months ago. This is along with restoration work in several areas to preserve historical sites. M E G H A PAU L ccording to Uma Pada Chatterjee, Director, West Bengal Tourism, the state government is planning to promote village tourism beyond Digha to attract domestic and foreign tourists. The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) and the State Tourism Department has directed the local administration and Digha Sankarpur Development Authority (DSDA)

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Uma Pada Chatterjee Director, West Bengal Tourism

The government has plans to convert a few of these heritage structures into heritage hotels with the help of private investors to prepare a Detailed Project Report for a village tourism project surrounding Digha, he revealed. The idea is to set up eco-friendly rural tourism clusters in coastal villages. Giving more details about the new project, he informed, “The `25crore project aims to take tourists to spots beyond Digha like the pristine Tajpur beach, which got electricity only a few months ago. CRZ rules will be strictly enforced in Tajpur.” Going forward, the state is also betting big on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. “WB Tourism Department has decided to explore these to attract more travellers to the state. The purpose is to acquaint tourists across

Restoration N The

government is working on a Master Plan for the conservation of colonial heritage on the western banks of river Hooghly.

the country with the hotspots in the state along with details of how to reach there, transport options and the accommodation facilities available, including the rates,” he affirmed. The Department is chalking out

plans with the IT department and WEBEL (West Bengal Electronics Industry Development Corporation Limited) for the same. It will also look at tapping the GPS application, he added.

Regarding promoting the heritage of the state, the director pointed out that the government is working on a Master Plan for the conservation of colonial heritage on the western banks of river Hooghly. “Around 116 heritage buildings

have been identified for restoration by the government. The National Museum of Denmark has expressed interest in conservation of few of the heritage structures already. Since the work would involve lots of investment, the

government will take up the conservation project in a phased manner. The government has plans to convert a few of these heritage structures into heritage hotels with the help of private investors,” he stated.


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AVIATION

Push for regional connectivity by air Indian tourism is opening its gates with VoA, concession on Himalayan climbing fees, virtual tours of heritage sites, a travel infoline and much more. What is needed now is quick connectivity to smaller towns without commercial flights. InterGlobe Established (ESTD) is in talks with state governments for aircrafts and services to these far-flung areas. D E E PA S E T H I nterGlobe Established Private Limited, branded as THE ESTD., is a subsidiary of InterGlobe Enterprises. The company was started in 2007 as InterGlobe General Aviation, with a focus on selling and servicing the Beechcraft range. Later, the portfolio was expanded to include LET, Cessna and the Sikorsky range of aircraft and helicopters. Currently, THE ESTD. provides a spectrum of services, whether it is the acquisition of a private jet by a corporate house or a start-up aviation charter company.

I

THE ESTD. can help promote tourism in the Himalayan states and within other states which are inaccessible or poorly connected. Fewer people travel to these regions, so a 9-seater Caravan turbo-prop or

a 19-seater LET would be ideal instead of larger 40-70 seater aircrafts. “Their operating costs are so easy to work with that even if you have 6 seats filled on a 9-seater or 16 seats on a 19-seater, it makes economic sense,” says Lokesh Bardia, Associate Vice-President, InterGlobe Established Private Limited, ESTD. THE ESTD. can also help with regional connectivity. Lokesh explains, “We are also looking at a niche industry, which probably has the biggest potential in India. Our turboprops would be ideal for connecting smaller cities. Surprisingly, the largest segment showing an interest in this comes from the smaller cities, not the metros,” he adds. Tier-III cities are keen to increase their regional productivity, but a lack of long runways

Our turbo-prop range would be ideal for connecting smaller cities and towns. Surprisingly, the largest segment showing an interest in this comes from the smaller cities, not the metros Lokesh Bardia Associate Vice-President, InterGlobe Established Private Limited, ESTD

and insufficient infrastructure are the major bottlenecks. Airports in Tier-III cities are predominantly meant for smaller aircraft. However, economic pressures and fear of social stigma attached with ‘super luxury’ are preventing local industrialists, landowners and politicians from making the purchase.

“Connecting smaller cities to each other and to the metros is where our aircraft would be very useful for the Indian economy. For example, in the Northeast where land travel would take 15-16 hours, the same distance can be covered in an hour by air. Or a classic example of connecting Surat with Bhavnagar,

which is separated by the sea, but the distance is only 100 km – a 9-hour journey converts to a 20-minute flight,” clarifies Bardia. “We are very gung-ho on regional connectivity. Many state governments have initiated discussions and are keen to take this forward.” Talking about the government support required, he goes on to say, “Taxes and infrastructure issues are the biggest deterrents to improving regional connectivity and that is why we are looking at some sort of regulatory support. Fuel costs constitute 40-50 per cent of overall costs. In addition to this, a 40 per cent fuel charge is levied. If the fuel surcharge is minimised, we will be able to reduce 16-17 per cent of our overall taxes. On the infrastructure side, parking is not readily

available. Approvals also take time and it can be months before finally an aircraft is allowed to fly.” Regional connectivity would not only be a fillip for our industry but also give a boost to the economy.

Services and offerings aircraft N Widest range of solution under one roof

tions for N Comprehensive solu aircraft import including:

C AOP application C Import Procedures ntry C Aircraft Induction in cou C Aircraft Ferry C Manpower Assistance C Statutory Manuals C Custom Clearance C Pre-owned Aircraft


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AVIATION

TRAVTALK MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014

Singapore Tourism launches new campaign n Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has launched the fourth phase of its ‘The Holiday You Take Home With You’ marketing campaign in India. The new campaign comes with the tagline ‘Leave as Mum & Dad, and return as superheroes’. The tagline of this campaign is based on the insight of urban parents’ continual struggle to remain connected to, and feature positively in their children’s lives, even as they go about their daily family routines, juggling multiple roles of guardians and caregiver. The campaign will also engage parents online, by encouraging them to participate in a one-of-a-kind contest, that can win them a ‘superhero’ summer holiday for the entire family in Singapore. For this, STB has developed a microsite linked to YourSingapore.com that invites parents to send their entries revealing their ‘superheroes’ qualities for their children, together with family photographs or videos. Parents can also send their entries using #SuperParents on social networking site, Twitter.

TAM flyers now get new benefits With LAN Airlines being part of the global airline alliance oneworld since 2000, TAM Airlines has also joined oneworld recently, giving passengers greater convenience while flying. T T B U R E AU AN Airlines is a part of the global airline alliance oneworld since 2000 and TAM Airlines has joined oneworld as of March 31,

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LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines have recently launched the LAN & TAM South America Specialist Program in India which trains local travel agents and outbound tour operators as experts in South America Destinations, LAN & TAM network and itinerary development. To find more information about the LAN&TAM South America Specialist Program please visit: www.lanandtamsas.com

have the same standard of high-quality customer service, regardless of their international destination. To celebrate its entry into oneworld, TAM Fidelidade pro-

About LAN Airlines & TAM Airlines N LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines form LATAM Airlines Group, which serves more than 135 destinations in 22 countries.

N LATAM is one of the world’s largest airlines groups in terms of network connections within South America.

N The merger of LAN and TAM has enabled both airlines to offer better itineraries, shorter connection times, higher flight frequencies and flights to more international destinations.

N The airlines serve more than 115 destinations in South America including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

N LAN & TAM offers through fares from India, travellers can use partner airlines to fly up to Europe and use LAN & TAM beyond to South America.

2014. To the LATAM Airlines Group passengers, this means greater convenience when travelling, since they will

gram will offer double points to all passengers flying with the alliance’s member airlines in May 2014. Members of the

frequent flyer programs of oneworld member airlines will also receive double the points or miles when flying on TAM during the month. The ten million members of the TAM Fidelidade program will keep the points they accrued before the transition to the alliance, as well as their

premium status level, in accordance with the program’s rules. Also, as of March 31, 2014, 140 million members of the frequent flyer programs of oneworld airlines can earn points or miles and redeem tickets when flying TAM Airlines, while also enjoying all the benefits offered by the alliance.

LAN Airlines has three cabin classes across its fleet. The number of cabin classes depends on the aircraft type and route flown: Premium Business, Premium Economy and Economy. TAM Airlines has three in-flight classes, depending on the aircraft and the route: First class, Business class and Economy class.


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AGENTS

MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014

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Nagpur sees surge in tourist inflow Jagsons Travels, that started as a B2C travel company in 1978, has been aggressively tapping the B2B travel market since the last two years. Currently, almost 70 per cent of their business is from the B2B segment. M E G H A PAU L ne of the leading travel service providers based in Nagpur, Jagsons Travels is betting big on the potential of Nagpur. Talking about the potential of the region, Harmandeep Singh Anand, MD, Jagsons Travels, says, “The potential of Nagpur has not yet been explored fully. Being in the centre of India, the ‘zero-mile’ of India starts from Nagpur. Rudyard Kipling had

O

Harmandeep Singh Anand Managing Director Jagsons Travels

Air Arabia’s operations from Nagpur has led to a growth in passenger traffic from the region conceived the story of Jungle Book in the backyard of Nagpur, The Pench Tiger Reserve, which is just about 90 kms or about 90 minutes drive from Nagpur. Being the tiger capital of the world, Nagpur has several other national parks such as Kanha, Tadoba, Bandhavgarh, which are within a 300 km radius of Nagpur. Thus, in terms of inbound, the national parks are doing well.” There is also incoming traffic for medical tourism and treatments as Nagpur has good medical facilities and hospitals to cater to this industry at reasonable costs. In terms of outbound travel, there has been a lot of interest for family holidays and consumers have started to travel long-haul as well. “Air Arabia is operating three flights out of Nagpur per week direct to Sharjah and also connecting onwards to several destinations within a four-hour flying distance of Sharjah. Thus, there has been a pas-

senger traffic growth. As there are several engineering and medical colleges in and around Nagpur, there has been an increase in students’ traffic to Europe, USA and Australia. There has been an exponential growth year-onyear in the last five years in

terms of VFR, Leisure, MICE and also business travel.” Last year was a bit slow compared to earlier years due to depreciation of Indian Rupee, he admits. According to Anand, since 2010 the group has been

aggressively tapping the B2B segment. “Over a period of time, the credit facilities for travel agents have been transformed. We realised B2B is the new way forward. Here margins are less, but turnovers are high. Currently, almost 70 per cent of our business is from B2B.” Going ahead,

the company aims to integrate more hotels, weddings and events into its portfolio. Jagsons Travels also organised Central India’s first ever B2B travel trade interaction in January. The two-day event titled ‘Showcase

Jagsons’, in Nagpur witnessed a congregation of leading travel suppliers representing various destinations and products from across the country. The event aimed at bridging the gap between the travel agents and suppliers saw 28 leading suppliers.


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AGENTS

A bigger travel platform Lama Group, a DMC in the UAE, and Carfare, a privately-owned comprehensive mobility solution group, recently announced the signing of an agreement to merge two premier services in the hospitality industry. HRITVICK SEN he strategic move will create a combined company worth over Dhs365 million. Both entities will retain their brand names, but will operate under BK Group Holdings, and will offer complete travel and mobility solutions to more than 2.5 million customers of the group.

T

we have grown more than ten times in size. This brings us a lot of infrastructure, a lot of raw material. Worth US$ 100 million, this makes us one of the largest travel companies in the region. Earlier, we had around 470 cars, now we'll have around 3,500 cars. We had around 20 luxury

to invest in its current business. Nearly Dh50million will be invested in infrastructure projects in the next six months to supply the demand that will be generated after the merger. The expansive network and diversified portfolio of

This merger allows us to create a truly global company, a leader in providing full travel solutions Jasbir Bassi Managing Director LAMA and CarFare

Kulwant Singh CEO and MD LAMA Group

Worth US$ 100 million, we have grown ten times and are now one of the largest travel companies in the region

“The expansion of Dubai’s infrastructure in preparation for Expo 2020 has motivated us to take this step and invest for the future,” said Kulwant Singh, CEO and MD of the new group. He will share 50:50 ownership of the new entity. Talking about the merger, Singh said, “With this merger,

coaches and 50 limousines; we will now have 100 luxury coaches and 200 limousines, besides investing in another 200 chauffeur-driven limousines." He continued that with the merger, their offices in UAE will increase from six to 40. "With the new merger, we will be investing in more resources, more verticals, and will be starting the new LAMA Visa Express service centres.” “Both our companies have witnessed high growth and success over the years, so it made sense to combine our strengths. We will be able to significantly broaden our reach in the UAE, and continue to take substantial market share from existing competitors. This merger gives us the advantage to create a truly global company, a market leader in providing complete travelling solutions for both individual and corporate clients,” said Jasbir Bassi, MD of both the Groups. The merger will allow the companies to diversify growth opportunities while continuing

products and services of the combined organisations will strengthen the company’s ability to serve a large number of resident customers and arrivals from India, the GCC and other markets. Both companies will exhibit at this year’s Arabian Travel Market to inform business partners about the merger and seek potential clientele. The company will have the strength of 650 employees working across a network of 14 branches in the UAE and nine abroad. BK Group Holdings Co., will expand both companies operations into a new head office in Dubai Investment Park, spread over nearly 40,000 sq ft and service center.

Up Next N Nearly

Dh50million will be invested in infrastructure projects in the next six months to supply the demand that will be generated after the merger

See pictures on page 60 u

Increased baggage allowance n For tickets issued effective April 17, 2014, passengers flying Economy Class on Air France-KLMDelta from India to USA, Canada and Mexico will be allowed two pieces of check-in baggage per person with maximum weight being 23 kg per baggage.This change is applicable for journeys originating in India, regardless of the place of

ticket issuance. “We are constantly looking at ways to fulfill the needs of our customers and provide the best possible service to them. Revising our baggage allowance to North America is one such step in that direction,” commented Yeshwant Pawar, General Manager, Air France-KLM. “With our partners Delta and Alitalia, AIR FRANCE and KLM

operate the biggest transatlantic joint venture and offers more than 196 daily flights. So whether on business or holiday, our customers can explore North America seamlessly with Air France – KLM – Delta.” There is no change to the per person baggage allowance for passengers flying in Premium Economy and Business Class.


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ME Visa for Indians by Afghanistan n At the Interactive Session organized by Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) recently, H.E. Shaida Mohammad Avdali, Ambassador of Afghanistan in India, said that Afghanistan will be extending Multiple Entry Visa for Indians on longterm basis with a view to strengthen economic ties with India. Avdali added that an MoU would be signed between

Ajay Sahai DG & CEO, FIEO

Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) and Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan (EPAA). Ajay Sahai, DG & CEO, FIEO said that the bilateral trade between India and Afghanistan has witnessed modest growth in last four years and there is urgent need to diversify the exports and imports between the two countries.

NTO

Germany to pump in € 500K into India The German National Tourist Office recently announced its new campaign theme for 2014 – ‘Germany - UNESCO World Heritage destination’. Under the campaign, it aims to promote theme-based tourist packages such as Snow White and Hansel and Gretel. T T B U R E AU hile most other markets reported a negative growth in outbound overnights last year, the Indian overnights in Germany grew year-on-year by 5.3 per cent in 2013. Going forward, Germany is targetting 8-10 per cent more travellers from India and is set to invest € 500,000 into the market in 2014. This was revealed by Romit Theophilus, Director, Sales and Marketing, German National Tourist Office (GNTO) India. According to Theophilus, Germany has been consistently placed amongst top three most popular European destinations out of India. “Last year, Indian tourists arrivals in Germany grew by 5.3 per cent to 615,617,” he informs.

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GNTO has recently announced its new campaign

theme for 2014 – ‘Germany UNESCO World Heritage destination’. The campaign is

focussed on increasing the cultural diversity and supporting cross-cultural

dialogue between Germany and other countries across the globe. Chalking out a new strategy under this campaign, GNTO will bet big on Germany’s UNESCO heritage. “Under the campaign, we aim to promote themebased tourist packages such as Snow White and Hansel and Gretel. Germany has 38 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Thus, Germany is among the top three UNESCO World Heritage sites location in Europe,” he points out.

(L-R): Romit Theophilus and Michael Steiner

Talking about the initiatives taken to facilitate visa application procedures in India, Michael Steiner, German Ambassador to India, says, “To make travel more convenient from India, 15 of the proposed 16 visa application centres in India have been opened in

collaboration with VFS Global over the last year.” These are in New Delhi, Gurgaon, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Jaipur, Chennai, Hyderabad, Puducherry, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Goa, Pune, Ahmedabad, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. A visa application centre in Kolkata will be opened shortly.

German offerings N Germany

comes second to Spain as a European destination for Indians N 15 of proposed 16 visa application centres in India have been opened N 60 per cent increase in Indian overnights between 2007 and 2013


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Betting big on football

Thailand thanks Indian travellers

Cox & Kings in association with Liverpool FC launched a travel plan Banking on the confidence of the tourists, TAT expects 1.1 million Indians to visit that enables kids to play football with the country in 2014. Runjuan Tongrut, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand, says that after Raipur and Ludhiana, they will hold road shows in Odisha and the coaches of Liverpool FC. Jaipur in August this year. T T B U R E AU T T B U R E AU ox & Kings has tied up with Liverpool FC E.L.I.T.E.S to launch a special student travel plan. Liverpool FC E.L.I.T.E.S is a joint venture between the English premier league club Liverpool FC and London School of Business and Finance, which was formed about a year ago. The new travel plan enables kids between 11 and 17 of years to learn to play football with the coaches of Liverpool FC. Each full programme is for two weeks and costs approximately `1.20 lakh per week. The programme also includes English language tuition among others.

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According to Ravi Menon, Vice President, Cox & Kings, the football passion has struck India and is rapidly growing as people are increasingly following the game and

he political situation in Thailand notwithstanding, tourism in the country continues to draw tourists to its beaches and shopping complexes. Runjuan Tongrut, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand, said, “The tourists have never been the target of protestors. The protests are peaceful, life in Bangkok is normal; there is nothing to worry about. In spite of protests, Indians are still visiting Thailand and we thank them for their support to the country.”

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Ravi Menon Vice President Cox & Kings

ardently supporting their favourite teams. It is heartening to see that more and more youngsters want to play the game beyond just a hobby. With this partnership, we aim to give these young Indian footballers an opportunity to hone their talent and train with those who inspire them. Cox & Kings has also been awarded exclusive rights to promote hospitality packages for FIFA World Cup 2014.

Banking on the confidence of the tourists, TAT expects 1.1 million Indians to visit the country in 2014. “For the leisure market and to capture the family crowd, we attend various travel marts and fairs, not just in the big cities but also in Tier-II and Tier-III

cities. The road shows that we conduct every year are also important instruments to spread awareness about Thailand as a tourism destination. This year, we plan to have road shows in August in

invited many travel agents from those cities too,” said Tongrut. Talking about their focus in Tier-II and Tier-III cities, she says, “Odisha is a Tier-II state with a lot of potential. In the last

Since three years, we have been promoting Thailand and raising awareness about the destination in the smaller cities in India. Runjuan Tongrut Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand

Odisha, Jaipur and of course Delhi. We have invited many service-providers from Thailand to join and we have

three years, we have been going all out to promote Thailand and raise awareness about the destination in smaller

cities in India. Last year we hosted a road show in Raipur, Chhattisgarh and Ludhiana, and the year before that in Chandigarh and Kolkata. Thailand has managed to become a popular destination among Indian travelers in metro cities. Now, we want to win crowds in smaller cities.” Besides leisure and family crowds, wedding and honeymoon is one of the highest potential segments that TAT has been targetting in India. She adds, “Thailand has been voted as the best wedding destination for Indians three years in a row. This is to show that Indians prefer Thailand as a wedding destination. To reach out to the wedding market, we work very closely with wedding planners and every year we organise a FAM trip for wedding planners as well as event organisers.”


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ESOI bats for green tourism in Manipur The two-day Ecotourism Conclave in Imphal in April 2014 sensitised the participants about good environmental practices and had 2-3 investors keen on setting up hotels and resorts in Manipur. have established a code of conduct for sustainable tourism that needs to be implemented by the state and the new code for water-based tourism should

PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA nitially intended as an ecotourism workshop to sensitise local people towards environmental issues, the event organised by Manipur’s department of tourism and ESOI later evolved into a twoday conference on how to develop Manipur as a tourism destination.

I

medical tourism. Manipur has pleasant temperature round the year and the state is also well-connected now with flights coming in from Guwahati and

ated. All border states have security issues, in spite of the unrest, tourism in Kashmir is booming. The Northeast has a huge potential for tourism, and

Rakesh Mathur Honorary Secretary, ESOI

The two-day Ecotourism Conclave in Imphal on April 7 and 8 sensitised the participants about good environmental practices, waste management, energy conservation and pollution control. Inaugurated by VK Duggal, Governor of Manipur, who was also the Chief Guest, the conclave witnessed the attendance of Shilabhadra Banerjee and M Bezbaruah, who are both former Secretaries of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Banerjee and Bezbaruah were

the Guests of Honour at the conclave. Apart from senior government officials and representatives of ESOI, the attendees at the conclave comprised representatives of the state tourism industry, NGOs, academicians, tourism management students, and potential investors. Talking about the conclave, Rakesh Mathur, Honorary Secretary, ESOI, says, “Along with the MOT we

Delegates at the two-day Ecotourism Conclave in Imphal

also be adopted by the state. We gave suggestions on how to promote many of the tourism assets of the state, apart from nature and wildlife. Very few people know that polo sports originated in Manipur. We have also talked about how we can promote the culture of the state, tribal tourism as well as

Kolkata. This makes it an ideal tourist destination. The state also has great potential for golf, adventure and wildlife activities.” However, when asked if security is an issue in the state, he says, “The security issue is more a hype that has been cre-

the security is an issue like in all other border states.” Mathur also highlighted that among the investors who were present at the conclave some have expressed great interest in investing in the state. “We were also able to take with us investors who had

expressed an interest in investing in the state and at the conclave, we have had at least 23 investors expressing an interest in setting up hotels and resorts in Manipur. These will be hotels of international brands and if this happens this will change the perception of the state.” Besides discussing conservation of biodiversity and focussing on the state’s tourism assets, the attendees also talked about joint promotion of tourism among Northeastern states. “So, the Kaziranga Sanctuary, the tea estates of Assam, Tawang, Ziro, Shillong, can all be promoted together. We also suggested forming a nodal body to monitor eco tourism practices within the state,” says Mathur. The Conclave also coincided with the International Thailand-Bhutan Car Rally arriving in Manipur on April 7.


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Going beyond plain vanilla ticketing Since 2009, mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the leisure travel market have been recovering. As the travel industry looks for ways to survive, ‘buy or be bought’ is becoming the rally cry. The credit crunch, leisure travel demand and economic uncertainty are accelerating mergers and consolidation as a constructive response. M E G H A PAU L

Traditional operators making strategic acquisitions Highlighting the importance of M&As in the travel scenario in India, Madhavan Menon, Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India), says, “M&As in the travel space are picking pace more than ever, and this may have a lot to do with the margins in air-ticketing witnessing tremendous pressure. Travel companies are increasingly focussing on nonair revenue, resulting in acquisitions in hotels and the holiday business. The relative sluggishness has created a pent-up demand for M&A activity, which is likely to trigger more and bigger deals in the coming years. It is also the fact that creating a market-leading business in this sector organically is becoming more difficult and

expensive, and so companies are looking at M&A activity. Companies are seeking to evolve their businesses from a low margin to high margin or consolidate their presence in the market. This could be done by enhancing service offerings to customers.” M&As definitely enhance the market. They inevitably result in an amplification of services; ancillary services also end up benefiting immensely. There is a growth of players offering complete travel solutions, end-to-end products that are both credible and convenient. The consolidation of services will improve the quality of products as well, making travel increasingly stress-free, he adds. Talking about the merger deal of Thomas Cook (India) with Sterling Holiday Resorts

Madhavan Menon

Rajesh Magow

Managing Director Thomas Cook (India)

Co-Founder and CEO-India MakeMyTrip

M&As result in amplification of services; there is a growth of players offering complete travel solutions

Private Equity firms are using acquisitions to leverage consumer demand

(India), which is expected to create India’s largest holiday company, Menon confirms, “The decision to invest in Sterling Hotels Resorts was primarily driven by the fact that they have a robust and attractive business model (Timeshare + FIT). Sterling Holidays are a manufacturer of services. Thomas Cook India is a multi-service provider in the travel space and so, there are synergy opportunities across the domestic holiday space, as well as the incentives business.” With the incredible Indian hungry for travel and a boom in domestic travel, Sterling’s pan India resorts offer a readymade solution for our diversity of travel consumers. “Today, the Thomas Cook India Group (Thomas Cook India, Ikya and Sterling Holiday Resorts) has a combined strength of more than 9,000 employees. Hence,

from a shared services platform, we see a whole host of synergies that wait to be exploited, be they in terms of facilities management, HR services, food services, sharing of office space, etc. Going forward, the company will capitalise on Sterling Holidays Resort’s existing suite of resorts for its domestic and MICE consumer base.

Integrating travel search and travel content with distribution Rajesh Magow, CoFounder and CEO-India, MakeMyTrip, feels India will definitely see a lot of action in the coming years with allied industries (such as aviation) in need of investments and international investors looking for potential markets offering better returns. “India is a key focus market for many global travel companies Contd. on page 20 u


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M&As and the road ahead u Contd. from page 18

both for the inbound and outbound potential. While major multinationals, travel suppliers, airlines and hoteliers are focussing on India, there are also thousands of small unorganised travel players,” he affirms. PE firms are using acquisitions to leverage consumer demand. Also, the Indian travel ecosystem throws up interesting opportunities for investors – such as the large market for online bus-reservations and subsequent investment by global funds into niche players operating in this area. Operators with strong brands exposed to favourable demographic trends, high levels of customer loyalty and an exclusive or distinctive product that is difficult to replicate will make the most preferred targets, he adds. Regarding the new trend of M&A transactions involving online providers, he opines, “The potential growth in underpenetrated online travel markets and the importance of online as a sales channel to traditional operators is also driving investment through M&As. With consumers increasingly turning to the internet to satisfy their travel needs, online operators are attempting to increase their market share.” Talking about the OTA’s acquisition of Amsterdambased EasyToBook.com (ETB) group of companies to enhance its presence in hotel bookings, he comments, “The acquisition of EasyToBook.com will add momentum to our stated objective of growing our hotel and online holidays business. Like us, EasyToBook has a strong focus on technology and innovation. Being a pure-play hotel

site, it brings a strong domain expertise to the table. ETB’s rich inventory of online hotel reservations in Europe, North

Viren Sinha Chairman & Managing Director Balmer Lawrie

Low airline commissions have made many travel agents question their survival

America and other key global travel destinations will enable us to enhance the hotel offerings for our Indian customers travelling to Europe and North America. Furthermore, as we expand our presence beyond the South-East Asia region, we look forward to welcoming inbound customers to our hotels partners in Asia.”

Demand for specialist travel is leading to acquisitions According to Viren Sinha, Chairman & Managing Director, Balmer Lawrie, the travel industry has seen more changes in the last one year than what it had to go through in a whole decade. “While

most airlines are bleeding, air travel - both business and holidays – has shown double-digit growth year-on-year. In the face of this, diminishing commissions from the airlines and the weekly payment has made many travel agents, who offer plain vanilla ticketing, question their own survival since their corporate clients pay anywhere between 30-90 days,” he points out. Most ticketing agents will now require huge cash reserves just to manage their cash flows. Obviously this will lead to a high level of attrition in the travel trade and would spur consolidation in the industry, he adds. Talking about how the new takeover of Vacations Exotica going to benefit the company, he reveals, “Balmer Lawrie has a huge customer base in the corporate travel sector. It has a presence in more than 88 locations. We took over the premier holiday brand Vacations Exotica along with its people and business with the objective of strengthening our foothold in the Holiday sector. This takeover will help Balmer Lawrie to expand its value proposition and offer end-to-end services in the Tours and MICE segment as Vacations Exotica brings with it a multi-talented work force and a wide range of holiday packages. The synergy between the two will make it a very potent force.” Going forward, the company is planning to merge Tours & Travel business unit with Vacations Exotica. “We will be actively pushing growth in the leisure market and also the inbound tourism business. We have our own travel portal, www.balmerlawrietravel.com, and you will find that the prices therein are among the best available,” he states.

Marriott’s new hotel in Bilaspur n Marriott International has strengthened its presence in Central India with the launch of its Courtyard by Marriott brand in Bilaspur, in the state of Chhattisgarh. The new

Courtyard by Marriott Bilaspur offers 106 rooms and suites plus a restaurant, bar, and extensive conference and banqueting space catering for more 1,000 people. The new

property becomes the 11th Courtyard in India, joining existing hotels in Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Kochi and Bhopal.


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Stronger ` takes the Indian out of India Recently, the rupee strengthened and is perched at `60-61 against the dollar. The outbound travel sector believes this holiday season will see at least 15 per cent growth over last year, and that over 15 to 20 million Indians are likely to go abroad. M E G H A PAU L Last year, weakening of the rupee made it beyond the average traveller’s reach to afford a reasonable holiday abroad. With the strengthening of the rupee, we see an increase in travel budgets. Outbound clientele that earlier preferred to travel short-haul, will look at mid-haul destinations now. Emerging destinations such as S. America, Philippines, Korea, USA, Canada and Eastern Europe will attract Indian tourists this season. Guldeep Singh Sahni President, OTOAI

Outbound tourists have waited a while for the rupee to reach an acceptable level and this is the season when bookings look very healthy. Though the first-time outbound travellers would prefer closer-to-home holidays, the seasoned traveller will prefer Africa for safaris, hot-air ballooning, New Zealand for sightseeing, kayaking and general leisure or Turkey. Cruises are also becoming very popular among the seasoned Indian outbound Ratti Dhodapkar Managing Director, Abercrombie & Kent Vacations

The fate of outbound tourism is always influenced by the fluctuations of the Indian rupee. Thus, with the strengthening of the rupee, India will be one of the emerging outbound markets. The market is also expected to witness higher participation of young travellers. MICE and business travel will be the segments that will drive outbound travel from India this season. Sri Lanka has picked up really well for Indian outbound. The entire chunk of India outbound that was earlier going to Nepal, is now visiting Sri Lanka for its emerging casino scene. In addition, the upcoming elections and policy decisions will also influence outbound. However, the demand for experiential travel will continue to rise. Rajan Sehgal President, IGTA

The worrying part is that elections will be held in 2014 around the peak summer months. Thus, the strengthening of the rupee is seen as a big relief. The luxury segment will increase rapidly and the trend of experiential travel and exploring individual destinations will dominate, especially among FIT segment. There will be an increase in FIT travel, and leisure trips by families. We expect a rising interest in MICE and incentive trips. Among long-haul destinations, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will receive its fair share of tourists. Bala Venkateswara Rao S CMD, Travel Choice (Winner of Best Travel Management Company at the South India Travel Awards)


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NEWS

Coastal tourism for Karnataka Eyeing growth in members Karnataka is a vast state but is known only for a few tourist The TAFI North India Chapter is looking forward to the time attractions. In order to highlight the whole of the state to the world, after elections where members will come together to create Karnataka plans to focus on coastal tourism to attract tourists. better business models for the future. PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA D Dyavaiah, Managing Director of Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation, says that IITB has given them a good platform to promote and sell the products of their state. “Karnataka is a vast state, which has been ruled by many dynasties. They have left a lot of heritage in the form of palaces, tombs and temples. We have two world heritage sites in the state, and about 40 per cent of the Western Ghats lies in the state of Karnataka. The virgin forests of the state also add to the natural resource and beauty of the state. Also, we have our luxury product - the Golden Chariot Train - and we have tried to market that at IITB this year,” he says.

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He admits that travellers still need to be more aware of the state. “Karnataka is known only for a few tourist attractions.

CD Dyavaiah Managing Director of Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation

Cauvery is the lifeline of Karnataka and it travels a long way through many picturesque locations and we are developing them for tourism purposes

We are using this platform to highlight the whole of the state to the world community. We have 320 km of virgin coastline and we are trying to develop this coastal belt. We have been ably supported in this endeavour by the Government of India, who has sanctioned a project of Rs 50 crore to develop the coastline. Along with that money, we are also using our own resources,” says Dyavaiah. Coastal tourism sure seems to be on the cards for the state government. He also highlighted that there are many other unknown destinations in the Western ghats that have great potential for tourism. “We have formed the Cauvery Development Authority, the river Cauvery is the lifeline of Karnataka and it travels a long way and on its way it passes through many picturesque locations and we are developing these parts for tourism purposes.” says Dyavaiah.

T T B U R E AU s the entire travel and tourism industry waits with bated breath for the elections, it’s a ‘wait and watch’ policy that has been adopted by TAFI Northern India Chapter. According to Vijay Kumar

A

associate and allied. Gupta predicts, “We see an apparent membership growth in the chapter post the elections.” Regarding the pressing issues for the travel industry, he says, “The service tax, weekly payment and commission issue

Repositioning themselves, rebranding the services they offer and reinventing the business model are the only ways to survive for travel agents. Vijay Kumar Gupta Chairman Northern India Chapter, TAFI Gupta, Chairman, Northern India Chapter, TAFI, travel agents are facing the brunt on a daily basis. The biggest chapter of TAFI has about 500 members, including active,

will be taken up with the new government. Passports have also been outsourced to TCS. There is no travel agent involvement in the scenario. We will also approach the gov-

ernment for an increased role of the travel agents in the ‘Passport Seva Kendras’.” Gupta also points out that the hotel and airline industries should be more efficient in jointly packaging India. Domestic tourism should be developed on a priority basis. A uniform taxation policy should be adopted and the tax burden on the tourism industry should be considerably reduced to bring it at par with other countries. He feels, “New markets, technologies and segments await the Indian travel trade. The travel agent is now competing with his suppliers such as cruise companies, hotels and airlines as well as with his customers, who have more information than they can handle. Thus, repositioning themselves, rebranding the services they offer and reinventing the business model are the only ways to survive.”


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PATA, JATA to develop tourism in Asia Pacific n The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) have agreed to work together to benefit both sets of members. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed in April, will focus efforts on implementing joint activities related to tourism. The MoU shows the membership commitment by both associations to enhance the role of the tourism sector and to develop the tourism industry in Asia and the Pacific. The MoU was signed by Martin J Craigs, PATA Chief Executive Officer, and Jungo Kikuma, Chairman of JATA. The agreement commits the two organisations to continue their productive on-going cooperation through PATA’s participation in the annual JATA Tourism EXPO Japan and JATA’s participation in PATA’s programme of work.

RAILWAYS

IRCTC on inbound tourism track AK Brar, Director (Tourism & Marketing), IRCTC, says that while they are very keen to promote hill tourism, they are also starting special AC trains for the temple circuit of South India and the coastal circuit of West India. PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA What are the other tourism initiatives that IRCTC is working on? IRCTC is an important arm of the Indian Railways for tourism. For all e-ticketing needs, we have the largest ecommerce website in the Asia Pacific. We also have a bouquet of offerings for all categories of tourists, be it budget or luxury. For budget tourists, we have Bharat Darshan trains, we have rail tour packages for those interested in religious tourism, we also have trains to cater to the Buddhist circuits in UP and Gaya, where tourists are taken up to Lumbini. In addition, we are also promoting hill tourism: we have toy trains running in hill stations like Kalka, Shimla, Pathankot, Dharamshala, Ooty, Coorg, Darjeeling and the Neral Matheran Express. Rail enthusiasts

The VoA facility is going to give us a wonderful opportunity because IRCTC is now moving towards inbound tourism, and we are looking at it as a great source of revenue AK Brar Director (Tourism & Marketing), IRCTC come from all over the world to explore these places and travel on these sections. Through this, we are trying to revive the tourist potential of these places and we hope to see a difference in the next 6-8 months.

How does MOT’s initiative to introduce VoA for international travellers benefit IRCTC?

The MOT has been very supportive of IRCTC, be it with Buddhist trains, Maharajas’ Express or our other initiatives. The VoA facility is going to give us a wonderful opportunity because IRCTC is now moving towards inbound tourism, and we are looking at it as a great source of revenue. We have lots of tourists who are interested to travel by rail, and the facility of VoA is going to make a

big difference to the response of foreign tourists.

Are you planning any new trains or routes? We are organising special AC trains for the temple circuit of South India and the coastal circuit of West India. This is something we are planning for the coming season. We are also looking at outbound tourism. IRCTC has already taken a step in this direction; we have run more than 20 outbound tours, we are also making our presence felt in countries other than India.

How has the IITB platform helped you to highlight your products? IITB has been a wonderful experience, and a great meeting ground for those who want to do serious business. It gave us a great platform to interact with potential clients and has given us a lot of time

to have detailed one-to-one meetings. At IITB, we promoted Maharajas’ Express, the super-luxury train that has been rated as one of the best luxury trains in the world. Our potential clients are participants who are into luxury travel, those in the upper segment of tourists and they all were present at IITB. We also arranged some tours for our business interests to go and see the train. A little event had also been arranged on the train for the participants. More than 88 people visited the train on the first day and an equal number on the second day.


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STATES

Beyond sun, sea & sand Goa State Tourim Department is identifying forts like Chapora, Cabo de Rama, etc., where sound and light shows can be organised and history of these monuments could be highlighted for tourists. T T B U R E AU hile the tourism industry stakeholders are vying to sell Goa to newer buyers, even the Goa state tourism depart-

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strategy to promote Goa nationally and internationally. The state is also eyeing heritage tourism. He points out, “The proposed Tourism Master Plan will have a special focus on the promotion

The proposed Tourism Master plan will have a special focus and emphasis on the promotion of cultural and heritage tourism in Goa. Nikhil Desai Managing Director Goa Tourism Development Corporation

ment is increasingly looking at unexplored markets such as Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and even China. Goa is also being marketed in places like Singapore and Australia from where the industry can attract sizeable tourists, says Nikhil Desai, Managing Director, Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC). According to Desai, Goa Tourism is now looking beyond the current mantra of ‘sun, sea and sand’. Going forward, the department has decided to implement a new marketing

of cultural and heritage tourism in Goa. The department is identifying forts like Chapora, Cabo de Rama, etc., where sound and light shows can be organised and history of these monuments could be highlighted to the tourists. We will also launch the Goa Heritage houses scheme, which aims at providing subsidies and soft loans to heritage home owners. We are also in the process of beautifying old churches and temples in many mini tourism circuits in the state”. Elaborating on heritage tourism offerings, Desai reveals, “We will be digitising

data on historic monuments so that tourists can access data on their phones through apps and NFC. We will also install QR codes based systems near major forts and heritage areas, so that tourists can access the data easily. Thus, leveraging of technology will help in promotion of heritage tourism.” After re-launching its website recently, Goa Tourism now plans to have it in five to six foreign languages. “Currently, the content of the tourism department’s website can be read in any of the foreign languages by using a Google translator. We need to have a permanent multilingual website,” he adds. The state currently attracts 2.6 million tourists; out of which almost five hundred thousand are international tourists.

New avenues N Goa Heritage houses

scheme to provide subsidy to heritage home owners N Identifying certain forts like Chapora, Cabo de Rama for sound and light shows N Beautifying various ancient churches and temples in many mini tourism circuits in Goa

Canada honoured Shiamak Davar Bollywood’s star choreographer Shiamak Davar was presented with the Governor General’s Medallion and Citation for his role in connecting India and Canada by forging new opportunities for cultural dialogues through his passion for the performing arts. Shiamak has continued to build friendship and understanding between the two culturally diverse nations and this particular award serves to honour and celebrate his commitment.


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South India puts new spin on tourism Tourism in South India is no longer restricted to just a few cities. With the state tourism board going all out to promote themselves, new airlines coming up and connectivity increasing, the region is now turning into a major tourism destination. The stock of South India in the tourism map is rocketing up. The South of India is still best known for its infrastructure. It also has very good connectivity, even the roads in rural areas are in very good condition. The airports are also excellent. Hyderabad has one of the best airports in the country. The safety aspect is also very strong in South India as it is considered a safe haven for tourists. To be fair, it's not that the rest of India is not, but there have been a few sporadic incidents in other parts of the country. Also, the people of this region are the best brand ambassadors to promote tourism.

South India has pitched in extremely well and coming from Hyderabad, I feel delighted in the manner in which South India is pitching itself in the travel industry; we have some of the best properties that have come to Chennai, Hyderabad or Bengaluru, not to mention Kerala. Now, it seems to be the focal point as far as India is concerned. It’s become very difficult for a tourist to now say that he has visited India and has not visited South India. And in spite of being in South India, it's not enough to spend just a few days in Chennai, Madurai or Kerala. Every part of South India has so much to offer. It's a great boon to belong to this part of the country.

Chandana Khan Special Chief Secretary, Andhra Pradesh Tourism

Sunil Kumar Winner of DDP Game Changer Award at the South India Travel Awards, and Vice-President, TAAI & CEO, Travel World

It's great that there is a lot of development coming and a lot of thought is going into South India being developed into a tourism destination, with Kerala taking the lead. It's also great to see new destinations coming up, which is very important. It's not just about the established destinations, there's so much more to South India which needs to be explored and developed. Zaheer Ellias Najeeb Winner of Face of the Future Award at the South India Travel Awards, & Executive Director, ATE Group of Companies

When I initially started in the travel industry, we had a small airport flying 10 flights a day, now there are more than 200 flights taking off and landing. The region has a lot of potential and there is still a lot that can be developed with regards to tourism in the region. The state tourism departments and travel agents and other stakeholders in the travel industry can take this higher and higher. MS Nagaraju MD, Epicurus Hospitality

There's been an incredible surge in terms of the way in which South India has been positioning itself. States are investing in some very brilliant campaigns. Kerala was the first to start and Andhra Pradesh has been coming in as well as Karnataka. There is so much more to South India that we haven't discovered yet. Amruda Nair Head of Asset Management, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts

Runway upgrade at Dubai Airport n Dubai Airport has confirmed that all systems are to go for a comprehensive runway upgrade project set to be launched at Dubai International on May 1, 2014 to boost safety, service and capacity levels at the world’s second busiest international airport. The upgrade work will last 80 days during which the runways will be closed alternatively – the southern runway from May 1 to May 31, and the northern runway from May 31 to July 20, 2014. The project involves the resurfacing of the entire 4,000-metre long northern runway, which is nearing the end of its design life, as well

as the upgrading of runway lighting and construction of additional taxiways and rapid exits on the southern runway. During this period the number of flights at Dubai International will be reduced by 26 per cent while flight movements at Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC)

are set to increase dramatically as eight airlines that currently operate into Dubai International have reserved slots to operate into Dubai’s second airport during the 80-day period. More than 300 flights a week are expected to depart from Dubai’s second airport during this period.


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India in top 3 markets With an increase in the numbers of top-end business in leisure, FIT, corporate and MICE front, the Dubai-based Address Hotels is betting big on the Indian market. T T B U R E AU he discerning Indian traveller has made it to the top list of The Address Hotels & Resorts, a Dubai-based fivestar premium hotel brand. According to Seema Pande, Group Director of Sales and Marketing, The Address Hotels and Resorts, “India is among the top three markets for the company. It has pleasantly surprised us with a fabulous increase in the numbers of topend business in leisure, FIT, corporate and MICE front. With an increase in the family travel from India, we have witnessed an impressive growth in Indian weddings and engagements at our properties as well. Indian families with members spread all over in USA, UK, Europe and other parts of the world, find Dubai to be an easily accessible destination with adequate air connectivity and a welcoming visa regime.” Talking about trends from the Indian market, she added, “The Indian visitors spend an average of three to five nights and are among the top spenders. Indians are willing to spend on premium products only when they are convinced

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The Address Residence Sky View and The Address Boulevard in Downtown Dubai.” The fact that India is emerging as a major source market for the Address

Spencer H. Wadama, General Manager, The Address Dubai Marina, pointed out, “The Indian community in Dubai is pretty large. In my hotel, we focus strongly on the corporate market and 45 per cent of

Seema Pande

Spencer H. Wadama

Group Director of Sales and Marketing, The Address Hotels and Resorts

General Manager The Address Dubai Marina

Indian families all over USA, UK, Europe and the world, find Dubai an easily accessible destination

45% of revenue for corporate clientele is generated from the India market the revenue for the corporate clientele is generated from the Indian market.”

Vincent Mercurio

Michael Sorgenfrey

General Manager The Address Dubai Mall

General Manager The Palace Downtown, Dubai

We count on the Indian market and see a steady increase in the high-end segment about deriving true value for money. The good thing is that Address Hotels have a ‘residence’ component. The demand for the residence section has picked up big time from the Indian market.” The group is now adding to its portfolio with the The Address Residence Fountain Views,

This year, we are expecting a growth of six per cent. Dubai is becoming more popular Hotels was reiterated by all the general managers of various Address Hotels who were in New Delhi recently to thank their India Representative – the Nijhawan Group and the Indian travel trade that helped them receive good business from India.

According to Vincent Mercurio, General Manager, The Address Dubai Mall, this is the fifth year of operations of the hotel. “We count on the Indian market and this will only continue to grow. To spruce up our F&B offerings for the Indian clientele, we have also unveiled ‘Le Porte des Indes’ which will literally lure more Indian clients. Dubai is a key market for finance and business. We see a consistent increase in the high-end segment from India,” he commented. Indian market contributes eight to ten per cent of their annual business, Michael Sorgenfrey, General Manager, The Palace Downtown, Dubai, remarked. “Last year, the Indian market grew about four per cent and this year, we are expecting a growth of six per cent for The Palace Downtown, Dubai. Our main source markets are the Gulf countries and UK followed by India. Dubai is also becoming more popular in the Indian market owing to its attractions,” he said.


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Free mobile app for guided tours AudioCompass n The Guide, a recently launched, free iPhone and Android mobile app, will now serve

world heritage sites in India including the Taj Mahal. The company has been recognized as a partner to the Ministry of Tourism’s Incredible India campaign. Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, speaking about their partnership with AudioCompass, said, “We are pleased to partner with AudioCompass for a mobile phone based audio tour platform. We believe

Alila Diwa Goa, a luxury boutique resort in Goa, reflects the region’s rich heritage, from the use of materials to its design and interiors. finds out more in conversation with Siddharth Savkur, the General Manager of Alila Diwa Goa. T T B U R E AU What’s the USP of Alila Diwa Goa? What differentiates the property from competition? Alila Diwa Goa relies on Alila’s ‘Surprisingly Different’ approach to create a destination experience, that is both stylish and one of its kind. Architecturally, it has managed to strike the perfect balance of being contemporary and yet traditionally Goan with its steeply pitched roofs, high columns, cool verandahs and tranquil

Parvez Dewan Secretary Ministry of Tourism

as a mobile tour guide and as an aid to tourism professionals. With the click of a button, the guide provides easy-to-use, experiential tours of destinations in India. On launching the app, users can easily select a destination of their choice. Content specific to that destination is downloaded onto their phones so that it can be accessed even if their phone is in “offline mode”. The company has been appointed the official audio guide provider by the Archaeological Survey of India for several UNESCO

Towards exclusive experiences

that this innovative use of technology will help improve the tourist experience in India by allowing visitors to conveniently learn more about our cities, cultural sites, and monuments. It will add a completely new facility to our global Incredible India campaign.”

courtyards. From the use of materials to its design and interiors, all aspects reflect the region’s rich heritage. Our local excursions and activities, coordinated by our Leisure Concierge team, offers an opportunity for guests to interact with the local people and enjoy the flavor of the destination. The Diwa Club, our exclusive Club wing, has grown Siddharth Savkur in stature among discerning General Manager, Alila Diwa Goa travellers with its private pool rooms with the total inventory and all-day a la carte breakfast being 153 rooms and suites. at Bistro. Our room inventory comprises 18 suites and 135

What packages are you offering for the summers?

We have introduced the ‘Diwa by Design’ package where guests booking a room at The Diwa Club can avail unrestricted use of our restaurants, bars, the Spa Alila, etc.

We have introduced the ‘Diwa by Design’ package where guests booking a room at The Diwa Club can avail unrestricted use of our restaurants, bars, the Spa Alila and all ancillary hotel services. We expect this to be our gamechanger this year in the high-

end luxury segment. For our main wing guests, we have the ‘Getaway Your Way’ package which lets individuals craft their vacation with different hotel credit plans.

What are the challenges faced by the Indian hospitality industry? I think one of the major challenges we face is retaining and recruiting skilled personnel. Also, today there are so many brands adopting a ‘cookie-cutter’ approach. Luxury travel is heading towards more exclusive and unique experiences where people want to do things that are not accessible to others. Hence, the need to engage with these travellers to ascertain their interests and create memorable journeys for them is what we at Alila aspire to do.


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CRUISE

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Cruising with Discover the World With the all-inclusive packages that make cruises a preferred holiday option for an increasing number of outbound Indian travellers, the company is betting big on the segment. reports... Panama Canal, all year round and Seasonal: Seattle – Ensenada, Mexico – Honolulu – Vancouver – Sydney, Australia, with length of cruises from 3-23 days.”

T T B U R E AU iscover the World is the leader in global travel and tourism services and distribution. The top brands in the travel industry trust Discover to perform sales, marketing, business processing and distribution needs for them across the globe. Talking about its products, Vrushali Dalvi, Business Development Manager, Cruises-India, Discover the World, says, “We are proud to represent the pioneer in contemporary cruise company - The Carnival Cruise Line in India.

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Carnival Cruise Line is the largest cruise corporation in the world and its group companies include Holland America Line, P&O cruises, Cunard Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruises, and Costa Cruises amongst others. We have 24 beautiful ships that sail around the ports of Bahamas– Caribbean – Mexican Riviera

Giving more details about offerings of Carnival Cruise Line, she adds, “The cruise line

for Free’ offer for this summer on all our cruises in North America. Carnival Cruise Lines also has a Price Guarantee Policy worldwide. The price that a consumer sees on Carnival's official website is honoured in any part of the world, including India. All the offers that our travellers see on

Vrushali Dalvi Business Development Manager Cruises-India, Discover the World

The Carnival Cruise Line has been proactive with promotions and offers, especially for the holiday season – Alaska – Hawaii – Canada – New England – Pacific Islands – New Zealand – Tahiti –

The Carnival Cruise Line

has always been proactive with their promotions and offers, especially for the holiday season. We have a fantastic ‘Kids

www.carnival.com will be honoured by Discover the World, India.” The company also represents some of the other lead-

ers in cruise industry such as Hurtigruten Cruises, Louis Cruises, Variety Cruises and Portuscale Cruises. Hurtigruten Cruises sail around the coastline between Bergen and Kirkenes which is over 2,400 km long. Louis Cruises takes you to the places you’ve dreamt of: iconic destinations famed the world over and exquisite smaller islands where you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back into a bygone Greece. When you cruise with us, you cruise with family – this is the essence of cruising with Louis, she points out. Louis Cruises sails around some of the most beautiful islands in the world around Greece and Turkey. They have cruises for three, four and seven nights starting from Athens-Greece, Kusadasi-Turkey and IstanbulTurkey.Variety Cruises offers the traveller intimate onboard private yacht/small ship experience. Variety Cruises will introduce you to mesmerising

destinations and ports of calls offering you an authentic and memorable holiday. When cruising with Variety you’re travelling with a select few, up to just 44 to 72 guests, offering you an intimate experience that is professional, yet family like, where there’s a decidedly casual and personal approach. Variety Cruises takes you to The Exotics Costa Rica, Seychelles & West Africa, Treasures of South Italy & Malta, La Dolce Vita, Classic Greece and many more. The cruise line from Portugal – Portuscale Cruises also has innovative packages. Portuscale is the first Portuguese company that is dedicated to maritime cruises. With four ships in its fleet, the cruise line travels around to Iberian Peninsula and Morocco, Holland Tulips, British Isles, Norwegian Fjords, Atlantic Isles, Spitsbergen and many more.


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NEWS

Promoting J&K in ME Bringing DMCs to India The state tourism department has kicked off a campaign in Focussing on increasing demand and growing tourism – the Middle East to promote Jammu and Kashmir tourism Tourism Enterprises works to bridge the gap between Indian among leading travel agencies of UAE. agencies and suppliers, who are based abroad. T T B U R E AU he Jammu and Kashmir government is looking at unveiling direct Srinagar-Dubai flights in the near future. This was revealed by Talat Parvez, Director, J&K Tourism Department. Parvez, who recently attended the promo-

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it will be forwarded to the Union Civil Ministry for approval. The demand for direct connectivity (between Kashmir and the Gulf countries) has come up during the proceedings of this roadshow.” Throwing more light on this recent promotion in the

J&K Tourism Department has launched a promotional and marketing campaign in Middle East. It aims to invite non-resident Kashmiris to invest in J&K tourism industry Talat Parvez Director, J&K Tourism Department

tional and marketing campaign by J&K Tourism in Dubai, said, “The proposal to start Srinagar-Dubai flight service is in process. Once completed,

Middle East, Parvez informed, “The J&K Tourism Department has launched a promotional and marketing campaign in Middle East starting from

Dubai. The campaign seeks to promote Jammu and Kashmir tourism among leading travel agencies of UAE. It also aims to invite non-resident Kashmiris to invest in J&K tourism industry.” Tourists from Gulf countries have carved a niche among the ‘high-end’ category the world over.

T T B U R E AU owadays, holidays have become a need than a luxury, and travellers want to explore exotic holiday destinations than merely travelling to ‘regular destinations’. Indian outbound market is expanding at the rate of 20 per cent each year, and this might increase further as overseas holidays have become a must-do activity for high networth individuals.

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According to Parvez, Kashmir received more than a million tourists in 2013. Majority of this included domestic travellers. “We hardly get any share from the Gulf, owing to the unavailability of shortened air routes for it,” he pointed out. To combat this, the tourism department is also planning to introduce Arabic tourist hotline and text message service that will be available round-the-clock.

Indian travellers have started visiting destinations like Dubai for shopping and weekends. MICE has been the main driving force, as holidays are offered as incentives to dealers and sub–agents by many organisations, followed by FIT’s.

The state is also targetting Southeast Asia and Russia to promote J&K as a tourist destination. “

This process of ‘representation’ saves on the costs of infrastructure, operations and marketing.

Tourism Enterprises is a representation company which represents Destination Management Companies, Hotels and Resorts from across the world in India. Its USP is their DMC partners

Kumar Utkarsh Senior Manager, Sales & Marketing, Tourism Enterprises

who are eminent among all destinations. “Having won the trust of many small and big Indian travel agents and suppliers abroad, the company is now focussing on future business development by more

competitive services and prices,” says Kumar Utkarsh, Senior Manager, Sales & Marketing, TE. With time and effort, business has streamlined and TE is witnessing significantly high number of queries and conversion. The agencies have shown their trust in TE and as a result – they have succeeded in introducing exclusive destinations in the Indian tourism market like Latin America, Central America, Morocco and Romania. Their future plans are focussed on assisting their colleagues from the tourism industry in making the best of holiday experiences. Tourism Enterprises would try and bring more and more DMCs to help agencies based in India to do direct business with them; this would prove beneficial for customers, travel agencies and the DMCs as a whole.


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Customised itineraries for agents Haresh Koyande, Founder and Managing Director, World Travel Studio, says that they assist travel agents in creating travel plans which are tailored to the clients’ needs and wishes. T T B U R E AU ithin a short span of oneand-a-half years since its launch, World Travel Studio, the customised holiday specialist, has received an overwhelming response from

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Haresh Koyande Founder and Managing Director World Travel Studio

Our team makes every effort to make the agents comfortable and work to take care of all the arrangements

Indian travel agents. This is in particular for destinations like America, Europe and Africa. Currently, they offer over 130 pre-packaged FIT international and domestic packages around the world. Koyande says, “Personalised Europe and America vacations are hot favourites this summer. We offer more than 50 customizable well-planned package options for Europe and America, wherein the travel agent can offer them ‘as is’ to their clients, or the agents can get the plans customised from us as per their clients’ specifications.” Adding, he says, “Apart from the quotation, travel

Game Plan N Personalised Europe and

America vacations are hot favourites this summer. We offer more than 50 customisable well-planned package options for Europe and America, wherein the travel agent can offer them ‘as is’ to their clients, or the agents personalise them.

agents seek support in terms of guidance, suggestions and quick reverts. Our team makes every effort to make the agents comfortable and work to take care of all the arrangements.” Talking about how Indians have now changed

their way of travelling, Koyande says, “India has changed dramatically over the last decade, and so has consumer behaviour. More and more clients are now opting for customised vacations as they want to explore the destination as per their liking and pace. They are

no more interested in just visiting a number of countries; they’d rather indulge in unique experiences, apart from seeing the popular places. They want to stay in city centre hotels to get the ‘real feel’, eat at local restaurants, watch cultural shows and at least have one or

two days to explore the city on their own by travelling in local transportation.” “Today, an Indian traveller is well-informed and more confident than before,” Koyande says, “We continuously monitor these trends and accordingly

adapt our product portfolios and services. This enables our team to effectively cater to the needs and requirements of the clients in the shortest possible time. This has helped us immensely to get support and a good response from the travel trade in India.”


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HOTELS

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A preferred B2B loyalty solution soon In a freewheeling conversation with , Anthony Ross and Saurabh Rai talk about how the Preferred Hotel Group is driving continuous development and strategic expansion of the company and its family of brands in India M E G H A PAU L nthony Ross, Executive Vice President-Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Preferred Hotel Group, revealed that this year, Chicago-based Preferred Hotel Group will be hosting its first Distribution and Revenue Management Workshop for its member hotels in India and the Middle East. The workshop is designed to help the Core Revenue Management team members, including Revenue Managers, Director of Sales and General Managers to understand the distribution network and enhance the revenue opportunities for the hotel. The company is also targetting a growth of 20 per cent from its India portfolio in 2014.

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The global provider of sales, marketing and distribution services to independent luxury hotels has 30 hotels in its portfolio in India currently

and the range of brands include Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Preferred Boutique, Summit Hotels & Resorts, Sterling Hotels and Sterling Design. According to Ross, business and leisure travellers are becoming more receptive to the unique experiences that independent hotels or small hotel groups offer. “At the same time, travellers are embracing the idea of interesting, unique, independent hotel experiences; hotel owners are reevaluating the substantial costs and dilution of control over their assets that they are subject to with hard brands. Soft brands like Preferred Hotel Group provide the brand endorsement, international connectivity, sales and marketing support of hard brands, but at a fraction of the cost,” he points out. In the changing scenario where hospitality business has

Anthony Ross Executive Vice President-Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Preferred Hotel Group

We will be hosting our first Distribution and Revenue Management Workshop in India and the Middle East

Saurabh Rai Area Managing Director-South Asia and Middle East, Preferred Hotel Group

With iPrefer, travellers do not have to choose between an independent hotel and a points-fuelled loyalty programme

been hit worldwide, the group is moving cautiously in India as well. Talking about specific challenges the company needs to tackle in the Indian market, Ross reveals, “We are not experiencing any challenges that are unique to India. As with other locations in which we operate, new hotel development is rising faster than demand for hotel rooms. Fortunately, we work with some of the best hotel owners and hoteliers in India who fully understand the direct correlation between the quality of their products and ser vices and maintaining strong market share.” Confirming that B2B is the extended arm of the company, Saurabh Rai, Area Managing Director-South Asia and Middle East, Preferred Hotel Group, asserts, “We are diligently working towards setting up the platform to launch a version 2.0 of iPrefer Rewards Program,

which would incorporate a B2B loyalty solution for our independent member hotels focussed on our Meeting Planner and Travel Management Company partners.” In August last year, the group re-launched its iPrefer Rewards Program, the world’s first loyalty programme that rewards travellers with points for choosing the independent hotel experience. Outlining the USP of the new programme, Rai informs, “With iPrefer, travellers no longer have to choose between the unique perspective of an independent hotel experience and the appeal of a points-fuelled loyalty programme. iPrefer presents a simple and flexible model that allows the traveller to choose where, when, and for what they want to redeem their points. This structure stands out as an attractive alternative to the common ‘points-for-roomsonly’ model.”

Flexi cruising experience Norway's Hurtigruten Cruise, represented by Discover the World India in the Indian market, is one of the very few exotic cruise liners offering flexible cruising experiences round the year. T T B U R E AU urtigruten offers departures every day of the year with a choice of 6, 7, 11 or 12 day voyages. "Apart from longer cruising experiences, it also offers a range of short excursions option. Whether it's dog-sledding in Tromso, bird watching in Honningsvag, a visit to the famous snow hotel in Kirkenes or a historical tour in Bergen, each tour is operated by one of Hurtigruten's knowledgeable multilingual guides. And it doesn't matter what fitness level or age the passenger are. With such a broad range of activities, there truly is something for everyone", informed Vrushali Dalvi, Business

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Development Manager, Cruises - India, Discover the World. Hurtigruten takes passengers into some of the most remote and untouched destinations on the planet, allowing them to witness sights and experience cultures that few have had the chance to encounter. According to Dalvi, the most well-known journey is the famous Norwegian Coastal Voyage, which is often described as the ‘world's most beautiful voyage’, provides a cruise for people who want to see more than just the sea. She said, "The ship travels up and down the magnificent coastline of Norway from Bergen in the

Vrushali Dalvi Business Development Manager, Cruises – India, Discover the World

Apart from longer cruising experiences, we also offer short excursion options south to Kirkenes in the north calling at 34 ports along the way, most of them never visited by the large cruise liners. There is no dress for dinner and no fighting for the Captain's table - this journey is about immersing yourself in the heart of the destination and its culture".


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FAMILY ALBUM

Starwood India Expo 2014 Starwood Hotels & Resorts recently held their annual road show - Starwood India Expo 2014 in Le Meridien, New Delhi. Providing a platform for the hotels to engage with meetings, corporate and travel trade partners, the event witnessed the who's who of the industry.


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NEWS

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Enhancing movie magic experience The popular Ramoji Film City, near Hyderabad,was established in 1996. It is set to add new attractions, which is sure to boost the tourist arrivals and footfall at the sprawling, well laid-out 1,666 acre complex. A N I L M AT H U R s many as 400 films are shot every year at the imaginatively built city, which attracts as many as 1.6 million visitors - local, national and international - every year.

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Rajeev Jalnapurkar CEO, Ramoji Film City (Winner of Best Family Travel Destination at the South India Travel Awards)

Rajeev Jalnapurkar, CEO, Ramoji Film City, informed that the new attractions will add a new dimension to the already well-known city complex, which is a one-stop

facility for film-making, complete with gardens, station, airport, rail coaches, temple, hospital, equipment and manpower. The film city acts as an educational and entertainment centre and the focus will be further enhanced by adding two new major attractions. Of course, the thrust on movies, MICE and other activities will in no way be diluted with the new attractions. Shopping, entertainment, restaurants and movie-related activities, complete with stunt shows, ensure a memorable experience for the MICE guests.

Achievements ntly vel won the Best Family Tra a Indi th Sou the at tion tina Des . Travel Awards in Hyderabad n The film city has bee ss recognised by the Guinne the Book of World Records as largest film city complex in the world.

rece N The Ramoji Film City

Sahas Adventure Land It is the other new attraction, for which a separate entry ticket is planned, Jalnapurkar informed. Sahas has wide range of adventure and other activities, which will be a major attraction for the young and the old, who may come especially for this or as an add-on to the film city experience. Archery, target shooting, rifle shooting, zorbing, bungee ejector and mountain cycling with gear are some of the Sahas offerings.

The city has three hotels-Sitara, with 170 rooms, for the luxury segment; Tara, with 126 rooms, for the economy, and Sahara is an air-conditioned dormitory.

Wings The new section is the Wings, which has been designed in an eco-friendly way, both for the visitors and the birds ---

260 of them -- imported from as far as South America, and housed in tastefully done up enclosures. In few cases, it is the birds which are free and the visitors are in an enclosure. Like the rest of the film city, the Wings, too, will be both an educational and entertainment tool. There is no separate entry ticket for the Wings.


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FTAs grow 4.5% year-onyear in March 2014: MOT n Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in March, 2014 was 6.69 lakh with a growth of 4.5% over 6.40 lakh tourists in March, 2013. Also, Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism in March, 2014 were `10,257 crore, in comparison to ` 9,553 crore in March, 2013. FTAs were 21.27 lakh during the period JanuaryMarch 2014, as compared to FTAs of 20.27 lakh (marking a growth of 4.9%); according to a report from the Ministry of Tourism, India. The growth rate in FEEs in rupee terms in March 2014 over March 2013 was 7.4% as compared to 21.8% in March 2013 over March

2012. FEE from tourism in rupee terms during JanuaryMarch 2014 were `32,809 crore with a growth of 8.4%, as compared to FEEs of `30,270 crore with a growth of 21.2% during JanuaryMarch 2013 over the corresponding period of 2012. However, FEEs in US$ terms during the month of March 2014 were US$ 1.679 billion as compared to FEEs of US$ 1.757 billion during the month of March 2013 and US$ 1.559 billion in March 2012. The growth rate in FEEs in US$ terms in March 2014 over March 2013 was negative growth of 4.4% as compared to the growth of 12.7% in March 2013 over March 2012.

DID YOU KNOW? India extends VoA for South Korea India has finally extended the Tourist Visa-on-Arrival Scheme for the citizens of South Korea . The Tourist Visa-on-Arrival Scheme scheme will provide single entry with 30 days validity after paying US$60 at the airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

For a Total Solution approach TI Infotech, a premier Information Technology company has made inroads in the field of customised solutions for the Travel and Tourism domain, ERP Implementation and Support, Custom Application Development, IT consulting and eCommerce solutions. T T B U R E AU alking about the USP of the company, Meenu Sachdeva, Managing Director, TI InfoTech said, “We provide software solutions and support services to our clients across the globe, following ‘A Total Solution Approach’. Our products ‘Travel Assist’ and ‘Travel Cloud’ suite are the best in the industry to maintain optimum price-quality relation in our services in the market. We have customers in different countries like India, China, Kenya, Tanzania, Dubai, Riyadh, Barcelona, Croatia, Morocco, United States, Oman, Sri Lanka, etc.”

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Elaborating the two travel trades, she said, “Travel Assist is a complete tour management software that enables an organisation to efficiently manage a complete tour cycle,

Our products Travel Assist and Travel Cloud suite are the best in the industry to maintain the best pricequality relation in our services in the market. Meenu Sachdeva Managing Director TI InfoTech

from enquiry to tour operations to financial accounting. This application enables a tour company to manage operations of all business segments; FIT, GIT, series, ad-hoc, charters and excursion management. It is seamlessly integrated to Oracle Financials accounting functions. It can also be integrated with any third-party application or e-commerce

platform solution using XML Service Oriented Architecture. Travel Cloud is an all-in-one suite to automate the travel business process from content acquisition all the way through distribution. It equips the travel companies with the ability to sell across multiple channels, expand their distribution network and sell their online travel offerings in a differentiated way.

Talking about the trends in Indian online space for tourism, she added, “In India the biggest challenge imposed upon the tourism industry is in adopting the right technology in line with their business. There is a very big gap between the tourism industry and the technology industry. Some organisations have been able to tap into this gap and have turned into Online Travel Agents (OTA). However, it is not that every tourism business needs to become an OTA to successfully utilise technology. It is more important to understand each business’s competitive edge and adopt the related technology in order to strengthen their competencies. We must continue to work on incorporating new technologies in our management of tourism businesses and destinations.”


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Hospitality with a Rajputana touch Rajasthali Resort & Spa, Kukas has been built on a 25-acre plot of which around 14 acres has been left for landscaping, so the spread brings forth the royal element. A watchtower in the landscaped area adds an old world charm. T T B U R E AU ajasthali Resort & Spa, Kukas is strategically located on the Jaipur-Delhi

R

Ankush Sharma Head- Sales & Business Development Rajasthali Resort & Spa, Kukas, Jaipur

We have themed the entire resort on royalty. Rajasthali means ‘where kings dwell’. So, we want people to feel like kings when they stay with us

highway. It is aptly placed at 22 km north of Jaipur, yet at proximity for a complete getaway feel. According to Ankush Sharma, Head- Sales & Business Development, Rajasthali Resort & Spa,

DGCA: Foreigners won’t control Indian carriers n In effect to amendments in a rule relating to grant of flying permits to new airlines in the country, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has made it clear that foreign airlines or investors would not have the right to control the management of an Indian carrier. According to a PTI report, DGCA has stipulated that a scheduled Indian airline cannot enter into an agreement with a foreign investing institution or a foreign airline which could give these foreign entities the right to control the management of the domestic operator. It has also made it clear that such foreign entities could have representation on the Board of Directors of the Indian Airline Company, but not more than one-third of the total number.

Kukas, Jaipur, the resort is targetting both leisure and corporate segments. He says, “We have themed the entire resort on the royalty that Rajasthan is known for. Rajasthali means ‘where kings dwell’. So, we want people to feel as kings when they stay with us.”

It differentiates itself architecturally from the rest of the hotels located in the Kukas region of the city. Talking about how the property has positioned itself in the Jaipur hospitality market, Sharma reveals, “The hotel is an upscale high-end luxury bou-

tique resort. We are aggressively tapping FITs, primarily domestic travellers. We have occupancy of 68 per cent last year. This is remarkable as this was the second year of operations for the hotel. We are now eyeing on a target of 85 per cent occupancy for 2014-15.”

Giving more information about its MICE offerings, Sharma informs, “We are placed in a way that will attract a lot of incentives and in-house conferences/meetings. Additionally, we also organise cultural activities, bonfires in winters and

leisure activities like camel, elephant, horse rides, mountain biking, rock climbing, etc., to add the entertainment quotient.” The company expects more interest coming from big corporate groups in the coming season.


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FAMILY ALBUM

Kolkata gets taste of Filipino flavours The Department of Tourism, Philippines (DOT) recently conducted a joint FAM tour to the Philippines in association with the Singapore Airlines. The trip consisted of nine travel agents from Kolkata, along with two representatives from the Singapore Airlines.


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IITB-2014: A renewed push for inbound The Ashok, New Delhi, played host to the first edition of the India International Travel Bazaar (IITB-2014). The event took off to a great start as it witnessed participation of a large number of buyers from all over the world.

Contd. on page 50 u


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Setting the pace for B2B meetings

Contd. on page 52 u


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Welcoming all international buyers

Contd. on page 54 u


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For a burgeoning Indian tourism


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HOTELS

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55

Chalking out roadmap for India ops After adding five properties in its Indian portfolio, the France-based Relais & Chateaux, which manages over 500 hotels and restaurants across 60 countries, is now scouting for regions in Rajasthan for boutique hotels. T T B U R E AU lanning to permeate the Asian market with more hotels for the luxury traveller,

P

Udaipur in Rajasthan. “We do not fix our target in quantity but in quality. Wherever a property deserves to join, we will consider it,” she revealed. Regarding the growing importance of the Indian market, Tang pointed out, “The

Angeline Tang Director-Sales, Asia-Pacific, Relais & Chateaux

We do not fix our target in quantity but in quality. Wherever a property deserves to be, we will consider it France-based Relais & Chateaux is in the process of identifying regions in India. According to Angeline Tang, Director-Sales, Asia-Pacific,

Jaisal Singh Vice President, Relais & Chateaux Asia and COO, Sujan Luxury

The Relais & Chateaux membership helps exclusive standalone properties to ‘leverage their brand value’

Relais & Chateaux, the luxury group is looking at growing its Indian portfolio in key cities such as Jaipur, Jodhpur and

first Indian property that joined Relais & Chateaux was in 2008 and now in 2014, we have a total of five properties in the country. The biggest challenge was to introduce a new brand in the market. The potential is huge and the growth in India will give us

good hope that our client base will also grow quite rapidly.” Indian travellers are inclined to luxury, tend to associate it highly with service levels, and expect to be pampered. The Indian luxury travellers take multiple trips throughout the year

and also look value-for-money she feels.

out for deals,

Talking about the significance of crafting experiences for our guests and not for bottomlines, Jaisal Singh, the new Vice President,

Relais & Chateaux Asia and COO, Sujan Luxury, said, “The Relais & Chateaux membership helps exclusive standalone properties to ‘leverage the brand value’ and instill confidence in the minds of luxury clients to stay in their properties.”


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MITT 2014 promises big business The 21st Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (MITT) saw over 1,800 exhibitors with international companies representing two-thirds of this number. This key meeting place enables participants to increase awareness of their destination, gain a real feel for the Russian travel market and gauge demand for their services. India saw a growing presence at the show and the number of Russians visiting India has also grown tremendously.


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Travel trade gets a new address The Address Hotels + Resorts, Armani Hotels & Resorts & Vida Hotels & Resorts came to India at New Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai to thank its India Representative – the Nijhawan Group and the Indian travel trade that helped them receive good business from India.


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Joining hands for a new innings In a recent event in New Delhi, the UAE DMC Lama Group and Carfare, a privately-owned comprehensive mobility solution group, came together to announce the signing of an agreement to merge the two premier services in the hospitality industry.

Next-generation Park Inn by Radisson n Park Inn by Radisson Gurgaon Bilaspur, the first next generation Park Inn by RadissonŽ hotel in India, has formally opened now. The hotel had a soft opening in January earlier this year. The hotel offers 98 rooms, including six suites. Positioned to capture the mid-scale market, the hotel is to cater to the business travellers, extended stay travellers, FITs and fami lies. The hotel is a result of the joint venture between

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and Bestech Hospitality, to build 49 Park Inn by Radisson hotels. Currently there are eight

such hotels in the pipeline. Carlson Rezidor Group will now have 66 hotels in operation and 45 hotels in the pipeline.

TAAI & Visit Scotland meet in Glasgow

VisitScotland invited TAAI Managing Committee to explore the tourism potential of Scotland / destination knowledge, to take home a wealth of ideas and useful business contacts for Scotland travel products and more prominently, get first hand knowledge of hotel properties around Scotland through detailed recces, for consideration of holding the TAAI Annual Convention 2015 /2016 in breathtaking Scotland.


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Rendezvous en France 2014 The 9 th edition of the workshop, Rendezvous en France, 2014 held in Clermont-Ferrand, France welcomed 850 buyers and 660 global sellers.

Getting cosy with Champagne Atout France in partnership with Air France and Regional Tourist Board of Champagne-Ardenne organised a post-event Familiarisation Tour for Indian travel agents to Champagne Ardenne after Rendezvous en France 2014.


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AGENTS MAY INTERNATIONAL 2-3

Cape Town

World Travel Market Africa

5-8

Dubai

Arabian Travel Market (ATM)

9-11 10-12 11-13

Shanghai Durban Bremen

World Travel Fair Indaba Expo Germany Travel Mart

18-21 20-22 27-30

New Zealand Frankfurt Vancouver

Trenz IMEX 2014 Canadian Tourism Commission’s Rendezvous Canada Korea World Travel Fair

29-Jun 1 Seoul

JUNE NATIONAL 9 10 12 13 23 25 27

Ahmedabad Bengaluru Chennai Delhi Bengaluru Hyderabad Chennai

Munich's Roadshow Munich's Roadshow Munich's Roadshow Munich's Roadshow Visit Britain’s B2B Roadshow Visit Britain’s B2B Roadshow Visit Britain’s B2B Roadshow

24-26 27-29

Gandhinagar Guwahati

Gujarat Travel Mart TTF Guwahati

Providing new avenues to Russia One of the largest DMCs in Russia, UTS Travel is looking after different segments of travel industry such as leisure & business travel, sports & events travel, online hotel reservations etc. Their main focus is MICE incoming and leisure travel in Russia and the former USSR. T T B U R E AU

Russia is a niche destination and hence it is important to create awareness about it in India. There is increasing demand for Russia from the FIT and the MICE segment as well

fter five years of successful operations, Global Destinations has now paved its way into Russia as well. The company has been recently appointed as India’s representative for UTS Travel Russian DMC with offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg. According to Pranav Kapadia, Founder, Global Destinations, these are exciting times for Global

A

USP N UTS Travel’s strong selling points are its multilingual staff, flexible price policy, direct contracts with local suppliers, a huge background experience and an ambition to supply a high level of services at competitive rates

Pranav Kapadia Founder Global Destinations

Destinations as the new addition to the portfolio is one of the largest DMCs in Russia. Giving more details about UTS Travel, Kapadia reveals, “Since its inception in 1994, UTS Travel is looking after different segments of travel industry such as leisure & business travel, sports & events

travel, online hotel reservation etc. Their main focus is MICE Incoming and Leisure travel in Russia and the former USSR. Currently, UTS Travel is a big company with more than 350 employees working in Moscow and St-Petersburg offices. UTS Travel is a team of experienced, young and proactive people who take pleasure in

their job, making every journey easy and unforgettable.” UTS Travel’s strong selling points are its multilingual staff, flexible price policy, direct contracts with local suppliers, a huge background experience and an ambition to supply a high level of services at competitive rates – which is very important for Indian customers. Regarding the potential of Russia in the Indian outbound market, he points out, “Russia is a niche destination and hence it is important to create awareness about it in India. Russia has become hugely popular with Indian travellers and we see this as a fantastic opportunity to expand our business. There is increasing demand for Russia from the FIT segment and lately there have been queries from the MICE segment as well.”

INTERNATIONAL 2-5

Shanghai

Asia International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM Asia 2014)

4-6

Bangkok

Thailand Travel Mart Plus

10-12

Orlando

America Incentives Business Travel & Meetings Expo (AIBTM 2014)

15-17

Sydney

Outdoor Retailer Australia

19-21

Dhaka

Bangladesh International Tourism Fair

19-22

Singapore

Zak Salaam India Tourism Expo

22-24

Zimbabwe

Routes Africa 2014

27-29

Beijing

Beijing International Tourism Expo 2014

29-July 2 Barcelona

4th International Conference on Tourism between China-Spain

Expanding focus to rope in India Headquartered in Dubai, Yoko Tourism was established three years ago with an initial target market of Russia, Latin America, Brazil and Europe. In recent years, the company has expanded its market focus to include India and China. T T B U R E AU perating with the aim of becoming the very best Destination Management Company in Dubai, Yoko Tourism offers a comprehensive list of services for inbound and outbound travellers, be it

O JULY NATIONAL 4-6 4-6 9 11 11-13 18-20 21

Kolkata Kolkata Delhi Chandigarh Hyderabad Bengaluru Bengaluru

23

Mumbai

25

New Delhi

25-27 31

Chennai Chennai

Visit Britain’s B2B Roadshow Travel & Tourism Fair – Kolkata Visit Britain’s B2B Roadshow Visit Britain’s B2B Roadshow Travel & Tourism Fair – Hyderabad India International Travel Mart Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau’s B2B workshop Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau’s B2B workshop Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau’s B2B workshop India International Travel Mart Tourism New Zealand’s Kiwi Link India 2014

INTERNATIONAL 4-6

Beijing

Luxury China

10-13

Germany

European Outdoor Trade Fair

11-13

Abu Dhabi

World Luxury Expo

23-26

China

Asia Outdoor Trade Fair

24-26

Cebu

Cebu International Travel Expo

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

ipation in previous editions and in the current one. Amit Ghosh, General Manager, Yoko Tourism clarifies, “The group had not participated in the previous editions of the symposium, but the travel group had been budgeted this year to participate in every

With Dubai winning the World Expo 2020 bid, we are witnessing a great jump in inbound traffic Amit Ghosh General Manager Yoko Tourism

product to place ourselves amongst the leading DMC for UAE to start with. We bought a fleet of 100 vehicles of various categories to offer competitive pricing to our clients for their transport requirements. We are in the final stage for developing our own online portal and invest in other land arrangements, excursions, and hire experienced and qualified staff,” Ghosh further informed. As the World Expo 2020 sends Dubai tourism into overdrive, Yoko Tourism is leveraging its presence in Qatar, Vienna, Thailand to promote Dubai and its brand of tourism. Furthermore, in 2014, it has expanded its horizons to new markets in the countries where the group doesn’t have offices.

alised services. We have a very strategic marketing plan to cash in and are already witnessing a huge numbers of conversions.” The group has faced its own challenges in its setup, the lack of trained staff to go in conjunction with the infrastructure and product. Yoko Tourism is expanding its online brand presence, making their product pricing more competitive. They are also doubling their vehicle fleet, head hunting staff as well to allow break into new foreign markets.

Eyeing New Sources N As the World Expo

arranging desert safaris or sports & medical travel.

major travel convention, including the ATM.”

With the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2014 just around the corner, the first point of discussion was the group’s partic-

“In last quarter of 2013, we have decided to enter the inbound business and strategically started developing our

Ghosh elucidated, “With Dubai winning the 2020 bid, we are witnessing a great jump in inbound traffic. Hence, we have invested in having our own products to offer more competitive price in the market with more person-

2020 sends Dubai tourism into overdrive, Yoko Tourism is leveraging its presence in Qatar, Vienna, Thailand to promote Dubai and its brand of tourism.


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OPPORTUNITY/CLIPBOARD


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CLIPBOARD

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MOVEMENTS

WelcomHeritage

Mauritius Tourism

The Lalit Mumbai

New Delhi

New Delhi

Mumbai

D Kavarana has taken over as the CEO of WelcomHeritage Hotels. He joined ITC Hotels as a management trainee in 1977. Since then, he has worked in most of the ITC Hotels mainly in the F&B discipline, until 1999. Subsequently, he has been the General Manager within the Luxury Hotels of ITC, viz at Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi and lastly at Mumbai, as the Area Manager West and General Manager at ITC Maratha. With Kavarana’s experience at ITC Hotels for nearly 35 years, his tenure at WelcomHeritage Hotels will focus on expanding the brand to 50 heritage properties by 2015.

Vivek Anand has joined Mauritius Tourism as its Country Manager. He has over 30 years of experience in marketing, advertising, publishing and printing industry and has worked with companies such as Publicis, Ajanta and Express. He has managed brands such as Jack Daniels, Musim Mas, Finlandia, Monte Carlo, International Olive Council and the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture among many others. Anand will be heading the team promoting Mauritius in India in addition to marketing and PR activities for MTPA.

Vijay Sethi is now the General Manager of The Lalit Mumbai. His 31 years of experience spans across industries like hotels, airlines, travel & tourism and healthcare. Prior to joining The Lalit Mumbai, he was associated with the Keys Hotels Berggruen Hotel as the Chief Operating Officer. He started his career with Clarks Group of Hotels and has worked with brands such as Centaur Hotel, Sofitel Surya and Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, Leela Kempinski in hospitality, Jet Airways in aviation, Thomas Cook India in travel & tourism, and Asian Heart Institute in healthcare.

The Lalit Ashok

Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru

Grand Hyatt Goa

Bengaluru

Bengaluru

Goa

Bhaskaran T is now the General Manager for The Lalit Ashok in Bengaluru. He has over 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Prior to this, Bhaskaran was the General Manager of The Lalit Laxmi Vilas Palace Udaipur for two years. He has also worked with various prominent hotels which include Hyatt Regency, Novotel Hyderabad, Viceroy Hotels, The Leela Palace Kempinski, InterContinental and The Lalit Mumbai.

Jens Peter Corder has been appointed as the General Manager of Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru. Corder, an Australian national, brings with him more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, specialising all aspects of hotel operations, with an avid interest for food and beverage. During his career of over two decades, he has won many awards, few of which are the ‘Young Achiever Award’ on Brisbane’s Channel 9, and the gold medal in Australia’s National Salon Culinaire.

Jaco le Roux is now the General Manager of Grand Hyatt Goa. With over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, he has worked with the Hyatt group the world over. Apart from working in his home country, South Africa, he has also worked and managed 5-star chains in various locations like Muscat, Istanbul, Amsterdam, Moscow, Belgrade and London. Prior to joining Grand Hyatt Goa, Roux has been General Manager of Hyatt Regency Oubaai Resort & Spa for three years.

Courtyard by Marriott, Bilaspur

InterContinental Hotels Group

Trinity Air Travel & Tours

Bilaspur

National Capital Region

Mumbai

Amit Midha has been appointed as the General Manager of Courtyard by Marriott Bilaspur. He has worked with Jaypee Hotels & Six Senses Spa in Greater Noida, Oberoi Hotels in Gurgaon, Chennai Kolkata, Jaipur & Udaipur; Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai; Grand Hyatt in Mumbai & Delhi and JW Marriott in Mumbai in various capacities.

Donald A.Wingell has been appointed as the Director of Food & Beverage Performance and Support for South West Asia. Wingell’s key responsibility will be to drive F&B performance in the region, while working closely with hotel general managers and F&B teams to maximise revenues and service delivery. His career includes working with brands such as Fairmont, Shangri-La, Raffles and Anantara hotels across North America and Asia. His last role was with the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, as their Food & Beverage Director.

Pramod Dalvi has joined Trinity Air Travel & Tours as Vice President and based at their corporate office in Mumbai. Dalvi has almost spent 41 years in the travel, tourism and aviation industry and has been associated with organisations like Thomas Cook India, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, P&O Travel India, International Travel House, Forvol International Travels, Korean Airlines, Autoriders International and retired from FCH Centrum as Sr. Vice President.

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

Neelu Singh, Chief Operations Officer (COO), Ezeego1.com, says that gardening is one of her favourite hobbies and on a holiday, you will find her pottering around the in-house garden. She is also interested in interior designing and has an eye for unique home decor styles. She loves going out on long drives whenever time permits. "My morning starts with an hour and a half of yoga, which I never miss. I believe firmly in the Buddhist philosophy and have been following it for the past 20 years," she says. She loves old songs, be it Hindi or English classics. She is quite the movie buff and loves watching Hindi films, especially Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, which she claims to have watched almost 20 times.

Catherine Oden, Director, Atout France, India, Catherine gets her passion for travel from her parents, who were also great travellers. Work for her is like a hobby. She feels that she has never had the impression of going to work. She says, “I really enjoy what I do. I used to entertain guests a lot and I really hope I will have time for that again because I love sharing the food of France. I love cooking, if I have time I try to take cooking classes, be it in France, Bali, Japan, or in India itself. Whenever I am in any country, I try to explore their cuisine. I love reading, spas and aroma therapy.”

Pankaj Mathur, General Manager, The Suryaa, I like to teach and train, it's a passion. I like talking about leadership skills, soft skills and negotiating skills. In my free time, I like to do a lot of reading. Robin Sharma is my favourite author. And, I also like to spend time with my family. Travelling is one thing that we, as a family, do together and Goa is our favourite destination. I have lived in Goa, and have had two stints of three years each while I was there. For my kids, Goa is home. However, the last trip we took was to Hong Kong where we visited Disneyland and had a lot of fun during the trip.


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Postal Reg. No.: DL(ND)-11/6044/2012-13-14; WPP No.: U(C)-178/2012-14 for posting on 1st-2nd and 16th-17th of the same month at New Delhi P.S.O., RNI No.: 53492/91 Date of Publication:30-04-2014

HIGHLIGHT

Mobile is the way to go for Yatra Having raised a funding of `140 crore, Dhruv Shringi, CEO, Yatra.com, talks about increasing their presence in the mobile domain, adding new lines of business through apps and expanding their penetration. PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA What does the `140 crore funding entail for Yatra? The funding will primarily be used to strengthen our position in the domestic holidays and hotels segment. We are the leaders in the domestic hotel space; and what we want to do is further increase our supply of hotels. We currently have 15,000 hotels and we want the number to increase this number significantly by the end of this calendar year. Funding will be used to enhance mobile technology. Apart from this, we also want to focus on increasing our brand presence. As the market expands, you will see a lot of the competition using the Internet for the first time. Because of this, we want to ensure that we have top-ofthe-mind recall, and are the brand leaders in this category. So, a part of the funding will be invested on the brand side as well.

How will the new investment help Yatra enhance its mobile technology?

Mobile is growing very rapidly – more than 20 per cent of traffic and 15 per cent of flight bookings come from mobiles. This surge in mobile business has come in the last one year, and we are very keen to grow our presence. We want to enhance our features and our product offerings on this front. We will be adding new lines of business through apps and will be expanding their penetration.

Are you planning any new laterals, and plans to diversify? We are actively looking for opportunities on the technological side, especially in mobile technology. There are also ancillary services that we have been considering, but mobile technology is really up there as something that we are looking at exponentially growing.

With mobile phone access growing, the business dynamics of online travel is changing. How do you plan to address this?

The mobile segment has grown significantly over the past 12-18 months. It is the way forward for the ecommerce industry and in particular, the travel business. Growing this category is one of our prime objectives this year. We have adopted an aggressive marketing approach to drive traffic and bookings via mobile. Dhruv Shringi CEO, Yatra.com

Yatra.com becomes Rajasthan Royals’ official travel partner Online travel agency Yatra.com Tuesday announced its collaboration with Indian Premier League (IPL) team Rajasthan Royals as their official travel partner. Through its association with IPL, Yatra.com aims at reaching out to millions of fans by leveraging the cricket fever in the country. Commenting on the association, Dhruv Shringi, CEO, Yatra.com said, “We are delighted to partner with Rajasthan Royals and ride the IPL wave this season. This partnership is a great fit as the Rajasthan Royals brand ethos resonates closely with our own.”

The mobile segment has grown significantly over the past 12-18 months. It is clearly the way forward for the e-commerce industry and in particular, the travel business, where last-minute bookings are driving the trend.

Growing this category is one of our prime objectives this year, and we have adopted an aggressive marketing approach to drive traffic and bookings via mobile. We do mobile searches and display advertising as well as run promotions from time to time to drive the shift.

What is your strategy for 2014? We will focus this year on building up the domestic holidays and hotel segments. We have seen an improvement in the market environment and have more capacity coming in on the airline side. We expect our hotels and holiday package numbers to grow significantly. Again, we would like to increase our brand presence and enhance mobile technology for 2014.


A DDP PUBLICATION

SIKKIM: A trekking paradise C Zangpo, Secretary, Tourism & Civil Aviation Department, Government of Sikkim, talks on how the greenfield airport coming up in Pakyong will help make Sikkim more accessible to all. He also said that awareness is a major roadblock in promoting Sikkim, and they are working on making more people aware about the state. Promoting tourists

Sikkim

among

Sikkim has everything to offer to tourists - mountains, lakes, religious spots, you name it and we have it. The state is also a trekkers’ paradise and we have got great places for adventure tourism. We have started with rock climbing and mountain climbing. We are streamlining the adventure tourism sector; trek routes have been opened up and we have made every basic amenity available to tourists. Besides these, we also have trained personnel for guiding tourists in various adventurerelated activities. We want to market Sikkim globally and make everyone aware what the state has to offer to tourists. Also, we are now trying to work with the Ministry of Tourism to promote the Buddhist Circuit in Sikkim. Sikkim as a place caters to all types of tourists, be it those looking for luxury or tourists who are on a budget holiday. We are also trying to promote the folktales of Sikkim, through which we are trying to familiarise people with the history of our state.

C Zangpo, Secretary Tourism & Civil Aviation Department Government of Sikkim

The state government’s focus on tourism Better air connectivity We are coming up with a greenfield airport. We expect the airport to be operative by March 2015, and the deadline for completion is December 2014. This airport will be at Pakyong, which is around 30 km from the capital city of Gangtok and since Pakyong is centrally located,

it is easily accessible from all parts of Sikkim. However, this airport is only meant for ATRs and not Boeings. We are trying to get flights from Kolkata and Patna to Gangtok. We are also requesting the government to operate international flights from Pakyong to nearby places like Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Tourism is the topmost priority of the state government, as it not only promotes the state, but also creates job opportunities for the youth. We have also come up with a different logistic approach by introducing the concept of homestays. Here, we market our own indigenous local cuisine, so people can get a taste of a different kind of food.


NORTHEAST Key Facts N Every year, more than 30 million tourists come for pilgrimage, trekking and sight-seeing N The Himalayas cover 16 per cent of India’s total area

Northeast offers round-the-year fun The Ministry of Tourism has recognised the potential of the Himalayas as a very important region in the country to attract international as well as young domestic tourists especially for adventure tourism. Himalayas provide an opportunity for roundthe-year tourism because of their attractions. Mutual responsibilities of the government, industry and common people are necessary to preserve and develop heritage Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, GoI,

Northeast in a nutshell hal Pradesh xplored passes, tranquil lakes and Arunac e to picturesque mountains, une ve and rare lusi It is a hom rict of the state has its own exc famous monasteries. Every dist variety of orchids.

am is Assam life and bird sanctuaries, Ass the lush national parks and several wild te are With five husiasts. At the heart of the sta tributaries. its a blessed land for wildlife ent and tra apu hm Bra the by ed green hills and valleys dissect

Tripura beautiful rock cut carvings and stone images at Unngeakoandti, que ‘Ora Tripura has November, every year, the uni Devtamura and Pilak. Duringted in the Jampui Hills. Tourism Festival’ is celebra

sual nd Nagala rishing green valleys and unu feel one is full of attractive steep hills, flou makes Nagaland with an unscathed ambience tribes. Its serene environme. nt in the lap of Mother Nature

peaks, am Mizor as one travels here. Mist-clrada perfect d promises unbroken solitude offe The lan ams and quaint tribal villages lush green valleys, gushing stre holiday retreat.

apes, ur Manurip of India'. From serene landsc is known as the 'Switzerland is no way one re Manip to the warmhearted locals, the exotic wildlife, floating islands ce. pla this will not fall in love with

ld’s Sikkingim chenjunga (8,598m), the wor the Sikkim–Nepal border is Kan d from many spie Straddl w-capped white peaks can be third-highest mountain. Its sno points around the state.

arvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, GoI, on different occasions emphasised on mutual responsibilities of the government, industry and common people to preserve and develop heritage. He always maintained that ‘manufacturing heritage’ is welcome, however, there should also be serious efforts to involve local community to display their culture to create a niche in this segment. He is of the view that Himalayas provide an opportunity for round-the-year tourism because of their attractions. The ministry launched a new campaign, ‘777 days of The Indian Himalayas’ to promote this tourist product internationally.

P

Sonam Chombay Secretary, Tourism, Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Tourism has already streamlined the procedure for foreign tourists to travel to the state. The permits can be obtained from our Delhi office, apart from our office in Arunachal


LUXURY TRAINS

An experience unsurpassed The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) has now added shorter itineraries and new destinations for the Maharajas’ Express.

he Maharajas’ Express is sure living up to its name and providing a royal treat to its passengers. Besides dishing out the regular itinerary, the IRCTC has now added shorter itineraries and new destinations for the super luxury train. IRCTC has now announced new itineraries, routes and pricing for the Maharajas’ Express.

T

Pradip Kundu Joint General Manager, PR, IRCTC

These shorter itineraries which include popular routes are expected to be in great demand especially amongst the Indian tourists. While the Maharajas’ Express so far had only been

operating on eight-day itineraries. For the coming season, the Maharajas’ Express will be operating on five new itineraries on four routes, which would include two itineraries of four days each with a view to meeting the long-felt demand for a shorter itinerary. Besides cities like Agra, Delhi, Ranthambore, Jaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Mumbai, Fatehpur Sikri, Gwalior, Orchha/Khajurao,

Varanasi and Lucknow, the Maharajas’ Express would now be touching new destinations like UNESCO world heritage sites of Ajanta Caves, Balasinor (which is the third largest Jurassic Park in the world), and have a number of new and improved experiences to make the packages more attractive. “A new entry level price of US$3,580 has been offered

for the four-day itinerary (Deluxe Cabin - for a 4-day itinerary). On a like-to-like basis, the prices have been reduced from US$ 7,160 to US$ 6,360 for an eight-day journey in Deluxe Cabin. The highest price will be US$ 22,000 per person for the Presidential Suite for an 8-day itinerary,” says Pradip Kundu, Joint General Manager, PR, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation.


LUXURY TRAINS

IRCTC on inbound tourism track AK Brar, Director (Tourism & Marketing), IRCTC, says that while they are very keen to promote hill tourism, they are also starting special AC trains for the temple circuit of South India and the coastal circuit of West India.

Maharajas’ Express PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA

What are the other tourism initiatives that IRCTC is working on? IRCTC is an important arm of the Indian Railways for tourism. For all e-ticketing needs, we have the largest ecommerce website in the Asia Pacific. We also have a bouquet of offerings for all categories of tourists, be it budget or luxury. For budget tourists, we have Bharat Darshan trains, we have rail tour packages for those interested in religious tourism, we also have trains to cater to the Buddhist circuits in UP and Gaya, where tourists are taken up to Lumbini. In addition, we are also promoting hill

tourism: we have toy trains running in hill stations like Kalka, Shimla, Pathankot, Dharamshala, Ooty, Coorg, Darjeeling and the Neral Matheran Express. Rail enthusiasts come from all over the world to explore these places and travel on these sections. Through this, we are trying to revive the tourist potential of these places and we hope to see a difference in the next 6-8 months.

This is something we are planning for the coming season. We are also looking at outbound tourism. IRCTC has already taken a step in this direction; we have run more than 20 outbound tours, we are also making our presence felt in countries other than India.

How would VoA for international travellers benefit IRCTC?

IITB has been a wonderful experience, and a great meeting ground for those who want to do serious business. It gave us a great platform to interact with potential clients and has given us a lot of time to have detailed one-to-one meetings. At IITB, we promoted Maharajas’ Express, the super-luxury train that has been rated as one of the best luxury trains in the world. Our potential clients are participants who are into luxury travel, those in the upper segment of tourists and they all were present at IITB. We also arranged some tours for our business interests to go and see the train. A little event had also been arranged on the train for the participants. More than 88 people visited the train on the first day and an equal number on the second day.

The MOT has been very supportive of IRCTC, be it with Buddhist trains, Maharajas’ Express or our other initiatives. The VoA facility is going to give us a wonderful opportunity because IRCTC is now moving towards inbound tourism, and we are looking at it as a great source of revenue. We have lots of tourists who are interested to travel by rail, and the facility of VoA is going to make a big difference to the response of foreign tourists.

Are you planning any new trains or routes? AK Brar Director (Tourism & Marketing) IRCTC

We are organising special AC trains for the temple circuit of South India and the coastal circuit of West India.

How has the IITB platform helped you to highlight your products?

e-mail: maharajas@irctc.com

Departure Dates for 2015-16 Month

Treasures of India

Gems of India

The Indian Panorama

The Indian Splendour

The Heritage of India

4 1, 29 27 24 21 20 —

7 4 2, 30 27 24 23 —

10 7 5 2, 30 27 26 —

17 14 12 9 6 5 2

24 21 19 16 13 12 9

Oct’15 Nov’15 Dec’15 Jan’16 Feb’16 Mar’16 Apr’16

Tariff for 2015-16 Rooming

Deluxe Cabin

Junior Suite

Suite

Presidential Suite

Treasures of India 4 Days/3 Nights

Adult Single Supplement

$3,850 $2,910

$4,950 $4,460

$7,600 $7,600

$12,900 $12,900

Gems of India 4 Days / 3 Nights

Adult Single Supplement

$3,850 $2,910

$4,950 $4,460

$7,600 $7,600

$12,900 $12,900

The Indian Panorama 8 Days / 7 Nights

Adult Single Supplement

$5,980 $4,510

$9,460 $8,520

$13,800 $13,800

$23,700 $23,700

The Indian Splendour 8 Days / 7 Nights

Adult Single Supplement

$5,980 $4,510

$9,460 $8,520

$13,800 $13,800

$23,700 $23,700

The Heritage of India 8 Days / 7 Nights

Adult Single Supplement

$6,840 $5,160

$9,890 $8,910

$13,800 $13,800

$23,700 $23,700

• Prices are subject to change in case of any change or amendment in the routing • Service tax will be charged extra as applicable • For child policy and other details, please refer to the website www.the-maharajas.com • Itineraries, destinations, venues and scheduled departures are subject to change without prior notice • All the above prices are on per person per journey on twin sharing basis • Supplement will apply for Signature Journeys, Special occasions such as New Year, Christmas, etc.

TravTalk May 1st 2014  

TravTalk May 1st 2014

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