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Pages: 52 (Excluding cover )

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Vol. XXIV No. 7; April 1 ST fortnight issue 2012

Step-fatherly treatment The Union Budget 2012-13 has made India a costlier destination by slapping taxes on services and excise. The travel trade shares their views on the same...


There's is nothing to react about the Union Budget. It's clear that the government is not listening to individual associations who are putting forward their expectations for the same. All the associations should come forward to a common platform and put forward their challenges, issues and expectations in one voice. Tourism sector is important for any country for its growth and it’s high time Iqbal Mulla that the government realises this.

On one side, the government has reduced tax on aircraft leasing and on the other hand, it has increased tax on air travel. Additionally, it has increased tax on hotel stay and restaurants. The Union Budget has made India a more expensive destination as compared to its counterparts in the region. Government says that it’s a perfect budget, but there needs to be something positive in the budget for the industry.

The Union Budget 2012-2013 presented in Parliament appears to have limited impact on the hospitality sector. The Hotel Industry was hopeful that it would be accorded the status of infrastructure industry in the Budget. This, however, has not happened.On the other hand, hikes in excise duty and service tax would make the hospitality and travel services more expensive.

Increase of service tax on International tickets will add to already burdened industry. Approx 60% cost of outbound package is air fare and existing tax on air fare is any where between 50 to 65%. So 40% of cost of package is tax only. Taxing it further will make outbound travel expensive. Probably it is like killing the golden hen. The government should start looking at tourism industry that can make a huge impact on GDP.

Nakul Anand President Hotel Association of India

See full story on page 10

See full story on page 12

Union Minister for Tourism

President, TAAI

‘AB’ ups Gujarat tourist inflow by 400% India needs a National Aviation Policy

We have a tough year ahead and in these difficult times, the Finance Minister has presented a balancing budget which will provide stability in the years to come. Though it will be tough initially, but in the long run, it will be beneficial and contribute to the nation's growth. Subodh Kant Sahai

GTM waiting...waiting... still waiting! See full story on page 14

Indians demand value-for-money products Ajay Prakash President, TAFI

Guldeep Singh Sahni President OTOAI

The industry is completely disappointed with the Union Budget, which shows complete disregard to the demand and requests of the travel and tourism industry. MOT and our industry had made many efforts to ensure that our industry gets the required fillip to attain the 12 million inbound mark in the 12th plan period. The only silver lining that this budget has to offer is the announcement of the roadmap to GST. But, its also remains a grey area. The budget doesn’t have initiatives that will promote growth in the industry. Arjun Sharma Managing Director LPTI



Contd. on page 30

See full story on page 24


TAAI and IAAI challenge Competitition Commission While TAFI, against whom its two members had originally filed a case, has laid down its weapons, IAAI and TAAI who got sucked into the saga are still putting up a fight in a case which could determine the workings of associations in particular and travel agent fraternity in general. JUSTIN THOMAS


n interesting situation is brewing which could have a bearing on how associations operate while competing with other associations and dealing with their own members. Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) had suspended two of its members, Uniglobe Mod Travels and FCM Travel Solutions, for defying the diktat issued to avoid selling tickets of a particular airline. Associations in the country had together taken a stand to not sell tick-

ets of a couple of airlines which were part of a group of 16 airlines that favoured for

CCI penalty notice CCI has sent notices to respondents which include FCM Travel Solutions and Uniglobe Mod Travels and the hearing is scheduled for April 19 It is learnt from reliable industry sources that TAFI has paid the fine of ‘1 lakh

no commission to be paid to travel agents. Since the two members were suspended, they filed a case against TAFI with the Competition Commission of India (CCI). It should be pointed out that though the case was initially filed against TAFI, the scope was later increased with Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI)being hauled in the dock. This gives rise to a serious situation which has taken the form of an elephant

in the room with nobody bothering to ask as to how a case involving an association with its members has evolved into the complainants being in a position to kill two birds with one stone. It can be safely concluded that the complainants are punching above their weight and the energy source is well oiled. Further, CCI came out with its order dated October 4, 2011 which states that TAFI, TAAI & IAAI have to Contd. on page 28


Hotels in India not costly: HPI Report




ver the past many budgets, the trend has been to neglect the need of attracting more tourists to destination India. But, this time around, there was a new lease of optimism among the stakeholders in the travel and tourism. The Ministry of Tourism’s target to increase the size of inbound and domestic travel market by 100 per cent for the 12th Plan period gave big expectations to the travel trade. They hoped that initiatives will be taken up further that will stimulate growth. Also, the recognition of the tourism sector as a driver of employment creation and poverty amelioration had only reinforced the belief that the time has come when the tourism sector will get its due share keeping in mind the significant role it plays in fostering economic development. But, the contrasting stance taken by the Finance Ministry increasing service tax meant that Budget shall continue to disappoint the tourism sector without fail. The increase in the incidence of service tax that makes travel more expensive also meant that the long standing demand of tourism sector to get the infrastructure status among many others were unheard again.

The latest survey Hotel Price Index (HPI) Report contradicts the general conception that hotels in India are too costly. There has been a marginal rise in hotel room prices in India. The room rates surged by 2% in the second half of 2011 compared to the same period last year, while globally, the rates rose by 4%.


he year has started positively for travel enthusiasts, as Indian hotels showed only a modest rise in room rates in the second half of 2011, compared to the corresponding period in the previous year. According to the latest Hotel Price Index (HPI) Report by, room rates in India have risen by just two per cent while globally room rates have risen by four per cent.

Indians parted with an average of ‘ 6,789 on foreign hotels but paid the least among all the nationalities analysed in the HPI for domestic rooms on ‘ 4,226

‘ 6,000 a night

Hope the travel trade don’t become eternally pessimist; rather it should work out on consistent and stronger means of communications, which ensures that like the Planning Commission and the PMO, the Finance Minister is also forced to pay heed to the long pending needs of the tourism sector in larger national interest.

Luxury for less

SanJeet Publisher Rupali Narasimhan Editorial Director Deepa Sethi Editor

The F1 race coming to India is an indication that the country has the potential to host iconic international events and will be one of the preferred destinations

Room rates in India have risen by just 2%, while globally room rates have risen by 4%

Indian travellers with ‘ 6,000 a night to spend on their hotel room could find four-star accommodations in Bangkok, Guangzhou and Las Vegas but would get only get three-star rooms in New Delhi and Mumbai at the same price

Advertising Gunjan Sabikhi General Manager Karishma Khanna Sr. Manager Marketing Megha Puri Manager Marketing Amit Sarkar Sr. Marketing Co-ordinator Advertising (Mumbai) Suchita Saran Branch Manager Harshal Ashar Deputy General Manager

Senior Marketing Director Asia Pacific,

India hotel prices show marginal rise

On the relaxation of the ECB norms in the aviation sector, one will need to wait and watch as to whether its market dynamics are so strong that lenders will invest in airlines facing rough weather, while the grey areas surrounding the roadmap to GST fails to enthuse, as well.

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

Abhiram Chowdhry

Emerging Trends

The utterly disappointed stakeholders are now left with no expectations, but believe that the budget has sent a loud and clear message that the government does not consider tourism an important part of the economic growth and development.

Vikramajit Chairman

Expensive Destination

The HPI report is a regular survey of hotel prices in major travel destinations across the world. It is based on bookings made

Prices paid at home and away

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

Travellers searching for the best in hotel accommodation were able to benefit from dramatic price fall in 2011

Travel habits HPI highlights the top overseas and top Indian destinations for Indian travellers

remained strong in Singapore from long-haul air passengers on stop-over trips and the recent addition of new luxury developments has only helped to make this already attractive destination even more so. Sri Lanka also bounced back from the end of the civil war there with a 34 per cent rise in hotel prices to ‘ 8,518. The biggest rise at 49 per cent to ‘ 8,438 came in the casino resort destination of Macau.

potential to host iconic international events and will continue to be one of the preferred destinations for travellers. It is a good time also for Indian travellers to venture out to other international destinations such as Germany, South Africa,


through the web sites and prices shown are those actually paid by customers (rather than advertised rates) in 2011. The latest HPI features 27 countries, including UK, USA, UAE, Canada, Singapore, Greece, Italy, Japan, Australia and others. Amongst these, India is the lowest priced country with an average room rate of ‘ 4,226 per night. Switzerland, with its currency remaining strong, is the most expensive country experiencing a 19 per cent rise in room rates, with an average room rate of ‘ 10,496 per night. UK is next with a rise of seven per cent to ‘ 8,965. Speaking about the HPI report, Abhiram Chowdhry, Senior Marketing Director, Asia Pacific, says, “Hotel room prices in India have shown only a marginal rise and Indian hotels continue to be attractive for both domestic and international travellers. The F1 race coming to India is an indication that the country has the

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In Asia, Singapore is the most expensive destination at ‘ 8,684 after a five per cent rise

In the Eurozone, Austria, Germany and Belgium saw a drop of 10 per cent, seven per cent and four per cent respectively. South Africa saw the biggest drop of prices at 11 per cent, as the country’s hoteliers readjusted after the high demand for the football World Cup in 2010.

Sri Lanka bounced back with a 34% rise in hotel prices

Canada and Japan given the significant fall in hotel room rates in these markets.” Overall, the HPI report found that hotel prices around the world have been volatile in the latter half of 2011, with some countries experiencing a significant rise. In Asia, Singapore is the most expensive destination at ‘ 8,684 after a five per cent rise. The demand for hotels has

Though Indian hotel prices grew at a marginal rate, travellers faced price rises in nearly three quarters of the international destinations featured in the HPI. This is because the ‘ depreciated against many major currencies.

Country-wise distribution of average hotel prices in 2011 compared to 2010 in ‘ Destinations Switzerland United Kingdom Italy Singapore Sri Lanka Netherlands Macau Greece Denmark Indonesia France Australia Spain & Canary Islands Germany South Africa Turkey Belgium Canada United Arab Emirates United States of America Japan Austria China New Zealand Malaysia Thailand INDIA

2011 10,496 8,965 8,827 8,684 8,518 8,474 8,438 8,380 8,156 8,125 7,993 7,763 7,424 7,363 7,329 7,225 7,105 6,818 6,798 6,686 6,634 6,520 6,041 5,759 5,146 4,769 4,226

The publisher assumes no responsibility for returning any material solicited or unsolicited nor is he responsible for material lost or damaged. This publication is not meant to be an endorsement of any specific product or services offered. The publisher reserves the right to refuse, withdraw, amend or otherwise deal with all advertisements without explanation. All advertisements must comply with the Indian and International Advertisements Code. The publisher will not be liable for any damage or loss caused by delayed publication, error or failure of an advertisement to appear.

2010 8,851 8,372 8,657 8,237 6,365 8,060 5,651 7,180 7,007 6,168 7,674 7,141 6,185 7,897 8,228 6,692 7,408 7,052 6,719 6,796 6,915 7,282 6,101 5,093 4,536 4,505 4,136

% change 19% 7% 2% 5% 34% 5% 49% 17% 16% 32% 4% 9% 20% -7% -11% 8% -4% -3% 1% -2% -4% -10% -1% 13% 13% 6% 2%


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Union Budget gives wings to airlines Allowing airlines to raise capital money to the tune of one billion dollars through the ECB route this financial year and encouraging the development of the MRO sector, the Union Budget 2012-13 has provided some relief to the travel industry. However, much needs to be done. T T B U R E AU


n a major relief to the civil aviation sector, the government has allowed it to raise capital through external borrowings worth US$ 1 billion for a year. "To address the immediate financing concerns of the civil aviation sector,

I propose to permit External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) for working capital requirement for the airline industry for a period of one year subject to a ceiling of US$ 1 billion," says Pranab Mukherjee, Union Finance Minister while presenting the budget. ECB is a financial instrument used by the government to facilitate access to foreign funds by Indian corporations and public sector undertakings. Even the Economic Survey for 2011-12 tabled by

ECB welcome

Vijay Mallya Member of Parliament-India Chairman, The UB Group

“External Commercial Borrowing for working capital is welcome. Interest rates and hedging costs will be much less than Indian rupee denominated costs. Permitting foreign airlines to invest up to 49% as and when implemented will also be very welcome. Direct import of fuel will greatly reduce net fuel cost.” Mukherjee in the Lok Sabha had noted the woes of the airline industries. According to the survey, a working group, constituted to address issues concerning the viability of the civil aviation sector, had made several recommendations like rationalisation of VAT on jet fuel by state governments, allowing foreign airlines to invest in domestic carriers and the direct import of ATF by airlines.

In a bid to encourage the nascent maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector, it also proposed to allow full exemption from customs duty and countervailing duty to aircraft spares,

tyres and testing equipment. In order to augment longterm low cost funds from abroad for the infrastructure sector, the Budget also proposed tax incentives for funding certain infrastructure sec-

tors, including those Indian companies involved in aircraft operations. In a sop to Indians travelling abroad, he also proposed to raise the duty-free baggage allowance, which was last revised in

2004, from ‘ 25000 to ‘ 35000 and for children of up to 10 years from ‘ 12000 to ‘ 15000. Mukherjee also clarified that a proposal to allow foreign airlines to participate up to 49 per cent

equity of an airline company was ‘under active consideration of the government’.

More in the Kitty The Budget also proposed tax incentives for funding certain infrastructure sectors, including those Indian companies involved in aircraft operations


Promoting India together The Ministry of Tourism (MOT) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) signed an MoU to work together to further enhance Incredible India’s brand positioning and effectively promote tourism in India. T T B U R E AU


he MoU was signed on March 21, 2012 in the presence of Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister for Tourism and Ajit Singh,

is very important for developing tourism in the country and abroad. This will help in effectively branding India as a major tourist destination. Echoing similar views, Singh also expressed his happiness on the formalisation of rela-

Also, MoCA will collaborate with MOT to take forward the ‘Campaign Clean India’ and take adequate steps to ensure cleanliness in and around all airports in the country and in areas around their office premises in various locations of the country.

MoU being signed between MOT and MoCA

Union Minsiter for Civil Aviation. The initiative come post the successful collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council to promote Incredible India. Speaking on the occasion, Sahai said, “Conversion with Civil Aviation Ministry

airports such as Aurangabad, Udaipur, Varanasi and Madurai. Both the Ministries will participate in the road shows and events organised by each other and share the annual calendar of such roadshows and events.

tionship between both the Ministries through the MoU. As per the MoU, the Airport Authority of India will provide space at various airports for ‘Incredible India’ branding by Ministry of Tourism. Further, MoCA will issue instructions to foreign and Indian carriers for screening Incredible India promotional films, while MOT will be promoting some of the newly upgraded

Noticeably, its part of MOT’s initiatives to actively promote ‘Incredible India’ as a brand, which is now recognised worldwide. The ministry has successfully collaborated with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council for dovetailing their promotional efforts with the Incredible India Campaign.

India Travel Mart gets big response Travel Mart  India Ahmedabad received huge response in a three-day Travel Mart held recently in Ahmedabad. The event was inaugurated by Vipul Mittra, IAS, Principal Secretary, (Tourism, Civil Aviation, Pilgrimage & Devasthan), Government of Gujarat along with Ajay Gupta,

Chairman, India Travel Mart in the presence of exhibitors, delegates, media, travel trade, tour organisers, travel agents from all over Gujarat and other parts of the country. Gupta informed about the importance of promoting tourism in the Tier-II cities. “We believe that the inflow of domestic and outbound

tourists will increase in coming months from Western India’s Tier-II cities and Gujarat will play a vital role." He further added, “The time of ITM Ahmedabad was perfect for forthcoming summer holidays/vacations, weekend holidays, round-the-year travel, vacations and business plans.”

Thomas Cook expands its operations  Thomas Cook India on March 23, 2012 announced the launch of five new gold circle partner outlets expanding its reach across the country. These franchisee outlets cover a diversity of markets including Mumbai and Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, Gulbarga in Karnataka, Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh and Pondicherry. Madhav Pai, Chief Operating Officer- Leisure Travel Outbound, Thomas Cook India said, “In keeping with our vision to expand

Madhav Pai, Chief Operating Officer- Leisure Travel Outbound, Thomas Cook India

our distribution network across India, we have implemented our expansion strategy via opening five

new gold circle partner outlets in the first quarter of 2012. We see a large potential customer base in these cities and we want to provide them with an opportunity to interact with our well-informed staff and assist with their travel needs.” He further added, “While we will continue our expansion in the Tier I and Tier II cities of India, our focus will be strong on the emerging Tier III markets.”





Sufi & Ramayana tourism circuits in Bihar The Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) is now building Sufi, Ramayana, Shakti and Astro tourism circuits in the State in addition to the Buddhist, Sikh and Jain circuits. T T B U R E AU


STDC is making relentless efforts to ensure phasewise development of the Ramayana circuit in the state.

Alongside Buddhist, Sikh and Jain circuits, the corporation is now building Sufi, Ramayana, Shakti and Astro tourism circuits in the state. As per the Corporation’s plan, the Ramayana circuit will include places mentioned in the epic like Tar in Bhojpur, Ahirauli in Buxar, Pretshila Hills in Gaya, Ramchura, Panth Pakar and Valmiki Nagar. The Sufi circuit will include Biharsharif, Manersharif, Munger and Phulwarisharif. Work on both the circuits has started and the Corporation will announce packages for the circuits soon. It is in talks with Kolkata-based National Council of Science Museums to discuss the modalities to develop the first-ever AstroTourism circuit at Taregna in Patna district. BSTDC plans to promote its traditional and new tourist circuits in South East Asian countries through

Keshri Kumar Assistant Information Officer, Department of Tourism, Government of Bihar

roadshows and trade fairs. It is also developing Ganga River Island with food plazas and camel rides for weekend packages. Currently, the Corporation offers river cruise packages on the Kolkata – Varanasi (8 Days 7 Nights) and Faraka – Patna (6 Days 5 Nights) routes. The Corporation is also developing tourism segments like adventure sports (with a new ropeway in Rajghir), fairs & festivals, Eco-Tourism (in Ghorakatora), handicraft and cottage industry, Rural Tourism (Nepura), Wildlife and Aqua Tourism. To develop this infrastructure, the Corporation has been allotted ‘ 300 crore. It is also encouraging private players to invest in tourism infrastructure projects across the state with opportunities for PPP projects in hotel development projects in Patna, Rajghir and Bodhgaya. Bihar

Mahavir Mandir Trust is building a replica of Cambodia’s 12th century Angkor Wat (the largest Hindu Temple in the world) with an investment of ‘ 100 crore near Hijapur. For the year 2011-12, ‘ 3,043.89

lakh was announced by the Central administration for development of tourism in Bihar. Providing further details, Keshri Kumar, Assistant Information Officer, Department of Tourism, Government of Bihar said,

“The State has recorded an impressive growth from domestic and international tourist arrivals in the last few years. To boost the image of the state in the domestic and overseas markets, the Corporation has devised a

master plan for keeping the tourism business intact in the state. Through innovative tourism circuits and improved infrastructure, we intend to cater to 15-20 per cent more tourists this year.”

Bihar Calling BSTDC is also encouraging private players to invest in tourism infrastructure projects across the state with opportunities for PPP projects in hotel development projects in Patna, Rajghir and Bodhgaya




Eco-Tourism in West Bengal Colours of Thar come alive The new project aims to portray West Bengal as an ideal destination for various tourism products. T T B U R E AU


irbhum district and Dooars in West Bengal will soon host Eco-Tourism projects which will offer 5060 luxury tent accommodation with average tariff varying between ‘ 2,000 and ‘ 5,000 per night, where tourists can stay in a solarpowered tent. In addition, there will be limited number of low-cost accommodation facilities for students. To be launched ahead of the Durga Puja vacation in October by city-based entertainment major Priya Entertainments, this will be the first of its kind EcoTourism project with a major focus on adventure in the state. While the Dooars Resort will be spread over 37 acres, the Resort in Birbhum will be spread over 30 acres. There will also be organic farms in each resort. “There will be a limited number of low-cost accommodation facilities for stu-

dents and nature club members. The resorts will offer barbeque-cooked food, fishing activity and bonfire in wintry nights while the local cultural festivities will include tribal music performances. Minimising the chance of damaging the environment,

New Projects Birbhum district and Dooars in West Bengal will soon host Eco-Tourism projects which will offer 50-60 luxury tent accommodation with average tariff varying between ‘2,000 and ‘5,000 per night The Resorts will offer barbeque-cooked food; fishing activity and bonfire in wintry nights while the local cultural festivities will include tribal music performances The project will buy four horses and build a small track inside the property

all organic waste generated from the project will be used as manure and the farmland will supply organic food to the tourists,” says Arijit Dutta, Managing Director, Priya Entertainment. They are also studying the possibility of introducing ‘gobar’ (cow dung) gas for cooking food. Further to add some thrill to the tourists’ experience, the project will buy four horses and build a small track inside the property for the purpose of giving a feel of adventure to the travellers. The local tribal population has not been left out of the project, which also aims at community development. There are two small villages near the plot with a total population of around 100 people. The Resort staff is training them and will employ them in various. The property in Birhum distirct will be the first one to be launched.

ITDC joins hand with District Administration of Barmer and Rajasthan Tourism in leveraging the opportunity for promotion of Tourism in the region with a focus on ‘Thar festival’. It is also setting up a training centre under the Hunar-Se-Rozgar scheme of Union Ministry of Tourism.




‘AB’ ups Gujarat tourist inflow by 400% ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’  The ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’ Campaign is everywhere, be it on TV, radio, magazines or newspapers. To add more

Ever since the launch of ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’ campaign two and a half years ago and roping in Amitabh Bachchan as its brand ambassador, the rate of growth of tourism in Gujarat has doubled up in comparison to the national growth rate. M E G H A PAU L


t the recent launch of the ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’ campaign in the Delhi Reliance Metro train, Vipul Mittra, Principal Secretary Tourism, Government of Gujarat revealed that the Gujarat government will spend around ‘ 1,500 crore on the tourism sector in the 12th Five Year Plan period. He confirmed that there has been a 400 per cent rise in tourists to Kachchh (Kutch). This year, over two crore travellers are expected to visit Gujarat.

‘khushboo’ to the campaign in Delhi, the Gujarat Tourism is now branding one entire Delhi Metro Train for a period of three months. The ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’ campaign in its entirety would be branded in the outer body and inside the train. The Train was flagged off by Vipul Mittra, Principal Secretary Tourism, Government of Gujarat on March 7 from the Reliance New Delhi Metro station.

The state has now taken yet another lead in being the first in the country to brand an entire Reliance Metro train connecting New Delhi with Terminal 3 of the IGI Airport as part of its ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’ campaign. The Gujarat Tourism has branded one entire Delhi Metro Train

for a period of three months to promote its ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’ campaign. The highlights of the campaign

Vipul Mittra

in the national Capital and a higher number of tourist influx to Gujarat.” Revealing information about strategies this year, Mittra said the Gujarat government will spend around ‘ 1,500 crore on the tourism sector in the 12th Five Year Plan period. This is in addition to ‘ 5,000 crore which the government is planning to spend in the other allied areas, which would directly or indirectly contribute to development of tourism in the state.

are branded in both the exterior and the interior side of the metro train.

According to the Principal Secretary, the government would come up with a ‘venture capital’ for people who wanted to invest in the tourism sector in the state.

Speaking on the occasion, Mittra said, “By dedicating an entire metro train to its tourism campaign, the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat seeks better mileage

He pointed out that Gujarat Tourism is working on a three-pronged strategy, the first being promoting Gujarat as a fast emerging and most exciting tourism

Principal Secretary Tourism Government of Gujarat

destination. Secondly, to create common infrastructure like excellent connectivity by roads and trains, security apparatus, information centres, sanitation and other facilities to ensure adequate safety and comfort of the tourists. Third and most importantly, to focus on the PPP mode to rope in the private sector to come and invest in Gujarat by setting up commercial ventures like hotels and resorts.

Future Plans Gujarat Tourism is trying to create common infrastructure like excellent connectivity by roads and trains, security apparatus, information centres, sanitation and other facilities It is also focussing on the PPP to rope in the private sector to come and invest in Gujarat by setting up commercial ventures like hotels and resorts




India needs a National Aviation Policy Aviation is a team effort which requires a common vision; and developing a National Aviation Policy will help revamp the sector in the desired manner. Addressing these issues, Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO, International Air Transport Association (IATA) discusses critical aviation issues in India and the way forward.


The Minister of Civil Aviation (MoCA) mentioned the need to make air travel more accessible. “One way of achieving that is by taxing it less. Removing the burden of the Service Tax would improve the competitiveness of the Indian aviation, it would boost access to both domestic and international connectivity and drive economic growth,” said Tyler.


Another damaging factor is the tax on fuel. “The high cost of jet fuel has been hijacking the competitiveness of the Indian air transport industry for over a decade. Taxes, particularly state taxes, should be removed and a National Access Regime should be established for jet fuel. This will allow users, including airlines, access critical fuel infrastructure at reasonable prices,” he added.

Tyler urged MoCA to intervene in the discussion of proposed charges increased at the Delhi International Airport. “The new terminal and third runway have provided a much-needed boost. But if the 340 per cent increase in charges, over the next two years, is implemented, it will make Delhi the most expensive airport in the world and destroy its competitiveness.”

INFRASTRUCTURE Some progress has been made with India’s airports, particularly those using the public private partnerships (PPP) model. But, Tyler highlighted the need for capacity expansion in Mumbai. “Mumbai is bursting at the seams. The first phase was meant to

“Given its broad economic implications, the government should take immediate action. First, 340 per cent is unacceptable. It would be a shock to the system. The Ministry must intervene with a broader context. This should take into consideration the long-term development of Indian aviation in its hubs. And if need be, the con-

open in 2014 but construction has not even started. Land acquisition is not yet complete. We need a coordinated effort across all government ministries to facilitate success without further delay. A success similar to that achieved during the opening of Delhi’s new terminal.”

cession contracts, which at Delhi channel 46 per cent of revenues to the Airports Authority of India, need to be re-thought with the aim of offsetting aeronautical charges. The solutions are readily available and there is no reason why the 340 per cent, or any increase of this magnitude, should be allowed to go through,” said Tyler.



viation is the backbone of the tourism industry and a key economic contributor. IATA recently commissioned a study of the economic benefits that aviation brings to the Indian economy. The results showed that aviation is responsible for 0.5 per cent of India’s GDP and it supports 1.7 million jobs. “On an average, people in India fly 0.1 times per year or take one trip by air every 10 years. This shows that the Indian aviation has tremendous potential to drive economic Tony Tyler growth in the sub-Continent. But to Director General and CEO realise this, India needs a common vision IATA for aviation, expressed in a National Aviation Policy strongly linked to an implementation plan. Such a policy would need to rebuild competitiveness by addressing the difficult issues of tax, cost, investment and infrastructure,” said Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO, IATA. “The Indian aviation industry that I see today faces major hurdles. Air India, the national carrier, is being sustained on life support with the help of state aid. The difficulties at Kingfisher are well known. And the sector as a whole is not generating the sustainable profits that one would expect from such a large high-growth market,” he added. Exploring measures that could help turn around the fortunes of Indian aviation, Tyler discussed an agenda to build the competitiveness in Indian aviation. He highlights four pillars – taxes, infrastructure, costs and investment policies.

INVESTMENT Tyler discussed the positive consideration of MoCA proposals to allow up to 49 per cent of the direct investment by foreign carriers in the Indian airlines. “This would allow strategic tieups with foreign airlines similar to arrangements that have successfully

strengthened airline groups in other parts of the world. What is the public policy imperative of denying this possibility to the Indian carriers?” questioned Tyler. “But allowing foreign airlines to invest in Indian aviation is not a panacea. Without addressing the other three pillars—costs,

REMEDIAL SUGGESTIONS “I would suggest that a common vision, expressed in a National Aviation Policy strongly linked to an implementation plan, could be the way forward. Such a policy would need to re-build competitiveness by addressing the difficult issues of tax, cost, investment and infra-

structure, building on the groundwork already being done within MoCA and in consultation with the industry,” said Tyler while discussing the critical and urgent situation in India. Reiterating his firm belief, Tyler said, “Aviation is a team effort. It works best when all

taxes and infrastructure—it may only be a theoretical exercise. Under current conditions, the odds are stacked up against any investor making a positive return on investment in the Indian aviation sector. And no one is likely to come forward unless they see themselves making a profit.”

the parts are operating in coordination and with a common vision. It is also the force for good in the world. The connectivity that this industry provides, links goods to markets, people to business, reunites families, supports tourism and facilitates journeys of discovery. Aviation has almost infinite potential.”

Clarks Inn Suites debuts in NCR  Clarks Inn Group of Hotels has taken over the management of an upscale business hotel, branded as Clarks Inn Suites, in Delhi NCR. With this, the Group has unveiled its first ‘Clarks Inn Suites’ branded property in India. About the latest addition, SN Srivastava, Vice President, Clarks Inn Group of Hotels, said, “With this property, we also bring one of the largest banquet and meeting facilities in the NCR with a capacity to accommodate up to 7,000 guests.” The hotel offers 151 luxuriously appointed guestrooms

well equipped with all modern day facilities such as 24-hour in-room dining, contemporary ambience, in-room mini-bar, customised banquets, LCD flat screen TV, in-room electronic safe, electronic access room lock system, bathroom amenities, high-tech business centre and Wi-Fi connectivity on the premises. Looking at establishing a remarkable presence in the economy and mid-market segment, Srivastava informed, “The latest addition is a big shot in the arm as the company eyes to establish a leadership posi-

tion in economy and mid-segment market and a significant presence in the upscale segment with the ‘Clarks Inn Suites’ brand.” The Group now has a network of 15 operational hotels spread across India. It is eyeing a year of massive growth in 2012, with plans to add 25 hotels to the portfolio this year, he added. The opening of hotels in Lucknow and Haldwani are scheduled later this month. The company will also add new properties to its operating portfolio in Pune, Gadag and Patna in April.




GTM waiting...waiting... still waiting! The members of Federation of Associations of Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) share their views on whether the Indian Global Travel Mart (GTM) is still a distant dream or not. reports... M E G H A PAU L


s the Ministry of Tourism gears up for its maiden venture in the form of the proposed Global Travel Mart India (GTMI) event on December 12, 2012, the Federation of Associations of Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) is pegged to be playing a pivotal role in the event.

event rather than spearhead it. While the Ministry is going ahead with its ground work for the largest travel trade event in the country, there are some crucial concerns being raised by the FAITH members! Commenting on the situation, Ajay Prakash, President, TAFI said, “FAITH

where they are doing voluntary service. We need more systematic management and a dedicated team to host this event,” he pointed out. Replying on a query whether 12.12.12 would be a reality or if it could be delayed, Prakash claimed, “Personally, I would be happier had the event taken place in the off-

Ajay Prakash

Tejbir Singh Anand

Iqbal Mulla

President TAFI

President ATOAI

President TAAI

It is premature to think that FAITH can organise the event. MOT has called for tenders and we will fully support the Ministry At the recently convened meeting of the travel trade stakeholders in New Delhi by the MOT for the GTMI, the Ministry revealed its plans to involve the newly formed body in the functioning of things. However, the Association members are only planning to support the

Right now, it is too early for FAITH to organise an event that is being pegged as the biggest in the travel industry is still in the process of getting itself registered. It is premature to think that FAITH can organise the event. The MOT has now called for tenders and we will fully support the Ministry.” “We need to be realistic. All the members of FAITH hold posts with other travel trade organisations

Nothing has been formally offered to us. Hence, we will wait for a formal offer. Then we can debate on this season. During the winter season, hotels are fully booked and infrastructure is already stretched. Most countries have their conventions in the offseason. This also helps to reap in benefits for the suppliers.” The Ministry has conveyed the need to adopt

been formally offered to us. Hence, we will wait for a formal offer. Then we can debate on this.”

Subhash Verma

Kamlesh Barot

President ADTOI

President FHRAI

There can be 3 plausible segments to facilitate this event - 1st is MOT, 2nd an international event organiser, 3rd supporting arm can be FAITH international best practices being followed globally in the field of travel exhibitions, for the proposed travel mart to the stakeholders. The targetted exhibition space for GTMI is 10,000 sqm. This will include both inbound and outbound component in a 50:50 ratio. Tejbir Singh Anand, President, ATOAI, opined, “The only complication I foresee for FAITH to host this event is that we are a new association. We need to do our homework before organising the event. I

Crucial Concerns While the Ministry is going ahead with its ground work the proposed Global Travel Mart India (GTMI) event on December 12, 2012 there are some crucial concerns being raised by the FAITH members

We are still under the process of getting FAITH registered. Till then, FAITH cannot interact with MOT on a one-onone basis believe FAITH should not just spearhead this event but all other events in India related to the travel industry. Right now, it is too early for FAITH to organise an event that is being pegged as the biggest in the travel industry. In the future, we will surely spearhead the event, but, not for now.”

Highlighting the role that FAITH will play in the event, Subhash Verma, President, ADTOI revealed, “We can be a supporting arm for the event. There can be three plausible segments to facilitate this event. First and foremost is the Ministry of Tourism. Secondly, there should be an international event organiser. The third supporting arm of the event can be FAITH.” Reinforcing the importance of FAITH as a common platform, Kamlesh Barot, President, FHRAI said, “We are the ‘one voice’ in the travel industry and hence, it is obvious that we would be involved. However, we are still under the process of getting FAITH registered. I foresee the registration being done in the next three months. Till then, FAITH cannot interact with the MOT on a one-on-one basis.” To assure the Ministry of their full support, the hotel industry stakeholders consisting of FHRAI, HAI and HRAWI met RH Khwaja, Secretary, MoT, GoI in Mumbai recently, Barot revealed.

According to Anand, the event might get deferred. “Any event needs time. An event of such massive scale needs preparation time of at least two years. This is April which apparently means we have 8 months to go. And this time span is too less. The event should have been announced for 2013 and not 2012. Then it would have been more feasible,” he added.

Even Barot is of the opinion that the much-coveted GTMI should take place in the leaner months rather than December. “The MoT has plans to make this event an annual affair for the travel trade industry. This implies if the B2B event takes place on 12.12.12, it will happen in 2013 also in the same month of December. If this becomes an annual affair in December, it will be a little difficult as December is one of the busiest months of the year for us,” he claimed.

Iqbal Mulla, President, TAAI said, “The idea of FAITH organising the event was just floated in the MOT meeting with the travel trade stakeholders. Nothing has

“I would surely moot for the exhibition to be shifted to the leaner months as the involvement of the industry would be much larger then,” he added.




Tough times make tougher people The TAAI Convention this year was different as the business discussions pointed towards solutions to problems rather than the problems themselves. The sessions concluded by saying that one should see all failures as opportunities. D E E PA S E T H I




ommissions are not our business,” said Gautam Chadha, Chief Executive, Tirun Marketing,

Vasudevan, Principal Consultant, TRS Consulting. “Make things happen. Watch and learn from people who

Gautam Chadha

Sujit Banerjee

Chief Executive, Tirun Marketing

Secretary WTTC, India Initiatives

“It is people that are central to all we do. Human capital is central to our sustenance.” “Hire great people and don’t compromise; the best and bright people are our competitive advantage, so work hard and retain your talent,” explained Sundar

Kapil Kaul, CEO, South Asia, CAPA, advised, “Change the dynamism from ‘where is the money’ to ‘how to make money’. Specialised travel agents are making money. Learn from them! Get to know your consumer, if you don’t know what he

are making things happen and not those who don’t know what’s happening. We are going through tough times and we need to be tougher,” said Sujit Banerjee, Secretary, WTTC, India Initiatives. The debate was about, “Where is the money?” Raja Natesan,

Iqbal Mulla

Subhash Goyal

President, TAAI

President, IATO

COO, TUI India, declared, “20 years ago, we followed Kotler’s 4Ps for marketing, it worked and we all made money. However, the 4Ps have changed. Take advertising as an example – earlier they highlighted what went into making a product, but today, advertisements talk about how much wear and tear the product can withstand.” He said, “Earlier we worked with fixed pricing but now we look at variable pricing.”

Everyone agreed that social media plays an important role in the travel trade. Thrice the time is spent on social media than on snail mail. Natesan revealed, “There are 700 updates on Facebook each second. 18-29 year olds are spending 13 per cent more time on social media networks, 50-64 year olds 88% more and shockingly, 65+ are spending 100% more time on it. Word-of-mouth drives choice!”

entry barriers because too many people are in the same business. Is this responsible for not making money?” Iqbal Mulla, President, TAAI very sensibly advised the members to understand their risks before engaging with them. He suggested a

Raja Natesan

Kapil Kaul

COO, TUI India

CEO, South Asia - CAPA

wants, you will never make profits. And invest and learn about your people, your business, your core competencies and capabilities – know yourself, your business and your markets. We have very low

chart of service charges be created and everyone abide by it. Subhash Goyal, President, IATO called all associations to come together to give a right direction to tourism growth.


OTOAI partners Zimbabwe India-Zimbabwe Travel Council formed by the partnership between OTOAI and Zimbabwe will be formalised into an institutional framework to help the tourism industry grow. VIVEK SETHI


he Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), a non-profit organisation formed to lead the outbound tour operators in India, announced on March 19, 2012 that they have joined hands with Zimbabwe to form the India-Zimbabwe Travel Council (IZTC). The said announcement was made by

poised to add spur in positioning Zimbabwe at a vantage point in the Indian market. This, in turn, is expected to turn around the fortunes of Zimbabwe by increasing the tourist influx from India,” said Mutambara. Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI said, “There is an immense potential for Zimbabwe as a stand-

Delegates from India and Zimbabwe at IZTC event

Arthur OG Mutambara, Deputy Prime Minister, Republic of Zimbabwe in the presence of Zimbabwe Government officials and stakeholders from the Indian and Zimbabwe travel industries. “IZTC’s key mandate is to promote rapport between outbound tour operators in India and inbound tour operators in Zimbabwe and is

alone destination and also as a gateway to other neighbouring destinations. The Victoria Falls can be an instant hit along with many other travel attractions once adequate awareness is spread and crucial aspects like visa and air connectivity is addressed.” IZTC will consist of nine members that will include

three members of OTOAI, three from Zimbabwe Tourism Promotion Authority and will also include representatives from the Zimbabwe Embassy and respective ministries. Further, Vineet Gopal, Joint Secretary, OTOAI informed that a delegation of their core team will soon be travelling to Zimbabwe to work out the other modalities, including the location of their offices. Commenting on the upcoming commissioning ceremony, Karikoga Kaseke, Chief Executive, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority said, “This is a rare opportunity for us to tap the Indian market which is among the fastest growing economies in the world. We are projecting that the IZTC will result in an increase in tourist arrivals from a meagre 3,000 recorded in 2011. With the introduction of Emirates, we are certain that these projections will be met. The IZCT, after being commissioned, will be formalised into an institutional framework and is set to contribute to the growth of the tourism industry in both countries.”

‘Employment Generation’ The theme of the 47th Annual Convention of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) is ‘Employment Generation: Engine of Inclusive Growth’. T T B U R E AU


t is keenly going to focus on the employment generation issue. Vivek Nair, Chairman, Convention Organising Committee and Hony. Secretary, FHRAI informed, “This year the convention has been themed keeping in mind the critical aspect of employment. We have themed it as ‘Employment Generation: Engine of Inclusive Growth’. Further, the Convention Core Committee has been formed. We have received support from the local Goa Committee Members and members from the Western Region of FHRAI. The Convention is scheduled to be held in Goa from September 6-8, 2012. The venue for the Annual Event will be the Grand Hyatt, Goa. Sunit Kothari from the Hotel and Restaurant Association

(Western India) - HRAWI will co-chair the convention apart from spearheading the event management responsibilities.

Vivek Nair Chairman, Convention Organising Committee and Hony. Secretary, FHRAI

Further, Dinesh Advani, member of HRAWI would be responsible for the business sessions and international associations’ co-ordination. The FHRAI Convention has always been one of the most anticipated and widely attended events of our industry’s calendar. Each year, hun-

dreds of delegates, comprising a veritable who’s who of the hospitality and tourism sector, congregate on this vibrant platform for vivid and enriching deliberations on the myriad strategic and competitive dynamics shaping the industry. FHRAI members are offered an unparalleled opportunity to engage with a multitude of stakeholders including political dignitaries, top policymakers, technocrats, global entrepreneurs, business icons as well as representatives from civil society and media. “For the first time this year, international and national associations of eminence shall synergise with FHRAI on the convention. In addition to benefiting from carefully structured and stimulating business sessions, they also enjoy ample occasions to network and bond with their peers, in a leisurely and congenial atmosphere,” FHRAI informed.



Metro Kiosks  Tourists who take the high-speed Airport Express Metro will now have easy access to information about tourist attractions in the Capital with the Delhi Tourism setting up kiosks at the New Delhi and the Shivaji Stadium Metro stations. The kiosks would provide detailed tourist information and arrange siteseeing in Delhi for Airport Metro commuters and tourists. The New Delhi and the Shivaji Stadium stations already provide check-in facilities for international and domestic fliers. A dedicated bus service organised by Delhi Tourism will also be made available to facilitate travellers and take them to tourist destinations and various heritage sites in Delhi. Tourists can also book their ‘Dilli Darshan’ trips at both the Metro stations. Tourists who wish to travel out of Delhi, to places like Agra, Jaipur, Chandigarh and Manali, can also plan their tours and book their tickets at the Delhi Tourism’s inter-state travel service available at the two Metro stations.


Cathay to continue with 5% commission While many international airlines felt the heat of the challenging environment in 2011, Cathay Pacific showed growth in terms of their revenue and load factor from India. Here are details of their business growth... TT



011 has been an interesting year for us in India. On the passenger side, our revenue growth was more than 2010. Premium Class business on our routes from India was generally robust throughout the year and our overall load factor

grew by four per cent, which is encouraging,” says Tom Wright, General Manager, South Asia, Middle East & Africa, Cathay Pacific. In 2011, the core business of the Cathay Pacific Group was affected by instability and uncertainty in the world’s major economies. The passenger business of Cathay

Pacific held up relatively well, mainly as a result of strong demand for premium class travel. Discussing factors that helped the company grow in India, Rakesh Raicar, Regional Sales & Marketing Manager – South Asia, Middle East & Africa, Cathay Pacific, says, “What we did

Challenges and way forward “We faced a number of major challenges in 2011 and we are still operating in a very challenging environment. However, the Cathay Pacific Group has a clear strategic focus and we are moving ahead with a number of initiatives that will make our Airline stronger and provide a better experience for our customers. The group is

taking delivery of 19 new aircraft in 2012, we are introducing a new Premium Economy Class product, new long-haul Economy Class seats and continuing with the rollout of our acclaimed new business class, we are improving our lounge facilities; and are building a cargo terminal in Hong Kong that is scheduled to

Christopher Pratt Chairman Cathay Pacific

open in early 2013,” says Christopher Pratt, Chairman, Cathay Pacific.

Tom Wright

Rakesh Raicar

General Manager, South Asia Middle East & Africa, Cathay Pacific

Regional Sales & Marketing Manager – South Asia, ME & Africa, Cathay Pacific

was to run our business smartly and prudently. We know there will always be short-term fluctuations in this volatile industry that we are in, but we are very much focussed on the long-term game. That’s why we have continued to invest in new aircrafts and products that will convince our passengers to keep flying with us. Moreover, everything we did was a team effort.” “We will continue to offer a five per cent commission to agents and run incentive promotions to engage them,” says Raicar.

Looking forward to 2012, he says, “It is fair to say that the difficult trends of 2011 are carrying on and have certainly not reversed themselves. The global scenario remains uncertain and there seems no immediate prospect of a significant reduction in fuel prices. As a result, 2012 looks even more challenging than 2011 and therefore we are being cautious about our prospects for this year. We will continue to be vigilant in managing costs, but we will not compromise in the quality of our products and services or our long-term strategic investment in the business.”


4-hour routes for AirAsia AirAsia announces their Chennai to Bangkok service. Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO, Thai AirAsia speaks out on the airline’s interest in launching 4-hour routes to India. L E K H A S H A N KA R


Why did you shut down your services to New Delhi and Mumbai? Based on pure economics, that is, rising fuel prices and high airport landing taxes, we had to close our services to New Delhi and Mumbai. Our flights were doing a 78 per cent load factor. After this experience, we decided to close down our operations on the above two routes, and fly only to Indian destinations that are less than four hours long. Our daily flights to Kolkata will continue.

Why did you select Chennai? It’s a business and cultural city and we have been

B A N G KO K share of the pie! Our GSA in India is the Hind-group.

Why does your ticket not include baggage allowance or seat reservation? You need to book separately for them. You can do everything online from booking your seat to your food (which is cheaper, online) to your boarding card. If you are not fussy about seats, you can get them as you board the flight at no extra cost. Otherwise, you need to book online and pay extra. For luggage, you pay for what you use. That means, you pay for your checked-in baggage from 15 kg - 30 kg. Anything above that, you pay at the air-

L to R: P. Murari, Advisor, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Former Secretary to President of India, Chanchai Charanvatnakit, Consul-General, Royal Thai Consulate, Chennai and Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO, Thai AirAsia

eyeing it for a long time. Besides, the route is not crowded at all from Bangkok, unlike in Delhi. Some big Thai companies have invested in Chennai, and we hope it will now become an important trading spot for Indian investors in Thailand.

You have started a new route to China too? How do you compare the Indian and Chinese markets? Yes, not many are aware that we’ve started a brand new route to Chongquing, an important exhibition town. In fact, we have seen many Indians there, and I’m sure our new Chennai route will make it easier for them to go there. As for the two great countries, we want to capitalise on the fact that both their economic markets are growing at an exponential rate.

Your Airline seems to be totally based on online services? Well , everyone is netsavvy these days; especially Indians; and that should be no problem to anyone. While our best deals are online, we work both with the online as well as ground travel agents. We offer hotel and tour packages too, for which we work with the top tour operators. We’ll do the same in Chennai. We are like brokers who sell to everyone who want a

port, there’s free hand luggage of 7 kg. We recently lowered our baggage rates, which is good news for the Indian tourists, who shop a lot in Thailand. AirAsia is 20 per cent - 30 per cent cheaper than the regular airlines.

New Routes AirAsia launches new route to Chennai from Bangkok from March 23 AirAsia will fly to Chennai five times a week at a promotional rate of 2390 baht

Do you serve Indian food? We have served quality Indian cuisine, ever since we started operations to India, including vegetarian food from the well-known ‘Indus’ restaurant in Bangkok. It’s always been appreciated by our Indian passengers. Since our parent airline is from Malaysia, we also serve halal food .

How do you set yourself against a rival low-cost airline like IndiGo in India? They may be strong in India, but we are a strong brand in the Asian and ASEAN region.

Do you target groups or the MICE market which

is a big part of the Indian outbound? While our main target groups are FITs, we do have special offers for groups. And yes, we are studying the incentive and MICE market, which seems to be a big part of the Indian outbound.

Which aircraft do you use? We use the A320 planes with a seating capacity of 180. We have 23 new planes, and have already placed an order for 200 more aircraft, after five years.

What is the biggest advantage of travelling by AirAsia? Apart from our low rates, we also offer a wide range of Asian routes. From Chennai, Indian tourists can fly with us to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Macau, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Burma, etc. Like in Europe, the Indian tourists can do a multicountry holiday, at one time! We fly to 16 cities in Thailand alone. Since Indians love beaches, they can fly with AirAsia, not just to Phuket, but to Trang and Krabi, Bali in Indonesia, and Langkawi in Malaysia. I’m also considering a direct route to Phuket from India, as we have three hubs in Thailand, including Chiangmai and Phuket.

Are you considering any other cities in India? Yes, we are considering many cities that are within the 4-hour time frame. After all, we have always been the first to start ‘new’ routes in many countries.

Is this the secret of your Airlines’ success? Absolutely, we are innovative, passionate and aggressive about pioneering ‘new’ routes. We were the first to start flights to small towns like Nakhon Phanom in Thailand, new cities like Guangzhou in China, exotic spots like Kota Kinabulu in Malaysia, as also to places like Hanoi and Macau. Now, many of them have become so well known and popular.

With your focus on being an ‘ASEAN’ airline, are you excited about the formation of the ASEAN’ conglomerate in 2015? We are very excited, because we fly to all the ASEAN destinations, and have a strong base everywhere. It would be a dream come true for us, as we’ve worked hard to connect the ASEANdestinations.




Fly Mumbai-London with Virgin

Astral’s Canada  Astral Travels recently launched their webpage for Canada at “Being a Canada specialist and GSA for Rocky Mountaineer, from last year onwards, we have been actively promoting the destination. This year we plan to expand our advertising network to states neighbouring Delhi”, says Kapil Berera, Managing Director, Astral Travels. Continuing to promote their major selling destinations, which include, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Royal Caribbean Cruise, Berera adds, “Last year we did a good business for Canada, Caribbean Royal Cruises and

Virgin Atlantic has decided to re-launch its services in Mumbai from October 29, 2012. The Airline will fly daily and has deployed its newest A330 on this sector. D E V I KA J E E T Kapil Berera Managing Director Astral Travels

a few European countries. We hope to continue same growth this year”. Honeymoon travel and FIT leisure travel have been their USP from last two decades, now the agency will also focus on wedding and anniversary planner, incentive groups, FIT luxury and group travellers.

Kenya flies direct to Delhi  Kenya Airways will commence its flights to New Delhi starting May 15, 2012. The new route highlights Kenya Airways ambitious growth plans to expand its network as part of its 10 year growth strategy. “New Delhi is the second city after Mumbai that we will be flying to India,

we intend to open four more destinations in the sub-continent as part of our 10 year expansion strategy,” said Titus Naikuni, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Airways. Naikuni noted that the destination has great business prospects as New Delhi is one of the largest cities in India.


oing back to 2009, we withdrew our services out of Mumbai due to recession and it was a temporary decision. Since then, the number of people who have flown between Mumbai and Heathrow has grown by nine per cent to more than one million passengers, making it Heathrow’s 12th busiest longhaul route. The new daily flight from Mumbai will not only serve the UK but also

Flight Information US$ 2.2 billion is being spent on Virgin Atlantic’s fleet of 10 Airbus A330 aircraft The A330-300 aircraft will be configured in the airline’s three classes – Upper Class with 33 seats, Premium Economy with 48 seats and Economy with 185 seats

open up easy connections from London Heathrow Airport to cities in the United States of America. Hence, we are very optimistic and excited to serve the people of Mumbai and neighbouring key cities,” says Stephen King, General Manager, Virgin Atlantic, India.

Richard Branson, President, Virgin Atlantic Airways. Discussing their marketing initiatives for the travel industry in Mumbai, King says, “Although we have not been online in

From October 29, 2012, Virgin Atlantic has decided to launch new flights to London from Mumbai. Their newest A330, offering the best in the airline’s new product and service, will be deployed on this route. “Virgin Atlantic is proud to be flying to Mumbai again. We are passionate about providing a unique service to customers and our new Airbus 330-300 will feature our brand new Upper Class Dream Suite. We will continue to offer Indian entertainment and delicacies on board served by the local Indian crew,” says

Stephen King General Manager Virgin Atlantic, India

Mumbai in recent years, we have still got some great travel partners there and are looking forward to working actively with them again. I am confident both our customers and travel partners

are in for some fun and pleasant surprise.” The flights have been timed to offer connections to USA, with less than a two hour wait at Heathrow. The flights from Mumbai will depart everyday at 0310 (local time) arrive in London Heathrow at 0755 (GMT). Flights from London Heathrow Airport will depart everyday at 1015 GMT arriving in Mumbai at 0055+1 (local time). US$ 2.2 billion is being spent on Virgin Atlantic’s fleet of 10 Airbus A330 aircraft. The A330 is Virgin Atlantic’s first long range twin engine aircraft. The new plane will use 15 per cent less fuel per seat than the airline’s A340-300 aircraft. The A330-300 aircraft will be configured in the airline’s three classes – Upper Class with 33 seats, Premium Economy with 48 seats and Economy with 185 seats.





Eco Rent a Car grows by 30% in 2011 While in the past their interaction with the travel fraternity has been limited, Eco Rent a Car is now gearing up with products and packages aimed at B2B interactions. T T B U R E AU


ith a growth of 30 percent last year, Eco Rent a Car hopes for more growth this year and is now developing their relations with the industry. “While in the past our contact with travel agents and tour operators has been limited, but in the coming Pearl International Tours and Travels (PITT) has launched a new technological platform – “After having done extensive research and development, we have customized a travel portal to offer features and benefits which will not only help our agents to do better business but will also push our inventory of products via an open platform for agents who see

Arjun Seth MD, Pearl International Tours and Travels

value in our offerings. We plan to use this tool to offer corporate customers a single window approach for their requirements. Unlike others, is going to remain a 100 per cent membership-only model for our B2B partners. We believe in using technology as an enabler to enhance benefits for the very large agency market in India,” says Arjun Seth, MD, Pearl International Tours and Travels. Seth adds, “Every Indian looks to buy their products or services, sasta. Have a conversation with travellers on their ticket or hotel requirements and they’ll always want the cheapest deal. Thus it is called ‘Sastiticket’. Since this is a members-only portal, we offer the best for our travel partners to upsell their business in a safe and secure environment. We have what it takes to make the business work for our partners. We offer travel products and solutions that sell and we remain committed.”

financial year we are offering packages and products aimed at tour operators and travel agents at the right price,” says Rajesh Loomba, Managing Director, Eco Rent a Car. It has increased its fleet of mid segment cars, added luxury imported vans, mini

busses and high-end cars. “We are offering extremely attractive terms and price points. Our transparency of dealings and protecting the interest of our partners is well known. We have also tied up with a few travel agents wherein we are their

exclusive back end for supplying transportation to their consumers”, adds Loomba. Eco Rent a Car is focused on providing quality ground transportation services for corporate, meetings and leisure segments on a pan-India basis. Eco Rent a

Car offers superior quality services across the country and takes care of all compliances with regard to the cars and drivers. “We also put in a lot of focus into the training of our drivers, whom we call service staff,” concludes Loomba.

Rajesh Loomba Managing Director, Eco Rent a Car




Indians demand value-for-money products NTOs are luring the high-end Indian travellers through innovative offerings, product lines and are working with top tour operators to provide the best deals and packages. speaks to long-haul, short-haul, established and new NTOs about their strategy to attract repeat travellers. A N I TA J A I N


ccording to experts, India is a market which currently has 1.2 crore Indians travelling overseas

Suraphon Svetasreni Governor Tourism Authority of Thailand

Our destination still has the charm of being exclusive, exotic and exciting for high-end travellers annually and a growth rate of 12-13 per cent per year projected till 2015. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Country Report for India, this industry contributes 8.6 per cent to the GDP, which is expected to increase to nine per cent by 2020. From the very start, long-haul destinations from Europe and US have targetted the high-end travellers from India as components like air travel and accommodation make the entire package a bit over the budget for the middle class travellers.

But with increasing competition in air travel, Indian and international carriers are offering attractive return fares which bring down the total travel budget to a certain extent. And with aggressive promotional activities by NTOs in India, more and more travel agents in India are offering attractive packages to Europe in much economical rates. However, when talking about high-end travellers, everything is about ‘E’ - experience, exclusivity, exotic, excitement, excellence, extraordinary, engaging and ease. While exploring the experiential holiday options, the high-end travellers look for diversity, it could be anything from camper vans in New Zealand to river cruises in South America, an exclusive single malt distillery in Scotland, rail journeys across the Canadian Rocky Mountains, drive across the African continent, cultural tours of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, a Harley Davidson bike ride in Thailand or even a super-truck expedition across Iceland. Established destinations like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and short-haul destinations like Indonesia, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Philippines, etc are now competing with each other to get the biggest pie of high-end travellers. According to Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand, the high-end Indian traveller is increasingly looking beyond the tried and tested holidays and seeking out unique experiences. He said, “Thailand has established itself as a destination of choice for many Indians, especially middle class. I

won’t be wrong in saying that we have made international travel affordable for Indians. However, our destination still has the charm of being exclusive, exotic and exciting for high-end travellers who are looking for unique experiences in Thailand. There are virgin destinations which appeal to the high-end trav-

entire definition of luxury holidays is changing worldwide and India is no exception. The upper-end traveller is the one who has done that and seen that—so now it's time to move away from the herd and seek out unique experiences. India is increasingly becoming a core market for us with its booming economy and ris-

Haitham M Al-Ghasani

Manoharan Periasamy

Director of Tourism, Promotion & Awareness, Sultanate of Oman

Director – India Tourism Malaysia

India is increasingly becoming a core market for us with its booming economy and rising outbound travel

Branding Malaysia as a luxury destination has made a difference to our targets, earnings and arrival figures

ellers to repeatedly visit Thailand and get unique experiences on every visit.”

ing outbound travel. However, our focus is on high net-worth travellers as most of our services, offerings and activities are apt for that segment. The affluent Indian outbound travellers prefer custom built tours. Thus we are working closely with selective travel companies which assist them with customised departures and give

To establish itself as a high-end destination, Oman Tourism launched the ‘Opulence of Oman’ campaign in India for the first time in India. Haitham M AlGhasani, Director of Tourism, Promotion & Awareness, Sultanate of Oman said, “The

them a freedom to explore the destination at their own pace. Oman is a perfect destination for travellers seeking privacy, style, quality of service with exclusive and unique experiences. Through the new campaign, we will showcase the luxury offered to travellers in Oman and increase awareness about our destination and its offerings.” In fact, Tourism Malaysia has recorded overall growth in tourism last year as the positive effects of its luxury destination branding kicked in. Since 2010, the Ministry of Tourism had implemented various initiatives to draw high net-worth tourists to Malaysia with events like the Malaysia International Shoe Festival, Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival and the packaging of helicopter tours. Other events included private sector collaboration on "A Journey through Time" luxury watch exhibition and the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic Malaysia golf tournament sanctioned by PGA Tour which positioned Malaysia as a luxury tourism destination. “The branding of Malaysia as a luxury destination and our efforts to attract high yield tourists to Malaysia have been well-received and this has made a difference to our targets, earnings and arrival figures,” informs Manoharan Periasamy, Director – India, Tourism Malaysia. With a downturn witnessed from USA and Europe this year, destinations like Seychelles are turning their focus on India. Talking about the potential of India as a market for Amia JovanovicDesir, Senior Marketing Executive, Seychelles Tourism said, “We are focussing on tourists who are

looking for quality and not quantity. As per my knowledge about Indian travellers, vacations are something special. The well-travelled clients are very involved right from the start with the planning of their holiday starting with putting together the itinerary, the hotels they stay in and the activities we plan for them. Being an exotic destination, we are here to attract premium category travellers who prefer the best of the best products on their tours.” Furthermore, the NTOs are engaging directly with the high-end tech-savvy travellers through digital marketing. Recently, Tourism

Amia Jovanovic-Desir Senior Marketing Executive Seychelles Tourism

We focus on tourists who are looking for quality and not quantity. Vacations are something special for Indian travellers Victoria launched an online campaign where both the travellers and the trade partners can personalise their itineraries. On the same lines, Canada Tourism launched ‘Jannat Canada’ campaign early this year.




European Quartet roadshow Wooing Indians jointly A roadshow was organised by Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, under the brand European Quartet. Events were held in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Delhi. Over four days, 23 suppliers and representatives met more than 300 Indian tour operators and agents.

Tourism Malaysia and Tourism Authority of Thailand are joining hands to connect with the travel trade in the metros as well as in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. T T B U R E AU


he two favourite shorthaul destinations for India outbound – Thailand and Malaysia – have realised that coopetition and not competition is the way forward.

Visa Waiver Programme extension in Ireland The Government has agreed to extend the Irish Shor t-stay Visa Waiver Programme for a further period of four years. This scheme is an integral part of the Government’s Jobs Initiative and is intended to promote tourism, par ticularly from emerging markets such as China, India and the Gulf Region. Under the Programme, tourists or business people who have lawfully entered the UK, including Nor thern Ireland on a valid UK visa are able to travel on to Ireland without the requirement to obtain an Irish visa.

A strong example of how national tourism associations are joining forces bilaterally to improve tourism and crisis management techniques that will build business benefits, Tourism Malaysia and Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) are joining hands on a variety of tourism marketing activities in 2012 to connect with the travel trade and consumers in the metros as well as in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Some of these activities include coparticipation at travel shows and exhibitions around India, joint product presentations and co-hosting of events. Dato Hj Azizan Noordin, Acting Director

Dato Hj Azizan Noordin

Runjuan Tongrut

Acting Director General Tourism Malaysia

Office Director - New Delhi TAT

General, Tourism Malaysia said, “Malaysia and Thailand are neighboring countries and rank among the most visited in Asia by Indian travellers. Hence, most major travel agents promote the two countries to their clients either as stand-alone packages or a combination of the two. Both ASEAN member countries have tourism products and services that ideally complement one another and there is a grow-

ing trend for Indian travellers to visit Malaysia and Thailand in a single trip.” In light of this, Tourism Malaysia and TAT are combining marketing efforts to enable the NTOs to reach more of their target groups, he added. The NTO has also rolled out its advertising campaign for the Indian market. The campaign, entitled Every Contd. on page 28




Russia eyes Indian tourists ‘Clash’ on ‘Commission’ With only 50,000 Indians visiting Russia compared to 1,20,000 Russians visiting India, Russian Tourism aims to increase Indian tourist figures by 50% this year. T T B U R E AU


n a bid to further enhance the robust multi-faceted strategic partnership with India, Russia is working towards increasing the Indian tourist inflow this year through innovative market-

50,000 Indians visited Russia in 2011 (growth of about 40 per cent) as compared to 1,20,000 Russians visiting India during the same period. Now, the country is working closely with Mumbai-based Salvia Tours

Through aggressive promotional activities with our partners in India we intend to grow the Indian arrival figures by almost 50 per cent. Alexandr Radykov, Deputy Head, Russian Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism) ing activities. The World Without Borders Association under the aegis of Rostourism recently participated at OTM in Mumbai along with presenting the highlights of the country through a presentation for travel trade and media. As per the figures provided by Rostourism, close to

and has tied up with a Russian consolidator which will work closely with Indian agencies for smooth transfer and experience of travellers. Talking to about the latest developments, Alexandr Radykov, Deputy Head, Russian Federal Agency

for Tourism (Rostourism) said, “With twice as many Russians visiting India than vice-versa, tourism promotion in India has become our high priority. Due to the growing GDP, and increasing spending power of middle class segment along with the improving flight connections from India to overseas countries, India has become a promising outbound market to tap. We are targetting families and MICE segment. Through aggressive promotional activities with our partners in India we intend to grow the Indian arrival figures by almost 50 per cent. Currently, Aeroflot provides direct connections from India (New Delhi) to Russia (Moscow and St Petersburg) but soon the services would be extended to other cities in both the countries (Mumbai, Bengaluru, Krasnodar, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod and Vladivostok).”

Contd. from page 3

pay a penalty of ‘ 1 lakh each and directed to furnish an undertaking that they will not indulge in such anti-competitive conduct in the future. This served a blow to the three associations as the undertaking meant that not only will their hands be tied, but the members could undermine the authority of associations as well. Immediately after this ruling, Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) wrote to Presidents of each association asking them, “Not to take any adversorial position or take any adverse action,” against its

member airlines. In a warning of sorts, FIA added that it, “Will not hesitate to take necessary action including legal recourse to protect the member airlines and/or exclude such agency/agencies from selling member airlines’ tickets.” No prizes for guessing whom the airlines are supporting. An appeal filed by IATA Agents Association of India on CCI’s October 4 ruling has been accepted by it on February 23. A similar appeal has been filed by TAAI which was confirmed by its President. “Our appeal has been registered and we are sure that it will be a victory for us,” says Iqbal Mulla, President, TAAI.

Joint promotions Contd. from page 26

Dream Needs a Destination takes its cue from the deep seated interest of the average Indian in Bollywood and showcases newer and exotic destinations for the fast maturing market. Tourism Malaysia has also initiated a B2B programme where local suppliers from Malaysia meet

and discuss business on a one-to-one basis with travel agents from the region. Runjuan Tongrut, Office Director - New Delhi, TAT revealed, “TAT is reassessing its strategy to focus more on travel trade and corporate partnerships in India.” TAT expects to see an improvement in tourists, both ways

CCI has sent notices to respondents which include FCM Travel Solutions and Uniglobe Mod Travels and the hearing is scheduled for April 19. It is learnt from reliable industry sources that TAFI has paid the fine of ‘ 1 lakh. On a query whether the fine has been paid or not, Ajay Prakash, President, TAFI sidestepped the question while saying that ‘the case is closed’. Since TAFI has not filed an appeal and its President has issued the above statement, it can be concluded that it has abided by the October 4 ruling. over the next few years through joint activities with Tourism Malaysia, she added. She informed that four market segments would be targetted this year, namely, EcoTourism, golf, health & wellness and wedding & honeymoon. The lady Director also expects to focus on women travellers. “I would like to see to it that we can increase our focus on women travellers – both the single and the group travellers,” she opined.




The travel trade hit hard by the budget woes Contd. from page 1

The Union Budget announced by Finance Minister is not a growth budget but a populist budget. The Hospitality & Tourism industry has been once again completely overlooked. Our industry is heavily burdened with multiple taxes. And now there is further increase in service tax by 2% & the Excise Duty has been hiked too. This would adversely affect the growth prospects of the industry and result in higher cost to the consumer.

Despite presenting our pre-budget wish list, the budget looks quite against the hospitality industry. Taxes on restaurants and food have increased from 3% to 5% now while the tax on rooms has increased from 5% to 7%. In fact, in many states, the duplication of taxes is hitting revenue and profit margins of the hospitality players. We were expecting rationalisation of taxes in the hotel industry which is nowhere in the picture in the Union Budget. Kamlesh Barot

Dr. Jyotsna Suri,

President FHRAI

Chairperson Tourism Committee, FICCI

Vikram Madhok

The budget has some positives, a much needed balm to the ailing aviation sector. On March 1, 2012, the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure had approved the harmonised list of Infrastructure subsectors. This should be a major push for the much required hotel rooms in our country. On the other hand the increase in Service Taxes translates into higher Air Fares, Taxes on Hotel rooms and expensive eating outs. Considering the current scenario this is a mixed bag.

Our Finance Ministry is lousy. They only imagine hospitality sector as five star luxury hotels, which have been demanding infrastructure status for long. Now, India is attracting business class to come and do business here. We need good roads, railways and air carriers to address the rising concerns of economy. Then, what about the stay factor of the people who look for quality accommodations? SM Shervani Vice President FHRAI

Chairman WTTCII

It’s yet another budget from which it loud and clear that the government does not consider tourism an important part of economic growth. Over the past few budgets, the trend has been to neglect the medium and long term need of attracting more tourists to destination India. Maybe we in the industry are to blame for not having made a good case for Tourism.

The increase in service tax to 12% from 10% will negatively impact the tourism industry as the package costs will go up due to tax on all components of tourism. We pleaded for withdrawal of service tax but are shocked to see that more areas have been included for service tax. How much can you tax one industry year after year which is already burdened with taxes – Luxury Tax, Service Tax, Value Added Tax… literally speaking Tax on Tax. Dipak Deva, CEO

Subhash Goyal

Destination Management, India and South Asia, Kuoni Travel India

President IATO

The announcement of an increase in infrastructural investments is indeed welcome. We would urge the government to prioritise and invest on the lines of the Greater Noida - Agra expressway. The Inbound segment would be further impacted, with a drop in FTAs and a further dampener on the growth rate in FEE already estimated to be down to 16.7% in 2011 from 24.6% in 2010.

We have had detailed meetings with the Planning Commission and in one of such interactions with the PMO, it was proposed that the inbound sector should target 20 million tourists by 2015. But, the Finance Ministry has taken a totally contrasting stance. Tourism has the highest employment creation potential than any other sector. But, be it the opening of skies, or commissioning of the new airports, the tourism sector is always neglected. Sarab Jit Singh

Madhavan Menon

President ITTA

Managing Director Thomas Cook (India)

The budget did not deliver on what I was hoping for. The tourism sector can grow by leaps and bounds given the right impetus. For India, we have a target to double the arrivals in 5 years. While the target in itself is ambitious and laudable, We could look at the approach top down and not bottom up. Then we go all out to remove every obstacle that prevents us from getting there. This is where I think we are missing out.

India needs focused and planned development for tourism sector which is growing 20% every year. Budget did not do much, no benefit neither to travel infrastructure or actual traveller, Infact travel has become expensive and hotels are more expensive too. What we need is infrastructure development in big way. There should be focused ministery for tourism development, and planned efforts to increase MICE in the country. Zelam Chaubal

Raja Natesan

Director Kesari MICE





India’s first flying trapeze Della Tecnica Group  launched Della Adventure in Lonavala in 2009 with over 80 adventure activities with an investment of close to ` 250 crore. The activities include ATV Rides, four different types of Zorbing (first time in India), two flying fox ziplines (one being India’s longest permanent zipline – 1,250 meters), telegames (first time in India) like mini flying fox, barrel crawl, tarzan jump, slippery slope and many more. It is soon going to introduce India’s first flying trapeze (being imported from New Zealand) which allows beginners/first timers to use a circus trapeze. It also plans to include Kikking (a 20 foot swing that turns 360 degrees) in its activities soon. Last year, the Company recorded a growth of 20 per cent and with new activities and more traffic from MICE and FIT segment, it is targetting an additional 30 per cent growth this year with an aim to break even by October 2012. Talking about the concept and future plans, Jimmy Mistry, Chairman & Managing Director, Della

Tecnica Group said, “India is still at a nascent stage of adventure industry and we are going to tap the right market at the right time. Adventure tourism industry in the country is around ` 1,500 crore and with an investment of ` 250 crore for a park with multiple facilities and activities, we are offering something which is of interest for every investor. With adventure activities, accommodation, banquet and F&B under one roof, we are offering an all-in-one package with each facility being a feeder for the other. Our strength lies in ‘wordof-mouth’ marketing and working with corporate houses and MICE operators.” It is aiming to open adventure parks in JV with land owners and investors in Delhi NCR, Ahmedabad, Indore and Bengaluru within the next five years and Baroda, Surat, Chennai, Hyderabaad, Nagpur, etc in the long term. According to Mistry, the park is focussing on attracting the MICE segment as FITs will come as default travellers if corporate travellers are pulled in.

Online training programme by Munich This online training programme offers participants the opportunity to become a real Munich expert. The destination is constantly developing and growing while consistently offering new options for the Indian travellers. T T B U R E AU


ith significant growth in Indian arrivals during 2011, Munich has launched an online programme developed especially for the Indian market and its special interests. It educated the trade about Munich being perfectly prepared for the Indian travellers and its service providers

to win a weekly prize drawing with some nice gifts and post all 8 sessions they have the chance to win a trip to Munich!,” she added.

being well trained to create tailor-made programmes for the Indian groups. According to Annette Kempf, Sales Promotion Asia, Munich Tourism Board, Munich as the capital of Bavaria is a well-known brand in India. But, there are still many unknown facets such as the vicinity to the surrounding area including the alps, the lakes and fairytale castles. Also, Munich offers some great programs for honeymooners & families. “Many do not know that Munich is the most amazing city in terms of shopping! All brands can be found in the city within walking distance. Munich is also called a Business destination, but do you know all the outstanding Incentive possibilities?

Annette Kemp Sales Promotion - Asia Munich Tourism Board

This is what the travel trade can explore by subscribing for the online training,” said Kemp. “We have launched an online programme developed especially for the Indian market, which will educate participants about a better knowledge of the product on destination Munich. The sessions are easy to pass from the desk; agents can study at their own place. The participants will also stand a chance

After undergoing the training programme, participants will become a real Munich expert, which is constantly developing and growing and consistently offers new options for the Indian travellers.

Fact Box Munich has launched an online programme developed especially for the Indian market and its special interests It educated the trade about Munich being perfectly prepared for the Indian travellers After undergoing the training programme, participants will become a real Munich expert




It’s raining business @ITB Berlin 2012 The 46th ITB Berlin saw the participation of 1,13,006 trade visitors and 10,644 exhibitors from 187 countries. The show had 167 exhibitors from India which included six Indian states. Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister for Tourism was present at this international fair supporting initiative of the Indian tourism fraternity and encouraging them to help India reach its tourism potential.

Contd. on page 42




India shining at ITB Berlin Contd. from page 38

The India evening with MOT




TAAI celebrates 60 anniversary in Istanbul th

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) recently organised its diamond jubilee (60th) Indian Travel Congress, Convention & Exhibition at Hotel Green Park, Pendik in Istanbul, Turkey. Over 1,500 delegates attended the Convention. The 60th Convention and Exhibition coincided with the 60th year of Turkish Indian Tourism Council, which created a platform for fostering bilateral trade relations among the travel trade fraternity of India and Turkey.

Contd. on page 46





Mystikal Hotels comes to mystic Kerala Exploring the avenue of hospitality in Kerala, the new vertical of Mystikal Holidays recently unveiled the tour company’s promotional strategies. T T B U R E AU


n a bid to capitalise a larger share of the ever increasing consumer market, tour company Mystikal Holidays has launched a new vertical -- Mystikal Hotels, which is its first step to diversification. The new vertical is being promoted by Shailesh Nair, Managing Director, Mystikal Holidays, assisted by Noble Jose, along with the teams of each partner hotel. Launched in February 2012, Mystikal Hotels has now initiated pro-

Explore India  Says Pankaj Bansal, Partner, Maitri Holidays, “Maitri Holidays is one of the leading travel solution companies in India. Our main target is to set up our office in major cities in the country and offer the best value for money. The organisation will focus on offering the best customer support 24/7.” Regarding the seg-

Pankaj Bansal Partner Maitri Holiays

ment where the Group sees maximum growth, Bansal reveals, “Domestic tourism will yield profits in times to come.” Even inbound segment has tremendous potential, he added. According to him, the Group is aiming to open offices in other parts of the world by this year-end to promote Indian destinations. This year, the Group will also unveil a new resort – Shimla Heaven. Established in 1995, leading tour operator Maitri Holidays have been serving the industry for the last 14 years with dedication and mission to provide the most exciting and hassle-free travelling experience. The Company’s main objective is to provide the best services to their customers and business partners.

motions from the second week of March. Mystikal Hotels has announced its entry with six hotels and resorts in six locations of Kerala’s tourist circuit. It consists of ‘Value for Money’ or ‘V4M Hotels’ in

the deluxe segment. The six hotels consist of Travancore Court in Kochi, Hotel Devaragam in Guruvayur, Nature Zone Resort at Munnar, Greenwoods Resort at Thekkady, Citrus Resort at Alappuzha and Uday Samudra Leisure Beach

Hotel on Kovalam beach. A website will provide news updates from these hotels. The new vertical also intends to run special online offers. Likewise promos will run within the travel domain with pan-India partners to penetrate the larger markets.

Various competitions will run on a monthly-online basis. Mystikal Hotels will bring in more clients to these trusted partners by opening a single point access for booking multiple hotels, thereby giving a comprehensive solution for designing customised holidays. The vertical group aims to consolidate its business in the organised and unorganised markets through various campaigns.

Shailesh Nair Managing Director, Mystikal Holidays




Networking in Turkey @TAAI Convention




‘Focus Canada’ stimulates Indian market The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) organised the Focus Canada event from March 12-16, 2012 in Goa on back of the success of Showcase Canada event in 2011. The success of the show reflected largely through the confidence that over 100 Canadian sellers and Indian buyers exchanged during the event doing business. Destination Canada through the Canadian Tourism Commission had not looked back post 2009, when it re-entered in the Indian market and appointed Buzz Travel Marketing as their representation arm in India.

Contd. on page 50




Business with pleasure @Focus Canada








Formule 1 Hotels New Delhi

Marriott India Delhi

County Inn & Suites by Carlson Goa

Philip Logan is appointed as the new Vice President

Samir Avasthi has recently been appointed as the new Director of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) for Marriott India. He has worked in the industry for over 8 years for brands such as The Grand, Inter-Continental, Taj. His responsibilities in the current position entail convention sales for all the Marriott hotels in India, to create unit synergies with all Marriott hotels within the country and improve networking opportunities.

Manveer Kapoor has been appointed as the General

of Formule 1 Hotels - Accor India. Logan has over 20 years of experience across the Asia Pacific in the management, operation, refurbishment and development of Hotels and Convention Centres. He has been with Accor since the year 2000 when he joined the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre. In his present position, he will be responsible for the launch of Formule 1 brand in India.

Formule 1 Greater Noida Delhi NCR

Sarovar Hotels & Resorts Mumbai

Florian Kohli joins the Formule 1 Greater Noida as the

Shantanu Jha has been appointed as the new General Manager

General Manager. With over 6 years of experience in various roles in the hospitality industry, Kohli is well aware of the challenges in managing properties in varied market situations. Prior to this, he was a part of the pre-opening team of ibis Delhi International Airport in September 2011 as Front Office Manager. His association with Accor started in 2007 when he joined the Novotel Hyderabad International Convention Center as part of the sales & marketing team.

- Sales (West) for Sarovar Hotels & Resorts. He will be based at the head office in Mumbai. A hotel management graduate, Jha comes with a wide exposure and expertise in hotel sales and marketing with experience across brands like Radisson, Grand Hyatt and InterContinental. He was also associated with the company for 2 years until 2007. In his present profile, he will oversee the Company’s sales offices in Pune, Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodra.

Manager at County Inn & Suites by Carlson, Goa Candolim. He comes with an experience of over a decade in the hospitality sector. He has done his Bachelors in Hotel Management from Bengaluru University. He is responsible for the Pre-opening of Country Inn & Suites in Goa. Prior to this, Kapoor was associated with brands like Hyatt Regency, Taj Exotic Goa, Taj Bengal, Zuri White Field Bengaluru, Svenska Hotels & Labriz Silhouette.

Mrugesh Raval is appointed as the Director of Sales for Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, Goa Candolim. A Hotel Management Graduate from Ahmedabad, Raval has been associated with the hotel Industry for the last 8 years. He has been made incharge for the hotel’s preopening sales strategies and revenue management at the unit. Prior to this, he has been associated with brands like Ramada, Radisson, Zuri and Clarks.

Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon Delhi NCR

Club Med Services India Mumbai

The Suryaa New Delhi

Shuvendu Banerjee joins Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon as the new Director of Sales & Marketing. He has over a decade of hands-on experience and in-depth knowledge as a sales and marketing professional. In his new role, Banerjee will oversee all sales & marketing initiatives for the Hotel. He has been with IHG hotels for more than 5 years and has held various managerial positions across IHG hotels & some of the well known brands including Radisson, Welcome Group and Jaypee Hotels.

Vijay Sharma has joined as the Country Sales & Marketing Manager of India for Club Med Services India. He will be based out of Mumbai and in his new role he will be responsible for the overall strategic Business Development of India. Sharma comes with an experience of almost 15 years of managing outbound travel and has worked extensively with some of the biggest names of the travel trade like Thomas Cook, Sahara Airlines, Make My and most recently Kuoni Travels.

Dhanajay Kumar has been appointed as the Resident Manager at The Suryaa, New Delhi. He brings with him more than 18 years of experience in the Hospitality industry and has worked in various capacities with well-known hospitality brands like Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Regency – Dubai, The Oberoi, Hilton, ShangriLa, The Claridges and Radisson. In his present profile, his focus would be to oversee and stabilise the Food & Beverage department. Prior to this, he was with Radisson Blu - City Centre Chennai as a General Manager.

Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO, Thai AirAsia loves Indian food. And therefore he is excited with the launching of Bangkok-Chennai route. “I’m very excited, because I love Indian food, everything from chicken tikka to masala tea. I’m also keen to visit many Indian cities,” he says. 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: Lekha Shankar and Inder Raj Ahluwalia

He feels pride in sharing his success formula. “My previous experience in the music industry contributed to my present success in the airlines industry. It deals with people. If you can handle musical artistes, you can handle anyone in the world!” he adds with confidence. Tassapon Bijleveld CEO Thai AirAsia

Lajpat Rai, President, Lotus Trans Travels is a man of varied interests and likes to travel to new destinations in India and around the world, discover new things and meet people. He also likes to read magazines.

Lajpat Rai President Lotus Trans Travels

Rai feels one's personal outlook in life is an important factor that reflects on all aspects and has a direct bearing on one's work too. It shapes the way one functions and plays a major role in what one achieves. He personally feels that people who come in contact with must be respected and treated well and this principle also applies to the tourism and hospitality business. When it comes to conducting any business, the secret of success lies in being fully dedicated and sincere to it.

Paul Roll, Managing Director, Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, likes cooking, is a photography buff and is interested in cities.

Paul Roll Managing Director, Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau

He admits to being very curious by nature, is interested in human beings and hates details. By his own account, he's led a very pleasant professional life and greatly enjoys the challenge of promoting a city like Paris in India. Before coming to India, he felt he wouldn't like the country, but his successive visits have converted him into a fan and he finds India a very interesting country, thanks to its wealth of culture, religion, cuisine etc. He feels that the changing world scenario creates its own challenges and opportunities in various walks of life.

Postal Reg. No.: DL(ND)-11/6044/2012-13-14; WPP No.: U(C)-178/2012-14 for posting on 1st-2nd and 15th-16th of the same month at New Delhi P.S.O., RNI No.: 53492/91 Date of Publication:30-03-2012


Canada calling Indian travellers At the Focus Canada 2012 event in Goa, the Canadian Tourism Commission talked about ensuring double digit growth in Indian arrivals. V IVEK S ETHI IN G OA


ollowing the success of the ‘Showcase Canada’ in 2011, the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) at the Focus Canada event, which was held from March 12-16, 2012 in Goa, shared their expectation of strong double digit growth in Indian arrivals to Canada with over 100 Canadian sellers and Indian buyers. In 2011,

Indian buyers, who want to take destination Canada to newer heights.” “In fact, things have changed for the better, as the rejection rate of Indian Visa applications has fallen and we are taking further initiatives to streamline the visa application procedures by trying to reduce the time taken. Moreover, we are hopeful that there will be a possibility of direct air access

There are expectations that the Indian market will leave behind the South Korean market in terms of inbound arrivals to Canada in 2013, which speaks volumes about the potential of the Outbound Indian market for Canada. Highlighting the potential in the Indian market, Klassen said, “India is a distinct market with great potential. We have been climbing

growth momentum further in the Indian market to Chretien. She had taken over the charge of emerging markets in August 2010 and will now be responsible to usher further growth momentum in India, Brazil, Mexico, Japan and South Korea. The said announcement was made by Klassen at the onset of the Focus Canada event in Goa. Galpin will now focus completely on the China market.

Stewart G Beck

Greg Klassen

Derek Galpin

Siobhan Chretien

High Commissioner of Canada in India

Senior Vice President, Marketing Strategy and Communication - CTC

Managing Director CTC - China & India

Regional Managing Director Emerging Markets, CTC

Canada had witnessed close to 1,50,000 Indian arrivals, their second most important emerging market. Elaborating on the strengths of the Indian market, Stewart G Beck, High Commissioner of Canada in India said, “India is a great market with ample potential that the stakeholders in Canadian travel trade can leverage. The Indian market reflects the same dynamics of the Chinese market which today makes it the largest emerging source market to Canada. The Canadian Tourism Commission has identified the potential and has been promoting Canada in the Indian market since 2009. A platform like ‘Focus Canada 2012’ is a very important tool to bring to the table keen Canadian sellers and experienced

through our national air carrier and we also will encourage more Indian carriers, including Air India, to pitch in,” he added. Also present at the event was Greg Klassen, Senior Vice President, Marketing Strategy and Communication, CTC, Derek Galpin, Managing Director, CTC – China & India, Siobhan Chretien, Regional Managing Director, Emerging Markets, CTC and Sidney Frank, Minister and Immigration Programme Manager, Canadian High Commission – India, along with the CTC India team. The list of co-sponsors of Focus Canada 2012 included Travel Alberta, Tourism British Columbia, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, Tourism Quebec, Calgary Stampede and WestJet.

the Indian market steadily and through awareness we want to create such demands that can be dealt with, keeping in mind challenges like lack of direct air access and other relevant aspects. We expect that the Indian market has the potential to deliver strong double digit growth and the show will only get better, if all relevant aspects are taken care of. ” “A federal policy initiative has brought over 20 authorities who had direct or indirect fall out in the tourism sector. They will work closely and take measures that will help fasten the growth of the tourism in the country. It is a major achievement and a step in the right direction, which will augur well for the country’s tourism sector.” CTC has given the charge of fostering the

Addressing the media on the sidelines of the event, Galpin said, “CTC has been doing very well in emerging markets like China & India. Now, the time has come, when the Indian and Chinese markets cannot be dealt jointly. So, accordingly it was decided that I’ll take care of the China market, while Chretien will take care of the Indian market and other emerging markets in her portfolio.” Chretien, while taking charge of the Indian market, said, “My immediate priorities will be to ensure that destination Canada grows with the same momentum.”

Canadian Visa Canada is taking initiatives to streamline the visa application procedures by trying to reduce the time taken

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