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Vol. XXVI No. 8; April 2 nd fortnight issue 2014

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TRAVTALK

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APRIL 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014

IITB-2014: Fillip for inbound With 247 foreign buyers from 54 countries, 246 Indian sellers, 9,256 prescheduled B2B meetings and on-thespot meetings expected to cross 800, the first edition of the Incredible India Travel Bazaar (IITB-2014) provides the perfect platform for furthering the cause of Indian inbound tourism.

Finally, some recognition for tourism See full story on page 4 

Specialist travel leading to M&A See full story on page 6 

Leader Talk: Gavin Smith (L-R) SanJeet, Parvez Dewan, Girish Shankar, Usha Sharma and Jyotsna Suri at the inauguration of the IITB-2014 at The Ashok in New Delhi.

The foreign buyers should go back with a conviction about the summer destinations in our country. India is not just Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. I want you to go back from India with an idea of the diverse tourism products that India has to offer. Parvez Dewan, Secretary, MOT

MOT will also provide more information on services and will set up an infoline in 12 languages, which we hope to launch in 6 months.

News Bulletin

We realise tour operators are the key people for promoting destinations and organising such a travel bazaar provides an ideal platform for them.

Usha Sharma

Girish Shankar

Addl DG, MOT

Addl Secretary, MOT

FICCI conceptualised the only exclusive inbound show in India, which gave birth to the first Great India Travel Bazaar held in Jaipur in 2008.

Jyotsna Suri Sr Vice President, FICCI Contd. on page 12 

See full story on page 16 

IATO - Heading for a new beginning See full story on page 20 


NEWS

An ‘adventurous’ convention indeed! Akshay Kumar, President, ATOAI, shares his experiences at the association’s recent convention in Shivpuri, Rishikesh and says that the event was successful in conveying to the world that Uttarakhand is safe and is ready for business. n March 2013, when the association elected its new team for the next two years, we all sat down to see where we could make a difference. A few key points stood out: We needed to engage the adventure travel community more, to create business and networking opportunities, to drive membership and last but not the least, we needed to think outof-the-box.

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Our annual convention is a showcase of our capability as an association and as a community. We brainstormed and decided to do things differently and in a way that showcased not only the destination, but also our product. We decided to go to Uttarakhand as it needed the exposure post the disaster in June last year. We created an outdoor and adven-

arranged a luxury campsite for 250 delegates in a gorge on the second night. Our theme ‘Connect, Create, Catalyse and

the convention started. The Media Connect session at Byas Ghat allowed small adventure operators to share their stories with the

The convention provided a great opportunity for the adventure travel industry to showcase their skills and products Akshay Kumar President ATOAI ture concept that took us away from city hotels and conference halls to the heart of the destination. We created a worldclass conference venue in the wilderness, provided accommodation in the most scenic location in camps along the Ganga and also

On the banks of Ganga from The speakers were chosen different walks of life and they on gave credible presentations s ines bus and g ildin y-bu capacit al models that work in the Nep adventure industry. tion The high point of the conven ing raft was the entire delegation Byas down from Devprayag to the p on Ghat for an overnight cam March 26.

The convention is our attempt to move to an adventure hub, closer to the area of our operations, networking with the small and medium operators in their home ground. Our attempt is to bring to the local adventure travel community the benefits of Rajesh Ojha the market. Convention Chairman Conserve’ conveyed the ideal message for the convention. We worked hard to create sessions that allowed for networking and encouraged peer-topeer discussions in an informal atmosphere. The preconnect format helped delegates to write to each other and fix appointments before

mainstream national and travel media through one-on-one sessions. Our speakers were chosen from different walks of life and they gave amazing presentations on capacitybuilding and business models that work in the Nepal adventure industry. The 11th Convention of ATOAI at

Shivpuri, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand was a successful attempt in conveying to the world that Uttarakhand is safe and is ready for business. This was also an opportunity for the adventure travel industry to showcase their skills and products. In a first-of-its-kind endeavour, this was an ‘adventurous’ convention in its true sense. The high point of the convention was the entire delegation rafting down from Devprayag to the Byas Ghat for an overnight camp on March 26. The convention this year saw the best of the adventure travel industry, along with domestic and overseas buyers, policy makers, government officials, decision makers, travel and national media.

Such events help bring the Adventure fraternity together and there is so much to learn from each other’s experiences. Without doubt, business also grows through networking.

The event was the 1st of its kind wherein the format was typical to adventure. The effort put in and the coordination done involving so many agencies was indeed praiseworthy.

Business sessions and panel discussions were of great importance. I understand that to hold the convention at such place and to include activities in that was not an easy task.

Anirudh Chaoji

Brig. SP Singh

Himanshu Dwivedi

Pugmark Eco Tours

Jumpin Heights

Cholan Tours See more on page 24 


OPINIONS

Finally Some recognition VIEWPOINT

Tourism Shining in 2014-15 A

pril 2014 - the beginning of the financial year – seems to be the harbinger of all things good for the tourism industry. The first breakthrough came when tourism found its mention in a major party’s election manifesto among the 5 ‘T’s for ‘reviving’ Brand India. For all the times that the industry has rued the neglect of tourism by political parties, this was a welcome change and we hope that other parties will do the same. Tourism is after all, a major source of revenue for the country and also holds a huge potential to alleviate the unemployment problem in our country. The second feather in the cap was the first Incredible India Travel Bazaar (IITB) that started off on a high note at The Ashok, New Delhi, on April 8 - 9. With 247 foreign buyers from 54 countries, 246 Indian sellers, 9,256 pre-scheduled B2B meetings and over 800 on-the-spot meetings, the event provided the perfect platform to further the cause of inbound tourism in India. And while the assembly election is the buzzword in the country, the travel industry is waiting for its own D-Day. With IATO set to conduct its Managing Committee elections on April 26, some of the contenders put forward their cause and talked to us about their vision for the association. It’s heartening to note that every election aspirant has the interests of small and medium tour-operators in mind. ATOAI put a new spin to conventions as they decided to do things differently and in a way that showcased not only the destination but also the product that they sell. Their convention that concluded recently in Shivpuri, near Rishikesh, took the guests away from the city hotels and conference halls and brought them right to the heart of the destination, on the banks of the Ganges. We welcome every change that the industry adopts to develop tourism and hope that such initiatives help us grow from strength to strength.

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

Editorial

Advertising

Megha Paul Devika Jeet Kanchan Nath

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

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

One of the major political parties released its much-awaited election manifesto, in which it talked about focussing on ‘reviving’ Brand India with the help of 5 Ts: Tradition, Talent, Tourism, Trade and Technology. It acknowledged the role played by tourism in helping secure Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) and as a major source of employment. Some association heads of the tourism industry talked to about this. PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA

We have had a long-pending demand that all political parties should include tourism in their manifesto. They talk about poverty eradication and Garibi Hatao, but how? The only way to do it is by providing jobs to the unemployed and tourism is the largest employment generator in the world as it is labourintensive. One out of 9 jobs that will be created in the world in the next 20 years will be in the tourism industry. Wherever you promote tourism, hotels come up, and with hotels, you need a lot of manpower. Therefore, tourism is an industry that can generate jobs and eradicate poverty. Subhash Goyal President, IATO

Tourism is a vital part of economic development. I don’t know whether it is ignorance or non-importance as a vote bank but tourism has not been the focus for political parties. Dubai is one place that banks on tourism and is flourishing because of it. Whichever government comes to power, we need to make sure that we have a well-drafted white paper on tourism. I hope that the government that comes to power provides the necessary impetus to tourism. Iqbal Mulla President, TAAI

When a prominent national level political party includes tourism in their agenda, it is breaking news for the industry because most senior policy- and decision-makers have chosen to ignore tourism so far. The industry for several years unfortunately failed to find a mention in the Union Budget. And obviously being denied industry status, tourism is languishing. Is it not an irony that despite having such a diverse canvas, India attracts a mere 6 million plus international visitors, while Malaysia at 24 million and Thailand at 28 million, are reaping the benefits of tourism. Zakkir Ahmed President, TAFI

Having seen tourism as a part of a political party’s manifesto, I’m delighted and encouraged. I’m looking forward to see what happens, which government comes to power and where does tourism stand in their priority list. Now that one party has included it in their manifesto, I'm sure all other parties at some stage or the other will talk about it. Dipak Deva Co-Chairman Tourism Committee of FICCI

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

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

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Tourism can be a turning point for the Indian economy and as long as one of the political parties has recognised the fact, which is the first time that has happened, there’s a lot for us to look forward to. Once we realise that tourism is one of the keypoints for India, I think it’s fantastic and will go a long way. Akshay Kumar President, ATOAI

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NTO

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Mauritius sees growth in B2B module Launched last year, the Mauritius Grand Master is helping build, grow and maintain a strong and comprehensive network of Mauritius ‘Travel Specialists’ who can promote the country to attract more visitors. T T B U R E AU auritius received 55,197 visitors in 2012 and 57,255 visitors in 2013 from India. Targetting a growth of about five per cent from India this year, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) is

M

Vijaye Haulder Deputy Director MTPA

The programme has received a brilliant response from the B2B fraternity as we are focussing on leisure and incentive segment betting big on the newly launched ‘Mauritius Grand Master’, a six-month-long online training programme for the Indian travel trade. As Mauritius conducted the online training and certificate programme for the first time in India last year, it is engaging

Dubai starts Tourism Dirham  Dubai government has introduced 'Tourism Dirham' concept from March 31, 2014. The 'Tourism Dirham' is a minimal charge to be applied to guests staying in all genres and rating of holiday accommodation including hotels, hotel apartments, guesthouses and holiday homes. This minimal charge will vary between Dh7 to Dh20 per room, per night, depending on the hotel category and rating. Such tourism fees are charged in several leading tourist destinations around the world.

the travel trade through seven online learning modules. The programme is helping build, grow and maintain a strong and comprehensive network of Mauritius ‘Travel Specialists’ who can promote

Mauritius to attract more visitors. The objective is to make the course fun, informative and easy to understand, Vijaye Haulder, Deputy Director, MTPA, says. “The programme has received a brilliant response from the B2B frater-

nity as we are focussing on leisure and incentive segment. Mauritius is a unique destination showcasing an array of beautiful landscapes, stunning beaches, world-class hospitality and thrilling adventures activities,” he adds.

MTPA has drawn out plans to focus on promoting Golf, MICE and Wedding segments in the Indian market for 2014. It is also looking at tapping Tier-II cities in India with these offerings. According to Haulder, almost ten Indian

weddings were witnessed in Mauritius in the past two years. “We are working in tandem with the Indian travel trade and also talking to various wedding planners to create awareness about Mauritius as a wedding destination,” he points out.


ANALYSIS

Specialist travel leading to M&A Rising demand for differentiated holidays, increasing consumer spend on travel and emerging markets are all helping to support a recovery in Mergers &Acquisitions (M&A). Balmer Lawrie, a Mini-Ratna PSU with diversified business portfolios, has bought over Vacations Exotica. M E G H A PAU L Moving over plain vanilla ticketing for survival As global travel has become more common, the market is seeing increasing demand for unusual destinations, personalised travel and specialist holidays. According to Viren Sinha, Chairman & Managing Director, Balmer Lawrie, the travel industry has

made many travel agents, who offer plain vanilla ticketing, question their own survival since their corporate clients pay anywhere between 30-90 days,” he points out. Most ticketing agents will now require huge cash reserves to manage their cash flows. Obviously, this will lead to a high level of attrition in the travel trade and would spur consolidation in the industry, he adds.

This takeover will help us expand its value proposition and offer end-to-end services in the tours and MICE segments Viren Sinha Chairman & MD, Balmer Lawrie seen more changes in the last one year than what it had to go through in a whole decade. “While most airlines are bleeding, air travel - both business and holidays – has shown double-digit growth year-on-year. In the face of this, diminishing commissions from the airlines and the weekly payment have

Expanding proposition

value

Talking about how the new takeover of Vacations Exotica going to benefit the company, he reveals, “Balmer Lawrie has a huge customer base in the corporate travel sector. It has a presence in more than 88 locations. We

took over the premier holiday brand Vacations Exotica along with its people and business with the objective of strengthening our foothold in the holiday sector. This takeover will help Balmer Lawrie expand its value proposition and offer end-toend services in the tours and MICE segment as Vacations Exotica brings with it a multi-talented work force and a wide range of holiday packages. The synergy between the two will make it a very potent force.”

Pushing growth leisure market

in

Going forward, the company is planning to merge Tours & Travel business unit with Vacations Exotica. “We will be actively pushing growth in the leisure market and also the inbound tourism business. We have our own travel portal, www.balmerlawrietravel.com, and you will find that the prices therein are among the best available. The objective of setting up the Balmer Lawrie online travel portal is not to compete with other OTAs but to complement our own tours and travel touch points, which, along with those of Vacations Exotica, number around 250 across India,” he informs.

Betting big on corporate travel In the corporate travel business, there is a lot of demand for ‘flexible’ tickets, for bookings that can be changed at the drop of a hat because executive travel schedules change unexpectedly. And as ticket cancellation and rescheduling charges are typically high, corporate houses do not want to incur such additional expenses. Balmer Lawrie not only addresses the demand for these kinds of flexible bookings but also provide total travel management solutions to busy business travellers. Additionally, the company has made available tailor-made ‘self-booking tool’, which will allow large corporate houses to integrate Balmer Lawrie’s web-based travel services with their ERP software, and process travel requirements of their employees through their intranet. Employees can directly access the Balmer Lawrie travel portal through their company’s intranet, coordinate internally for outstation meeting schedules and do their travel booking after going through all the choices in airlines, departure times, prices, etc., on their tablets and laptops.

361 foreign buyers register for KTM KTM 2014 (September 18-20) will be held at the Samudrika Convention Centre of the Cochin Port Trust in Willingdon Island. A big turnout of MICE tourism operators, wedding planners, and adventure tour operators is expected, says Abraham George, President, Kerala Travel Mart 2014. T T B U R E AU What is the USP of the eighth edition of KTM? Till now, ‘God’s Own Country’ has been perceived only as a leisure destination. KTM 2014 will project the state as an ideal destination for weddings, honeymoons and MICE through collective efforts by stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry. At the mart, we will have destination wedding themes. The state government has recently reduced luxury tax on convention centres and auditoriums from 20 to 10 per cent to make participation at such venues more popular. There are plans to form consortiums at the city level to pro-

mote MICE. KTM intends to increase Kerala’s market share by `5,000 crore by targetting these segments.

How many buyers and sellers are you expecting this time?

This year, we would see a ‘Hosted Buyer Programme’, which would see buyers interacting with exhibitors of their choice and more appointmentbased, one-to-one sessions. So far, 361 foreign and 1,136

So far, 361 foreign and 1,136 domestic buyers have registered for participation. The registrations will close by July 15, 2014. Abraham George President, Kerala Travel Mart 2014

domestic buyers have registered for participation. The registrations will close by July 15, 2014.

Which are the source markets that you will target this year? The focus will be on reaching out to niche buyers from markets such as the US, Australia, Brazil, Chile, South Africa, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. KTM has set itself a target of 15 per cent with arrivals from new and emerging markets. The Mart will also highlight innovative tourism products like village life experience and culture tours.


TECHNOLOGY

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Creating revenue sources for agents Travelport Smartpoint, distributed in India by InterGlobe Technology Quotient, improves the agent’s user experience, reduces training costs, and speeds up the overall reservation process. T T B U R E AU ravelport, a leading distribution services and e-commerce provider for the global travel industry, has announced the launch of Travelport Smartpoint in India. This is an enhanced version of its industry-leading travel agency pointof-sale application to be distributed in India by InterGlobe Technology Quotient, the regional Travelport partner.

T

Travelport Smartpoint has been embraced by more than 110,000 travel agents worldwide. Owning to its user-

Anil Parashar President and CEO InterGlobe Technology Quotient

The only way to stay relevant is to create revenue sources beyond the conventional booking fee friendly features, this desktop application will be saving time by reducing the overall key strokes by 15 per cent and significantly reducing costs. The success of the application is its ability to offer users a blend of graphical and cryptic user interaction alongside a range of time-saving features: improving the agent-user experience, reducing training costs, and speeding up the reservation process. This technology is expected to save training time since it can be used by agents who are familiar with any GDS. Most significantly, it enhances profitability and customer service for travel agents in India by providing a platform to leverage merchandising opportunities through the Travelport Merchandising Platform (TMP). Travelport Merchandising Platform includes a range of sophisticated travel sales and marketing

retailing capabilities that allow airlines to promote products and services to the right buyers, at the right time, in the right place.

and

Anil Parashar, President CEO, InterGlobe

Technology Quotient, said, “Travelport Smartpoint indicates the evolution of the next generation of GDS, which provides flexibility of choice and ease of usage. The only way to stay relevant for agents is to create revenue sources

beyond the conventional booking fee. Upselling focusses on driving conversions from current customers and can be the largest and most profitable source of income for any business.” Parashar adds, “Travelport Smartpoint will

enable a user to offer additional services while booking a ticket. For instance, a customer can avail of offers relating to lounges, WiFi access, seats, meals, hotels, tours, cabs, etc. Training costs will also decline by up to 50 per

cent as agents can operate this application on any GDS.” Travelport has further added enhanced hotel shopping, intelligent fare rules and advanced seat maps that are capable of showcasing all features of a seat.


EXHIBITIONS

Russia’s interest in India MITT, Russia’s most popular travel exhibition saw increased participation, especially from Indian exhibitors. This reinforces Russia’s growing interest in India. gets you the details. A A R T I N A G R AT H

FROM

he 21st Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (MITT) saw

T

MOSCOW is a very good platform to interact with the foreign tour operators who visit us at the exhibi-

Maria Badakh

HS Duggal

Sales and Event Director ITE Group

Managing Director Minar Travel

Some countries have more than one million Russian tourists a year

With VoA, we will see a 15-20 per cent growth from the Russian market

more into culture and history and they want to explore more. Rajasthan is picking up and Kerala is a very popular choice. With VoA, we will see a 15-20 per cent growth from the Russian market.” Badakh has a similar opinion and feels that a simpler visa regime can make all the difference. She feels, “There are lots of charter flights between Russia and India, and since the visa process was simplified for tourists arriving at Goa airport, the numbers of Russians have doubled in one year. India has everything the Russian tourists want for their holidays – warm climate, beautiful beaches, amazing scenery and historical heritage.” While the market looks upbeat, the political situation this year might be a dampener for the tourists. Tejinder Grewal, Director, Caper Travel Company, says, “There has been an issue this year because of the Crimean crisis,

over 1,800 exhibitors, with international companies representing two thirds of this number. This key meeting place enables participants to increase awareness of their destination, gain a real feel for the Russian travel market and gauge demand for their services. “The Russian outbound tourism grows at a much higher rate than the traditional European markets, with some countries exceeding 1 million Russian tourists a year,” says Maria Badakh, Sales and Event Director, ITE Group. She adds, “According to UNWTO, th Russians are the 5 highest spenders in the world, and the middle class is growing rapidly.” India has been getting a share of this growing market; and according to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism (Government of India), 1,77,526 Russian tourists visited India in 2012. This is a 23 per cent growth over 2011. “India has remained in the region of 300 sqm at MITT, and a few state tourism boards, such as Goa, Kerala, and Karnataka, have joined the show recently,” adds Badakh. Amresh Kumar, ManagerTourism & Marketing, IRCTC, says, “This

Amresh Kumar

Tejinder Grewal

Manager- Tourism & Marketing IRCTC

Director Caper Travel Company

In Russia, we have six preferred agents who work closely with IRCTC

tion along with our preferred agents. In Russia, we have six preferred agents who work closely with IRCTC.” Confident about a growth from the Russian market with the introduction of visa-onarrival, HS Duggal, Managing Director, Minar Travel, adds, “The Russian market is still upbeat. Their preferences are changing. They are getting

The Russian tourists are opting for week-long excursions to explore India beyond Goa and this lead to a fall in the Rouble compared to the US Dollar. This might have an outcome on the winter and will disturb the sales. On the brighter side, the Russian tourists are now taking a 14-day holiday and week-long excursions to explore India beyond Goa.” MITT’s focus this year was MICE that might be a lead for the next big tourism opportunity from the country.


ANALYSIS

Election boost to outbound The demand for travel is equally balanced on the domestic front and towards short-haul international destinations, feel travel industry stalwarts. Read more… M E G H A PAU L s 92 constituencies across 14 states and Union Territories went in for polling recently, travel companies and tour operators have witnessed almost a 30 per cent rise in the bookings for the long weekend,

A

tions such as Dubai, Bangkok and Thailand,” she adds. The demand for packaged tours offered by companies like Cox & Kings is growing among Indians travelling overseas. But more and more globe-trotting Indians are turn-

biggest growth, says Riaz Munshi, Vice President, OTOAI. Maldives, Thailand, Hong Kong, the UAE and Dubai are some of the important destinations. The fact that it is cheaper to travel and holiday in Thailand than in Kerala, and stay in better hotels, is a

Shibani Phadkar

Karan Anand

Riaz Munshi

Senior Vice President-Leisure Travel (Outbound), Thomas Cook India

Head-relationships Cox & Kings

Vice President OTOAI

which started with election and ended with Ambedkar Jayanti and Baisakhi. Interestingly, the demand is equally balanced on the domestic front and towards short-haul international destinations.

ing experimental, looking to customise trips, opting for offbeat destinations and newer experiences. In the words of Karan Anand, Head-relationships, Cox & Kings, “Weekend holidays are now a trend.

Bala Venkateswara Rao S

Vineet Raina

CMD, Travel Choice

Vice President-Outbound TBi -Trail Blazer Tours India

According to Shibani Phadkar, Senior Vice President-Leisure Travel (Outbound), Thomas Cook India, there is always a spurt in bookings when there is an extended weekend. “Mostly people are going for nearby domestic destinations. Many travellers are also opting for short-haul outbound destina-

Combining weekends with festival holidays and holiday due to elections is an added treat. Choosing ideal destination for an extended holiday of three-four days depends upon proximity or travel time from one’s residence.” Short-haul direct international flights are seeing the

big incentive. Also noticeable is the fact now that Indians are taking more frequent holidays, he opines. Bala Venkateswara Rao S, CMD, Travel Choice, feels there has been no direct impact of elections on the South India market. “More people are choosing to go to South East Asia, irrespective of election dates. This is primarily due to the fact that many domestic destinations are costlier than flying overseas,” he points out. According to Vineet Raina, Vice PresidentOutbound, TBi -Trail Blazer Tours India, initially with the mystery around the election dates, travellers were a little bit hesitant to book their holidays. “Now with the election dates announced, travellers have started planning and booking their holidays. We, at TBi, are seeing a surge in outbound traffic for both short and longhaul holidays. Not to forget, the impact of bullish stock market on tourism, in general, is very positive,” he states.

Plaza Lounge in Bengaluru  The Plaza Premium Lounge announced the launch of its services at Bengaluru International Airport. The company has opened two payin-lounges at the airport, one each at the international and domestic departure terminals. The lounges have been built to provide a relaxed ambience for guests, including soft lighting, innovative services

and facilities along with an interactive food concept. The highlight of the dining area is the interactive food counters, where guests can enjoy madeto-order dishes by the chefs; the guests will be treated to innovative Indian delicacies like fresh dosas and uttapam, along with a wide variety of pastas, assortments of egg preparations, and a hot buffet

with selection of Indian, Continental and Oriental dishes. In addition, there is a soup, salad and refreshment counter. In the bar area, guests can indulge in tapas served alongside a selection of spirits. For those looking for light refreshment, the lounges also offer a range of delectable pastries and freshly brewed tea and coffee.


RAILWAYS

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IRCTC cashes in on eWallet scheme During January and February 2014, IRCTC got total bookings of `1.23 crore and `1.16 Crore, respectively, through the E-Wallet scheme, whereas till March 26, 2014 a total booking of more than ` 1.32 crore had been made. PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA n its continuing efforts to make e-ticketing simpler and easier, IRCTC recently introduced another user-friendly scheme named eWallet. It is a Rolling Deposit Scheme wherein people have an account with IRCTC and deposit money to be used in future for booking e-tickets from the website. The scheme has received a great response from the IRCTC customers. During January and February 2014, there were total bookings of `1.23 crore and `1.16 Crore, respectively, through the eWallet scheme whereas till March 26, 2014 a total booking of more than ` 1.32 crore was already made through this scheme.

I

The average daily booking through eWallet has gone up to nearly 750 tickets, with an average daily fare of ` 5.07 lakh, from about 250 tickets and a daily total fare of `1.75 lakh, when the scheme was launched in midNovember 2013. Till March 26, 2014, nearly 19,000 tickets have been booked through this scheme, which surpasses the figures of January and February 2014 – 18,466 and 17,476 tickets, respectively. Being very user-friendly and far more advantageous

Poland woos India Tourist  Poland Organisation (PTO) in association with Poland Convention Bureau, conducted three-city roadshows in Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi. The roadshows were a part of the PTO’s product marketing and branding campaign, ‘Polska - Come and Find Your Story’. They were targetted towards promoting Business & Leisure Tourism. Speaking about the campaign, Emilia Kubik, Project Leader, Polish Tourist Organisation, said “India is one of the prominent markets for Poland and we are extremely overwhelmed to receive such a phenomenal response to our campaign. Going forward, we would like to focus on Indian Film Industry apart from MICE & leisure tourism as we foresee India as a key contributor to our in-bound tourism.”

than the other payment modes in the e-ticketing system, more than 32,000 users have so far opted for the eWallet scheme. Earlier, one had to make the payment for the fare of the ticket, while booking an e-ticket, through

credit card, debit card, netbanking, etc. In this process, the user is transferred to the bank’s server, from IRCTC’s server, for making the payment; and thereafter, he is once again taken back into the IRCTC site. This takes consid-

erable time out of the total time for booking a ticket. There have been instances when user’s login, in the IRCTC site, expires during this process. Thus, money is deducted from his bank account but he fails to get the ticket.

With this eWallet scheme, this eventuality is nullified. Since the customer’s money is already deposited with the IRCTC, he is not transferred to the Bank’s server for payment and precious time is saved.


COVER STORY  Contd. from page 1

Providing a platform for tourism IITB (formerly GITB) over the last few years has developed into the number one B2B show in India. At the end of the day a travel show is only as good as its buyers.

One good event should suffice. These kinds of exhibitions serve tourism stakeholders and id a platform to showcase tourism offerings available in India.

Dipak Deva Co-Chairman Tourism Committee of FICCI

Subhash Verma Immediate Past President, ADTOI

The role of tourism as a major economic driver and employment generator is widely known. We should work with all stakeholders to put tourism at the centre of our public policy.

This is a great platform to get new buyers to India. The beauty of this show is that the buyers visiting the show have been picked by the industry itself.

Abraham George President, Kerala Travel Mart Society

Hemant Mendiratta Vice President – Sales (Travel Trade) Oberoi Hotels

It is good that the show has moved to Delhi. The MOT, along with FICCI and IGTA, is preparing to host the first ever Incredible India Golf Tourism Summit in October at Delhi.

We found the appointments to be quite productive. We are expecting to meet new travel and tourism companies, besides the traditional ones.

Rajan Sehgal President, India Golf Tourism Association

Kiran Joti Executive Director, Indian Routes

India is still attracting good number of inbound tourists. This event offers Indian sellers a great opportunity to showcase their products to international buyers.

VoA is expected to boost heritage tourism as well. Foreigners look for indigenous local experiences. The Elections will also be a game-changer.

Amit Prasad COO, Go India Journeys

Sunil Sikka Head - Marketing & Business Development, ITC - WelcomHeritage Hotels

The VoA facility will appeal to global participants who have come to attend IITB. It is a muchneeded event and will help promoting inflow of FTOs.

“IITB has been good this year. VoA will also have a huge impact on tourism, but awareness on this advantage is a must.”

Arbind Prasad Director General FICCI

Harish Mathur President, Concord Travels and Tours

We hope to have at least 20 meetings scheduled at IITB. I hope that IITB is further strengthened and |only takes on a larger mantle ahead.

We want more support from the Central Government, which, we think is focussing only on North India. The boom in tourism in Kerala has been only because of the state government.

Jatinder Taneja MD, Travel Spirit International

Suresh Kumar General Manager, Ramada Resort Cochin

As IITB is happening in Delhi, it is easier for hotel chains to participate in the show. We need to work to promote IITB as the show is very organised.

IITB was a very apt and serious show. We met a lot of buyers from South America, Vietnam and Russia. The idea to have a focussed audience will help us. We would love to meet other FTOs, and thus, more shows like this is a need of the hour.

Randhir Gupta Director of Sales - Leisure Accor International Sales Office

Priyanka Vohra Director of Sales, Kingdom of Dreams


AVIATION

For luxury holiday experiences Mumbai-based Baron Aviation, a division of Baron Luxury and Lifestyle, is focussing on the growing high-end outbound travel market. T T B U R E AU he company currently offers luxury travel packages through its Baron Luxury Holidays division wherein it offers Signature services to all its clientele who are looking for unique high-end holiday options. The holiday division is keen to work closely with travel agents and tour operators across India and worldwide, who caters to the top-class business corporate companies, Bollywood stars, political parties or even HNI (High Net-worth Individuals) who are looking for business jets for their business and leisure requirements.

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Talking about the services offered by Baron Aviation, Rajeev Wadhwa, Chairperson, Baron Luxury and Lifestyle, said, “Baron Aviation is all about personalisation and convenience. Along with offering business jets and helicopters, we also offer Signature services to our

Rajeev Wadhwa Chairperson Baron Luxury and Lifestyle

We are a onestop shop for high-end travellers looking for experiential holiday experiences in style

guests looking for leisure travel options. We offer air charters, concierge services, VIP security, navigator for tailored travel schedules, butler services, culinary concierge service, multi-lingual assistance, personal shopper specialist and many such options. Overall, we are a one-stop shop for high-end travellers looking for experiential holiday experiences in style.” Adding further on the relationship with travel agents, Wadhwa said, “We are looking for partners whose clients opt for charters, business jets and helicopters on their vacations or business travel, who are looking for island excursions, who wants to explore multiple locations in a country through hassle-free mode of transport. We are not working as a competition to travel agents but we want to work with them as partners. We need to work towards growing the outbound tourism market, develop new high end products and ensure that India’s high-end travellers have

something to look forward for their every international trip.” Apart from incentivising travel trade for bringing business, the company is also educating the industry about how travelling in a business jet or helicopter is not so expensive and makes business sense for corporate travellers.

Service Offerings

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AirAsia India welcomes first aircraft  AirAsia India received its first Airbus-A320 recently at Kamaraj airport, Chennai. Powered by CFM engines, the aircraft is configured in an all economy layout with 180 seats. Mittu Chandilya, Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia India said, “AirAsia India takes immense pride in welcoming home its first aircraft which has just rolled of the manufacturing line from Toulouse.

Mittu Chandilya Chief Executive Officer AirAsia India

The arrival of our first A320 signifies that

AirAsia India’s fleet will be drawn from the 475 A320 family aircraft ordered by the AirAsia Group. To date,

we are a step closer to our dream to create a new benchmark in the low-cost air travel category. The Indian aviation industry will soon witness a prodigious overhaul with the entry of AirAsia India.”

almost a third of the aircraft on order have already been delivered and are flying on AirAsia Group’s operations out of Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and now Chennai.

N Along with offering business jets and helicopters, they also offer Signature services to our guests looking for leisure travel options. N They offer air charters, concierge services, VIP security, navigator for tailored travel schedules, butler services, culinary concierge service, multilingual assistance, personal shopper specialist and many such options.


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SUCCESS STORY

LEADER TALK

Aiming for near-fly cruise programmes Gavin Smith, Regional Vice President-Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean Cruises, talks to about how the Indian cruise market is expected to grow from the current one lakh cruisers per annum to about three lakh in the next five years. M E G H A PAU L Exponential growth on the anvil The outbound numbers in the cruise segment from the South Asia market, especially from India, is expected to grow exponentially as cruise ships become more accessible and packages become affordable to customers. And as the company looks at putting more ships in Singapore and Hong Kong in the near future, India outbound

becomes vital to the cruise line’s growth. The Indian market is growing by 8-10 per cent annually. This will triple by 2020. Currently, there are around one lakh guests per annum for cruising experiences from India. There is opportunity for three lakh guests in the next five years. This will be facilitated by the world’s best ships coming to Asia soon. Thus, we need to offer fly-cruise programmes closer to India to drive business.

This is where the travel agent plays a big role as Indians buy cruises only from travel agents. Thus, we need to invest in our travel distribution market. Gavin Smith Regional Vice President-Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean Cruises

Indians buy cruise from B2B We are betting big on travel agents in India for expanding our market share in the country. The commission on cruises goes as high as 10 per cent on total ticket pric-

ing. Regarding consumer behaviour, the trend in cruises is that they go online and check all facilities but book only after face-to-face dialogue with travel agents. The incidence of people booking cruise lines directly from India is only about five per cent, primarily because no cruise currently departs from Indian shores. Thus, the traveller needs flights, transfers and accommodation before coming on board. This is where the travel agent plays a big role as Indians buy cruises only from travel agents. Thus, we need to invest in our travel distribution market.

Cruising trends The Indian cruise market is

currently of two kinds—the young travellers taking the twonight itinerary and the high-end luxury traveller that goes all the way to Alaska and Europe. We are looking at filling this void. The company is looking to tap the families, leisure and MICE segment by offering near-fly cruising opportunities. If we improve the accessibility of cruise ships to the market then they need not travel to North America and Europe to access them. Also, if we deliver an appealing port density to get multiple countries and multiple ports, we will have a formula for success in any given market.

New initiatives The group is looking at making products more relevant with introduction of nearby destinations in South East Asia in our itineraries. We are working closely with our local distribu-

tion partner TIRUN Travel Marketing on group pricing, new products, market segmentation and culinary designs. We are also working with tour operators, hotels and airlines to create dynamic packages with the component of cruising so that the packages, on the whole, sound affordable and attractive to customers.

Challenges Unfortunately, there is not much money being spent by the cruise lines on educating the travel agents about cruise holidays. This needs to be done collectively by travel stakeholders. However, this can only happen once there is some growth in the cruise market. Also, there is no global GDS for cruising products. Thus, there is no aggregator for cruise products and this has to be tackled.


MOT

YES for community tourism YES Bank signed an MoU with IITTM for promoting tourism as a tool for socio-economic growth. Tushar Pandey, Sr President & Country Head, PSPM, shares more details with . T T B U R E AU What prompted this move? As one of the important elements of industry academic interface for the tourism sector, so that the community becomes a part of the value chain, it is important that the subjects are understood from the industry’s viewpoint and

signed this MoU to undertake a large amount of activities.

How will this collaboration work out? Our ‘Edge of India’ project which started in Uttarakhand and West Bengal is now at the inflection point of attracting business. This becomes important so that people are trained, marketing

We are planning to take up Clean India as a subject to get some momentum on the ground Tushar Pandey Senior President & Country Head, Public & Social Policies Management (PSPM)

are researched from the community’s perspective. This helps to bring out adaptive solutions. As we have seen, tourism has evolved largely on the backing of industrial-academic collaborations. Something like this needs to be done in India as well. So, we thought of having a collaboration with one of the biggest academic bodies under the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India – IITTM. YES Bank and IITM have

aspects are cascaded into other places and these elements, when studied from an academic viewpoint, will become one element of the collaboration. So, with IITM, we will work out on the research strategy in terms of how the training modules can come out which can later become a part of the IITM curriculum itself. YES Bank has a responsible banking programme called YES Community, it is a generic pro-

gramme where we interact with the community on a variety of subjects. On a macro level, we need to debate state government and central government laws and inter-ministerial collaborations.

YES Bank has been very keen on Buddhist tourism. Are you working on anything for this segment? We intend to start working in Bihar on the collaborative community model, we plan to engage with Nava Nalanda Mahavihara. YES Bank, along with the various bodies in Bihar, will champion this collaborative community model on Buddhist tourism. Then, it can cascade into a full-fledged circuit development with many other states. This has got an appeal to attach with many other economies, it has got the capacity to engage countries like China, Vietnam, Laos and Sri Lanka.

What else is YES Bank working on to facilitate tourism? Besides an international currency travel card, which has a very good conversion rate, we are also coming up with an inbound India travel card. Conceptually, it has been endorsed by the ministry. Anyone coming to India can carry that card as a transaction enabler.

Indian agents enjoy Aussie hospitality

 Cathay Pacific Airways and Tourism Queensland organised a joint FAM trip to Australia for travel agents from India. The trip was conducted in March and the itinerary covered

the Sky Point Surfers Paradise, Curumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Warner Brothers Movie World and the hot air balloon ride in Gold Coast. It also covered a city tour, the Lone Pine

Koala Sanctuary, a river cruise, a ride on the wheel of Brisbane, a visit to the Steve Irvin Australia Zoo and Desert Safari, sand tobogganing and quad biking in Brisbane.


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NEWS

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Etihad Airways’ inaugural flight to Jaipur  Etihad Airways started daily operations between Jaipur and Abu Dhabi on April 2, 2014. A traditional lamp lighting ceremony greeted the disembarking passengers at Jaipur to celebrate the new service and the airline’s tenth destination in India. Craig Thomas, Etihad Airways’ Regional General Manager-Asia Pacific North and Indian Subcontinent, said, “We are confident that the new flights will continue the strong passenger growth between India and the UAE. The new service will provide travellers from Jaipur with seamless connections to the Gulf region and Middle East, as well as Africa, Europe and North America, via our Abu Dhabi hub.” With the addition of Jaipur, Etihad now serves a total of 10 Indian cities.

Covering adventure and self-drive tours Known for providing insurance cover for anything and everything in travel, Mumbai based TrawellTag Cover More recently launched insurance options for adventure activities and selfdrive tours for outbound travel segment. T T B U R E AU ccording to Dev Karvat, Managing Director, TrawellTag Cover More India, there is a need to educate travel agents and travellers about the difference between adventure activities insurance and general travel insurance. He said, “We are educating travel

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agents across India about the importance and need of a travel insurance policy for overseas travel. However, they should also understand that there are many things which are not covered in general travel insurance policy like basic adventure activities and selfdrive. These are the top two

Today, Indians are becoming more experimental and are opting for adventure holidays Dev Karvat Managing Director, TrawellTag Cover More India

Schengen Visa reforms Under the new ‘Schengen Plan’, the company is offering insurance cover for travellers of up to 80 years of age. The plan has been launched to ensure smooth and hassle-free travel to Schengen countries for this summer with complete global assistance and insurance as an add-on benefit. Since the plan is in Euros, it is easy for overseas medical service providers to accept these policies and provide instant cashless facility to customers. The Schengen Plan is of three types—Silver, Gold and Platinum. The Silver Plan covers up to EUR 30,000, Gold Plan up to EUR 60,000 and the Platinum Plan up to EUR 200,000. activities which are increasingly opted by Indian travellers on their overseas travel, thus we thought of introducing cover for these activities.” Under the adventure travel cover, activities like water sports, bungee jumping, rock climbing, etc., will be covered while in selfdrive cover, travellers will be insured for things which are not covered by car-rental compa-

nies like car theft, accidental damage, misfuelling, lost keys, etc. The company also launched a cover for cruise passengers. Karvat said, “We believe in introducing insurance products which are apt for the market and end-travellers. Today, Indians are becoming more experimental and are opting for adventure holidays. We are confident that our new range of product-line will be well accepted in the market.”

The company completed their Silver-level training programme in four cities (Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Nagpur) last year and is in the process of introducing Gold-level training programme in those cities this year. It will also introduce its Silver-level training programme in 15 new cities this year (starting July) which includes Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Pune, etc. Karvat informed that the sales figures went up by 30-40 per cent in those four cities after the training programme. “The training is mainly focussed at educating agents about insurance and how they can earn that extra revenue from this segment. Just 20 per cent of the time during training is dedicated to our product-line information.”

Offering more properties for holidays Maison De Voyage intends to expand destination focus for Interhome. The company is pushing for destinations like France, Austria, Italy and Spain, by eliminating booking fee from the reservation system for transparent pricing. T T B U R E AU n 2011, holiday homes and apartments provider, Interhome appointed Maison de Voyage, a marketing and sales department of Zaka Group, as their GSA in India. Since then, Maison de Voyage is educating Indian travel trade about the benefits of opting for holiday homes during vacations for families and FITs. However, today, the product is popular only for Switzerland while Interhome is present in 31 countries with more than 33,000 properties to offer. It is keen to promote all 31

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countries but four destinations are on top priority – France, Italy, Spain and Austria. Moreover, to bring in price transparency in the offering throughout every sales channel, the company has also eliminated the ‘booking fee’ effective January 1, 2014. Providing more information about the destination portfolio, Jeniffer Daruwalla, General Manager, Maison de Voyage Pvt Ltd - A Division of Zaka Group, said, “Switzerland as a market is performing quite well. But we have more than just the Alps country. Our aim

for this year is to educate our travel partners about Interhome properties located in other countries and destinations. For instance, we have excellent cottages and chalets in Austria which is globally known for ski-holidays. We are not only trying to develop skitourism market in India but also assisting our travel trade partners to include Interhome properties in their itineraries for travellers. We are primarily pushing for properties located in France, Italy, Spain and Austria which are receiving good number of Indian families

We are primarily pushing for properties located in France, Italy, Spain and Austria which are receiving good number of Indian families and FIT travellers Jenaifer Daruwalla General Manager Maison de Voyage Pvt Ltd A Division of Zaka Group and FIT travellers. We are also in talks with France and Austria tourism boards in India to see if they can promote holiday

home stay options among their travel agent network in India.” With India being a price and value sensitive market,

Interhome India webpage required transparent pricing policy for agents and travellers. Thus, Maison de Voyage eliminated the booking fee from its online booking channel, effective January 1, 2014. “We discarded the booking fee model and still maintained the commission rate for travel agent partners to ensure flat pricing policy across all our channels. No doubt that it is impacting our bottom lines, but we are confident that the volume will increase and thus, the business growth will be healthy this year.”


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Foraying into the Indian outbound market Canada-based G Adventures, actively promoting sustainable adventure tourism packages around the globe, has now entered the Indian market to tap the outbound travel sector. T T B U R E AU

turous, responsible and tech savvy. We are excited to start a revolutionary travel experience for all our customers with all our combined strengths. G Adventures is an adventure travel pioneer offering the widest selection of affordable small group tours, safaris and expeditions to more than 100 countries on all continents.”

he company has formed an alliance with Mumbai-based Cox & Kings India and Ezeego1.com to bring in India travel expertise and offer adventure tours which are apt for Indian travellers.

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Karan Anand, Head – Relationships, Cox & Kings India, said, “There is a growing interest from Indian travellers about adventure tourism. We saw an opportunity to bring in international expertise and offer best adventure tours which not just make the experience more memorable, but also helps the local community of that partic-

Highlights N Promoting YOLO (You Only Live Once, so live fast, live free!) tours N Promoting packages through direct and indirect sales channels

(L-R): Karan Anand, Bruce Poon and Neelu Singh announcing the entry of G Adventures into India

ular destination. Thus, we introduce the first-of-its-kind sustainable adventure tourism options for Indian travellers.” The collaboration will promote travel style ranges from YOLO tours (You Only Live Once, so live fast, live free!), local living tours, classic tours, active tours, marine tours, expedition

cruises, family tours, comfort tours and private group tours. Both Cox & Kings India and Ezeego1.com will be promoting these packages through direct and indirect sales channels. Indirect includes sub-agent network which is widely spread across

India. The packages will be priced very economically depending on the destination and activity preferred by the traveller. Neelu Singh, COO, Ezeego1.com, said, “Innovation has become the buzzword today. We are at the helm of a digital euphoria wherein travellers are adven-

Bruce Poon, Founder, G Adventures, said, “India is an exciting and dynamic market with huge potential for G Adventures. We currently operate good number of inbound adventure tours to India, but with the alliance, we now open the market for outbound travel from India. This market is experiencing rapid growth in terms of outbound tourism and with global demand for adventure travel also continuing to grow, now is the perfect time to introduce it as a new way to see the world.”

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Six more properties in India by 2015  Choice Hotels India, a part of Choice Hotels International, is planning to open 6 more properties by 2015 in India. Choice Hotels India is one of the fastest and finest growing hotel chains with 24 properties in over 20 destinations in India and another 14 properties under different stages of development. “We plan to focus on extensive development resources on growing our presence in India. As we have last year expanded our presence with the opening of 5 properties: Clarion Hotel Chennai, Clarion Hotel Coimbatore, Quality Inn Kumabakonam, Quality Inn Bangalore and Comfort Inn in Ahmedabad. In addition another 03 properties have been inked Comfort Hotel in Khanvel Silvasa , Comfort Hotel, Abu Road in Rajasthan and Quality Hotel in Chennai. We are planning to add another 3 properties this year. By 2015, we will have about 32 Properties,” said Vilas Pawar, Chief Executive Officer for Choice Hospitality India.


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ASSOCIATIONS

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IATO - Heading for a new beginning IATO Elections on 26 April 2014 IATO, under the leadership of its President Subhash Goyal, saw some landmark accomplishments which included the induction of the group landing permit, the introduction of ETA and Visa-on-Arrival to all countries in the world (except eight). Moving forward, Subhash Goyal will continue unopposed as the IATO president for the next term as well. Subhash Goyal President, IATO

Business is slow, and today the scenario is such that the small and medium tour operators are facing the real crunch. The international and domestic markets are down and there is international recession overall. Europe and North America are in a bad situation. We need to get this business back. Earlier in roadshows, participants were spending their own money for transportation, airfare and hotel stay. MOT was hosting our dinner and providing event management, now event management has been taken up by IATO with the result that there is an additional burden of Rs 35,000-40,000 per company. So, for a small operator, shelling out Rs 40,000 for each roadshow is a lot, in addition we are paying a lot of taxes. Why can’t we subsidise these roadshows so that even small operators can benefit from it and participate?

I want our organisation to work for small and medium tour operators. We should give them support and subsidise their travelling. At the moment, we are dependent on the MDA scheme of the MOT but IATO is a cash-rich organisation and I want the members’ money to go back to the members. We should subsidise the marketing efforts of the small and medium tour operators. IATO should invest in technology, we should start making audio guides for tourists coming to India and we can make bilingual audio guides for foreign tourists. We can train our staff in learning languages and approach IITTM to start language courses or approach the MOT to have professional courses for the staff of travel agencies. IATO can provide the faculty and IITTM can certify them. Arun Anand, Contesting for Vice-President

Rajesh Mudgill, Contesting for Senior Vice President

There are lots of issues that need to be addressed. During my 20 years at IATO, I have always worked for the benefit of small and medium tour operators and I’ll continue to do that. Once elected, I’d like the association to sponsor all the IATO luncheon meetings. Lally Matthews, Contesting for Honorary Secretary

I want to look after the betterment of the finances of the association. I want the members to be treated like stakeholders and not as customers. I propose that IATO sponsors the members for all major fairs and expos. We pay more than Rs 50lakh as taxes to the government. Why not utilise that money for the benefit of the organisation? I would also like to focus on product development, right now all we are selling is DelhiAgra-Jaipur, why can’t we sell places like the Sikkim, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh? We should explore study tours for operators. Lajpat Rai, Contesting for Treasurer

My main emphasis is that the executive committee forms a core advisory group. The members of the executive committee must have the whole vision of the industry and the necessary experience behind them so that they can talk on issues crucial for the industry. Small operators should be the focus. More than 2/3 membership of the IATO comes from allied members – hotels and sub-agents. I feel, they should be given active role so that IATO becomes more vibrant. Harish Chopra, Contesting for Executive Committee Member

We promise to utilise IATO funds in a better way. Instead of paying taxes, we would spend the funds for benefit of members by undertaking activities, including freezing membership fees for two years, organising more education tours to states in India. There are benefits that MOT used to give, especially to small tour operators, in terms of marketing development assistance. During our tenure, we convinced the ministry that the amount being subsidised is not adequate and the reimbursement value was increased. The second step we took for small tour operators was for the expenses they incur while staying in a hotel. We proposed to evolve a system wherein the members get subsidy

We need to examine the reasons why despite having the best potential to attract tourists, the best efforts made by all stakeholders and regular road shows covering various traffic generating markets, we have not been able to move forward. I will work to ensure greater transparency, modernisation and professionalism in IATO affairs. There is a need to make IATO more receptive. All mails to IATO office should be answered in 24 hours. We will also look at maintaining an ethical code of conduct with travel stakeholders. I will also work to make the IATO website more interactive and useful for IATO members. Pronab Sarkar, Contesting for Secretary Inbound has been affected adversely in the last one year. Going forward, there are many issues such as infrastructure in totality and the marketing strategy to promote India as a destination that IATO needs to tackle. We need to deliberate upon whether we are competitive enough visa-vis our neighbours and whether we have the required infrastructure to support the upsurge in the number of tourists that we are expecting. Thus, IATO must work towards developing cohesive leadership. We aim to cultivate active participation from our members. Collectively, we need to work as an association to bring greater synergies with similar ideologies. Amaresh Tiwari, Contesting for Treasurer Foreign tourists visit India for 10-12 days and 15 kg is hardly acceptable for luggage allowance. Our association should have talked to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and requested the domestic airlines to at least allow the international policy of 20kg. To pay for every sector 5kg extra, adds to the expense borne by them. I would like to address this particular issue with the ministry and request airlines to be sympathetic to the cause of the travellers. Tony Marwah, Contesting for Executive Committee Member for an average of 3-4 night stay. Wonder, who has agreed to the regressive clause of 15% growth to become entitled for MDA? If the whole country is not growing more than 5%, our inbound tourism is not crossing 6% per annum, how can we expect a small operator to show a growth of 15%? It is highly impractical. We have decided to pursue what we have left behind, enhancing and enlarging the scope of MDA and protecting the interests of small operators. The large operators have deeper pockets, it is the small operators who need such assistance. Atul Rai, Contesting for Joint Secretary


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NEWS

Promoting cross-cultural communication Having provided a networking platform to travel and tourism companies from Japan and India, Aseem Tewari, CEO, Avenues, that organised the India Japan Tourism Expo in Delhi this year, informs that attracting tourists from different countries requires positioning our destinations in a manner that appeals to their sensibilities. T T B U R E AU Could you give us an overview of the Indo-Japan Tourism Expo? The Expo was conceived primarily to bring the decisionmakers of Japan's tourism sector to India and share their views about how India is perceived amongst international tourists from Japan. This is exactly what happened. They had many observations, expectations and constructive suggestions for India's tourism sector from a Japanese perspective. I am sure that these will be noted by our decisionmakers and stakeholders because of their immense value and the level of Japanese tourism leadership

that aired them. Their leaders also disclosed Japan’s new initiatives and strategy to attract international tourists in the light of 2020 Olympics being hosted in Tokyo. Discussions between the Japanese and Indian participants highlighted the areas requiring attention, such as food, language, cultural communication, hygiene, punctuality and quality of transport services, connectivity and infrastructure, to name a few.

The event was one-ofits-kind. Do you think we need more such events in the future to promote the cause of tourism? It will always be useful to invite tourism-related decision makers of private and public sectors from the countries we

wish to focus on. This will help us to understand their expectations and suggestions, to invite country-specific marketing ideas from them. Attracting tourism traffic from different cultures/countries requires positioning our destinations in a nuanced way that appeals to their sensibilities.

What do you see as the possible outcome of the event? We are certain that by bringing the who's who of Japan's tourism sector to India for the first time, we have drawn their attention more closely towards India as a destination. It took us 6 months of sustained efforts to convince them to visit India. Since they work at a global level, we

We are certain that by bringing the who's who of Japan's tourism sector to India, we have got their attention towards India as a destination. Aseem Tewari CEO, Avenues should seize more such opportunities.

How do you think has the event helped shape tourism relations between the two countries? Shaping tourism relations requires a vision, time, imagination, creativity, marketing and

passion. Our effort was to bring Japan's decision-makers to India and we did that perfectly. It is now for the decision-makers and stakeholders of India's tourism sector to capitalise on such opportunities.

Based on your experience of hosting an event of this stature,

what would you suggest as guidelines to promote India as a major tourist destination? India has sufficient tourism experts to give guidelines. Considering the potential of tourism to promote cross-cultural communication and bringing people and nations closer (apart from generating revenue), I would like to generate a debate by asking - Is Tourism an underestimated sector in India? We have been blessed with the Himalayas, the forests, the deserts, great rivers, beaches, wildlife, historical and religious sites, an abundant variety of cuisine, art, music, literature and the list can go on. Yet we lag behind. Why?

India witnesses decline in demand: IATA India was the only domestic market to see a contraction in demand, stated an IATA report, with air passenger traffic falling 1.8 per cent in February 2014, compared to February 2013. T T B U R E AU he International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global pas-

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senger traffic results for February, showing a demand growth of 5.4 per cent compared to February 2013. Although, this represented a

The strong demand for air travel is indicative of the symbiotic relationship between aviation and economic growth

slowdown compared to the January traffic increase of 8.2 per cent, cumulative traffic growth for the first two months of 2014 was 6.9 per cent, which compared favourably with the 5.2 per cent overall growth achieved in 2013. Capacity in February rose 5.2 per cent and load factor climbed 0.2 percentage points to 78.1 per cent. All regions except Africa experienced positive traffic growth.

Tony Tyler Director General and CEO IATA

“People are flying. Strong demand is consistent with the pick-up in global economic

growth, particularly in advanced economies.” said Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO, IATA. However, a decrease in demand in India may be attributed to subdued consumer sentiment ahead of the upcoming election (AprilMay), as well as elevated fare levels compared to a year ago, are likely exerting downward pressure on demand. For Indian carriers, the revenue per kilometre (RPK) decreased by 1.8 per cent and available seat per kilome-

tre declined to 6.6 per cent from 7.6 per cent last year. “The strong demand for air travel at a time of rising business and consumer confidence is indicative of the symbiotic relationship between aviation and economic growth. The connectivity provided by aviation, both enables and sustains trade and development, while economic activity creates demand for aviation. Governments that treat aviation as if it were a luxury item - or a necessary evil - are

depriving their populations of a key engine of growth and job creation,” said Tyler.

Facts N Cumulative traffic growth for the first two months of 2014 was 6.9 per cent, which compared favourably with the 5.2 per cent overall growth achieved in 2013 N For Indian carriers, the revenue per kilometre (RPK) decreased by 1.8 per cent


STATES

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National parks boosting tourism in MP Madhya Pradesh has four national parks – Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Panna and Pench – which can compare to the best in the world in terms of wildlife diversity. takes a look at its rich potential for attracting tourists from all over the world. T T B U R E AU

for all wildlife lovers and a haven for its animals and avian population.

Bandhavgarh This is a small national park, compact, yet teeming with wildlife. The density of the tiger population in Bandhavgarh is the highest known in India. Original home of the white tigers, Bandhavgarh is densely populated with other species like sambar, barking deer, nilgai, etc. The terrain is of great rocky hills rising sharply from the swampy and denselyforested valley bottoms. The finest of these hills is Bandhavgarh, sided with great cliffs and eroded rocks

DID YOU KNOW? original Pench National Park is the s famous ing’ Kipl yard Rud of ing sett y of work, The Jungle Book. Man Jungle the places described in the in Seoni Book are actual locations river district, like the Waingunga Khan with its gorge where Sher ge was killed, Kanhiwara villa and the Seoni hills.

Panna

and on its highest point stands some 2000 years old Bandhavgarh Fort.

being one of the finest and best administered National Parks in Asia, an irresistible attraction

Panna National Park was created in 1981. It was declared as a ‘Project Tiger Reserve’ in 1994. The Ken river, which flows through the reserve from south to north, is home for Gharial and Mugger. Ken offers some of the most spectacular scenery to the visitor while it meanders for some 55 km through the reserve.

Kanha Kanha National Park forms the core of the Kanha Tiger Reserve created in 1974 under ‘Project Tiger’. The park is the only habitat of the rare hard ground Barasingha. A series of stringent conservation programmes for the protection of the park’s flora and fauna have given Kanha its deserved reputation for

Pench Nestled in the southern slopes of the Satpura ranges of Central India, the Pench Tiger Reserve (757.90 sq kms) lies in southern Madhya Pradesh, bordering Maharashtra. The park comprises Indira Priyadarshini Pench National

Park and the Mowgli Pench Sanctuary. It was brought under Project Tiger in 1992. Over 1,200 species of plants have been recorded in the area including several rare and endangered plants as well as of ethno-botanical importance.


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FAMILY ALBUM

Convention with adrenaline rush The Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) recently hosted its three-day 11th annual Convention on the banks of River Ganga at Shivpuri in Uttarakhand. With delegates being ferried across Ganga to their camps by a raft, the convention witnessed a series of business sessions and networking events.


AGENTS INTERNATIONAL 15-17 15-20 23-25

Shanghai The Hague Sao Paulo

23-25

Kazakhstan

28-30

Cape Town

APRIL IT&CM China International Travel & Tourism Market World Travel Market Latin America Kazakhstan International Tourism Fair (KITF) IBTM Africa

MAY INTERNATIONAL 2-3

Cape Town

World Travel Market Africa

5-8

Dubai

Arabian Travel Market (ATM)

9-11 10-12 11-13

Shanghai Durban Bremen

World Travel Fair Indaba Expo Germany Travel Mart

18-21 20-22 27-30

New Zealand Frankfurt Vancouver

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

29-Jun 1 Seoul

NATIONAL 24-26 27-29

Gandhinagar Guwahati

JUNE Gujarat Travel Mart TTF Guwahati

INTERNATIONAL 2-5

Shanghai

Asia International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM Asia 2014)

4-6

Bangkok

Thailand Travel Mart Plus

10-12

Orlando

America Incentives Business Travel & Meetings Expo (AIBTM 2014)

15-17

Sydney

Outdoor Retailer Australia

19-21

Dhaka

Bangladesh International Tourism Fair

19-22

Singapore

Zak Salaam India Tourism Expo

22-24

Zimbabwe

Routes Africa 2014

27-29

Beijing

Beijing International Tourism Expo 2014

29-July 2 Barcelona

NATIONAL 4-6 11-13 18-20 21

Kolkata Hyderabad Bengaluru Bengaluru

23

Mumbai

25

New Delhi

25-27 31

Chennai Chennai

4th International Conference on Tourism between China-Spain

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

INTERNATIONAL 4-6

Beijing

Luxury China

10-13

Germany

European Outdoor Trade Fair

11-13

Abu Dhabi

World Luxury Expo

23-26

China

Asia Outdoor Trade Fair

24-26

Cebu

Cebu International Travel Expo

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

Helping agents to profit more Nishant Sadana, Director, Zapbooking, talks about his future plans, his brand’s USP and how information about the products is essential to lend credibility. T T B U R E AU How does Zap Booking help agents? Zap Booking consolidates holidays like agents used to do. We bulk buy airline seats in advance by paying airlines at a reduced rate. We also contract with specific hotels where we enjoy the exclusive rate due to the commitment, volume and advance; similarly, we work for transport, visa and others. We are eventually able to package the whole holiday at a much lesser cost than a normal FIT holiday package that the agent creates by taking individual rates from the suppliers. On an average, we offer our products at a cost that’s about 10-20 per cent lesser than a normal holiday package. This further helps agents to make more profit and ensures quick turnaround, which means they no more have to work with different overseas vendors, visa, airlines separately. This can be done by

To connect to your consumers today, you need to have all the information regarding your product published in detail. That gives it more credibility. Nishant Sadana, Director, Zapbooking coordinating with just one entity — us.

What is your USP? Why should agents pick you over other competitors? We do not brand ourselves on ground, we let the agents choose the group name. This helps the agents retain their clients. Agents have this worry that they will lose their clients if the latter know where agents book their holiday from. Secondly, most fixed departures that operate in the market are based on fixed hotels and inclusions. If we force a specific category and

inclusions to our passengers, it is always going to backfire. So, we have created this great system in which we are able to keep the cost low, along with giving option to passengers to upgrade their hotels and inclusions. This gives every passenger the ease of choosing what they want to do, where they want to stay and at a low price module. Also, there are many more points such as easy access, instant availability, good relations with suppliers, hotels and airlines.

How dynamic is the online business?

Indian consumers trust online information. To connect to your consumers today, you need to have all the information regarding your product published in detail. That gives it more credibility. If you don’t have the right information with a booking option on your site, you will lose business. But, I feel that the product that you have, should be such that it is used within the organisation, designed simply, and gives accurate information. Then, there is no reason why the product should fail.

What are your plans for 2014? We want to invest heavily in technology this year to optimise the process and operations, both for external and internal use. Also, we will be diversifying, not in a different domain, but we’ll add more markets where we see prospects and where agents find it difficult to book and understand.

40% growth from India outbound In a freewheeling discussion with , Vijay Sharma talks about the recent initiatives taken by Club Med India for expanding through a strong distribution network of tour operators. sel their customers on our unique holiday offering,” Sharma points out. After establishing PSA sales volumes in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, the company would be aggressively tapping non-metro cities. “Diversification of business

TT B U R E AU ne of the largest resort chains in the world, Club Med is betting big on the India outbound market for its growth. According to Vijay Sharma, Country Manager, Club Med India, the company in India has registered a growth rate of around 40 per cent every year and with a focussed approach, the group expects to double the number of guests per annum by end of 2014. “The country is a growing market and with a stable GDP growth and ballooning outbound tourism, Club Med fits in very well for a niche Indian outbound traveller segment. Club Med is looking to cater to the biggest traveller segment, families, which enjoys all-inclusive hassle-free holiday concept and its Indian marketing office is ensuring an easy access for Indians to this unique holiday concept,” he reveals.

O

Going forward, the company’s core objective in India will be to increase concept awareness in defined

Vijay Sharma Country Manager Club Med India

markets and business volume by expanding through a strong distribution network of travel agents. “Our marketing initiative constitutes of various online campaigns, BTL programmes and offline media activation that will keep our customers educated and updated on our various offerings and ongoing initiatives. We are looking at an aggressive distribution strategy by which it will be available through multi-outlets and also working towards creating Club Med specialists with our preferred travel partners who will coun-

bound from India, he elaborates, “The concept has been largely accepted in India, as we have seen more than 50 per cent of Club Med customers in India are repeat clientele or through references and our clients are extremely satisfied

Our marketing initiative constitutes of various online campaigns, BTL programmes and offline media activation that will keep our customers educated and updated on our various offerings and ongoing initiatives

into newer resorts in China, Europe etc. would be our next step as we are currently focussing only on the SouthEast Asian and Maldives island resorts,” he adds. Talking about how it’s USP of all-inclusive tag is helping it to get more out-

with our service levels in our resorts. The concept has been accepted because of the hassle-free concept with no hidden costs and an opportunity to explore various food, sports and entertainment options without having to pay heavily for every item separately.”


OPPORTUNITY/CLIPBOARD

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MOVEMENTS

Preferred Hotel Group

Hilton Worldwide

Taj Group

New Delhi

Delhi NCR

New Delhi

Saurabh Rai has been elevated to Area Managing Director of South Asia and Middle East for the Preferred Hotel Group. He began his career with Preferred Hotel Group in 2008 as Director of Global Sales & Development for India and Middle East. Rai was promoted to Regional Director of India in 2009 and gained additional responsibilities upon his subsequent promotion to Regional Director of South Asia and Middle East in 2013.

Pariva Rustagi has been taken on as the Regional Director, Sales – India, for Hilton Worldwide. She will lead sales efforts for the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of hotels in India. Rustagi’s experience in the hospitality industry spans almost two decades. Most recently, she was Director, National Sales – India, Marriott International Inc. Prior to joining Marriott International Inc. in January 2008, Rustagi was the Director of Sales & Marketing for The Grand New Delhi, and before that she held the position of Associate Director of Sales for The Imperial New Delhi.

PV Ramana Murthy has been appointed by the Taj Group as the Senior Vice President, Global Head - Human Resources. Murthy joins Taj Hotels from a distinguished 15-year career with The Coca-Cola Company, where most recently he served as Executive Director – Human Resources for Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB), India and Bangladesh, the wholly owned subsidiary of the Bottling Investments Group of The Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta, USA. In this board level position at the corporate headquarters in Gurgaon, he was responsible for about 15,000 employees.

The Lalit Mumbai

Bengaluru Marriott Whitefield

Mumbai

Bengaluru

DoubleTree by Hilton GurgaonNew Delhi NCR

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

Nicholas Dumbell has been appointed as the General Manager of Bengaluru Marriott Whitefield. Prior to his arrival in Bangalore, Dumbell was involved in the conceptualization of the Renaissance Kiev Hotel. He has also led Breadsall Priory; Marriott Hotel and Country Club, a 13th century English Country resort with two golf courses and a high level of leisure and group business. His previous experiences have been predominantly focused on city centre transient hotels.

Crowne Plaza Jaipur

Radisson Blu Hotel, Dwarka

The Grand New Delhi

Jaipur

New Delhi

New Delhi

Ashwani Goela has been taken on as the General Manager for soon to be opened Crowne Plaza Jaipur, Tonk Road. Ashwani brings with him 15 years of diverse experience in hotel operations, that range from pre-opening, accommodation management, guest management, sales and marketing and revenue management. Goela has been associated with brands like Radisson and The Imperial in the past. He has been with IHG since August 2009 and his last assignment was with Crowne Plaza Okhla as EAM and a pre-opening team member.

Munish Bhatia has joined Radisson Blu Hotel, Dwarka, New Delhi as the Director-Sales & Marketing. His repertoire of skills has made him successfully climb the echelons of his career ladder. Before joining Radisson Blu Dwarka, Bhatia was with the Intercontinental Hotels Group. Prior to that, he has worked with the Carlson Rezidor family. In his new role, Bhatia will be responsible for growing revenues and business across key market.

Kumar Sambhav has been appointed as the Director Food & Beverage at The Grand New Delhi. Prior to The Grand New Delhi, Sambhav has been associated with Crown Plaza Kochi, The Leela Kempinski Goa, Le Meridien Jaipur, Disney Cruise line, USA. Sambhav holds a degree in Hotel Management from IHM Srinagar and Masters in Tourism Management from IGNOU.

NCR Parmeet Singh Nayar has been appointed General Manager of DoubleTree by Hilton Gurgaon-New Delhi NCR. Nayar has also assumed additional charge as India Regional Coordinator Operations Effectiveness, Hilton Worldwide. Before joining Hilton Worldwide, Nayar led the hotel division of the MBD Group as Executive Director and General Manager of Radisson Blu Hotel, Noida, Delhi NCR. In this role, he also oversaw the MBD Group’s hotel projects in Ludhiana and Bengaluru.

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

P. K. Mohankumar, Chief Operating Officer-Gateway Brand, Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces takes the saying ‘Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy and wise’ very seriously. He wakes up daily at 6 in the morning. “I am a health freak and I love indulging in activities such as swimming, jogging and yoga,” he says. Interestingly, he is also a Kalaripayattu (an Indian martial art from Kerala) expert and enjoys outdoor sports such as cricket, football and hockey. “Staying fit is the ethos of my life. For the last ten years, I have been practicing veganism and have given up rice completely,” he adds. According to Mohankumar, reading is an important part of life and never goes out of fashion.

Vasudha Sondhi, Managing Director, Outbound Marketing doesn't get a lot of spare time as she needs to travel a lot. However, music is one of her passions that keep her going. "I learnt to play the sitar for 10 years, which is like 20 years ago. Now I have been learning light music on the keyboard," she says. Sondhi is also an avid reader. "I read a lot…mostly historical fictions. I have read all of William Dalrymple’s work. I like reading Hindi literature as well." Sondhi loves gardening and has created a threelevel terrace garden at her place, she reveals candidly.

Sanjay Razdan, CEO, Razdan Holidays, has recently won the 1st Position in T2 Category (Above 1350 CC) in Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm. Razdan has formed a bond with his car that strengthens with every leg at every rally. “As a child, I would watch the motorists at the car rallies on the television set and would dream that I would be doing this when I grew up.” After so many motorsport rallies to his credit, Razdan is still lured back on the track, year after year. “Each time it is a new challenge, every route is a new route and every rally offers something new," he says.


Postal Reg. No.:DL(ND)-11/6044/2012-13-14; WPP No.:U(C)-178/2012-14 for posting on 1st-2nd and 16th-17th of the same month at New Delhi P.S.O., RNI No.: 53492/91 Date of Publication:15-04-2014

HIGHLIGHT

Rendez-vous en France 2014 In conversation with Catherine Oden, Director, Atout France, India, finds out more about how France is promoting itself in the Indian sub-continent, what it’s plans are, and the varied options it serves up for the burgeoning Indian outbound tourism market. K A N C H A N N AT H

FROM

How many exhibitors and agents participated in ‘Rendez-vous en France 2014’? The 9th edition of the workshop, Rendez-vous en France, welcomed 850 buyers and 660 global sellers. India was represented by a delegation of 19 travel agents and two journalists from B2B trade publications. Specialising in leisure holidays and corporate travel, our delegation this year comprised of agents from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad. The fair will take place in Paris in April 2015.

How has the falling rupee made an impact on outbound tourism from India to France? The depreciation of the Indian rupee led to a slowdown in outbound travel in the second half of the year. Travellers were not cancelling their plans, but postponing their journeys to a later date. For France, we noticed that short-stay holidays increased as well as a preference for budget-friendly options. The depreciating rupee did not greatly affect the travel plans of those in search of luxury vacations.

How many visitors did you receive from India in 2013? In 2013, we estimate approximately 3,00,000 Indians to have visited France. Most of our visitors belong to metropolitan cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore with an increasing number of traffic from Tier-II and Tier-III cities such as Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad, Cochin, Pune and others.

F RA N C E The percentage split between leisure, business and VFR for France would be Leisure: 75, Business: 20 and VFR: 5.

How has ‘Be there Do that’ taken off in India? What is your strategy to promote France this year? We believe that ‘Be There! Do That!’ has Catherine Oden, Director, Atout France, India been favourably accepted in India. This very fluid In addition to focussing slogan encompasses a broad range of experienon FITs, families, tial activities in France. In honeymooners, DINKS addition to focussing on FITs, families, honeyand corporates, we mooners, DINKS and would also like to focus corporates, we would also like to focus on youth on youth travellers travellers. We will also work in collaboration with Switzerland Tourism. Over the effectively broaden our reach. last 5 years, we have witThe training is still in progress, nessed a gradual shift from and so far we have had around escorted holidays to independ850 participants who have regent customised holidays. So istered for the training. we have presented options What are the trends you such as self-drive holidays, are seeing for Indian wine trails, family holidays, and outbound tourism? options for honeymooners. The outlook for 2014 is What is your target to largely positive, but we believe add more agents for that prevailing economic connext year, and any new ditions and the ongoing generincentives that you are al elections will, to some offering to the travel extent, determine Indian outtrade? bound travel trends. The temOur annual workshops in porary suspension of biometNew Delhi and Mumbai allow rics for all French visa applicaus and our visiting French parttions should positively ners to connect with key playenhance the positioning of ers in these cities. Many of our France as a leisure and corpotravel agency partners rate destination. We believe approach us for assistance in that demand for experiential travel will increase as our itinerary planning. The online Indian visitors would now like training platform has helped us

to add a bit of the ‘undiscovered’ to their agenda while travelling abroad. Short holiday breaks are also becoming popular in this market.

Could you tell us more on 'Memory Tourism' being promoted in 2014, dedicated to the centenary of the First World War? 2014 will be the centenary year of World War I. France offers its visitors a chance to relive the events of this war which shaped the world's history all through 2014 and some part of 2015. The Indian Army was a significant contributor to the efforts of Allied forces. Indian memorial sites can be found in the Nord Pas de Calais Region in France. An Indian memorial site has been erected at Neuve-ChapelleRichebourg, paying homage to the role of the Indian soldiers who fought in the Crete d'Aubers Battle that took place in March 1915. There is also an Indian and Chinese cemetery in Ayette in the same region.

Art de Vivre N We have tried to promote art de vivre or the French way of life. As part of the fraternity of European tourism boards, we are always open to joint collaborations to promote tourism to Europe.


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South India Travel Awards

Sunrise in the South Recognising the efforts of achievers from different segments of the industry, South India Travel Awards 2014 starts with a bang in Hyderabad making up for the long-felt necessity to focus on the travel industry in the South. Maya, in her various avatars of Gold, Black, Red and Pearl was the toast of the town.

(L-R): SanJeet, Publisher, DDP Publications; Rajneesh Malhotra, GM, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills; Peter Frawley, GM - Delegate, Accor, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh Hotel Operations & HICC; Chandana Khan, Special Chief Secretary, Andhra Pradesh Tourism; Amita Motwani, Mrs. India-International 2013; Sunil Kumar, CEO, Travel World and Vice-President, TAAI; Kamal Hingorani, Sr Vice President & Head, Ground Services, SpiceJet and MS Naga Raju, MD, Epicurus Hospitality and Adviser, Andhra Pradesh Hotels Association, at the ribbon cutting ceremony of South India Travel Awards in Hyderabad

PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA he sun is rising in the South,” these were the apt words with which Chandana Khan, Special Chief Secretary, Andhra Pradesh Tourism, summed up the South India Travel Awards.

“T

Addressing the stakeholders and game changers of the South Indian travel industry, who had all gathered together at Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills to celebrate the South India Travel Awards, Khan, who was the Chief Guest at the event, congratulated the organisers and said that there had been a long-felt necessity to focus on the south. The awards recognised the efforts of achievers from different segments of the industry, including those from the aviation sector, domestic and international tourism

Chandana Khan, Amita Motwani and SanJeet releasing the book, Southern Heritage, an ode to the immense beauty, heritage, culture, and the delectable cuisine of South India at the Awards ceremony

boards, hotels and resorts, GDS’s as well as travel agents and tour operators. Explaining the criteria for the awards, SanJeet, Publisher, DDP Publications, said, “The winners of the awards were decided by a fair and unbiased selection process done through voting and judgment by a panel of jury consisting of the travel industry’s major players. The total score of the judges and the number of votes received

by each nominee determined the final scores of the winners.” What was most heartening to know was that the organisers received 250,000 votes from 61 countries, including USA, Canada, UK, France, UAE, Germany, China and many other places. Receiving the ‘Wall of Legends’ Award on behalf of her father Vivek Nair, CMD, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, Amruda Nair,

who is the Leela Group’s Head of Asset Management, said, “With the travel and tourism industry poised to grow exponentially, the entire industry will benefit from it.”

Amita Motwani, Mrs India-International 2013, who was the Guest of Honour at the event, talked about the need for more such initiatives to motivate and improve tourism in India.

Winner of the ‘DDP Game Changer’ Award, Sunil Kumar, Vice President, TAAI and CEO, Travel World, said, “This award will remind me of my commitment to the industry which will be there till my last breath.”

Later, Khan, Motwani and Sanjeet also released the book, Southern Heritage, which is an ode to the immense

On being awarded the ‘Face of the Future’ Award, Zaheer Ellias Najeeb, Executive Director, ATE Group of Companies, said, “It’s humbling to be here, it's not just me, but the entire future of the travel industry sits before me, and every person here and everything that we do will change and define the future of the travel industry.”

beauty, heritage, culture, and the delectable cuisine of South India, which offers extraordinary potential for travel and tourism. Having completed the Southern leg with a bang, the awards will now travel to the East, West and North India, finally culminating in the grand finale.


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SOUTH INDIA TRAVEL AWARDS

The Golden ‘Maya’ awarded to Wall of Legends

DDP Game Changer Vivek Nair, Chairman & MD, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, was conferred with The Wall of Legends Award. His daughter, Amruda Nair, Head of Asset Management, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, received the award on his behalf from Chandana Khan, Special Chief Secretary, Andhra Pradesh Tourism

Face of the Future

Sunil Kumar, CEO, Travel World and Vice-President, TAAI, receiving the DDP Game Changer Award from Chandana Khan. Accompanying her are Amita Motwani, Mrs. India-International 2013 and SanJeet, Publisher, DDP Publications

Zaheer E. Najeeb, Executive Director, ATE Group of Companies, receiving the Face of the Future award from Chandana Khan


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and the Black ‘Princess’ goes to Entrepreneur of The Year

Best Airline

Rajeev Kumar G, Founder, MD & CEO, Mystifly, receiving the Entrepreneur of The Year Award

Best Business Hotel

The award was given to SpiceJet and received by Kamal Hingorani, Sr Vice President & Head, Ground Services, SpiceJet

Best Airport

The award was given to Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills and received by its General Manager, Rajneesh Malhotra

Best Hotel Brand

The award was given to Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru and received by Lokesh Matta, Head of Airlines Marketing (Passenger & Air Cargo Network), Bangalore International Airport Limited

The award was given to Novotel and received by Peter Frawley, GM - Delegate, Accor, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh Hotel Operations and Hyderabad Internatinoal Convention Centre


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SOUTH INDIA TRAVEL AWARDS

Best Airport Marketing

Best National Tourism Board

The award was given to Bangalore International Airport Limited and received by Lokesh Matta, Head of Airlines Marketing (Passenger & Air Cargo Network), Bangalore International Airport Limited

The award was given to Philippines Tourism and received by the Philippines Tourism Team

Best Leisure Hotel

Best City Hotel

The award was given to Hyatt Place Hampi and received by its General Manager, Sumit Kumar

The award was given to Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Mysore, and received by its General Manager, Pankaj Saxena


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Best Beach Destination

Best Heritage Resort

The award was given to Rishikonda Beach - Haritha Beach Resort, Andhra Pradesh Tourism and received by Sumith Singh, Director of Hotels, AP Tourism

The award was given to Vijayshree Heritage Village and received by its Managing Director, Raju Bhurat R Best Travel Portal

Best Destination Management Company

The award was given to Hermes - Get My Trip & The Smart Shop and received by Sukumar Cornelius, State Head - Tamil Nadu & Port Blair

The award was given to Spiceland Holidays, Kerala and received by its Managing Director, Riyaz U C from M S Naga Raju, MD, Epicurus Hospitality and Adviser, Andhra Pradesh Hotels Association


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Best Meetings & Conference Venue

Best Travel Management Company

The award was given to Hyderabad International Convention Center and received by Peter Frawley, GM - Delegate, Accor, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh Hotel Operations & HICC (extreme left); Shweta, Director of Sales, Meetings & Events (2nd from left) and Samit Kazi, Director of Sales, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre & Hyderabad International Convention Centre (extreme right) from M S Naga Raju

Best Global Distribution System

The award was given to Travel Choice International and received by its Chairman & MD, Bala Venkateswara Rao Sankuratri from Sanjay Soni, Hon. Treasurer, India Convention Promotion Bureau

Best Global Travel Consolidation Services

The award was given to Travelport Galileo and received by Sathiesh T.S., Business Manager-Andhra Pradesh, InterGlobe Technology Quotient

The award was given to Mystifly Consulting (India) and received by its Founder, MD & CEO, Rajeev Kumar G, from Sanjay Soni


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Best Travel Insurance Provider

Ultimate Service Award in Hospitality

The award was given to TrawellTag Cover-More and received by its Managing Director, Dev Karvat from Anil Kumar, Vice President, The Times Group

Best Family Travel Destination

The award was given to Clarks Exotica Resorts & Spa and received by its Executive Director, Nigel Colaco and CEO, M Balaji, from Anil Kumar, Vice President, The Times Group

The award was given to Ramoji Film City and received by its CEO, Rajeev Jalnapurkar, from Rajneesh Malhotra, General Manager, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills


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Best Luxury Resort

Best New Resort

The award was given to Tamara Coorg and received by its Director & CEO, Senthil Kumar N from Rajneesh Malhotra, General Manager, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills The award was given to Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere and received by its Managing Director, Dr P. Vasudevan (2nd from left) from Dev Karvat

Best New Hotel

Best New Mid-Market Hotel

The award was given to Crowne Plaza Kochi and received by its General Manager, Sanjay Kaushik, from Dev Karvat, MD, TrawellTag Cover-More (extreme left)

The award was given to Holiday Inn Kochi and received by its Director of Sales, Mayank Uniyal (extreme right), from Dev Karvat


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The ‘Pearl Lady’ goes to

Chandana Khan, Special Chief Secretary, Andhra Pradesh Tourism, being acknowledged for gracing the occasion with Pearl Trophy ‘Maya’

The sun is rising in the south and then travelling onwards, there has been a long‐felt necessity to focus on the south. As the Golden Triangle in the north has become famous among international and domestic tourists, there is a need perhaps for a Platinum Triangle in the south so that we are able to weave together the important southern destinations. We still have lots to be done. The South has been devoid of any untoward incident till now and is known for its peace, which is a big asset to invite international and domestic tourists to the region. Also, the urban and rural infrastructure in the South is much better than the rest of the country, and this helps facilitate seamless travel. Here, we have ample scope for temple, beach and also medical tourism. Tourism is a vehicle for poverty alleviation, income generation and it also gives rise to peripheral industries, providing livelihood for artisans. Since it is a skill‐based industry, and is not based on educational qualifications, everyone can be assured of employment. We need to make joint efforts with stakeholders; the efforts so far have been very fragmented and isolated. The need of the hour is to join hands and see that each other's strength is built into double strength and synergy. The stakeholders in this industry are countless because everyone can be a tourism ambassador ‐ from a taxi driver to a pedestrian, who gives directions and is friendly to the tourist. We need to break the formal barrier and see to it that we benefit from the vast manpower that can make India a great tourism destination, and India needs it.

Chandana Khan Special Chief Secretary Andhra Pradesh Tourism

Amita Motwani, Mrs. India International 2013 being acknowledged for gracing the occasion with Pearl Trophy ‘Maya’

After understanding the process and the way in which Maya was created, I think we need such initiatives in all fields. I want to congratulate all the award winners for their excellence and I'm sure that they will together take this industry to a new high.

Amita Motwani Mrs India‐International 2013


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and the ‘Red Maya’ is for Partner State

Partner State

Andhra Pradesh Tourism being awarded with Red Trophy ‘Maya’ as the Partner State and received by Sumith Singh, Director of Hotels, AP Tourism and Nethra Devang - PRO of AP Tourism Kerala Tourism being awarded with Red Trophy ‘Maya’ as the Partner State

Hospitality Partner

Beverage Partner

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Hyderabad Banjara Hills being awarded with Red Trophy ‘Maya’ as the Hospitality Partner and received by its Director Sales & Marketing, Pavan Kakar and Team Radisson ASPRI SPIRITS being awarded with Red Trophy ‘Maya’ as the Beverage Partner and received by its Assistant Manager - Marketing, Rohan Kuttappa (extreme right)


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SOUTH INDIA TRAVEL AWARDS

Glimpses of India Travel Awards


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SOUTH INDIA TRAVEL AWARDS


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TravTalk April 2nd 2014