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Pages: 44 (Excluding cover)

Vol. XXV No. 1; January 1 st fortnight issue 2013

` 50/-

India ready with a new approach The new initiative includes developing world-class infrastructure and training manpower. It also includes undertaking aggressive promotional and marketing activities… T T B U R E AU


ncredible India has lined up a multi-pronged approach to aggressively promote tourism in India, said K Chiranjeevi, Minister for State for Tourism with Independent Charge to the global audience that had gathered to witness the grand finale of the World Travel Awards in India. “Our ministry has prepared a multi-pronged strategy to increase India’s share in World Tourist Arrivals. It includes the development of




the world-class infrastructure and manpower and undertaking aggressive promotional and marketing activities. The recently launched phase two of Incredible India campaign indicates a paradigm shift with the focus now being on consumers. The emphasis is on the fact that international tourists can find their destination or product of desire in India,” said Chiranjeevi. India offers a wide variety of travel attractions, which exhibit our traditional culture, ethos and modern outlook. Tourism also draws strength in India from its diverse

Lufthansa bags WTA

Our ministry has prepared a multi-pronged strategy to increase India’s share in World Tourist Arrivals wildlife, breath taking mountains and vibrant festivals. In fact, India bagged three prestigious World Travel Awards (WTA), namely World’s Leading Destination- India, World’s Leading Tourist BoardIncredible India and World’s Leading Tourist AttractionTaj Mahal.

“Tourism is now recognised as the driver of the economic growth. It’s also reckoned as the best tool to promote sustainable development and address the inclusive growth concerns. Tourism has the potential to stimulate other economic factors through its linkages with a host of sectors like agriculture, manufac-

K Chiranjeevi Minister for State for Tourism

turing, etc. Another unique aspect of the tourism sector is that it provides employment even to the unskilled and semi-skilled manpower,” said Chiranjeevi.

Tourism needs a makeover? Experts believe that bringing change in orientation of the tourism industry as pro-poor sector and its ability to generate jobs will put its genuine demands on a stronger pedestal. VIVEK SETHI

SanJeet, Director, DDP Publications presents the World Travel Award (WTA) to Axel Hilgers, Lufthansa’s Director-South Asia. The service has been adjudged as the World's Leading Airline- Economy Class. WTA has capped its year-long search for the most popular travel and tourism brands in the world with its glittering Grand Finale Gala Ceremony in Delhi - NCR, India on December 12, 2012. The decision-makers of the industry attended the VIP evening, which was officially supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, and hosted at The Oberoi, Gurgaon.


he interactive session called by the World Travel & Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII) titled ‘Leading Tourism Through Turbulent Times’ in New Delhi brought

the top decision makers in the travel and hospitality industry together. The four eminent panelists included Arun Maira, Member, Planning Commission, Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Kapil Kaul, CEO, South Asia, CAPA and Ian Angell,

Professor Emeritus, London School of Economics, who dwelt deep into various possibilities of making tourism a profitable and priority sector. Here are the excerpts from the various expert insights:Contd. on page 6 

Seaplanes to soar in Indian skies With extensive coastlines and numerous lakes in several parts of the country, Maritime Energy Heli Air Services (MEHAIR) plans to introduce seaplanes in Kerala, Mumbai and Goa. See full story on page 18 


MOT to study tax impact on tourism The ministry will conduct the study of comparison on the impact of excessive taxes on tourism viz-a-viz export industry and also with the competing neighbouring countries. T T B U R E AU


he Ministry of Tourism is now preparing to study the ground realities, as to create a more conducive business environment in the tourism industry. K Chiranjeevi, Minister of State for Tourism with Independent charge has announced that his Ministry will conduct comprehensive study on impact of taxation on the tourism sector. “The ministry will conduct the study of comparison of the impact of excessive taxes on tourism industry viz-a-viz the export industry and also the comparative analysis on the tax structure on the Indian tourism industry with competing neighbouring coun-

IATO team with Tourism Minister Chiranjeevi (third from left)

tries,” said Chiranjeevi, while addressing the delegation of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) in New Delhi. The EC members of IATO had met the minister in his office and apprised him of the pertinent issues. Subhash Goyal, President, IATO apprised the minister that if Visa-on-Arrival is expanded

and export industry status is given to the tourism industry, tourism will go up by at least 50 per cent in the country. “Visa-on-Arrival scheme should be extended to all tourism-friendly countries. In countries where Visa-onArrival is not possible, e-visa should be issued for travelling to India. Indian tour operators are being discriminated against the physical exporters

as the export industry is exempted from service tax whereas the tourism industry is not. This is resulting in discrimination not only against the exporters, but also against tour operators in the neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal etc, who are not paying any taxes and the business for India is being routed through them,” Goyal added.



he Travel & Tourism Industry is moving forward on a very positive note… The policy initiatives launched during the last two months of the calendar year 2012 hold promise for more pathbreaking measures that shall be rolled out in 2013. The two new marketing campaigns covering both international and domestic markets, followed up by a comprehensive study on the fall-out of excessive taxation and setting up of a regional tourism promotion council in a span of less than two months, further strengthens our hopes for 2013. New Year brings with it a feeling of good will, cheer and relief. One more year has gone and our business is doing well despite the global crunch. I don’t want to sound like a messiah or a doomsday nemesis, but if we want to reach international standards, then together as an industry we need to take a vow for 2013 to carry our business and this country forward with a feeling of pride and ownership. There are plenty of opportunities in India for it to be sold as a destination, bestowed with incredible travel offerings that have plenty to satisfy the needs of all segments of travellers. To do this, even the smaller operators need to organise and work with a strategy: 1. Five years from now, what is the world going to look like in which we run our business? 2. What will be the role of our company in this changed future? 3. What are the steps we need to take, starting today, to get there? We must learn to value our people as much as we value the opinion from the other captains of the industry. Ask them for their views, let them evaluate their own everyday work and fit it into the broader discussion of what to achieve in that time period. This will help us draw the path of operations, which will help in achieving the desired targets five years from now. Wishing you all a wonderful New Year, filled with success and peace of mind.

Vikramajit Chairman SanJeet Publisher Rupali Narasimhan Editorial Director Deepa Sethi Editor

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

Advertising Gunjan Sabikhi General Manager Karishma Khanna Sr. Manager Marketing Shailendra Shukla Sr. Manager Marketing Udit Pandey Sr. Manager Marketing Geetika Pathak Manager Advertising Amit Sarkar Asst. Manager Marketing Photographers Simran Kaur-Delhi Bharat Dangiya-Mumbai

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), one billion tourists have travelled internationally in 2012. This is equal to one in every seven people on the planet travelling the world in 2012, up from just 25 million in 1950. T T B U R E AU


he figure establishes tourism as one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economic sectors. It accounts for: • Nine per cent of global GDP (direct, indirect and induced) • One in every 12 jobs worldwide (direct, indirect and induced)

• US$ 1.2 trillion in exports a year • Six per cent of world trade • Eight per cent of the exports of least developed countries For developing countries, tourism brings much neededforeign exchange and investment. Tourism has also proven to be an extremely resilient sector, despite uncertain eco-

1 out of 7 people travel in 2012 & how they make a difference

nomic conditions, and is key to supporting the global economy in current challenging times. UNWTO forecast pointed to the one-billionth tourist arriving somewhere in the world in December. UNWTO chose December 13 as the symbolic arrival date of the one-billionth tourist. To celebrate, the association ran a global campaign to raise awareness of

the power of one billion tourists to affect positive change by making small changes to their travel behaviour. The campaign, One Billion Tourists: One Billion Opportunities, called on the one billion tourists to make their actions count by saving water and energy, using public transport, protecting heritage and more.

In 2012, a record one billion tourists crossed international borders in a single year. Another five to six billion are estimated to travel in their own countries every year.


Together in 2013

1 bn tourists = 1bn opportunities

Tourism matters a lot



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Say Namaste, Italia! Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism at the inauguration of the exhibition titled - ‘Italia comes to you’, highlighted the need to increase bilateral efforts to increase the two-way flow of tourists between Italy and India. VIVEK SETHI


ike Italy, India has cities that are worldfamous with great tourist attractions. However, over 2,00,000 Indians visit Italy p.a. while only half the number of Italians come to India. Both countries need to enhance the bilateral flow of visitors and explore the true potential of tourism in both countries,” said Dewan. The Secretary, while discussing the withdrawal of the mandatory requirement of the two months gap for foreigners visiting India on a tourist visa, stated, “We need to build awareness about Indian cuisine and cinema, among many things to increase the flow of Italian visitors to India. The withdrawal of the mandatory gap for foreigners visiting will definitely function as an incentive for our Italian visitors, as well,” he added. On the other hand, “We are reinstating our National Tourism Board’s office in New Delhi from January. We will also undertake several initiatives with our Indian

FTAs grow by 5.9% during Jan-Nov.  As per the statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism, the Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during the period January-November 2012 were 58.99 lakh with a growth of 5.9 per cent, over the same period in 2011, as compared to the FTAs of 55.72 lakh with a growth of 9.4 per cent during JanuaryNovember 2011 over the corresponding period of 2010. FTAs during the November 2012 were 6.90 lakh as compared to FTAs of 6.70 lakh during the same month in 2011 and 6.08 lakh in November 2010. There has been a growth of 3 per cent in November 2012 over November 2011 as compared to a growth of 10.1 per cent that was registered in November 2011 over November 2010.

counterparts to enhance the bilateral flow of visitors between the two countries,” said Marco Bruschini, Director General, Italian State Tourist Board reacting to the gesture extended

by the Indian Tourism Secretary. “India is an important market for us. Over the last five years, Italy has witnessed a tremendous growth of over

94 per cent from India. We had received 1,97,000 travellers in 2010 who consumed an equivalent of 4,61,000 overnights. We aim to further strengthen these numbers by also strengthening our rela-

(L-R): Dewan and Bruschini at the exhibition

tions with our Indian travel and trade partners,” he added. The National Tourism Board ENIT, instituted to promote Italy had conducted

the said exhibition in other BRIC countries successfully and was now held in Delhi and Bengaluru in December 2012 over five days.




Priya Paul is new Chairman, WTTCII  Priya Paul, Chairperson, The Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels has been appointed

takes over from Vikram Madhok, Managing Director, Abercrombie & Kent India, who completed his term at the recently held AGM in Delhi. The World Travel & Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII) was launched in year 2000 with a purpose to unite key players from the industry to work closely with the Government and other stake-

Priya Paul Chairman, WTTCII

as the Chairperson and Dipak Deva, CEO, Destination Management, India & South Asia, Kuoni Destination Management has been appointed as the Vice Chairman of WTTC, India Initiative 2013 at the recently held Annual General Meeting of the World Travel & Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII) in New Delhi. Paul, who was the Vice Chairperson of WTTCII for the year 2012,

Ease taxation: A loud cry  Contd. from page 1

Arun Maira, Member, Planning

Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry

Commission- The travel industry has a strong case to present to the government and get most of its genuine demands addressed. But, firstly, it requires itself to change its image and portray itself as a sector that has immense job creation and poverty alleviation potential. The Arun Maira travel industry needs to understand Member that like the tourism and hospitality Planning Commission sector, all the industries want tax concessions from the government. Here, change in orientation of the tourism industry as pro-poor sector and its ability to generate employment will put its case on a stronger pedestal.

of Tourism We are willing to work with the industry to facilitate various measures and try to ease the permission seeking process, so that only a few permissions shall be required for various processes, like opening a hotel. But then having said that one needs to keep the federal set-up of our country in mind. Everybody needs to understand that the central government can help them only to a certain extent.

London School of EconomicsExcessive taxation is bad. In circumstances where it’s possible for a project to pay for it, the government should support it to pay for itself through measures like tax holidays and other incentives.

Vice Chairman, WTTCII

holders to address issues of concern and advocate policy directives to support the development of the Travel & Tourism sector.

Ian Angell Professor Emeritus London School of Economics

Secretary Ministry of Tourism

Kapil Kaul, CEO, South Asia,

Ian Angell, Professor Emeritus, Dipak Deva

Parvez Dewan

Kapil Kaul CEO South Asia

CAPA - The aviation sector in India had long been selling below costs. The under recoveries had been huge and are contributing to the present position. One needs to understand that the Incredible India tourism can’t stand without a healthy aviation sector. After so many years, the demand and supply dynamics look favourable to the Indian airlines.

‘India, China to lead Aviation this year’ According to IATA, India, China and Latin America would continue to lead the growth next year in the global aviation industry which would improve its profit from USD 6.7 billion to an estimated USD 8.4 billion. Excerpts from speech by Tony Tyler during the IATA event. T T B U R E AU


hile Chinese domestic market continues to expand ‘very strongly’ despite a slowdown earlier this year, the Indian market, by contrast, went into a ‘sharp reverse’ in 2012 following the problems faced by Kingfisher Airlines and the slowdown in the Indian economy. Following are excerpts from a speech by Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO, IATA during the event: We are also keeping a close watch on regulation. Just as the solution for aviation and the environment

Tony Tyler Director General and CEO IATA

(and safety for that matter) is global standards, the same is true for much of the way that the industry is regulated. Some areas which have been particularly newsworthy over

the past year are slots and passenger rights. Europe presented initial proposals for an Airports Package of legislation which included some very positive changes such as the introduction of greater competition for ground handling services at European airports. But it also proposed changes to the regulation of slots which would have taken Europe away from some basic principles of the global best practices which are codified in the Worldwide Slot Guidelines. Among other things, the use-it or lose-it rule would have been changed to 85-15 from the globally accepted 80-20. As

a priority, the IATA Board of Governors asked us to defend the global system. And yesterday, we had good news from the European Parliament that the cornerstones of the Worldwide Slot Guidelines have been maintained. And it is not just Europe. We are working in China, Colombia, India, Mexico, Poland, the UK and the US, among other countries, to defend the appropriate application of the global system.

Infrastructure Growth can be facilitated or inhibited by infrastructure. There are two dimen-

sions to this - cost and availability. As governments struggle with tight budgets, many are looking to the private sector for help in developing airport infrastructure. India, for example, developed Delhi into a first class hub airport with the participation of private partners. The facilities are great. But the structure of the concession agreement requires the concessionaire to return 46% of the top line revenue to the government. And this year, after a long process, the regulator approved a 346% increase in charge. That’s unacceptable for the industry. And a more realistic

concession agreement might have prevented it. We have seen progress in India since our protests. The Minister has directed the airports to remove airport development fees. That challenge now is to get that implemented.

Taking off Europe presented initial proposals for an Airports Package of legislation which included some very positive changes such as the introduction of greater competition for ground handling services at European airports





Witnessing innovations@FITUR 2013 At FITUR 2012 in Madrid, around 1,800 trade appointments took place at different workshops that were organised within the framework of the fair. T T B U R E AU


ccording to its Ana Larranaga, Director, FITUR 2013 promises much more, as it has enhanced its legacy of niche B2B platforms and tools that are made available to its travel trade partners. This will cater to the exhibitors’ delight and contribute important perspective to the industry on pertinent global developments. The

Ana Larranaga Director FITUR

The strong attendance of international tourism professionals reflect their interest in FITUR director elaborates more on leading FITUR as the gateway to the Latin American markets and more. Excerpts:-

Strategic B2B forums and tools Larranaga says that FITUR is committed to the idea of innovation, always based on new trends and new market needs. In this respect, in addition to its most important new initiative on this occasion, in the form of the business forum known as FITUR Know How & Export, the fair will incorporate a new forum devoted to wine tourism and hotels, as well as others that focus on various areas of interest or of up-and-coming importance within the tourism business, such as tourism efficiency (FITUR Green), the application of technology in tourism (FITURTECH) and the specialised sections known as FITUR LGBT, Receptive Tourism Spain and FITUR Active. “All of these initiatives, offer important tools to tourism professionals and in this respect, we seek to make our contribution to the future growth of the tourist industry,” she says.

FITUR Know-How & Export Forum, which seeks to add a value-added dimension to the business and innovation prospects of companies operating within the field, is promoted by the fair, in conjunction with SEGITUR and the Spanish Foreign

Trade Institute (ICEX). It aims at promoting the value of expertise and experience within the tourist industry as a means of boosting innovation and development. Around 30 companies will present their potential, know-how and experiences,

products and services, to buyers from other foreign markets.

and this is a characteristic that sets the fair apart from other events.

Gateway to Latin America and more

Exhibitor’s delight

FITUR effectively serves as a hub for the Latin American tourist market

These B2B meetings will take place within the framework of the Third Hosted Buyers Workshop

and have produced some excellent results in the past, in terms of providing access to new markets, strategic alliances and trade opportunities. These trade meetings have proven to be highly effective in previous years.


Kolkata airport boosts biz With rise in the number of existing flights, introduction of new routes and ever-increasing tourists, hospitality development will also rise. speaks to some eminent stakeholders to get their views on the same. M E G H A PAU L


he new Kolkata airport has been upgraded to handle 20 million passengers, double the current capacity.

league of hotels - the business hotels that will cater exclusively to the MICE segment, he adds. With a focus to promote the East as a potential tourism hub, CII has been hosting the

to be operational by 2013-14.” The occupancy will also increase, if the Government is able to attract investment to the city. The success of

Saugata Mukherjee

MJ Robertson

Marco Saxer

Regional Director Eastern Region CII

Co-Chairman Tourism Committee - Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industry

General Manager Swissotel Kolkata

The development at the airport will have positive effects on the hotel industry in Kolkata The initiative of Airports Authority of India (AAI) to transform Kolkata airport into a hub for South-East Asia will soon be a reality. The new integrated terminal in the upgraded Kolkata airport is to be fully functional by the first quarter of 2013. Industry leaders see a big spurt in the hospitality development in the region. Saugata Mukherjee, Regional Director - Eastern Region, CII feels, “An increase in international flights is anticipated, as Kolkata is the only gateway to all of eastern India. Also, with the increase in inbound footfalls from ASEAN and the Far East, destinations in this region have also been growing. Hospitality growth can never happen in isolation and these developments will surely affect the hotel industry in Kolkata positively.” Also, with more number of MICE travellers that might visit the city now, Kolkata will witness a new

The new airport will bring more hospitality business and relieve air congestion

Companies would like to showcase the new airport to their colleagues and partners

event Destination East, the first B2B event in the region. The airport development will boost this event as well. The third edition of ‘Destination East’ will be organised from February 8-15 in Kolkata, he informs.

their efforts will also reflect on occupancy, he points out.

MJ Robertson, Cochairman, Tourism Committee - Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industry opines, “The new airport will not only bring in more hospitality business, but will also relieve the considerable congestion presently seen at the existing airport. It will also provide the much-needed support to the airlines to expand operations in the eastern sector.” Regarding the boost to the hospitality sector, Robertson says, “There are a number of hotels coming up on the connecting road from the airport. Big-ticket operators are in the fray and the hotels are all slated

According to Marco Saxer, General Manager, Swissotel Kolkata, the new terminal will help Kolkata to achieve greater number of visitors. Not only corporate, but more of transient guests will now frequent the city. MICE and smaller meetings will be held in Kolkata as many companies in Kolkata would like to showcase the new airport to their colleagues and partners, he comments. The General Manager expects a rise in occupancy from the existing 76 per cent to over 80 per cent. The ARR should also witness some growth of almost 20 per cent. To cash in on the new airport, the hotel will tie-up with the local corporate houses and airlines. “We have teamed up with airlines flying to Kolkata and have optimised the search engine for our hotel on the web,” he adds.

1 lakh footfall in Kite Festival two-day Delhi  A International Kite Festival was organised by Delhi Tourism & Transport Development Corporation (DTTDC), in association with the Delhi government on December 8-9. The festival witnessed around one

lakh footfall on both the days. According to GG Saxena, Managing Director and CEO, Delhi Tourism & Transport Development Corporation (DTTDC), Delhi Tourism plans to promote more of these old fading traditions and will fea-

ture this festival in its regular extravaganza. Going forward, Delhi Tourism will bring back the successful and muchawaited food festival - Dilli Ke Pakwaan. The festival will be held at Baba Kharak Singh Marg from December 24-30.





Gujarat gets ready with ITTHE 2013 As an integral part of the Vibrant Gujarat Trade Show, TAFCON is organising the International Travel Tourism Hospitality Expo (ITTHE) 2013 under the aegis of the Government of Gujarat from January 8-13. T T B U R E AU


ujarat is one of the most proactive states when it comes to taking initiatives in the tourism segment. Adding another feather to its cap, there is another interesting initiative coming up. At the IITHE 2013, hoteliers and other stake holders can explore new market products, services and destinations, sign long-term deals, meet


India’s tourism industry is experiencing a strong growth, driven by burgeoning Indian middle class, rise in high-spending foreign tourists and government campaigns top international buyers and generate sales leads. Besides this, they can meet existing customers and channel partners, recruit new agents and distributors and launch new products and packages at must-visit show of the year. Talking about the much-awaited event, ML Wadhwa, CMD, TAFCON pointed out, “India’s tourism industry is experiencing a strong period of growth, driven by the burgeoning Indian middle class, growth in high-spending foreign tourists and coordi-

Meeting Point ITTHE 2013 will be an ideal platform for both national and international tourism organisations to meet, collaborate and discuss inbound and outbound tourism

nated government campaigns to promote ‘Incredible India’.” Owing to the booming IT and outsourcing industry, a growing number of business trips are made by foreigners to India, who will often add a week-

end break or longer holiday to their trip. Foreign tourists spend more in India than almost any other country worldwide, he added. The expo is expected to have participation from over

25 countries. ITTHE 2013 will be an ideal platform for both national and international tourism organisations to meet, collaborate and discuss inbound and outbound tourism. It will help the tourism professionals from

all over the world showcase a diverse range of tourism products. The Expo presents a perfect platform for both local and international travel and tourism organisations to collaborate and discuss inbound, domestic and out-

bound tourism. It will also see tourism professionals from India and around the world showcase a diverse range of accommodation options, breathtaking tourism attractions and new airline routes.


Moving ahead with caution Saurabh Rai Bhatnagar, Regional Director (South Asia), Preferred Hotel Group, talks about commitment to consolidate the existing portfolio along with the future growth in key business and leisure cities in India. M E G H A PAU L


hicago-based Preferred Hotel Group is targeting an increase in its clientele to 35 hotel members in India by the end of April 2014. “Over the next 18 months, we plan to have 35 member hotels. I am very confident that we will achieve these numbers,” Bhatnagar said. The company currently has 29 hotels, including New Delhi-based Imperial and The Leela Palace New Delhi as its members. In its 10-year old operations in the India market, the member hotels are present in all six brands, from five-star luxury Preferred Hotels and Resorts to four-star Sterling Hotels and Sterling Design. “We are looking at both business and leisure destinations to expand our portfolio of travellers,” he revealed. In the changing scenario, where hospitality business has been hit worldwide, the group is moving cautiously in India as well. According to Bhatnagar, growth in India cannot just be defined by numbers. “In our business proposition, it is of utmost importance that utility of the existing hotels ought to be maximised. With new supply

Saurabh Rai Bhatnagar South Asia Regional Director Preferred Hotel Group

of hotels in the market, we are fully committed to deploy our existing infrastructure for our long-time partners by adding to their competitive strength,” he added. Going forward, the group will also look at reassessing its relationship with member hotels. He pointed out, “Our prime objective is to increase the brand presence of the hotel and its profitability. So even if one of these get realigned, it is important to reassess the relationship. While hotel owners are riding through choppy waters, it would not be surprising if owners are pushed to take some harsh decisions such as selling their hotels or letting it go to another operator. We do anticipate changes in

alliances owing to the difficult financial conditions as these are anyways niche products.” The group typically works on a five-to-seven year contract with the hotel; which is relatively shorter given the average duration of management contracts of the hard brand operators. “However, despite having a shorter term contract, we have over 95 per cent retention rate,” he revealed. Confirming that the OTAs are a fundamental part of online travel, Bhatnagar emphasised, “We consider them as partners and we would like to ensure that we will continue our regional channel management. For retail, an OTA will pull in an entire inventory of the hotel, and henceforth, we have tied up with over 140 key Online Travel Distribution (OTD) companies around the world.”

Future Talk It is of utmost importance that utility of the existing hotels ought to be maximised While hotel owners are riding through choppy waters, owners may be pushed to take some harsh decisions such as selling their hotels

Visit Finland adds X-Mas fervour

Visit Finland invited travel trade to celebrate the spirit of Christmas and mood of the coming New Year with Santa from Lapland in New Delhi, which was very well attended by its travel trade partners.





Uttarakhand lays out the welcome mat The Nanda Devi Raj Jatt is going to be held after 12 years in 2013 and the state tourism board is ready to attract visitors, especially during this festival. Focussing on religious tourism, Uttarakhand is also promoting adventure. T T B U R E AU


omestic tourist visits to Uttarakhand increased from 1.9 crore in 2007 to 2.66 crore in 2011, representing 4.1% growth. The foreign tourist visits increased from 96,000 in 2007 to 1.14 lakh in 2011 showing a 0.73% increase. For 2012, the tourism board expects these numbers to rise further and is going all out to attract more tourists. The State recorded good growth in the tourism sector and has prioritised this indus-

Poonam Chand Regional Tourism Officer Uttarakhand Tourism

try due to the festival. Efforts to get Uttarakhand recognised worldwide as a tourism destination are underway. In 2013, the tourism board is going all out to promote Nanda Devi Raj Jatt, an important spiritual and cultural festival of Uttarakhand, which takes place after every 12 years. This legendary yatra will take place for the first time after the State’s formation. It would take place from August 29 to September 16, 2013 and will witness hundreds of thousands of devotees and enthusiasts from across the world. It will cover a long trek of about 280 kms with 18 halts on the way at an altitude of 3,960 metres in 18 days. Uttarakhand is seen as fount of spiritual energy. Everyone cherishes coming to the hilly state to rejuvenate oneself by the virtue of its pristine beauty, wildlife, natural environs and places of religious and pilgrimage importance. It is ideal for tourists seeking peace and tranquillity, along with leisure and adventure activities. The State has a perfect blend of spiritual, adventure and nature. The charm of meditation, spirituality, yoga, rural tourism, skiing, trekking, rafting amidst the fascinating views of mighty

Himalayas and revered Ganges.


Uttarakhand has 65% forest cover and thus is home to the ‘Valley of Flowers’, the Nanda Devi Biosphere

Reserve, Corbett National Park and Rajaji National Park. The national parks are ideal for those seeking the call of the wild. Till now, Uttarakhand has welcomed pilgrims for thousands of

years who come to visit Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, the four most holy pilgrimages know as the Char Dham. Now, the government is also promoting ‘village stays’.

HOTELS The Address Hotels & Resorts

India shining for Dubai Address The discerning Indian traveller has made it to the top list of The Address Hotels & Resorts, a Dubai-based five-star premium hotel of Emaar Hospitality Group with an average of 3-5 nights. T T B U R E AU


ndia is among the top five markets for us. This has set an all-new definition for global standards in luxury hospitality, says Seema Pande, Group Director, Sales and Marketing of The Address Hotels & Resorts. “India has pleasantly surprised us with a fabulous increase in the numbers of top-end business in leisure, FIT, corporate and MICE front. With increase in the family travel from India, we have witnessed an impressive growth in Indian weddings and engagements at our properties. The Indian families with members spread all over in USA, UK, Europe and other parts of the world, find Dubai to be an easily accessible destination with adequate air connectivity and a welcoming visa regime,” informed Pande. “The Indian visitors spend on an average of 3-5 nights and are among the top spenders. Indians are willing to spend on premium products only when they are convinced

about deriving true value for money. With our portfolio of The Address Downtown Dubai, The Address Dubai Mall, The Address Dubai Marina, The Address Montgomerie Dubai and The

Seema Pande Group Director, Sales and Marketing The Address Hotels & Resorts

Palace Downtown Dubai, we expect to close our 2012 year with over 10-15% growth from the Indian market. We are also looking at expanding our presence in key destinations in the Middle East, North Africa, the Indian subcontinent, South Asia and Europe,” she added. The Nijhawan Group has been taking care of the sales and marketing oper-

ations in India for The Address Hotels & Resorts over the last three years. “We have successfully extended our reach in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru through our Indian partner. Going forward, we look forward to strengthening our reach in Chennai and Ahmedabad,” said Pande. “We value all our B2B partners and are always accessible to all our, small, medium and large travel partners. We are fortunate to have an equal balance of corporate and leisure travellers and the weekdays are as good as weekends. Even though we have multiple teams taking care of various travellers, we remain accessible and value all our small, medium and big B2B partners,” she stated.

India Market & Address India is among the top five markets for us We expect to close our 2012 year with over 10-15 per cent growth from the Indian market

Jumeirah set to enter India The Group signs the first management agreement for a Mumbai property. They are also involved in advance negotiations on potential projects. A N I TA J A I N

our group properties, with room night occupancies improving by close to 50 per cent year-on-year. We have set our sight on city centres and resort destinations like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Goa and Kerala.


n February 2012, reported the interest of Dubai-based luxury hotel management group Jumeirah Hotels, Resorts & Residences to enter the Indian hospitality sector. In a latest development, the group has recently signed its first management agreement for a five-star property in Lower Parel area of Central Mumbai. The property is expected to be launched by 2017 and will house about 470 spacious rooms, suites and apartments along with wide range of banqueting and F&B services. The name of the property, investment details and additional facts will be disclosed by mid 2013. The group's operating model is expansion through the acquisition of management contracts in both key gateway cities and aspirational resort destinations

worldwide. At the macro level, Jumeirah will adhere to its core business in India; managing luxury and fivestar hotels and resorts using an asset light approach.

The need for fivestar hotels in India has been growing and we are happy to have initiated the first phase of our expansion in India with our first project in Mumbai.”

Gerald Lawless, President & Group CEO, Jumeirah Group said, “India is one of the major players in the global hospitality and tourism industry, particularly Asia. It is currently the third fastest growing market for

The group currently operates 20 luxury hotels and serviced apartments, including 10 in the UAE, seven in Europe, seven in the Maldives and 1 in China with 15 additional under development.

Gerald Lawless President & Group CEO Jumeirah Group

HOTELS Bengaluru gets its first Marriott Hotel  Marriott Hotel Whitefield, Bengaluru city’s first Marriott sits atop the newest mall Inorbit. It has one of the largest ballrooms in the city with 2,500 sq metres of outdoor space. The hotel has 324 rooms, including 17

Matthew Cooper General Manager Marriott Hotel Whitefield

suites. The executive lounge on the 15th floor offers the view of Whitefield and is available to guests staying on the executive floor to conduct business and meetings. Talking about the choice of location for the hotel, Matthew Cooper, General Manager, Marriott Hotel Whitefield, says, “Bengaluru’s business hub is clearly moving to micro-markets. Whitefield is the largest

IT hub in India and also has a GDP growth four times that of Bengaluru city. Although the city has a lot of hotels but in Whitefield area, there is yet a dearth of rooms. There are no international five-star hotels in this area at this given point and time. Whitefield not only houses most of the Fortune 500 companies but also has a steadily growing residential population. The area itself is about 18km from the heart of the city. The city roads are choc block almost all through the day, and residents prefer to stay in Whitefield over the weekend, constantly looking for places to go to. There are also plenty of companies around the hotel and these companies have ample Marriott Rewards members who are currently staying elsewhere. Given this scenario, the hotel is bound to do well.” The hotel property is also banking on the MICE segment to boost their occupancy, since the hotel houses a large function space. The hotel estimates the business mix to be about 80:20 in the initial period.




The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa

Adding value to the Valley The new Gulmarg enterprise will aim at converting hordes of tourist day trips to Gulmarg into overnight stays and more. T T B U R E AU


ith peace prevailing in Kashmir, tourism has now got a boost in the Valley. With an unprecedented 10.73 lakh tourists till September

Alex Koshy General Manager The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa

30 in 2011, it seems that the love for Kashmir has been rediscovered. This is a first, as it is the highest number of tourist arrivals in the state, over the past 25 years. Last

year, the growth story of increasing footfalls only got better. However, now the problem that still looms large is the issue of accommodation. Addressing this dilemma is The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa in Gulmarg. The resort opened its doors on December 21 last year. The 85-key resort is Gulmarg’s first luxury resort and is spread over seven acres and located at an elevation of 8,825 ft in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas while overlooking the Affarwat peaks. Supporting the destination with the hotel, Alex Koshy, General Manager, The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa said, “All tourists include Gulmarg in their itinerary. However, owing to the dearth of good hotels in the region, they visit Gulmarg during day-

time and return to Srinagar at night. Thus, the objective of the hotel is to convert the day trips to overnight trips.” “Right from its opening on December 21, the hotel was sold out for the first two weeks,” he adds. Being the best skiing destination in India, the hotel is targetting skiing enthusiasts all over. “Domestic travel is still at its peak during the summers in India.”

“We are eyeing the inbound market, specifically the travellers who visit Gulmarg for skiing during winters while during summers, we will eye the domestic tourists,” the GM reveals.


More than just stop-overs For the first time, Turkish Hoteliers Federation hosted a 5-city roadshow in India to focus on the varied destinations such as Istanbul, Cappadocia and Antalya. T T B U R E AU


n 2011, Turkey received 31.4 million foreign tourists of which 74,000 were from India. In 2012, from January to September, the arrivals from India reached 66,700. In a bid to hard-sell itself as a business and leisure destination in India, the country is now targetting a 30 per cent growth to get more than one lakh Indian arrivals by 2013. This is the first time the Turkish Hoteliers Federation has organised a roadshow in India. Emphasisng on wedding, golf and honeymoon destinations such as Istanbul, Cappadocia and Antalya, Emin Cakmak, Founding Chairman, Turkish Healthcare Travel Council pointed out, “India is one of the key markets for us and the positive growth rate of Indians visiting Turkey has strengthened our confidence in the market. Currently, a chunk of Indian travellers visit Turkey only as a transit destination. The roadshow is to convert these transits into overnight stays in the country.”

Emin Cakmak

Ozgur Ayturk

Founding Chairman Turkish Healthcare Travel Council

Culture and Tourism Counsellor Turkey

The motive for this roadshow is to convert this transit business into overnight stays Turkey has planned media and ad campaigns apart from workshops and joint marketing events with leading Indian tour operators. Revealed Ozgur Ayturk, Culture and Tourism Counsellor, Turkey, “In

Turkey has planned workshops and joint marketing events with leading Indian tour operators 2013, we have also increased our promotional budget, which has been earmarked for US$ two million. We will be spending nearly US$ 1 million for media and advertisement campaigns as well.”

VisitBritain ups promotion In a strategic initiative, it announced partnership with in New Delhi. Both entities will work on promoting new itineraries via a 3600 media campaign. T T B U R E AU


ndia remains one of our most important inbound markets,says Patricia Yates, Director - Strategy and Communications,VisitBritain. “This partnership will help us to broaden our appeal as a special destination and promote all that is great about Britain, as to capitalise on all the positive mega coverage after the London Olympics. Indian tourists can very well choose from a tour of Buckingham Palace, seeing the sunrise at Stonehenge or watching a cricket test match to name a few,” she says. The joint promotional initiative is estimated to be over £ 100,000 and will be beamed across electronic, print and B2B channels. Here, Neeraj Dev, HeadOutbound Product, added, “We aim to utilise the star power of Salman Khan to engage with the audience. The first TVC will go on air by

the end of December. The print campaign will kick-start in mid of January to be followed up by an intensive online campaign. The idea is to create various new itineraries spread across 5-12 days. They can cost anywhere between ` 90,000-2,25,000,

through our TSI-Yatra initiative. It has over 3,000 B2B partners, which will help us make the strategic alliance into a successful partnership,” Dev Added. has already done successful joint cam-

(L-R); Neeraj Singh Dev, Patricia Yates & Shivali Suri

which can be customised further and they will deliver on the Indian aspiration to visit tourist attractions beyond London.” “The B2B players in India will also be able to benefit from our strategic alliance, as they can sell the various itineraries that will be a part of our campaign

paigns with other destinations such as Thailand and Malaysia. According to Dev, has seen growth in its visitor arrivals to Britain by over 50 per cent. VisitBritain on the other hand, has set an ambitious target of welcoming over 5,00,000 Indian visitors by 2012.





IAAI National Convention in January IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI) is organising its National Convention from January 24-26, 2013 in Mumbai. The theme for this year’s convention is, ‘Emerging Challenges and Opportunities in the Aviation Industry’. T T B U R E AU


AAI had decided to conduct its IAAI biennial National Convention (ICON 2013) from January 24- 26, 2013 at The Retreat, Hotel & Convention Centre, Mumbai. About 400-500 members of the travel fraternity from India are expected to attend this convention. The association feels that this convention will add extra mileage in promoting India Tourism. The theme of ICON 2O13 is, ‘Emerging Challenges and Opportunities in Aviation Industry’.

Biji Eapen National President IATA Agents Association of India

We are planning to circulate a white paper discussing the tragic difficulties faced by the industry and address issues such as weekly payments “Under this theme, we will address the biggest challenges faced by the industry today. We want to provide meaning to the

Premium economy class in Cathay  Starting January 1, 2013, Cathay Pacific Airways is introducing its new Premium Economy Class cabin along with Business Class on Chennai-Hong Kong route. Following the recent increase of Chennai flights, from four times a week to a daily service, Chennai will be the first city in South India to offer a three-class configuration – new Business Class, Premium Economy Class and the new long-haul Economy Class for passengers travelling.

issues and are working to put airlines, travel agents and GDS on the same platform that will help us debate relevant issues and address all uncertainties,” said Biji Eapen, National President, IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI).

The main business session is, ‘ASHA: Agents seminar on Handling Adversities’, which they feel, assumes humongous significance at a juncture when airlines, GDS and Travel Agents are struggling for co-existence. “In the business session, we want to

discuss survival strategies and different ways to handle these issues,” he adds. There will be four to five business sessions along with the annual general meeting and the elections during this convention. “Our

convention will be very businesslike and professional. We are also planning to circulate a white paper discussing the tragic difficulties faced by the industry and address issues such as weekly payments and highlight its misfortunes for us. We want to create

widespread awareness about such important issues,” adds Eapen. IAAI hopes this convention will help evolve new strategies in the present and an all the more challenging aviation industry.




LPTI sets mood for festivities Le Passage to India (LPTI) organised its annual cookout to bring together the travel trade partners and set the jovial mood for ushering in the year-end celebrations, which was held on December 22, 2012 at the Select City Walk.

Jyotsna Suri is new FICCI Vice President It is the first occasion, when a popular figure in travel and tourism has been bestowed such an honour. Her popularity is evident as she was recently voted as the most popular woman in a survey conducted by . T T B U R E AU


Jyotsna Suri Vice President , FICCI

yotsna Suri, Chairperson & Managing Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group has been elected as the Vice President of FICCI at the 85th Annual General Meeting of FICCI held in December 2012. Suri has been vociferously promoting Indian tourism both nationally and internationally.

She has been the Chairperson of FICCI Tourism Committee for the last five years. Under her leadership, FICCI introduced ‘The Great India Travel Bazaar’ in 2008 and ‘The Great Domestic Tourism Bazaar’ in 2011 – two heavily-attended events facilitating tourism business interactions. It is the first such occasion, when a popular figure in the travel and tourism

has been bestowed such honour. Her popularity is evident as she was recently voted as the most popular woman in the travel industry survey conducted by . This was a survey done to recognise and felicitate women, who have achieved exemplary results in the field of travel and tourism. The response received from the

survey was overwhelming and Suri had registered a clean sweep over other nominees. Lately, Suri was also conferred the ‘Hall of Fame Award 2012’ by Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra at the 28th IATO Annual Convention held at NCPA, Mumbai in September. The Award is given by the Indian Association of

Tour operators (IATO) annually to the most prominent personalities, who have contributed to the growth of Indian tourism. Suri has created many new benchmarks in the tourism industry by following her dictum of ‘Developing the destination and not just hotels’, which has won her many accolades.


Emirates: Confident of India Emirates launched a network wide ‘fare promotion’ campaign, renewed partnership with Jet Airways and also introduced unique packages to increase loads from the Indian market. T T B U R E AU


nternationally, India is the biggest operating market (in terms of number of cities connected to Dubai) for Emirates Airline with 185 weekly flights from 10 Indian cities. With an average load of over 70 per cent on every route in India, the airline is not looking at expanding its operations but consolidating on current routes. It has recently renewed its partnership with Jet Airways under which all the Emirates frequent flyer members have options to fly on five daily direct flights of Emirates and daily flights of Jet Airways on Mumbai-Dubai route. Moreover, considering India being a late booking market, the airline also introduced a network-wide fare promotion from November 23December 2, 2012 for travel between January 21-June 10, 2013, offering maximum

Essa Sulaiman Ahmad Vice President – India & Nepal Emirates Airline

Talking about India as an aviation market, Essa Sulaiman Ahmad, Vice President – India & Nepal, Emirates Airline said,

“Our focus on India remains where it is bullish and confident and that we are operating in a fundamentally strong economy.

Growth chart for 2013 Emirates will launch services to Warsaw and Algiers in February and March 2013 respectively, adding to its global network of 128 locations, while its fleet will also increase as the airline takes delivery of new aircraft. The airline has 212 aircrafts on order worth USD 62 billion and is the leading customer of the Airbus A380 with 27 in its fleet and 63 on order.

60 per cent and minimum 30 per cent discount on select routes to encourage early bookings.

Taking into account the long-term potential of the Indian market, our operations reflect this outlook. With FDI

in aviation being relaxed this year, it is a matter of time before international carriers decide to participate.” Moving forward, the airline is optimistic that the industry will record a positive growth in 2013. “Airlines venturing into newer markets and expanding their current network will be a key. Consolidation in some markets will take place while in others operators will look to pool resources and reduce their costs. International LCC’s will continue to grow and prosper with areas such as back-offices, ground handling and cargo logistics, becoming outsourced,” adds Ahmad. Furthermore, Ahmad explained about some very promising trends in the industry in 2013. The airline expects a substantial increase in the number of MICE travellers with many global events and is expected to attract tourists from across the globe. Leisure travel is expected to rise around the mid-year period as the industry approaches the summer vacation period. Adding to this, will be a good amount of student traffic during the peak admission time of April – September. “All in all, I would say the year 2013 looks exciting for the industry as well as Emirates,” concludes Ahmad.

Lounge@New Delhi Railway Station

IRCTC has unveiled its swanky new "executive” waiting lounge at the Ajmeri Gate entry point of the New Delhi Railway Station. For ` 300 a person, one can now enter the facility for three hours and enjoy complementary buffet meals or snacks, tea, coffee and accessing wifi, The lounge has TV screens with train information display, apart from other screens that display other channels. If passengers want to stay beyond three hours, ` 125 will be charged for an hour.Catering services are provided by SSP Catering India, which also provides catering to Emirates’ lounge at T3, IGI Airport. Spread over 300 sq m and two floors, the lounge has a seating capacity for 125 persons.




Sea taxis to fly over Mumbai skies D E N C Y M AT H E W


EHAIR will undertake a very ambitious project in the skies of Mumbai by introducing seaplanes in the city. The operations will be undertaken in two phases with phase one involving services from Juhu to Mulla Dam for Shirdi, Varasgaon

“The services will commence by late January, 2013 once we clear a few permissions that are pending and will be undertaken on a Cessna 208 amphibian aircraft which can carry 9 passengers and 2 pilots at a time. We have signed an MoU with MDTC for three years who will promote and market our seaplanes in their resorts, websites and buses and will also sell some tickets on our behalf. We are also planning on partnering with some leading travel operators to sell the tickets,” says Siddharth Verma, Director, MEHAIR

How will it benefit Mumbaikars? Siddharth Verma Director MEHAIR

Dam for Lavasa, Murud Janjira, Girgaum - Chowpatty and Bhandardara Dam. Phase two will be begin from October 2013 and include routes on the Konkan coast like Tarkarli, Harihareshwar and Ganpatipule.

The company is quite confident of the success of the project in Mumbai. This service, Verma says, is “ideal for the people in Mumbai to reach places that don’t even have runaways.” This will also generate employment and infrastructure in these areas and the government is also keen on implementing this service as it is more costeffective than building air-

ports in these areas, adds Verma. It is also expected to boost spiritual tourism from Mumbai as the time required to travel from Mumbai to Shirdi is less than one hour. There are also plans to introduce our seaplanes as air taxis in Mumbai to fly from Juhu to Chowpatty. This will cut down the time drastically for someone who needs to commute from suburbs to south Mumbai everyday.

Pilot Project was in Andaman and Nicobar Islands MEHAIR started introducing seaplanes in the skies of India from the inlands of

Modus Operandi The operations will be undertaken in two phases with phase one involving services from Juhu to Mulla Dam for Shirdi, Varasgaon Dam for Lavasa, Murud Janjira, Girgaum - Chowpatty and Bhandardara Dam The services will commence by late January, 2013

Andaman and Nicobar. The phenomenal response they received in their pilot project has encouraged them to introduce a second and bigger seaplane in Andaman by late quarter of 2013. Besides this, they will also be introducing seaplanes for the first time in Kerala. “We hope to start our services in Kerala by January-end. Our intention was to introduce this as a novel experience for leisure travellers coming to Kerala. And we are concentrating more on volume rather than margin. Hence, are not over

says AP Anilkumar, Minister for Tourism, Kerala.

pricing the tickets and making it an economical journey. So a 25 minute ride from Cochin will cost only Rs 4,500 or so,” says Verma.

Investment incurred and future plans

“Kerala has a beautiful aerial view and we want our tourist to get a glimpse of the picturesque landscape of the state. By travelling on a seaplane, the tourist visiting Kerala will get a very different perspective and experience of the state. We plan to start the services from Cochin to Munnar, Kumarakam and Alappuzha,”

MEHAIR has invested ` 25-30 crore in each of the projects in Kerala and Mumbai and will invest Rs ` 250 crore in the next five years in other projects across India. The company hopes to introduce services in Goa in 2013 also which will allow people to commute faster from Goa airport to North Goa.

Mumbai gets Shangri-La Hotel

The much-awaited Shangri-La Hotel, Mumbai recently opened its doors to guests. The hotel is located 15 kilometres from Mumbai's international airport, nestled between the city’s two main commercial areas — Nariman Point and Bandra Kurla Complex. “It is our pleasure to announce the official opening of the Shangri-La Hotel, Mumbai, which is the group’s second hotel in India. We look forward to welcoming guests and providing them with our hallmark hospitality from the heart,” said Greg Dogan, President and CEO, Shangri-La International Hotel Management.

4.65 lakh domestic air passengers  The total domestic passengers carried by the scheduled domestic airlines in the month of November 2012 were 50.20 lakhs. The total domestic passengers carried by the scheduled domestic airlines in the

month of October 2012 were 45.55 lakhs. This shows that 4.65 lakh more passengers travelled in the month of November 2012 compared to October 2012. The market share of scheduled domestic airlines for

the month of November 2012 is as follows: Air India-20.7 per cent, Jet Airways-18.3 per cent, JetLite-6.9 per cent, IndiGo-27.3 per cent, Spice Jet- 19.5 per cent and Go Air- 7.4 per cent.


Tiger Airways on India route The alliance will help and its agent partners to tap the leisure segment with value for money packages with Tiger Airways’ network of over 50 destinations in the Asia-Pacific region. T T B U R E AU


ingapore-based low cost carrier (LCC) Tiger Airways has now more to offer to the Indian traveller. Tiger Airways has joined hands with as the exclusive travel agent distributor for its tickets in India, Indonesia and the Philippines. According to Vinay Gupta, CEO,, this partnership perfectly aligns with Tiger Airways and’s strategic initiatives to expand their existing customer base, while also expanding into new geographic markets. This enables both companies to better serve the burgeoning Asian business and leisure travel market. “This will also act as one-stop assistance for other travel needs such as hotels and travel insurance. This partnership also enables the airline to actively promote its other routes by allowing the customers from India to connect with other destinations, connected through the airline such as Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau, China and Australia,” he added. The alliance will help and its agent partners to tap the leisure segment with value-for-money packages with the airline’s network of over 50 destinations in the AsiaPacific region. Talking about increasing ties in the B2B and the B2C market, Kaneswaran Avili, Commercial Director, Tiger

Vinay Gupta

Kaneswaran Avili


Commercial Director Tiger Airways

This partnership also enables the airline to actively promote its other routes Airways revealed, “The objective of this alliance is to make it easier for customers to book flights with Tiger Airways. They can now access the full range of Tiger’s offerings through’s network of 7,000 travel agencies throughout India. This acts as an extension to Tiger’s website,” Regarding the importance of the India market, Avili pointed out, “India is a key market for the airline. We operate from six Indian cities and have been experiencing load factor of 80 per cent

Customers can access Tiger’s offerings through’s network from India.” Going forward, the group aims to increase flight frequency on its Indian routes and would like to add Kolkata to the network in the next 12 to 15 months. To celebrate this partnership, Tiger Airways is offering special promotional fares from INR 3,900 oneway all-inclusive of taxes. Booking period starts from December 6 -19, 2012 with a travel period from February 1- March 31, 2013. Tiger Airways is keen to further expand with its recent move to Changi International Airport, Terminal 2.

Travel agents on track with Rail Europe prog.

Japan tops VoA list

Kunal Kothari, Executive Director, Rail Europe India (Left) along with Jason Tarabo, a trainer from Rail Europe’s head office in Paris in New Delhi. In order to increase product awareness and educate the Indian travel agents about its products and offerings, Rail Europe India conducted training programmes for retail agents, General Sales Agents (GSAs) and their sub-agents across India. The programme received a massive response from the travel trade. The agents were made aware of new products from Rail Europe’s upgraded portfolio.

 The Visa on Arrival (VoA) Scheme of the government has become popular with the tourists. The scheme registered a growth of 25 per cent during the period JanuaryNovember 2012 over the corresponding period of 2011. A total number of 13,903 VoAs were issued during the period January-November 2012 as compared to 11,121 VoAs issued during the corresponding period of 2011. The highest number of 3,913 VoAs was issued to tourists from Japan followed by New Zealand (2,645) and The Philippines (2,205).




Saying ‘I do’ on foreign shores Indian weddings are getting larger than life and are increasingly becoming a booming affair involving large scale expenditure. Realising the worth of hosting Indian weddings abroad, foreign tourism boards and hotels are keen to attract this niche segment. D E N C Y M AT H E W


ecently, a Karan Johar directed movie showed an India-based family choosing Thailand as a wedding destination for their son’s wedding. What followed on screen were charter flights

and resorts being booked to conduct a traditional Indian wedding in the exotic islands of Thailand. These glimpses from reel life have now come alive in real life too, as many Indian couples and families are opting for a destination wedding away from India.

Malaysia “A segment that has grown exceedingly well is the wedding segment in Malaysia. Many discerning Indian families now prefer to host their weddings in more exclusive surroundings and Malaysia has plenty of just that. In 2011, over 30 Indian weddings were held in Malaysia. Favourite Manoharan Periasamy amongst the destinations are Director Langkawi, Pangkor, Penang and Tourism Malaysia Kuala Lumpur. More than a dozen of India’s leading wedding planners have been taken on hosted tours to Malaysia to discover the best that is on offer,” says Manoharan Periasamy, Director, Tourism Malaysia.

The global economic meltdown had little effect on the huge Indian wedding budgets. With wedding themes getting extravagant and over-the-top, many international hotels and resorts are bending backwards to accommodate the requests of Indians families. While special chefs are being flown down to cater to the large wedding entourage, there are also special arrangements being made to facilitate the Indian weddings which include arranging special garlands and lights to king-size chandeliers.

Spreading overseas Among international destinations, Indians have shown a lot of interest in Thailand, Malaysia, South Africa and Mauritius for wedding destinations. Malaysia has drafted many affordable

travel packages and tie-ups with Malaysia Airlines and other 5-star properties to encourage and attract Indian wedding planners. Besides this, they have conducted many fam tours for Indian wedding planners to experience first-hand service and facilities available as well as possible venues for different budgets. All these efforts have borne fruit as they have seen an increasing interest among people from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in holding their weddings in Malaysia.

Thailand Thailand too has witnessed a lot of Indian weddings over the years. “Over 100 large-scale weddings ranging from 200 to 800 people were organised in Thailand in 2011. In 2012, the Mumbai office facilitated 20 weddings in Thailand. To increase our growth and attract more Indian weddings, we facilitate family or wedding planners in terms Sethaphan Buddhani Director of immigration, welcome reception, Tourism Authority of Thailand provide Thai cultural show and ticket to bride and groom who are really keen to see the wedding venue. We also support with upgrading flight tickets to business class and we also inform the family in terms of names of wedding planners in India and Thailand,” says Sethaphan Buddhani, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand.

New York City Seeing the large stream of income that weddings generate and the potential of this market, many new destinations are emerging which aim at wooing the wedding planners. Even longhaul and expensive destinations like New York City are ready to host the Indian weddings on its soil. “NYC & Company has started a ‘NYC I DO’ initiative to promote the City as a wedding destination for all couples. We work with wedding organisers to consider New York City’s hot spots or most elegant venues to Makiko Matsuda Healy tie the knot. The large NRI community in America often considers VP Business Development NYC & Company a reception or other events in India and New York City to invite family, friends and business partners for the big occasion. Our hotel members offer year-round attractive wedding arrangements and fine Indian cuisine with regional variations are available,” says Makiko Matsuda Healy, VP Business Development, NYC & Company.

Jet Airways expands code-share agreement with Etihad Airways  Jet Airways has placed its code on Etihad’s flight operating out of Abu Dhabi to Paris Charles de-Gaulle airport from December 10, 2012. This code-share will allow Jet Airways to offer its guests excellent connectivity from India to Paris via Abu Dhabi. The airline’s JetPrivilege members will earn JPMiles for their entire journey when they fly on Jet

Airways code-share flights from India to Paris. This

code-share to Paris is in addition to the existing code-share between Jet Airways and Etihad Airways on the Abu DhabiMumbai/Delhi routes operated by Jet Airways and the Etihad flights connecting Abu Dhabi with Mumbai, Delhi, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Chennai and Hyderabad.





Bekal – The new kid on Kerala’s block Bekal has been identified as an untapped tourist destination by the Government of Kerala. Kerala will promote Bekal to attract repeat travellers and off- beat travellers. T T B U R E AU


e are actively promoting more of our northern areas like Bekal as these places now hold the key to attract tourism. Places like Bekal are still untapped and have a lot to offer tourists. There will be subsequent infrastructural developments in these areas besides beautifying them,” says AK Anilkumar, Minister for Tourism, Kerala. In 1992, the Government of India declared Bekal as a Special Tourism Area. The untouched and scenic landscape, extensive beaches, backwaters and unspoilt environs qualified

Dilip Mishra Resident Manager The Lalit Resort & Spa Bekal

Bekal as a potential site for an international standard beach destination. Bekal also has several historic and religious sites. And to tap the potential of this destination, Bekal Resort Development Corporation was formed for the implementation of Bekal Tourism Project. The Bekal

Mathew Joseph Managing Director Pepper Tours

Resort Development Corporation had acquired land for the development of resorts and hotels of star category. In 2004, The Bekal Resorts Development Corporation had leased out 6 plots of land to major hospitality players with Bharat Hotels (owner of The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group) being one of them. “The Lalit Resort & Spa Bekal is the first Five Star deluxe Resort & Spa to have

developed in the region. From the initial stage itself a rigorous sales activity has been ongoing with focus on print media, developing a movie on Bekal called ‘Bekal-The Big Water’,” says Dilip Mishra, Resident Manager, The Lalit

Resort & Spa Bekal. With the advent of many more resorts and hotels in the region, Bekal, got a much needed impetus. “North Kerala is maturing as a region to look out for. Among the prominent places where travellers

go are Guruvayoor, Cheruthuruthy, Nattika Beach, Nilambur, Palakkad, Wayanad, Kannur, Calicut and Bekal. Out of these places, Bekal and Wayanad are the fastest growing destinations for the domestic as well as the

inbound markets. However, Bekal as a destination still suffers from lack of publicity and quality tourism infrastructures like guides and quality transport,” says Mathew Joseph, Managing Director, Pepper Tours.

AK Anilkumar Minister for Tourism, Kerala




Travel Trade: All guns blazing for 2013 The coming year will deďŹ nitely be better than the last, believe travel bosses. speaks to the biggest names in travel and tourism and asks them what they expect from 2013 in terms of business. LPTI & TUI India

Kuoni India

Arjun Sharma, Managing Director

Rajeev Wagle, Managing Director

India is believed to be one of the best tourist destinations from 2009-2018. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the country has the highest ten-year growth potential. Our focus, in the coming year, will remain on exclusive and differentiated products. It is our intention to create a range of specific products target at different customer segments and tailored to meet tastes of the global consumer.

The year 2013 looks optimistic for the travel industry. This is primarily because of various economic reforms introduced in the second half of the year 2012. Initiatives like FDI in retail and aviation are likely to boost the Indian economy growth thereby increasing discretionary spending on services like travel. There is a tremendous scope for expansion and evolution in the market. Increase in number of young travellers seeking unique, off-beat experiences is opening up new doors to the tourism segment. With a view to enhance loyalty and productivity, corporates are setting increasing budgets aside for incentive trips.

Nijhawan Group of Companies

Travel Spirit International

Ankush Nijhawan, Managing Director In 2013, with an infusion of FDI in the aviation sector, domestic airlines will get a major boost. The investment shall help in a significant increase in load factors of the airlines and hotel occupancy. 2012 was a challenging year, however the business of the Travel Boutique Online (TBO) grew by 40-45 per cent. We would also be focussing a lot on innovating technology especially for the hotel content. We would also launch our smartphone applications for our travel partners by early 2013. TBO will continue to strengthen its position in India, Middle East and North Africa. We would start our operations in Thailand in early 2013.

Jatinder Taneja, Managing Director India should focus on infrastructure growth. We need to have highquality highways, which will help reduce travel-time from one city to another. We also need high-speed trains connecting important tourist cities, which will help increase tourism. Thirdly, when tourists are visiting monuments, we need to provide them with a good experience. The cities should be clean and so should be the surroundings monuments. The developments and upgrading of various airports is commendable indeed. Now we have a lot new airports in India which convey a strong message that we are changing for the better.

Cox & Kings

Kuoni India

Arup Sen, Director, Special Projects

Dipak Deva, CEO Destination Management, India & South Asia The coming year looks positive. The government has recently eased restrictions on tourist visas which had earlier mandated a twomonth gap between consecutive visits by foreign nationals. This is a positive step and should show results in the coming year. The effort put in by the MOT, in the form of roadshows around the globe, is an important way of maintaining tourist interest in India as a destination. As for Sita, we will be focussing our attention on issues that will be crucial to our long-term success - the importance of quality, technology and training to help meet and exceed customer expectations.

The incoming foreign tourist arrivals in India registered a growth of 5.9 per cent and this is primarily due to a collective bag of positive forces. The recovery of the euro and green shoots in USA, Australia, Canada, Middle East, CIS & Africa was a positive contribution along with augmentation of infrastructure including increased hotel inventory, modernisation of airports due to the Commonwealth Games provided much required relief. On the domestic front, enhanced purchasing power further contributed to the growth.

Contd. on page 35 


InterGlobe Technology Quotient J B Singh, President & CEO

Moondeep Aggarwal, Director

The travel and hospitality sector has gone through unprecedented times amidst challenges such as the economic slowdown, surging fuel prices and rupee depreciation. These posed an imminent risk to the growth of the industry. However, the rate at which technology is seeping into the travel and hospitality sector and the level at which innovations being introduced by companies, prospects appear optimistic for both leisure and business travel.

As a technology company, I would be like to comment on the technology demand dynamics for 2013. In this age of technology, we still believe that there is a high demand for a good online booking engine that works for wholesalers and travel agents. Moreover, automation products are high in demand, so that agents can reduce cost of operations and the airline debit memos. We are planning to launch a solution which will help travel agents to work on all three GDS sans training and increase sales and reduce cost of operations.

Abacus India

Jeet Sawhney, Managing Director

Amal Purandare, Head Operations

Abacus is expecting to see India maintain its position as one of the leading travel markets within the Asia-Pacific region. The travel industry within India is set to see greater growth in 2013. This will be brought about both by the stabilisation of the overall aviation situation as well as the continued rise of the middle class, leading to increased travel.

Initiatives like FDI are always good news for the travel Industry, which means making more inbound travel. Currently, airlines are doing their best to delve into Kingfisher’s share of business. In 2013, we will also focus on consolidating our B2C customer base and try and further strengthen our B2B stronghold. The end of 2013 may also see the beginning of mergers and acquisitions in the OTA space.




‘Leading Tourism through turbulent times’ The leading decision-makers across different value chains in the tourism industry gathered to attend the interactive session ‘Leading Tourism through Turbulent Times’ on 12-12-12 in New Delhi. The who’s who took time out to look into best perspectives and the needful directions which will help the industry to sail through present testing times.


Hospitality: What’s in store With mixed fortunes, the general outlook of hospitality growth in India remained disappointing in 2012. However, industry experts forecast 2013 as being the year when business will bounce back to good health. The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group Samil Malhotra, Vice President The start of 2013 may bring some relief to the industry. We expect this to be a long slog to recovery but would want a real grip to return to the industry by 2013. However, we remain optimistic on the long-term growth story for the industry. As our expansion plans, the group is opening two new properties in 2013 - The Lalit Chandigarh and the re-opening of the much-awaited Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata. Also, The Lalit New Delhi has commenced with celebrations of 25years.

The Suryaa New Delhi Greesh Bindra, Vice President and General Manager The industry will remain the same like last year because of the downturn in the European market. However, we can expect sustained growth in the corporate and domestic leisure. Commercial activity and international leisure segment will pick up only in 2014. However, our hotel will witness some major movements in the international leisure segment. The industry will also witness massive rate correction this year. Going forward, the strategy that hoteliers should adopt this year is the exploration of new markets. New travel segments ought to be be created. Suiting the target business areas, it will be wise for hoteliers to concentrate on product augmentation and differentiation and create a different experience for the customers.

Fairmont Jaipur Atul Lall, General Manager Fairmont Jaipur opened at a time when the number of luxury room nights offered in Jaipur has gone up to 1500 from 721 just two years ago. In 2011, Jaipur showed a 13 per cent rise in the average room rates. Thus, it is because of the nature of the hotel rooms that business is changing in Jaipur. Traditionally viewed as a leisure destination, Jaipur has emerged as a MICE and wedding market too. The two segments that will drive business for us and the entire Jaipur market in 2013 are wedding and MICE. Incentives are expected to pick up in Jan-March period. The transit travel segment has also been increasing over the last year. There will be fluctuation in the ARRs this year. However, whether it will be negative or positive, is difficult to say now. But whatever the case, it will stabilise eventually.

Best Western India Sudhir Sinha, President & COO Overall, for the industry, the growth should be in the range of around seven-eight per cent based on how the global economic environment pans out, specifically related to the European debt crisis and the US fiscal cliff. Also, guest preference is decisively shifting in favour of chain hotels vis-à-vis standalone properties and this trend is expected to increase steadily. Reservations through mobile-based platforms are expected to gain further momentum as more people use the internet through their smartphones rather than through their desktop/laptop. The role of intermediaries is expected to shrink unless they are able to transform themselves into MICE specialists and work., work as the in-house corporate travel agency for corporate houses or focus on niche segments.

Leisure Hotels Vibhas Prasad, Director We continue to remain bullish on the future of the hospitality industry in India, especially in the domestic segment. The popularity of short-haul destinations from key metros will gain momentum this year. Another important development over the last two years which will continue in 2013 is the opening of Kashmir to ‘mass tourism’. India will attract a large number of spiritual tourists. Maha Kumbh 2013 in Allahabad is also expected to be on the itinerary of every spiritual traveller in the first quarter of this year. However, going forward, there will be a few roadblocks which need to be tackled. Infrastructure issues with air and road connectivity and cheaper overseas destinations with easy connectivity can play spoilsport. Air traffic will remain muted due to high oil prices (high international Brent Crude).




Korea sees increase in India outbound Indian travellers spent an average of 13.5 days in contrast with other nationalities who spent an average of 10 days. This only reflects the amount of scope outbound travel has as an opportunity for India. T T B U R E AU


orea Tourism Organisation (KTO) opened a representative office in Mumbai in 2011 and the Korean Embassy also appointed VFS to make it easier for Indians to travel to

Korea. Since then the Indian outbound to Korea has been on the rise, says Jae Sang Lee, Director, Korea Tourism Organisation, New Delhi. “The number of documents required to obtain a visa has been reduced and has

partly helped in boosting numbers from the India outbound,” he said. Korea has registered a growth of 25 per cent from the Indian market, since it opened office in India, in

2008. Lee who was visiting the newly opened Korean Cultural Center in New Delhi informed. The Korean government selected MICE as one of the ‘new growth engine’ industries, along with green energy

among others. Since then, the MICE market in Korea has garnered expertise with support from the government and its initiative to develop creative content and technology indigenous to Korea.

Jae Sang Lee Director Korea Tourism Organisation, New Delhi

The organisation is also targetting the FITs and family travel from India.

“According to a survey conducted by the KTO in 2010, Indians spent US$ 1446 per trip. This is in contrast to other visitors who spent US$ 1298 per trip when visiting Korea. Indian travellers spent an average of 13.5 days in contrast with other nationalities who spent an average of 10 days. This only reflects that there is a huge scope in this segment,” he pointed out. Comparing India market with China, Lee opined, “Ten years ago, five lakh Chinese travellers visited Korea. In 2011, we received 2.2 million. This is a very sharp curve and we expect this kind of a spurt from India as well.”

Virgin Atlantic to connect Delhi and Mumbai with new routes  Virgin Atlantic has finalised plans to launch a domestic flying programme within the UK from spring 2013. The airline will be adding 24 domestic flights a day within the UK to its existing long haul network that will strengthen connectivity for its Indian passengers. The airline will focus its operations on flights to and from Scotland. From April 2013, the airline will operate six round-trip flights a day between Heathrow and Edinburgh, with three daily round-trip flights between Heathrow and Aberdeen. The airline has also utilised three of its own Heathrow slot-pairs to complement the new Scottish routes with three daily round-trip services between Heathrow and Manchester from March 31, 2013.





Looking on the brighter side After combating challenges in 2012, travel associations are looking forward to brighter prospects in 2013. The veterans are hoping that taxes will be reduced, thereby bringing a breather for the industry. reports. OTOAI Guldeep Singh Sahni, President



Subhash Goyal, President

Subhash Verma, President

The industry is currently caught between ‘A Rock and A Hard Place’. On one side, it is extremely vulnerable to external shocks and events and on the other side, it is battling an internal transformation with the increased use of technology and changing market dynamics. Going forward, I feel, how the industry faces the external headwinds and internal shocks will define the market in the years to come. 2013 promises to be a great year for our association.

We had been pressing for the demand of granting industrial status and similar benefits to the tourism industry. We hope that in year 2013, many such demands of our inbound industry will be accepted. There is a strong case for extending the tax benefits to the travel industry, which we’ll urge the MOT to pursue with the Ministry of Finance. There are merits in opening the skies further.

The year 2013 will surely be a good one for domestic tourism in India. As the growth in the international tourist arrivals has been constant, the rise in domestic tourists will drive tourism. Tour operators should make use of the opportunity. They should utilise the time in strengthening the manpower in the office by providing special training programme and educational tours within the country to launch new packages based on new products.

WTTC, India Initiative


Vikram Madhok, Former Chairperson India is high on the priority radar of leading developed countries, which are now in the advanced stages of economic revival. This means that after a lull due to difficult economic conditions, Incredible India will register rapid increase in arrivals. The recent announcement of the Kerala Government to to start its own airline is a step in the right direction.

Praveen Chugh, Vice President This uncertain trend might also spill over to the next year. Experts’ fears are compounded by the thought that the coming budget might add to the existing tax burden adversely affecting the existing tourist flow to the country. However, it is hoped that India’s inbound tourist volume will grow due to its rapidly increasing average disposable income, rising number of business opportunities, vast natural and cultural resources and increased spending by the government on developing tourism infrastructure.

IAAI Biji Eapen, President 2013 will be a promising year for the inbound business. The MOT, Government of India has a new team. Initiatives such as ‘Hunar se Rozgar’ programme, Clean India campaign, safe and honourable tourism and the promotion of medical and wellness tourism are definitely going to yield positive results. With the new team, it is expected that continuity will be maintained in implementing above programmes in an accelerated manner.





Neptune Foundation’s charity polo match The Jaipur Polo Ground in New Delhi was buzzing with activity as diplomats, bureaucrats, businessmen and socialites got together to cheer their favourite team to victory at the Neptune Foundation Charity Polo Match. The Ambassador of Thailand to India, Pisan Manawapat, was the chief guest at the event. The Amazing Thailand Team lifted the cup beating Team Constance.





Wooing Indian travellers in 2013 Even as people tighten their belts bracing for the year ahead, tourism boards get ready with a host of new products and promotional plans to woo Indian travellers. reports... South African Tourism

Tourism Australia

Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager

Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager

2013 will see some interesting initiatives by South African Tourism in India. Increasing competition from other tourism boards and the present condition of the economy will be a challenge for us. The key to success will be to deal with the changing travel patterns and preferences effectively by diversifying our products, maintaining excellent service and innovating our marketing channels. The most critical element would be to ensure that we deliver value for money holiday experience.

We expect the growth momentum for visitor arrivals to continue in 2013. Our focus will remain on developing demand for Australia as a holiday destination among the affluent, well-informed, seasoned traveller, residing in the top metro cities, especially in Mumbai and Delhi. Simultaneously, there will be initiatives to develop the business events segment and on gaining more incentive visits to Australia. The Tourism Forecasting Committee estimates arrival of 178,000 visitors for the year 2013/14.

Tourism New Zealand

Mischa Mannix-Opie

Atout France Catherine Oden, Country Manager The global economic situation will, to a large extent, influence travel trends for the first half of 2013. At our end, we will renew our efforts to present France as an affordable destination and make it attractive for our potential visitors. We are confident that we will find ways to cope with adverse situations and will find different means of generating footfalls to France. All our best efforts will be put forth to increase arrival figures for 2013.

Ministry of Tourism, Oman Lubaina Sheerazi, India Representative We have managed to reach out to people in Tier II cities of Pune, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad in 2012 besides the Tier I cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai. In 2013, we want to take it to the next level and reach out to more cities. We hope to increase the passenger numbers from India to Oman. We also hope to create more brand awareness for Oman through our Bollywood association with the movie ‘Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Again’ which is slated to release in mid 2013.

Regional Manager - South & South East Asia Currently, India is our 12th largest market and we expect it to grow at a steady pace. Based on Tourism New Zealand’s research, there are approximately over 21 million people in India who fall into this category of travellers. This coupled with the rise in spending power of Indians make the future appear pretty bright for an increase in the number of Indian travellers Continued overleaf 

SPOTLIGHT-2013 Contd. from page 31

Canadian Tourism Commission, Representative in India Tina Singh, Assistant Vice President In 2013, CTCs main focus continues to remain on the Travel Trade. Approximately 77% of the budget would be spent on marketing activities through the trade. While we have already obtained good presence in Delhi and Mumbai, we would be expanding our sales network in 2013 to newer markets like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata by conducting training seminars to educate the travel trade in these cities on the destination. Further, we will be launching Signature Experience Collection (SEC) in the India market where the destination will be repositioned as a truly unique, experiential destination. We also plan to develop co-op programmes with tour operators. We will also be promoting our consumer website ‘Keep Exploring’ in 2013.

Macau Government Tourism Office, India Madhvi Awasthi, Media Manager Despite a gloomy global economy, the Indian market performed well in visitor arrivals in 2012. 2013 is going to be an important year for Macau’s tourism industry, as we celebrate the 60th Macau Grand Prix and 25 years of the Macau International Fireworks Display Contest. Besides promoting our heritage sites and other attractions, we will continue to focus our efforts on business tourism initiatives. We have been expanding our tourism products to diversify our source market profile. We will also leverage our recently launched Wedding Incentive Scheme and Student Excursion Incentive Scheme to boost visitor arrival figures. The Incentive stimulation plan offered by Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) helps agents and corporate look at Macau as a destination for business movement. We have had group moments throughout the year to the tune of 200 – 1800.

Phillipines Tourism Marketing Office, India Chetna Singh, Senior Marketing Manager India is an emerging market with a vast source of potential travellers. Over the past ten months, the Phillipines recorded a double-digit growth of 42.0 per cent with month-on-month comparison for October 2011 and 2012. This milestone may be attributed to the recent implementation of the 14-day visa-free entry facility for Indian tourists with the existing valid multiple entry visa of US, Japan, Australia, Canada, Schengen, Singapore or UK (they should have travelled to these destinations at least once). The Phillipines Tourism Marketing Office in India is expecting to bolster Indian travel to the Philippines through integrated marketing efforts in 2013. We predict an increase in the number of inbound travellers from India in the coming years as the Phillipines is fast becoming a destination of choice amongst the Indians.

Sterling Holidays opens 19th resort  Sterling Holidays, a Vacation Ownership and Leisure Hospitality Company, opened its 19th resort, Dharamshala The Sanctuary. Talking about the choice of location for the hotel, Lata Subramanian, Vice President - Marketing of Sterling Holiday Resorts

to be one that exudes beauty and charm. The USP of The Sanctuary thus is its location. With the majestic view of the Dhauladhar range and the gurgling, perennial brooks of the Beas River, it is the location which is the property’s biggest draw. It offers wonderful scenic canvas of

(India) says, “At Sterling, great emphasis is laid on choosing the locations for the resorts within each destination. The goal remains to delighting holidayers with stunning views. With that very philosophy, when it came to choosing a destination for our new resort, it had

Himalayas and the emerald green Kangra Valley. The property is also very close to the Norbulingka monastery.” The full-service, modern resort has 26 elegantly furnished rooms, a multi-cuisine restaurant, bar, conference facilities and a range of recreational activities designed to

engage members and guests in fun-filled, memorable holiday experiences. The hotel also hopes to attract MICE inspite of being located in a leisure zone. All of Sterling’s resorts in fact are located in leisure locales in India and are built to offer stunning views of the destination. “This fact alone makes each of our resorts the perfect choice for offsite conferences and events as the breathtaking views and fresh air prove to be invigourating for MICE delegates. The MICE offering from Sterling is not a new venture as our resorts have been built to host conferences from inception. Sterling offers complete MICE solutions at value pricing, which include well-equipped conference facilities and guest rooms, banquets, airport transfers and a team of ‘Fun Rangers’ who organize a range of holiday and team building activities,” says Subramanian.





New Year to see more in-out traffic The year 2012 saw a lot of ups and downs in the tourism industry. In the initial months tourism was moving slowly, but picked up towards the end of the year. spoke to some of the leading travel agents and asked them to review the year that was 2012. Contd. from page 22

Nomad Travels

Thomas Cook (India)

Ajay Prakash, Chief Executive

Madhav Pai, Director – Leisure Travel (Outbound)

2012 was a year that saw some tough times for the industry. Young Indians have shown a move towards niche or experiential holidays and this trend will grow. We shall crawl past the 6 million mark for inbound tourists, but at less than 0.5% of global tourism. India is far from realising its potential for inbound tourism - and the reasons are there for all of us to see. It's heartening to see additional rooms being added in all the major cities. Hopefully, that will keep room rates at a reasonable level for both inbound as well as domestic tourists.

Thomas Cook India has bucked the trend by launching Summer Tours – ‘European Holiday Supermarket’ and ‘American Holiday Supermarket’ this October for 2013. This unique ‘Super Market’ concept has been impactful and our forward booking position is already up by an impressive 65% . Almost 45% of our individual holiday travellers are youth, and this segment is poised to grow at an exponential rate of 25-30%.

Pepper Tours

Inorbit Tours & Travels

Mathew Joseph, Managing Director

OmPrakash Sehgal, Director

In 2013, business will be difficult and travel operators who are more proactive in terms of advertising, media and networking will do well. In terms of inbound tourists, UK, Russia and Australia will be our biggest source markets. Places like Kashmir will do well in 2013 as it is opening up and has the potential to attract tourists. Kerala market will face stiff competition from other markets unless it will become more flexible in terms of its hotel rates. Outbound travel will increase in 2013 to Far East and Middle East along with niche destinations in Europe.

This year was full of evolution and changes and I'm happy to see that we all were able to adopt to the changes. For 2013, we will have to come up with innovative strategies and business model. If there is any external unrest in the Indian economy on macro level, our tourism industry will be influenced on a greater scale. Thus, all service providers need to be cautious and at the same time start with new products, innovative marketing strategies and come up with affordable travel packages to attract our booming middle class.




Abacus India gets trade on the dance floor November was a busy month for the Indian travel industry as Abacus India staged trade gatherings in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata. The events were well-attended and received by the industry partners in the cities. Different themes were explored in each venue. Mumbai went Hawaiian, replete with flower garlands, while the Kolkata event went ‘Disco Nite’ with travel consultants turning up in grooving outfits and dancing the night away.

FICCI rolls out CITI  FICCI in partnership with the state governments and the Ministry of Tourism will organise the first-ever two-day focussed Conclave on Investment in Tourism Infrastructure (CITI). It will encompass exclusive state presentations, B2B meeting of investors with state governments and exhibition by organisations in the hotel supply chain, forging one to one meetings with their target consumers during January 1617, 2013 at the Federation House, FICCI. Investors in tourism infrastructure from across India and a strong 50-member Asian American Hotel Owners Association ( AAHOA) delegation from USA led by their Chairman, members of FHRAI, HAI, IHHA, members from state level hotel associations and organisations in the hotel supply chain will forge ties through B2B meetings with one another.

Club Med rolls out red carpet for Indians Having 80 resorts worldwide, the USP of the Club Med is their ‘All-Inclusive’ resorts. Since successfully launching the concept of ‘All-Inclusive’ resorts many years ago across the world, Club Med hopes that Indians too will soon see value-for-money in this product. in luxury travel in India. India now has a lot of FITs who take shorter breaks to spend more time with their family because of which we think that this ‘All-Inclusive Holidays’ will work in India,” says Vijay Sharma, Country Manager, Club Med, India



he ‘All-Inclusive’ packages of Club Med include accommodation and all meals and transfers. The guests have, at their disposal, exqui-

Vijay Sharma Country Manager Club Med, India

site buffets, chef’s specials and specialty bars. And also the dining locations are set in picturesque spots such as

lagoons. Club Med’s core charges also include unlimited quantities of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The all-inclusive concept ensures that the guests’ adrenaline levels don’t reach safe lows, thanks to a cross-section of activities and adventures sports at each resort. These

include the relaxing volleyball, surfing, golf, archery, tennis, beach soccer, kayaking, snorkeling and flying trapeze. The chain’s ‘Kids Clubs’ are state-of-the-art facilities where trained professionals look over and entertain the young ones while their parents and guardians have their

time in the sunshine. And there is an element of entertainment behind every Club Med stay as there are daily entertainment shows featuring live performances. “Our concept of ‘AllInclusive’ is still new in India. However, we now see a rise

Club Med, a French company owns several premium resorts across the globe and currently, the company receives more than 2000 Indian families across its properties with 80 per cent staying at their Asian resorts while 20 per cent in their European resorts.

A la carte The all-inclusive concept ensures that guests remain entertained thanks to activities and adventures sports




OTOAI celebrates 1 anniversary st

JANUARY 4-6 8-13

Chennai Gujarat

Travel & Tourism Fair International Travel Tourism & Hospitality Expo Tourism Authority of Thailand’s B2B Event Tourism Authority of Thailand’s B2B Event Travel & Tourism Fair Tourism Authority of Thailand’s B2B Event FICCI’s Conclave on Investment in Tourism Infrastructure 2013 Tourism Malaysia’s Roadshow Tourism Malaysia’s Roadshow ATOAI’s Annual Convention Tourism Malaysia’s Roadshow Tourism Fiji’s Roadshow Tourism Fiji’s Roadshow Tourism Fiji’s Roadshow Tourism Malaysia’s Roadshow Tourism Fiji’s Roadshow Zak Salaam India Tourism Expo - Singapore Travel Expo Holiday Expo India International Travel Exhibition Leisure Travel Market Fitur India International Travel Mart Cochin





11-13 14

Bengaluru Pune


New Delhi

16-18 19 20-22 21 21 22 23 23 24 24-27

New Delhi Kolkata Guwahati Mumbai Mumbai Ahmedabad Kolkata Chennai New Delhi Singapore

25-27 25-27 25-27

Switzerland Coimbatore Nagpur

25-27 30-3 31-2

Germany Spain Kochi






New Delhi

12 13 19

Ahmedabad Kolkata Mumbai










New Delhi



27- 2




FEBRUARY Austrian National Tourist Office’s B2B Event Austrian National Tourist Office’s B2B Event Austrian National Tourist Office’s B2B Event Tourism Philippines’ Roadshow Tourism Philippines’ Roadshow Disney Parks - Disney Days Trade Event Disney Parks - Disney Days Trade Event Macau Govt Tourist Office’s Trade Workshop Canadian Tourism Commission Agents Training Programme Canadian Tourism Commission Agents Training Programme ATOUT France’s Paris Promotion ATOUT France’s Paris Promotion Canadian Tourism Commission’s Focus Canada India IITM Kolkata


New Delhi









Starwood Hotels Worldwide’s Sales Expo for B2B / MICE & Corporate Agents Starwood Hotels Worldwide’s Sales Expo for B2B / MICE & Corporate Agents Kiwi Link South & South East Asia Macau Govt Tourist Office’s B2B Workshop Macau Govt Tourist Office’s B2B Workshop

For more information, contact us at:

OTOAI (Outbound Tour Operators Association of India), which was formed last year to boost India's outbound tourism, has recently completed one year of success and achievements. Moving forward in the next year, the association is all geared up with increase in its member base (currently has 170 active members), enhanced relationship with NTOs and with its foraying into the smaller cities of India.

Calendar of Travel Events JANUARY 4-6 8-13

Chennai Gujarat

8-13 9

Utrecht, The Netherland Coimbatore



11-13 14

Bengaluru Pune



16-18 16-18

Delhi Delhi

17-20 19 20-22 21 21 21-22 22 23 23 24 24-27

Helsinki, Finland Kolkata Guwahati Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai Ahmedabad Kolkata Chennai Delhi Singapore

25-27 25-27 25-27 25-27 30-3

Switzerland Coimbatore Nagpur Germany Madrid, Spain 31-2 Kochi 31-3 Feb Istanbul, Turkey

Travel & Tourism Fair International Travel Tourism & Hospitality Expo Holiday Fair Tourism Authority of Thailand’s B2B Event Tourism Authority of Thailand’s B2B Event Travel & Tourism Fair Tourism Authority of Thailand’s B2B Event FICCI’s Conclave on Investment in Tourism Infrastructure 2013 Tourism Malaysia’s Roadshow South Asian Travel and Tourism Exhibition (SATTE) Matka Expo Nordic Travel Fair Tourism Malaysia’s Roadshow ATOAI’s Annual Convention Tourism Malaysia’s Roadshow Tourism Fiji’s Roadshow SATTE Mumbai Tourism Fiji’s Roadshow Tourism Fiji’s Roadshow Tourism Malaysia’s Roadshow Tourism Fiji’s Roadshow Zak Salaam India Tourism Expo - Singapore Travel Expo Holiday Expo India International Travel Exhibition Leisure Travel Market FITUR* India International Travel Mart EMITT*

FEBRUARY 2-3 2-4 5

Innsbruck, Austria Travel Trend Chandigarh India Travel Mart (ITM) Mumbai Austrian National Tourist Office’s B2B Event 5-6 London, UK The Travel Technology Show 5-6 London, UK Business Travel & Meetings Show 5-6 Tel Aviv, Israel International Mediterranean Tourism Market 6 Chennai Austrian National Tourist Office’s B2B Event 7 Delhi Austrian National Tourist Office’s B2B Event 7-10 Prague, Holiday World Czech Republic 8-10 Mumbai TTF & OTM 12 Ahmedabad Tourism Philippines’ Roadshow 13 Kolkata Tourism Philippines’ Roadshow 14-16 Delhi TTF & OTM 14-17 Milan, Italy BIT 18-21 Johannesburg, Meetings Africa South Africa 19 Mumbai Disney Parks - Disney Days Trade Event 21 Delhi Disney Parks - Disney Days Trade Event 22 Ahmedabad Macau Govt Tourist Office’s Trade Workshop 22 Mumbai Canadian Tourism Commission Agents Training Programme 22-24 Bhubaneswar Holiday Expo 23-25 Ahmedabad Indian Travel Mart (ITM) 25 Delhi Canadian Tourism Commission Agents Training Programme 25-26 Delhi ATOUT France’s Paris Promotion 26-27 Melbourne, Asia Pacific Meetings and Australia Incentive Expo (AIME) 27-1 Mumbai ATOUT France’s Paris Promotion 27- 2 Mar Jaipur Canadian Tourism Commission’s Focus Canada India 27-3 Mar Lisbon, Portugal BTL 28-2 Mar Kolkata IITM Kolkata







Warsaw & Katowice, Poland Thailand Berlin, Germany Guangzhou, China Chandigarh

4-6 6-10 7-9 8 14 15-17 19-21 20-23 21-24 22 25-27 27-29

Starwood Hotels Worldwide’s Sales Expo for B2B / MICE & Corporate Agents India International Travel Exhibition (IITE) Starwood Hotels Worldwide’s Sales Expo for B2B / MICE & Corporate Agents Polish Outgoing Workshop

Kiwi Link South & South East Asia ITB Guangzhou International Travel Fair Macau Govt Tourist Office’s B2B Workshop Moscow, Russia Luxury Travel Mart Raipur Indian International Travel Exhibition (IITE) London, UK International Confex Moscow, Russia Moscow International Travel and Tourism Exhibition (MITT)* Gothenburg, Sweden Tur Kolkata Macau Govt Tourist Office’s B2B Workshop Abu Dhabi, UAE GIBTM* Kiev, Ukraine UITT*

APRIL 4-6 5 8-9 9-11 11-13 14-16 21-24 23-25 23-26 24-26

Baku, Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan International Tourism Fair (AITF)* Lucknow Macau Govt Tourist Office B2B Workshop Cape Town, International Luxury Travel Market South Africa Africa (ILTM Africa) Beijing, China China Outbound Travel Tourism Mart (COTTM)* Novosibirsk, Russia SITT (TOURSIB)* Jaipur Great India Travel Bazaar Auckland, Tourism New Zealand New Zealand TRENZ 2013 Sao Paulo, Brazil World Travel Market Latin America* Riyadh, Riyadh Travel Fair Saudi Arabia Almaty, Kazakhstan International Tourism Kazakhstan Fair (KITF)*

MAY 5-7

Stuttgart, Germany

German Travel Mart


Dubai, UAE Shanghai, China Durban, South Africa Ottawa, Canada

Arabian Travel Market (ATM)* World Travel Fair Indaba Expo

9-11 11-14 12-15 13-15 16-18

Kuwait City, Kuwait Lugano, Switzerland

Canadian Tourism Commission’s Rendezvous Canada Travel World Expo Meeting Luxury

JUNE 3-6

Shanghai, China


Chicago, USA


Hong Kong, SAR China Hong Kong, SAR China Beijing, China

13-16 21-23 26-27




Auckland, New Zealand

International Luxury Travel Market Asia (ILTMA)* Americas Incentive Business Travel & Meetings Exhibitions (AIBTM)* International Travel Expo

5-7 9

Kolkata Chennai

TTF Macau Govt Tourist Office’s B2B Minimart Macau Govt Tourist Office’s B2B Minimart TTF IITM Bangalore IITM Chennai



12-14 19-21 26-28

Hyderabad Bengaluru Chennai

9-11 16-18 20 22 23-25 30-1 Sept

Aurangabad Ahmedabad Chennai Delhi Surat Mumbai




IITE TTF German India Pool, B2B Event German India Pool, B2B Event TTF TTF


Atout France’s ‘France Promotion’ 2-4 Beijing, China China Incentive Business Travel Market (CIBTM)* 4-6 Mumbai Atout France’s ‘France Promotion’ 6-8 Mumbai IITM Mumbai 6-8 Pune TTF 8-11 Prince Edward Canadian Tourism Commission’s Island, Canada Go Media 13-15 Delhi-NCR IITM Gurgaon 17-20 Moscow, Russia Otdykh Leisure 17-20 Moscow, Russia Luxury Leisure 24 Kiev, Ukraine Luxury Travel Market 24-27 Paris, France International French Travel Market Top Resa Astana, Kazakhstan Astana Leisure* 25-27 Almaty, Kazakhstan Luxury Travel Market 27 30-3 Oct Cancun, Mexico International Luxury Travel Market Americas (ILTMA)*

OCTOBER 1-3 4-6 10-12


Bangkok, Thailand Indore St. Petersburg, Russia St. Petersburg, Russia Hanzhou, China

18-21 23-25

Taipei, Taiwan Singapore


IT&CMA CTW IITE Inwetex-CIS Travel Market MICE Industry Canadian Tourism Commission’s Showcase Asia Taipei International Travel Fair ITB Asia


London, UK

World Travel Market* (WTM)

6-7 11-14

Business Travel Market International Golf Travel Market

22-24 22-24 26

London, UK Costa Daurada, Spain Pune Pune Delhi





29 -1 Dec Hyderabad

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

ITE MICE Beijing International Tourism Expo (BITE) Tourism New Zealand MEETINGS 2013



Cannes, France

International Luxury Travel Market*

*For more details, contact:


Teeing off on Indian grounds India Golf Tourism Association (IGTA) will kickstart 2013 on a positive note by participating in the Ministry of Tourism’s North East International Travel Mart scheduled to be held in January in Assam… Secretary, Vipan Sharma- Jt. Secretary and RK MathurTreasurer. The IGTA officials desire to work closely with the Ministry of Tourism to ensure that Golf in near future becomes a major contributor to the tourist arrivals in India.



eading golf enthusiasts from the tourism and hospitality industry have come together to launch India Golf Tourism Association (IGTA), which strives to enhance India’s golf offerings. The new association also strives forward to bring International Golf Meet Asia 2014 to India. As per Rajan Sehgal, President, IGTA, “The India Golf Tourism Association has been formed to bring all golf courses and golf tour promoters on one platform. This helps in bringing better understanding and coordination among various stakeholders promoting golf in India. Our membership will be open to travel and tour operators, golf courses, hotels, airlines, state tourism boards and international tourism organisations.” “IGTA hopes to bring in the prestigious International Golf Meet Asia 2014 to India. Besides this, the association will work towards inviting foreign golf tour operators to experience golfing in India,

Rajan Sehgal President IGTA

conduct an annual Golf Tourism Conference, work as a dialogue facilitator with all stakeholders to better package the Indian golf product to maximise foreign visitor arrivals in India,” he added. IGTA has planned a host of events and will kick start 2013 on a positive note by participation in the Ministry of Tourism’s North East International Travel Mart scheduled to be held in January in Assam. The IGTA was launched in the first week of December 2012 at Suryaa, New Delhi and its executive team also includes Gajender Singh-Vice President, Uday Marwah-

Here, Sehgal adds, “Golf is India’s best kept secret. The country has the rare advantage of having an array of golf courses from the metros to the mountains as well as courses with great historical importance. Once in India, the tourists coming arriving for experiencing golf will also be inspired by India’s attractions such as spa, culture, adventure, dining and business offerings.”

Plan of action The IGTA was launched in the first week of December 2012 at Suryaa, New Delhi The IGTA officials desire to work closely with the Ministry of Tourism to ensure that Golf in near future becomes a major contributor to the tourist arrivals in India

IGTA launched in New Delhi The IGTA was launched in the first week of December 2012 at Suryaa, New Delhi and its executive team includes Gajender Singh-Vice President, Uday Marwah-Secretary, Vipan Sharma- Jt. Secretary and RK Mathur-Treasurer. The IGTA will strive forward to make India a leading golfing destination.

Courtyard Kochi Airport by Marriott  Strategically located 300 meters from the Kochi International Airport, Courtyard by Marriott, Kochi Airport is well connected to all major destinations in and around Kochi. Designed to

have a contemporary look and feel, the hotel reflects the refreshing hospitality offered by the Marriott Group. The hotel has 107 rooms that include 7 Suites, 22 Twin Rooms & 78 King

Rooms making it the highest room inventory in the vicinity of the Kochi International Airport. All the rooms come fully equipped with hi-speed internet, ergonomic seating, tea/coffee maker etc.









Bhutan Tourism Corporation Limited Delhi

Marriott Hotels India Delhi

JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity

Vishal Kumar has been appointed as the Head Sales &

Vishal Gupta is the new Director of Travel Trade Sales for the

Josef Schuppler has been appointed as the Director of

Marketing - India Representative for Bhutan Tourism Corporation Limited (BTCL). He brings with him almost 13 years of experience in Hospitality & Aviation industry. In his current role, he would take care of Sales & Marketing and setting up Bhutan as a destination for the Indian Market. Kumar has worked with Eaton Smart Transit hotel – T-3, DIAL for the T3 Operations & Project Planning & hotels in various locations in India such as InterContinental The Grand & The Grand New Delhi.

Marriott Hotels India. Prior to this stint, he was the Director of Sales for the Greenbelt Marriott and Marriott Inn & Conference Centre UMUC in Maryland, USA. He has been with Marriott International for 12 years now and has extensive international work-experience that covers countries such as Australia, St. Kitts (Caribbean) and United States before returning back home to India. Gupta has worked with eminent brands such as Hotel InterContinental, Sydney and The Hilton New Delhi.

New Delhi Operations at the JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity, which is scheduled to open in early 2013. Schuppler has over seven years of experience in managing the Food & Beverage division across Marriott hotels in Asia including the JW Marriott Hong Kong, JW Marriott Beijing and JW Marriott Shanghai. He tables invaluable multi-property experience, off-property events and expertise in F&B as well as operations management.

Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield Bengaluru Sonika Chaturvedi is the new Director of Human Resource

Gaurav Apte has joined the Bengaluru Marriott Hotel,

at the Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield. She comes in with 14 years of experience in the field of Human Resources, organisation development, training & customer service in hotels, telecom & BPO. Prior to joining this profile, Chaturvedi worked at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Centre & Marriott Executive Apartments, Mumbai as the Director of Human Resources, where she successfully managed the department with her experience in this segment.

Whitefield as the Director of Rooms. In this profile, he will be responsible for overseeing financial interactions & transactions. Previously, Apte was associated with the Courtyard by Marriott, Pune Hinjewadi as the Director of Rooms, where he played a significant role in ensuring its successful opening. He has earlier worked with The Lakeside Chalet Marriott Executive Apartments and The Renaissance Mumbai Hotel & Convention Centre for 7 years.

Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel and Lakeside Chalet Mumbai, Marriott Executive Apartments Mumbai Neesha Mohapatra has joined Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel and Lakeside Chalet - Mumbai, Marriott Executive Apartments as the new Director of Human Resources. Her portfolio includes working with brands like The Unison Hotels Group, The Leela Group and the InterContinental Hotels Group.

Neeraj Maharshi is the new Director of Sales and Marketing at JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity. He comes with 15 years of experience in the hotel industry. In his previous role, Maharshi held the position of the Director of Sales and Marketing at the Jaipur Marriott. He was also instrumental in positioning the Jaipur Marriott as the ideal destination for MICE and leisure business. In his present profile, he will work towards maximizing the hotel revenue from different market segments and lead the hotel’s sales team.

Hilton Mumbai International Airport Mumbai

Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Centre Pune

Kasturi Deo has joined the Hilton Mumbai International Airport

Shubhendu Kadam is appointed as the Executive Chef at Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Centre. He brings with him 16 years of experience in the hospitality domain. Kadam encompasses an expertise in pre-opening and refurbishing of Hotel F&B, Speciality restaurants and Cruise Ships in India, The Philippines and USA. He started his career as a Commis - II chef at Hyatt Regency, New Delhi in October 1996. His career stints also include working at Park Hyatt Goa and Fort Aguada Beach Resort, Goa as and the InterContinental Goa.

as the Executive Housekeeper. She brings in more than 15 years of experience with her to this new role. In her former position at Bombay Dyeing & Manufacturing, she was heading housekeeping operations for the Mumbai-based company with diverse interests in textile, airlines, FMCG and realty. Prior to this, Deo held positions with Leela Kempinski in Mumbai, Taj Residency in Vadodara, Hotel Ramada in Mumbai and others.

Karim Makhlouf , Chief

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: Vivek Sethi, Dency Mathew & Megha Paul

Patricia Yates Director of Strategy and Communications VisitBritain

Patricia Yates, Director of Strategy and Communications, VisitBritain has done her masters in Physics from Oxford University and treaded into travel writing, while working for a science journal. She is also a fellow of the Tourism Society and had joined VisitBritain just prior to London was announced as the host city of Olympics and Paralympic Games. Yates loves travelling, reading and is also a fitness freak. “I firmly believe that the travellers today have a global vision and their needs should be addressed accordingly,” she says.

Commercial Officer, Gulf Air was in India to celebrate 31 years of operations. He was born in Germany and started his career with Lufthansa, where he worked for over 10 years. He loves the multicultural environment in Bahrain, Karim Makhlouf which he believes has strong Chief Commercial Officer Gulf Air resemblance with Indian ethos. Makhlouf is passionate about golf, cooking and fitness. He has recently been blessed with a baby girl and loves spending time with his family that includes his wife and son.

Simon Wan, Chief Executive and Managing Director, StayWell Hospitality Group says, “I spend around two weeks every month travelling for work. Thus, my wife has started calling me Mr Who,” he chuckles. When Wan is home, he likes to spend time with his wife and two daughters, aged 15 and 17. “I love cooking. It acts as the best rejuvenation therapy for me. I grow my own herbs and vegetables in my garden.”

Simon Wan Chief Executive and Managing Director, StayWell Hospitality Group

Wan also likes sneaking in for a game of golf occasionally. He loves to watch action-packed movies. “Skyfall was the last movie I saw and thoroughly enjoyed it,” he says.

Yann Gillet, General Manager, Park Hyatt Chennai was born and brought up in Pessac, a village next to Bordeaux in France, known for the Chateau Haut Brion. Hailing from a family of a physicist father and three doctor sisters, Yann has travelled extensively as a child to countries that include Sweden, USA, South Africa, Spain, China and many others. This, he believes, is where the first seed of his passion for the hospitality industry were sown.

Yann Gillet General Manager Park Hyatt Chennai

Gillet is an avid sports enthusiast with interests ranging from football, running and water sports. He is adept at sailing, surfing, kite surfing and windsurfing and has also been an instructor of the latter at Bordeaux. “I love running and am doing a 10 km run with absolute ease every weekend,” he says while talking about his daily routine.

Postal Reg. No.: DL(ND)-11/6044/2012-13-14; WPP No.: U(C)-178/2012-14 for posting on 1st-2nd and 15th-16th of the same month at New Delhi P.S.O., RNI No.: 53492/91 Date of Publication:30-12-2012


Affordable travel in 2013: Kuoni Rajeev Wagle, Managing Director at Kuoni India is making all efforts to bring out the best business models, marketing strategies and product lines with more focus on FITs. He also plans to make travel more affordable for Indians. A N I TA J A I N


espite turbulence faced by the Indian tourism industry in 2012, Kuoni India comfortably managed to record single digit growth. However, with things looking cautiously positive and pleasantly confusing in 2013, the company is well-prepared with a solid business strategy to record a higher double digit growth this year. Moreover, it is also ready to take on its B2B division - Kuoni Business Travel to the next level by bringing in more efficiency and taking it to the international markets in a few years.

The year 2012 witnessed unstable global economy, drifting currency, fluctuating airfares, etc. How will you see 2013 for your business? During the first half, Indian tourism industry faced tough times, but the second half was more pleasant with reforms coming from the government’s side like FDI in retail and aviation, regulating the banking industry, amendment Bill being passed, stock markets performing well, etc. These reforms proved to be a boon for the Indian economy making 2013 look more positive. A feel good economy makes people do discretionary spend and thus, travel comes into picture. I think the general view is good. Economy grew at 5.4% in the first half and is expected to end at 5.8-5.9%, which means second half is already budgeted at higher level. Since our tourism industry is directly attached to the country’s economy at macro level, I’m cautiously optimistic about the growth opportunities for this year.

Why cautiously optimistic and not confidently positive? This is because no one can take a beat on the growth rates in 2013. I feel we are on the right track and might hit the seven per cent GDP.

With more travellers searching online and gaining confidence in OTAs, what lies ahead for the offline agents? OTAs have done a great job by opening up the travel market in the country. With seamless technology, they are really good at air ticketing and one-destination packages. However, complex and multi-destination travel bookings market is still owned by offline agents. With evolving market, there is place for both online and offline travel agents. India is a unique market with a hybrid operating model (company with both online and offline presence). Kuoni India has aspirations to go online, but we will never try to compete with any OTA as the business model is different. We do have our website and highlight our products, but, for bookings, we will direct the customer to a branch.

are doing lot of stuff on the product, destination and distribution sides which we believe will take us to much higher growth in 2013. We are used to the new level of rupee and we still have affordability as a plank. At Kuoni India, we are ready for this year with better hotel deals, affordable travel packages, revamped distribution model, our spread out reach in the country and with our differentiated products on-board etc. There is a lot of growth coming from Tier II and Tier III cities and we are all set to tap that growth. Also, after consolidating our group tour business, we are now looking at FIT (both high-end and budget), a segment where we want to make a difference. This is now possible with our strong IT system (CRM) in place which enables us to service the customer at the point of sale with good rates. It will also help us maximise each line of product to cater to every segment of traveller.

Are you prepared for 2013? Rupee drifting with the economy and travellers down-trading was observed in 2012. Since it came in suddenly, travel industry was not prepared for it. This year we are better prepared. We still grew last year but we did not meet our targets. So this year, we

Moreover, we are also working closely with our Kuoni offices worldwide to bring in more diverse knowledge of various destinations, better deals with suppliers and seamless experience for our customers in any part of the world by consistent service under Kuoni umbrella.

How will you make travel more affordable for Indian travellers in 2013? I think the industry needs to do a lot of affordability. Our economy is growing; our middle class travellers are becoming richer and need for travel is already implanted in their head. So, if our travel packages become more affordable, the overall economy will benefit out of it. Thus by making the price point cheaper, more numbers will travel. This part can be worked upon by the industry, but, on the other side, government should further open up our skies, improve air connectivity, develop infrastructure, etc. India is one of the highest spending markets for various countries and thus there are good numbers of NTOs present here. This shows our potential and it’s time to make travel affordable. Let more people travel and expand our market size.

Trends in 2012 Trends of people travelling more frequently became more pronounced Category of travellers has been widened with travellers travelling with friends, family, in groups, etc

Rajeev Wagle, MD, Kuoni India

Travellers down-trading on their trips (cutting down on number of travelling days, opting for short-haul destinations, selecting domestic over short-haul international destinations etc)


TravTalk magazine