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Pages: 44 (Excluding cover)

Vol. XXV No. 2; January 2 nd fortnight issue 2013

` 50/-

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‘Travel unaffected by advisory’ While condemning incidents of crime, the travel trade is working on all possible ways to safeguard the rights of women and children as they strive to create the most unique experiences for their clients… VIVEK SETHI


he global fraternity has unanimously condemned the heinous crime committed in New Delhi by a group of six men, which eventually led to death of the victim. In fact, there had been widespread protests by global citizens with Delhi as the centre, which by and large, were peaceful.




In wake of such circumstances, some countries including UK had issued travel advisories urging their nationals to avoid the centres of protest and other places as well. Fortunately, the advisory didn’t had any adverse impact on travel. On sidelines of the launching ceremony of the tourism calendar, Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism had clarified,

“There has been no negative impact on the flow of tourists due to protests as fallout of the alert sounded by countries including UK to avoid travel to India.”

Expressing similar views, Subhash Goyal, President, IATO also expressed a similar view explaining that the travel advisory was limited to the city centres only that had seen protest due to the unfortunate rape incident in Delhi on December 16, 2012. “Our travel trade has pledged to foster safe and honorable tourism that safeguards the rights of women against any kind of exploitation.

conducted a poll to find out if the Visa-on-Arrival scheme offered by the Government of India should be extended to other countries. We also asked for suggestions from the travel industry for countries we should to extend this service to. We received an overwhelming response and varied suggestions for the countries. The five most popular choices were USA, Singapore, UK, France and China. At present, the Visa-on-Arrival facilities are available to 11 countries.

See full story on page 5 

Gujarat: Industry status for tourism See full story on page 12 

Odisha opens to Buddhist chants See full story on page 13  K Chiranjeevi Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge)

However, we should learn all possible lessons from this unfortunate event to Contd. on page 9 

Top choices for VoA revealed! USA, Singapore, UK, France & China are the most popular choices for Indian Visa-on-Arrival (VoA).

Religious Tourism within India

Hospitality: India in top 3 markets See full story on page 32 

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Incredible India-2013 calender The new calendar is based on the theme ‘Find What You Seek’ as part of Phase-II of the Incredible India campaign, which was launched during World Travel Mart (WTM) London, 2012. August carries Icon of India Taj Mahal, September takes the viewer to Mysore Palace in Karnataka, October showcases the Formula One race, the month of November carries the picture of beautiful Munnar of Kerala and the Calendar ends with Desert of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan,” he added.



he Ministry of Tourism’s Incredible India-2013 Calendar has been unveiled on January 1, 2013. “Every traveller can find in India what he/she is seeking in life; may it be heritage sites, forts, monuments, mountains, beaches, lakes, backwaters, wildlife, adventure, natural bio-diversity hot spots, sports, spirituality, wellness, shopping, cuisine or MICE tourism,” said K Chiranjeevi, Minister of State for Tourism with Independent Charge in his address for the launch ceremony, “The calendar understates that India is for all reasons, for all seasons and for all by capturing varied

Dewan addressing the gathering at the Incredible India 2013 Calender launch event

Indian tourism products spread over a wide spectrum of Indian destinations. It can be viewed as per website, where the January month shows skiing in Gulmarg, February depicts Bengal Tiger in Bandhavgarh, the month of March captures

scuba diving in warm waters of Andaman to see corals, April brings to fore a double decker root foot bridge in Cherrapunji, May highlights Charminar of Hyderabad, the month of June takes the traveller to Buddhist monks in Himalayas, July has gorgeous Sun Temple of Konark,

The Phase-I of the Incredible India campaign had successfully created awareness in overseas markets, as to stimulate demand and create incremental numbers of visitors to India. The phase-II is now getting consumer centric to attract even stronger demand in line with the target of doubling inbound and domestic tourist arrivals during the 12th Plan Period.

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Salaam India!


id the UK and USA actually send out an advisory against a country that is peacefully fighting against disparity and corruption? Don’t they ever have protests in their countries that turn violent due to rising tempers? It is so absurd! I am proud of my country and its youth - that they can actually stand up against all odds and fight for their rights. It’s history in the making… Why would anyone in the world not want to be a part of it? The Mexicans have been telling us that the end of the Mayan Calendar does not denote the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new dawn. And maybe that’s what it is… like all Indians, I continue to believe in the goodness of mankind and the force of the Almighty, and continue to hope that we can leave behind a more sensitive society and a safer future for our children, especially for our daughters. As far as travelling in India goes, the government has already taken steps to bring about safe and responsible tourism a couple of years ago; training taxi drivers, hotel and airport staff, rural communities and many others on how to deal with tourists and treating those arriving in India with sensitivity and graciousness, living the age-old Indian adage of Atithi Devo Bhava (a visitor should be treated like God). I must talk about two incidents that occurred with me personally in the last week when I went out with my daughter to a cinema hall and the passport office. In both places, because of the rush, two young lads brushed against her by mistake and turned around to apologise profusely. It made us both smile! Is it fear or a realization of wrong? Very honestly, both are acceptable, as long as it makes the world a better place, not only for the dignity of women but also for the dignity of men. Let us remain a happy nation and continue to embrace this movement as our own, in all our homes and our lives; learning ourselves first, and then teaching our sons and daughters about equality, harmony and respect for the entire human race.

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

When leisure travellers go digital Travelport conducted a survey providing insight into how digital leisure travellers plan and book their trips, their use of technology and social media and how travel agents can rise to the challenge of their evolving needs. Excerpts: T T B U R E AU


ew technology is changing how leisure travellers search and shop for travel. The mobility and always ‘on’ functionality of smartphone and tablet devices mean that travel research and interaction with online websites can take place at any time. According to the survey, 87% of those aged 35 and under (digital natives), and 80% of those 36-45 (digital immigrants), owned or planned to purchase a smartphone in the next six months. This increased access to the internet anytime, anywhere, is changing the expectations, demands and behaviours of leisure travellers. (See fig 3)

agents and two in three say they also use online travel agency sites. The younger generation leisure travellers, who consider their smartphones as their personal travel companions, were more likely to engage a travel agent for more complex trips. (See fig 1)

Fig 1

Meeting traveller’s needs Travelport research show agents are involved across various parts of a leisure traveller’s journey especially during the ‘anxiety cycle’ post booking/pre-travel period. While leisure travel agencies are actively involved up until the time a Fig 2

More Options Digital natives and Digital immigrants have similar interests compared to other leisure travellers in receiving weather updates, traffic advisories and attractions to visit. However, both these demographics are likely to explore more options like shopping, restaurants and entertainment choices before their trip than those over 45. (See fig 2)

For leisure traveller The market for global intermediary leisure travel is expected to be worth $672bn

Fig 3 by 2015. Travelport’s research reveals that one in two leisure travellers use offline travel Advertising (Mumbai) Suchita Saran Branch Manager Harshal Ashar Deputy Genral Manager Priyanshu Wankhade Asst. Manager Advertising Rishika Karra Sales Coordinator Advertisement Designers Vikas Mandotia/Nitin Kumar Design: Nityanand Misra Sudhir Mudgal Production: Anil Kharbanda Circulation: Ashok Rana

traveller boards the flight, one in two agencies stop at this point. Most leisure

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Fig 4 agencies offer multiple services including flight, accommodation, car rental, rail, cruise, tour packages, travel insurance and other activities. However, their communica-

tion is more traditional and is conducted mainly through telephone, email and face to face methods, which are not the preferred method for the younger leisure travellers.

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Religious Tourism within India Religious tourism holds the key to India’s effort to augment flow of foreign tourists in the country and the key is to facilitate domestic travelling and to double inbound and domestic arrivals during the 12th Plan Period. T T B U R E AU


xperts, at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Roundtable on Pilgrimage Tourism held recently in New Delhi, brainstormed on various possibilities that domestic and inbound pilgrimage travel have to offer the tourism sector in India. Here, Arjun Sharma, Co-chairman, CII National Committee on Tourism set the stage by highlighting the possibilities to extend pilgrimage travel options in domestic and various source markets. “Our experience shows that there are untapped opportunities in various source markets in terms of marketing pilgrimage products. The demand dynamics are such that for Buddhismcentric products, we had received a good response in Latin American markets as well,” said Sharma. “We also need to stress on the need for strengthening infrastructure, enhancing connectivity and mapping of tourist destinations,” he added. Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism shared his observation that faith tourism is ‘recession-proof’. “We need to have a proactive approach for developing these centres, besides being sensitive to the needs of people who are visiting these centres. For instance, the hotels set up in and around Jain religious centres should address the sentimental values and food habits of the visiting populace,” said Dewan. The Secretary said that a Jewish pilgrimage centre would be opened up in one of the hub-cities like Kochi, where at one point of time a number of Jews had lived and later migrated to other countries. Further, dwelling on the importance of Sufi tourism in the country, Dewan opined that there are 22 Sufi centres in the country that can be inter-connected. He also talked about the strengthening of the connectivity of Chennai with pilgrimage centres in the North, primarily to cater to the needs of Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka. Similar plans are afoot for promoting pilgrimage tourism from ASEAN countries to Buddhist centres, he added.

Also on the panel, Rakesh Tandon, Managing Director, IRCTC exhorted the tourism sector to make use of the 8,000 railway stations across the country for promoting religious tourism. He

also explained the Railways’ plans to connect various religious centres in the future, such as expanding the network of Bharat Darshan trains from various centres. Muzaffar Ali, filmmaker,

underscored the need for making people aware of the inner meaning and philosophy of Sufism, since it could be an effective platform for promoting religious tourism.

Arjun Sharma, Co–Chairman, CII National Committee on Tourism, Amita Sarkar, Senior Director, CII, Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Rakesh Tandon, MD, IRCTC, and Muzaffar Ali, Indian Film Maker at CII Roundtable on Pilgrimage Tourism on December 22, 2012 at New Delhi

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The roar of adventure tourism in India From branding the Himalayas as a tourism destination to discussing the role of social media and expectations from the government, ATOAI members discuss some of the concerns, challenges and opportunities in the industry. D E V I KA J E E T


dventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) is holding its 10th Annual Convention in Guwahati, Assam, with the theme, ‘India’s Unexplored

Discussing the expectations from the convention this year, Sanjay Basu, Chairman Convention 2013, ATOAI says, “The expectations from this convention are three-fold; Firstly, we would like to assist in the

like to present the new face of adventure tourism's active holidays, which is the concept of soft adventure where there is a thrill of adventure without risks and with comforts provided for the travellers, who might have a spirit of

Sanjay Basu

Mandip Singh Soin

Swadesh Kumar

Chairman ATOAI Convention 2013

Senior Vice President ATOAI

Founder President ATOAI

Paradise’. While the convention will provide a platform for discussion in this niche tourism segment, it also hopes to help boost tourism to the Northeastern Indian states.

launch of Assam and the entire Northeast as the next undiscovered paradise of India. Now is the time for the East and Northeast to be a new chapter in the Indian tourism. Secondly, we would

adventure, but does not want the extreme physical exertion that goes with it. Thirdly, we would like to present the brand Himalayas as a destination, which holds the key for Indian tourism's perennial

Akshay Kumar

Mohan Tickoo

Vinayak Koul

General Secretary ATOAI

Honorary Treasurer ATOAI

Executive Committee Member ATOAI

summer off-season. The Indian Himalayas is one of the greatest unutilised assets of the country which is not reaching its required potential, due to the fact that it is still by and large inaccessible.” Adding to the suggestion of branding the Himalayas, Mandip Singh Soin, Senior Vice President, ATOAI, adds, “There will be a steady growth of adventure tourism in India, but branding the Himalayas as a stand-

alone destination will help plug the gap for tourism in the summer months. Other long-standing issues that require to be addressed include the concern of insurances not covering evacuation by helicopter for Indian travellers and the usage of satellite phones. Both are necessary in case of emergency situations in remote areas.” Another important challenge faced by adventure tour operators in India is the envi-

ronmental impact of tourism activities. “We need to make sure that the environment impact is managed well. Ecological efforts are required to be well in place and carrying capacity should be studied for each area. There needs to be a balance between the environment, sustainable tourism and community benefit,” adds Soin. Swadesh Kumar, Founder President, ATOAI, provides a possible solution Contd. on page 29 

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OTOAI hits the right chord On its first anniversary, the association celebrated successful accomplishment of its set goals and objectives in the first year. reports… A N I TA J A I N


n the sidelines of OTOAI’s (Outbound Tour Operators Association of India) first anniversary, the association received tremendous support from Indian and overseas travel and tourism stakeholders in Mumbai. During the anniversary celebration, the association remembered the successful moments of the year 2012 and also revealed the focus and mission for 2013. According to Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI; there are three points for this year: 1 Expansion of association in various regions of India 2. Working closely with NTOs and international tourism councils 3. Waiving off the service tax imposed on outbound tours. In fact, the association is soon going to file an objection with Tax Research Unit (TRU) who is responsible for formulating tax structure for

Guldeep Singh Sahni President OTOAI

Our bottomlines in outbound tours are already shrinking with our profits not reaching more than five per cent every industry in India under Central Board of Excise and Customs Department. “Service tax is something which is troubling every stakeholder related to outbound tourism. The govern-

ment should tax the services provided by us, but not the services provided by the service providers in the other countries. Our bottomlines in outbound tours are already shrinking with our profits not reaching more than five per cent. We have asked our members to start submitting their views and suggestions to get a clear picture before approaching the TRU for wiping down the service tax on outbound tours. We will work closely with TRU to bring out a solution which should be listed in the forthcoming Union Budget of 2013-14,” informed Sahni. Moving forward, the association is in the process of opening its South India chapter along with penetrating cities like Kolkata, Surat, Chandigarh, Amritsar, etc. It is also promoting short-haul international destinations by encouraging members to include them in their packages and itineraries. To increase the Indian tourist figures, it is also urging NTOs to bring in uniform visa documentation across India instead of having different regulations for different regions.

SFTO Gen Secy Kapil Berera resigns Kapil Berera had tendered his resignation from the post of General Secretary of SFTO, which was accepted by Ajay Jaipuria, President, SFTO on December 23, 2012 through an e-mail. Berera, in his

letter, had cited disrepute being earned by SFTO for lack of transparency and action by the Board and its members as the cause of his resignation. “We shall surely find a suitable and more energetic

person to replace him in our next meeting who is able to take up duties seriously,” said Jaipuria addressing his SFTO board members, while accepting Berera’s resignation.

Jordan showcased to agents

Air Arabia, in association with Grand Hyatt, Amman and Al Thurraya, Jordan’s leading destination management company, organised an experiential visit to the exquisite lands of Jordan for some of their key business partners in India. The fam trip covered Amman, Petra, Jerash, Dead Sea, Wadi Rum and Mount Nebo. Jordan is known for its history, culture and sightseeing attractions. The fam trip was organised by Air Arabia with hotel courtesy from Grand Hyatt and Land arrangements done by Al Thurraya, a leading inbound tour operator of Jordan.

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The industry is aware and vigilant...  Contd. from page 1

further strengthen our stance to promote safe and honourable tourism.” Adding perspective, Vikram Madhok, Managing Director, Abercrombie & Kent India quickly brings to the fore

of ECPAT International and the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). It was developed for tour operators, but as an efficient instrument, the Code of Conduct was quickly adopted by different kinds of businesses in the travel and tourism,” he added. Expressing shock over the unfortunate incident, Sarab Jit Singh, President,

Subhash Goyal President IATO

that the recognised travel agents use the best available professionals, amenities and services to create a matchless experience for travellers. “Tourist transport service providers with valid permits, various star-rated accommodations, and licensed guides are all responsible ambassadors of India. Crime happens

Sarab Jit Singh President ITTA

everywhere and the authorities concerned should nab perpetrators and root out crime.” Here, adding a new dimension, Dipak Deva, CEO, Destination Management India & South Asia, Kuoni, said,” Sita has also signed up the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from sexual exploitation in travel and tourism, in addition to the one signed for safeguarding women rights. The code is an instrument of self-regulation and corporate social responsibility that provides increased protection to children from sexual exploitation in travel and tourism.” “The Code Secretariat is based in New York. The Code of Conduct was originally elaborated by ECPAT Sweden, a member

Ready The Code of Conduct was originally elaborated by ECPAT Sweden, a member of ECPAT International and the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)

Dipak Deva

Vikram Madhok

CEO, Destination Management India & South Asia, Kuoni

Managing Director Abercrombie & Kent India

Indian Tourist Transporters Association (ITTA) highlighted that members of ITTA are recognised by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, as per the provisions laid out in the Central Motor Vehicles Act and CMVR and are solely responsible for providing surface transport facilities to the foreign and domestic tourists. In fact, he has written a letter on behalf

of ITTA to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi urging the authorities that vehicles used for foreign and domestic tourists should be given a separate identification or registration series, so that, these vehicles are not clubbed with other vehicles operated by transporters in the unorganised sector, which are the ones always found to be used for such crimes.

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NSCBIA: Gateway to the East The new terminal of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (NSCBIA) at Kolkata will be unveiled on January 23. presents the salient features of the airport. R ATA N K R P A U L


he Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport at Kolkata (NSCBIA) is now the gateway to the East. It has undergone several changes and modifications over the last several decades to meet traffic requirements. According to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) sources, the passenger traffic growth at this airport has been phenomenal. The trends show an annual growth rate of 12 per cent for international passengers and an annual growth rate of 20 per cent for domestic passengers.

The NSCBI Airport has a total land area of 1,670 acres. The airport has two parallel runways. However, simultaneous operations are not possible due to limited separation between runways. And, expansion of secondary runway is possible only after relocation of an existing mosque.

The main runway is 01R/19L having a length of 3,627m that can handle wide body aircraft up to B747-400 type. The secondary runway is 01L/19R having a length of 2,839m that can handle smaller aircraft. At present, both the

VP Agrawal Chairman Airports Authority of India

runways have a combined handling capacity of 21 movements per hour. Meanwhile, the extension of the secondary runway at 01 end by 431 metres towards the South and work has been completed.

New Terminal’s Facts: Area = 187000 sq. m. Annual capacity = 20 million International = 4 million Peak hour = 2630 passengers Domestic = 16 million Peak hour = 4822 passengers

The existing domestic terminal has an area of 24,450 sq metres and can handle 4.06 million passengers annually. Peak hour capacity is 1,700 passengers (850 A and 850 D). The existing international terminal

has an area of 17,460 sq metres and can handle 0.882 million passengers annually. Peak hour capacity is 1,150 passengers (600A, 450D and 100T). Presently, both of the terminal buildings are saturated. In view of the above facts, AAI decided to modernise the airport with huge capacity expansion for runways and terminals. The Runways modernisation work includes a rapid exit taxiway from the main runway to the secondary runway and extension of secondary runway on southern end by 431m. The works for extension of the secondary runway and related taxi tracks and apron have been completed amounting to ` 104.26 crore. AAI also planned for an Integrated Passenger Terminal at an estimated revised cost of ` 2,325 crore. The terminal will have a capacity to handle peak hour of 7,452 passengers. According to VP Agrawal, Chairman, Airports Authority of India, NSCBIA's prospect of becoming a hub will be very bright after the increase of runway capacity and inauguration of integrated terminal.

Foreseeing success After venturing into private aircraft charter business, Foresee Aviation is now catering to larger groups targetting incentive groups and cruise companies.


tion industry, this industry could well prove to be a key driver for India’s economic growth,” Sharma adds.

With more number of aircraft coming to the Indian

Discussing the company’s plans for 2013, Sharma highlights, “In last couple of years, we have been focussing primarily on aircraft and helicopter charters. We have decided to take a step forward in terms of signing at least a couple of more contracts with aircraft operators, especially in South India and Pune. This year will also see Foresee Aviation opening its office in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru. We have introduced three more aircraft in the last few months including C90Gti, Phenom 100 and Learjet 60XR. Also, we’d be aggressively focussing on flying more number of large incentive groups.”

T T B U R E AU ith aircraft such as Bombardier Q400, Boeing 737-700 and 737800, Foresee Aviation has conducted close to 50 charters for large groups. Santosh Sharma, Director and VP, Foresee Aviation says, “2012 has been a wonderful year for us in terms of increase in revenue, expanding our base in West and South India and venturing into group charters. Markets such as Pune, Kolhapur, Aurangabad, Surat, Indore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Madurai are still unexplored. In 2012, our revenue grew by 34 per cent and our client base over 40 per cent. Most importantly, we didn’t lose a single client.”

Santosh Sharma Director and VP Foresee Aviation

market, 2013 is going to be very interesting and challenging at the same time. “Though aviation has huge potential in India, but there is virtually no regulatory framework or infrastructure to support it. With our government’s focus on achieving nine per cent growth this decade and considering the potential of avia-

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STATES Gujarat

Industry status for tourism Gujarat entered the new year with roadshows across the country. The state will have a new tourism policy, seaplanes and greater infrastructure development in 2013. skill building and training; we want to start courses for the local population that they can benefit from the growth of tourism,” emphasises Mittra.



ujarat Tourism reiterates its promise to the tourism industry by conducting presentations in New Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai, at the beginning of the year. These industry interactions included a highlight of what the state has planned for the future. “We have seen an increase in tourist arrivals and numbers have increased to around one crore in the last five to six years. In the last two years, we have seen an increase of around 50 lakh tourists,” says Vipul Mittra, Principal Secretary, Tourism, Civil Aviation, Pilgrimage and Devasthan (Industries and Mines Department) Government of Gujarat. Discussing the success of tourism in Gujarat, Mittra adds, “There are three basic parameters, infrastructure, promotion and policy and we chose to target all three together. The stability of the government and their longterm vision has helped develop tourism.” Tourism, as an industry, has immense potential which the state is tapping to add to already flourishing economy of the state. With the same perspective, the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited and Infrastructure Leasing and Finance Services Limited formed a joint venture company named Gujarat Tourism Opportunity Limited (GujTop) to augment the tourism industry in the state. This company aims at helping infrastructure development. “They help facilitate investments in tourism projects and take it through the government system. We want to act as a facilitator and provide the private sector the opportunity to invest. We will continue to provide the common infrastructure but we believe that private sector has the possibility of profit and should be encouraged,” adds Mittra.

Vipul Mittra Principal Secretary Tourism Government of Gujarat

There are three basic parameters, infrastructure, promotion and policy and we chose to target all three together

Gujarat’s journey to develop tourism began in 2006 and ever since, the state has seen an unprecedented growth. “With the highest number of airports and 65,000 hotel rooms, Gujarat is creating and capitalising on its tourism infrastructure. By 2017, the state plans to have 1.25 lakh hotel rooms,” says Kingshuk Biswas, Manager (Marketing & Investment), Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited. Biswas further adds, “Gujarat is a family destination and festivals such as Rann Utsav, Kite Festival and the global bird watchers’ conference help showcase that vibrant is Gujarat.”

“This year, we hope for a good allocation in the budget for tourism development. The planning commission has allocated ` 1,500 crore for devel-

The campaign with Amitabh Bachchan has been the turning point for Gujarat Tourism in the last two years. The state concentrated on the top ten tourist attractions and marketed specific destinations in the campaign.

oping costal tourism and beach tourism and we are working on this. Our tourism policy is being upgraded this year and we want to concentrate on treating tourism as an industry. This will help provide tax incentives and easy clearances. We also want to concentrate on the knowledge sector,

Developing airport infrastructure, the state government reduced ADF from 26 per cent to four per cent to encourage the industry. Intra-state flights have been introduced by Deccan Aviation. Seaplanes will also be introduced this year in the coastal areas of the state.

An Indian becomes Qatar Duty-Free millionaire It turned out to be a very Happy New Year for Gopalan Nair Babugopal when Qatar Duty Free, a subsidiary of Qatar Airways, announced the winners of its latest US$1 million draw. “This is the first time that I have ever won anything!” said an elated Nair. The 44 year-old safety officer from Trivandrum had been transferred to Qatar on a year’s stint for a new project, and it was during this time that he bought the winning raffle ticket.

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Odisha opens to Buddhist chants In addition to promote Buddhism, the Odisha Government is keen to roll out extensive incentives for travel agents in its new draft tourism policy… VIVEK SETHI


dhisa is in top gear to promote Buddhism-oriented travel. Backed by rich Buddhism heritage, the state tourism department is going all the way to stimulate demand from Thailand and Cambodia in January 2013 and is also gearing to conduct a Buddhism conclave in February 2013.

HS Upadhyay Director, Department of Tourism, Government of Odisha

We are organising road shows in Cambodia and Thailand in Jan. to promote the Buddhist heritage in our state “Our focus at present is on promoting the Buddhist heritage to draw more tourists to the state. Odisha has as many as 200 Buddhist sites including Udaygiri, Lalitgiri and Ratnagiri. We are organising road shows in Cambodia and Thailand in January 2013 to promote the Buddhist heritage in our state and to showcase our Buddhist heritage to potential tourists and tour operators in these countries. We are hoping to get a good response to our road shows and are expecting an increase in the number of tourists from these countries,” said HS Upadhyay, Director, Department of Tourism, Government of Odisha. “We are also hosting a Buddhist Conclave in February at Udaygiri. To develop and promote tourism in the state, a two pronged strategy is being adopted by the state government i.e. creating required infrastructure within the state and organising effective publicity outside the state. Also we are working on infrastructure development at Pipli, which is famous for its applique art. We are

also developing the GajapatiRayagada tribal circuit,” he added. In general, Upadhyay says, Odisha has been blessed with a diverse terrain that offers as many as 321 tourist destinations. The most

important tourist attraction of the state is temple architecture and we have temples that date back to the second century BC. The Odisha Government is also in the process to formulate a new tourism policy revising the earlier policy to make tourism

in the state more attractive, while providing a more conducive growth environment for travel agents. “Tour operators and travel agents play a very crucial role in promoting tourism. They serve as guides, helpers, informers to tourists and enhance business

by active promotion. They act as the medium that present our offers to tourists and help them to choose the right packages. The new tourism policy of Odisha is currently in the draft stage and includes

various incentives which will give travel agents a beneficiary edge to promote tourism of Odisha,” said Upadhyay.

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Lalit adopts 3-pronged policy The group focusses on existing and dormant customers and on creating new users; tapping the hinterland with ‘Lalit Preferred Partners’ or GSAs in over 50 towns and using the same property in a new manner to generate revenue. game plan. For instance, the renowned American DJ, Steve Aoki, performed live at The Pleasure Dome of The Lalit, Mumbai. The structure originally is an air-conditioned hanger which was then converted into a performance arena with lasers, trapeze, lights and integrated sound systems.



ith the hotel industry witnessing muted growth in 2012, the New Year will bring some relief to the industry. According to Samil Malhotra, Vice President Sales and Marketing, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, there will be slow and long slog to recovery, but real grip is expected to return to the industry by 2013. “All the same, we remain optimistic on the long term growth story for the industry,” he adds. The group is opening The Lalit Chandigarh and reopening the Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata in 2013. The Lalit New Delhi has also commenced celebrations of its completion of 25 years. The travel and hospitality industry cannot be separated from the prevailing economic conditions and a look at the present conditions would reveal that both domestic and international trends have been bordering along mediocre and poor. So, the challenge lies in planning/booking business ‘far out’ to establish a threshold of occupancies, feels Malhotra. As a solution, he suggests looking at a 3-pronged approach that will hold a lot of potential to turn things around on the business front. “Creating more usage, by focussing on existing as

Samil Malhotra Vice President - Sales and Marketing The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group

A 3-pronged approach will hold a lot of potential to turn things around on the business front well as dormant customers; creating new users, by exploring new geographies and progressive economies (BRIC countries) as well as tapping the hinterland of India with ‘Lalit Preferred Partners’ or GSAs in 50 of the one million plus towns (such as - Udaipur, Jaipur, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Vijaywada, Mysore, Nasik, etc) and creating new uses, by using the same property in a new manner to generate revenue,” he says revealing the

“Yet another example of the same theory is, when we look at the same customer who is using a luxurious suite in the hotel and finds three different uses for the same suite – hold meetings in the day time; host a cocktail party in the evening and use it for his personal space and enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep,” he adds. By using the above mentioned three-pronged approach, one can tackle such challenges. “We have structured ourselves clearly into a unified selling force because the customer has a limited span of attention. For the future, what holds true is a shift from an inward looking approach to that of an outward looking one. Rather than products and services, we need to sell what the customer actually needs, using the various tools of sales and marketing available and target him through a multimedia approach,” he says.

The Lalit Carnival Ano Novo

The Lalit Carnival Ano Novo marked the conclusion of The Festival of Canacona. The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group which is celebrating its 25th year organised it for the fourth consecutive year. Over 200 costumed folk dancers participated in the Carnival, which also included some very attractive tableaux as part of the parade. Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson & Managing Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group & Vice President FICCI flagged off the Carnival Ano Novo 2013 from The Lalit Golf & Spa Resort Goa.

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New strategy for New Year CTC India is gearing up for Focus Canada-India, their annual B2B exchange meet scheduled to be held from February 27-March 2, 2013. ities, we expect greater awareness and hope to increase the number of tourists visiting Canada.”



very year, Focus Canada helps to build relationships between the Canadian travel industry partners and the Indian counterparts. This year, CTC wants to emphasise on Canada as a four-season destination and help the tourism figures grow further. “Focus Canada provides a unique opportunity for networking and relationshipbuilding between the Canadian travel industry partners and key accounts in India. It is a unique platform for sharing market intelligence. We expect much greater awareness for Canada, it being a premier four-season destination and are also looking forward to achieving strong growth results in 2013,” says Tina Singh, Assistant VicePresident, CTC India. Further discussing growth prospects in 2013, Singh says, “Last year, we extensively promoted Canada as a four-season destination with major marketing activities alongside our trade partners. This included co-op advertising, events, workshops, and familiarisation trips, to name a few. We have been seeing continuous growth and till October, Canada saw 1,30,110 visitors, a seven per cent increase over

Tina Singh Assistant Vice-President CTC India

We would introduce new strategies like expanding to newer cities, launching our Signature Experiences Collection and promoting our new website January to October 2011. For 2013, we would be adopting new strategies like expanding to newer cities, launching our Signature Experiences Collection (SEC) and promoting the 'Keep Exploring' site. This would be over and above our regular activities. With all our marketing activ-

From February 27 to March 2 this year, the Focus Canada-India event will take place in Jaipur. The venue last year, was Goa. “Each year, Focus Canada India takes place in a new city in India. This year, we have selected Jaipur as the venue as it is the first Fairmont property of India (Fairmont is a Canadian chain of hotels) and we would like to showcase it at the event to participating buyers and sellers. Also, Jaipur is a culture-rich city and we would like to give Canadians an ethnic experience,” she adds. Discussing the format of the show, Singh highlights, “On the first day of the event, we will begin post-lunch with briefings by selected guests. On day 2 and 3, there would be a seller-seated market place. Indian buyers will move from booth to booth according to their pre-scheduled appointments. The show will also include outstanding social events for post-session interactions. We expect 60 qualified travel and tour operators from India and the exchange is expected to bring together representatives from 50 leading Canadian seller organisations.”

‘Be There! Do That’ in France  With the completion of 10 years in the Indian market, Atout France has established close ties with the Indian travel trade and has built its brand in the metro cities. For 2013, the tourism board has come up with new targets to further enhance the brand, communication and Indian arrivals to France. To start with, it will launch a new campaign, ‘Be There! Do That!’. It will also actively promote ‘France Celebrates India’ campaign with new and renewed offers for Indian visitors. Moreover, Atout France will redouble its attempts to project and market France as a family and luxury destination. At the same time, it will further make inroads into MICE segment by enhanced communication with potential corporate houses. To actively increase presence in the Indian travel trade, it will venture more into Tier-II

and Tier-III cities and will continue with on ground and online training programme for agents. Divulging details about the new campaign, Catherine Oden, Country Head, Atout France said, “Evolving times

Catherine Oden Country Head Atout France

call for evolving concepts, and in order to connect with this new breed of enthusiastic travellers, our communication campaign ‘'Be There! Do That!’' encourages Indian travellers to go beyond the tried and tested, to explore

new and varied facets of France, to venture into France's regions and experience its art de vivre or way of life. The slogan is bold and at the same time an enthusiastic invitation to discover all what France is capable of offering as unique experiences.” Adding, Oden said, “There are tonnes of diverse activities that wait for the discerning traveller in France... from cooking classes in Province, to a meal with the French in their homes, to rafting at the foot of the French Alps, to a wild encounter with lions and bears outside Paris, to intimate dinners for two in wine cellars, the list is endless. These innumerable activities span across a diverse clientele and we are hopeful that they will appeal to families, honeymooners, friends on a holiday or those just out to have a good time.”

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MICE 2012 - 2013

MICE is The Right Choice With the rising number of corporates travelling in India, there are MICE activities being planned and travel budgets being discussed and revised, even as tour operators, venues, hotels and airlines are gearing up to provide the best in services. T T B U R E AU talks to some of the MICE specialists to find out what they are expecting

from business travel in 2013 and asked them to do a quick analysis of the year that was 2012. We noted a general mood of optimism.

Quick Analysis Looking for newer destinations: While the bigger corporates are keen to explore newer destinations like Sri Lanka, Korea or the Philippines, the smaller corporates are willing to explore more domestic destinations for meetings and conferences. Revival of incentive travel: Companies are willing to spend on their employees, to reward them for a job well done. Upsurge in the hospitality sector: With major hotel brands opening the doors to new properties, marketing their MICE facilities and projecting themselves as MICE hotels, Corporates from India now have more options.


 A number of hotels believe that MICE will be a strong


pillar for business in 2013 and acknowledge that it has been a major contributor in spite of the slow 2012 business. Expectation from the Ministry of Tourism to promote India as a MICE destination and this means pushing for better infrastructure. MICE Industry is adapting to the changing world economic scenario described as the ‘new normal’. There have been investments in newer products and experiences to satisfy the discerning corporate travellers. The easing of the visa norms in some countries has encouraged group travel. The National Tourist Offices of several destinations have reported an increase in the queries for MICE. MICE planners are noticing that Luxury is coming back to the consciousness of MICE travellers in spite of the close scrutiny of corporate budgets. Hoteliers are positive about a double digit growth in 2013. Airlines are investing in newer routes, resulting in better connectivity and more group travel. The airport infrastructure has also improved tremendously.

There are several reasons to believe that 2013 will be a good year for MICE. The year has shown that in spite of the obvious

hiccups like tighter travel budgets, cancellations or postponement of a corporate offsite, shorter travel itineraries or rise in airline taxes

or higher service tax because of the uncertain economic scenario and rising prices, there has been growth in MICE travel,

something that has lead the respondents to predict an even brighter picture for this niche sector in the coming year.

MICE Tour Operators TUI

Uniglobe Travel (South Asia) Naveen Rizvi, Senior Vice President

Ritika Modi, Regional President

2012 was a good year for us in terms of Meeting & Incentive travel for outbound travel and 2013 would be even better. In India, while the Meetings and Incentive segment is ahead in the race, other aspects of MICE such as exhibitions/trade fairs and events are not far behind. A number of Indian business groups regularly participate in international exhibitions and trade fairs overseas related to their respective industries.

The average spend for a MICE movement in 2012 has been 750 to 1000 USD per person for a typical duration of 3 nights, for an overseas destination and 6,000 to 10,000 INR per person, per day; for a domestic destination. Meetings emerged as the most important objective for organising MICE trips in 2012, at 96 per cent followed by Conferences and Convention at 81%. Incentives are the 3rd most important factor at 65 per cent.


Mach conferences Kalpana Uberoi, General Manager The year 2012 has been a good year and MICE will continue to look up for the coming year. India has become an attractive player in the global market, especially with the better infrastructure, convention centres, hotels and the airport facility.

Abercrombie & Kent India Vicky Soin, Asst. Vice President The year 2012 was tough for the industry due to high dollar fluctuations, increasing quarterly airline taxes, increase in Govt service tax, etc. Many times either a trip was postponed or cancelled. 2013 gives hope and looks very promising especially for A&K MICE with almost closing of nearly $ 2m dollars of business in advance.

Amit Bhatia, Managing Director 2012 has been a strong year for MICE especially with regard to emerging technology. As for 2013, the travel budget for companies is scrutinised closely by corporate accountants, but luxury resorts have not been banished completely and they are starting to come back into the corporate consciousness. So we’re definitely upbeat about what’s ahead.

Kesari Tours Zelam Chaubal, Director In 2012, MICE movements have increased. The popular destinations include South East Asian countries for providing value of money. MICE is also increasing to central Europe, Turkey, Tashkent and Macau. Domestic MICE is ever increasing and has huge potential. Pune can develop into a MICE hub.

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Facilities at their best... Convention Centres Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Datuk Peter Brokenshire, General Manager 2012 has proven to be an excellent year for the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The level of business we secured this year reflects that Malaysia, being strategically located in the heart of South-East Asia, coupled with its world-class infrastructure and established industry supply chain, is undoubtedly benefiting from the growing economy.

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) Peter King, Chief Executive 2012 has been a fantastic year for us. Melbourne’s focus on major sporting events has been a great attraction to the Indian market, and we’ve seen portions of growth in India and Asia so we’ll be focusing attention on these markets in 2013. In December 2012, MCEC hosted 4,000 Indian delegates for the Amway India Leadership Seminar. In terms of industry, business events, globally, is a great news story and there will be even more stories to tell in 2013.

ExCeL London James Rees, Director of Conferences & Events For us, 2012 has been a year unlike any other with the Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place in the Capital. In terms of ExCeL London, we saw an increase of 43% in meetings business over 2011 and 2012. There has been a strengthening of MICE business in 2012 and we are seeing increased enquiries in association congresses as well as a significant upturn in corporate events. This has seen London’s ICCA ranking climb from 19th in 2008 to 7th in 2012.

Exhibitions Reed Travel Exhibitions Craig Moyes, Portfolio Director Adapting to the ‘new normal’ and witnessing low growth, or no growth, we can still look forward to moderate expansion in meetings, events and business travel volume and spending in 2013. As per EIBTM Trends Watch report the interconnectedness of our meetings industry has never been clearer than it is today. There is an ongoing demand for meetings and business travel services and facilities.

CII calls on the Tourism Minister

A delegation of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) representatives met K Chiranjeevi Konidala, Minister of State for Tourism with Independent Charge, which included Chandrajit Banerjee, DG, CII, Nakul Anand, Chairman CII National Committee on Tourism & Executive Director ITC, Arjun Sharma, Co- Chair & MD Le Passage to India and Amita Sarkar, Senior Director, CII at Tourism Minister’s office among a few others on 19th Dec 12, New Delhi.

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Hotels & Airlines bet big on MICE Hotels Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Aitken Spence Hotel Managements

Mark Sergot, VP, Global Sales

Althaf Mohamed Ali, Vice President - Sales & Marketing

The year 2012 was an exciting one for Fairmont as we made a debut of our first property in India, the Fairmont Jaipur, this summer. Globally, we continue to see positive trends in the MICE market in this year. Specific to emerging markets, we expect double-digit growth in the combined domestic and outbound MICE segment.

We are optimistic about attracting more Indian and Asian MICE business in 2013 compared to 2012, With Sri Lanka Tourism aiming to increase international MICE arrivals to 160,000 in 2015 from 83,117 in 2011, Aitken Spence Hotels is positioning itself to play a significant role in this endeavour.

Sarovar Hotels

Courtyard by Marriott Gurgaon

Pradeep Kalra, Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing The MICE segment is evolving at a fast rate and Indian corporate houses are looking for newer destinations and experiences. The Indian outbound MICE market is estimated to be around $550600 million and is expected to increase by 10 per cent-15 per cent in 2013. About 1.5 - 1.8 million passengers travelled outbound for meetings and conventions in 2012, which is a steep fall in numbers. But in 2013, we expect a revival in incentivised travel and meetings by corporates.

The Claridges Hotels & Resorts Oliver Martin, Regional General Manager MICE business will be a strong pillar for all Indian hotels in the future. This segment is not yet explored to its fullest capacity and still a lot has to be done to strengthen and increase this segment. To promote India as a MICE destination, transportation sector has to be advanced, the visa conditions have to be made easier, the destination marketing should be made more aggressive and last not least the convention infrastructure has to be improved. Just because we out price ourselves, it is more economical for this segment to move to neighboring countries.

Ashish Rajput,Director of Sales The year gone by has been a mixed bag of small and large events that have been hosted in the NCR. Gurgaon showcases plenty of unique venues with a mix of thoroughly modern facilities and first-class service. Also, Gurgaon is hosting many international events in the coming days. The hub of leading multinational companies is definitely in the international spotlight. The coming year is sure to attract more such events.

Holiday Inn Cochin Kunal Shanker, Executive Assistant Manager We had good business in MICE in the year 2012 with back to back doctors’ conferences and a lot of corporate events. ‘Emerging Kerala’ event bought in a lot of global investors to Kochi and was a very busy time for the hotel. The year 2013 looks good with a lot of enquiries for both corporate and family functions. With the Pravasi Bharathiya event in January, we are looking for a good start in the year 2013.

Airlines IndiGo Aditya Ghosh, President 2012 was a great year for IndiGo from growth and expansion perspective. From a fleet size of 48 aircraft in December 2011, 31 destinations and 289 daily flights - 6E today operates: 61 brand new Airbus A320 aircraft, 373 daily flights, 33 destinations across India and abroad, and have carried over 50 million passengers till date – resonating IndiGo’s phenomenal growth in the Indian skies.

Lufthansa Axel Hilgers, South Asia Director 2012 has been a good year for Lufthansa in India. This year we invested several million Euros in new and innovative products and services. India became the first Asian country where we introduced our new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental aircraft on two routes – from Delhi and Bengaluru to Frankfurt. In August, we opened our second lounge in India at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. And in October, FlyNet® - the on-board broadband service – was launched on select Indian routes.

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Kaleidoscopic Gujarat

ADTOI questions taxation The dual taxation is of grave concern for domestic tour operators and ADTOI has urged the Finance Ministry to look into the matter. T T B U R E AU


n its effort to express grave concerns over the service tax to be incurred by domestic tour operators, ADTOI has recently written to P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister, Government of India. Says Subhash Verma, President, ADTOI,

“We have drawn the attention of the finance ministry towards the service tax regime and its negative impact on us. The dual taxation is of serious concern for domestic tour operators and we have urged the ministry to have a look into the matter.” Gujarat starts the New Year with a presentation highlighting the forthcoming events and an interactive session promoting the destination among agents. The International Kite festival, Rann Utsav and Global Bird Watchers conference were highlighted during the presentation

The association has urged the Ministry to streamline and mitigate the imposition of service tax on tourism

trade. Talking about the recent problem that has come to notice, Verma laments, “The concept of value-added tax and it being a tax on value addition, gives no reason why CENVAT Credit should not be allowed to tour operators/travel agents. In case, CENVAT Credit is not allowed to subagents while the same is allowed in other sectors, it not only results in discriminatory treatment to tour operators and travel agents but also results in taxing all transactions in the series at full value resulting in cascading effect and thus, hampering the growth of tourism sector due to heavy burden of taxation.” Reiterating the same, Rajat Sawhney, General Secretary, ADTOI opines, “The survival of domestic tour operators would be in jeopardy if the government policy is not rational. After a period of 15 years, suddenly some officers of the depart-

Subhash Verma President, ADTOI

ment are taking the view that despite the fact that service tax, after claiming standard deduction or abatement, has been paid by the tour operators and travel agents, even then also they are liable to pay service tax on commission amount also. It is humbly submitted that such a view is not in conformity with the basic framework of service tax levy on travel industry as a whole, and is not tenable in law.”

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Adventure Tourism trekking successfully Adventure travel is growing fast as people seek diverse new experiences. It also helps destinations protect the local communities and environment in a responsible and sustainable manner.

Opportunities & future trends


dventure travel can be defined as a blend of three different types of travel. The well-known traditional type is a physical activity of some kind in a destination. But cultural tourism is where the travellers experience a new culture in some way. However, nature tourism is a little different ranging from eco-tourism holidays to hiking trips. It also ties in with sustainable tourism.

How it started Few decades ago, Adventure was relatively an unknown segment of the Indian tourism industry. It was meant to be for the hardcore mountaineers who came to India to climb the mighty Himalayas. These adventurers saw another golden opportunity of showcasing the amazing scenic Himalayan landscape to the rest of the world through organising high altitude treks crossing one

Adventure Tourism holds many opportunities. Today, trekking still commands the major share of the pie, but new adventure travel trends and activities are emerging.

 Changing trends - Multiactivity trips are the new

 Short trips, higher spend

More women are leaving the men at home. More than 25 per cent of adventure travellers are women and most fall under the age of 35 and 60 years.

- From longer trips of around 3 weeks, the packages being sold have come down to 7 days from 10 days. But the frequency has gone up. valley to another. Though, these were also long duration and hard treks, but less demanding compared to climbing mountains. Thus started the trekking industry, sometime in the late 70s and the industry grew at a steady pace of around 20% YOY basis. Adventure started primarily as an inbound industry where inbound segment commanded 85% of the market share. Trekking was and is still the father of the entire adventure tourism segment till date.

 Branding for India - India is still largely known as a cultural destination. If we want India to be year-round destination, then the only answer is ‘adventure tourism’. We need to brand India as ‘The Himalayan Monarchy’.

 Insurance – Unavailability

(The writer is Tejbir Singh Anand, President, ATOAI

of insurance products for adventure travel continues to be the blocks in the growth of this segment. The number of

entrants which primarily mean an itinerary encompassing multiple experiences of soft activities.

 Girl/women getaways

visitors will undoubtedly increase over the foreseeable future if available.

 Electronic equipments -WithoutGPS/Satellite Phones it is life-threatening for an adventure tourist.

 Accessibility to remote

areas - A major problem is accessibility to remote areas. The areas like Spiti, Gouchar and Uttarkashi and Pitthorgarh are examples of

 Adventure honeymoon More newlyweds are celebrating their matrimony with an adventure tour.

 Adventure in school

– Many School have realised the learnings from adventure travel.

 Travellers book online The number of travellers aged 15- 35+ has increased to 42% and the confidence in people booking online has also grown.

Challenges areas which have one small airstrip which can be upgraded.

Identification of new adventure destinations - There is an urgent need for identification and development of new adventure destinations. As a destination will gain publicity, facilities like accommodation, etc. will automatically fall into place and complete the jigsaw.

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Making travel agents smarter Abacus looks forward at offering new automation options. It also aims at providing solutions to help the travel agents meet the growing demand from travellers to save costs. rates provided by hotel wholesalers, travel companies will have the ability to determine their own markups, allowing them flexibility and control in the rates they provide to their customers,” he added.



bacus, in its pursuit of equipping the travel trade partners with state-ofthe-art technology, will add two more product offerings. According to Jeet Sawhney, Managing Director, Abacus India, “There is a constant need for travel companies within the country to be able to better service their clients. Abacus will launch two new solutions in the market. Abacus AutomationHub is designed to automate business processes, allowing travel agents to eliminate timeconsuming manual tasks such as scheduled change notification, waitlist status processing as well as itinerary delivery. The solution is also fully hosted by Abacus and works both during and outside office hours ensuring the travel companies are able to provide their customers with more efficient service and also to ensure that they get access to the most updated information when needed.” “The other solution Abacus will be rolling out is Abacus RoomDeal, aimed at

Jeet Sawhney Managing Director Abacus India

There is a constant need for travel companies within the country to be able to better service their clients providing a solution to help travel agents meet the growing demand from travellers to save costs. With Abacus RoomDeal, travel agents will have access to the widest range of hotel content, including hotels that are not part of the Abacus GDS. With net

Moreover, Abacus expects to see India maintaining its position as a leading travel market 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 which will lead to increased travel. In fact, India has been bookmarked to be one of the five largest markets for domestic passengers with an expected 107 million domestic travellers expected by 2016,” said Sawhney. “India will continue to experience strong growth driven by a large population, growing middle class, rising disposable income as well as a growth in high spending foreign tourists,” he added.

Explore Tanzania with Vintage Africa

In late November 2012, Vintage Africa, with airline partner Kenya Airways, had arranged for a study tour to Tanzania for some of the industry’s keen wildlife enthusiasts & promoters. The travel partners were thus tantalised with a taste of enigmatic Tanzania!

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Bringing the best innovation Travelport has invested over US$450 million in R&D to provide solutions that meet the business needs of customers and reduce their overall cost of revenue. T T B U R E AU

rest 95 per cent of such room inventory,” he added.


he travel and hospitality sector should no longer worry about the unprecedented difficult times, surging fuel prices and the rupee depreciation that had posed a risk to the growth of the industry. In fact, as per JB Singh, President & CEO – InterGlobe Technology Quotient, “The rate at which technology is seeping its way into the travel and hospitality sector and the level of innovations being introduced by companies, the prospects appear optimistic for both leisure and the business travel.” Today, the tourism and hospitality industry in India contributes around 6.5 per cent to the national GDP and 9 per cent to the total employment in the country. Further, with improvement in the per capita income, and increased spending by customers, the Indian hospitality sector is expected to grow faster than most countries around the world. “With the rise of social media, the hospitality sector is becoming increasingly dependent on information technology. With a resilient and successful business model in place since the last five years, Travelport has invested over US$450 million in research and development to provide solutions that meet the business needs of customers and reduce their overall cost of revenue. Travelport has continued to invest in solutions which are based on some ground break-

J B Singh President & CEO – InterGlobe Technology Quotient

We are gearing up to facilitate the hospitality sector by making the most from the upcoming opportunities ing technologies and provide huge benefits to the travel agents. Some of these products such as Travelport ViewTrip and Travelport Universal API, have already been rolled out in other markets and have generated great response,” said Singh. “At InterGlobe Technology Quotient, we are gearing up to facilitate the hospitality sector by making the most from the upcoming opportunities. Presently, only 3-5 per cent of the hotel inventory is available online through various online aggregators which mean we have the opportunity to build the

Technology and more specifically accessibility to the internet is now also the primary medium for how businesses choose destinations. Singh highlights the future trend with the help of Google’s findings as 69 per cent of businesses (compared to 63 per cent of consumers) planned their travel by internet searches in 2010. While the mobile travel bookings accounted for 15 per cent of all reservations in 2010, up 69 per cent from 2009, when only 9 per cent used mobile. In 2012, however, business travellers depended on smartphones, tablets and other internetconnected devices for their travel decisions. A recent survey by PhoCusWright and Rearden Commerce show that 84 per cent of businesses used smartphones for business purposes while travelling. With this trend overtaking the mobile market, consumers now days look to mobile technology to guide them in decision making. “By 2013, the combined installed base of smartphones and browser-equipped enhanced phones will exceed 1.82 billion units. This explains the growing army of tech-savvy travellers whose smartphones are transforming travel habits. And with the emergence of new technologies and user-friendly smartphones, travel is all set to witness a revolution,” added Singh.

Identifying best practices in industry  With an aim of bringing industry managers, tourism and hospitality researchers together to deliberate on the issues related to the travel and hospitality business, the Third India International Hotel, Travel & Tourism Research Conference will be presented by Banarasidas Chandiwala Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology (BCIHMCT), New Delhi during January 29-31. The conference will profile formal presentations, develop a theme in each conference session, along with industry-related forums and workshops that will cover MICE Management; Sustaining Environment in Tourism & Hospitality;

R K Bhandari President, India International Hotel, Travel & Tourism Research Conference

Human Resources: Issues and Challenges; Hotel Operations Management: Issues and Challenges; Food, Culture and Life Styles and Impact of Social Media on Tourism and Hospitality. According to R K Bhandari, President, India International Hotel, Travel & Tourism Research Conference,

“A lot of changes are being observed in the industry operating practices. At this juncture, it becomes the responsibility of hotel management institutes to empower their students with the knowledge and managerial skills required to excel through teaching and research. It was in relation to this approach that the crucial issues and challenges of the tourism, travel and hospitality industry are discussed time to time at the right forum.” The research insights and thought leadership emerging from forthcoming conference will be of great value to the industry in its quest to identify best practices and securing a competitive advantage, he adds.

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AmaWaterways in India The company that operates high-end luxury river cruises in Europe, Vietnam, Cambodia, Russia and Africa has now unveiled its cruises for the Indian market… T T B U R E AU


ove beyond the ocean cruises. Now the India outbound segment is being wooed by river cruises. Luxury river cruise specialist AmaWaterways is now making a splash in India. The company that operates highend luxury river cruises in Europe, Vietnam, Cambodia, Russia and Africa has now unveiled its cruises for the Indian market through Indian Travel Promotion Company (ITPL). While river cruises carry just a fraction of the number of passengers that go on mainstream cruises, the industry has now been registering growth. The number of people taking river cruises has increased manifold since 2008, says Rudolf Schreiner, President and Co-owner, AmaWaterways. According to Schreiner, the USP of a river cruise lies in a more personalised experience. “It combines the features of a land-based tour and an ocean-based cruise. River ships are typically smaller and carry no more than a couple of hundred passengers. It is a more intimate experience and this is a large part of their appeal in contrast to the ocean-going mega ships that carry thousands of passengers,” he opines. Talking about the importance of the India market, Tony Marwah, CEO, ITPL says, “India is one of the fastest

Rudolf Schreiner

Tony Marwah

President and Co-owner AmaWaterways


It is a more intimate experience and this is a large part of their appeal in contrast to the ocean-going mega ships growing economies in the world and Indians comprise a significant share of the global tourism market. With the developed economies showing signs of stagnation, we see India as a huge potential market for Ama Waterways. Further, the Indian market is relatively untapped with regard to river cruises, which would also give us the first mover advantage in this market.” Talking about the response from India till now, he points out, “This is a relatively new concept in India but the enthusiasm is encouraging. This is our first season

With developed economies showing signs of stagnation, we see India as a potential market for us and the amount of interest and inquiries that we have received makes the outlook optimistic. We had conducted a fam tour for agents in the month of November and they were amazed at the service and luxury on the cruise. They opine that this is a superior product and will definitely have a good market in India.” For the Indian clientele, the cruise is looking at customising the cruise by offering the options of authentic Indian cuisine, pure vegetarian meals and Jain meals and guided tours in regional languages for groups as well.

Adventure sports in India Contd. from page 6 

to the issue regarding the usage of satellite phone. He feels, “The government should solve this major issue. The approved adventure tour operators should be able to purchase them, which they can provide to the tourists and the information of their itinerary can be sent to the government for their information.” This niche tourism product has its benefits also; especially for smallscale tour operators. Mohan Tickoo, Honorary Treasurer, ATOAI, discusses a new trend, saying, “The focus is on adventure holidays which need expertise and have scope to withstand the growing pressures of the market which is moving very fast towards travel portals and

consolidations.” He adds, “A pro-active approach from the government to facilitate adventure activities with better connectivity to adventure destinations, better infrastructure, better coordination between centre and state agencies, proper training for adventure guides and better implementation of safety norms for conducting adventure activities across the country will help this segment go a long way”. Social media has emerged as a popular information source for adventure tourism. Discussing the use of social media, especially in the Indian context, Akshay Kumar, General Secretary, ATOAI, says, “As most tourists undertaking adventure sports are comparatively younger and

tech savvy, social media is the main source of spreading the word for adventure travel. However social media is just limited to a branding exercise at the moment and getting actual conversions into bookings directly from social media is still some time away.” Ending on a positive note and highlighting India’s potential, Vinayak Koul, Executive Committee Member, ATOAI, says, “India has got a huge potential for adventure tourism. I feel we have not explored even half of India’s adventure potential. There are plenty of places in North East, Garhwal, Kashmir and Sikkim which are yet to be explored. Also, South India has got many places to add to soft adventure.”

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The big fat Indian wedding in Macau The Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO), India aggressively sought more overseas wedding events from India during a training workshop for its travel associates and partners in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The objective of the workshop was to raise awareness about MGTO’s recently launched ‘Wedding Incentive Scheme’ and ‘Student Excursion Incentive Scheme’. Over 100 travel agents plus tour operators specialising in organising overseas wedding events attended the training workshops.

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Hospitality: India in top 3 markets As domestic FITs are expected to remain the mainstay of India’s tourism focus, the hospitality sector feels there will be a change for the better in the overall occupancy, and there shall be more investments ahead. agement contracts for upmarket hotels being signed up within a year in India. “The forecast is that the current occupancy gloom will be over by mid-2013.”



he hotel business is rapidly gaining definition and momentum in India. To begin with, it is presumed that the delivery model of a brand in the upper niche segment will change drastically. Rajiv Kaul, President, The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts asserts that a sluggish demand and large supply trend shall impair the sector’s profitability in next two to three years. However, it is to be remembered that hotels are not built for the next five, but for the next 30 years. He adds, “As the pressure eases on high interest rates and inflation, this sector’s profitability shall improve significantly. But while quarterly trends show improving revenues, operating profits continue to be impaired for now by higher customer servicing costs and heavy interest burden.”

Investment scope

Rajiv Kaul

Manju Sharma

President The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts

Director Jaypee Hotels

While quarterly trends show better revenues, operating profits continue to be impaired On the other hand, Manas Krishnamoorthy, Executive Assistant Manager,

India still remains in the top three growing markets among developed nations in the world with regard to hospitality. “With the opening up of FDI in hospitality, the environment is upbeat about attracting foreign investment

ment in the hospitality sector across a wide band,” articulates Krishnamoorthy. According to him, investments in super-luxury, budget hotels, etc. are definitely indicative of the optimism, both promoters and operators have in the mid- and longterm outlook for hospitality in this country. Manju Sharma, Director, Jaypee Hotels says that with improved confidence in India as a tourist and business des-

With improved confidence in India, the scope of investments for the industry is bright this year The Imperial New Delhi presumes that 2013 will mark the largest number of man-

investment in hospitality sector to accelerate its growth. Further, Rahul Pandit, President and Executive Director, Lemon Tree Hotels cautions, “It is critical to understand the stage for starting development and releasing supply. Short-term investors can face a grim outlook if they don't plan the leverage and repayment commensurate to the cycle. Conversely, a bearish sentiment could allow growth opportunities, in a market with strong fundamentals, to investors who commit themselves to cycle returns.”

India to look forward

Rahul Pandit

Manas Krishnamoorthy

President & Executive Director Lemon Tree Hotels

Executive Asst. Manager (EAM) The Imperial New Delhi

It is critical to understand the stage for starting development and releasing supply onto Indian shores. This, in turn, has buoyed the investment atmosphere for Indian investors and promoters of hotels as well. The New Year is likely to increase invest-

The forecast is that the current occupancy gloom will be over by mid-2013 tination, the scope of investments for this industry is bright in 2013. This is in addition to the fact that the Indian Government is proposing several measures to increase

The fact is that some companies are investing in luxury hotels, upscale business hotels, mid-market and even economy hotels across the country. Krishnamoorthy evaluates: “The pie itself is growing with focus on the domestic market taking precedence, even with luxury hotel operators. The emergence of the upscale and midmarket hotels that deliver what they promise is singly the biggest need of the hour. This segment is seeing significant investment by international and domestic chains.” Also, feels Kaul, India’s vibrant economy, relaxation of visa regulations and the Government’s commitment to improving connectivity shall make the country a more affordable, accessible and desirable destination for business, leisure and MICE segments. “The country’s hospitality sector is poised to flourish in the long run,” he sums up.

Starwood: 71 hotels in 2012  Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc recently announced that, despite ongoing macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty, 2012 was a year of the most deal signings since before the global economic crisis. Before yearend, the company expects to have signed in excess of 125 new hotel management and franchise agreements. By year-end 2012, Starwood expected to have opened 71 new hotels, representing approximately 18,500 rooms in 20 countries, strengthening its global lead and expanding its footprint particularly in developing markets. Since 2007, Starwood has added over 100,000 gross new hotel rooms to its system.

Simon Turner

Frits van Paasschen

President of Global Development

President and CEO Starwood

“Starwood’s nine highly sought-after brands, powerful systems, unmatched portfolio and established local operating teams around the globe set us apart from our competition and position us well for sustained balanced footprint growth in both mature and developing markets,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development. Frits

van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood, added, “Rising wealth and a growing middle class around the world are creating new demand for infrastructure, including new hotels, and Starwood is well positioned to take advantage of these trends. Our annual deal signings have increased progressively since 2009.”

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Now, ‘Hop on’ in Mumbai MTDC, with Mumbai Municipal Commissioner, has set up a committee to prepare a special tourism plan for Mumbai, ‘hop-on, hop-off’ will be the main focus of the plan. T T B U R E AU


ith the aim to make Mumbai more than just a transit hub for international tourists, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has set up a committee, headed by the Mumbai Municipal Commissioner, to prepare a special tourism plan for the city. The corporation has appointed two agencies to study and design a comprehensive tourism plan with financial structure for the state, which will be presented to the state government by mid-March 2013. Induction of ‘hop-on’, ‘hop-off’ buses in the city will be the main focus of the tourism plan with preference given to developing infrastructure, basic information kiosks at tourist loca-

Kishori Gadre General Manager MTDC

tions, maintaining heritage sites, etc. Additionally, BEST (state-run local bus transport service) will provide 10 CNG AC buses to be deployed at Sanjay Gandhi National Park for tourists from February 2013. The Forest Department has also agreed to hand over three guest houses in the national park to MTDC for renovation and upgradation.

Luxury on Deccan Odyssey To make the state-run luxury train ‘Deccan Odyssey’ popular and operate on a lucrative business model, MTDC will soon float an EoI (Expression of Interest) for companies keen to manage, market and operate the train in domestic and international markets. The EoI will be floated mid-February and once the operator is selected, the train might also have additional/new routes as suggested and accepted by the operator, MTDC and Indian Railways.

Divulging further details on the new project, Kishori Gadre, General Manager, MTDC said, “Mumbai is the financial capital of India with global recognition. There is no need for us to spread awareness about the destination’s existence. All we have to do is to let the locals and travellers know about the tourist locations around the city.” The bus tickets will be sold at nominal rate at MTDC offices. Soon tour operators and travel agents will also be involved and included in the distribution of ‘hop-on, hop-off’ bus tickets which are expected to start operations by September 2013. MTDC will hold meetings with tourism industry stakeholders like tour operators, BEST, museum operators, police department, etc to finalise the route-map of these buses. To promote and sell Maharashtra in international market, MTDC is also organising a fam tour for select travel agents from countries like Europe, Australia, Japan, China and Singapore in March this year. It is also undertaking branding activity through various television commercials, outdoor campaigns, etc for the state.

IRCTC: On the fast track Since the discontinuation of its core catering business almost three years ago, the public sector undertaking (PSU) has diversified into many segments. M E G H A PAU L


tressing on the mantra of ‘diversification is the way forward’, the mini-ratna (Category-I) PSU under the Railway Ministry is now focussing on several avenues of growth. The facility management division is a big segment of the corporation, Rakesh Tandon, Managing Director, IRCTC revealed during the launch of the first executive lounge at the New Delhi Railway Station. Built on the lines of airport lounges, the facility at the Ajmeri Gate side has been completed at a cost of ` 5 crore. Accommodating 125 passengers at a time, the New Delhi station lounge offers buffet meals, business centre, TV sets, newspapers and magazines, separate dining areas for

groups and families, and recliners for passengers. The Railways is issuing smart card worth ` 300 to each passenger for three hours.

Bandra Terminus. According to Tandon, the stations have been identified considering the footfall and tourism importance of the place.

Regarding the introduction of such facilities in other regions, the MD said,

“Around 50 railway stations have been identified by the Railways to extend this facility. Ten railway stations will be taken up on a priority basis in the next financial year 2014.” The identified stations include three more railway stations in the Delhi Nizamuddin, Old Delhi and Anand Vihar and three in Mumbai - Bombay Central, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and

Rakesh Tandon Managing Director IRCTC

IRCTC has also spruced up its online ticketing business by converting itself into a full-fledged online travel agency (OTA). Tandon pointed out, “This is going to be our area of growth going ahead.”

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Chilika Lake

Nandankanan Wildlife Sanctuary Situated just 13 km from the capital city of Bhubaneswar, Nandankanan Wildlife Sanctuary was established in the year 1979 and is the first wildlife park in the world where gharials are bred in captivity. The birth of white tiger from normal coloured tigers has given a special place to Nandankanan as one of the major host zoos for white tigers. Covering an area of 4.4 sq. km, apart from the white tigers and gharials, the park has Asiatic lions, Indian Pangolin and mouse deer. You can also enjoy an open lion safari in the park. The park is located on the banks of Kanjia Lake. Nandankanan Wildlife Sanctuary

Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary

Simplipal National Park

Simlipal National Park Situated around 320 km from Bhubaneswar in Mayurbhanj district, this is one of the most important national parks in the state. It once used to be the hunting ground for Maharajas of Mayurbhanj. The park was established as a tiger reserve in the year 1972 and was later recognised as a national park in the year 1979.

Konark Festival

The land of the Sun Temple, Odisha is also known for its wealthy wildlife treasures. For a brush with a pack of wild elephants, a white tiger or a sharp leopard trying to befriend you, gigantic crocodiles, experiencing the beauty of the famous Olive Ridley Turtles resting on the grass patch and the dissonance of Siberian migrant birds in winters, Odisha is the best place. Owing to the wide variety of fauna available in the state, vast wildlife tracts of land in the state have been declared as protected areas for these life forms.

With numerous rivers, waterfalls and varied flora, Simlipal National Park is an absolute nature's wonder. The animals that you can spot here are tigers, jungle cats, spotted deer, elephants and chinkaras. The park is also home to more than 220 species of birds which will keep enthusiastic bird watchers interested. Simlipal National Park is open to public from November to June.

Located to the south west of Puri, covering a widespread area of 1,100 sq km, the Chilika sanctuary is one of the most visited wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha. This wildlife sanctuary is home to various migratory and local birds such as Flamingo, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Brahminy Kite, Spotbilled Pelican, Barheaded Goose, Openbilled Stork, Spoonbill, Brahimny Duck, Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveller, Ibis, Stilt, Heron, Egret, Avocet, Gull, Tern and King Fisher, etc. Apart from residents and migratory birds, Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to Blackbuck, Spotted Deer, Golden Jackals, Hyenas and many more. Rich in aquatic wildlife, this sanctuary houses Dolphin, Prawn, Crab, Limbless Lizard and Crustaceans. More than 225 species of fish including Acentrogobius Griseus, Alepes Djedaba, Arius and the Elops Machnata are also found here. One of the most famous tourist attractions near Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary is Kalijai Temple, devoted to Goddess Kalijai. Each fisherman visits the Kalijai Temple before going on a fishing expedition at Chilika Lake.

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India hosts 2012 WTA Grand FinalĂŠ World Travel Awards (WTA) capped its year-long search for the most popular travel and tourism brands in the world with its glittering Grand Final Gala Ceremony in New Delhi, India, on December 12, 2012. The most important decision-makers in the industry attended the VIP evening, which was officially supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, and hosted at The Oberoi, Gurgaon, New Delhi Capital Region. Established 19 years ago, World Travel Awards is committed to raising the standards of customer service and overall business performance throughout the international tourism industry.

Contd. on page 38 

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Show-stoppers of the Travel World  Contd. from page 36

Travelz Factory for B2B partners Now, cycle to great places The company aims at expansion in UP, Haryana, Rajasthan and Pearl Travels is organising adventure bike tours for Indian Punjab. It will also launch new packages for B2B partners. travellers with 8 itineraries in South Africa, Australia and Oman. is felt in almost all regions by now,” said Nahar.



s per Naveen Nahar, Director, Star Gazer Travelz Factory, the company has an edge over other suppliers for Hong Kong and Macau packages. “This has become possible with years of experience, good business relations with suppliers and hotels and several visits to the specified destination. This translates into better costing, availability and creation of unique itineraries,” he says. “We also offer customised packages to Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and European sectors. We are hiking our turnover every month and aim at spreading the net-

Naveen Nahar Director Star Gazer Travelz Factory

work to other parts of the country like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab. We have our associate offices in Ghaziabad, Chandigarh, Surat, Mumbai and Lucknow and our presence

“The important markets we cater to for outbound travel include Hong Kong and Macau, China, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, Dubai and Maldives. We are developing new markets such as Russia, Japan and Taiwan and exotic islands of French Polynesia,” he added. He gives utmost importance to B2B distribution. “We will launch new packages specially designed keeping the cost effectiveness in mind for our B2B colleagues in the trade. We also have the best remunerations in store for them,” added Nahar.

extending support in executing this first of its kind product in India.”



xtreme Events India will organise Adventure Bike Tours in Australia, South Africa and Oman. The Australia tour starts in October 2013 for over 21 days. Adventure Bike Tours is a new conception of Extreme Events, powered by Pearl Travels.

Its route will be traced from Melbourne to Brisbane, Sun City to Cape Town and around Oman, will have 75 bikers with pillion riders. The itinerary will include accommodation with meals in 4-star hotels. Jayesh Ashar, Managing Director, Extreme Events India, says, “We are in the process of finalising the

Jayesh Ashar Managing Director Extreme Events India

Adventure Bike Tours programme for Australia with State Tourism Boards of Queensland, NSW and Victoria. The South African Tourism Board and Oman Tourism Ministry are also

Tours for South Africa will begin in January 2014 and Oman is in March 2014. The bikers will be led by experienced lead and sweep riders and guides. He added, “At present, we are planning eight itineraries in total and these will be annual events. Most countries have a stipulation of 24 years and above with two years of two wheeler license.” Ashar adds, “We have allowed generous commission levels for the travel trade. A franchise programme and a range of merchandise will be released very soon.”

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CTC conducts successful 3-city workshops




The Canadian Tourism Commission, (CTC) India organised a three-city workshop in Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata during December, 2012. The new move is expected to enhance the number of Indian travellers to Canada. During the workshop, CTC Team India interacted with over 300 travel agents while giving a presentation on Canada.

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OPPORTUNITY JANUARY 19 20-22 21 21 22 23 23 24 24-27

Kolkata Guwahati Mumbai Mumbai Ahmedabad Kolkata Chennai Delhi Singapore

25-27 25-27 25-27

Switzerland Coimbatore Nagpur

25-27 30-3 31-2

Germany Spain Kochi

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 East Mediterranean International Tourism & Travel Exhibition (EMITT)

31-3 Feb Turkey

FEBRUARY 2-3 2-4 5

Austria Chandigarh Mumbai

5-6 5-6 5-6

London London Israel





7-10 8-10 12 13 19

Prague Mumbai Ahmedabad Kolkata Mumbai







23-25 24-27 25

Ahmedabad Durban Delhi





27- 2




Travel Trend India Travel Mart (ITM) Austrian National Tourist Office’s B2B Event The Travel Technology Show Business Travel & Meetings Show International Mediterranean Tourism Market Austrian National Tourist Office’s B2B Event Austrian National Tourist Office’s B2B Event Holiday World TTF & OTM 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 India Travel Mart (ITM) TAFI Convention 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









6-10 8

Berlin Chandigarh



25-27 27-29

Abu Dhabi Ukraine

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 Kiwi Link South & South East Asia ITB Macau Govt Tourist Office’s B2B Workshop Macau Govt Tourist Office’s B2B Workshop GIBTM Ukraine International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (UITT)

For more information, contact us at:

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AirAsia Expedia Singapore

Mayfair Group of Hotels Bhubhaneshwar

Czech Republic Embassy New Delhi

Kathleen Tan has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia Expedia. She will oversee the Expedia brand, AirAsiaGo, and Backick Online Travel Agency (OTA) businesses in Southeast Asia, India, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Tan has scaled up AirAsia’s network from less than twenty planes to nearly 130 planes, creating the number one low-cost carrier in Asia-Pacific, the biggest airline network in Southeast Asia, and the top foreign LCC into China.

Souvagya Mohapatra has been appointed as the Executive

Josephine Mark has been appointed as Cultural and Public Relations Officer for the Embassy of the Czech Republic in India. Prior to this, she was working with Czech Tourism India as Tourism Coordinator. She brings 17 years of experience in the field of hospitality. Mark will now handle the cultural activities, media and PR promotions alongwith the tourism activities in promoting Czech Republic to the country.

ABCN Travel Management Mumbai

Radisson Blu Suites Gurgaon

Boeing India New Delhi

Pramod Dalvi has joined Bafna Enterprise as a Senior Vice

Shalini Sharma has been taken on as the Director of Sales and

Ashmita Sethi has been promoted as the Communications

President of its new travel division - ABCN Travel Management. The agency’s focus is on leisure/ MICE, to promote niche destinations and promote holidays in India. Dalvi has spent almost 38 years in the travel and airline industry. He was associated earlier with Thomas Cook India, Carlson Wagon Lit Travel, P&O Travel, International Travel House (ITC), Korean Airlines, Forvol International (TATA / Shapoorji Palonji Group) and retired from FCH Centrum Direct as Senior Vice-President in 2010.

Marketing at Radisson Blu Suites, Gurgaon. She has more than 15 years of hospitality experience including five years as Director of Sales with various fivestar hotels and resorts in this region. Before joining here, she was at Samode Hotels, where she was serving as Director of Sales for the past two years. Prior to this, she was the Director of Sales for Westin, Sohna Gurgaon Resort and Spa where she had been an integral part of the new set-up.

Director of Mayfair Group of Hotels, the largest hotel group of eastern India. Prior to his new assignment, he was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Mayfair Group. A professional hotelier having Management Degree in Hotel Management, Mohapatra had a perfect training stint in The Oberoi, Bhubaneswar and Hotel Cidade Goa in his early career. Given his dedication and contributions to the Group, the Board of Directors of the Mayfair Group has promoted him to the Executive Director rank recently.

Director for Boeing India. She will lead the company’s media relations, acting as principal spokesperson. Her extensive strategic communications experience and expertise in the Indian aerospace and defense sector includes 11 years at Rolls-Royce, most recently as Vice-President, Communications and Public Affairs for India region.

The Westin Mumbai Garden City Mumbai Stephanie D’Silva has been appointed as the Director of Sales and Marketing at The Westin Mumbai Garden City. She has completed her postgraduate diploma in Business Management from Xavier’s Institute of Management. She has over 12 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Her prior assignments include Director of Sales at Taj Hotels, Resorts & Palaces Mumbai.

Vinay Singh has been appointed as the Account Director at The Westin Mumbai Garden City. Singh has completed his Masters in Management Studies from MES, Mumbai University. He has over 9 years of experience in the hospitality industry. His prior assignments include Assistant Director of Sales, Hilton Worldwide – Mumbai, Assistant Director of Sales at Sai Palace Hotels and Le Royal Meridien and Head Sales and Marketing at KHPL Group, Mumbai.

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

Camellia Panjabi, along with her sister Namita, runs the Veeraswamy, Chutney Mary and Amaya restaurants in London. They also operate the Masala Zone group of Indian brasserie restaurants spread throughout London in 8 locations, namely, Covent Garden, Soho, Bayswater, Earl's Court, Islington, Camden, Fulham and at Selfridges (Garden Cafe) on Oxford Street. An economics student from Sydenham College, Mumbai, and Cambridge Camellia Panjabi University, Camellia says economics was something her father wanted her to pursue. Talking about her love for food, she says, "I mostly eat on the road, or at any new place that I've heard serves good food." Asked to name her favourite restaurants, Camellia mentions two names in Mumbai- Gajalee that serves coastal food and Soam that serves Gujarati food.

Dashwijith Patalli has been appointed as Venue Manager – Seasonal Tastes at The Westin Mumbai Garden City. Patalli has completed his Bachelors in Hospitality Management from Anjuman Islam. He has over nine years of experience in the hospitality industry. His prior assignments include Acting Manager – Restaurants & Beverages at Sahara Star, Mumbai, Assistant Restaurant Manager at Grand Sarovar Premiere and F&B Supervisor at Intercontinental, Marine Drive.

Vikram Malhi, Country Head,

Jagdeep Bhagat, President, IAAI

India, is experiencing second winters in Delhi since he joined the Expedia office in Gurgaon. “Before this, for six years, I was in Chicago and then in Dallas. I am loving the chill in the air but it is just too cold. People have been asking me Vikram Malhi doesn't this feel like home? Country Head, India, Doesn't it feel like Chicago? To that I say, it feels like I am homeless in Chicago," he chuckles. "I am from Punjab but spent my childhood in Nagpur. Hence, I am not used to the extreme cold winters here. Guess I will have to wait for the spring now," he adds.

NI Chapter, is a qualified civil engineer from a Delhi-based University; he got lured to tourism due to his love for travelling, inspired by the growth of service industry. He loves spending time with his family, which includes 14-year-old son and his wife, who teaches in Delhi University Jagdeep Bhagat President College. He would love to opt for IAAI NI Chapter leisure time than fitness exercises, but makes a point to go for regular brisk walks. Kerala is his favourite Indian destination, while he always makes a point to choose a family destination; be it in India, or overseas.

Kunal Kothari, Executive Director, Rail Europe India, is a perfect definition of family person.

Kunal Kothari Executive Director Rail Europe India

Kothari is working with Rail Europe India for over two years with 11 years experience of selling Rail Europe products in Dubai through a GSA company. He feels excited about the Indian market as the industry has lot of ‘action’ and it keeps him on his toes. When asked about his dream destination, he says, “My son wants to visit Paris Disneyland and my better half is keen to explore Switzerland soon.” Thus, he is a perfect example of ‘Family Man’ as he puts his wishes on the backseat. However, when insisted, he says, “Kashmir is one place I would love to visit again and again as it’s the most beautiful destination on this planet. I would also like to visit Gir Forest National Park in Gujarat with my family.”

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Postal Reg. No.: DL(ND)-11/6044/2012-13-14; WPP No.: U(C)-178/2012-14 for posting on 1st-2nd and 15th-16th of the same month at New Delhi P.S.O., RNI No.: 53492/91 Date of Publication:14-01-2013


Mid-segment to see highest growth In a tete-a-tete with , Anil Madhok, Founder and MD of the Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, speaks about the company’s growth story and new ways to tap the three-star and four-star hotel segments. M E G H A PAU L


ne of the fastest growing hotel management companies in India, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts identified the gap in demand and supply of hotel rooms, way back in 1994. Looking at setting up three-

star and four-star hotels across not just India but globally, Madhok feels that mid-segment is expected to see the highest growth. “Though the economy segment will also do fairly well, our experience has shown that clients want something more than the basic

service and are willing to pay for it. Revenue maximisation is an ongoing process and changes with each season. The group focusses on providing the right product at the right price,” he says.

100-hotel target by 2020 The company aspires to achieve the 100-hotel target by 2020. With a portfolio of over 60 hotels across 40 destinations, Sarovar Hotels will unveil seven properties in India this year, Madhok reveals. Spanning across the Premiere, Portico, Hometel, Park Plaza and Park Inn brands, the group is set to unveil Sarovar Premiere in Solapur, Sarovar Portico in Jaisalmer, Sarovar Portico in Thekkady, Hometel in Bhiwadi, Sarovar Portico in Jalandhar, Sarovar Portico in Srinagar and Sarovar Portico in Kilpauk, Chennai. The company is also planning to launch a new brand exclusively for their properties in religious destinations in the next five years. However, the blueprint and branding exercise are still in process, the MD comments.

Anil Madhok Founder of the Sarovar Hotels & Resorts

African sojourn

Hotel management firms v/s hotel owners

And while some of the world’s best known hotel chains have set shop in India, home-grown hospitality players, including Sarovar, are making a beeline for overseas expansion. After having established a strong and sizeable panIndia presence, the key challenge for the hospitality players here is to be acknowledged in the foreign market. “Setting eyes on foreign shores, the Indian hotel chains are betting big on increasing pie of the outbound travel from India. Thus, the move for overseas expansion is also driven by the idea of tapping the growing market of Indians travelling abroad,” Madhok opines. Moving beyond the conventional markets of the US and the UK, Africa has emerged as a business opportunity for the group. Sarovar Hotels & Resorts has forayed in the country with the opening of three properties - New Africa in Tanzania, Ole-Sereni Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya and The Heron Portico, Nairobi. “At present, we are focussing on expanding in East Africa as we are well-versed with this market and we consider it as a second home for our company,” he adds.

Regarding the endemic challenges a hotel management company faces as opposed to the hotel owning company, Madhok feels that all operating companies have certain set standards, operating procedures, marketing strategies and labour policies that they need to follow. “Often some of these may not be similar or same as to what the owning company follows as a policy. It is important for the operator to be able to explain to the owners the need of standardisation within the brand, which is finally to the advantage of the hotel owner, as a brand with set standards would enjoy a better market reputation. Another issue that is vital for this relationship is that as an operator, we must always remember that it is the owner’s money at stake. Therefore, he has every right to feel convinced that the management company at all times would look after the best interest of the hotel, thereby looking after his interests,” he says. “As operators, we must explain the systems to see that the owner understands and feels comfortable and confident of the management company,” he points out.

What’s in store for 2013 Acknowledging that the low GDP growth is impacting the hospitality sector, he ascribes low occupancy level for the oversupply of hotel rooms in hospitality sector. “The recent past has seen extensive growth in capacity in terms of new hotels coming up.

This indicates the trends of things to come. There will be a dip in occupancies and rates of hotels but this will stabilise as usual. The expanded supply will drive growth as was seen in the aviation and communication industries,” he says. The main hurdle is that most

governments view it as a ‘luxury’ industry. Hence, the industry has to function with policies that are not very conducive to growth, he laments. “Considering the fact that cost of hotel operations is going up sharply on amount of payroll cost, Heat, Light and Power (HLP) cost

as well as consumable cost, the major task is to strain our cost elements in order to sustain our Gross Operating Profit (GOP) levels. One defining trend will be the availability of trained manpower. 2013 will be another challenging year,” he adds.


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