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A DDP PUBLICATION

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Vol. XXIV No. 9; May 1 st fortnight issue 2012

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‘India to grow 20% from ME’ spoke to Vikas Rustagi, Regional Director, India Tourism, Dubai on his expectations from 2012. He is confident that India will be able to register a minimum growth of 20% from the region and particularly from countries like Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman and Iran. R UPALI N ARASIMHAN

M

Vikas Rustagi Regional Director India Tourism - Dubai

iddle East has been on a boil for some time now. Dubai plunged into an economic crisis when, in 2009, Dubai World asked for a 6 month postponement to prepay its debts. While the region was struggling to regain its balance, political protests in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen gathered momentum to give rise to what we today call an Arab Spring. The region is still struggling with many issues and therefore is not a thriving hub that it used to be.

Saudi Arabia, for instance, has shown a growth of over 41 per cent in their outbound numbers to India. “If one considers the economic political scenario, the increase in traffic is highly commendable. A closer look at the traffic demographic reveals that all travellers were residents of KSA and no expats.” A Saudi tourist predominantly is a high spender and travels to India either for medical/health care or for shopping. They demand luxury and are ready to pay for it. “India, as a leisure desti-

Harnessing wellness at India Tourism pavillion S U S M I TA G H O S H To unlock business potential within the ME for inbound and outbound tourism professionals, the India participation at ATM this year has become more vibrant. The pavillion for nation, would do very well if we can increase the level of awareness in this market. Saudi Arabia is a unique market yielding very good results

India Tourism in the event, is themed, as ‘Medical Wellness and Luxury Tourism’. India is being showcased as one of the most lucrative health and wellness tourism markets in the world that has promoted Contd. on page 52 

once contacts are established. Therefore, we are targetting fashion and wedding market as establishing Contd. on page 52 

50% cut in luxury tax The Goa Government has offered a 50% concession on the luxury tax to the mid-scale and upper-segment hotels during off season from May 1 to Sept. 30. M E G H A PAU L

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oa has just marched ahead to redefine its foremost position in the travel map of the country. The Manohar Parrikarled BJP government has

TRAVTALK

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MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

offered an incredible 50 per cent concession on the luxury tax to the mid-scale and upper-segment hotels during the off season – from May 1 to September 30. To cash in on the concessions provided by the state

government in Goa, the tourism and hospitality industry has raised a toast as well. Extremely bullish on the off-season market, they are designing attractive packages to lure more travellers.

According to Swapnil Naik, Director Tourism, Government of Goa, the present government’s 50 per cent concession on luxury tax will boost the industry. The travel Contd. on page 6 

Swapnil Naik Director Tourism Government of Goa

Setting the record straight The April 2nd issue of carried an interview of Mr R H Khwaja, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. In this interview, Mr Khwaja has been quoted out of context thereby creating a wrong impression that the Ministry is not doing enough for getting the tourism sector an industry status. The interview was predominantly on the Union Budget’s implication on tourism and the initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism for getting the maximum concessions for the tourism sector. One of the questions during the interview was regarding the grant of Industry Status to the tourism sector. The journalist has quoted Mr Khwaja’s response in isolation and written the story out of context. We deeply regret the mistake and apologise if the article has inadvertently caused any harm or conveyed a wrong impression about the commitment of Mr Khwaja and the Ministry of Tourism towards the cause of the tourism sector. We sincerely recognize the earnest efforts made and initiatives taken by Mr Khwaja and the Ministry of Tourism to get the Industry and Infrastructure Status for the tourism sector. Editor


BULLETIN

Survival with weekly payments? Travel agents and airlines are again in a tussle due to the weekly-payment settlement plan effective June 1, 2012. A N I TA J A I N

A

s part of its cost-cutting initiative in the wake of surging international crude oil and ATF prices, Indian legacy carriers had represented the Passenger Agency Conference in Singapore in October 2011 to instate the ‘weekly settlement plan’ (from fortnightly) in India effective June 1, 2012. The decision has left the Indian travel trade and industry associations scavenging for a feasible solution to the problem. This is yet another blow to the travel trade when they are already battling the crippling double whammy of a hike in the service tax. Besides, the withdrawal of credit card pass through facility (traditionally extended to the agents) is now being withdrawn by Air India.

Iqbal Mulla

Ajay Prakash

President, TAAI

President, TAFI

Calling for a rollback of deferment of weekly payment and service tax, Iqbal Mulla, President, TAAI said, “This is a death blow to one of the India’s top foreign exchange earning and employment generation industry. All the three legacy carriers (Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher) have proposed for weekly settlement plan,

which if introduced will also move all the international carriers to the same plan under IATA rules. We know airlines are going through tough times but instead of supporting travel agents, who are their vital partners in selling them, they are forcing us to shut our shops. If the weekly settlement plan gets instated, then close

to 60 per cent of the travel agencies across India will be forced to shut down business. Indian air travel business has always been widely supported by credit system, but now with the new system in place, corporates would be required to make payments in advance or at short notice, which could amount to a breach of the contract they have with the travel agents. Ajay Prakash, President, TAFI said, “The associations have appealed the government to roll back the proposed hike in service tax on air tickets and to look into the issue of weekly settlement. We tried talking with our airline partners on this issue but due to no response from them, we have filed a case against the airlines on this issue in Karnataka court.”


STATISTICS

Tourism on ‘indigenous’ path

VIEWPOINT

Inbound Magic

I

ncredible India has woken up to the call of doubling its share in the global inbound market, which as per UNWTO projection will cross the 1 billion mark in 2012. The success of the Great Indian Travel Bazaar 2012, an Indian inbound show now in its fifth year, reflects the optimism Indian and Overseas stakeholders have from the Indian market. India's tourism industry continues to grow because of the burgeoning middle class, which is driving domestic tourism growth and luxury tourism, which is attracting more foreign tourists, thereby earning much more foreign exchange. The tourism ministry's consolidated campaign to promote 'Incredible India', which has helped create a colourful image all over the world, has increased tourist arrivals. Both directly and indirectly, tourism has created jobs in a variety of related sectors, like handicrafts, agriculture, construction and even poultry and horticulture. The ministry promises to add 25 million new jobs in the tourism sector under the 12th five-year plan. Sustainable and rural tourism is helping the smaller towns and villages with an earning capacity that was earlier unheard of. Even poaching of our wildlife has almost stopped because of tourists visiting these sanctuaries. They live in hotels and guest-houses in and outside the parks, thereby creating large local employment and sale of locally manufactured goods and farm products. It is now up to the people of this country and the travel industry to support the ministry in its nationalistic ideals, namely the 7S: Swagat (welcome), Sahyog (cooperation), Soochna (information), Sanrachna (infrastructure), Suvidha (falicitation), Safai (cleanliness) and Suraksha (security). Hope all the Indian participants at ATM 2012 market destinations across the length and breadth of India in the manner it truly deserves, and in its new modern avatar.

Vikramajit Chairman SanJeet Publisher Rupali Narasimhan Editorial Director Deepa Sethi Editor

Editorial Ratan Kr Paul Megha Paul Anita Jain Vivek Sethi Devika Jeet Desk-Editor Archana Sharma Sub-Editor Raina Mandal Photographer Simran Kaur

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

Realising the potential of indigenous tourism, the FICCI-YES Bank report was released during the recently concluded GITB in Jaipur. gets excerpts: TT B U R E AU

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ith tourism ethics gradually transforming from ‘leisure’ to ‘experience’, niches involving the local community as a core component of the product have gained strong momentum, giving rise to the concept of ‘Indigenous Tourism’- with ‘involvement’ and ‘adaptation’ to the traditional lifestyle forming a crucial element of tourist behaviour. That it works with a conservationoriented approach is what has made such product models a widely accepted approach for inclusive development.

Trends in tourist inflows Although India’s share in the world tourism is still quite small as compared to the top destinations, there has been a steady growth in both the sects of the inbound as well as the outbound tourism. While the former on some part has been a consequence of here is that revenues across the world for these principles are true, irrespective of the nature of the economy in which they operate. For instance, 5-star hotel rates in Mumbai are comparable to those in major cities of the developed economies like New York or London. This equanimity, however, dissolves as we move down the categories, but, is in some part, balanced by the other spheres of the tourist activity.

aggressive marketing and promotion from the Government’s end, growth in domestic and outbound tourism has been a result of the economic growth that the country has witnessed over the years, leading to higher disposable incomes and increasing propensity to travel. Another important factor to note here is that the tourism economy is growing, both in terms of tourist spending, as well as the spending from the service providers’ end, which include

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

the Government as well as the private stakeholders.

Emerging patterns Research on the tourism globalisation has largely focused on tourism as an activity or a service, rather than the real estate aspects and implications (Ashok Bardhan, 2008). Keeping travel aside, infrastructurerelated investments account for 50-60% of the total investment, of which accommodation facilities and associated amenities form the major chunk. Major international hotel chains and

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

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resorts are the dominant players in this sphere. An interesting trend observed

10-point roadmap  Reinforce policy with action measures  Marketing and promotion  Capacity building  Tourist behaviour  Train entreprenuers  Community trust  'Real' ownership  Conserving traditions and values  Infrastructure development  Support agrarian models

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

The figures in this story also reflect that while the inbound figures have dipped due to credit and housing market collapses in many countries, the domestic and outbound figures were comparatively less hit and registered positive growth. This emphasises the need to keep the domestic and outbound tourism on an even keel with inbound, for even though the latter moves ahead in terms of monetary receipts, it is highly susceptible to events in a macro scale – be it international markets, natural calamities or human violence.

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HOTELS

MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

Making room for higher occupancy The Floor Space Index (FSI) in Delhi hotels could be increased from the existing 2.25 to three. speaks to the industry stalwarts to know their reactions. M E G H A PAU L

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oom shortage in Delhi? Not again. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is considering a proposal to increase the floor space index (FSI) for hotels in Delhi to three, which would help many hotels to add a

SM Shervani Vice President FHRAI

number of rooms to their existing capacity. DDA had earlier increased the FSI for hotels in Delhi from 1.5 to 2.25 in 2008 to help add more rooms in anticipation of the rush of tourists for the Commonwealth Games. Reacting to the recent development, SM Shervani, Vice President, Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) says, “An increase in FSI would imply a rise in the

Peter J. Leitgeb President & CEO The Claridges Hotels & Resorts

number of rooms. There is an evident room crunch in Delhi and hence, this is surely a welcome step.” Delhi has around 14,000 approved hotel rooms. If the FSI goes up, an additional 5,000-6,000 rooms could be added in Delhi. Late last year, the civic authority had invited suggestions for a mid-term review of the Delhi Master Plan 2021 where the FHRAI had recommended that the FSI be increased to three, aligning it with what is prevalent in other parts of the country. Currently, DDA is also inviting suggestions from all stakeholders while discussing the master plan. However, DDA has also clarified the higher FSI will not be applicable in

the Lutyens Bungalow Zone. This includes hotels such as the iconic Taj Mahal, Shangri La, Le Meridien, The Oberoi, Taj Palace, ITC Maurya and Claridges. Hotels that are part of a larger commercial establishment will also be kept outside the purview of the higher

FSI. Commenting on the situation, Shervani feels, “FSI should be applied to all hotels equally to help increase the room supply. Excluding the hotels in the central hub of the city is unfortunate. I don’t see why the increase in FSI in these hotels will damage the

heritage value of the region.” One of the prime hotels that will benefit from this hike is The Leela Palace New Delhi, Shervani adds. “This is a loss of opportunity for hotels in the Lutyens Bungalow Zone. In

all countries, hotels exist in the central locations. So being a part of the larger commercial establishment does not mean the hotel cannot add to its existing infrastructure. For example - Taj Mansingh has so many floors. How will the addition of one or two more floors harm the environment of that area? Hence, I would firmly urge Contd. on page 10 

Ratan Marothia Vice President FHRAI

5


NEWS

Triggering tourism growth MOT is also toying with various modalities to tap the transit passengers, wherein the department of tourism officials will play a pivotal role. VIVEK SETHI

I

t’s of great significance for the stakeholders in the tourism industry to realise the strengths India has acquired over the past few decades. These strengths should clearly be portrayed to the rest of the world at various international travel trade events. Subhodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister for Tourism, apprised many of the leading stakeholders in the Indian travel trade along with close to 300 hundred foreign tour operators, who had gathered to attend the leading inbound show, Great India Travel Bazaar, in Jaipur.

“The economic resilience spread over the past has led to impressive growth in all sectors in the tourism industry. More and more foreigners are willing to witness and benefit from its impressive economic growth, which makes India an even more attractive inbound des-

tination. Moreover, India has emerged as a very important source market for outbound tourism, while its domestic sector also continues to grow on the back of rising purchasing power,” said Sahai. “UNWTO forecasts interna-

inbound arrivals to over 1 per cent of global arrivals in the 12th Plan period and replicate similar growth pattern in the domestic sector,” he added.

Union Minister for Tourism

While policymakers are inclined to undertake many dynamic policy initiatives, Subhash Goyal, President IATO, suggests that like many leading destinations, India should tap the transit passengers. “We need to extend tourist VoA facility to many of our key source markets, introduce uniform taxation and cap incidence of tax to a maximum of five per cent. While many of these initiatives may take time, we can immediately initiate measures to tap transit passengers,” said Goyal.

tional tourism to reach one billion in 2012, wherein emerging economies will regain the lead with stronger growth in Asia, Middle East and Africa. To ensure India becomes one of the key beneficiaries, we have set the target of doubling our

“Like many other countries, we can offer them short duration sight-seeing packages in special buses through dedicated entry and exit points. Singapore does this very successfully and takes such passengers for sightseeing, while keeping their passports deposits,” he added.

Subodh Kant Sahai

A big relief from tax blow have become more expensive. Also, with the neighbouring destinations such as Thailand and Malaysia becoming more affordable, the hoteliers and tour operators who form an alliance to sell packages to Goa have been finding it difficult to sell economy packages. Hence, this price correction was the need of the hour.”

Contd. from page 1 

Ralph D’Souza

Guitry Velho

Spokesperson, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa

General Manager, The Heritage Village Club, Goa

industry will now be able to pass the benefits of this concession to the customer. Consequently, packages will become far more attractive. A number of cheaper and more competitive deals will be available now. Highly optimistic about the upcoming season, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) spokesperson Ralph D’Souza says, “Earlier luxury tax varied from 5-10 per cent, depending on the star category of the hotel. From this year on with the luxury tax discount, the off-season luxury tax will be in the range of 2.5-5 per cent, which is a great boost to the hotel industry and the travel industry in large.” Elaborating on the benefits of this discount, D’Souza informs, “In Goa,

there are mainly two seasons. The winter season sees a lot of foreign traffic. However, in

According to the TTAG spokesperson, the local taxes on the ATF have also been slashed. This will now encourage airlines to land in Goa and attract more footfalls. In its pre-budget memorandum submitted to Parrikar,

Anurag Jain

Priti Chand

Director –Sales Best Western Devasthali, Goa

VP Corporate Communications Zuri Group Global

season 2 or the off-season, we receive more of domestic tourists and groups. In the recent times, with the central government pushing up airfares, the packages to Goa

the TTAG had urged for concessions to the industry. The Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has also termed Contd. on page 30 


EXHIBITIONS

MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

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GITB 2012

261 foreign buyers from 54 nations The Great Indian Travel Bazaar GITB 2012 sets new benchmarks by hosting 9,043 B2B meetings registering close to 23 per cent increase in prefixed appointments. T T B U R E AU n its fifth edition, the Great Indian Travel Bazaar(GITB) set many new benchmarks in line with the increasing focus the sector has been drawing in India. Like one of the most remarkable achievements of the sector, which is now being recognised as an important

I

Bina Kak Minister of Tourism, Rajasthan

tool for poverty alleviation and employment creation, GITB has also become a must attend trade show on the global travel calendar. “The presence of over 261 foreign buyers from 54 countries speaks volumes about the significance of the show. I also have a small business proposal for all the foreign and Indian stakeholders present at the show, which is to help us double the inbound business for them. Doubling the inbound pie, as envisaged in the 12th plan period, will mean that the

Usha Sharma Principal Secretary, Rajasthan Tourism

earning potential is also doubled and our Ministry is all set to facilitate the growth process,” said Subhodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister of Tourism. The show was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Tourism in the presence of Bina Kak, Minister of Tourism, Rajasthan, Usha Sharma, Principal Secretary, Rajasthan Tourism, R V Kanoria, President, FICCI, Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson, FICCI Tourism Committee, Dipak Deva, Co-Chairperson,

FICCI Tourism Committee, and SanJeet, CoChairperson, FICCI Tourism Committee on April 15, 2012 in Jaipur.

For the uninitiated, GITB aims at targetting the potential consumers from international as well as the India market. The event is

organised by the Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Federation of

Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on an annual basis. “In a very short period of time, the Great Indian

Subodh Kant Sahai Union Minister of Tourism

Travel Bazaar (GITB) has become one of the most coveted marts in South East Asia region. The success of any of Contd. on page 42 u


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MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

ITDC and NSFDC join hands  India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has signed an MoU with National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, for jointly conducting skill development programme for Indian youth belonging to scheduled castes for their employment in the tourism and hospitality sector, promoting the Ministry of Tourism’s ‘Hunar se Rozgar’ initiative. The ITDC-run Ashok Institute of Hospitality and Tourism Management (AIH&TM) will impart skills training to candidates and develop human resource for tourism and hospitality sectors. As a part of the tie-up, AIH&TM along with its associates will place minimum 70% of the Batch in job, subject to minimum 90% attendance of the candidate. ITDC or its associates will also provide all training infrastructure along with training materials and trainers.

STATES

` 90 crore to build ‘Brand Bengal’ The tourism sector has been allocated ` 90 crore for this financial year. Rachhpal Singh, Tourism Minister, West Bengal chalks out strategies and talks about the way forward for the development of tourism in the State. T T B U R E AU

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spent on developing a themebased advertising campaign for the State.”

ost the Bengal government’s recent announcement to increase the budgetary allowance for the tourism sector for the financial year 2012-13 to ` 90 crore, the Tourism Minister is upbeat about the tourism prospects in the State. “Adequate funds were the need of the hour for the development of tourism in West Bengal and the entire East,” Singh said. The Minister revealed that the State Government has identified five districts for tourism development through public private partnership route.

With Shah Rukh Khan roped in as the brand ambassador of West Bengal, the State aims to cash in on the star’s worldwide popularity. “The services of the star will be used to build ‘Brand Bengal’. West Bengal receives a lot of domestic tourists. However, foreign tourists give the State a miss due to lack of marketing campaigns. Hence, we are targetting a chunk of foreign tourist arrivals with SRK as our Brand Ambassador,” Singh added.

Rachhpal Singh

Talking about the utilisation of funds allocated in the budget, Singh informed, “The Union Government’s Incredible India campaign has not adequately focussed on the eastern region so far. Hence, a large part of the allocated money would be

Giving information about promoting tourism in the Sundarbans, Singh confirmed that the State Government is planning to introduce an African safari kind of expedition in the area. “At a recent rally in the Sundarbans, Mamata

Tourism in Bengal will be developed and enhanced in a two-pronged way. Firstly, the State will identify new tourism circuits. Secondly, it will develop infrastructure, Singh said. Places such as Darjeeling in North Bengal and islands of Sundarbans

Tourism Minister West Bengal

Banerjee, Chief Minister, West Bengal, has announced the possibility of African safaris in the Sundarbans,” he stated.

Shah Rukh Khan Bollywood Actor

offer immense scope for tourism development. However, lack of adequate infrastructure has always been a bottleneck. According to the Tourism Minister, CII has submitted a feasibility report based on its studies in Darjeeling and Sundarbans to the State Government. The Government is also creating new tourism circuits. Betting big on Religious Tourism, he commented,

“During the month of February and March every year, we receive at least 10,000 tourists in Mayapur, which is a religious destination. We are developing a new tourist circuit covering Mayapur, Kalna and Nabadwip to boost these numbers. We have constructed a separate jetty in Mayapur. Similarly, independent jetties would be constructed in Kalna and Nabadwip to strengthen the infrastructure.”On similar lines, three-four historical tourism circuits are being created at Murshidabad, Singh concluded.

Steps Taken The State will identify new tourism circuits. Places such as Darjeeling in North Bengal and the islands of Sundarbans offer immense scope for tourism development


10 TRAVTALK

STATES

MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

Increasing FSI Contd. from page 5 

that FSI should be hiked unanimously for all hotels in Delhi,” he advocates. According to Peter J. Leitgeb, President & CEO, The Claridges Hotels & Resorts, the deluxe boutique hotel, The Claridges, New Delhi has an inventory of only 140 rooms. An additional FSI would have definitely enabled us to add more rooms and suites.” This would have generated more revenues and significantly, improved the bottomline of our hotel. Talking about the varying FSI in different territorial

regions, Ratan Marothia, Vice President, FHRAI urges, “FSI should be increased for all regions jointly. First, there was an increase in FSI in Mumbai and then Delhi witnessed a boost in FSI in the name of the Commonwealth Games.” It is high time that Kolkata also witnesses a hike in FSI. “Would Kolkata have to celebrate the centenary of Rabindranath Tagore to get a sanction for hike in FSI?” asks Marothia. “Hence, I would urge the government to raise FSI in all metros collectively,” he concludes.

Mumbai Airport to charge ADF Airport  The Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) has revised development charges for the Mumbai airport. Domestic flyers will now have to pay Rs 100 and international travellers will have to pay Rs 600 towards airport devel-

opment charges. The charges will be in effect from May 1, 2012 till the end of April 2014.

Goa to cash in on Visa-on-Arrivals Pitching Goa as an ideal holiday destination to the European countries and Japan, Goa Tourism is going all out to attract international tourists. D E V I KA J E E T

D

uring the last tourist season, Goa witnessed a 15 to 20 per cent increase in the tourist arrivals compared to the previous year. “Each year, we have either been at par or are doing better than the previous years. Goa has always done exceedingly well and we are extremely optimistic about the coming year,” says Swapnil Naik, Director Tourism, Government of Goa.

Goa has embarked on a 360 degree tourism targeted campaign. “We are proactively pitching Goa as a holiday destination to the European countries, Scandinavia, Russia, CIS countries and the East including Japan,” adds Naik. Their marketing agenda for this year includes road shows and participation in the trade marts across the globe. “Last year, we did extensive road shows at St Petersburg and interacted with tour operators and travel agents. We

receive an approximate of 11 charters per week with close to 250 people onboard. We look to see that figure increase. While earlier St Petersburg and Moscow were the key cities which attracted tourists to Goa, as of recently, we have seen new markets open up. We will visit Spain, France, Italy and other parts of Europe”. Along with targetting European countries, Goa Tourism has high hopes pinned on Japan, “We successfully promoted Goa in Japan last year where we showcased Goa as an ideal destination to the urban Japanese tourist. We are looking to attract all age groups of tourists from Japan this year; however the focus will be on the young traveller. There has been a keen interest expressed by the travel and trade fraternity in Japan on adding Goa to the travel itinerary of the Japanese traveller. Japan has already been granted a Visa-on-Arrival facility by the Indian govern-

ing during the monsoon months. We will also tap markets in West Asia, where rains are sparse. The campaign will be marketed extensively through the internet, social networking sites and at travel marts.”

Swapnil Naik Director Tourism Government of Goa

ment, and we are looking to tap this opportunity.” In spite of their focus on the international market, they are not ignoring their domestic tourism potential. “As a parallel approach, we will launch a campaign to attract domestic tourists as well. Monsoon tourism or raindrop tourism, as we call it, has seen positive results over the years. Over 10 per cent of the total tourist inflow into the state is com-

Goa continues to be popular for its beaches and the coastal belt amongst travellers. However, the tourism department has taken the promotion of heritage and hinterland tourism very seriously. Goa has much to offer in terms of its vast rich heritage and culture. Goa enjoys the maximum number of repeat tourists. “Foreign tourists arriving into Goa stay for an average period of two weeks including short and long term stays, not less. In terms of room nights, Goa does exceptionally well. Goa receives close to 750 charter flights into Goa from different parts of Europe through the tourist season,” concludes Naik.


12 TRAVTALK

MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

STATES

Heart of Incredible India Religious tourism on track Madhya Pradesh Tourism with its tagline Heart of The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Incredible India has expanded its marketing initiatives (IRCTC) and the Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion to aggressively promote the destination globally. Board (PHTPB) will flag off the Panj Takhts Yatra Express. RUPALI NARASIMHAN

“W

e have a very successful tourism model and the awards we received at the National Tourism Awards is a testimo-

Vinod Semwal Principal Secretary Tourism, Culture & Parliamentary Affairs, Madhya Pradesh

ny to this,” said Vinod Semwal, Principal Secretary Tourism, Culture & Parliamentary Affairs, Madhya Pradesh. The state received four awards at the recently con-

We now want to make our presence felt on the world stage. Initially, we would like to concentrate on Europe (especially UK, Austria, Italy, and Spain) and the US cluded National Tourism Awards- First Best State for Comprehensive Development of Tourism, Best Civic Management of a Tourism Destination, Best Tourism Publicity Material, and Excellence in Best Film on Tourism. “After having established our supremacy at the

domestic level, we now want to make our presence felt on the world stage. Initially, we would like to concentrate on Europe (especially the United Kingdom, Austria, Italy, and Spain) and the United States. In a bid to aggressively promote MP’s sights and sounds, we have developed new digital and print campaigns to suit each of the markets,” added Semwal. Madhya Pradesh is also in the process of developing water sports in the various water bodies dotted along the state. With the implementation of the Water Tourism Policy, MPSTDC has the monopoly to develop water sports and tourism infrastructure through private initiative. “Indra Sagar (largest water reservoir in the India), Ban Sagar, and Gandhi Sagar have been identified for developing water sports facilities.”

T T B U R E AU

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luxury train covering all the leading Sikh shrines in the country will be flagged off in December this year. A recent agreement has been signed between the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and the Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board (PHTPB) to run this train, VB Kumar, Executive Director, PHTPB informed. According to Kumar, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has approved the name of the train as Panj Takhts Yatra Express. It would flag off on December 26 this year. Attempting to attract two fast-growing population segments in India — followers of Sikhism and a fast expanding inbound tourism market in India, the initiative aims to target the upscale luxury segment in India

along with visitors from source market such as UK and Canada. The train would cover Akal Takht in Amritsar, Takht Sri Damdama Sahib at Talwandi, Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur, Takht Sri Patna Sahib in Patna and Takht Sri Hazur Sahib at Nanded in Maharashtra. Starting from Amritsar, the train will embark on a nine-day journey via Delhi, Agra and Gwalior and culminate at Nanded. Throwing light on the new agreement, Kumar revealed, “The IRCTC agree-

Green Signal The train would cover Akal Takht in Amritsar, Takht Sri Damdama Sahib at Talwandi, Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur, Takht Sri Patna Sahib in Patna and Takht Sri Hazur Sahib at Nanded

ment with PHTPB is for three years. According to the pact, the train will see a minimum of at least two runs in each financial year. The first trip of FY 2012-13 will be on December 26.” The second trip will soon follow suit around March 20. These dates, however, need to be finalised by the railways department, he added. This train is the same train that is running on the Buddhist circuit as well. We have chartered the same train on specific dates for the journey to the five Takhts. The train will be a Rajdhani rake type with a capacity of around 240 seats. Hence, the owner and operator for both the religious circuit trains is IRCTC. “We are the marketing partner for IRCTC. Going forward, PHTPB has also roped in a private marketing firm – The Luxury Trains – for this endeavour,” he confirmed.


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Now, WTM Latin America in April 2013  Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) recently announced the launch of World Travel Market Latin America – the first global event for this increasingly important region for travel and tourism. The first World Travel Market Latin America will take place in São Paulo in April 2013. RTE is working with the Brazilian tourist board EMBRATUR over a hosted buyers programme for WTM Latin America. The event is targeted at the booming Brazilian and Latin American travel and tourism industry. Latin America will attract 33,127,000 tourists (including those travelling between countries and into the region) in 2011 rising by 5.2% a year to 55,191,000 in 2021, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. This increase in visitors sees Latin America top the table of percentage increase in tourists spending over the next 10 years rising 7.5% over the period to

$70.8 billion in 2021. Richard Mortimore, Managing Director, RTE, said, “Reed Travel Exhibitions is launching World Travel Market Latin America at an exciting time for the Brazilian and wider Latin American travel industry.” “WTM Latin America gives the Latin American internal and outbound travel industry the perfect shop window to heighten its already growing profile in the global tourism industry.” “It will be region’s only global marketplace to conduct business, negotiate deals and sign the contracts which will see it grow to one of the most important regions in the tourism industry.” Caio Carvalho, President of São Paulo tourist board SPTuris said: “It is a pleasure to welcome WTM Latin America to São Paulo, largest market in South America, foremost destination in Brazil and one of the 2014 World Cup host cities, in 2013.”

GIBTM grows by 17% in 2012 Acknowledged as a high yield vertical within the travel business, MICE is an integral component of business travel. In the wake of the economic crises, this sector came under severe pressure. However the experts have predicted a gradual recovery in the year 2012 which will accelerate in 2013. Solution and Rob Nicholas, Meetme, the research indicated that 48.2% of the Middle East buyers and 47.2% global buyers said that their business has improved over the last 12 months as compared to the previous year.

R UPALI N ARASIMHAN

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his year’s Gulf Incentive, Business Travel, and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) recorded an increase of 17% exhibitors from 34 countries. Over 330 exhibitors and over 273 hosted buyers attended the two and a half event at

Strong Platform GIBTM is both a business as well as an education forum where experts from the meetings industry share the new trends and educate the industry professionals The Middle East buyers predict a growth in India, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, France, Japan and the UK

Craig Moyes

Lois Hall

Group Exhibition Director GIBTM

Exhibition Manager GIBTM

the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Talking about the 6th edition of the event, Lois Hall, Exhibition Manager, GIBTM said, “The Middle East meetings industry represents a significant part of the region’s success and offers substantial contribution to the future potential growth.”

GIBTM is both a business as well as an education forum where experts from the meetings industry share the new trends and educate the industry professionals. One of the highlights of the show was the 6th Middle East Meetings Industry Research report that was presented on March 27th. Presented by Sally Greenhill, Right

The research also indicated that in the next 12 months, the Middle East buyers predict a growth in India, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, France, Japan and the UK where as the global buyers are going to buy from India, the USA, Singapore, Thailand, Italy, the UK, France , China and Macau. Within the Middle East region, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt Qatar and Kuwait are the countries that have exhibited the highest growth in business.


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AVIATION

Social Media: A new

of the airlines

International and domestic airlines are strengthening their presence on social media and are actively engaging with passengers. Will this direct contact change the airlines’ relationship with OTAs? D E V I KA J E E T

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ocial media has made the customer powerful. Expressive opinions, quick responses and shared concerns, all spread like wild fire on a social network.

the only country in the Lufthansa network with an independent Facebook page and is actively engaging over 1,00,000 fans. “Within the fast growth of social media, it is extremely important to decide the space you want to be in

Sangeeta Sharma

Adnan Aykac

Manager, Marketing Communication South Asia, Lufthansa

General Manager Northern and Eastern India, Turkish Airlines

Lufthansa decided to launch a special Facebook page for India in 2010 in view of the fact that India is a strategic market and Indian customers have distinct preferences. It is

and why. We believe our social media platform is a powerful tool to listen to our customers and actively engage with them. Far beyond another channel to expand our reach

stand and fulfill their needs. Not only do these platforms allow us to pick on customer concerns quickly and improve case-time resolution, but we also monitor conversations to address traveller concerns and industry issues to positively influence outcomes,” says Mohit Gupta, Chief Business Officer, MakeMyTrip.com.

or crowd source ideas, it helps us understand the preferences and concerns of our customers better, thereby enhancing our ability to serve their needs,” says Sangeeta Sharma, Manager, Marketing Communication, South Asia, Lufthansa. Following their footsteps, Turkish Airlines is also planning to launch a local Facebook page for India this summer. “We are developing a local facebook page for India as we want to be present on social media. India is one of the first countries for Turkish Airlines to introduce a local Facebook page,” says Adnan Aykac, General Manager, Northern and Eastern India, Turkish Airlines. Indian carriers are not lagging behind in their social media presence. Air India decided that it would be aggressively targetting the social media industry by using Facebook and Twitter as its primary platforms. Jet

Mohit Gupta

Sunny Sodhi

Chief Business Officer MakeMyTrip.com

Vice President Air products,Yatra.com

Airways is the first Indian airline to add over five lakh fans on Facebook. They provide real-time news updates about flight schedules, new customer programs, route additions, services and special offers of their Facebook page. SpiceJet decided to start flight services from Surat following many requests from its fans on Facebook. Surat is the first destination that will see launch of flight

from SpiceJet on passengers demand from Facebook. While the airlines are all geared up to engage with their customers, OTAs are also making the most of social media. “Social media outreach is now a critical element of marketing-mix and customer relationship management strategies. As an enabler of delightful travel experiences, it is to our advantage to be sensitized to our customer’s conversations in order to better under-

Addressing the concern of the impact on OTAs of the relationship airlines build with customers on social media, Sunny Sodhi, Vice President Air products,Yatra.com, says, “Airlines keep coming up with offers for customers directly but it has never impacted our business. We offer all the airlines in one search which is extremely convenient for the customer. This is evident from the fact that a sizeable portion of the airline inventory is distributed through the OTAs. Our distribution numbers are much higher than what the airlines sell directly through their websites”.


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AVIATION

The Middle East: An ideal transit hub While European airlines are struggling for survival and reducing flights, the Gulf carriers (including Turkish Airlines) are becoming the popular choice amongst transit passengers. studies the trends. D E V I KA J E E T

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Oman Air witnessed an increase in traffic to Europe over the previous year. “Majority of the travellers are in the leisure segment and we see some MICE travellers also,” says Nayyar.

“A majority of our passengers are transit passengers. Over 70 per cent travel beyond Dubai and the majority of these fly onwards to the Western Europe,” says Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice President, West Asia & Indian Ocean, Emirates Airline.

iddle East carriers guided the aviation industry in traffic growth as airlines recorded 23.4 per cent yearon-year rate of growth in February 2012, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) report.The capacity growth stood at 16.1 per cent and the average load factors for the region showed the most dramatic improvement to 76.9 per cent in February 2012 compared to 72.4 per cent in the previous year.

With a suitable geographical position, quality products and widespread network, Middle East Airlines are all set to strengthen their position on the global industry map.

Manager, Northern and Eastern India, Turkish Airlines.

From seamless connectivity to food requirements, competitive prices and additional baggage allowance, the carriers are addressing all the whims and fancies of the Indian travel. This might be a warning to European airlines as they might start losing business to the booming Middle Eastern carriers.

“Turkish Airlines has nearly 85 per cent transit passengers from India. We fly to over 190 international destinations with a high load factor and the load factor for our European destinations is even higher. However, our US passenger volume is also increasing with every passing day,” says Adnan Aykac, General

Aircraft improvements have put most of the world's population within a direct flight from the Gulf, resulting in airport and fleet expansion and shifting more of the global network map to large hubs such as Dubai from the US and Europe. More than half the passengers flying Oman Air are also on an onward

Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior

Adnan Aykac

Vineet Nayyar

Vice President, West Asia & Indian Ocean, Emirates Airline

General Manager, Northern and Eastern India, Turkish Airlines

District Sales Manager Delhi, Oman Air

journey. “Approximately 53 per cent of our passengers are transit. They are usually connecting to Europe or the GCC,” says Vineet Nayyar, District Sales Manager, Delhi, Oman Air. Discussing the profile of the Indian traveller, Mualla says, “Emirates enjoys a healthy mix of all profiles of travellers from India. While there has been an increase

over the years to Europe, lately, there has been a slowdown in this traffic. Leisure travel, earlier, was increasing during the vacation season in India, but, in recent years, we have seen a year-round growth in this segment; there is traditionally an upswing in MICE travel during January – February when events and exhibitions are on a high around the globe.”

Turkish Airlines flies to over 70 destinations in Europe alone and the passenger traffic on this route has been on a steady rise in the recent years. The passengers travelling to Europe are usually a mix of both leisure and MICE travellers. According to a study by Oxford Economics, the aviation has been at the centre of the economic transformation in the Gulf region over the past 25 years. The industry in the Middle East supports 2.7 million jobs and $129 billion in GDP. Aviation’s role is set to grow rapidly as international passenger numbers rise from 77.1 million in 2010 to 220 million in 2030.

IGIA: Only 18.7% arrivals for tourism A study entitled ‘The Economic Impact of Delhi Airport’ conducted by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) focused on providing an assessment of the economic impact of the Delhi Airport on the regional and the national economies. gives details of the report: T T B U R E AU

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he report said that, in 2009-10, the Delhi Airport added ` 29,470 crore or 0.45 per cent to India’s GDP, which turns out to be 13.53 per cent of Delhi’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).This contribution is likely to increase to ` 90,925 crore by the year 2020. A sample survey of passengers was carried out in this study to understand the

pose, followed by 20.2 per cent for visiting friends and relatives; travelling during vacations for tourism purposes formed 18.7 per cent. Attending conferences or coming for education and medical purpose formed 6.0, 2.7 and 1.3 per cent respectively.

profile of passengers using the airport and their expenditure pattern. Among the Indian residents travelling by international flights, the top 20 per cent reported an average monthly income to the extent of ` 4.2 lakh per month and the bottom 20 per cent had a monthly income of ` 15,525 per month. Around 91 per cent of the foreign tourists arrive in India by air. Delhi airport plays an important role in tourism industry

of Delhi where 34 per cent out of total foreign tourists arrive in India come through Delhi airport.

Distribution passengers by purpose of visit suggested that a majority of 33.4 per cent had come for business pur-

The spending activities of air passengers in Delhi suggested that about 70 per cent of those who had come on business purposes spent more than ` 5,000 on hotels. Similarly, about 80 per cent

of the passengers who had come for tourism purposes spent more than Rs 5,000 on hotels. About 70 per cent of the passengers in these two categories spent between ` 1,001-10,000 on transportation. In other expenditure, such as, shopping, watching movies, more than 60 per cent of the passengers who had come for business and tourism purposes spent between ` 1,001-10,000 on these activities during their visit.


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AVIATION

MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

Turnaround Plan to turn AI’s fortunes? With an approved Turnaround Plan of ` 30,200 crore, will Air India get into profit making by 2021 or will it require another financial restructuring plan by 2021? finds out by talking to the airline’s official spokesperson. T T B U R E AU

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ccording to Ajit Singh, Union Minister for Civil Aviation, cash-strapped Air India is expected to earn cash profit by 2018 through its recently announced Turnaround Plan (TAP) worth ` 30,200 crore. The Cabinet

the total amount into the airline by 2020-21. According to a top official of the airline, with regards to the TAP, the airline will now hive off MRO (Maintenance, repair and Overhaul) and ground-handling services into two differ-

Of the total ` 30,200 crore, the airline will get equity support of ` 5,500 crore in this fiscal, which will be used to clear all dues to oil companies, airports, employee salaries, etc K Swaminathan, Deputy General Manager Corporate Communications, Air India Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the TAP and financial restructuring plan of Air India under which the government will infuse

ent business units with different profit centres. The airline will induct the first of the 27 Boeing 787 Dreamliners by end of May this year while

A ‘Twist’ in the story The release of funds would be subject to certain areas like increasing the pay load factor (PLF), improvising on-time performance, well fleet management, enhancing the yields, etc. But will the ‘Maharaja’ manage to achieve a PLF of 73 per cent by 2015

and 75 by 2020 when at present; it has the lowest PLF among seven domestic airlines? Moreover, while even Kingfisher (with a truncated schedule) had a load factor of over 80 per cent in February 2012, Air India could not manage to cross 70 per cent.

Talking about OTP, the plan says Air India needs to move to 75-85 per cent and to 90 per cent within two years. The DGCA data show Air India was last in February on this count. However, the OTP performance indicates reliability.

it will receive another two aircraft by end of 2012. Mumbai and Delhi would be Air India’s operational bases for the Dreamliner and the carrier has already proposed the flying schedule for these aircraft. Furthermore, to ensure excellent load factors on international routes, the airline has announced to appoint GSAs in 56 overseas markets. To streamline the fluctuating ATF prices, the airline is in process of introducing ‘Fuel pass through’, a

fare system where fares will be changed and priced as per the ATF price, informed K Swaminathan, Deputy General Manager - Corporate Communications, Air India.

employee salaries, etc. The various tranches of equity would be subject to achievement of various milestones laid down, which include achieving load factor of 75 per cent and attaining On-Time Performance (OTP) of 85-90 per cent in the next four to five years.” Adding further on GSA network in overseas markets, he said, “The board has approved the appointment proposal of GSAs in 56 countries which will help the airline expand its horizons, increase

Providing further details, Swaminathan said, “The TAP comes as a relief to the airline. Of the total ` 30,200 crore, the airline will get equity support of ` 5,500 crore in this fiscal, which will be used to clear all dues to oil companies, airports,

presence and enhance load factors on the international and domestic route. We will soon come out with five year GSA contracts’ global tenders for those who are interested to become Air India GSAs in regions like Gulf, Asia Pacific, West Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and Australia. They would have an initial contract for five years, which would be subject to review every year.” However, he denied commenting anything with regards to Air India’s Star Alliance membership.

Taking Off To streamline the fluctuating ATF prices, the airline is in process of introducing ‘Fuel pass through’, a fare system where fares will be changed and priced as per the ATF price

SWISS

‘India is our 3 most important market’ rd

With excellent connections from New Delhi and Mumbai, SWISS is planning for its network expansion to other cities. T T B U R E AU

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ccording to Arved Von Zur Muehlen, Head of Sales & Marketing – Intercontinental, Swiss International Air Lines, 2011 was the most expensive year in oil prices for aviation industry. With ATF consisting of 25-30 per cent operating costs (in India, it goes up to 50 per cent); and other global challenges, airlines have to be extremely flexible in today’s world and age. Due to the strong market growth in Middle East,

demand is high but it will all depend on our aircraft delivery.”

India and China, the airline has recorded an excellent increase in the load factors from these markets. “India is a strategic and important market for SWISS as it’s the third top market in the Intercontinental region for us. About 45 per cent of the loads in Indian routes consist of Indian passengers and there is still a lot of growth area. India is now a 12-month market but when the loads are less, we focus on nonlucrative segments like Visiting Friends and

Arved Von Zur Muehlen, Head of Sales & Marketing – Intercontinental Swiss International Air Lines

Relatives (VFR). We are studying other markets in India and will operate as and when we think the

The airline is celebrating 10 years of operations in 2012 and flies to 70 destinations worldwide with plans to further expand the route network. With an extremely flexible schedule; the airline witnessed an operating margin of 6.2 per cent in 2011. With an investment of 2.5 billion CHF; the airline will receive delivery of five A320 in 2012-14 and five A330300 in 2012-13. Elaborating on challenges faced by global carriers; Muehlen said,

“Airlines have to consistently monitor economic development in various markets as it impacts the yields and margins. Secondly, since fuel cost is not under our control, we are hatching with Lufthansa Group to help us reduce the cost in shortterm. Another issue faced by us is the weak Euro and strong Swiss Francs; as we are earning in Euros and spending in CHF. Talking about the international markets; many carriers have added frequencies to Middle East and India resulting in strong competition. Last but

not the least is public debt crisis; world is so connected today that airlines are affected directly or indirectly with global crisis.” As a solution, the airline is strengthening its position with help of its parent company – Lufthansa Group. “Everything which is customer related is managed independently with a unique Swiss identity. However, the nonpassenger side like optimising revenue, route network expansion, taxes, fuel costs, etc is done with the group,” adds Muehlen.


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AVIATION

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‘GoAir’ flies from Chennai  GoAir has added Chennai on its network with double daily services between Chennai and Mumbai and a daily service between Chennai and Pune. Chennai will also connect Port Blair with five weekly flights. The airline will also offer daily connectivity from Chennai (via Mumbai) to Delhi, Chandigarh, Patna and Ranchi.

QUICK READ The Annual Convention of ATOAI is going to be held in Assam Guwahati from October 28-31, 2012. For the first time ever, the Association will have an activity orientated convention. Where, in the first half of the day, the delegates would be involved in learning sessions and in the other half of the day, they will be experiencing outdoor activities like swimming with the dolphins, visiting tea gardens, etc.

Air charter demand surges in India While domestic airlines are battling hard for their survival, the travel industry is looking at air chartering as a promising alternative. studies the emerging opportunities in this sector. D E V I KA J E E T

allied areas such as air management services. South Africa-based chartered flight operator, SRS Aviation is looking at launching operations in India.

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t a time when the domestic airlines are fighting for their survival, air charters are now in vogue. Air charter companies are not committed to flying a fixed schedule and it is the demand factor deciding its flight schedules. Companies operating in this non-scheduled aviation space have been adding fleet, planning regional services and expanding operations. “Flying in a nonscheduled or private aircraft gives a great sense of flexibility. One can schedule the time of departures and avoid any kind of delays that may be caused while travelling in a scheduled airlines. It also provides connectivity to remote areas and places that are not connected by the scheduled airlines. It takes care of your security, privacy and confidentiality, ensuring you arrive fresh at your destination,” says Rohit Kapur,

Rohit Kapur

J G Arora

HS Duggal

President, Business Aircraft Operators Association

Chief Operating Officer Spring Travels

Managing Director Minar Travels

President, Business Aircraft Operators Association. While corporate travel continues to drive the air charter market, leisure-based travel has also started picking up. “There is a lot of demand for charter flights but the present supply does not meet the requirement. The private charters available cater to either a very small group or an extremely large one. We’ll either get an aircraft for 6 to 12 people or one for over 70 people but there are no

resources for 40 to 60 passenger flights. The shortage of mid-sized aircraft needs to be addressed,” says J G Arora, Chief Operating Officer, Spring Travels. Understanding the market demands, many Indian operators have started diversifying into this field. Minar Travels, one such operator, has decided to provide non-scheduled air transport services within India under the banner of Minar Air Charters.

“Realising the growing demand from tourists and corporate houses for dedicated air charter service, Minar Travels decided to open a new field of operation, Air Charters. We proposes to operate this charter service to places such as Agra, Khajuraho, Jaipur, and Udaipur for the tourists and to Chandigarh, Patiala and Amritsar for the corporate travel,” says HS Duggal, Managing Director, Minar Travels. A couple of foreign players are looking to enter

Looking at the market trends and growth patterns, Arora says, “The Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Tourism Ministry must encourage charter flights especially regional ones. Cities such as Ludhiana and Jalandhar don’t have daily scheduled services and therefore easy availability of charter flights to such destinations will definitely be a boon.”

Upping Numbers According to the latest statistics available with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, in 2010, there were 127 registered nonscheduled operators. This is a major jump from only 36 operators in 2000


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VoA up by 18.2%  As per the recent statistics released by the MOT during March 2012, a total number of 1287 Visa-on-Arrival (VoAs) were issued as compared to 1089 VoAs during the month of March 2011 registering a positive growth of 18.2 per cent. During the period of January-March 2012, a total number of 3905 VoAs were issued as compared to 2905 VoAs during corresponding period of 2011 . The number of VoAs issued under this Scheme during March 2012 for nationals of the ten countries were Japan (369), New Zealand (246), Indonesia (212), Singapore (195), Philippines (151), Finland (78), Vietnam (12), Cambodia (10), Luxemburg (8) and Myanmar (6). The number of VoAs issued under this Scheme, during JanuaryMarch 2012 were Japan (925), New Zealand (887), Indonesia (663), Philippines (527), Singapore (512), Finland (282), Vietnam (40), Luxemburg (24), Myanmar (23), Cambodia (20) and Laos (2).During the period January-March 2012, the maximum number of VoAs were issued at Delhi airport (2265), followed by Mumbai (914), Chennai (493) and Kolkata (233).

HOTELS

Yatra.com now dons a new look Yatra.com has recently gone through a complete revamp of the portal along with introducing new add-ons, promotions, products and services for its affiliate partners and end customers to further streamline its booking engine. T T B U R E AU

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urrently, Yatra.com deals with over 9000 agents and records over 3000 hits a day on its portal. It recorded a growth of over 70 per cent in

Dhruv Shringi CEO & Co-Founder Yatra.com

the last fiscal ending March 2011 over the previous fiscal ending March 2010. It has also roped in Bollywood actor Salman Khan as its brand ambassador who has bought

Opaque Pricing Yatra.com has been offering opaque priced products for quiet some time now which has received good response from the customers. Shringi said, “I think it’s a fantastic thing from the consumers and suppliers point of view. I think it’s been wrongly interpreted in few newspapers few days back. If you see companies like priceline.com, hotwire.com, etc, they are building globally on opaque a stake of five per cent in the company. Through the new brand ambassador, the OTA plans to penetrate smaller Indian cities (Ahmedabad, Surat, Varodara, Coimbatore, Lucknow, Kanpur, Guwahati, etc) and also increase visibility in the overseas market. Yatra.com also recently launched a ‘Hold Your

fares. Opaque fares allow a supplier like a hotel or an airline to offload excess inventory without diluting their brand, so it’s a fantastic value proposition for them. Unfortunately what has happened is, some of the opaque fares (during the media reports) were of Kingfisher and those flights have got cancelled. The two factors have combined together which is absolutely incorrect.

I think it’s just not the right way of looking at it. One needs to look at both of them in isolation, one is the consumer benefit, we have got number of customer complains, when we modified or switch off opaque fares option for few days. We would work actively with our airline partners to find a solution which is mutually acceptable to them and work for the end-customers.”

Booking' facility for customers on international flights. This facility enables customers to choose their flights in the travel-planning stage and make payments when their travel plans are confirmed.

of technology investment happening on technology front to ensure that the agents have a fantastic platform to do profitable business with us. We are expanding our data-base of sub-agents this year as it’s not about replacing the old ones with new ones; it’s about working together for a longterm business prospect. We

Talking to , Dhruv Shringi, CEO & Co-Founder, Yatra.com said, “There’s a lot

will soon launch the EMI holiday product for end consumers which will also be available on B2B level for our sub-agent network.” In a move to attract frequent travellers, the OTA has lately launched a unique holiday-cum-shopping card in partnership with SBI Cards. Benefits of the card includes attractive discounts across Yatra.com travel and holiday packages; exclusive preview of Yatra.com’s best deals; reward point conversion against Yatra.com holiday vouchers etc.

Endorsing brand Yatra ropes in Salman Khan as brand ambassador to increase brand recall value This initiative will help it in penetrating into small Indian cities and overseas market


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HOTELS

‘Global Hotel Brand’ concept ‘Gen Y’ Park Inn by Radisson Worldhotels will soon open its first branded hotel Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has signed an agreement in India with ten more in the pipeline by 2014. with Bestech Group for developing 49 ‘new generation’ gives details on the future strategies of the Group. Park Inn by Radisson across North and Central India. A N I TA J A I N

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fter affiliating with 10 properties across the country, Worldhotels have decided to introduce its first co-branded property under the Global Hotel Brand concept in India. The global brand license programme offers services like marketing, training, sales, revenue management, etc, enabling hotel owners to develop and manage their hotels in profitable and sustainable way. It has already tied up with an upcoming property with 72 keys in Chandigarh (Worldhotel Turquoise Chandigarh) which will be opened in August this year. Priced at about ` 5000 a night, the upscale four-star property will also have two restaurants, a night club, spa, business centre and swimming pool. Worldhotels is in talks with other hotel owners in cities like Pune, Hyderabad, Goa, Jaipur, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Coimbatore for

Roland Jegge Vice President – Asia Pacific Worldhotels

similar deals. Understanding the potential of the Indian market, Worldhotels is in process of developing ten more hotels with a mix of affiliate and co-branded properties by 2014 with a total inventory of over 2000 rooms. Launched in 2011, the company has its co-branded properties in Almaty, Hamburg, Munich, Hague, Wuxi, Bali and Makati. Divulging company’s plans for the Indian market, Roland Jegge, Vice President

– Asia Pacific, Worldhotels said, “To identify the gap between ownership and franchise model, Worldhotels introduced the Global Hotel Brand concept where the owners have the freedom to take decisions while we will help the property by driving business, managing revenue and marketing it through our state-of-the-art distribution channel, global marketing campaigns and partnering with the travel agents in local markets. In return, we will charge a certain percentage of overall revenue from the property. This model is well accepted in global market as we intend to develop and support over 50 hotels under the Worldhotel brand by end of 2014 out of which about ten will be in India.” With this targeted expansion, India is likely to contribute 5 per cent to Worldhotels’ global sales by 2014, compared to about two per cent at present.

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arlson Rezidor Hotel Group has signed an agreement with Bestech Group for developing 49 Park Inn by Radisson Hotels across North and Central India. This was revealed by Simon Barlow, President - Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. Highlighting the importance of India, Barlow said, “India is also the first market to introduce the Generation Y brand. This shows our confidence in the market. We aim to capture the emerging Gen Y traveller segment with this new brand.” India’s middle class is expected to grow from 170 million in 2010 to close to 600 million by 2025. This growing middle class and investments in infrastructure will spur domestic travel and demand for affordable and yet modern accommodation, he added.

Simon Barlow

K B Kachru

President - Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

Executive Vice President, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

Out of the 49 properties, the first two hotels will come up in Sector 88 Gurgaon and Mohali in Chandigarh. To develop these two properties, Carlson Rezidor and Bestech will have a joint venture to invest $42 million. For the first time, Carlson Rezidor is investing in developing these properties along with Bestech, Barlow informed. While the Gurgaon property, part of a mix-use development, will have 200 keys, the

Chandigarh Hotel, again part of a mix-use property, will have 160 keys. Both these properties are expected to be operational by late 2015. KB Kachru, Executive Vice President, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group confirmed, “We jointly believe that Park Inn by Radisson provides an effective and compelling investment opportunity for the Indian hotel property market.”


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Riding high on eco-friendly certification With the top-rated eco-friendly certification for its property in Mumbai, Concept Hospitality is getting further strong in eco-hospitality business… T T B U R E AU

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umbai-based Concept Hospitality, a hotel management group recently bagged a first class ecofriendly hotel award for its five-star ecotel hotel in Mumbai – Meluha The Fern, part of Fern Hotels & Resorts.

Param Kannampilly Chairman Concept Hospitality

Currently operating and managing 16 properties across India, the group will be opening new properties in Chandigarh, Chennai, Jaipur, Mumbai, Tejpur, Rajkot and Varodara this year and will have presence in Ahmedabad and Cochin by next year. All the properties will be partially

Consolidating potential markets  To consolidate potential hospitality markets in India, the group is introducing properties in various categories in the same city. For instance, it plans to have five properties in Chennai by 2015. Talking about Mumbai, the company manages 141 rooms Meluha – The Fern (five star) in Powai; 36 rooms Rodas (three star hotel) in Powai; 35 rooms Grand Residency (boutique hotel) in Bandra. Another 75-room hotel is currently in the final stages of completion in Chembur under The Fern brand (upscale property) and one more in Guregaon to be operational by 2014.

or completely following the environment friendly practices depending on the investment brackets. The group intends to manage and operate over 30 properties by 2015. All the developing properties are undertaking eco-

friendly practices either partially or completely depending on the investment bracket. Conservation of water, solid waste management and reduction of energy use are low risk investment initiatives that ensure high returns as the savings are sig-

nificant, informs Param Kannampilly, Chairman, Concept Hospitality. Talking to about the benefits of managing eco-friendly properties, Kannampilly said, “We want to position our brand The

Fern as India’s leading environmentally sensitive hotel brand. In fact, hotel industry should look at ecotel hotels as a sustainable business prospective to overcome ‘a constant feeling of crises’ in hospitality sector. I agree the return on invest-

ment in most cases varies from a year to ten years but the savings are sizeable. The operational expenses are immensely reduced for properties implementing green initiatives. While the capital expenses will be relatively higher, the savings on

a monthly basis on operational costs help boost the bottom line. Furthermore, the investment should not be just limited to conserving the resources but educating all the stakeholders, from employees to guests and suppliers.


28 TRAVTALK

MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

ANALYSIS

Special Tourism Draws From religious and jazz festivals, to shopping bonanzas, art extravaganzas, sports events and cultural shows, there’s always something special on, somewhere in the world. And National Tourism Boards are successfully harnessing these as special bonuses to attract foreign visitors, promising them greater value from their visits. I N D E R RA J A H LU WA L I A

Loy Kratong

Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival

The Volkswagen Prague Marathon

Runjuan Tongrut, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand, feels special events are always welcomed by visitors to a country, and Thailand offers these in plenty. Celebrated in Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai as the traditional New Year's Day from April 13-15, Songkran provides a wonderful insight into Thai culture. In Bangkok, traditional celebrations are held near the Grand Palace, with bathing of the sacred Phra Buddha Sihing image. A Miss Songkran contest is held in the Wisutkasat area. Among Thailand’s most popular and romantic traditional festivals, Loy Kratong or the 'festival of light‘ provides visitors a special experience. In Bangkok, people flock to the

Hanneli Slabber, Country Head, South African Tourism, feels South African festivals are an excellent way to learn about the country’s vibrant culture. With festivals aimed at getting entire families together, they form an excellent combination to make the entire family happy.

Radka Neumannova, Director, Czech Tourist Authority –India, feels there’s plenty going on in the Czech Republic to ensure visitors get greater value for money. Admire the local sights and stay fit in the bargain! The Volkswagen Prague Marathon course is one of the most attractive in the world, providing a chance to run along the Vltava and through the heart of this medieval city. A three-day celebration of Czech food with a tradition going way back, the Prague Food Festival brings together the best chefs and drinks producers. One gets the chance to admire Prague’s beauty and romance, and enjoy the best food the country has to offer. One can try Czech and

Runjuan Tongrut Director Tourism Authority of Thailand

banks of the Chao Phraya River to float their kratongs. The most interesting are the Loy Kratong celebrations held in Chiang Mai. On the night of Loy Kratong, there's a parade of giant kratongs. Loy Kratong in Chiang Mai has the added feature of a parallel festival called Yi Peng, celebrated by launching hot air balloons made of rice paper into the night sky.

Offering food lovers and sporting enthusiasts family-fun activities, the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival is a special treat. Oyster-eating, oyster-shucking, oyster farm tours, oyster recipe challenges, and gourmet oyster-themed dinners happen throughout the festival. Besides oysters, the festival hosts 2 topnotch competitive sporting events – the Pick n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Cycle Tour and the Pick n Pay Cape

Hanneli Slabber, Country Head, South African Tourism

Times Knysna Marathon. Held over the Easter weekend every year in Cape Town, The Two Oceans Marathon, is popular with locals and visitors alike. Ranked No 4 in the world, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival’s winning formula of bringing more than 40 International and local artists has made it the most prestigious event on the African continent.

Radka Neumannova, Director, Czech Tourist Authority –India

more exotic specialities from the country’s most interesting restaurants listed in the publication called Maurer‘s Grand Restaurant Selection. One can choose from Czech, French, Belgian, Italian, Spanish and Japanese cuisines, and look forward to a demonstration of the barman’s art, guided wine-tasting sessions etc.

Montreux Jazz Festival Ritu Sharma, Switzerland Tourism, is upbeat about Switzerland’s festivals which are huge tourist draws. Keeping its finger on the pulse of music , the Montreux Jazz Festival allows music journalists, festival friends and programme managers to exchange their views about the latest exhilarating concert experiences or new and exciting discoveries on montreux-

jazz.com. In addition, the music blog brings together all the major links to the various activities of the Festival, and thereby serves as a virtual signpost in the “Montreux Jazz Universe”. The world's premier international art show for modern and contemporary works, Art Basel features nearly 300 leading galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia

Ritu Sharma Switzerland Tourism

and Africa, with over 2,500 artists represented in the show's multiple sections.

Istanbul Shopping Festival

Ozgur Ayturk, Culture & Tourism Counsellor Turkish Embassy

Ozgur Ayturk, Culture & Tourism Counsellor, Turkish Embassy, feels special events further enhance special destinations like Turkey. Against the setting of Istanbul's historical and cultural assets, Istanbul Shopping Fest, is bringing shopping and fun together again. Thousands of tulips bloom all around

Istanbul in spring, and in April a riot of flowers takes over Emirgan Park with the annual Tulip Festival. Pitting man against nature in a tough geographical and climatic conditions, the Run Fire Cappadocia Marathon is visited by thousands of tourists every year due to its history and natural beauty.

Colours of Malaysia Chandra Sehgaran, Deputy Director, Tourism Malaysia, feels a destination’s tourist success depends on its versatility and ability to get tourists’ attention and interest. In this scheme of things, special events play a significant role and greatly enhance the destination’s status. Colours of Malaysia is a popular event and great tourist – draw, with its grand parade

being a national highlight. As such, it has been prominently factored into Tourism Malaysia’s marketing and promotions campaigns, and is centrally featured in several tour packages. Tourists greatly enjoy the feast of cultural offerings on display at the event. Also significant, are the annual Mega Sales that involve a host of shopping establishments, and enable

Chandra Sehgaran Deputy Director,Tourism Malaysia

visitors to buy quality merchandise at attractive, discounted prices.


ASSOCIATIONS

MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

29

Four pillars for Adventure Tourism Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) has adopted a new vision and mission focusing on ethics, safety, sustainability and standard operating procedures. T T B U R E AU

A

dventure tourism plays a significant role in the growth of tourism in India. Shouldering greater responsibility, ATOAI conducted a workshop to ensure safe and honorable adventure tourism practices in the country. The Association highlighted four important factors, ethics, safety, sustainability and standard operating procedures, and will introduce them as a new mission for ATOAI. Discussing this vision Tejbir Singh Anand,

Tejbir Singh Anand President ATOAI

We have compiled our thoughts and have addressed issues pertaining to safety, standard operating procedures, ethics and sustainable tourism vis-à-vis adventure travel President, ATOAI, says, “This is a historic move and first of its kind by a national association in India. We have compiled our thoughts together and have specifically addressed issues pertaining to safety, standard operating procedures, ethics and sustainable tourism visà-vis adventure travel. We have prepared a document encompassing safety guidelines for various adventure activities, sustainable tourism criteria for India as applicable to adventure tourism, ethics, and standard operating procedures for the adventure fraternity.” Anand Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, welcomed the move of ATOAI for coming up with a useful and instructive work-

shop and offered to extend full support in promotion and regulation of these safety guidelines in the country. The safety guidelines were highlighted under four categories thus constituting

the four pillars for the adventure fraternity.

Ethics To facilitate the delivery of responsible and sustainable adventure travel experience, the association has worked out a Code of Ethics for its

members to conduct their business. This will help the industry guide the traveler with honesty and integrity.

Safety Adventure activities involve risks that need to be managed by the operators.

This can be achieved through careful supervision, training, instructions, and information. “As the names suggest, we discussed basic safety standards for each activity. The idea is to lay down basic minimum standards for tour operators

Anand Kumar Joint Secretary Ministry of Tourism, Government of India

to take reasonable practicable measures to ensure safety of the travellers. Contd. on page 47 


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VISA

MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

Interview relief for US visa applicants The new scheme that exempts interviews for some categories of Indian applicants who are applying for US visas will boost outbound travel to US even more… T T B U R E AU

A

part of the larger plan to boost business and tourism between the US and India, the US has recently unveiled a new initiative that exempts interviews for some categories of Indian applicants who are applying for the US visas. Under the new programme, Indian applicants who are renewing fullvalidity visas, if the visa is

still valid or expired within 48 hours, will be exempted from personal interviews by the US consular officer. The categories of Indian applicants who qualify for the interview waiver under the new scheme includes business/tourism, transit and crew members. The new scheme that was unveiled in the third week of March by US Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs

Nonimmigrant Visa Processing Fees Type of Visa

Previous Fee

New Fee

Tourist, Business, Transit, Crew Member, Student, Exchange Visitor, and Journalist visas

$140

$160

Petition-Based visas (H,L,O,P,Q, and R)

$150

$190

Treaty Investor and Trader visas (E)

$390

$270

Fiance(e) visas (k)

$350

$240

Border Crossing Cards (age 15 and older)

$140

$160

$14

$15

Border Crossing Cards (under age 15)

JVAC open on Saturdays  Operational since April 2, the Japan Visa Application Centre (JVAC) managed by VFS Global will process all general visa applications on behalf of the Japanese Embassy. The clients can now approach the new centre even on Saturdays. Speaking about the development, Aya Yoshida, Counsellor, Embassy of Japan in Delhi said except for official Diplomatic Visas and Emergency Visas, all other general visa applications will now be routed through this outsourced agency on behalf of the Japanese Embassy. Japan Consulate in Delhi processed around 12,000 visas last year, she informed. Apart from Delhi,

Japan has consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru. However, this tie up is limited to the Delhi consulate. Explaining the new development, Vishal Jairath, Regional Head South Asia, VFS Global revealed, “This is an extension of VFS’ association with the Government of Japan. VFS Global has been associated with the Embassy of Japan in Thailand since 2010 and provides similar services in Bangkok and parts of Thailand.” Throwing light on the new procedure, Jairath explained, “VFS Global will accept and process applications for Japan visas from applicants residing in India.

Janice L. Jacobs during her India visit is expected to boost outbound travel to US even more. Talking about the benefits of this scheme for the travel industry in India, the US Embassy Consular Section reveals, “The travel community has responded positively. We encourage travel agents to recommend the programme to applicants who qualify for the same.” The number of applicants using the interview waiver programme is growing every day, it informs. Commenting on the development, the US Embassy Consular Section says, “This initiative is one of the many steps the Department of State is taking to meet increased visa demand in India. In 2011, consular officers in India processed more than 670,000

Immigrant Visa Processing Fees Type of Visa

Previous Fee

New Fee

Immediate Relative and Family Preference Applications

$330

$230

Employment-Based Applications

$720

$405

Other Immigrant Visa Applications

$305

$220

Diversity Visa Programme Fee

$440

$330

Determining Returning Resident Status

$380

$275

This is effective April 13, 2012

non-immigrant visa applications, an increase of more than 11 per cent over the previous year.” The US Embassy is now anticipating non-immigrant visa demand to increase over the next ten years. It has also increased consulate staffing by 60 per cent in the last six years and has invested more than $100 million to update and expand consular facilities. In 2009, it opened a Consulate General

Source: US Department of State

in Hyderabad, and in 2011, moved into a new, state-ofthe-art consulate in Mumbai. Presently, applicants wait less than ten days for visa interview appointments, spend less than one hour at our consular facilities, and in more than 97 per cent of cases, receive their visas within 24 hours. Regarding the applicable visa fee for the new programme, the Embassy states, “The US Department of State is required to recover, as far

as possible, the cost of processing visas through the collection of application fees. For a number of reasons, the current fees no longer cover the actual cost of processing nonimmigrant visas. The non-immigrant visa fee increase will support the addition and expansion of overseas facilities, as well as additional staffing required to meet the increased visa demand.” Although most categories of non-immigrant visa processing fees will increase, the fee for E visas (treaty-traders and treatyinvestors) and K visas (for fiancé(e)s of US citizens) will decrease. Because of a reallocation of costs associated with immigrant visas, all categories of immigrant visa processing fees will decrease. The fees for employmentbased applications have also decreased.

A smart move by Goa goverment Contd. from page 6 

this reduction as a ‘smart move’, which will keep the economy vibrant even during the off-season. Market estimates reveal that around 1,500 medium and big hotels will gain from the incentives. Expecting a high occupancy this off-season, D’Souza reveals, “Last year’s off-season was blessed with the long weekends, which saved the industry from facing losses. The average occupancy was around 75 per cent during weekends and approximately 60 per cent during the week days. We expect this off-season to be as good as last year.” There are high chances that occupancy this off-season

would even surpass the last year occupancy, he hopes. Guitry Velho, General Manager, The Heritage Village Club, Goa asserts the move will help bring in more domestic tourists this off-season. “In the summer months, the hotels are forced to drop prices and become more competitive to cater to the domestic and MICE market. This reduction in tax is a welcome step and will help hotels promote the summer months aggressively and thereby, facilitate the cash flow of the hotels during these months.” From May to September in the last financial year, The Heritage Village Club, Goa achieved a healthy occupancy of approximately 52 per

cent. This year the hotel forecasts a surge of about 10-12 per cent in the domestic market, which will increase occupancy to 62-64 per cent.

business via online marketing. Going forward, this offseason, we will be aggressively promoting our property through this medium,” he added.

Anurag Jain, Director –Sales, Best Western Devasthali, Goa feels, “We are expecting a good offseason this year but this is not due to the recent tax discount. Our property is more in the budget category and hence, the luxury tax was never that high for our hotel.” The hotel that witnesses an average of 30 per cent occupancy during the off-season is planning to cash in on the online marketing system for drawing more travellers. “We get almost 90 per cent of our

Priti Chand, VP Corporate Communications, Zuri Group Global opines, “For the first time, the government has tried this out. It is a new concept for us too. We are quite certain that it will make some difference in occupancies during the off season. From what we can foresee, there should be 10 per cent increase in occupancy.” According to Chand, the occupancy in The Zuri White Sands, Goa Resort & Casino is around 70 per cent on average during the off season.


NTO

A multi-million pound campaign VisitBritain had recently launched its multi-million pound ‘GREAT Britain– You’re Invited’ campaign, in which they plan to work with the travel trade partners in India to reach out to the Indian outbound traveller… T T B U R E AU

I

n the second phase of the multi-million pound ‘GREAT Britain – You’re Invited’ campaign, VisitBritain looks forward to work closely with the key stakeholders in the Indian outbound segment. As per Paramjit Bawa, Regional Manager– India & Middle East, the 2012 inbound visitor forecast suggests that the numbers of visits expected next year will remain at the same level as that of 2011. This would see 30.7 million overseas visitor arrivals in

Paramjit Bawa Regional Manager– India & Middle East, VisitBritain

2012, spending £17.6bn. A similar trend can be expected for visitors from India.” In fact, VisitBritain had recently launched its multimillion pound ‘GREAT Britain– You’re Invited’ campaign in several markets around the world. The first phase of this strategic campaign was an image-building and branding exercise to raise the profile of Britain and create aspiration to explore its various attractions. “In the second phase, we plan to incorporate some tactical offers in the form of packages, itineraries, etc. This we plan to do by working with the travel trade partners to reach out to the Indian outbound traveller. We will use a variety of media channels to implement this,” said Bawa. “Certainly, this is also a key part of our engagement with the travel trade partners. We held several of these in 2011/12 including our 2-city India Sales Mission last February. This process will continue in tier 1 and 2 cities

Highlights VisitBritain had recently launched its multi-million pound ‘GREAT Britain– You’re Invited’ campaign in several markets around the world

across India. These will be conducted in partnership with key UK tourism partners such as London & Partners, Manchester, etc and with the support of the Associations (TAAI, TAFI, and others),” he added. For the uninitiated,

more than 120,000 room nights at more than 200 hotels will now be available to visitors to London this summer from 5 star to budget hotels, and of course, home stays and B&Bs as well. Bawa added that The London

Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has confirmed that approximately 20 per cent of the hotel room nights it had reserved in London will be returned to the hotels.

MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

33

Number of Australian tourists to India up by 29% India is fast emerging  as a favourite travel destination for Australians with a 29 per cent surge in tourists from Australia to the country, according to official figures. According to a report, the latest radical reshaping of Australian tourist and business travel has put India at 10th most visited destination with 17,400 visits a month which was mere 4,000 tourists ten years ago. Country's Bureau of

Statistics figures have disclosed that in February this year more Australians visited China or India than the conventional UK. Australia has 47,000 visitors a month from China (and a further 15,000 from Hong Kong), well in excess of the 40,000 that come from the US and close to the 49,000 who come from Britain. China was on track to replace UK as the biggest source of visitors to Australia after New Zealand.


34 TRAVTALK

MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

FAMILY ALBUM

Macau promotes its new attractions Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) organised a trade workshop in Mumbai on April 11 and in Delhi on April 13 respectively. Macau invited the travel trade to showcase its new attractions and promote its new slogan - ‘Touching Moments Experience Macau’.

DELHI

MUMBAI


36 TRAVTALK

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FAMILY ALBUM

Presenting the Great Indian Travel Bazaar In its fifth edition, the Great Indian Travel Bazaar (GITB 2012) held from April 15 to 17, 2012 set many new benchmarks in line with the increasing focus in the inbound sector in India. Over 9,000 B2B meetings that were conducted at the event simply reflects the enthusiasm and confidence stakeholders in India and overseas have on the Indian market.


38 TRAVTALK

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FAMILY ALBUM

Busy networking & building relationships


40 TRAVTALK

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FAMILY ALBUM

Over 9,000 B2B meetings conducted

Contd. on page 60 


42 TRAVTALK

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EXHIBITIONS

GITB sets new benchmarks in 2012 Contd. from page 7 

Director – Le Passage to India is of the opinion that the foreign buyers don’t get much free time. It will be good if these foreign buyers are given more free time on day two prior to the start of the various fam trips and be allowed to witness more of

R V Kanoria

Jyotsna Suri

FICCI President

Chairperson FICCI Tourism Committee

the leading travel mart largely rests on the number of B2B meeting,” said Kak. “The 2013 edition of GITB will be held from April 14-16, 2013,” she added. As per the recent statistics, the participants at the GITB set a new record with an increase of over 1693 B2B meets, registering a growth of over 23 per cent. “9043 B2B meetings stand testimony to the growing significance of the GITB platform and interest being shown by the stakeholders in the global travel business to create business opportunities in

India. On first day, 4377 B2B meetings were held and on second day, 4666 B2B meetings were held at GITB 2012,” said Sharma. Going forward, the stakeholders are inclined to undertake all possible measures to take the show to the next level. As per Suri, “We will now brainstorm on how to take the show to the next higher level.” The exhibitors and foreign buyers also came forward to share their experiences and feedback on GITB 2012. Here, Deepak Bhatnagar, Executive

like to meet even more number of overseas and Indian tour operators.” Echoing similar views, Vijay Prasad, Business HeadMarketing, BRYS Hotels said, “Hotels will always cherish a platform like this, as they

Similarly, Klaus Rastatter, Owner, Ikarus Reisen, said, “GITB is a good platform to work out with the stakeholders in the Indian travel business. We are here to build more products and itineraries that take us beyond Rajasthan, Golden Triangle packages and help explore travel attraction in other parts of India like southern and western regions.” This year, GITB also saw release of two knowledge reports titled, Emerging Dimensions: New Products and Indigenous Tourism and Diverse Beliefs: Tourism of

Dipak Deva

SanJeet

Co-Chairperson FICCI Tourism Committee

Co-Chairperson FICCI Tourism Committee

the host destination and networking opportunities. Elated at having met both the scheduled and the unscheduled buyers, Abilash Kumar, Associate Head Sales, Travel Trade, said “We are happy that we ended up meeting more travel partners than scheduled. In the next edition, we will

which showed that institutional innovation shall hold key to the development of an appropriate framework for the development of this tourism segment and the current policies need to be based on successful models of indigenous tourism running in the country. “Marketing and Promotion and Capacity building are the other two critical pillars to support development of indigenous tourism in the country. A better marketing strategy might be useful to assimilate the ethos into traditional tourism products as New Zealand has done in

need to be visible as much as possible. Addition to the number of tour operators will really create an added advantage for us to participate in this show and create lucrative business opportunities.” The foreign tour operators also looked pleased with organisers. John Forsyth, General Manager, Asia Travel Experts based out of Gold Coast said,” We keep frequenting all the leading shows like ITB and WTM. We are pleased to be in India, which is a growing market. I would suggest that the organisers, who are enthusiastic and efficient, should collect refundable

Deepak Bhatnagar

Abilash Kumar

Executive Director Le Passage to India

Associate Head Sales Travel Trade

Faith (Religious tourism gains ground) through partnership between Yes Bank and FICCI. According to the research report, development of Indigenous Tourism is crit-

case of certain adventure activities. Although capacity building programmes are conducted across various aspects of the tourism and hospitality sector, the quality of training

John Forsyth

Klaus Rastatter

Vijay Prasad

General Manager Asia Travel Experts

Owner Ikarus Reisen

Business Head Marketing BRYS Hotels

deposits at the time of registration, so that on the spot hassles of deposits and refunds are avoided. People here are serious stakeholders and it will not affect them, or the show.”

ical to support the development of other niche tourism segments. Here, Yes Bank and FICCI presented a 10-point roadmap on developing Indigenous Tourism in India,

resources and infrastructure needs to get to the next level to churn out a competitive workforce,” highlighted the 10 point roadmap.

PATA Annual Conference 2012  Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhyiddin Bin Mohd. Yassin, the Deputy Prime Minister, Malaysia, declared the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s (PATA) 2012 Annual Conference on April 21, at The Royale Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He joined Hiran Cooray, Chairman, PATA and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Prime Minister, Malaysia in striking

the drums to open the conference. In his address, he reminded that expectations for global tourism arrivals are 1 billion for 2012 and 1.8 billion for 2013. He suggested that Asia will have the largest growth due to the unique sights that AsiaPacific nations have to offer. He appealed for country tourism officials to be

responsive to the needs of the private industry and to smooth border facilities and ease visa processing while confirming that Malaysia is ready to take a lead in this endeavour. The Deputy PM said Malaysia recognises tourism as one of its 12 main economic pillars. Malaysia is expecting a 45 per cent growth in tourism over the next few years.


44 TRAVTALK

EXHIBITIONS

MAY 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

ITB touches another milestone Calling the international tourism as one of the most exciting sectors, Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, UNWTO, said on the sidelines of ITB, “All indicators point to the continued growth of tourism in 2012. ITB has been a fantastic opportunity to come together and see how to best harness this growth for economic well being and job creation. R UPALI N ARASIMHAN

T

he closing report of the 46th ITB stated that the show witnessed an overwhelming upsurge in trade visitors and exhibiting partners. Christian Göke, Chief Operating Officer, Messe Berlin said that increased participation created an outstanding ‘climate for

echoes Malhotra’s views that India inbound will move away from the conventional markets. “The key source markets for India will move away from the conventional UK and Western Europe to emerging economies like Russia and China,” he said. Sanjay Basu, Managing Director, Far Horizon said that the country is witnessing a stable growth in inbound

leisure travel is not buoyant. Travellers who used to stay in luxury hotels are opting for value for money. With more international hotel brands making its way into India, a traveller is also spoilt for choice.” H K Duggal, Managing Director, Minar Travels, however sees a very positive outlook for India. “Trends are very encouraging and the

India has its own USP at ITB Talking about India's participation at the ITB David Ruetz, said, "India is the only country that has its own hall and it maintains a strong presence at ITB Berlin. Demand from Indian exhibitors exceeds the available floor space at ITB Berlin. We are greatly looking forward to 2014 when we will have a new display hall and be able to offer additional floor space. The recession has not negatively impacted Indian exhibitors at ITB Berlin. Indeed, Asia was the look for value for money destinations like Goa and Kerala,” he said.

Pronab Sarkar

Samil Malhotra

Sanjoy Pasricha

Managing Director Swagatam Tours

Vice President-Sales & Marketing Lalit Hotels

Vice President-Sales & Marketing Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts

efficient creation of new business contacts.’ Closer home the optimism was more cautious and measured. Talking about the emerging trends that will govern the inbound traffic into India, Pronab Sarkar, Managing Director, Swagatam Tours said, “Inbound Tourism is living through its toughest times due to the slow economic growth in our biggest source markets- Europe and the US. There is however some movement from the Far East but these are short holiday packages.” Samil Malhotra, Vice President-Sales & Marketing, Lalit Hotels is of the opinion that it is the new world that is now going to be our biggest source markets. “Countries of the Latin American continent and from the South East Asian region are showing a lot of promise. In fact, travel is directly proportional to a country’s economic performance and largely unconventional markets are growing at a rapid speed. For example, the BRICS country nationals are travelling frequently-initially for business but eventually will turn leisure travellers. While Russia and South Africa are emerging markets, China is still restricted largely to business travel,” said Malhotra. Sanjoy Pasricha, Vice President-Sales & Marketing Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts feels that it will be the CIS countries that will lead the transition and

numbers. While countries like Portugal, Spain, Greece and the UK are slowing down, there are newer markets like Russia, China, Scandinavia, Canada and Latin America filling in the gap.

numbers too are gradually increasing. The Incredible India campaign has paid dividends. We would very easily be able to touch the 12 million mark by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan.”

The potential of the Indian inbound is very strong, said Debashish Bhowmik, Senior Vice President, Clarks Group. “The growth potential in the short as well as long term looks very promising. According to the WTTC India report, 200918 are the high growth years for India and the inbound will grow at a rate of 9.8%. In fact we can already see the business improving.”

Bharat Atree, Managing Director, Caper Travels is of the opinion that India traditionally has been a cultural destination but now is being recognised for health tourism, medical as well as spiritual tourism. “Emergence of Ayurveda wellness centres, spas, and yoga schools has caught the fancy of the world and India should capitalise from this trend.”

Jasmin Saini, HeadTravel Industry Sales &

Pasricha is also of the opinion that there has been a shift in the booking patterns

Echoing Pasricha’s point of view is Neeta Gupta, Global Head- Sales & Marketing Boutique Hotels Devigarh Resorts who feels

region least affected by the recession. We are also registering growing demand from Indonesia, next year’s partner country at ITB Berlin. are affecting tourism adversely. The issues range from high and erratic taxation to visa and inadequate infrastructure. Basu feels that the taxation levels are ludicrous. “Today India is in vogue but what is holding us back is our destination’s

Duggal too is of the opinion that India is becoming an

Bharat Atree

Neeta Gupta

Managing Director Minar Travels

Managing Director Caper Travels

Global Head- Sales & Marketing Boutique Hotels

that while the booking lead time earlier was between three months to a year, now it has been reduced to a couple of weeks. “The current trend therefore is not a true indicator of the inbound sce-

Debashish Bhowmik

Jasmin Saini

Managing Director Far Horizon

Senior Vice President Clarks Group

Head-Travel Industry Sales & Marketing, ITC Hotels

in the Western world. “Booking lead time to India has become very short. Coupled with that the length of stay of travellers has been reduced. An average holiday that lasted two/three weeks had been reduced to a week. Also holiday goers will now

Head ITB Berlin

H S Duggal

Sanjay Basu

Marketing, ITC Hotels, ITC Hotels, though is not gung ho about the present state of the inbound industry. “Inbound is gradually limping back to normal since most of the economies are taking time to recover. While the number of foreign arrivals may be rising,

David Ruetz

Saini cites the unsafe tag of our cities as a major negative as compared to our Asian competitors. “Also India suffers from poor connectivity and inadequate infrastructure when compared with other Asian cities. We lack the kind of MICE facilities that most of the Asian cities have had for a long time now.” Atree feels that pricing along with lack of basic civic infrastructure are the main areas that India is lagging behind. These problems do not make the country appear tourist friendly. “We lack basic infrastructure like good roads, quality and clean trains, clear signage at public places as well as monuments. Also, our tax structures are unreasonable.” Fluctuating domestic airfares, feels Sarkar is costing India dear.

nario or how the year will pan out.” She too feels that tourism from the key markets like Italy, Spain, and UK has got affected but has been replaced by new markets. India Inc however needs to address issues that

inability to carry large numbers. India has a total of 82,000 star categories room while an island of Manhattan also has 78,000 rooms. Our carrying capacity is very low,” said Basu. Gupta too feels that lack of good infrastructure, high taxation are the real dampeners when compared to the rest of the Asian economies. Malhotra has a very interesting explanation to this. “I have a theory. The further one travels to East from Europe, the standards of service keep improving. The improvement is visible beyond Turkey and the standards rise the further one travels to East. Indian service levels are higher than what is available in the Western world but it is the Far East that is extremely service oriented. In India, luxury comes at a price, but in the South East Asian countries the service standards are so high that luxury is not missed. It is truly affordable luxury. This is where we are lagging behind.”

expensive destination with taxes going up each year. He feels that tourism is a big employment generator and must be given its due importance. Sarkar feels that India needs to focus on the visa issues. When compared to other Asian countries, getting visas to travel to India takes excessively long. Basu said that India is making itself inaccessible by its current visa policies. “We are shooting ourselves in our foot and there is general cry of distress. The administrative machinery must address th\e issue.” Bhoumik blames erratic taxation as well as the industry mind set for its problems. “If we only concentrate on our bottom line, then we will be able to achieve very little. Today everybody wants to travel yet they want to save money. This does not mean that they will let the quality be compromised. They want the same facilities at an affordable price. India has not been very successful in this.”


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Pocket-friendly stay@ Swiss Youth Hostels Swiss Youth Hostels appoints Maison de Voyage as their new distribution partner in India. Offering 52 budget accommodation facilities, the range extends from the romantic castle hostels to the stylish abode in a superb villa. T T B U R E AU

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ounded in 1924, Zurichbased Swiss Youth Hostels has appointed Mumbai-based Maison de Voyage as their sales distribution partner in India. Offering 52 budget accommodation facilities for families, groups, youth and individuals, the range extends from the romantic castle hostels to the stylish abode in a

Faisal Siddiqui Director Maison de Voyage

More than a sales target, we intend on achieving success in educating our travel partners and travellers so that they open up to the idea of hostels superb villa to the ideally located stylish ‘Youth Palace’. The accommodation varies from three different categories – Simple, Classic and Top to meet the varying needs for comfort and budget of the guests. After being appointed as a partner for Swiss Youth Hostels, Maison de Voyage is taking on the onus to first educate both the trade and the travellers about hostel accom-

Quality Guarantee All Swiss Youth Hostels bear the quality seal of approval from Swiss Tourism plus the seal of quality from Hostelling International Quality System. All youth hostels are certified with the EUEcolabel and the Ibex label. They also attach importance to the trust, safety and security of their guest and offer value for money accommodations with no compromise on quality.

modation before setting any sales target for the year. Talking about the concept of Swiss Youth Hostels and strategy to spread the brand awareness in India, Faisal Siddiqui, Director, Maison de Voyage said,

“Hostels is a concept that is frowned upon by us in India. However, we have not realised how advanced and up-to-date the facilities have become at hostel accommodations. One of the biggest value propositions for the Indian travellers would be

experiencing a new kind of holiday where they receive similar facilities like hotel, that too, at a budgeted cost.” Adding further, Siddiqui said, “More than a sales target, we intend on achieving success in educating our travel

partners and travellers so that they open up to the idea of hostels. It is important that we get rid of the myth that a hostel equates to only dormitories as Swiss Youth Hostels have a lot to offer ranging from double rooms to family rooms. We would advertise in the trade

magazines and regular newspapers, send mailers and participate in roadshows to reach out to all corners of our country. In this fiscal year, we would want to target mainly the younger generation as they are willing to experiment a lot more.”


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Tasting Turkish delights

A new mission for ATOAI

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey and Le Meridian, along with Turkish Airlines, inaugurated a Turkish food festival in New Delhi. Turkish cuisine is rich and delightful and is renowned as one of the oldest and finest cuisines in the world. Present at the event was Burak Akcapar, Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, Embassy of the Republic of Turkey along with members of the travel fraternity.

This will help us increase the safety rate and reduce the accident rate,” explains Anand.

Contd. from page 29 

Standard Procedure

Operating

This information describes how adventure tour operators will use operational

Ajeet Bajaj Chairman, 4 pillar workshop and immediate past president, ATOAI

systems on a daily basis. This will also help bring consistency to the actions of a team.

Sustainability Sustainable tourism is about refocusing and adapting. A balance must be found between limits and usage so

that continuous changing, monitoring and planning ensure that tourism can be managed. This requires long term planning. Economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development must include the interests of all stakeholders including indigenous people, local communities, tourist, industry and the government.

“ATOAI approached the Ministry of Tourism to endorse the guidelines to states for recognition of adventure tour operators. These will be published and forwarded to the state tourism bodies and adventure tour operators to promote the spirit of safe, honorable and sustainable adventure tourism in the country,” concludes, Ajeet Bajaj, Chairman, 4 pillar workshop and immediate past president, ATOAI.


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ASSOCIATIONS

IATO Convention in Delhi Taking stock: TAFI NI Sarab Jit Singh, Senior Vice President, IATO promises Vijay K Gupta assured of new initiatives to give members a completely professional affair for organising IATO clarity on the implications of the budgetary announceAnnual Convention in Delhi. ment and all relevant issues that affect our business. VIVEK SETHI

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he annual convention of the Indian Association of Tour Operator (IATO) in 2012 will be held in New Delhi. IATO office bearers held a series of meeting to finalise the XXVIII IATO Convention likely to be held in August 2012, or early September 2012. “We have held a series of deliberations on making the XXVIII IATO Convention a completely professional affair, with increased emphasis on professional affairs. It is scheduled to be held in New Delhi in August 2012, or early September 2012,” said Sarab Jit Singh, Sr Vice President, IATO. Subhash Goyal, President, IATO, a special invitee at GITB 2012 confirmed, “IATO will be glad to conduct our convention in New Delhi and have the

tives at our level, so that the members get more clarity on all relevant issues that affect our business,” he added.

A

Subhash Goyal

Sarab Jit Singh

President IATO

Senior Vice President IATO

Prime Minister of India as the chief guest.” On the theme and business session, Singh said that all these details are being worked out. “One thing I can assure you on this occasion is that our annual convention on this occasion will be purely professional affair. In fact, we are looking forward to apprise all our delegate members even on the progress made by the 13-14 sub committees that we had formed.”

“The conveners of these sub committees will also share the details and progress at their end with the delegate members. It will serve the very purpose these sub-committees had been formed, which is to engage as many members to contribute to the association in addressing crucial issues across various segments that are relevant to growing our business and promoting tourism,” he added.

t the bi-monthly meet organised by TAFI Northern Region Chapter, Vijay K Gupta, Acting Chairman- TAFI– NI helped the members take stock of the emerging challenges in the present scenario post the crucial announcements made by the Union Government in the Budget and the various airlines. “We had delayed the bimonthly meet a little to understand the implications of the budgetary announcements and the other recent developments revolving around many of our principles. Looking at the presentation made by Praveen Chugh, Managing Director, Travel Services International, who had been kind enough to make the presentation for our members, we believe that there is an urgent need to get more clarity of the implica-

Vijay K Gupta Acting Chairman TAFI– NI

At the meet, there were some voices that echoed discord over the functioning of the president and rift among the management committee members, but Gupta denied any such scenario saying, “All is well at our end and everything is going on smoothly.”

QUICK READ tions of the budgetary announcement,” said Gupta. “We are also in touch with our Management Committee as they work with clarity and are also taking up issues like the withdrawal of credit card pass through and weekly payments issue at various crucial platforms. Going forward, we shall also undertake more initia-

Goverdhan hill, which Lord Krishna's devotees consider one of their holiest shrines, is all set for a `.500 crore makeover. Mathura district authorities have drawn up an ambitious plan for infrastructure development, road connectivity and beautification of the 'parikrama marg' - a 21 km path around the Goverdhan hill.


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‘Brilliance of the Seas’ visits India Caribbean  Royal International’ Radiance Class ship, Brilliance of the Seas, recently docked at the Mumbai port as a part of its 12 night roundtrip cruise from Dubai. TIRUN Travel Marketing, India Representative for Royal Caribbean International took this opportunity to showcase the ship to its travel partners in India. The event was attended by more than 70 representatives of the Mumbai travel trade. The programme commenced with a ship tour to see the spectacular 8-story Centrum with glass fronted elevators, the Indian Raj themed Solarium with an indoor pool & retractable glass roof, the Fitness Center, the signature Rock Climbing Wall, mini-golf course and sports area, the elegant Main Dining Room that seats 1242 guests per seating, the glamorous Theatre where nightly Broadway style shows are featured, the Casino Royale, various bars and lounges and more!

The ship tour concluded in the Colony Club for a presentation on the summer offers of Royal Caribbean International including the Asia debut of Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager of the Seas May 2012 onwards. Starting with a Singapore maiden season from May to June, Voyager of the Seas with a 138,000-ton capacity accommodating up to 3,840 guests will be the largest and most innovative cruise ship to ever homeport in this region. The travel partners then headed to the Windjammer Cafe for a sumptuous buffet lunch featuring cuisines of the world including Indian food and an array of vegetarian options. The event was hosted by Samira Ravel, Regional Manager Western India, TIRUN Travel Marketing, who was delighted by the turnout of the travel partners and thanked them for their ongoing support and commitment over the years.

Tug-of-war over opaque pricing IndiGo withdrew its content from MakeMyTrip alleging that the online travel agency continued to offer arbitrary and opaque fares despite objection by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. T T B U R E AU

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n March 28, 2012, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued a notice directing all airlines to withdraw participation in any scheme where the complete information

Tangle Offering opaque fares was a trade practice where a portal sells heavily discounted tickets but does not disclose the name of the airline until the payment is made by the customer MakeMyTrip maintained that fares and inventory on their website is controlled by the airlines and all the fares are displayed as per the guidelines received and approved by airlines

DGCA norms and directives. We have raised this with the online portal on several occasions but unfortunately, there has been no resolution. We were therefore, left with no choice. IndiGo can’t be seen supporting a blatant violation of the law and something that is apparently anti-consumer.”

about the carrier is not revealed upfront. The notice was issued once DGCA came to the notice that airlines were participating in a special fare offered by travel portals namely, opaque fares, where the identity of neither the carrier nor the flight details are revealed till the payment is through and ticketing done. This is in violation of Para (2) and (2A) of Rule 135 of the Aircraft Rules, 1937. As per Para 2 every air transport undertaking shall cause to be published the tariff established by him under Sub-rule (1) in his website or two daily newspapers, and shall display such tariff in a conspicuous part of his office and in the office of his agent, if any. Para 2A states that, the tariff to be published under subrule (2) or advertised in any other way shall show the following particulars, the total

Aditya Ghosh President IndiGo

amount payable by a passenger; and a complete break-up of the total amount, indicating the fare, tax, fees or any other charge, if any, separately. Discussing Indigo’s withdrawal, Aditya Ghosh, President, IndiGo, says, “The airline has withdrawn all content from MakeMyTrip. The arbitrary display of fares and opaque pricing is anti consumer and in violation of

Offering opaque fares was a trade practice where a portal sells heavily discounted tickets but does not disclose the name of the airline until the payment is made by the customer. In response to the allegation and Indigo’s withdrawal, MakeMyTrip maintained that fares and inventory on their website is controlled by the airlines. All the fares are displayed as per the guidelines received and approved by airlines including the special fares that have been approved by the participating Airlines.


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One stop shop for your holiday bookings Amigo Travels has integrated leading Europe packages and products on its portal which helps the travel trade to book customised packages at one click. gives more details. T T B U R E AU

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epresenting the worldrenowned principals, suppliers and products, Mumbai-based Amigo Travels has recently integrated serviced apartments from

Shefali Gupta Director Amigo Travels

US and Europe into its system dedicated exclusively to its travel trade partners. The company also offers all types of land transport and travel requirements along with tailor-made packages at attractive commissionable prices. At present, there are close to 100 travel agents registered on its B2B portal and the company intends to have close to 1000 registrations by end of 2012.

Kingfisher is smallest  Kingfisher Airlines has slipped from being India’s largest domestic carrier to its smallest in the space of only six months amid significant network rationalisation by the struggling carrier as part of its ‘holding plan’. This is a marked turnaround for Kingfisher, which was the largest stand-alone carrier in the market in the first nine months of 2011 with a high of 20% market share in Apr-2011. According to DGCA data, Kingfisher held only a 6.4% market share in Mar-2012, surpassed even by JetLite with a 7.1% market share and GoAir with a 7.5% market share. GoAir has been the smallest domestic carrier in the Indian market since Aug2010, with Paramount previously holding this position. Kingfisher Airlines will likely remain as the nation’s smallest carrier in the coming months, as it continues its much-curtailed summer 2012 schedule, operating approx. 120 daily services with 20 aircraft of which only 16 may be fully operational.

Talking about the latest updates, Shefali Gupta, Director, Amigo Travels said, “We are the first and only company to have apartments integrated in our system. There are a lot of operators who sell Interhomes in India,

but we have integrated that in our booking engine; thus our travel trade partners have accessibility to six to seven suppliers/ wholesales (two more are in pipeline), for accommodation facilities in Europe and US. We currently

have 100 logins and we intend to make it 1000 by end of this year.” Talking about the strategy to achieve atleast a 1000 logins this year; Gupta said, “The idea is not to impose the partnership, but it’s about working

together for the same goal, better service and targets.” For agents based out of Mumbai and New Delhi, there are no deposits required to register. However, for other metro and smaller cities, the company

requires certain amount of security deposit just to build a strong trustworthy business relationship. Amigo Travels has tied up with traditional wholesales across the world, offering packages for every corner of the globe.


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Showcasing India at ATM

Contd. from page 1 

unique travel experiences across the country. And, as India gets more incredible at ATM 2012, a slew of new products are being displayed. “While the southern state of Kerala is taking 50 per cent of the booth in India pavilion to represent its tour operators, wellness spa and some hotels, the north east state of Meghalaya is participating for the first time to promote its unexplored beauty. The newly introduced Indigo in Middle East market and Air India are also exhibiting their

products. Specific travel promotions for the NRIs and PIOs will be done by ITDC. Besides promoting wellness, yoga, Ayurvedic treatment, rejuvenation therapies and Medical Tourism, the luxurious Maharaja Express of Rajasthan is also being encouraged, adding value to luxury tourism,” informs Rustagi. Reiterating the growing importance of technology, participation of the travel and technology partners has also increased with five new companies showcasing at the Travel and Technology pavillion.

COVER STORY

‘Marketing India is challenging’ Contd. from page 1 

communicaion with women is crucial. Women decide on family vacations. It is women in the society who are educated and well-versed in English,” said Rustagi. Oman, with a GDP of 4.8 per cent, is another market which showed a huge growth in terms of inbound into India. “16,500 Omanis visited India last year registering a growth of over 28 per cent,” added Rustagi. In the near future, countries like Iran are expect-

ed to post good results. “Despite no direct air links and handful players who can sell India packages, Iran’s outbound to India is expected to grow at a rate of 42 per cent,” added Rustagi. Marketing India, feels Rustagi, comes with a few challenges. He shared the feedback that he has received from the industry. “One of the biggest challenges we face is that the Indian product is not 100% reliable. Travellers from this region are used to the best

of the facilities both at home and when they travel. Moreover, our competitors are delivering excellent products, while at times, we stumble.” “Arabic speaking guides is another area where we are lagging behind tremendously. Language continues to be a major impediment for tourists from this region. Even the medical traffic is moving away from India towards South East Asian countries. The shift seems to be due to both religious affinity as well as higher

levels of professionalism exhibited there.” Rustagi strongly recommends that a concept of ‘Halal Tourism’ be developed. This should be a holistic approach which encompasses all requirements of an Arabian traveller. “This all pervasive approach which caters to every need; from facilitation at airports to places provided for prayer to dietary requirements and ease in travel will definitely go a very long way,” said Rustagi.

Goa receives 910 charter flights this season  Despite challenges from the Southeast Asian countries in the tourism sector, Goa has been able to cross last year’s figures in charter flight arrivals. Statistics compiled by the State Tourism Department suggest that so far Goa has received 910 charter flights compared to 900 last year. Swapnil Naik, Director, Goa Tourism said,

“We have received 910 charter flights till mid April and will continue to receive them till the first week of May.” The Goa tourism session begins in October and ends in May. Last year Goa received 1.71 lakh tourists from 900 charter flights. As per the provisional figures, around 1.75 lakh tourists arrived in Goa through char-

brought 8,000 tourists in 50 charter flights. Thirty flights from Netherlands brought 2,000 tourists to Goa while Norway brought 5,000 tourists in 28 charter flights,” said Naik

ter flights.Naik said Russia, United Kingdom (UK), Germany, Netherlands and Norway top the list of countries from where the maximum number of charter flights has been received for the current season. “So far we have received 520 charter flights from Russia with 95,000

tourists followed by 200 flights from UK with 48,000 tourists. Germany has

He added that Goa has received 25 charter flights from Poland which brought 2,700 tourists, 21

charter flights from Finland brought 3,400 tourists, 17 charter flights from Kazakhstan brought 2,800 tourists and 13 charter flights from Iran brought 1,700 tourists. Naik also said that Goa has seen an increase of 40,000 tourists as compared to last year. In 2011, Goa received 26.8 lakh tourists.


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A win-win for Aarzoo.com & Vantage Vantage Hospitality aims at improving the service standards of one, two and three-star properties across India by affiliating them with its global brands; ties up with Arzoo.com to offer online marketing platform for the affiliated properties. A N I TA J A I N

H

eadquartered in the US with over 1,000 independently owned and operated hotels around the world, Vantage Hospitality Group has now entered the Indian

Roger Bloss President & CEO Hospitality Group

market. The group, in alliance with three members of the Asian American lodging community (Mukesh Mowji, Yogesh Patel and Tarun Patel) has introduced VanMYT Hospitality, with plans to introduce Vantage’s

Amalendu Purandare Head – India Operations Arzoo.com

Value Inn Worldwide and Value Hotel Worldwide brands in India. With strong focus on one, two and three

Affiliation benefits Hotels in India that join the Vantage brands will benefit from many of Vantage’s resources including: Next generation Global Reservation System powered by Sabre Hospitality Solutions. Distribution on all major global internet travel websites Worldwide travel industry sales and marketing representation Established partnership marketing alliances such as American Express, HBO and Alamo Vantage provides its North American hoteliers with access to an affiliated hotel brokerage company, insurance agency and a network of Preferred Vendors. VanMYT is developing similar resources in and around India.

star category standalone properties across India, the group aims to affiliate over 100 properties in next three years. With an annual flat fee, the group has created a unique membership model for India, wherein it will offer

most comprehensive resources in branding, marketing, public relations, revenue generation and training. To provide an online marketing, sales and branding platform, the group has appointed Arzoo.com as the sole dis-

tributor of VanMYT Hospitality. Furthermore, the group will also provide a strong presence to all its affiliate member hotels on Arzoo.com which has a network of over 50,000 distribution agents in Southeast Asia.

Revealing further details on the plans for the Indian market, Roger Bloss, President & CEO, Vantage Hospitality Group said, “For a unique market like India, VanMYT plans to emulate Vantage’s unique ‘Freestyle Brand

Affiliation’ model that allow hotel owners to be in business for themselves, not by themselves. We are targeting the small standalone / small chain hotels across India which Contd. on page 58 


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QuadLabs ‘BOOKQ’ agents!  QuadLabs has recently launched ‘BOOKQ’ - a unified ‘Mobile Distribution Platform’ for the travel intermediaries. This platform helps the agents to launch their own travel booking applications on various mobile platforms with ease. Travel products can be sold seamlessly through the mobile channels and the platform can connect to any existing booking engine to fetch travel content and pass it on to the mobile interface. Moreover, they run an ‘Xchange | travel ERP’ platform, providing a unified agent dashboard to each sales

staff. This sales dashboard provides complete access to all content sourced from various suppliers, airlines and GDS. The dashboard also provides end-to-end booking capability keeping in mind the credit policies of the end customer. The system has an inbuilt CRM which provides complete customer data while making or managing any booking. It also provides interfaces for post sales management of the booking with

functionalities to do canx, reissues, etc. Various financial documents, vouchers and etickets can be generated through this interface and can be sent to the client. On-site training for each customer is provided initially. QuadLabs works as technology partners with every customer and provides them the latest technology upgrades every time they launch a new version.

Toga Hospitality has India representatives  Expanding their sales and marketing mission in India, Toga Hospitality has appointed Global Destinations as their Indian representatives. Talking about this new appointment, Pranav Kapadia, Partner, Global Destinations, says, “As the India sales and marketing representative for Toga Hospitality, our prime focus would be to work closely with the Australian inbound operators that have a presence in the Indian market

Pranav Kapadia Partner, Global Destinations

and thereby increase Toga Hospitality’s base in the Indian travel industry.” Toga Hospitality is com-

mitted to providing the premier quality of accommodation and service with a focus on consistently providing comfortable guest rooms in great locations. “Our marketing agenda for this year include trade trainings across main cities in India, media and trade familiarisation programmes, participation in activities organised by Tourism Australia and co-op marketing activities with agents,” adds Kapadia.

Making cruising an art Guideline Travels is offering out-of-the-box packages for NCL and Star Cruises to popularise cruising among Indians. T T B U R E AU

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umbai-based Guideline Travels is pitching high on cruise holidays in India by introducing attractive and unique packages for NCL and Star Cruises. According to Pradeep Saboo, Managing Director, Guideline Travels; a customer is getting more variety on the cruising options by the day. As a company, it has committed its loyalties to Star Cruises and NCL. Both the cruise companies belong to the same family and established their great brand image with more than 12 years of service standards and networking in India. Between the two companies, Guideline Travels offers lot of cruise destinations options from Asia to Europe to Bahamas to Alaska catering to the needs of all category of cruisers from short cruise of one night to long cruises. The company is strongly promoting all Far Eastern Countries including Hong Kong and Indonesia, along with

Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland and France for FITs and GITs. Saboo said, “The biggest hit story in the retail in FIT for 2012 is NCL. Norwegian Cruise Line was formally launched as a retail product in India only in 2011. But the kind of response and awareness this cruise company generated without frontline advertisement or marketing dollars spent is a miracle success story. All the credit go to the word of mouth of the past cruisers and more so to a very strong network of travel agents who are pushing the product and getting handsome returns for the same. We are very excited with the developments on NCL in India and we

Cruising High Guideline Travels offers many cruise destinations options from Asia to Europe to Bahamas to Alaska

being part of the history being created.” Elaborating further on expanding its B2B network, he said, “There is a very large vacuum in the B2B space in tier 3 and tier 4 towns. The retail agent in these smaller cities rather towns is not fully educated about the international holiday products. However their clients would still want to work with them with advantage of convenience, trust and obligation. So if one wants to increase the B2B network you have to reach these agencies. The Tier 1 and Tier 2 town agencies can come searching on their own.” Another feather in the company’s cap is the launch of South Africa as group tour destination in its portfolio for 2012. “We are very bullish for the destination as it is indeed a great value for money for the traveller and so also untapped and virgin destination. We are also looking to send some big religious groups in the near future to South Africa,” concludes Saboo.


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ANALYSIS

Redefining luxury in India To grow the luxury travel market, states are inclined not only to increase the numbers, but are equally keen to enhance the stay and spend by tourists. VIVEK SETHI

I

ncredible India in pursuit of doubling the inbound pie has not lost track of the significant luxury market. On

The economic boom in India has helped our country change the perception people had. The positive press around the impressive growth rate and rise of

merely the cost of hotel accommodation, but the experience in itself should be luxurious. For instance, staying in a heritage property in Rajasthan will be a luxurious

ly has 40 per cent occupancy and we are hopeful that in the present year the occupancy level will touch 50 per cent mark,” as per Vishwanatha Reddy, Director, Karnataka Tourism. “We have two pronged strategy when it comes to focussing on the luxury travel market. We are inclined not only to increase the numbers, but are equally keen to enhance their stay and spend in our state,” he added.

Dipak Deva

Vishwanatha Reddy

Sandeep Kumar Sultania

Co-Chairperson FICCI Tourism Committee

Director Karnataka Tourism

Vice Chairman & Managing Director APTDC

The luxury market has not been impacted, as the costing concerns are more on the midmanagerial level back of the sturdy growth in the sector, many of the leading states are working on aggressive plans to tap a bigger share in the inbound luxury market. “It’s not difficult to understand the economic situation in Europe and many other parts of the developed world. But, the luxury market has not been impacted, as the costing concerns are more on the mid-managerial level.

We are inclined to not only increase the numbers, but are equally keen to enhance the traveller’s stay and spend in our state Indians at various global platform changed destination India’s perception as a land of snake charmers, crowded by cows and buffaloes. The Latin America, CIS Countries and Asia, promises to be reliable growth engines of the future,” said Dipak Deva, Co-Chairperson, FICCI Tourism Committee. “The luxury segment in my opinion needs to be clearly defined. To me it’s not

Through Centre, State and private participation, we are developing a mega tourism project in Vizag experience and India has all kinds of luxury products to offer to further enhance the travel. This has lead to a genuine increase in demand for destination India,” he added. The State of Karnataka is also confident that the growth in demand for luxury travel will only rise. “The Golden Chariot - Pride of the South is our recent luxury offering that had been receiving good response. It present-

At the inauguration of The Lalit, Jaipur

One of the crucial factors that will determine how successful the states can become in increasing their footprint in the global luxury market is the ability to create diversity in luxury experience. The State of Andhra Pradesh in this regard has drawn up plans to develop a mega tourism project in Visakhapatnam, also popularly known as Vizag. “Through Centre, State and private participation, we are developing a mega tourism project in Vizag, which will include four pristine beach points, resorts, bird park, world-class aquarium and other amusement parks to name a few,” said Sandeep Kumar Sultania, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC). “The vision is to replicate the success of Hyderabad, to be introduced in Vizag as well. In fact, we are also toying with the idea to have a dedicated B2B show at Vizag on the lines of GITB that is organised by FICCI and other partners,” he added. The State of Madhya Pradesh is also working on

O V Choudhary, Chief General Manager, Marketing & Operations, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (MPTDC). Rajasthan also offers many attractions in addition to the heritage and palaces that has always been its USP.

O V Choudhary

Usha Sharma

Chief General Manager Marketing & Operations, MPTDC

Principal Secretary Rajasthan Tourism

Our Volvo bus service is in line with our efforts to attract the luxury segment as well as others to our state

like Jhansi-Khajuraho, Bhopal-Jabalpur-Kanha and Indore-Gwalior-Mandu to name with Volvo bus service. It is in line with our efforts to attract luxury segment and others to our state after having launched air-taxi service and cruise options,” said

Today, a tourist can explore many new water activities, hot-air balloon ride and heritage properties in Rajasthan Usha Sharma, Principal Secretary, Rajasthan Tourism said, “We hope that luxury segment will perform very well in the year 2012 and beyond. Today, a tourist can explore many new water activities, hot-air balloon ride and heritage properties in Rajasthan.”

Small brands, big banner Contd. from page 53 

The LaLiT Suri Hospitality Group paid tribute to Late Lalit Suri during the inaugural ceremony of The Lalit, Jaipur.

enhancing the infrastructure to cater to the luxury segment. Post having launched cruise options, air taxi service; it is now working on connecting various tourist circuits with seamless luxury bus service. “We had floated tenders to connect various tourist attractions

aspires to add more revenue to top-line and more profit to its bottom-line. With our affiliation, small hotels will get an opportunity with raise service standards and install trained staff for better guest service. There’s a long list of hotels under one, two and three star category with no internationally acclaimed brand associated with them. Thus, we have a huge opportunity in India to grow and thus, we are putting in a big team in Mumbai and aim to have 15-

20 properties affiliated this year with additional 80-85 in next three years.” Shedding light on the unique alliance, Amalendu Purandare, Head – India Operations, Arzoo.com said, “We are going to share our hotel data-base with VanMYT which will help our hotel partners tap the opportunity to affiliate with an international hotel brand. We will also educate our network agents on VanMYT Hospitality, offers and benefits of selling them by post-

ing the hotels on our website. In return, we will receive customer confidence who will opt for quality accommodation by VanMYT brands over local standalone brands. I think with their Vantage brand and VanMYT support, hotels in India will have the best of both worlds; the global resources of a recognised international hotel company and our expertise in promoting and selling them through our state-of-art online platform on B2B and B2C level.”


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It’s raining business@GITB 2012 Contd. from page 40 


NTO

‘Proper Vacations’ in Wales

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‘Rajasthan: The Heritage Corridor’

After receiving an overwhelming response on its ‘Proper Vacations’ campaign, Visit Wales is positive to receive a good response during the Olympics Games 2012. T T B U R E AU

T

he destination is looking at emerging markets like India, Brazil, China, Malaysia and Turkey apart from Europe for spreading awareness about Wales as a ‘value for money’ destina-

Carwyn Jones First Minister of Wales

tion. In India, it is focusing on FITs, groups, honeymooners, VFR and student segment through innovative marketing and Bollywood. To strengthen the investment, trade and tourism ties with India, Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales (heading a trade delegation) visited India (New Delhi and Mumbai). He also met the travel trade in New Delhi to talk about their opinion on Wales as a destination and how it can improve its brand image among Indian travellers. Talking to , Jones said, “Wales is a destination offering wide range of activity options and at prices affordable for every budget of traveller. We have more castles per miles than anywhere in the world. Travellers can indulge in all sorts of weird and wonderful things like whisky tasting, surfing lessons, mountain biking, playing golf on the 2010 Ryder Cup course and camping in a bell tent to name but a few. Once our delegation is back, we will materialise a marketing and branding strategy for India which will be acted upon by next year. Currently, we have a team in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru and we are educating the travel trade about Wales as a destination for second time or well-travelled Indian travellers to Europe. While talking to the travel trade members in New Delhi, we have also learnt

India Presence Currently, we have a team in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru and we are educating the travel trade about Wales as a destination

about Bollywood which is a strong marketing tool for many international destinations. We will be looking at it as many international movies are shot in Wales and we offer attractive incentive packages to movie makers.”

The destination is looking at marketing fairs & festivals, sporting events, golf tourism, adventure tourism and education to attract Indian travellers, especially during Olympics.

Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister of Tourism, Government of India inaugurated the Conference on Rajasthan: The Heritage Corridor on April 15, 2012 at Hotel Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, which was recently organised by the PHD Chamber in Jaipur. Sahai along with Bina Kak, Minister of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan was warmly welcomed in Rajasthani style with Tilak and a Chanderi Pagri.


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GITB concludes with cheers & smiles


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An evening of fun & frolic with The Park Hotels and TravTalk organised 'Happy Hours' on April 23, a social networking session for the travel fraternity. The first-of-its-kind monthly event was launched in New Delhi and was very well-attended by industry representatives. The eclectic and friendly group filled the venue with warmth, good cheer and laughter, providing the perfect platform to talk about what is happening in the industry and share new ideas and plans.


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clinking glasses, chatter and cheers!

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Happy hours for Monday blues


OPPORTUNITY / CLIPBOARD

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Universal Aviation New Delhi

Wonderla Holidays Bengaluru

JW Marriott Mumbai Mumbai

Rajan Mehra has been appointed as the new Managing Director of Universal India. He brings with him a wealth of rich experience, knowledge and expertise in almost all facets of the aviation business. He also played a key role in the launch and business set up of Qatar Airways, Finnair and Asiana Airlines in India. Mehra holds an MBA in Aviation Systems & Management from the University of Pennsylvania and a degree in English Literature from Delhi University.

Arun K Chittilappilly is the new Managing Director for Bengaluru-based Wonderla Holidays. He will move on from his previous role as an Executive Director and will take over his present profile. In his new role, Chittilappilly will now oversee the entire operations of both the properties apart from looking into engineering and design aspects, marketing, communication and finances as well. He has been the key architect of Wonderla and is actively involved in strategising and conceptualising both the parks.

Gagandeep Singh has been appointed as the Director of Operations at JW Marriott Mumbai. A hospitality management graduate from IHM, Lucknow, Singh brings over 13 years of experience while having worked in different roles at various Marriott properties around the country. Prior to his current role, he was Director of Food & Beverage at Pune Marriott Convention Centre Hotel. He started his career with the Marriott in 1999.

32nd Milestone Gurgaon

Brewster Travel Canada New Delhi

Travel Designer India Group Ahmedabad

Patrick Reul – Smekens has been appointed as the Vice

Monica Jolly has been appointed as the General Manager for Brewster Travel Canada. With over 15 years of experience, she has worked with companies like Lufthansa German Airlines and Travelport among others. Jolly’s expertise and domain knowledge in sales, operations, business development and client servicing are commendable. She also holds a good selling experience of US, Australia and New Zealand Markets.

Tirath Shah has been appointed as the new General Manager for RezLive.com (Global Reservation System). In his new role, he will be responsible for providing leadership across the business in Travel Designer. Shah is a management graduate and comes with 8 years of experience into Sales & Marketing. Prior to this, he was associated with Pantaloons Retail as City Manager.

President, Operations of 32nd Milestone. He brings with him 15 years of experience in the luxury hotels segment. In his present profile, Smekens will be responsible to streamline, standardise and restructure the operation, in order to maximise the efficiency, quality and success of the business. He is a graduate from the Glion Hotel School in Switzerland.

The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace Hyderabad

Worldhotels Delhi NCR

Mayank Uniyal is promoted to the position of Associate Director

Akshay Anand is appointed as the new Sales Manager for

Nitin Sharma joins as Assistant Sales Manager, India for

of Sales in The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace. Uniyal brings over 11 years of experience in the hotel industry. His stint with the hotel started in 2009 as Senior Business Development Manager. In his present profile, he will be responsible for enhancing talent within the team, fostering corporative work environment and maximising productivity and tapping new market segments among others.

Worldhotels India team. Based in New Delhi, Anand holds a BA (Hons) degree in Hotel & Tourism Management from the University of Perpignan, France and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management from India. He started his career with The Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi in 2003. His recent enrolment was at IHHR Hospitality in 2010, looking after corporate sales.

Worldhotels. He recently pursued his Masters degree in Marketing with Symbiosis, Pune. He began his hospitality career in 2003 as Senior Travel Assistant with Travelite India, rising to Sales Executive at Discover the World Marketing, representing clients including Carnival Cruise Lines, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Hertz and Worldhotels.

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

Tejbir Singh Anand, Managing Director, Holiday Moods Adventures and President, ATOAI is extremely passionate about adventure travel and all sorts of adventure activities. He enjoys land and water adventures and has been actively involved in such activities for the last 27 years. His latest and favourite adventure activity is skydiving. Anand, these days, is hooked onto an activity called Via Ferrata. This can be better explained as assisted rock climbing at great heights. The routes for this are very well laid and you just have to cross the routes at great altitudes. “Photography and reading are great passions for me. Music is another preferred choice,” he adds. Anand is also a foodie.

Managing Director Holiday Moods Adventures and President, ATOAI

Keyur Joshi is a Co-founder and Chief

Keyur Joshi COO & Co-Founder MakeMyTrip

Tejbir Singh Anand

Operating Officer of MakeMyTrip and an integral part of its strategic think tank. Joshi has been instrumental in jumpstarting the online travel market in India and is responsible for launching charter flight inclusive holiday packages for MakeMyTrip. Joshi holds a Bachelors degree in Chemistry from Gujarat University and a MBA from City University of New York, USA. He is also a certified pilot and a big cricket freak. Joshi says, “I enjoy playing golf.” Debjit Dutta Chapter chairman West Bengal and North East chapter- ADTOI

When you are in passion-driven profession, it becomes your lifestyle, says the optimistic Debjit Dutta, Head, West Bengal and North East Chapter - ADTOI. An extremely creative person, Dutta takes immense interest in the designing of advertisements for his company. Dutta is also an avid photographer. I like using vibrant colours and pictures that I have clicked often for getting them featured in our printed ads and other material. Travelling is not just a job but a calling for the ADTOI East Chapter head. “I like exploring the Eastern Himalays and take a trip to Sikkim or Darjeeling every year. Getting to know unknown places excites me,” he says. Dutta takes immense pride in his musical and theatrical prowess as well. I was one of the founder members of a theatre group in North Bengal where I grew up. “My theatrical skills work like magic when I make a presentation as it comes naturally to me,” he adds.


Postal Reg. No.: DL(ND)-11/6044/2012-13-14; WPP No.: U(C)-178/2012-14 for posting on 1st-2nd and 15th-16th of the same month at New Delhi P.S.O., RNI No.: 53492/91 Date of Publication:30-04-2012

HIGHLIGHT

Expedia committed to India In an exclusive conversation with , Daniel Lynn, who is the CEO of joint venture between Expedia and AirAsia spoke at length about their commitment to the Indian market and B2B partners. Here are the selected excerpts… VIVEK SETHI

E

xpedia India, one of the world’s largest online travel players, to tighten its grip on the Indian market and

Expedia becomes one of the top OTAs, which has the strongest brand recall,” said Dan Lynn, CEO, AirAsia Expedia. “We are nurturing our B2B base and continue to offer TAAP without any fee to B2B partners, who meet our selection criterion and generate desired results in terms of volumes. The increase in the marketing budget is a testimony to our commit-

we have scheduled to launch bus tours from May 2012. It will create a new level of confidence among the end users in our Expedia brand and will make it easier for our travel partners to sell. Further, towards the May-August, we will also extend Visa facilitation services. For Visa facilitation, we will tie up with Thomas Cook,” said Lynn. Further, he appreciated the query to demystify

Dan Lynn CEO AirAsia Expedia

Expedia has created a strong B2B foothold in India through its Travel Agents Affiliation Programme (TAAP) create more meaningful business opportunities for its travel partners has more than doubled its marketing budget to augment its brand recall. “The marketing budget in the previous year was ` 25-30 crore, which now has been revised to ` 55-60 crore. Expedia has created a strong B2B foothold in India through its Travel Agents Affiliation Programme (TAAP), who will be one of the largest beneficiary as

may be considered at a future date,” said Lynn. Towards the last leg of the interaction, Lynn also highlighted the hard work committed behind the scene to ensure that their B2B agents always get the best price. “There are many factors at work that determines that our B2B agents shall get the best cost advantage. On the technology front, our computer robots ensure that the pricing is competitive. Moreover, our dedicated teams also put a strong vigil to ensure the cost advantage to all our B2B partners in addition to the large volumes advantage we have.” “Our MoU between AirAsia and Expedia that led to creation of AirAsia Expedia has also shown promising returns. We have received good response from the Indian market, as most of the South East Destinations are always popular with the Indian travelers,” he added.

‘Give them wings’- Expedia’s CSR programme for street and working children

ment to the Indian market and B2B partners. The B2B partners will definitely benefit through our enhanced efforts to put Expedia among the top brands, which will create plethora of new business opportunities for them,” he added. To cheer the B2B partners, Expedia has also lined up a few strategic launches that will further reinforce its leadership position. Towards the mid of the year, it will enable its travel partners to offer last mile connectivity through bus tours and also offer Visa facilitation services. “To enable our B2B partners extend end-to-end reach,

the apprehension that travel agents have on partnering with online travel agents, wherein the small agents fear that the big online players eventually steal their clients details. “We have had heard such apprehensions, but they are nothing more than mere rumours in our case. Travel agents are like our extended hands and we don’t believe in chopping off our hands. When our B2B partners want that the booking details shall be shared by them to their clients, we provide it to them. We also have the option of extending white label solutions, which

Step ahead To cheer the B2B partners, Expedia has also lined up a few strategic launches that will further reinforce its leadership position Towards the mid of the year, it will enable its travel partners to offer last mile connectivity through bus tours and also offer Visa facilitation services It is nurturing its B2B base and continues offering TAAP without any fee to B2B partners, who meet its selection criterion and generates desired results in terms of volumes

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