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Vol. XXIV No. 10; May 2 nd fortnight issue 2012

Making India competitive Sultan Ahmed, Minister of State for Tourism, India who inaugurated the India Pavillion at ATM 2012, shared his expectations and vision for the tourism industry. He said that the Indian tourism will not be affected by additional taxes. Here are the excerpts:costs may soften to as much as 20 per cent.

VIVEK SETHI Demand and Supply Dynamics The increase in air travel cost due to the increase in service tax in the Union Budget of 2012 and its other ramifications have upset the stakeholders in the travel trade. But, there is a silver lining to the present scenario, as the hotel prices that are going south are likely to compensate and negate adverse affects of rise in air costs.

Sultan Ahmed, Minister of State for Tourism, India inaugurating the India Pavillion at ATM 2012 in Dubai

In the eastern part, hotel prices have already started softening on back of

fresh inventory addition and other factors. Moreover, similar trend is likely to be

replicated in other parts of the country. In my opinion, the accommodation

Doubling Inbound and Domestic tourists We have set a target of doubling our share of inbound arrivals in the global travel market during the 12th Plan (2012-2017). In fact, a similar target has been set for doubling the domestic market as well, which already has clocked over 750 million travellers in 2011. Contd. on page 6 

and the winning face is Zubin Mehta

conducted a survey to ďŹ nd out who, according to the travel industry, could be a suitable global face to promote Indian tourism. We received an overwhelming response and here is a look at the most popular choices:

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam 6%

6%

Amitabh Bachchan

Aamir Khan

39%

29%

Sachin Tendulkar 20% Contd. on page 6 

Hotels bowl over IPL fans & players See full story on page 8 

Transparent pricing, the way forward: OTAs See full story on page 10 

High fee sliding down aviation growth? See full story on page 34 

Incredible Women in the travel trade See full story on page 40 


BULLETIN

Kerala ‘forays’ into Saudi Arabia All set to woo travellers from the Gulf region, Anil Kumar, Kerala Tourism Minister, along with a 15-member delegation, organised a roadshow in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam this month.

A

its maiden roadshow in Jeddah on May 6. Riyadh and Dammam followed on May 7 and 8, respectively.

The ball was set rolling with Kerala Tourism holding

A P Anil Kumar, Kerala Tourism Minister led the road shows taking place in the Gulf region. “Saudi

T T B U R E AU three-day roadshow travelled across Saudi Arabia promoting God’s Own Country, Kerala.

Anil Kumar

Manoj Kumar

Minister, Kerala Tourism

Secretary, Kerala Tourism

Arabia is the biggest market for outbound tourists in the Gulf region. Kerala and the Gulf countries have enjoyed historical and traditional ties.

“We want to invite travellers from Saudi Arabia to Kerala’s world renowned tourism destinations,”

“We are looking forward to a spurt in foreign tourist arrivals in Kerala in the coming years. Saudi Arabia is a very important market for us because there is a lot of scope for Arab tourists to come to Kerala. The feedback after the roadshow was very positive and we also saw the participation of eminent tour operators from Saudi Arabia,” says Manoj Kumar, Kerala Tourism Secretary.

says Anil Kumar. Over 50 local tour operators participated in the road shows in each of the three cities and a delegation led by the Kerala Tourism Minister and the Kerala Tourism Secretary, including 14 tourism service providers from Kerala participated in the roadshows.

The Gulf region recorded more than 9 million outbound tourists in 2011 and the figure is likely to touch 35 million by 2020. Saudi Arabia accounts for 40 per cent of these outbound tourists. The country is approximately a four-hour flight from Kerala and enjoys good air connectivity.


STATISTICS

Hotel room prices up by 19%

VIEWPOINT

As cost conscious Indians travelled more within the country amid a weak rupee, hotel rooms at destinations such as New Delhi, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Goa, Mumbai, Manali and Mysore became costlier by up to 19 per cent in 2011 compared to 2010, says a latest HPI survey. Excerpts:

Building Incredible India

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he new fiscal has started with fresh challenges for the travel fraternity. The increase in service tax in the Union Budget and the recent increase in airport charges in Mumbai and Delhi alone are sufficient to unnerve the travel fraternity, who is expecting all the announcements to promote tourism. But, the Ministry of Tourism, on the other hand, is continuing with its agenda to build synergies within the central and state governments and among all stakeholders, which augur well for the tourism industry. The recent interactive session chaired by the Secretary, Ministry of Tourism with stakeholder Associations of Tourism & Hospitality was one big step in the direction of building further confidence on the potential of Incredible India and ensuring that the stakeholders are apprised of the various pro tourism policy proposals at an interactive forum. Another, highlight of the said interactive meeting was the assurances from the Ministry of Home and other governmental bodies, who are willing to extend all possible cooperation to promote tourism. We are hoping that the increase in synergies will also result in many favourable policy initiatives, like extension of TVOA to strategic source markets, state-of-the-art aviation and other infrastructure that are an integral part of tourism promotion. Fortunately, there is adequate and growing emphasis on tourism now! It is being recognised as a tool to ameliorate poverty and create employment in the 12th Plan document, which also reflects the increased sensitivity towards the need of the tourism sector. Hopefully, the yet to be scheduled second meeting with the PMO office would yield to many, if not all, demands of the Ministry of Tourism and the other stakeholders in the tourism industry.

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

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he latest Hotel Price Index (HPI) report by Hotels.com indicates a clear price rise in hotels in popular destinations across the country. New Delhi has shown the highest price rise amongst major cities in India at nine

Rajiv Malhotra Head - Marketing South East Asia, Hotels.com

The depreciating value of the rupee against most of the other currencies could be a key reason for the upswing in domestic travel per cent. One key reason for the increase in room rates could be the increase in domestic travel because the value of Indian currency witnessed depreciation against foreign currencies. Indians have become more cost conscious and are making trips to destinations within India. Talking about the recently revealed report, Rajiv Malhotra, Head Marketing, South East Asia, Hotels.com says, “The depreciating value of the rupee against most of the other currencies could be a key reason for the upswing in domestic travel. This has also resulted in hotel room rates rising at popular destinations such as

(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

Jaipur, Goa and Manali as per the current HPI report.”

Agra tops price escalation

Cities such as New Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai also show a hike in room rates because they are preferred halt destinations for travellers as they are business and cultural hubs. They are also well connected to other tourist destinations, he adds.

Agra Jaipur Goa New Delhi Manali Bengaluru Mumbai Chennai

Major cities such as New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Ahmedabad have shown a hike in room rates. Average room price in New Delhi has seen a nine per cent increase to 5,914 INR and prices in Mumbai are up by three per cent to 6,539 INR. Bengaluru, the garden city, has also seen a five per cent rise to 4,595 INR in hotel room rates. Chennai experienced only a marginal price rise of one per cent to 4,707 INR.

Destination

2011 4,418 3,854 4,224 5,914 2,428 4,595 6,539 4,707

2010 % change 3,805 3,410 3,777 5,404 2,250 4,356 6,376 4,660

made the Japanese capital cheaper for travellers from many other countries featured in the HPI. Kuala Lumpur was up 15 per cent to 4,530 INR and Singapore, increasingly popular with stopover visitors on longhaul flights enjoying new prestige accommodation, was up five per cent to 8,684 INR. Hong Kong, attractive to business and leisure visitors, especially from mainland China, was up 20 per cent to 8,234 INR. The average room rate fell in three Chinese cities with Beijing down six per cent to 4,375 INR, Guangzhou down 22 per cent to 3,988 INR and Shanghai down 32 per cent to 4,266 INR, the latter because of an abundance of supply and falling demand

16% 13% 12% 9% 8% 5% 3% 1%

after the World Expo in 2010. The holiday destinations of Bali, Langkawi and Phuket were up 34 per cent to 8,895 INR, eight per cent to 8,059 INR and six per cent to 5,730 INR respectively.

Expensive Europe

With the INR losing value against many major currencies including the Euro, Indian travellers faced rising prices when travelling to Europe. European destinations dominated the top of the table of most expensive places on average with Venice the costliest location featured in the HPI, up seven per cent to 10,859 INR. The biggest price rise on the continent came Popular tourist hot spots in Barcelona which was in India have seen a double up 21 per cent to 9,342 digit growth in hotel room INR, due in part to rates. Mysore has shown the the boom in business from highest rise of 19 per cent cruise ship holidaymakers. with average room rates at Amsterdam was up seven 3,111 INR. Jaipur also has per cent to 8,964 INR. shown a whopping 13 per Zurich and Copenhagen, cent rise in hotel room rates both countries boasting to take the average room robust currencies and rates to 3,854 INR economies, saw big while the city of Agra increases of 18 per known for its magnif- Average Hotel prices in 2011 vs 2010 in ` cent and 16 per cent to icent Taj Mahal, has Destinations 2011 2010 % change 9,846 INR and 8,271 witnessed a 16 per respectively. Prices in Venice 10,859 10,128 7% cent rise to 4,418 INR. London stayed flat but New York 10,707 11,686 -8% Goa, the most it was still the third London 10,058 10,018 0% favourite beach destimost expensive destiZurich 9,846 8,320 18% nation, is not far nation for Indian Paris 9,036 8,812 3% behind with a 12 per travellers with an Rome 8,691 8,453 3% cent increase in hotel average room rate of Singapore 8,684 8,237 5% room rates. Manali, 10,058 INR. San Francisco 8,124 7,370 10% one of the favourite Tokyo 7,797 7,201 8% hill stations for the Mixed picture in Sydney 7,640 7,322 4% city dwellers in the the USA Munich 7,477 8,488 -12% north, has shown a Indian travellers Boston 7,338 9,000 -18% significant rise of to the United States Istanbul 7,227 6,763 7% eight per cent to paid more for rooms in Los Angeles 6,746 6,518 3% 2,428 INR. some of the major MUMBAI 6,539 6,376 3% cities as the INR fell in Vienna 6,509 7,471 -13% value against the US Cost rises in other NEW DELHI 5,914 5,404 9% Dollar. San Francisco, a Asian cities Chicago 5,792 5,297 9% popular destination The INR’s slump Las Vegas 5,742 6,151 -7% with both business and in value against the Phuket 5,730 5,400 6% leisure travellers, was Japanese Yen was KOLKATA 5,136 6,444 -20% up 10 per cent to 8,124 highlighted by the Kuala Lumpur 4,530 3,945 15% INR, Chicago was up rise in prices in Tokyo, Beijing 4,375 4,652 -6% nine per cent to 5,792 up eight per cent to Shanghai 4,266 6,259 -32% INR and Los Angeles 7,797 INR despite the Bangkok 4,017 3,952 2% was up three per cent earthquake in March Pattaya 3,675 3,530 4% to 6,746 INR. 2011 which actually

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NEWS

MAY 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

5

Technology to drive travel at WTM In its 33rd year, WTM 2012 is quintessentially an event where the world meets to do business. Spread over 42,000 sq m of nett exhibition space, WTM has continually adapted to the changing business environment. R UPALI N ARASIMHAN

W

TM is an event that brings together 4,947 exhibitors and 8,000 international buyers under one roof. Talking about the competitive edge the show has over others, Simon Press, Exhibition Director, World Travel Market said, “WTM 2012 is expected to generate a staggering business of GBP 1,653 million-an impressive 16% increase over the previous year. By attending WTM, participants gain immediate competitive

Simon Press Exhibition Director World Travel Market

advantage for their business and stay abreast with the latest developments in the travel industry.” A world which is increasingly being dominated by everything virtual, it takes a lot of innovation to still keep the human interface relevant. WTM adds education and information to make the entire experience not just relevant but necessary. “WTM combines both face-to-face meetings and all encompassing education programme (more than 110 seminars and conferences) to ensure visitors and exhibitors are gaining the most out of their time over the four days. Due to the huge amount of business deals generated during and after the event, it shows that delegates still require time to connect and discuss future business deals face-to-face rather than virtually,” Press stated. Instead of getting defeated by technology, the exhibition is harnessing the latest technology to create a more user-friendly product. “In WTM, we focussed on the use of social media for the travel industry. The dedicated social media ses-

Meridian Buyer Registration Meridian Club buyers will be able to register in June via the WTM website (www.wtmlondon.com)

sions at the 2011 event were highly successful. An enhanced social media programme will be available at this year’s event in November. Last year, we introduced the WTM App,” he further informed.

“Speed Networking is an important part of attending a successful WTM. Held on the first day of the show, it brings together buyers and sellers for fixing

meetings,” he informed. In 2011, Speed Networking took place as a one hour-long session before the exhibition opened on the first day of WTM 2011 (November 7). Previously, Speed Networking was in five 45-minute sessions throughout the first day

– based around the regions of the exhibition. Currently still in the early stages of planning WTM 2012, one of our main objectives is to further improve the communication process between the

Buyers (Meridian Club members) and Exhibitors. This will include enhancing and increasing the time of the popular Speed Networking events to maximise the business opportunities done during and after WTM.


COVER STORY

‘Sensitise people about benefits of tourism’ Contd. from page 1 

To attain our target, we will need to tap both the conventional and new source markets. Incredible India had been generating considerable interest in the Arab World. As per the responses, Medical Tourism has picked up well and our destination is also attracting reasonable numbers of high-end travellers from countries in this region. Noticeably, most of the countries here are commodity rich and are not affected by economic disturbances in the developed world. Further, the promotional work for attracting more inbound tourists is an ongoing and continuous process, which all stakeholders should take up seriously. On back of the resilient economic growth and increasing disposable income of the Indian travellers, domestic tourism prospects look promising. After all, the Indian travellers have now emerged as one of the top spenders in many outbound destinations. They have definitely become more demanding and quality cautious when it comes to experiencing a des-

Need of the Hour There is a need of sensitising people about the benefits of tourism and the manner in which they can contribute and extend a true cultural experience to all our domestic and foreign guests

tination. The stakeholders in the private and public sector should very well keep a tap on the likings of these travellers, who if enticed to spend their money on domestic products, will help take the domestic tourism market to a new high. Upbeat on states It makes me happy to note that increasing number of states have become very serious in terms of promoting tourism. The inter-state ministerial meets that we had have started yielding good results. Uttarakhand and Meghalaya are two such states that have joined the league of other states that are progressing well. The Ministry of Tourism is always open to hand hold all states in developing tourism and allied infrastructure that have the potential of attracting incremental domestic and foreign tourists. There is a simple criterion that states should fulfill to access central financial assistance for strategic projects in their region. They should utilise the funds in a time bound and most transparent manner, which will make them eligible for further assistance of similar nature. Building convergence: To make destination India truly incredible, we need roads, power, water and cleanliness to name a few. In other words, there is a need of convergence between the work done by different ministries, departments and government bodies. The

Ministry of Tourism in this regard has already signed MoU with Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Civil Aviation Ministry and is looking forward to tie up with the Ministry of Railways along with many other ministries and stakeholders. These MoUs are step in the direction of promoting India as a year-round, safe, neat and clean destination. Capacity building and Community participation India, as a destination, can offer all travel experience. The strongest factor that has a bearing on the overall experience is the quality of service and community participation. Our ethos of Atithi Devo Bhava (Guest is God) cannot be sustained unless our people understand the importance of tourists coming to our country, or exploring different parts of the country. Hence, there is a need of sensitising people about the benefits of tourism and the manner in which they can contribute and extend a true cultural experience to all our domestic and foreign guests. There is an exigent need to streamline the quality of services and thus train our entry level staff, guides and drivers. Our Hunar Se Rozgar and other capacity building schemes are step in this direction. We are, in fact, working on broad basing these schemes and spread them to all corners of the country with help of public and private partners.

Contd. from page 1 

The other nominees are... Following are the prominent faces who have notched the top ďŹ ve ratings in the voting process: Dignitaries

Percentage

Amitabh Bachchan

39%

Aamir Khan

29%

Sachin Tendulkar

20%

APJ Abdul Kalam

6%

Zubin Mehta

6%

The prominent faces chosen from the travel fraternity to promote India globally include: Amitabh Kant Vijay Mallya Inder Sharma Arjun Sharma Rajiv Duggal Kamal Hingorani Mok Singh

According to the polling votes, Amitabh Bachchan scores the highest with almost 39% people voting in his support to be the Global Face for India Tourism. While Aamir Khan and Sachin Tendulkar scored the 2nd and the 3rd highest position with 30% votes and 19% votes respectively. Surprisingly, not too many women made their way in the polling results except three, namely, Dipti Bhatnagar,

Anoushka Shankar and Yami Gautam. Other names that garnered votes include Ratan Tata, Laxmi Mittal, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Amaratya Sen, Shashi Tharoor, Deepak Chopra, Salman Rushdie and Salman Khan to name a few. A few more opined that we should promote Indian culture or Mahatma Gandhi as a Global Representative for Indian Tourism.


8 TRAVTALK

HOTELS

MAY 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

Hotels bowl over IPL fans & players Taking the game seriously to generate serious business, the hotels in India are witnessing a spurt in business this IPL season. takes a look at the strategies which the hotels are following to cash in on the scenario. T T B U R E AU

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he Season 5 of Indian Premier League (IPL) fever is truly hitting the ceiling. And in a country where Cricket and Bollywood are the best mantras to churn maximum revenues, cashing in on the daily dosage of cricket is the hotel industry in the country. Taking the game seriously to generate serious business is the US-hospitality major Marriott. Continuing its support to Rajasthan Royals, Marriott has announced its tie up to be the home hotel for the players of the team this (IPL) season. The international hotel major is the official hospitality sponsor for the team as they are touring India for the games. Not just this, Rajasthan Royals is sporting the Marriott logo on their headgear, including the caps and the helmets while Marriott is using the Rajasthan Royal

team logo in all its promotional activities. The tie up successfully leverages the philosophy of both the brands in the country. Rajeev Menon, Area Vice President - India, Maldives and Australia, Marriott International said, “We are proud to be associated with a team that has demonstrated tremendous potential and Marriot will support the team wholeheartedly across all our properties in the country. Marriott’s association with IPL Season 5 provides us with a wonderful platform and our hotels are ideally suited for the players and the fans as they tour the country in their endeavour to win the IPL 5 championship.” This association with Marriott and Rajasthan Royals is a nexus of two brands coming together in the most exciting format the cricketing world has ever seen.

Rajeev Menon

Tarandeep

Area Vice President - India, Maldives and Australia, Marriott International

AGM Marketing and Communication Jaypee Hotels

Marriott’s association with IPL 5 provides us with a wonderful platform and our hotels are ideally suited for the players and the fans

Since the start of the IPL season, we have seen an increased interest of cricket fans enjoying the matches at Tapas – The Lounge Bar

And rather than going to the stadium, people prefer going to hotels. Therefore, F&B departments in the hotels are in for huge profits. The hotels are offering dinner and cocktails and they have also come up with packages which are only valid during IPL matches where you can relax, enjoy the drinks and hoot for your favourite teams. Offering a big deal is The Suryaa, New Delhi at its Atrium Lounge & Bar where one can catch live screenings of IPL. Jaypee Siddharth in New Delhi has been witnessing good occupancy. Since the beginning of the IPL season, we have seen an increased interest of cricket enthusiasts enjoying the matches at our famous Tapas – The Lounge bar. This trend has benefited business in an enormous way. According to Tarandeep, AGM - Marketing and Communication, Jaypee Hotels, Jaypee Siddharth has been witnessing good occu-

pancy. “Since the beginning of the IPL season, we have seen an increased interest of cricket enthusiasts enjoying the matches at our famous Tapas – The Lounge Bar. This trend has benefited business in an enormous way,” she stated. Tapas marked its presence in the vicinity even during the World Cup last year. “There was a huge draw of customers visiting the venue. We believe such events give a chance to get together with peers and makes for a perfect evening. Therefore, this time, we have created a special menu for cricket lovers during this IPL,” she said.

Cricket Fever Rajasthan Royals is sporting the Marriott logo on their headgear, while Marriott is using the Rajasthan Royal team logo in all its promotional activities

Hilton Gurgaon bets big on corporates Vinay Gupta, General Manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Gurgaon–New Delhi NCR talks about the newly opened DoubleTree by Hilton Gurgaon-New Delhi, which is Hilton Worldwide’s sixth property in Delhi and the second DoubleTree in Delhi. T T B U R E AU

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hoosing the farthest location of Gurgaon has its own advantages for the hotel. Says Gupta, “Hilton Gurgaon– New Delhi NCR is conveniently located on the Golf Course Road of Gurgaon, surrounded by a number of Fortune 500 companies. We are within easy access of the business and commercial establishments such as Genpact,

American Express, Samsung, Dell, Ernst & Young and Hewitt. More importantly, the Golf Course Road is also home to high-end residential complexes like Aralia, Palm Springs and the soon to be opened Magnolia and Belaire. This will surely fuel demand in our property.” The hotel is betting big on the corporate traveller segment.

Vinay Gupta, GM, DoubleTree by Hilton Gurgaon–New Delhi NCR

“Our key target market is the corporate transient travellers, who are individual travellers coming to do business with the big ticket companies whose offices are in Gurgaon.

We also have number of meeting spaces totalling over 9,000 sq feet making us an ideal hotel for MICE segment. Hence, MICE is our next big business opportunity,” he reveals. The leisure business is also important, especially during the dull weekends. “Gurgaon’s accessibility to Jaipur and Agra also helps the hotel attract

weekend leisure business,” he adds. The GM feels, “In December 2010 – 2011, Hilton HHonors members contributed 48.9 per cent occupancy to Hilton Worldwide hotels in India. We get a steady stream of Diamond Member bookings. The hotel opened on April 7 but we have enough business to keep us busy.”


10 TRAVTALK

OTA

MAY 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

Transparent pricing, the way forward: OTAs Post the DGCA circular to airlines to check opaque pricing, most of the OTAs have come forward to support transparent pricing as the way forward… arbitrary and not in the best interest of the consumer, the airline and is in violation of DGCA norms and directives. The DGCA had recently issued a circular to airlines to check opaque pricing.

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o build on their leadership position in the travel business, all OTAs are trying their best to win the confidence of its clients and support of B2B partners with maximum transparency. The storm over opaque pricing that seemingly led to withdrawal of the air content by leading airlines from a few prominent Online Travel Portals (OTAs) has eased.

In fact, MakeMyTrip, has got full inventory of domestic and international Jet Airways flights back on its platform. Keyur Joshi, COO & Co-Founder, MakeMyTrip said, “We are pleased to share that clients can now book all Jet Airways flights on MakeMyTrip with immediate effect. We value our relationship with Jet Airways and look forward to strengthening it as we continue to partner with them. MakeMyTrip

Keyur Joshi

Akash Podder

Manmeet Ahluwalia

COO & Co-Founder MakeMyTrip

Senior Vice President & Head - B2B Yatra.com

Marketing Head Expedia India

MakeMyTrip stands committed to provide customers the best quality of services stands committed to provide customers the best quality of services and value-based offerings.”

Online products can’t hide information as online feeds are received through APIs of suppliers For the uninitiated, extending opaque fares is a practice where an OTA offers heavily discounted tickets

Our business model is based on customised travel and letting the traveller pick the product of their choice but does not disclose the name of the airline until the payment is made. Many a times, the display of fares is

“We view DGCA’s directive as a positive development and expect it to bring better order and more transparency to the process. The opaque fare issue flared, following airlines’ flight cancellations, where travel portals had put up a note saying that the carrier was not a part of the bargain fares. This not only jeopardised people’s travel plans but also travel budgets. Consumers had to either pay exorbitant spot fares or cancel travel plans altogether,” said Manmeet Ahluwalia, Marketing Head, Expedia India. “Travellers today are far more aware and astute. They involve themselves in extensive pre researches and exhaustive comparisons while

planning their travel. They like to rationalise their costs and prefer not to be spoon fed. By virtue of the target audience, our business model is based on customised travel and letting the traveller pick the product of their choice. We do not sell pre made packages, instead provide the flexibility to ‘build your own trip’ putting together the flight, hotel and activities of one’s choice from our extensive inventory,” he added. Echoing similar views, Akash Podder, Senior Vice President and Head B2B, Yatra.com, says, “Online products cannot hide information as most online feeds are received through APIs of suppliers. We do not promote opaque pricing in B2B as airlines do not allow it.” “Travel industry is booming and there is competition. Each B2B consolidator decides whether to match the lowest pricing or retain healthy margins for a lower top line,” he added.


RAILWAY

MAY 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

13

Now, fly with the railways @air.irctc.co.in Planning your next travel within the country? You can soon book air tickets by logging in to the Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation’s (IRCTC) new website – air.irctc.co.in. PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA

I

n an effort to make sure that you weight out all the options before planning your next trip, the Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation is now launching a new website – air.irctc.co.in. With the addition of a website that facilitates booking of air tickets, IRCTC, which already allows railway e-ticketing, cab rental and hotel booking services, has now

IRCTC will come up with a good scheme for the travel agents in future Pradip Kundu Joint General Manager IRCTC

become a one-stop shop for all travel-related services. Talking about IRCTC’s new venture in the online domain, Pradip Kundu, the JGM/PR, IRCTC, says, “So far, we have been booking train tickets, hotel accommodation and cab rental; only air ticket

Now, ‘Chardham’ tour on train T T B U R E AU

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adrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunatri are now a train ride away as IRCTC operates rail and land tour packages to these holy shrines Providing an impetus to religious tourism, the Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation is now operating rail tour packages, which cover the holy shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunatri. The Uttarakhand Chardham Circuit tour started operations from the last week of April and will be running till the first week of July. This first-of-its-kind venture has seats/berths earmarked for the Chardham Yatra in a number of trains originating from different parts of the country, including Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Indore and Delhi. The yatra commences from Delhi and Haridwar as the two nodal points.

was left in our travel services. So, with a view to give a onewindow solution to the people, we have decided to provide air-ticketing facility as well.” The website will facilitate air ticket booking for Full Service Carriers (FSC)

and Low Cost Carriers (LCC) – Air India, Kingfisher, Jet, Go Air, Indigo and Spicejet – and will cover all sectors across the country. Booking can be made through cash cards, credit cards or netbanking.

And if you are worried about the additional service charge that you have to pay every time you book your tickets online, well, here’s good news – the website will not be levying any service charge on booking the tickets

and what’s more, you also get a ` 100 discount for each person at each sector. The website initially will allow only domestic bookings, however, Kundu says, “We will also do international bookings, but on a later date.”

Asked how the website will benefit travel agents, he says, “Presently, there is no specific benefit for travel agents; they may book a ticket as an individual and avail the benefits that are being offered to the general public. But we will come up with a good scheme for them in the future.”


14 TRAVTALK

STATES

MAY 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

Finally, states recognise tourism potential The states in India are leaving no stone unturned to promote tourism. In their recently declared budgets, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh and Goa have increased the fund allocation for tourism manifolds. State Government has identified five districts for tourism development through public private partnership route. 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.

T T B U R E AU

T

he country’s latest Union budget has increased the allocation for tourism by just a little less than 10 per cent. While the Union Budget this time was a dampener for the tourism industry, the states are realising that tourism is a big revenue generator and thus are doing their bit to improve the health of the industry. The Bengal government’s move of increasing the budgetary allowance for tourism sector for the financial year 2012-13 to ` 90 crore has been welcomed by the industry. “The whopping 104 per cent increase from an earlier earmarked ` 44 crore comes at a time when the state government is taking special care to develop the tourism sector,” Rachhpal Singh, Tourism Minister, West Bengal said. The minister revealed that the

Rachhpal Singh

Chhagan Bhujbal

Prem Kumar Dhumal

Tourism Minister West Bengal

Tourism Minister Maharashtra

Chief Minister Himachal Pradesh

The 104% increase from an earlier earmarked ` 44 crore comes at a time when the state govt is developing the tourism sector

Through these allocations, we will develop facilities which will allow tourists to stay and enjoy a short holiday

This financial year, 12 villages will be developed and infrastructure will be set up to promote rural tourism

Moving from the East to West, according to reports, Maharashtra government is planning to promote the state as a tourism brand for which ` 228 crore has been allocated. This was revealed by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar during his state budget presentation. Conservation and development of Lonar Lake in Buldhana, development of Kas Plateau near Satara, Sea World and Theme Park Tourism projects in Sindhudurg district, improvement of approach roads to sea coasts, would be the focus areas, Pawar said. “Through these allocations, we will develop facilities

such as lodging and boarding, which will allow tourists to stay and enjoy a short holiday,” Chhagan Bhujbal, Tourism Minister, Government of Maharashtra said. Also, the government plans to organise festivals of award-winning Marathi and Hindi films to mark the centenary year of Indian cinema. Announcing the state budget recently, Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister, Goa said, “The state has increased the tourism sector outlay from ` 95.43 crore last year to ` 261.30 crore this year.” A world-class consulting agency will be employed to formulate a tourism policy, which will provide a master plan for the sector. The Goa chief minister has also confirmed that the state will revisit the policy on shacks. A full fledged Tourism Promotion Board will be constituted with a clear mandate for promotion Contd. on page 37 


STATES

MAY 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

15

AP, Karnataka cash in on Medical Tourism A ‘Medical Tourism Bureau’ created to oversee standards for medical tourism in Andhra Pradesh will soon be managed by a full time CEO and governed by a Board of Directors. Karnataka is also carving a niche in the field of Medical Tourism. finds out more. VIVEK SETHI

T

wo of the southern states are pushing forward to garner a bigger share in the global medical tourism market. They rest their claim on

Vishwanatha Reddy Director Tourism Karnataka Tourism

state-of-the-art infrastructure, best professionals in the medical field and an undisputed cost advantage.

“We have all the ingredients to emerge as one of the most successful destinations for attracting medical tourism. In addition to the state-of-theart infrastructure, globally renowned professionals in medicine world, our USP is the savings we deliver vis-a-vis our counterparts in the developed world,” said Vishwanatha Reddy, Director Tourism, Karnataka Tourism. “If a person is getting a better quality treatment as well as a chance to explore an incredible destination like India and if he still manages to save about half of the costs, as our costs are about 50-60 per cent less compared to the counterparts in USA and the UK, I am sure our destination becomes the natural choice,” he added. Lately, countries like Singapore, Malaysia and others in South Asia have also become very aggressive in tapping the global medical tourism market. But, as per Sandeep Kumar Sultania, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC), “There

is nothing much to worry about. Our cost advantage and the quality of service available along with the variety of travel options stand far more attractive than the competition has to offer. We have

already created a dedicated ‘Medical Tourism Bureau’ on the lines of the MICE Promotion Bureau in September 2011. Presently, Ernst & Young is working on laying the broader guidelines

on the membership and other aspects,” said Sultania. “It will soon have a full time CEO and be governed by a Board of Directors that will include professionals from the private sector and public sector. The

Secretary, Ministry of Tourism Andhra Pradesh, will be its exofficio chairperson and the said body will pursue their objective of tapping a bigger share in the global medical tourism segment,” he added.

Sandeep Kumar Sultania Vice Chairman & Managing Director APTDC


16 TRAVTALK

STATES

MAY 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

OTOAI chooses Internet Moguls  The tie-up between Internet Moguls, leading Delhi-based digital marketing company and the Outbound Tour Operators Association of India has become official, as Internet

Avijit Arya CEO, Internet Moguls

Moguls is now responsible for handling the online marketing activities and promoting and maintaining the association’s website across the world. With the alliance, Internet Moguls can extend its reputed online marketing services to the members of OTOAI, thereby enhancing a stimulated reach for their products and services on a

global basis. Internet Moguls is a popular web marketing services provider for businesses in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry, both inside and outside the country. With more than 10 years of industry experience, the company owns a successful record of happy clients that range from small nascent companies to global brands. Search engine optimisation, social media optimisation, search engine & social media marketing, online reputation management and website designing are some of the many essential internet marketing services which the firm provides to its clients. Avijit Arya, CEO, Internet Moguls said, “We are extremely happy about this tie-up and consider it as a true recognition of our proficiency to script online success for OTOAI and its members. We look forward to extend our expertise to more and more businesses that are zealous to carve a distinct sphere for themselves in the dynamics of the ever-changing web world.”

Giving a face to Brand Maharashtra With new quarterly journal and soon-to-be-announced brand ambassador, MTDC aims to get the state on international tourist map. T T B U R E AU

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ith new quarterly journal and soon-to-beannounced brand ambassador, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) aims to get the state on international tourist map.

ties to engage in, etc for young travellers, family tours, religious travellers and even single lady travellers. To provide a ‘face’ for Maharashtra Tourism, the state is in talks with few personalities from Bollywood and cricket world including

Chaggan Bhujbhal and MTDC officials at the launch of ‘Maharashtra Unlimited’

To highlight the tourism offerings of the state, MTDC has launched a quarterly journal titled ‘Maharashtra Unlimited’ for domestic and overseas market. The journal will not only highlight the most visited and unexplored destinations, but also the culture, artifacts, history, activi-

Madhuri Dixit, Hrithik Roshan, Sachin Tendulkar, etc. Talking about the journal and brand ambassador for promoting the state on international level, Chaggan Bhujbhal, Tourism Minister, Maharashtra said, “Our state has unlimited tourism

products which are still unexplored. All we need is proper marketing.

Through this new journal and soon-tobe-announced brand ambassador, we will give a face to our state promotions and add value to our marketing campaigns. We are also in process of organising roadshows across India and overseas market this year.” Under the five-year action plan to boost tourism industry, MTDC will soon float the Expression of Interest (EoI) tenders to outsource close to 30 of its properties (especially on the Konkan coastal belt like Kashid, Kunkeshwar, Mithbav, Erangal, Alibaug and Surekhar) to private players on

the revenue-sharing model. Currently, over 50 per cent of the MTDC’s resorts are already operating on outsourced model. To encourage private investors, MTDC will help them in getting required permissions from various government departments, raise funds from different institutes, support in acquisition of land and tax exemptions in property, water and electricity, among other things. Meanwhile, MTDC has framed guidelines for mega projects, whereby private players developing projects will be eligible for additional exemptions in amusement tax, luxury tax, stamp duty and electricity duty.

MTDC Gears Up MTDC has launched a quarterly journal titled ‘Maharashtra Unlimited’ for domestic and overseas market


NTO Finland

54,000 overnights from India A well-resourced MICE destination is gearing up for over 100 travel fraternity members to visit Helsinki in September this year. Papori Bharti, Marketing Representative, India, Visit Finland, discusses tourism opportunities that Finland has to offer. T T B U R E AU

A

country with 1,88,888 lakes and 1,80,000 archipelagos, Finland has a lot to offer. “The space, the nature, and a country with a small population, makes Finland different. It is a country full of contrasts. There are four clear seasons and each season has got its own USP. Almost 70 per cent of the land is covered with forests. It is a country of pure and pristine nature where outdoor activities are available both in summer as well as in winter,” says Papori Bharti. Excited about showcasing their uniqueness to the travel fraternity, Finland is getting ready to welcome over 100 travel agents with SFTO’s first workshop planned in Helsinki this year. “This will be undoubtedly a great opportunity to showcase Finland as a tourist destination, a first-of –its-kind to be held which targets only outbound agents. We expect the agents to know more about Finland from this firsthand experience. This will help them to sell the destination more effectively. Agents are always looking for newer destination and Finland fits into this very well,” adds Bharti. Along with this ini-

Papori Bharti Marketing Representative India Visit Finland

We expect the agents to know more about Finland from this first-hand experience. This will help them to sell the destination more effectively tiative, the promotional agenda for this year includes training programmes for front liners and distribution of marketing materials. Finland received over 54,000 overnights from

India in 2011. The country has developed as a popular MICE destination and is promoting these facilities in India. “Finland is a country where the infrastructure for MICE market is A+. We have a separate office in Visit Finland which looks after MICE markets and help MICE groups to make arrangements in a smooth way,” explains Bharti. With the midnight Sun during the summer, where the sun doesn’t set for almost 40 days and polar nights in the winter where the sun does not rise for almost 45 days, Finland is home to natural phenomenon that need to be experienced.

Finland Calling India Finland received over 54,000 overnights from India in 2011 The country has developed as a popular MICE destination and is promoting these facilities in India Finland is getting ready to welcome over 100 travel agents with SFTO’s first workshop planned in Helsinki this year

Apply for Netherlands Visa in Chennai  The Consulate General of The Netherlands in Mumbai extended its service for collection of visa applications and delivery process to Chennai on May 1, 2012. This new facility will be operated at the Joint Visa Application Centre (JVAC) set up by VFS Global for diplomatic missions and governments worldwide. VFS Global will be responsible for accepting applications for short stay Schengen visas to The Netherlands from applicants

Vishal Jairath, Regional Head - South Asia, VFS Global

residing in Chennai and neighbouring areas. All visa applications will continue to be

assessed and processed by the Consulate General of The Netherlands in Mumbai. The service would attract a nominal service fee, payable at the JVAC at the time of submitting the application. The Chennai office will remain open from 08:00 hrs to 15:00 hrs keeping in mind the convenience of the applicants. VFS Global also provides similar services for The Netherlands - amongst others in Bengaluru, New Delhi and Mumbai.

MTDC to develop 7 Buddhist tourist circuits  With an aim to attract Buddhist pilgrims from overseas market, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is in process of developing seven Buddhist tourist circuits across the state at a cost of over Rs 70 crore. Areas

include Mumbai-Thane, Nashik-Pune, Aurangabad I and II, Nagpur and Satara Raigad circuits. The NashikPune circuit will have basic tourist amenities at sites like Pandavleni, Bhaja, Karla, Junnar and Ghoradeshwar caves while for Mumbai-Pune

circuit, MTDC plans to develop Nalasopara stupa, Vipassana pagoda, Canary, Mahakali caves and Chaitya Bhoomi. In Raigad, it will set up tourist facilities at Thanale, Gandharpale, Kuda and Khadsambale caves.


18 TRAVTALK

MAY 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

NTO

Korea focusses on Indian MICE With special incentives for tour operators and state-of-the-art conference facilities, the country promotes Korea Convention Year 2012 and is the new MICE destination to look out for. T T B U R E AU

I

ndians travelling abroad have become extremely choosy over the years. Gone are the days when travelling to a foreign land for a holiday was itself an exciting option. Outbound travellers from India are now as discerning and demanding about the facilities as their counterparts

in other countries of the world. They are always seeking something extraordinary, different from the beenthere-done-that options.

Korea recorded 86,700 Indian visitor arrivals in 2010 and registered a growth of 19 per cent in 2011 in terms of family travel, MICE and Special Interest Tours. Being a vital component of outbound travel, MICE is now being looked at seriously by countries around the globe. Knowing that MICE travellers from India have become fas-

tidious and want the best value for their money, Korea is offering something extraordinary. Its state-of-the-art MICE infrastructure and

great experiential advantage for incentives have already become popular in India, and many incentive programmes have been held in Korea, last year. “MICE Industry is one of the fast growing markets in Korea. In 2010, Korea was ranked eighth in the world according to the Union of

International Associations, having held 464 meetings, conferences, conventions and exhibitions. Thus, we are now interested more in this

industry than ever before. The Korean government designated this year as ‘Korea Convention Year 2012’ for the purpose of special promotion,” says Jae-Sang Lee, Director, Korea Tourism Organisation. There are many compelling factors which go in favour of MICE in Korea, such as its robust economy, easy accessibility, unique location and fascinating landscape, breathtaking attractions, vibrant culture, exotic cuisine, colourful festivals, modern convention venues, state-ofthe-art facilities, exciting pre and post event programmes, team-building programmers, a secure environment, a variety of shopping options and a colourful nightlife, warmth of its people, and price competitiveness. “Among many destinations in Korea, Seoul, Jeju and Busan are three popular MICE destinations. Looking at Korea’s excellent infrastructure and superstructure for the MICE industry, we are quite sure that everyone in India would be surprised. We hope and are looking forward to over 10 per cent growth this year,” adds Lee.

can be provided for incentive tours and business conferences according to the phase of attraction, overseas promotion and hosting.

Jae-Sang Lee Director Korea Tourism Organisation

According to the Union of International Associations statistics released in 2008, Korea held 293 international meetings in 2008 and was ranked 12th worldwide in the number of international meetings held. Its capital city, Seoul, held 125 international meetings in 2008 and was placed 7th worldwide in the number of international meetings held. Among the Countries in Asia, Korea is the third most popular place for conventions. The Korea Tourism Organisation determines the scope of assistance and the type of support for MICE tours by taking into account the size of foreign participants and ripple-effects. Different levels of support

“We do advertise Korea as a MICE Destination to the Indian travel market. We are also promoting Korea through fam trips. Direct presentations to companies and special support kits have also helped us in promoting the destination. If Indian travel agents are considering organising big MICE groups to Korea, we can provide many benefits directed to the agencies,” says Lee. As Korea’s leading destination marketing body for conferences and events, Korea MICE Bureau plays a core role in assisting and securing events for Korea. It provides support, right from the planning states to the final farewells.

Travel agents now target housing colonies online  An increasing number of housing societies and RWAs in cities are now acquiring their own individual space on the web for day-to-day facilitation of chores such as online booking for taxis, movies, groceries, etc. And to reach out to these consumers, the travel and hospitality players are now working with these web portals. Gurgaon- based software company- Just My Neighbour.com.

is a similar example. Param Sidhu, Just My Neighbour, Co- Founder says,

“This means creating a new mode of communication for residents and establishing an entirely new sector of industry. We are living in the technology

era where everyone has fast moving lives that are devoid of communication majorly at the place we live.” While there are some active members in a society, on the other side, there are some members who hardly know about what is happening around them. “Hence, we came up with Just My Neighbour to bridge this gap so that close user group can be connected for communication. It is a one-

stop solution for residents who can browse online regarding any major piece of information whether it is notices, events or any other news related to their society,” he reveals. The portal is now acting as a medium for the travel and hospitality players. “We have connected 5,000 residential societies pan-India. Hence, key travel and hospitality players can now work with us to gauge

the consumers for their promotional campaigns,” Sidhu believes. Explaining the concept, Sidhu elaborates, “For example—if a tour operator is planning customised packages for the city of Bengaluru, it can work with the portal rather than advertising in the newspapers and get the exact clientele it is looking for. Thus, our portal is a perfect medium for the travel fraternity.” The

Param Sidhu Co-Founder, Just My Neighbour

group has already worked with Yatra, The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, MakeMyTrip, Club Mahindra, etc.


20 TRAVTALK

EXHIBITIONS

MAY 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

The 12th World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit

Problems ruled over by Solutions The 12th World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Sendai and Tokyo in Japan attracted over 1,200 top brass from 53 countries. They discussed how the dynamic industry is facing turbulent times, be it the debt crisis, democratic uprisings or the Japan earthquake, which was no doubt appropriately a focus area of the summit. ‘Understanding Tomorrow’s Consumers’

A N I L M AT H U R

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he Summit was a success as the Japanese authorities, industry and the WTTC leadership left no stone unturned to make it a success.

Crisis situations and looking ahead was an important part of the summit and in this, India had an important presence with Vikram Madhok, Chairman, WTTC India Initiative and Priya Paul, Vice Chairman, present at Tokyo, along with the other leading lights of the industry, such as Deep Kalra and Deepak Ohri. However, it was Raymond N Bickson, Managing Director and CEO, The Indian Hotels Company—the Taj Group— who kept the flag flying as it

Vikram Madhok

Priya Paul

Raymond N Bickson

Chairman WTTC India Initiative

Chairperson Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels

Managing Director and CEO, The Indian Hotels Company–the Taj Group

were both at Sendai and later at Tokyo. Perhaps it was the first time that the summit was split on two locations, signifying the importance of the events of the past year. Bickson’s presentation at Sendai evoked much response, as he traced the events of November 2008,

when the Mumbai terrorist attacks took place. The point the Taj boss made was that the philosophy of ‘guest is most important’ was reflected in the way the terror attack was handled by the hotel management and staff.

Bickson told the industry leaders that restoration work was expedited and within days, part of the damaged hotel was put back into operation and it took 22 months to redo the major damages. He noted that some of the staff at the Taj was into fourth generation of employees and that charity was an important part of the Tata philosophy. Appropriately, the articulate and popular CEO carried with him, for distribution, copies of the article, from

To be sure, it was not just crisis management which was the focus at the WTTC summit. Deep Kalra, Founder and CEO, MakeMy Trip, spoke on the session of ‘understanding Tomorrow’s Consumers’, which was on the minds of the delegates, who no doubt wanted to take home some points for thought and action. Kalra, known for his innovative contribution to the travel industry, traced the growth of his company, moving from his earlier mainly NRI clientele to the Taj’, which gave details of how the crisis was handled. He also brought with him copies of a DVD on ‘Terror at the Taj Bombay; Customer-Centric Leadership.’ In his much appreciated address and interventions at

‘Do we Understand the Consumer?’ Deepak Ohri, CEO, Lebua Hotels and Resorts, which has ambitious plans for India, including a 400 room hotel in Delhi, posed the interesting question; ‘Do we understand the consumer?’ and went on to say that education process is important. Significantly, Ohri felt that research at the micro segment levels was vital, rather than just at the macro level. Building consumer confidence and loyalty were important aspects of any growth plan. Ohri stressed that value perceptions were important,

adding that the consumers are ready to pay if they are convinced that it is worthwhile. Giving great service experience was important. He quipped that ‘no one wanted explanations, but they want experience.’

the December 2011 issue of the Harvard Business Review, The Ordinary Heroes of the

Sendai and Tokyo, Bickson made the point that working together helps and this is

Deepak Ohri CEO Lebua Hotels and Resorts

Deep Kalra Founder and CEO MakeMy Trip

present growth, with over 1100 strong employees, including 650 in the online stream, and 20 stores. He said that he believed in research, adding that one has to keep looking for new business models. what they had been doing at the WTTC India Initiative. At another level, the Taj CEO spoke of taxation as being a major concern for the industry in many countries. At the summit, Bickson was one of the most sought after persons by the media, to articulate his views and how the 2008 Mumbai incident was handled. Vikram Madhok, Chairman, WTTC India Initiative, who heads Abercrombie & Kent in India, told TT, that the WTTC Summit in Japan was an ‘amazing platform’ with participation of the top brass from all over the world. Madhok made the point that the presence of the Prime Minster of Japan at the opening of the summit in Tokyo showed that the country gave due importance to tourism and its role in the recovery of the economy. Networking was an important part of such gatherings and Madhok added that the WTTC was just the right forum for this and keeping the India flag flying at such events was important.

Too Fat to fly? Should excess body weight be taxed? When it comes to excess weight on a plane, Brits think we should all pay our fair share and with body weight affecting fuel consumption in the same way as excess baggage, it’s not surprising travellers want a ‘fat tax’. In a new poll from leading travel add-ons provider, HolidayExtras.com, nearly half of the people asked, (48%) felt, that overweight passengers should be charged extra to board their flight. Men In particular think that those carrying excessive body weight should pay the price, with 51% of men in favour of additional charges compared to 43% of women.


ANALYSIS

India’s ‘hot’ this summer On the back of a spurt in demand, players in the domestic tourism industry are optimistic about the summer tourist season… M E G H A PAU L

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ccording to a survey by TripAdvisor, the Indian travellers are ready to loosen their purse strings with nearly 40 per cent of them ready to spend more than ` 1 lakh on holidays in destinations within the country and abroad this summer season. The country had 740 million domestic travellers across segments in 2011 and the figure is set to grow. Younger demographics of the travellers and their changing preferences have opened many opportunities for the sector. Interestingly, Kashmir is back on the India travel map. Despite the skyrocketing airfares for Kashmir, demand has surged big time. Says Subhash Verma, Chairman, Travel Plus, “There has been

Subhash Verma

P P Khanna

Chairman Travel Plus

Director Diplomatic Travel Point

There has been a mad rush for Kashmir this season

The demand for Kashmir is so high that it was obvious that airfares would soar nately, the newly introduced User Development Fee (UDF) could be a dampener, Verma laments.

Rakesh Lamba

Harjinder Singh

Director Prakriti Holidays

Managing Director Odyssey Tours

People are now choosing other options as well

A twist in the tale is the Bengaluru, Mysore and Ooty circuit

a mad rush for Kashmir this season. An increasing number of tourists are going to Kashmir despite the soaring airfares. Trains to the route are already booked and hotels are

also witnessing full occupancy this season. In India, the actual booking for domestic travel starts post May 15. Till then, we have our fingers crossed,” he feels. However, unfortu-

Seychelles by Ethiopian  Ethiopian got big response on its fares for its one-stop flight from India to Seychelles… With four direct flights a week effective April 1,

Flight Days

2012 from Addis Ababa to Seychelles, Ethiopian Airlines is looking at tapping the traffic from European and Asian markets to the island country.

Origin Departure Arrival Destination

ET879

Tuesday/ ADD Thursday/ Friday/Sunday

10:10

15:25

SEZ

ET878

Tuesday/ SEZ Thursday/ Friday/Sunday

16:25

19:40

ADD

Echoing Verma’s sentiments, P P Khanna, Director, Diplomatic Travel Point feels, “The demand for Kashmir is so high that it was obvious that the airfares would have spiraled. However, Indigo has three daily flights which, I believe would improve load factor and bring some relief.” Apart from destinations such as Kashmir, Shimla, Nainital and Kerala which are selling like hot cakes, the group is also aggressively promoting holidaying in the North East. “We have got several bookings for Sikkim, especially Gangtok. However, people are not venturing beyond Sikkim. Unfortunately, there are no takers for Cherrapunji, etc.” he further added. According to Rakesh Lamba, Director, Prakriti Holidays, there is no specific holiday trends prevalent this summer. Due to spiralling airContd. on page 34 

Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO, Ethiopian Airlines said, “Ethiopian is pleased to fly to the legendary beauty and exotic Seychelles, which is a home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites: Aldabra and Praslin’s Vallee de Mai. Our airline now provides more options for passengers flying from any part of the world to Seychelles and vice versa to the cosmopolitan city of the living museum of natural history, where colourful blend of people of different races, cultures and religions are found.”


24 TRAVTALK

‘You play, We pay’ by Marriott International!  Marriott International launched ‘You Play, We Pay’ across all its Marriott properties, where guests can book up to three nights stay at any of the Marriott properties in India and earn a maximum credit of ` 3,000. This limited period offer is available for bookings made from May 1, 2012 to August 31, 2012 for stay from May 1, 2012 to October 31, 2012. Stay for a minimum of two nights and earn a credit of ` 2,000 to spend and for

3 nights you earn ` 3,000. Make the most of the offer with a series of exciting facilities such as Room Upgrades, scrumptious meals at any Restaurant, Cocktails at the Bar, surfing the web with High Speed Internet in the hotel premises, unwinding at the Spa with de-stressing Massage treatments and other in room facilities like Mini Bar, Phone Calls made from the hotel room and Room service and Laundry Service.

The top ten states in terms of number of domestic tourist visits (in millions) during 2010 were: Andhra Pradesh (155.8)

Madhya Pradesh (38.1)

Uttar Pradesh

(144.8)

Uttarakhand

(30.2)

Tamil Nadu

(111.6)

Rajasthan

(25.5)

Maharashtra

(48.5)

West Bengal

(21.1)

(38.2)

Gujarat

(18.9)

Karnataka

EXHIBITIONS

MAY 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

‘Domestic Tourism in organised form’ The USP of Great Domestic Travel Bazaar (GDTB) will be the brainstorming at the two plenary sessions by policy makers and corporate stakeholders, followed by pre-scheduled B2B meetings and on the spot B2C meetings. T T B U R E AU

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he domestic tourism sector in India holds great potential. As per the recent statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism

Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson FICCI Tourism Committee and Chairperson & Managing Director, Bharat Hotels

during 2010, the number of domestic tourist visits to the states/ UTs was 740 million as compared to 669 million in 2009 and 563 million in 2008.

“World over, the domestic tourism has been a major strength of many strong destinations. Luckily, in India, we have a very big domestic tourists’ base, which will continue to grow at a double digit rate.

The Ministry of Tourism has set the target of doubling the domestic tourism market during the 12th Plan period (2012-2017). The Great Domestic Travel Bazaar show (GDTB) is one big event to unleash the true potential of domestic tourism,” said Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson, FICCI Tourism Committee and Chairperson & Managing Director, Bharat Hotels.

“The most daunting challenge in unleashing the true potential of this sector is to bring the domestic sector stakeholders in an organised fold. They need to extend their reach, learn insights about new markets and utilise state-of-the-art technology and other amenities that otherwise are available to big players,” she added. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) with the support of Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) is organising GDTB from August 24-25, 2012 at Federation House, New Delhi which will emerge as the biggest national platform for stakeholders in the domestic market. “The first ever Domestic Tourism Conclave was successfully held in August 2011 and was well

attended by around 400 tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers, airlines, other members of the Tourism fraternity of India as well as representatives from the State Governments. In this addition, the Domestic Tourism Conclave will upgrade itself to The Great Domestic Tourism Bazaar,” said Suri. “Here, even the smallest stakeholder will get an opportunity to extend their reach, meet new potential partners, and be informed about best technology and strategies to explore new markets in the most organised manner. The USP of The Great Domestic Tourism Bazaar, besides the power packed inaugural, would be brainstorming at the two plenary sessions policy makers and corporate stakeholders followed by the prescheduled B2B meetings and on the spot B2C meetings,” she added.


26 TRAVTALK

CRUISE

MAY 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

India rides high on cruising tides Cruising is becoming a popular holiday option for Indians and is the fastest growing segment of the industry, say industry players. There is no denying the fact that cruising has become the new buzzword. M E G H A PAU L

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he growing size of the Indian outbound cruise tourism industry suggests that cruise tourism is now becoming the new buzzword in the travel domain. Talking about the potential growth in the segment, Nishith Saxena, Director, Cruise Professionals says, “We currently estimate the outbound cruise tourism market to be hovering between 70,000 - 75,000 passengers each year. Interestingly, while the Far East region cruises which earlier accounted for almost 40,000 - 50,000 passengers till 2008 has remained constant but with more cruise lines sharing the pie, there is a visible growth for cruise passengers going to Europe and America. This reflects the increasing number of passengers with maturity level for cruising and varied preferences.”

Gautam Chadha, Chief Executive, TIRUN Travel Marketing, India Representative, Royal Caribbean Cruises opines, “The Indian cruise market is expected to grow exponentially. Outbound cruise travel has been growing at an average rate of 12-15 per cent per annum for the past few years with the exception of 2009. We believe that over 65,000 Indians opt for cruise vacations annually and this number will grow dramatically concurrent with a ship being based on our coast line.” The company witnessed a 15 per cent increase in bookings this season. To cash in on this spurt of travellers, the group has a few added attractions this summer. “Voyager of the Seas will kickstart its maiden Asian season on May 26, 2012 with a series of Southeast Asian cruises from Singapore. It will also be the largest and the most innovative cruise ship in Asia. For the first time in the region,

Nishith Saxena

Gautam Chadha, Chief Executive

Naresh Rawal

Director Cruise Professionals

TIRUN Travel Marketing, India Representative, Royal Caribbean Cruises

Vice President - Sales India & South Asia, Star Cruises

Outbound cruise travel is growing at an average rate of 12-15% per annum for the past few years

Guests will enjoy substantial saving if they book 90 days in advance

We estimate the outbound cruise tourism market to be between 70,000 - 75,000 passengers there will be a cruise ship with an ice-skating rink for spectacular ice shows, a boulevard of

shops and cafes; 4 decks high and a full-sized sports court for basketball,” he informs.

Anticipating a healthy double-digit growth in 2012, Saxena says the focus always has been on selling Balcony

& higher cabin categories to clients through the agency. “We launched a Balcony Bonanza Offer on all Princess Cruises sailings in March 2012. Additionally, we have had two one-week Cruise Sales so far in 2012. Passengers booking their cruise during these Cruise Sales are entitled to several onboard benefits.” Naresh Rawal, Vice President, Sales, India & South Asia, Star Cruises says the company has put together attractive ‘balcony cabin’ packages onboard the newly-refurbishedSuperStar Virgo. “Guests will enjoy substantial saving if they book 90 days in advance. Besides the cabin fare being more attractive than usual, guests of our balcony cabins will also enjoy dining credits, which allow them to check out the cruise ship’s various food & beverage outlets,” he confirms.


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TAM-Brazil workshop

‘We are optimistic about India’ With the Indian travellers getting evolved, Finnair follows a growth strategy with the best flight connections and cost competitiveness. The airline is attracting transit traffic and is set to be the most desired Nordic airline. T T B U R E AU

O

TAM Airlines along with the Embassy of Brazil organised a workshop showcasing different aspects of Brazil. The workshop provided valuable information about the country as well as its products and services. With a 30 per cent increase in the Indian Visas to Brazil, the country is keen to explore tourism options and promote the destination among Indians. The event, organised in New Delhi, was well attended by members of the Indian travel fraternity, the Brazilian embassy and TAM airline officials.

ver the years, Indian travellers have evolved and are now looking for a unique holiday experience. Northern Europe is a relatively unexplored region for Indian travellers. Making most of this opportunity, Finnair has been working very closely with Visit Finland and the Scandinavian Tourism Board in promoting Scandinavia, the Nordic and

Air China links MumbaiChengdu-Shanghai route  Air China has launched a new air route MumbaiChengdu- Shanghai Pudong service to link the two countries. Beginning on May 03, 2012, Air China will provide four weekly flights on this

route. The growing number of flights makes it easier for passengers to transfer through Chengdu, Pudong or Beijing to reach destinations within China on this route.

Desmond Chacko Sales Manager - Indian Subcontinent Finnair

Baltic countries for FIT and MICE movements.

“The growth potential in India is huge owing to a fast growing middle class population, favourable economic growth, higher disposable incomes and rising aspirations of this middle class. We are optimistic and bullish about the India market. However, additional tax burden on travel, the proposed hike in airport charges (Delhi) and increase in operational costs will dampen the growth potential. Finnair's vision is to be the number one airline in the Nordic countries and to be the most desired option

in Asian traffic. In transit traffic between Europe and Asia, Finnair wants to be among the three largest operators. The cornerstones of Finnair's growth strategy are Asia's growing market, the best flight connections and cost-competitiveness,” says Desmond Chacko, Sales Manager - Indian Subcontinent, Finnair. Finland has lot to offer; from the snowy winters to pleasantly warm summers and colourful spring and autumn. The neighbouring regions-Norway, Lapland, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark- provide endless holiday choices and suit just about every purse and passion. Making most of the opportunity to showcase this region, “We are facilitating the annual conference and workshop of the Society of Foreign Tour operators in Helsinki and Tallinn in September this year. It will

be an excellent opportunity for their members to meet and interact with suppliers as well as experience firsthand all that the destination has to offer,” adds Chacko.

Growing Strong Finnair has been working very closely with Visit Finland and the Scandinavian Tourism Board in promoting Scandinavia, the Nordic and Baltic countries for FIT and MICE movements In transit traffic between Europe and Asia, Finnair wants to be among the three largest operators The cornerstones of Finnair's growth strategy are Asia's growing market, the best flight connections and cost-competitiveness


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FAMILY ALBUM

ATM 2012 concludes on a high note Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2012, in its 19th year, ended on a high note in Dubai UAE. It continued to be the biggest trade exhibition of its kind to grow and evolve in line with the vibrant Middle East travel and tourism industry offering new and exciting content to reflect the dynamism of this fast paced sector. It welcomed 2,400 exhibitors from 87 countries reflecting 7 per cent increase in square meterage bringing together local, regional and international travel industry under one roof.


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FAMILY ALBUM

87 countries participate in ATM 2012




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makes it big at ATM




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High fee sliding down aviation growth? The recent decision by Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) to increase the airport development fee in Mumbai and aeronautical charges in Delhi has created a stir in the industry. gets details…. D E V I KA J E E T

M

ay has brought bad news for travellers. Now flying from Mumbai and Delhi airport has become

bigger issue for Delhi than Mumbai. This should have been a staggered increase over the years as opposed to an immediate one. Delhi airport prices are not competi-

world. The tariff hike is less than half of the requested increase and is therefore inadequate. IATA, on the other hand, was extremely disap-

Ajay Prakash

Subhash Goyal

Iqbal Mulla

President TAFI

President IATO

President TAAI

Ministry is trying to increase the no. of tourists to 12 m but how can this be achieved if the aviation industry continues hiking rates more expensive. Mumbai Airport has levied a development fee of ` 100 for domestic travellers and ` 600 for international flyers from May 1, 2012; whereas, Delhi International Airport witnessed a revision in aeronautical charges. Tariff calculations by DIAL show that the approximate increase in ticket pricing on account of passenger fee per person, for the year 2012-13, works out to ` 290 on an average for domestic and `. 580 on an average for international. Discussing this increase, Ajay Prakash, President, TAFI, says, “It’s a

Here comes another dose of increase in 346% User Development Fee (UDF) by DIAL leaving hardly any chance to revive the tourism industry tive any longer and as the airlines are saying, Delhi has now become one of the most expensive airports. This is not a healthy trend. The Tourism Ministry is trying to increase the number of tourists to 12 million in the 12th plan period but how can this be achieved if the aviation industry continues to hike rates.” Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) welcomed the revision in aeronautical charges promulgated by AERA. However, it also added that the current aero tariffs levied in Delhi are amongst the lowest in the

The fee increase is extremely high and this was not the apt way to increase it. This sudden increase is bound to pinch pointed with the increase in fee in New Delhi. According to the association, “This will make Delhi the world’s most expensive airport. It will also have a larger impact on India and its economy with an expected 5-8 per cent decrease in demand at Delhi as a result of higher costs, a fall in tourist arrivals and further damage to the local and international airline connectivity. This is a big step backwards for Delhi’s ambition to be an aviation hub.” The travel fraternity has not welcomed this development especially after the increase in service tax.

‘Airrail’ tickets by China Eastern  Now, those booking tickets with China Eastern flight, international or domestic, will be entitled to get a ‘high speed train’ ticket free of cost. 4 cities (Suzhou SZV, Wuxi WUX, Changzhou CZX, Ningbo NGB) are connected to Shanghai Hongqiao railway station (12-15mins walking

Voicing their concern, Subhash Goyal, President, IATO, says, “Already the travel and hospitality industry is facing turbulent weather since the announcement of Union Annual Budget for 2012-13 where increase in service tax by two per cent covering all components of tourism be transport, hotel, restaurant, airlines has made India a cost prohibitive destination. As if this was not enough, here comes another dose of increase in 346 per cent User Development Fee (UDF) by DIAL leaving hardly any chance to revive the sluggish tourism industry”. Goyal adds, “This additional burden cannot be claimed from the clients and this will add to already burdened industry which within their very thin margin cannot be accommodated by tour operators. Thus the government is determined to kill the golden goose. ‘It has given an indication to the global travellers that the Government does not consider tourism an important part of economic growth’. The inbound segment is already ruling under the impact of global slowdown in key source markets and this will be further impacted with drop in foreign tourist arrivals and in turn foreign exchange earnings and slowdown in country’s economic growth”. Highlighting similar concern and especially focussing on the bad timing, Iqbal Mulla, President, TAAI, says, “The fee increase is extremely high and this was not the apt way to increase it. At present, the holiday season is in full swing and families are paying for holidays from their pockets. This sudden increase is bound to pinch and have a negative effect on tourism. During this season, India attracts a number of low budget travellers and this increased fee and payments at the airport is bound

and it will be printed in the air ticket itinerary. Each air sector is entitled with 1 train ticket only.

Subhash Verma, President, ADTOI blames the badly planned revenue model for the airport. He

Feeling the pinch of this development, Kuku S. Kumar, Director- Northern Region, IAAI, discusses the effect on airlines, “Some domestic airlines are already feeling the heat and closing down. With the low yields and increase in demands such as parking charges, high cost of tickets due to taxes and levies, one

Subhash Verma

Kuku S. Kumar

President ADTOI

Director- Northern Region IAAI

Tourism will be affected to an extent by this fee. The airport’s revenue model should have been better planned says, “This increase is unfair, according to my views as the consumer is being bottled. There is no voice for them. Tourism will be affected to an extent by this fee. The airport’s revenue model should have been better planned at the beginning of the development as opposed to now. This is definitely unfair and will have an adverse affect on the travel and tourism industry”.

With low yields & increase in demands such as high cost of tickets due to taxes, one should not be surprised if the International Airlines cease operations should not be surprised if the International Airlines withdraw or cease operations.” On one side, the government is working to make India a more tourist-friendly and accessible destination, but, on the other hand, increase in levies by airport authority has taken the ticket price soaring to an extent which makes the country a pricy and unaffordable destination.

Domestic travel scores Contd. from page 21 

distance to Hongqiao Airport Terminal-2). Each train has been given by a virtual flight number

to leave a negative impact. At least a 90 day notice should have been given before implementation. This badly timed and poorly planned increase in fee has left the travel agents suffering.”

fares, people are frequently changing destinations to suit their own interest and pockets. “Initially most people were headed to Ladakh and Srinagar. But people are now choosing other options as well,” he reveals. According to Lamba, the company is expecting a rise in bookings, especially after May 15.

Harjinder Singh, Managing Director, Odyssey Tours opines, “This summer season, there is added advantage of the ongoing IPL as well. Hence, we have received bookings for Manali and Dharamsala for the same reason. Goa is a destination which will always be a favourite for the domestic travellers. Also, a twist in the tale is the Bengaluru, Mysore and Ooty

circuit.” Nowadays, online travel agencies (OTAs) are eating into the profits of the conventional tour operators with fixed departures and bulk bookings. Hence, to beat the summer lull, Odyssey Tours is adding innovative packages into its portfolio. “The group is looking at promoting farm stays at Mohali in Punjab for weekend getaways,” Singh states.


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AGENTS

Workshop on Rural & Adventure Tourism brings you the glimpses of the IATO workshop, jointly organised with Uttarakhand Tourism and Government of Uttarakhand on ‘Hunar se Rozgar through Adventure and Rural Tourism’ on April 21-22, 2012. The association also celebrated its Annual Day on March 17.

A&K India scouts for B2B partners A&K India is keen to build further B2B alliances with interested & qualifying trade partners in India to promote and sell A&K’s global portfolio of products and services. T T B U R E AU

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bercrombie & Kent India (A&K) had ventured into the outbound travel segment in 2011. A year after, it has garnered good response by giving the best destination experience to the luxury outbound travel.

“We are now over a year old and our Private Travel Outbound Division is getting

a great response as we have filled an existing gap in India between a luxury holiday and luxurious holiday. We are focussed and committed to offer complete experiences to discerning travellers seeking complete destination experiences by booking one of our inspiring tailor-made journeys to destinations worldwide,” said Vikram Madhok, Managing Director, Abercrombie & Kent India.

“A&K has completed 50 years of providing inspiring experience in 2012 to both the established and the emerging destinations,” he added. Going forward, A&K is looking at building relationship with like-minded B2B partners and even provide necessary training to help them build an extensive portfolio of experience-based lux-

ury products for their highend discerning clients.

“In India, we are seeking further B2B alliances with interested & qualifying trade partners to promote & sell our global portfolio of products and services.

Never before the travel agents and tour operators in India had such a wide choice of luxury products & destination management services from a single global brand like A&K,” said Madhok. “Our sales team is wellequipped to train travel consultants on experience- based private journeys and help them learn to perfect the art of tailor-made luxury travel. This involves a lot of time and

Vikram Madhok MD, Abercrombie & Kent India

effort on part of the A&K team to engage in such training-based activities. Hence, it is imperative that we connect with the right partners who are willing to commit and dedicate resources to introduce luxury travel using A&K in their portfolio of services,” he added.


NEWS

Save the roar: Anjana Gosain In collaboration with the respective State Forest Departments and with support from The US Fish and Wildlife Service, Tiger Trust India has already trained more than 1,500 forest guards, foresters and senior staff. children in Delhi and villages around the strategic national parks,” she added.

T T B U R E AU

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ndia has huge potential in wild life tourism segment, which needs to be tapped in a responsible manner. The Tiger Trust India, as part of its various tiger conservation endeavour, has been conducting capacity building measures to educate the law enforcing forest officers.

“For tiger conservation in national parks, we need to build a strong network of trained and empowered forest staff, who are adept at enforcing legal provisions that provide long term support for tiger conservation. Thus, we started the capacity building programme titled Hunting the Hunters,

IATO presenting award to Anjana Gosain, who had been at the forefront to promote tourism and wildlife conservation through her distinct legal know-how

which is aimed at educating the law enforcing forest authorities to efficiently collect evidence and initiate legal action most effectively,” said Anjana Gosain, Honorary Secretary, Tiger Trust and an eminent practising advocate in Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court. “We have conducted such programmes in Rajasthan, Assam and other states in collaboration with respective State Forest Departments and with support from The U S Fish and Wildlife Service. Further, we have

started a programme Save the Roar from April 1, 2012 jointly with the US-based Clemson University, which will create awareness among the school

Key Initiatives Hunting the Hunters in collaboration with respective State Forest Departments and with support from the U S Fish and Wildlife Service Save the Roar from April 1,2012 jointly with the USbased Clemson University

The Tiger Trust India has over 45 eminent judicial members on its Board, who are committed to promote wildlife conservation and ensure that the silent creatures get justice in a time bound manner by invoking the provision in the Indian legal system most effectively through the forest investigating agencies. Going forward, Gosain added that there will be a mega event in the US in March 2013, where we will organise an interactive trip for Clemson University students, Delhi School Students and Students of the schools near strategic National Parks. “We are committed to extend focus of our area work from North and Central zones to all parts of India, including capacity building programmes for women forest officers soon,” added Gosain.

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States to spell magic Contd. from page 14 

and development of all tourism-related activities in the state. The government has proposed to create cluster development authorities to develop the requisite infrastructure in designated tourist clusters such as Tiracol-Morjim, VagatorAnjuna, Arpora-Sinquerim, Colva-Cavelossim, and

Kahani’, new circuits will be developed for rural tourism. “This financial year, 12 villages will be developed and infrastructure will be set up to promote rural tourism. This initiative will witness the participation of all government departments and local people,” Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, Himachal Pradesh stated while announcing the initia-

The state has increased the tourism sector outlay from ` 95.43 crore last year to ` 261.30 crore this year Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister, Goa Palolem-Agonda villages. For the development of the Botancial Garden at Sanguem, a grant of ` 100 lakh has been provided. With rural tourism gaining momentum, the State Tourism Department in Himachal Pradesh has also identified 12 villages to be developed for promoting rural tourism under the scheme ‘Har Gaon Ki Kahani’. Through the innovative scheme of ‘Har Gaon Ki

tive in the annual budget for 2012-13. As per the plans, the Tourism Department has selected one village from each district to be developed under the scheme. The villages are Hewan in Shimla, Baggi in Mandi, Bela in Hamirpur, Saho in Chamba, Nerti in Kangra, Salasi in Bilaspur, Shamsher in Kullu, Udaypur in Lahaul and Spiti, Brua in Kinnaur, Baniya Devi in Solan, Sangrah in Sirmour and Nari in Una.


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ASSOCIATIONS

Roadmap for Religious Tourism Yes Bank and FICCI have put together a 10-point roadmap that can pave the way for initiation of a progressive phase in the development of religious tourism in the country. T T B U R E AU

1

Developing religious tourism circuits through a hub and spoke model: To create nodes near religious centres where there is already a basic infrastructure present and plan day trips from there.

2

Providing the tourists with a holistic tourism experience: Attracting the tourist segments that are not attracted to religious sites need a holistic package around a religious spots.

3

Marketing religious tourism destinations needs special training: A major part of the visitors are attracted to these destinations due to reasons such as, studying old cultures, evolution of practices and research. Only blind faith might not be enough to attract tourists to these sites.

4

Developing integrated infrastructure for religious tourism development: Infrastructure development requires that religious tourism circuits are identified and the State Government is required to streamline the development of the entire religious tourism circuit existing in a given region.

5

Enhanced emphasis on minimising the impact on the environment and maintaining the ecological balance: Appropriate checks and balances need to be put in place to ensure that the negative impact of tourism on the environment are minimised.

6

Scrutiny of religious trusts: There needs to be a practice for reviewing the financial status and regulation of religious trusts as it will allay global concerns

about money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

7

Developing appropriate Institutional Framework to stimulate the growth of religious tourism: The department of tourism of the respective state governments should institute a separate board to prepare and implement plans to provide necessary facilities to the devotees and also ensure conservation of cultural atmosphere consistent with sentiments of visiting devotees.

8

Pricing of religious tourism products: The pricing of the religious tourism products needs to be in tandem with the different segment of people visiting the sites.

9

Limiting the impact of globalisation on places with an epidemic flavour of being a distinct religious

tourism attraction: Since religious tourism is based on values, customs, practices, traditions and beliefs of a particular region, the same need to be maintained.

10

Improving connectivity to specific religious tourism circuits to promote them: Attracting tourists to remote areas will require improving the connectivity to these regions to develop these into commercially viable tourism sites.

QUICK READ Jet Airways has decided to temporarily suspend its A330 Mumbai Johannesburg flights effective June 12, 2012. This development is part of Jet Airways ongoing network evaluation with a clear focus on profitability.

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ni2012: Wooing Indians  Celebrating the launch of a unique landmark year in tourism, Northern Ireland has launched a new initiative – ni2012 to highlight the events and attractions of the country in top international markets. Taking the centrestage in the ni2012 programme is the newly opened ‘Titanic Belfast’, which attracted over 40,000 visitors in just 12 days from its opening date and expects to attract over 2,90,000 visitors this year. It is working with selective Indian tour operators for joint advertising and is encouraging them to promote and sell Ireland. Jim Paul, Head of Australia and Developing markets, Tourism Ireland said, “It's a very special year for tourism in Northern Ireland and I am excited about launching ni2012 to coincide with the influx of visitors for the London Olympics. We are expecting an increase in visitors from India. Through this programme,

we are going to highlight the top attractions like ‘Titanic Belfast’, the ‘Giant’s Causeway’ and golfing.” Adding further, he said,

“We are gradually expanding and developing our marketing in Asian markets, especially in China, India and Middle East. With the visa waiver scheme, Indians are opting for Ireland while visiting Britain, which is a major boost for our country. Moreover, with Emirates starting a direct connection to Ireland from Dubai, Indians now have one-stop connectivity where they don’t need a transit visa.” “We are glad to have support from the travel trade which is already promoting Ireland by adding our country in their itineraries,” Paul concluded.


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ANALYSIS

It has definitely been a fantastic career span of 20 years with its fair share of mostly ups and some downs. Challenges, achievements are all a part of your professional growth and not really gender specific. But yes, as a woman our need to prove ourselves is sometimes way stronger and this motivates us to be more focused and drive for results. The most important thing that is needed by women colleagues is to have a good mentor and guide. Though we may not have a formal set-up but we have definitely established a culture of guiding and mentoring them. My success mantra is that there is no substitute for hard work. Also, you need to be focused and ensure that whatever you do adds value to the company and makes best use of your skills. The most important thing which helps you remain grounded is your value system.

I was an interior designer and knew nothing about the travel industry. I have worked my way to understand the travel business. I have gone for sale visits, I have gone to various travel agencies and corporate, especially in my earlier days. I have never felt unwelcome or intimidated. I think I have come a long way of being a recognized as well as a successful travel agent. I am serving the second term as a Chairperson of one of the oldest nodal travel associationsTAAI. Justifying my role as the Chairperson, who represents the largest region-North, I do fight tooth and nail for what is right. I don’t let anyone try to influence me where the working of TAAI at the national level is concerned. I am very vocal in my meetings and call spade a spade. By keeping quiet issues are not resolved.

Monisha Dewan General Manager, Hilton Garden Inn New Delhi/ Saket

Jyoti Mayal Chairperson, Northern Region, TAAI

I feel that ‘substance’ is more important than the gender. If you have your act in place, you are welcomed by one and all and the question of a gender bias diminishes. My biggest achievement has been the goodwill within the industry and my fleet of satisfied clients. I am also an office bearer with TAFI. Try and be thorough with your product so that people are able to overlook you as being a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’. In our business you have to develop a personal rapport and instill faith in your clients. ‘Over commitment’ is a big ‘No’ and doing that ‘extra bit’ with perfection is a big ‘Yes’.

The difficulty is in the initial stages when you have to make the men realise that you mean business. My biggest achievement was to be a co chairperson for the TAFI Macau Convention. It was a major challenge for four women to take up the responsibility for hosting the event and we did it successfully. My own office has more women staff. I also encourage them to travel, meet new people and attend conventions outside the region for knowledge enhancement. My success mantra is to believe in yourself and have confidence in your abilities. When there is a crisis do not run away from it but solve it and learn from it. Today we have four strong women in TAFI at the helm of affairs and it has helped us grow personally and expand our business as well. So get involved, don’t be a watcher but a doer.

Chitra Bhatia Joint Treasurer, TAFI

My role in TAFI started in 2006 when I was elected a committee member. This was the beginning of many firsts—the first woman secretary in the same term and in the following term, I was elected Western India Chairperson. The ‘aha’ moment was when all associations – TAFI, TAAI, IAAI, IATO, ETAA, ADTOI came on one platform and lit the lamp at IMC Mumbai in 2008. It was the collective effort of my team and the entire western India chapter. Another first! As Chairperson, I ensured it was the Member who came first. Western India started the member vote, which then went pan India to ensure that Commision was not changed in favour of a Transaction fee model. As the current TAFI Joint Secretary, I have been chairman for the Airline Council, Website and the Secretariat. I have co chaired two conventions at Dubai and Macau. Another breakthrough was that ladies started not only attending the meetings but participated in the activities. This was again compounded when the four ladies Co Chaired the Convention at Macau.

Vasuki Sundaram Joint Secretary, TAFI

Being a woman has not been a downside in running my business. During my continuing tenure in the travel industry the achievements have been quite a few and these overcome all obstacles. Ten years ago as an independent agency owner I saw a lot of changes happening in the industry which led me to explore the Uniglobe opportunity. The Uniglobe opportunity laid down the way for me to follow my passion to bring about a business concept that would benefit the travel community at large. We were the first to bring the concept of travel franchising into India. My advice to all – men and women would be to work hard, believe in yourself and have the courage to follow your passion especially when it seems that the odds are against you.”

Ritika Modi Regional President, Uniglobe Travel South Asia

Incredible Women Fighting against all odds and never giving up are important qualities of a leader. In history, leadership has been gender biased and male dominated but now women are working their way up. Changing the way society perceives women, members of our travel fraternity are not lagging behind. Here is a look at successful women in the Indian tourism industry.

Rani Bachani Committee Member, TAFI

Success for me is relative. It's not just a position in life but the life lessons successfully imbibed which make you a person of principles. Though far from perfect, I have always given my all professionally whilst juggling a work life balance and sticking to my beliefs. Struggles and I are constant bedfellows, but in the last five years I've converted them into challenges and surmounted them with faith, tenacity and gratitude. They make me a person of strength. But to win something big you have to take both a calculated risk and follow your heart. I now enjoy what I do and choose my work rather than let it choose me. I believe that women don't have to be better than men and we should stop trying to prove ourselves all the time as it's a vicious circle and we end up chasing our own tails.

Punam Singh Country Rep – India, London & Partners

With humble beginnings, my journey in this industry has had its own share of struggles. I conducted tours for 10 to 15 years and handling groups of 100 to 200 people can be very challenging. You have to be physically and mentally fit to do this. As we started to grow, bigger companies took notice of us and we faced muscle power. We were targeted and I was scared for our survival. They wanted to harm Kesari. We knew if we did good work, god will support us through the tough times. We were not competing with the other companies and were only concentrating on our growth. Creating trust and team building are very important elements to help excel. It’s been a tough but satisfying journey.

Veena Patil Managing Director, Kesari Tours

My colleagues share my passion for the hospitality industry. This is an ideal place for women. Women form an integral part of the workforce in a hotel. A hotel cannot function as a ‘home away from home’ for a guest without a woman’s touch. After all, isn’t it universally acknowledged that the fairer sex has a natural flair for keeping a house? And a hotel is nothing but an extension of the home on a commercial scale. Therefore, if you are a career-seeking woman, you will find some of the most suitable, remunerative and enjoyable opportunities in the hotel industry. It may set your apprehensions, if you have any, at rest to know that any hotel management takes the utmost care to provide a safe and professional environment to their women employees on their premises.

Rita Shah Chief Operating Officer, Hans Hotels


OPPORTUNITY / CLIPBOARD

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Tourism New Zealand Singapore

Premier Inn New Delhi

Fortune Select Excalibur Gurgaon Delhi NCR

Mischa Mannix is Tourism New Zealand’s Regional Manager for South and South East Asia. She is responsible for developing and leading Tourism New Zealand’s Business Plan in India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Mannix is ably supported in India by a team of two based in Mumbai. She joined Tourism New Zealand in 2006 as Marketing Manager for North America and then took up the role of Business Development Manager based in Wellington. Prior to this, she spent 6 years in the casino industry.

Vikram Malhotra is appointed as the new Vice President Development for South Asia region (India, Sri Lanka and Maldives). He brings on board an extensive experience of nearly 15 years in the industry. In his present stint, Malhotra’s primary role will be to develop and execute a strategic development plan for the expansion of the Premier Inn brand in South Asia. He will operate from the Company’s Regional Offices in New Delhi. In his last role, he was working at KPMG, UAE as an Associate Director – Transaction Services.

Pradeep K Uniyal is appointed as the new General Manager for Fortune Select Excalibur Gurgaon. He moves to the property from Jaipur where he was GM at the Fortune Bella Casa. With over over 20 years of experience, he has worked with the Taj Group in Delhi and Jaipur and the Ramanshree Group in Bengaluru, apart from other hotels. He launched the concept of medical tourism at the Fortune Park Lake City Thane. He also made a mark at the Park Plaza Royal Palms Mumbai.

Abercrombie & Kent New Delhi

Soaltee Crowne Plaza Kathmandu Nepal

The Claridges Delhi NCR

Sadhna Sharma is the new General Manager for Sales &

Nalin Mandiratta has been appointed as the new General Manager of the Soaltee Crowne Plaza Kathmandu, Nepal. He joins the hotel from Crowne Plaza Rohini New Delhi, where he was the pre-opening and opening General Manager of the hotel. In his present profile, he will be responsible for the overall operations and management of this 282 room hotel. Mandiratta has been with IHG for over 2 years and has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry with reputed hotel brands like Hilton, Marriott and Carlson hotels.

Chandrayi Basuthakur has been appointed as the new

Marketing – Private Travel in Abercrombie & Kent. She comes with an extensive experience in Sales, Marketing and Business Development. Her last assignment was with IDFS as Head of Marketing. During her career, Sharma has not only had the opportunity to work extensively in the North India market, but additionally in Hyderabad and Chennai, as well. At A&K India, she will actively participate in the Sales and Marketing activities on a pan India basis.

Director of Sales at The Claridges Surajkund, Delhi-NCR. She comes with more than 15 years of industry experience in the hospitality sector. In her role, she will manage all core sales operation with its policies and strategies. Basuthakur joins The Claridges from the position of Director Business Developement at The Shangri La’ Eros Hotel New Delhi. She was formerly holding positions at the Taj Group of Hotels as well as the Oberoi Hotels.

The Westin Gurgaon Delhi NCR

The Westin Pune Koregaon Park Pune Sonale Zagade has joined as the new Director – Guest

Rajeev Thapa joins The Westin Pune Koregaon Park as the

Services & Operational Excellence in The Westin Pune Koregaon Park. Zagade had joined this property last year and has since then become an instrumental part of the hotel functioning. She has excellent training skills and has been recognised for them as well. She has been a part of the Starwood family for a while. Training to be the best is her forte; she passes this on to her associates and acquires remarkable results.

Front Office Manager. He has a vast experience of 15 years in the hotel industry and was associated with Fortune Park Hotels by Welcome Group. He has previously been associated with le Meridien – Jaipur, The Leela Kovalam Beach, Le Royal Meridien Beach – Dubai and Taj Bengal – Kolkata. His unique ability to create, innovate and motivate has proved to be a great asset over time. He has received various accolades in his career path.

Tsuyoshi Saeki has been appointed as the Chef De Cuisine Japanese – at EEST (authentic Asian F&B venue) in The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi. Before joining this property, Saeki was associated with Kyoto, Gurgaon for a period of three years from 2008-2011. Prior to this, he has worked with numerous celebrated standalone restaurants in Japan including the famed Big Dipper Café and Dining, ‘S’, Sawa and Chinman as Sous Chef and Head Chef for the F&B production team.

Papori Bharti, Marketing Representative – India, Visit Finland, has held this position for the last five years and started her tenure in the tourism industry in 1991. She enjoys short holidays and long drives when she needs a break from the city. Talking People is a special dedicated corner, created as a sounding board for who’s who of the Indian and International travel industry. With Talking People, it is our endeavour to bring you face-to-face with people. Contributed by: Vivek Sethi, Megha Paul and Devika Jeet

She enjoys driving and usually picks a holiday destination which is at a driving distance. Being a dog lover, an instant relaxation for Bharti is to spend time with her two dogs, a pug and a boxer. An avid reader, she is passionate about books and loves playing scrabble as a hobby. She holds an MA degree in English from Delhi University. Papori Bharti Marketing Representative – India, Visit Finland

A true explorer at heart, Manoharan Periasamy, Director, Tourism Malaysia has lived in India for over 10 years now. After staying in Delhi for almost a year, he moved to Mumbai. However, he misses the green empty spaces of Delhi in Mumbai. “There is a different charm in Mumbai. But I miss Delhi and the green spaces in Delhi, which are lacking in Mumbai.” Manoharan Periasamy Director Tourism Malaysia

The travel professional has been to a number of places in India and feels that each and every destination has its own USP. “Rajasthan has its own charm while Kerala reminds me of home as well,” he reminisces. “The place where I can go for holidaying anytime is Goa. It’s an ideal destination for relaxation with my entire family,” he feels. Manoharan is also an avid golfer.

Dan Lynn, CEO, AirAsia Expedia holds a degree in Economics and Management from Oxford University and is also a sports enthusiast. He also likes the ongoing action in the ongoing IPL matches. He also loves water sports. Lynn says that he is a regular guy who loves travelling and meeting different people, “I think the more you meet people from different cultures and backgrounds, the more you realise how fundamentally similar we are as humans. I love working in different parts of the world and I’m very enthusiastic about my job.” Dan Lynn CEO AirAsia Expedia

He is currently the CEO of a joint venture between Expedia and AirAsia and believes that the Asian travel market is set to explode. He bets on the Indian market as one of the strongest regional contributors to this growth.


Postal Reg. No.: DL(ND)-11/6044/2012-13-14; WPP No.: U(C)-178/2012-14 for posting on 1st-2nd and 15th-16th of the same month at New Delhi P.S.O., RNI No.: 53492/91 Date of Publication:14-05-2012

HIGHLIGHT

‘Highest load factor in Feb & Mar’ From introducing new aircraft to increasing their frequency and strengthening their cooperation with the travel agents, Giorgio De Roni, CEO, GoAir, discusses the airline’s growth plans… D E V I KA J E E T

G

oAir has been showing steady performance gains in the domestic market and has recorded the highest load factors in the industry for the last two months of the previous financial year. Discussing their growth strategy during the turbulent times for the aviation industry, Giorgio De Roni, CEO, GoAir, says, “2011-12 has been a chal-

Giorgio De Roni CEO GoAir

but was anyhow able to manage them fairly. In particular, in the second part of the year, results improved significantly and in the latest months of the previous financial year, we have been able to deliver the highest load factor in the industry. This is, particularly, encouraging because it proves that our strategy to invest in quality of service and delivering the value for money has been rewarded.” The airline recently entered Chennai and has been strengthening its presence across the country. Highlighting their plans for the year, Roni says, “This year, we will reasonably increase our fleet, with three brand new aircraft. We have just started new flights from Chennai and will further strengthen our market position in Jammu and Kashmir. But, particularly, we will continue to strive to deliver high quality at reasonable prices. Last year, we had added Kolkata and Port Blair to our

This year, we will increase our fleet, with 3 brand new aircraft. We just started new flights from Chennai and will further strengthen our market position in J&K. But, particularly, we will continue to deliver high quality at reasonable prices lenging year for the Indian airlines due to the significant increase in the cost of fuel, the weakness of the rupee against the dollar, various infrastructure bottlenecks, and a reduction in demand growth. GoAir did not escape these challenges

network and have also increased the frequencies to many airports, particularly in the North. We have also entered the Chennai sector with double daily flights to Mumbai and daily frequencies to Pune and Port Blair. In July, we will receive our new

aircraft. We plan to increase our presence in some airports in the North. Of course, we constantly monitor market opportunities and are also looking for additional slots in Mumbai.” GoAir is the only Indian low cost carrier to offer business class services on their flights. This, added with their growing network and high

on-time performance, is sure to attract the business traveller. “We will leverage on our business class service to attract more business traffic, in particular, from SMEs. We will further develop our loyalty programme, continue to hugely invest in training and will try even harder to increase our already very good on-time performance,” adds Roni. Emphasising on the important role of the travel industry, he says, “Travel agents are one and the most important pillar of our strategy. We want to strengthen our cooperation with travel agents and are investing to deliver to a stronger and even more efficient support.” Examining the much discussed FDI issue, Roni adds, “FDI, when approved, will deliver Indian airlines not only the opportunity to raise

fresh funds, but will, above all, offer the possibility to implement best practices from abroad. Definitely, it will represent a very important step forward that will benefit not only the carriers but also the consumers.” GoAir presently operates 13 aircrafts and is not allowed to operate international flights under the pres-

ent regulations. The airline launched its operations in 2005 and currently operates across 22 destinations, offering 188 daily flights and 1316 weekly flights.

Growth Chart 2011-12 was a challenging year for the Indian airlines because of the increase in the cost of fuel, weakness of the rupee against the dollar, various infrastructure bottlenecks and reduction in demand growth GoAir did not escape these challenges but was able to manage them fairly In particular, in the second part of the year, results improved significantly and in the latest months of the previous financial year, the airline was able to deliver the highest load factor in the industry


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