Page 1

A DDP PUBLICATION

Pages: 92 (Excluding cover)

travtalkindia.com

ddppl.com

Vol. XXIV No. 21; November 1 st fortnight issue 2012

` 50/-


ddppl.com

K Chiranjeevi New Tourism Minister

Parvez Dewan, the new Secretary, MOT, GoI, struck the right chord with stakeholders in the travel and tourism sector by announcing an aggressive focus on promoting inbound and domestic arrivals. IN

SRINAGAR

I

n the first public appearance after having assumed his new office, Dewan reflected, in his maiden address, the determination to pursue a holistic strategy to usher tourism growth in India.

The President, Pranab Mukherjee administering the oath as Minister of State (Independent Charge) to K Chiranjeevi, at a swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on October 28, 2012. Chiranjeevi assumed office as the Minister of State (Independent Charge), Tourism, as the President of India, advised by the Prime Minister, appointed and administered the Oath of Office and Secrecy to the new members of the Union Council of Ministers.

Parvez Dewan Secretary, Ministry of Tourism Government of India

“We are aggressively working in the direction of giving a boost to both international and domestic tourists,”

WTM 2012 India shines

Speed Networking

World Travel Market (WTM) 2012 is likely to be propelled by the engines of growth in BRICS economies.

Indian exhibitors must make it mandatory to attend the Speed Networking session to meet hundreds of international buyers.

I

n an exclusive conversation with Simon Press, Exhibition Director, World Travel Market, brings you fireworks expected at the repositioned India Hall. Here are the selected excerpts:-

1

‘Tourism on top priority’ D E E PA S E T H I

VIVEK SETHI

TRAVTALK

travtalkindia.com

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

Strategic repositioning of India Hall

T T B U R E AU

As a part of the strategic approach to WTM 2012, we looked at the areas of the floor plan that were seeing growth and as part of visitor delivery, Contd. on page 70 

W

Simon Press Exhibition Director, World Travel Market

orld travel Market is one such show, wherein travel trade leaders from across the world come together. To make most of the network-

ing, Deborah Dewe, Head Sales, World Travel Market insists, “The Indian exhibitors should add the following networking events to their diaries and ensure they Contd. on page 6 

he said, as the Guest of Honour in his keynote address at the sixth ADTOI Convention held at SKICC in Srinagar, Kashmir. He also highlighted the various forward and backward linkages between international and domestic tourism. “International tourists, who have visited Ladakh, have opened it to the rest of the world. Today, the State of J&K has Contd. on page 70 


BULLETIN

Good news for travel agents There is a big news for the travel agents as the weekly settlement system has been deferred yet again. The fortnightly payment system will be retained till December 31, 2013. held Passenger Agency Conference (PACONF) 2012 at Abu Dhabi. Associations like TAAI, TAFI and IAAI has played a major role in deferring the weekly settlement system with support from airlines representing Agency Programme Joint Council (APJC) India, IATA and Air India.

A N I TA J A I N

T

he latest win over the payment settlement system battle by travel agents association shows the real strength of India’s travel trade associations. Since a year, travel trade is fighting back the airlines to put off the weekly settlement system as it threatens the very existence of small and mid sized ticketing agents. After rescheduling the implementation dates twice (First on June 1, 2012 and late November 1, 2012), the decision to retain the existing fortnightly payment cycle till December 31, 2012 and execute weekly settlement system from January 1, 2014 was taken at the recently

Iqbal Mulla

Zakkir Ahmed

President, TAAI

President, TAFI

During slowdown, it is not conducive to implement the weekly payment system as it can lead to a default in payments

We will make the most during the next year by training members on the working model of weekly payment cycle

Iqbal Mulla, President, TAAI said, “In the current slowdown of the economy, it was not conducive to implement the weekly payment system as it might lead to a default in payments. At the moment, there is no default in payment by agents. It is due to our constant struggle and efforts that the weekly settlement system is being postContd. on page 23 


STATISTICS

Carbon Footprint of Indian Aviation

VIEWPOINT

Setting the image right The travel industry has come a long way in setting up a friendly and hospitable image. Not so long ago, Bollywood movies showed hotels as being prominently used for anti social engagements. Today, the tour operators and travel agents are seen as technically skilled professionals, who facilitate travellers’ dreams of building a memorable experience. Comfortable accommodation at different category hotels has become an integral part of a travel plan. Trade Associations play a key role in fostering such an amicable reputation. Bad perception is as harmful as travel advisories issued against a destination. Associations in addition to building a feel-good factor should nip in the bud any efforts that tarnish the image of the travel trade, or destination India. One such attempt is the recent online and television campaigns of an online player which shows travel agents in poor light. Such attempts should be severely condemned and corrective action should be taken to avoid irreparable damage. Associations should take suo moto action and set an example, so that no one tries to tarnish the reputation of our travel fraternity.

Promising Indian skies

T

he recent policy change for FDI and reassurance from the civil aviation minister, Ajit Singh about the abolishment of Airport Development Fee (ADF) in India needs an applause. Things are looking up, the basic policy framework is in place and now we are waiting for foreign investments to flow in. Our domestic carriers, SpiceJet and GoAir look healthy and ready to welcome FDI. IndiGo is soaring high, in a way highlighting the opportunities existent in the industry. Further, a much awaited relief for the foreign carriers is also underway. With ADF being abolished, Indian airports will cease to be amongst the most expensive in the world. Moreover, Air India’s turnaround plan this time looks promising. Kingfisher, on the other hand, has disappointed but will hopefully restructure and come back. Poor performance of the aviation sector last year is hopefully a thing of past and India remains the market of the future, growing steadily from pillar to pillar. The first quarter of this year already recorded a growth in the aviation sector and this growth is bound to enhance the tourism sector.

Vikramajit Chairman SanJeet Publisher Rupali Narasimhan Editorial Director Deepa Sethi Editor

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

Advertising Gunjan Sabikhi General Manager Karishma Khanna Sr. Manager Marketing Shailendra Shukla Sr. Manager Marketing Udit Pandey Sr. Manager Marketing Geetika Pathak Manager Advertising Amit Sarkar Asst. Manager Marketing

The Carbon Footprint of Indian Aviation 2011 is the first-ever report that gives a comprehensive and detailed information on the CO 2 emissions. It identifies the main stakeholders of Indian aviation involved in the creation of this carbon footprint, introduces the data collection process and analyses calculation and data reliability issues.

1

T T B U R E AU

B

ased on fuel data consumption collected directly from 7 Indian scheduled passenger airlines and 1 cargo airline, the carbon footprint of Indian scheduled airlines to/from domestic destinations was 67,55,000 tonnes of CO2. The carbon footprint of Indian scheduled airlines to/from international destinations was 59,49,000 tonnes of CO2. Therefore, the carbon footprint of Indian scheduled airlines for domestic and international operations was 1,27,04,000 tonnes of CO2. This represents a 6% increase in comparison to 2010 (11,990,000 tonnes). The carbon footprint of foreign airlines serving international destinations from Indian airports, which is based on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) uplift from India, reached 36,23,000 tonnes of CO2. The carbon footprint of scheduled Indian

Main Stakeholders of the Carbon Footprint of Indian Aviation EU-India Cooperation Project Airports

Carbon Footprint of Indian Aviation

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Airlines Other

Source: Ministry of Civil Aviation

airlines and foreign airlines (to international destinations) represents approximately 1% of the country’s total CO2 emissions, which is significantly lower than the global average contribution of airlines, which represent approximately 2% of global anthropogenic emissions.

1

Emissions Calculation Information

Fuel Type

Emission Factor

ATF

3.157 tonnes of CO2/tonne

Petrol

3.14 tonnes of CO2/tonne

Diesel

3.16 tonnes of CO2/tonne

CNG

2.70 tonnes of CO2/tonne

LPG

1.49 tonnes of CO2/m3

Electricity NEWNE*

0.80 tonnes of CO2/MWh

Electriciy South **

0.75 tonnes of CO2/MWh

** Two emission factors are available depending on the location of service provision (NEWNE: Integrated North Eastern Western & North-Western regional grids and South: Southern Grid)

Global vs Indian CO2 Emissions In 2011, global airline operations were responsible for the emissions of 676,000,000 tons of CO2, representing approximately 2% of global anthropogenic emissions.6 In comparison, emissions of Indian scheduled airline operations to/from domestic/international destinations as well as from foreign airlines to international destinations represent less than 1% of India’s total CO2 emissions (i.e. 1.84 billion tonnes in 2010), which is significantly lower than the global average of 2%. 6

Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), Aviation Benefits Beyond Borders, (Geneva, Switzerland, March 2012); IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, WG III, Technical Summary (2007).

Advertising (Mumbai) Suchita Saran Branch Manager Harshar Ashar Deputy Genral Manager Rishika Karra Sales Coordinator Advertisement Designers Vikas Mandotia/Nitin Kumar Design: Nityanand Misra Sudhir Mudgal Photographers Bharat Dangiya-Mumbai Production: Anil Kharbanda Circulation: Ashok Rana

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

advice before acting on information contained in this publication which is provided for general use, and may not be appropriate for the readers’ particular circumstances. Contents of this publication are copyright. No part of TRAVTALK or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publication in writing. The same rule applies when there is a copyright or the article is taken from another publication. An exemption is hereby granted for the extracts used for the purpose of fair review, provided two copies of the same publication are sent to us for our records. Publications reproducing material either in part or in whole, without permission could face legal action.

The report also presents the various fuel types and their emission factors. It further delineates the breakdown of CO 2 emissions based on the three major airline sources. It is estimated that approximately 95% of aviation’s emissions are emitted from aircraft while just 5% come from airport related activities. Therefore, applying this

assumption, it is estimated that Indian airports emitted around 7,00,000 tonnes of CO2. This is consistent with preliminary data provided by 5 private airports and 14 airports of AAI that was converted to emissions using the emission factors listed in the table. Furthermore, electricity consumption is the main source of airport CO2 emissions.

The publisher assumes no responsibility for returning any material solicited or unsolicited nor is he responsible for material lost or damaged.

504, Marine Chambers, 43, New Marine Lines, Opp. SNDT College, Mumbai - 400 020, India, Ph.: +91-22-22070129; 22070130

This publication is not meant to be an endorsement of any specific product or services offered. The publisher reserves the right to refuse, withdraw, amend or otherwise deal with all advertisements without explanation.

Durga Das Publications Middle East (FZE) Z1-02, PO Box: 9348, Saif Zone, Sharjah, UAE Ph.:+971-6-5528954, Fax: +971-6-5528956

All advertisements must comply with the Indian and International Advertisements Code. The publisher will not be liable for any damage or loss caused by delayed publication, error or failure of an advertisement to appear.

MUMBAI:

MIDDLE EAST:

TRAVTALK is printed and published by SanJeet on behalf of

DDP Publications Private Limited 72, Todarmal Road, New Delhi-110 001 Ph.: +91-11-23710793, 23716318, E-mail: sanjeet@ddppl.com Printed at Cirrus Graphics Pvt. Ltd. B-62/14, Phase-II, Naraina Industrial Area, New Delhi - 110 028


NEWS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

FDI saviour for Indian aviation industry The recent policy change in the aviation has made the market vulnerable to foreign capital. discusses factors that make the country worthy of investments and reviews aviation growth... D E V I KA J E E T

N

ow foreign airlines can pick up 49 per cent equity stake in Indian carriers because of the relaxing of the foreign direct investment (FDI) ruling. This will help bring a much-needed cash flow to India’s bleeding private airlines and make the industry more competitive.

“Opening of FDI is a positive and important step forward.

Amitabh Khosla Country Director - India, IATA

It allows Indian carriers to have strategic tie-ups with foreign airlines cemented by an equity stake. But allowing foreign direct investment by foreign airlines by itself is not a panacea. The critical problems must also be comprehensively addressed within a coordinated governmentwide policy framework,” says Amitabh Khosla, Country Director - India, IATA.

Tushar Pande President and Country Head, YES BANK

The Vision 2020 announced by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) projects 280 million passengers by the end of year 2020. However to cater to this enormous growth, there would be a need to build the robust infrastructure with participation largely from private sector. “Thus

Public Private Partnership is the way forward for achieving the targeted growth.

It offers excellent investment opportunities in the sector. Also, importantly, MoCA has also made important institutional announcements such as setting up of a separate regulatory authority and airport security force owing to special

operational nature of the sector and these efforts will further catalyse direct and indirect investments in the sector,” says Tushar Pandey, President and Country Head, Strategic Initiatives, Government & Advisory, YES BANK.

He further adds, “The aviation sector, in line with the economy, has witnessed unprecedented growth in the last decade driven by growing disposable incomes and overall economic growth. Further government is planning to rationalize the ATF,

improve connectivity to the smaller towns and skill augmentation in aviation sector.” Agreeing with Pandey, Sanat Kaul, Chairman, IIFAAD (International Foundation For Aviation Contd. on page 88 

Sanat Kaul Chairman, IIFAAD

5


TIME MACHINE

Just a Job More than two million jobs-the tenth of the U.K’s employed labour force – are supported by tourism and leisure industries, according to a new report published by the English Tourist Board. The tourism and leisure report reveals that the industry directly employs six per cent (1.5 million) of the workforce. Two and a half million people are employed indirectly by this sector. The

report further reveals that the industry’s seasonal employment is declining as off peak business increases. The single greatest constraint which could hamper the growth of the industry is the scarcity of skills and labour. The report further suggests that staff recruitment and training would have to be given a lot of attention in times to come.

Foreign Airlines Form Joint Body To link their various strategies together, the 46 foreign airlines, represented in India, have agreed to form a committee to deal with issues of common interest. The foreign airlines committee will coordinate interaction with chambers of commerce, government authorities and the ministry of civil aviation and tourism. The committee will be chaired by Alan Burnett, British Airways, supported by Wilfred Schnitker, Lufthansa; Andre Arnoux, Air France; Tom Zwart, KLM; Mongkholmal Prabhavat, Thai Airways; Raj Babbar, Emirates.

Following the formation, the chairman said, “I believe that there are specific areas of deep concern which affect foreign airlines operating in India and as such the committee specifically represents a significant multinational investment sector not previously recognised. We, the foreign airlines represent the majority of capacity available to this country and have deep concern that future investment in India might be retarded which could further exacerbate India’s foreign exchange problems. We look forward to express these concerns in a cohesive way, in order to fully exploit the foreign airlines in India.”

WTM: Roadmap for business  Contd. from page 1

attend, especially if they are a first time exhibitor.” “It will give them an opportunity to meet both UK and international buyers before the exhibition opens and during the exhibition. Further, many exhibitors tend to have full diaries, prior to the exhibition, to ensure they utilise the maximum of their time.

The exhibition offers both pre- set appointment opportunities through the exhibitor portal and My WTM connections and also through footfall, however, I would not recommend exhibitors rely only on this,” Dewe added. The WTM also offers a platform to all the exhibitors to make use of the presence of global media and communicate with the global audience. Here, Dewe recommends, “To get visibility to the press, exhibitors must

visit The Press Centre, which is located in the Boulevard between Hall Entrance N2 and S2 and to leave press releases in the racks, the press racking area is located on Level 3. It is suggested that exhibitors leave press releases on Sunday, November 7 between 2-6 pm with a

bition and conduct in-depth data analytics. “A survey is carried out post exhibition every year and we can then evaluate the quantity of business concluded during WTM or as a result of it. It is important, we survey each region as each market behaves differently and we need to look at developing the

Programme Monday – WTM Speed Networking: Opportunity to meet with 200 international buyers

9am -10am Platinum Suites 3 & 4 -

Tuesday – Meridian Club Reception: Lounge – Stand AF750

5-7pm Reception – Meridian

Wednesday – Meridian Club Reception Lounge –Stand AF750

5-7pm Reception – Meridian

Thursday – Meridian Club Breakfast Lounge – Stand AF750

10-11am – Meridian

Thursday – WTM Speed Networking AF750 - Opportunity to meet with 100 international buyers

10-11am Meridian Lounge – Stand

limit of 30 copies per exhibitor, which can be replenished at any time.” Moreover, to maximise business opportunities for all the delegates, WTM carries out, a survey post exhi-

show, in the future based on this feedback and review so that everyone can maximise their business opportunities at WTM. In 2011 the figure for India was £56million worth of deals concluded during WTM,” said Dewe.


NEWS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

7

DGCA to CAA: Autonomy for aviation? The Bill pertaining to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the converted form of DGCA, is likely to get the nod from the government of India during forthcoming winter session of the Parliament, says Arun Mishra, DGCA. R ATA N K P A U L

T

he Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) office in India, which is primarily responsible for safeguarding the safety and security of air travellers by implementing set guidelines/rules and regulations for airlines as well as airports, is becoming more powerful as an organisation and regulating authority. The new Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will be completely autonomous in character and will not have to be dependent on the Ministry of Civil Aviation as regard to

Arun Mishra Director General Civil Aviation

financial matter and the UPSC for recruitment procedure. Currently, the DGCA office requires more than 400 people to be recruited to streamline its day to day functions. Though it had started the recruitment process early last year for more than 100 people for various posts, the final appointment could not happen owing to the long procedure of UPSC.

“After establishing CAA, we will have more administrative and financial powers which will help us to meet the challenges of the growing sector. The fee we collect from airlines now goes to the Consolidated Fund of India. We have powers but they are very limited. In addition, we can also take quick decision of strengthening our manpower for the greater interest of the civil aviation industry in the country, as well as in the region,” said Mishra during his interaction with at a function organised on the eve of the recently held 49th DGCA Asia Pacific Conference in New Delhi.

According to the DGCA sources, the regulation authority does not have any financial crisis. CAA will have annual earnings of around ` 140 crore a year, which will be enough for making them financially independent. A

major part of the earnings will come from fee charged for giving out licences to start airlines operations in India. The regulating authority is also the licensing authority for pilots and flying clubs. In addition, it approves training

programmes of operators for carriage of dangerous goods and issues authorisations for carriage of dangerous goods, etc. Emphasising on the growing importance of empowering the DGCA (to

CAA) he pointed out the potential of India as one of the viable civil aviation hub in the Asia Pacific region. In his opinion, the successful completion of the ‘49th DGCA Conference’, which happened for the second time in New

Delhi, would further strengthen the image of the country. Meanwhile, the country is witnessing a significant growth as regard to air Contd. on page 14 


8 TRAVTALK

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

ASSOCIATIONS

States getting bold: Madhok In line with the global recognition as the engine driving the economy of the whole world, WTTCII organised a retreat to ignite the spark among all states to work together in the most cohesive manner to promote tourism. A few highlights... VIVEK SETHI

T

he World Travel and Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII) in its recent initiative- WTTCII Retreat held at Bekal in Kerala paved way to ignite a spark among all states to promote tourism. “Tourism is the engine driving the economy of the world. The presence of Union Minister of Tourism, two state tourism ministers and over six principal secretaries of states at our event among key stakeholders in the private sectors for closed door brain storming reflect the commitment of the private and the public sector,” said Vikram Madhok, Chairperson, WTTCII. “In fact, states are now gearing up for taking bold initiatives. The recent announcement of the Kerala Government to start its own airline is a step in the right

direction. It should be nurtured with the help of private stakeholders in such a manner that it adds to the strength of our national carrier and creates air connectivity in most bankable routes to Kerala. Other states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are also doing commendable job,” he added.

Vikram Madhok Chairperson, WTTCII

Our country has immense tourism potential. But a few crucial issues need to be addressed on urgent basis. For instance, cost of the Air Turbine Fuel has increased over four folds, while the government continues to tax it on the same rate Madhok further highlighted that the WTTCII’s objective is to ignite the spark among all states to work

together in the most cohesive manner. The association has chosen the southern states to start from.

“Our country has immense tourism potential. But, a few crucial issues need to be addressed on urgent basis. For instance, cost of the air turbine fuel (ATF) has increased over four folds, while the government continues to tax it on the same rate. Similarly, on the hospitality front, tax is being levied on the published rate, while most of the times rooms depending on the demand constraints are actually sold at comparably more affordable rates,” said Madhok. “These tax practices should be immediately addressed, as tourism is a competitive industry, wherein our country and states are competing highly competitive destinations. The union government and state government should create conducive environment for tourism sector to grow in larger interest,” he added.

Tourism is still not a political agenda of many states. The states must realise that Tourism is a business model. It is so heartening to see five southern states present at the WTTCII event, all of them meaning business and have their future plans ready. Subodh Kant Sahai Former Union Minister of Tourism

New tourism policy of Kerala will take tourism of Kerala to the next level. The average duration of stay for international tourists in Kerala is 16.2 days and we would increase this duration by improving the quality of experience in Kerala. A P Anil Kumar Minister for Tourism, Kerala

We will enhance connectivity and infrastructure at Hampi. Our endeavor would be to get a bigger outlay for Tourism in the State Budget. Tourism will become very powerful and important department at the State Governments in near future.

Anand Singh Minister for Tourism, Karnataka


ASSOCIATIONS

‘India set for pent-up demand’ India is high on priority radar in the leading developed countries, which now are in advanced stages of economic revival. This means Incredible India will register rampant increase in arrivals. In this pursuit, we plan to revisit Australia and explore the Americas, as part of our annual strategic roadshows being planned in 2013,” he added.

T T B U R E AU

W

ith the sense of recovery getting stronger in many of the key developed economies, Incredible India has emerged as the flavour of the season. The delegates representing approximately 20 key organisations from India at the recently concluded PATA India roadshows in Australia and New Zealand witnessed the build-up of a strong demand for India. “It’s heartening to note the stability and revival of growth sentiment in key economies in the developed world. In fact, we are pleased to register excitement about Incredible India in general and most recently at our recent roadshows in Australia and New Zealand. India is high on priority radar in the leading developed countries, which now are in advanced stages of economic revival. It suggests that India will register pent-up demand, espe-

Vikram Madhok Vice Chairman, PATA India Chapter

cially after the lull, due to difficult economic conditions in many of the developed economies,” said Vikram Madhok, Vice Chairman, PATA India Chapter. “It presents an important opportunity for public and private stakeholders in India to convert this increase in demand. We have also realised that making our presence felt in such countries with stable and growing economies will help our objective of showcasing India to the world.

Further, he explained also explained that Incredible India now needs to focus on growing its domestic segment, which had cushioned the travel trade against the ills of global recession. According to him, most of the Indians prefer to travel overseas to find easily accessible and affordable tourists attractions. “Incredible India needs to develop infrastructure to ensure that the travel attractions are easily accessible, offers world-class amenities and yet, remain attractive from the affordability point of view. It will give boost to both the domestic and international arrivals,” said Madhok.

In Kangaroo & Kiwi land PATA India in association with MOT organised its first roadshow in Australia and New Zealand with 19 sellers from India. The cross section of sellers included top-end DMCs, wellness, adventure and cruise suppliers, etc. T T B U R E AU

T

he joint Incredible India and PATA India Chapter roadshow that visited New Zealand and Australia concluded recently. Talking about the importance of Down Under as a source market for India, Runeep Sangha, Executive Director, PATA India Chapter reveals, “Australia features in the top 10 source countries for tourist arrivals into India. It is a growing market with a strong currency. These two factors should encourage greater travel from Australia to India. At 1,86,000 tourists, there is plenty of headroom, which, we can aim to occupy given the many tourism options Incredible India offers.”

Regarding the response to the PATA India roadshow, Sangha feels, “This was our first roadshow to the region. It was well received and going by the attendance and B2B engagement, generated a good amount of interest amongst Australia/New Zealand’s tour

operators and travel agents. We had 19 sellers from India and the cross section of sellers included top-end DMCs, wellness, adventure and cruise suppliers, Madhya Pradesh Tourism, Air India and leading hotel chains as well. Over 88

Runeep Sangha Executive Director PATA India Chapter

per cent of our participants found this to be a useful initiative and 75 per cent were satisfied with the outcome. Many participants would like to go back to these markets next year as well.”

Throwing light on the bottlenecks, for promoting Incredible India, in the region, the Executive Director laments, “Connectivity has been a big challenge for tourism flows between our countries. Qantas and Air India have both withdrawn their services. We are now looking forward to Air India introducing the non-stop Dreamliner connectivity, which will make travel more convenient. Australia coupled with New Zealand is a vast region and building awareness is of paramount importance.” Adventure tourism needs to be one of the key themes to attract tourists to India from this part of the world. On the ground, the tourism fraternity and India Tourism are seized of the challenge and are working in sync to promote tourism to India, he adds. Going forward, the PATA India Chapter plans to increase its visibility in the Down Under region. Contd. on page 33 


AVIATION

Cathay adds luxury & frequency Reinforcing the importance of the India market, Cathay Pacific has upgraded its aircraft on the Delhi-Hong Kong route and now offers Premier Economy cabins. New services from Hyderabad will also start in December. T T B U R E AU

C

athay Pacific Airways, now, offers a new level of luxury when travelling between Delhi and Hong Kong with the introduction of the airline’s new

India is a market with high potential and we want to offer our finest services on these routes Tom Wright, General Manager South Asia, Middle East & Africa Cathay Pacific

Premium Economy cabin. The new A 330-300 deployed on this Hong Kong-New Delhi sector, has been fitted with Premier Economy cabins and new Business Class seats, offering ultimate comfort to its passengers. “India is a growing market for luxury travel and our new three-class product will provide our passengers here with the ultimate travel experience. At Cathay Pacific, we always do our best to make our passengers feel special. India is a market with high potential and we want to offer our finest serv-

ices on these routes,” says Tom Wright, General Manager – South Asia, Middle East & Africa, Cathay Pacific. From October 29, 2012, Cathay Pacific aircraft operating between the two cities is featuring the three-class (L-R): Abhyankar, Wright and Raicar configuration - new Business Class, Abhijit Abhyankar, Area Premium Economy Class and Sales Manager- Northern the new long-haul Economy India, Cathay Pacific. Class seats.

We will offer Premium Economy cabins on the Mumbai route by the end of this year Abhijit Abhyankar Area Sales Manager Northern India Cathay Pacific

“The airline has invested in product enhancement and bringing the Premier Economy will benefit our travellers, especially the business travellers. We will offer Premium Economy cabins, on the Mumbai route, by the end of this year,” says

The new Premium Economy Class was designed with the entire customer experience in mind. It features a quieter, more spacious cabin than the traditional Economy Class with between 26 and 34 seats per aircraft. The seat pitch is 38 inches – six inches more than Economy Class and the seat itself is wider and has a bigger recliner. Passengers also get extra bag allowance and better meals. Discussing the very important issue of pricing, Rakesh Raicar, Regional Sales and Marketing Manager, South Asia says, “The pricing range for Premium Economy is approximately equidistant from Economy and the Business class fares. This cabin is ideal for those who want just that extra from Economy.”

Argentina experience by Qatar

To honour the valuable par tnership with the travel trade par tners, Qatar Airways, in association with Argentina National Institute of Tourism Promotion and Knack Marketing, organised a familiarisation trip exclusively for its key trade partners from India. The delegation was headed by Henry Moses, Country Manager - India, Qatar Airways and Medha Sampat, Director, Knack Marketing. The trip to Buenos Aries was also a part of promotion to enhance tourism in Argentina visiting Puerto Madero, San Telmo, La Boca and Plaza de Mayo.

Cathay Pacific has also decided to further extend its presence in India with a new four-time-weekly

The pricing range for Premium Economy is approximately equidistant from Economy and Business class fares Rakesh Raicar, Regional Sales and Marketing Manager South Asia

service between Hong Kong and Hyderabad, with flights commencing on December 1, 2012. The sister airline, Dragon Air, is also stating flights on the Kolkata- Hong Kong route.

QUICK READ The Jammu and Kashmir Government has planned to take steps for the restoration of the historical cave of well-known Sufi saint, Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani, popularly known as Alamdar-eKashmir, with an aim to provide impetus to the tourism industry. The cave of Sufi saint, Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani is situated in Chrar-eSharif town of the Badgam district. It is said that the historical town is well known for the shrine of Hazrat Sheikh Noor-u-din Noorani, who preached Islam through his poetry.


AVIATION

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

13

ADF to be abolished: Singh From January 2013, air travel from Delhi and Mumbai may cost less as Ajit Singh, Minister for Civil Aviation, has directed the Airports Authority of India to infuse additional equity at the airports to abolish ADF. T T B U R E AU

I

n a sigh of relief for many, the Government is emphasising on making air travel more affordable. With this, they plan to abolish the airport development fee (ADF) charged in Delhi and Mumbai from January 2013.

Coming up with a workable solution for the airports, Ajit Singh, Minister for Civil Aviation, has directed the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to infuse more equity in Mumbai International Airport Ltd. (MIAL) and Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL) with the objective of abolishing ADF and accordingly submit its proposals to Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA). Welcoming this news, IATA feels this will help resolve the high cost aviation environment in India.

“IATA welcomes this step by the Ministry of Civil Aviation abolishing the Airport Development Fee at Mumbai and Delhi airports from January 1, 2013. The intervention by the Ministry is a significant step towards reducing the cost for passengers at Delhi and Mumbai. IATA looks forward to the Ministry's early intervention in resolving other issues related to the high cost environment for aviation in India,” says

MIAL cautious MIAL took a more cautious approach,

“We will study the current development, assess its impact on our project and means of finance and after consulting with our Board of directors, partners and lenders, will respond to the relevant authorities, in due course of time,” says their official statement.

Albert Tjoeng, Assistant Director, Corporate Communications, IATA. Underlining the objective of the Government to

make air travel affordable and to ensure that passengers are not subjected to any extra burden, Singh has asked AAI to take on priority the equity infusion

with the purpose of abolition of ADF. If the present funding gaps in case of MIAL and DIAL are met in terms of equity infusion and proportionate raising of loans by the

Ajit Singh

Albert Tjoeng

Minister for Civil Aviation

Assistant Director Corporate Communications, IATA

airport promoter including AAI, the ADF will stand abolished. Once the ADF is abolished, the expected

financing gap for MIAL and DIAL would be about ` 4,200 crore and ` 1,175 crore, Contd. on page16 


AVIATION

Bahrain Air in Kerala skies The Kingdom of Bahrain has seen a huge influx of people from Kerala in the recent years. Not only has the outbound to Bahrain increased, but also the inbound traffic to Kerala has seen an immense surge. To add more value to the passengers on board Bahrain Air, the airline has also started in flight announcements in Malayalam in addition to the Arabic and English on all flights to Kerala. “We are the only airline which has a section in Malayam language in our in-flight magazine ‘Reesha’.

T T B U R E AU

O

wing to a lot of traffic movement between the two destinations, Bahrain Air, the private national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, has increased its connectivity to Kerala. Having started operations to Kerala’s Cochin airport in 2008, it has added two more flights to Kerala. Besides Calicut, it recently launched operations in Trivandrum. “The Kerala market is our prime focus as we operate a frequency of 18 flights a week. Approximately, 30% of our business comes from the Kerala market and we are in the process of increasing our visibility in Kerala and promoting traffic to/ from Kerala by offering services which can be easily related to by the local population. Our prime focus is

Gireesh Bhaskar Regional Manager Indian Subcontinent Bahrain Air Company

to get a majority of the leisure traffic to Kerala as Kerala offers a wide range of attractions to all ages and also gives an ideal family location. We are also keen on targetting leisure/ VFR segments from all stations we operate in India,” says Gireesh Bhaskar, Regional Manager Indian Subcontinent, Bahrain Air Company.

We are also planning to fly a trade person in November to Bahrain to showcase Kerala’s potential in tourism. We are willing to go the extra mile in promoting Kerala as a tourist destination from the Middle East,” adds Bhaskar.

Turnaround time for aviation  Contd. from page 7

passenger traffic (though sluggish at present). The projection is also very promising. During the last 10 years, compounded annual growth of passenger traffic has been approximately 15 per cent. The key trend of the business model of the Indian carriers in the domestic operation is that domestic traffic is rapidly shifting to Low Cost Carrier model. From a level of about one per cent in 2003-04, the market share of LCC including the LCC arm of full service carriers is today exceeding 70 per cent of total domestic traffic. Despite slowdown international passenger traffic in India has witnessed a growth of 5.4 per cent during the period from January-August 2012 compared to corresponding period

in the year 2011. The liberalised bilateral policy that the Government of India is following is expected to give a big push to the international traffic to and from India. The growth in air traffic would definitely put pressure on Indian airports.

Apart from modernisation of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and several non-metro airports in the country, and launching of Greenfield Airports in Hyderabad and Bengaluru, Government of India has also granted in-principle approval of setting up 15 new Greenfield Airports. A total of ` 24, 132 crore is proposed to be made available for the development of airports in 12th Five Year Plan.

Subsequently, overseeing the safety and security aspects would be huge.

“We are optimistic that the regulation authority would be able to function effectively after the establishment of CAA, with a changing face, for the greater interest of the civil aviation industry as well as economy of the country,” Mishra concluded.

Kesari launches MICE brochure

To extend services aggressively to the growing MICE segment in Maharashtra, India and outside the country, Kesari Tours has officially launched its Kesari MICE brochure. Manoharan Periasamy, Director – India, Tourism Malaysia unveiled the brochure in the presence of key management members from Kesari Group.


AVIATION

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

15

Virgin Atlantic back in Mumbai Back with the bang, Virgin Atlantic is rolling out its finest products to woo the Mumbai market. From a new aircraft to extra baggage allowance and special incentives, the travel agents have a lot to look forward to. D E V I KA J E E T

R

e-entering the Mumbai market, Virgin Atlantic starts new daily flights to London from Mumbai. The airline has deployed its newest A330 of this route, offering the best of

Stephen King General Manager Virgin Atlantic India

products and services on the new route. “We are expecting many things from Mumbai and are receiving a positive feedback from the travel trade. This daily flight will serve the UK and open up easy connections to cities in USA. We decided on an overnight flight with a 3 am departure as this connects well with our departures to the US. The connection times are very short; it is less than 90 minutes for JFK,” says Stephen King, General Manager, Virgin Atlantic India. Further, highlighting the importance of this return, King says, “Last time, we had to pull out of Mumbai because of the economic conditions. The Mumbai market has grown by nine per cent annually since then and we feel it has shown enough business potential for us to come back. We believe it’s about connecting London with the US and that will be different this time. We are coming in, because there is more of a market but, we are also creating more of a market by allowing direct connections.” The airline will also extend its Limousine services for upper class passengers till Pune. Other new products on Virgin Atlantic’s newest A330 include brand new upper class cabins and seats. The airline also has the longest flying bar. It offers an additional baggage allowance. Passengers flying Economy are allowed two bags up to 23 kg each, three bags up to 23 kg each in Premium Economy and upper class allows three bags up to 32 kg each. The

new aircraft has been flying to Delhi since July and has received great feedback. The airline has seen tremendous growth on its services from New Delhi and enjoyed a 20 per cent growth in 2011. “The most

important factor for our growth is travel agents. We think our product package, baggage allowance, Indian cabin crew, Indian food, Bollywood movies, are big elements that have helped us to grow,” adds King.

Virgin Atlantic is one of the few airlines that continue to offer a three per cent commission to the travel agents. King says, “The vast majority of business comes from the travel agents.

We do a variety of different incentives and joint events with the agents. Each one is tailored to suit the needs of an individual agent.

We work both with owners as well as front office staff. We are keen to reward front line staff and also want to know the agents and their staff. We are always accessible, flexible and agent-friendly and pay three per cent commission.”


NEWS

Agents Booking Module Hungry Bags, the one-stop shop company, that goes beyond travel and into life assistance, is now developing an in-house ‘Agents Booking Module’, which would be operational by the end of this fiscal year. T T B U R E AU

R

evealing details about the company since its inception in 2010, Vikas Khadaria, Managing Director, Hungry Bags says, “As an avid traveller who has been globetrotting for the past 15 years, I was keen to do something in the field of travel and be able to revolutionise it. So, I started developing HungryBags.com in 2010 as a lifestyle and travel portal. HungryBags.com, in its current avatar, is an ambitious and revolutionary attempt at reshaping the online travel industry in India. A complete online travel solutions portal, HungryBags.com complements its online prowess with a robust offline business.” Regarding the vision of the company for the next five years and how the B2B partners are an integral part of the growth strategy, the MD points out, “The key to our success started with the name itself - Hungry Bags. The name itself is catchy, spunky and at a deeper level, also implies that travel is just the beginning of what we have to offer. Within a few months of launch, HungryBags.com attracted visitors from 194 countries and more than 5,000 cities worldwide. HungryBags.com has generated huge business in the first few years of its existence – and given our rate of growth, our revenues will be doubling this year.” Over the next five years, the focus will be to build both B2C reach online and offline and consolidating strengths in the B2B business. HungryBags.com in order to consolidate its B2C platform will be looking to build its infrastructure –

Vikas Khadaria Managing Director Hungry Bags

Within a few months of launch, HungryBags.com attracted visitors from 194 countries and more than 5,000 cities worldwide be it physical, human and virtual, he adds. The vision is to be one of the top three OTAs in the country and to reach that target, B2B business will be an integral part of the group’s growth strategy. “The agent market nationwide is strong and flourishing in the B and C category towns, where a bulk of the business is still generated by on street local travel agent. We will aim to support these on-ground agents with our online prowess and provide them IT and infrastructure solutions, which maybe beyond their reach currently. This will help us in consolidating our reach as well as building a brand in a market that is large and yet potentially untapped by bulk of the bigger players,”

Khadaria articulates. “The online market is large and dynamic. We are convinced that innovation on products, service differentiators and beneficial pricing will be the key to achieving our goal to be one of the top three OTAs in the country,” he says. Since the company is still in its growth stage, the focus will be to shift to MICE/corporate and inbound segments soon. Throwing light on the role of technology to connect with B2B partners and the end users, he opines, “Technology is critical for us to connect with our B2B partners. While we started out with a more manual model in 2010-2011 to tap these markets, we have realised that with the penetration of broadband and mobile internet, a technology driven, online model will work the best for us. It helps us drive efficiency and convenience in the B2B segment while driving down costs of operations with these agents. Thus, we have developed our in-house ‘Agents Booking Module’. It is now in the pilot stage and will be fully implemented across our network by the end of this fiscal year.”

Vision The vision is to be one of the top three OTAs in the country The company will aim to support these on-ground agents with its online prowess and provide them IT and infrastructure solutions, It isconvinced that innovation on products, service differentiators and beneficial pricing will be the key to achieving our goal to be one of the top three OTAs in the country

Air travel to become cheaper  Contd. from page 13

respectively. Singh asked the AAI to infuse additional equity of about ` 288 crore in MIAL and ` 102 crore in DIAL against its 26 per cent share in the equity of both joint ventures. The balance gap would have to be met by the airport operators through infusion of their share of equity. Presently, ` 200 is charged per domestic passen-

DIAL thinking? DIAL has been non-committal about whether the minister's order will be implemented. They stated that DIAL will, at the appropriate time, take the views of its lenders and equity partners and analyse its financial structure, including the ability to raise further debt and equity, and also the consequential increased impact on the aeronautical tariffs, will then respond appropriately to AERA. ger and ` 1,300 per international passenger at Delhi airport. For the Mumbai airport,

` 100 per domestic passenger and ` 600 per international passenger is being levied.


18 TRAVTALK

HOTELS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

New address for MICE@Fairmont Jaipur To accommodate the area’s growing meetings market, Fairmont Jaipur boasts of 60,000 square feet of pillarless conference space, the largest in the area. gives details of the property. T T B U R E AU

C

anadian-based Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has recently marked its debut in India with the opening of Fairmont Jaipur in the ‘Pink City’. Says Mark Sergot, Vice President-Global Sales, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, “All Fairmont properties offer a diverse range of experiences. We endeavour to integrate cultures of the market where we are offering our guests a memorable stay each day. One of the many unique concepts we will be introducing in the market is the Fairmont Gold rooms. Rooms on these floors offer enhanced luxuries and amenities including butler service, access to a dedicated lounge, seamless check-ins and a host of exclusive privileges that will add to the superior levels of service and hospitality we offer all our

guests.” The furniture and decor at the palace are handcrafted on site by traditional

artisans. Retrieved from old forts, the palace also holds a 300-year old door at the Baggi entrance, which is inspired by the local Rajasthani artwork and carving. Fairmont Jaipur also boasts of a pillarless 60,000 square foot of convention space, the largest in the region which caters to all business and leisure travellers.

Mark Sergot

Atul Lall

Vice President-Global Sales Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

General Manager Fairmont Jaipur

One of the many unique concepts we will introduce in the market is the Fairmont Gold rooms

We will offer a variety of service mix to business and leisure travellers

Answering a query on whether the city is changing its dynamics, Atul Lall, General Manager, Fairmont Jaipur reveals, “Jaipur’s strategic location and its proximity to NCR along with proactive government policies have facilitated increased footfalls to the city on account of the leisure tour route – the Golden Triangle. Since the city has eventually shown great potential as a MICE destination, one of the key focuses at Fairmont Jaipur is MICE and we will offer a variety of serv-

ice mix to business and leisure travellers.” To accommodate the area’s growing meetings market, Fairmont Jaipur boasts of 60,000 square feet of pillar-less conference space, the largest in the area. Talking about what is the kind of Average Room Rate (ARR), the GM informs, “Fairmont Jaipur has opened at a time when the number of luxury room nights offered in the Jaipur city has gone up to 1,500 from 721 just two years ago. Last year, Jaipur also showed a 13 per cent rise in the average room rates. It is because of the nature of the hotel rooms that business is changing in Jaipur. Traditionally viewed as a leisure destination, Jaipur has emerged as MICE and wedding market too. Thus the

kind of ARR Jaipur is commanding at the moment is INR 9,000. Fairmont Jaipur’s ARR is INR 11,000.” With the excellent connectivity between Delhi and Jaipur, the hotel is betting big on the weekend getaway travellers as well. “Jaipur, being a part of the world famous Golden Triangle, is a huge benefit for us. Most of the international tourists visiting India usually visit the Golden Triangle. To add to the connectivity, with the conversion of 90 per cent of the NH-8 into an eight-lane highway, the travel time from Gurgaon to Jaipur is now down to three hours. Also NH 11 is yet another important tourism highway for Jaipur that connects Agra,” the GM points out.


NEWS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

19

Airlines in India High cost, low fare syndrome The IATA Agents Association Of India (IAAI) has been fighting tooth and nail against the commission issue and addressing concerns of the agents. speaks to the association discussing FDI and their endeavours. T T B U R E AU

I

AAI’s recent accomplishments include the formation of a committee for Strategic Alliances and Partnerships with an idea to build bridges and forge meaningful partner-

Biji Eapen President, IAAI

The airlines cannot run for too long if they are making losses. The Indian airline industry is suffering from the high cost, low fare syndrome ships with various stakeholders in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. “The Board of Directors meeting held on September 29, 2012 inducted members with vast experience and knowledge in the travel industry to spearhead the new

Kuku S. Kumar Director- Northern Region, IAAI

Airlines have to learn to manage their operations in cost effective manner, and devise ways to ensure that the fares are at reasonable levels

strategic alliances and partnership committee and to help develop meaningful relationships,” says Biji Eapen, President, IAAI. Analysing the aviation sector, the industry’s backbone from an agent’s point of

view, Eapen explains, “The aviation industry in India today gives rise to a feeling of deja vu. The scenario looks pretty much the same, as it existed in late forties and early fifties when there were quite a few carriers operating air transport services but almost

all were making losses and looking up to the Government for assistance. However, the airlines cannot run for too long if they are making losses. The Indian airline industry is suffering from the high cost, low fare syndrome. The operating cost has been moving

upwards incessantly due to rise in maintenance cost, staff salaries, fuel cost, RNF charges, airport charges and taxes. But the airlines are unable to raise the fare levels sufficiently to recover the full cost because of fear of losing traffic to their competitors.

The result is that there is under-recovery of cost despite good load factors and hence losses. The low fare culture, which was initially hailed as a boon for the industry, seems to have become its bane.” Contd. on page 88 


20 TRAVTALK

HOTELS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

CSIA Ist in India and 2nd in Asia with GRI ‘A’ rating  Mumbai International Airport Private Limited (MIAL), the operator of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) in Mumbai, released its first comprehensive corporate sustainability report, titled ‘The Sustainability Report 2012’ that complies with the rigorous international standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). With this, CSIA becomes the first airport in India to report on sustainability. This comprehensive report that follows GRI G3.1 Airport Operator Sector Supplement guidelines, is a first for Indian Aviation Sector , and only the second in Asia, to achieve the coveted ‘A’ Level by GRI for its completeness, transparency and stakeholder inclusiveness. The report contains detailed disclosure aimed at providing all stakeholders with relevant information on the performance of MIAL based on the key sustainability parameters, namely, economic, environment and social performance. The report is a part of a larger

initiative to develop and implement Airport Sustainability Management Framework to further enhance MIAL’s all round performance. Commenting on the occasion, Rajeev Jain, CEO MIAL said, “MIAL is committed to be at the forefront of the aviation industry’s drive towards carbon-neutral growth with the aim of a sustainable future for the industry. This report amongst other things details our corporate responsible business efforts and provides a platform for collaboration and continued improvement as we seek to lead the Indian aviation sector in triple bottom line performance. Going forward, the next step would be to draw a time bound sustainability roadmap for CSIA that addresses the key stakeholder concerns and material issues identified in the report.” This is not the first time that MIAL has achieved such recognition. Earlier this year, MIAL was awarded Level 1 by ACA for carbon accounting and management.

First Kempinski in East Delhi The first Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi that will open by this year-end will have 480 rooms and suites encased within two towers and a 25,000 sq. ft. pillarless ballroom… M E G H A PAU L

E

urope-based Kempinski Hotels is now re-entering the Indian hospitality market. After parting ways with The Leela Group in February, the company has now formed a partnership with the Delhibased Ambience Group. The strategy is for Ambience to own the hotel asset with Kempinski managing its dayto-day operations. The first property under the partnership, the Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi, will open in East Delhi by this year-end. Talking about The Leela Group and Kempinski relationship for the last two decades, Vella Ramasawmy, General Manager, Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi remarks, “Kempinski has shared a long-standing and mutually successful relationship with The Leela Group for over two decades. But

now, both the groups see an opportunity to grow the brands individually in India. When we partnered with The Leela Group in India, we practised the European hos-

Vella Ramasawmy General Manager Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi

pitality and service standards in the industry here. However, with the influx of international hotel chains in the Indian market, the country is becoming increasingly conspicuous on the world tourism map.”

The group now sees an opportunity to take luxury to a higher level by offering space and the best services to guests which makes it a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ journey. “Kempinski’s strategy has been to create one of the world’s most desirable and luxurious hotels - either trophy hotels or market leaders and we believe in following the same practice going forward,” he adds. Inspired by exquisite European flair, the first Kempinski Hotel in India will have 480 rooms and suites encased within two towers, a 25,000 sq. ft. pillarless ballroom – the largest in a five-star deluxe hotel in India accommodating up to 6,000 guests, two swimming pools with Jacuzzi and water curtains, spa with hammam treatment room, two fitness centres, a yoga deck and other facilities, he claims.

According to the GM, the hotel will cash in on unsaturated market of Shahdara in East Delhi.

“This flagship luxury property is strategically located in the capital’s most developed district by most standards, as released by the recent Census data on houses, household amenities and assets. The hotel is strategically located and is well-connected to the airport, Metro stations and prominent entertainment destinations in Delhi and Noida,” he reveals.


HOTELS

Small Hotels, Big Experiences Given the economic downturn globally, luxury hospitality business faces a lot of challenges. Paul Kerr, CEO, Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), speaks about the challenges being faced and the solutions to them. Where do you see the role of travel agents and tour operators?

SA N J E E V B H A R

What is your immediate short-term goal for India? Currently, we have 14 properties in India. We are proud that our portfolio here ranges from a selection of small family-owned resorts set in working coffee plantations to cutting-edge design hotels, country houses and luxury safari tents. One of our strengths is the diversity and geographic spread of our hotels. We also believe that India holds the potential to become one of our top source markets worldwide within the next five years based on the current growth rate. We want to ensure that we are targetting the best of hotels in each destination with a strict criterion and rigorous inspection programme. We don’t add hotels for the sake of growth – our reputation depends on the quality of each and every hotel in our portfolio. Increasing our portfolio of hotels in India will also help us in building brand awareness in the domestic market and will showcase the calibre of our properties across the world. Over the next 12 months, we are hoping to increase our footprints by adding properties in key cities including Delhi and Mumbai.

Where does SLH assessment stand, related to India’s offering of hospitality products and services? Given the economic downturn globally, luxury hospitality business faces a lot of challenges. However, the luxury market is very resilient; in fact, SLH has grown its revenues consistently over the last two years. The market is very competitive and innovation is the key which will be the winning differentiator. SLH is constantly innovating their offerings to attract

Paul Kerr CEO Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH)

more business. I think in some specific cases, India is ahead in the luxury market as far as hospitality offerings go.

Indian hospitality is short of 1,88,000 rooms to meet market requirement and expects an investment of US$ 4.5 billion by the end of next five years or so. In such a scene, in which segment would SLH like to concentrate and bet its expertise on? SLH properties represent a single standard of excellence across all properties, but each property is independently owned. We do not look into buying assets or owning properties. Having the SLH brand attached to a property is a great way for an independent hotel to instantly get recognition in the international market place.

Travel Agents Currently, they represent 60 % of SLH business. As a result the company has created a new website that caters especially for them http://agents.slh.com Contests and prize draws are regularly held for travel agents

We believe travel agents will remain an important source of reservation. On the site, we also offer special travel agent rates and a special commission rate to travel agents worldwide. If travel agents do not use the SLH website as their preferred channel and are still wedded to the global distributions systems such as Saber and Amadeus then they can access using the GDS code LX for luxury.

How is SLH performing in terms of bookings? By being part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, a hotel’s visibility and profile will be enhanced. Their revenue will be maximised and their independence preserved. There are many advantages of being SLH members, however, the most important one is that all SLH hotels get access to our 1,60,000 Club Members globally, who are signed up to our guest loyalty programme.

Any new promotional angle SLH has come up with to reach more unique Indian properties? We are constantly on the look out for unique luxury properties across India that can join our family. We have a very strict selection and inspection process – only five per cent of the hotels which apply are accepted into the brand. Some of the other hotel brands will accept properties straight away without any checks or clear selection criteria. This is not in the best interest of their guests. SLH is all about small hotels and big experiences. The average size of our hotels is 50 rooms and this allows us to offer the highest levels of personalised service. Some of the other hotel brands have an average of 200 rooms at each property.

NZ’s radar on Indian Aviation An Aviation arrangement was signed between New Zealand and India on October 17 in New Delhi. The agreement was signed by the New Zealand High Commissioner Jan Henderson and the Indian Secretary of Civil Aviation KN Srivastava and was witnessed by Steven Joyce, Economic Development Minister, New Zealand and Ajit Singh, Minister of Civil Aviation, India.


22 TRAVTALK

STATES

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

‘Chalo Chitrakoot’  Continuing the dictum of promoting the destinations, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, for the first time, organised ‘Chalo Chitrakoot’, a 10-day Ramayana Festival scheduled from October 16-24, 2012. On the sidelines of the event, Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, inau-

gurated the Chitrakoot Airport on October 16. The Group alongside hosted a cycle race for the residents of Khajuraho, wherein a team of 100 cyclists would be staying at the Chitrakoot camp for 9 days. Cycle Expedition by The Lalit 100 Cyclists Team would be covering Shri Kamadgiri, Ramghat, Bharat Koop, Hanuman Dhara, Janki Kund, Sphatik Shila, Gupt Godavari, Sati Anasuya Ashram,

Rajapur and Suryakund. The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group has always promoted art and culture. After hosting the Shiv Vivah at Khajuraho, the group organised a 10 days festival which witnessed the unique Ram Lila at the Chitrakoot Ghat followed by celebration of Eco Friendly Dussehra at Arogyadham.

Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson and Managing Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group said, “The Group has revived many regions as tourist destinations through unique events in the fields of sports, art & culture, food and handicrafts. These initiatives are guided to ensure that the glorious past of these destinations that personifies the true spirit of India and its regal culture is highlighted.”

Seaplanes in the skies of Kerala Kerala will soon take advantage of its coastline. Seaplanes, water taxis and cruises will soon be a permanent fixture on its water front. Kerala government hopes to commence the seaplanes services in Kerala from Feb. 2013. spots. The seaplanes will help the tourists in avoiding the traffic woes of the state and add to their convenience.

D E N C Y M AT H E W

T

he state government is investing ` 12 crore in the project and has identified 22 locations all around the state that will be connected

Suman Billa Secretary, Dept of Tourism Govt of Kerala

by air using the water bodies. Initially, the services will be available from all three international airports i.e Kochi, Calicut and Trivandrum to Kumarakam, Alappuzha, Munnar and Bekal.

“We will create the infrastructure and waterdromes for seaplanes to operate in the state. We have already received interest from 58 private operators for this project. Seaplanes will allow a tourist to ticket themselves from anywhere in the world to any international airport of Kerala and then seamlessly interchange to a sea plane for a destination of their choice like Munnar or Kumarakom.” says

Suman Billa, Secretary, Dept of Tourism, Govt of Kerala. Kerala has a coastline of 580 km with 44 rivers and 1,895 km of inland waterways making it ideal to use its vast waterbodies for transportation. Also, the state is facing severe traffic problems and is struggling to acquire land for road widening to ease the traffic connectivity between tourist

“Kerala has a beautiful aerial view and we want our tourist to get a glimpse of the picturesque landscape of the state. By travelling on a seaplane, the tourist visiting Kerala will get a very different perspective and experience of the state,” says A P Anilkumar, Minister for Tourism, Kerala. Seaplanes also operate in the Andamans and Nicobar islands. In the past, plans to introduce seaplanes in Goa, Lakshadweep and Maharashtra have been in vain.


STATES

MTDC for Wildlife Tourism Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation organised a 3-day wildlife photo exhibition in Mumbai with an idea to give a new perception on tourism potential. Indian wildlife. This segment not only holds potential for tourism but also helps maintain the natural flora and fauna.

T T B U R E AU

T

he Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is working closely with the Forest Ministry of the State for better tourism facilities, transport, accessibility and experience without hampering the ecology of the forest area. In fact, the corporation has compiled a coffee-table book of the wildlife pictures contributed by the best photographers in India.

In Maharashtra, there is a huge potential for this segment and we are working very closely with the forest department to bring out the best for the tourists without disturbing the forest ecology.”

Dr Jagdish Patil, Managing Director, MTDC said, “Wildlife is one of the niche segments in India and with increasing awareness, tourists from domestic and international markets are flocking to experience the

Maharashtra’s Jayakwadi Dam and Bird Sanctuary (near Aurangabad), the

Dr Jagdish Patil Managing Director MTDC

Among the places sure to make it to any wildlife enthusiast’s bucket list are

Nannaj Sanctuary (near Solapur) and the famous Tadoba National Park (near Nagpur).

Weekly payments deferred  Contd. from page 3

Status Quo maintained, Nov 1-June 30, 2013 (No Change)

poned to December 31, 2013. We are very optimistic that airlines and the agent community will work together for mutual benefit. We will now sit with the airlines and discuss further about things like allowing credit card pass through, etc. We will also train and encourage our members to create ancillary revenue

Type of Sale Sale Period

Billing Date

Remittance Date

Domestic

01-15 of the month

17th day of the month

25th day of the month

International

01-15 of month

17th day of the month

30/31st Day of the month

Domestic

16-30/31 of the month

2nd day of the following month

10th day of the following month

International

16-30/31 of the month

2nd day of the following month

15th day of the following month

New Remittance Cycle: July 1-Dec. 31, 2013 Type of Sale

Sale Period

Billing Date

Remittance Date

Domestic & International

01-07 of the month

9 day of the month

22nd day of the month

Domestic & International

08-15th of the month

17th day of the month

30/31st day of the month

members on the working model of weekly payment cycle. This will happen at regional and chapter level. This is a great move by PACONF and shows the strength of Indian trade associations.”

Domestic & International

16-22nd of the month

24th day of the month

6/7th of the following month

The other side

Domestic & International

23rd to 30/31st of the month

2nd day of the following month

15th day of the following month

According to Biji Eapen, President, IAAI, if the travel trade associations are genuinely concerned about the welfare of the travel agents fraternity, the Agents Representative in APJC should have objected airlines’ move to implement the weekly payment. Instead, they acted as the Yes-Men of the Airlines. He said, "A ‘very convenient’ and ‘well planned’ proposal to safeguard the travel agents fraternity, so that the agents can be groomed to face the disaster in a phased manner.” Thus, IAAI do not agree with the new APJC-In and PAConf/35 suggestion to start weekly payment effective June 1, 2013.

th

th

Revised Remittance Cycle: Jan 1, 2014 onwards Type of Sale

Sale Period

Billing Date

Remittance Date

Domestic & International

01-07 of the month

9 day of the month

14th day of the month

Domestic & International

08-15th of the month

17th day of the month

22nd day of the month

Domestic & International

16-22nd of the month

24th day of the month

29th of the following month

Domestic & International

23rd to 30/31st 2nd day of the of the month following month

th

models in the wake of reduced commission.” Talking about similar plans, Zakkir Ahmed,

th

15th day of the following month

President, TAFI said, “We are going to make the most of it during the next one year by training and educating our


24 TRAVTALK

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

ANALYSIS

Growing high-end travel to India A look at the increase in the foreign tourist arrivals and the foreign exchange earnings reveals that, when it comes to top-end luxury travellers, India is a popular destination. spoke to the leading destination management companies in India to get a sense of the ongoing evolution in the top-end luxury market. VIVEK SETHI

T

he top-end luxury market is a coveted segment, wherein clients strive for out of the world unique experiences than haggling for additional benefits. While all stakeholders in the travel and

tourism industry wish to garner a bigger slice in this market; the leading destination management companies have mastered the art of luring such high-end luxury travellers to the Indian shores. Here are the key insights, the leaders at distinct National award winning

DMCs have on tapping the right note in the top-end luxury market.

Key to luring high-end luxury clients According to Arjun Sharma, Managing Director, LPTI and TUI India, “The

Luxury Trains of India offer the complete experience in natural surroundings; Spa & Wellness treatments are one of the most unique and life changing experiences that attract people for its effective therapies and various rejuvenation programmes. Spa

Explaining the psychology of the high-end travellers, Arup Sen, Director, Special Projects, Cox & Kings explains that the high-end travellers have all the comforts that money can buy. What they do not have is the time and when they invest in

Arjun Sharma

Vikram Madhok

Dipak Deva

Arup Sen

Managing Director LPTI and TUI India

Managing Director Abercrombie & Kent India

CEO - Destination Management India& South Asia, Kuoni India

Director - Special Projects Cox & Kings

Resorts like Ananda in the Himalayas help us create, such experiences, for the high-end clients. The Royal Indian living experience in Palace properties like Taj Luxury Palace Hotels, mix well with the culture, heritage and history of India, to give the high-end travellers, a ‘wow’ experience.” Here, Vikram Madhok, Managing Director, Abercrombie & Kent India believes that India is an enigma for the world and people wonder, the manner in which, over 1.2 billion people co-exist happily. Moreover, the resilient India growth story is built on the curiosity and yearning to explore Incredible India, which has also been marketed well across the leading source markets. Moreover, India has to offer world-class tourist attractions, which includes out of the world palaces and villas that serve the unique requirements of the high-end tourists. The positive press reports also played its role in building a positive image. Highlighting the changing trends, Dipak Deva, CEO - Destination Management, India& South Asia, Kuoni India adds, that the trends have now changed and luxury travellers want to live experiences and not just be pampered every day in a fancy resort. The future of Luxury Travel in India is great, if we can continue delivering; a high level of service, great hotels and find interesting experiences for our guests.

a holiday, they make sure that they are getting, a fantastic experience. It is not about staying in five-star hotels etc., India has this opportunity of offering products that are unique and experiential. They may like to watch a camp fire in a desert or experience rural Indian life. We need to promote more products that are experiential and unique. Here, Surinder Singh Sodhi, Senior Vice President - Leisure Travel (Inbound), Thomas Cook India suggests, that to increase India’s market share of high-end travellers, we have to focus on marketing India as a Luxury Tourist destination through infrastructure and logistics, short air strips for quick regional connectivity by charters, enhanced Visa-On-Arrival facilities and seamless immigration facilities, which fosters the image of India as a convenient and exotic international holiday destination. Sharma also highlights the need to develop the Infrastructure in this segment to attract more tourists through International Luxury Hotel chains, as it will then also be correctly marketed to the correct segment. He also insists on the need to promote India depicting the luxury side of India as done by Malaysian and Australian Tourism by broadcasting finedining, private jets, Polo games, the rich culture, fashion shows etc.

The herd mentality “Luxury clients always bank on local advice and that is where we as DMCs get a stronger hold. The best marketing for any company in this segment is reference business. It is like a chain reaction and if we can deliver the

Surinder Singh Sodhi Senior Vice President - Leisure Travel (Inbound), Thomas Cook India

experience to one influential client, they will send you another twenty clients. Highend travellers are an interesting community, where people follow people and are ready to believe. The best experience is the one their friend just had,” said Deva. “Suppliers of the luxury tourism product will not only have to stay ahead but will have to lead the way while hotel operators also need to adjust their product with today’s needs. There are numerous opportunities and challenges and the question is, are we ready to take the lead in this very lucrative market as the Indian luxury travel segment has the potential to grow at a rate higher than that of the overall industry growth rate,” he adds. Here, Madhok adds a simple classification, as in his opinion, there are, broadly speaking, two kinds of high-end travellers. The high-end long haul leisure travellers and another set of high-end travellers, who are Contd. on page 67 

Experts Speak India has to offer world-class tourist attractions, which includes out of the world palaces and villas that serve the unique requirements of the high-end tourists The future of Luxury Travel in India is great, if we can continue delivering; a high level of service, great hotels and find interesting experiences for our guests


NEWS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

25

‘Locations’ under the lens of Bollywood ‘Locations’ is the world’s first film tourism event. It is an event promoting and highlighting two distinct industries: tourism and film making. highlights the events’ significance. T T B U R E AU

T

he 10th edition of ‘Locations’ conducted in Mumbai was a two-day event that garnered a lot of interest from the film fraternity, various tourism boards and tour operators. Started in 2003 with a concept to bridge the gap between film and tourism industry and help global local vendors and allied service representatives to interact with the Indian film industry, it showcased some unique and unexplored destinations like Oman and the Philippines this year. There was also an active participation by line producers, technicians, tours and travel operators. With Indian movies increasingly being shot at the outdoor locations, ‘Locations’ was the perfect platform for countries to promote and highlight their various destinations. “We have diverse filming locations in the 7,107 islands.

2nd India Heritage Tourism Conclave 2012  PHD Chamber will organise the 2nd India Heritage Tourism Conclave 2012 on November 28 at Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel, New Delhi. Subodh Kant Sahai, Hon’ble Union Minister for Tourism, Government of India has kindly consented to be the Chief Guest at the event. Other dignitaries expected to join in are: Sunil Kumar ‘Pintu’, Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Government of Bihar; Rajen Habib Khwaja, Former Secretary Tourism, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India; Representatives from Indian & Foreign Tourism Boards and many more. The purpose of this Conclave is to provide a platform for open house discussion between Governments (Central and States) and private sector investors (industry) regarding issues and opportunities affecting investment in the tourism sector in India and also it would provide an opportunity to Foreign Tourism Boards to showcase tourism opportunities as also investment opportunities in their respective countries to the large congregation of entrepreneurs in India.

We are welcoming the Indian film industry to Philippines,” says Verna Covar, Director, Dept of Tourism, Philippines. The event comprised exhibition, presentation, informal gathering and also an awards ceremony. Yash Chopra received the

“We have relaxed visa policies for the Indian market. With world-class film crew and excellent line producers situated in the Philippines, shooting an Indian movie in the Philippines is hassle free. Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution in

promoting the foreign destinations through his films.

Kabir Khan received an award for his directorial efforts in a foreign destination for the movie Ek Tha Tiger. Philippines Tourism got the award for ‘Best new entrant for promotion of tourism through Indian films’.

Verna Covar Director, Dept of Tourism, Philippines


ANALYSIS

Chennai makeover for MICE With three luxury hotels in the last two months – Park Hyatt Chennai, The Leela Palace Chennai and Grand Chola – the city is joining the league of cities that are preferred MICE destinations… M E G H A PAU L

T

he hospitality industry down South just got busier. Owing to the boom in the automobile industry, ITITES and pharmaceutical sectors, the city hotels are now finding new clientele among top executives of companies. The fact that new hotels cater to their specific needs with more technical facilities, banquet halls and conference rooms, has helped the hotel industry in the region. Resultantly, Chennai is now joining the league of cities that are preferred MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) destinations globally. Syama Raju, President, South India Hotels & Restaurants Association (SIHRA) feels, “The expansion of the existing airport also indicates the growing need to boost the capacity to cope with the increased air demand in the area. With strong growth in visitor numbers and improving economic environment, the longterm outlook for the Chennai hotel market will remain strong and positive.”

and 326 rooms. This is the group’s eighth property in the country, spread across six acres, facing the Bay of Bengal.

This kind of banqueting space will market Chennai in a big way and will bring in a lot of new businesses to the city. YC Deveshwar Chairman, ITC

in the city, bringing in an additional 1,300 rooms to Chennai’s already existing 2,000-room inventory. Park Hyatt Chennai is the most recent offering in Chennai. Talking about the evolving Chennai market, Yann Gillet, General Manager, Park Hyatt Chennai pointed out, “The city has braced up to a complete roller coaster ride. The growth in the automotive and IT industries has led to a huge movement in terms of corporate travel. Hyatt sensed a need for a brand that would create a personal address for distinguished guests in calm and tranquil surrounds while preserving a proximity to the airport and major business districts.” Park Hyatt Chennai is the 30th hotel in the Park

Hyatt sensed a need for a brand that would create a personal address for distinguished guests in calm and tranquil surrounds while preserving a proximity to the airport and major business districts. Yann Gillet General Manager Park Hyatt Chennai

for the business traveller, Park Hyatt Chennai is located next to the prestigious Governor’s residence and is also adjacent to the thriving

ITC also launched the company’s biggest property in India. The 600key luxury hotel in Chennai - Grand Chola is also the world’s largest LEED Platinum green hotel. The company has invested over Rs 1,200 crore in the property which spreads over eight acres of land.

The expansion of the existing airport also indicates the growing need to boost the capacity to cope with the increased air demand in the area. The long-term outlook for the Chennai hotel market will remain strong and positive. Syama Raju President South India Hotels & Restaurants Association (SIHRA)

green area of the Guindy National Park. A 15-minute drive from the city’s domestic and international airport, Park Hyatt Chennai enjoys close proximity to the new developments of OMR (Old Mahabalipuram Road), Sri Perumbudur and the Guindy Industrial Estate.

Gearing up for MICE, the hotel complex also houses one lakh sq.ft. of conference and exhibition facilities, which, according to the company, is by far the biggest in the country — 10 food and beverage outlets, a spa, a preview theatre and 40,000 sq.ft. of retail space.

The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, owned and operated by Hotel Leela Venture, is also opening a sea-facing hotel in

Y.C. Deveshwar, Chairman, ITC, during the launch said, “This kind of banqueting space

Chennai, its first such property in South India. The hotel chain would launch The Leela Palace Chennai with 11 floors

will market Chennai in a big way and will bring in a lot of new businesses.”

According to Colliers International research, relative to other cities in India, Chennai has performed well, achieving occupancy rates of 66 per cent in 2009, 62 per cent in 2010 compared to 66 per cent in 2011, representing an increase of three per cent despite a 12 per cent growth in additional available rooms during the same period. The decline in 2010 was largely due to the global economic crisis but the market fully recovered in 2011 despite the addition of the new supply to the market. Over the next three years, the Chennai market is expected to add almost 2,835 new rooms while approximately 935 were added in the last year. In the last two months, three new five-star hotels have opened

Hyatt collection and the first Park Hyatt hotel to be introduced in Chennai, he adds. Designed as a tranquil retreat


RAILWAYS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

27

Indian travellers up by 20% in VIA Rail Canada’s most cost effective way of travel, VIA Rail, plans to work closely with India’s travel trade and offer great deals. It also plans to visit India in 2013 for discussing packaging options and marketing initiatives. T T B U R E AU

P

ierre Santoni, Senior Director, Domestic and International Sales, VIA Rail Canada Inc, says, “VIA Rail is a popular choice among Indian travelers. It’s difficult to determine the exact number of passengers due to the various booking channels VIA Rail is available on, however India continues to be an emerging market. From 2011, our Indian passenger count has been increasing at approximately 20 per cent.” VIA offers a variety of pricing options to best suit a

Pierre Santoni Senior Director, Domestic and International Sales, VIA Rail Canada Inc.

VIA Rail will continue to work on a consultative basis with India’s travel trade to provide extensive product knowledge and destination information company’s business model. They provide web-based or net fares and handle group block space requests from their Vancouver International Trade office. Discussing their initiatives for the Indian market, Santoni says, “VIA Rail will continue to work on a consultative basis with India’s travel trade to provide extensive product knowledge and destination information. We plan to partner closely with the Canadian Tourism Commission to promote activities and engage the industry in familiarisation trips. A meeting is planned for spring 2013 in Jaipur, where we hope to discuss future packaging options and specific marketing initiatives.” VIA Rail’s touring class allows passengers to experience the best of Canadian cuisine and enjoy a comfort-

able social atmosphere while savoring the breathtaking scenery outside their window. Addressing concerns of vegetarian food and excess luggage faced by many Indian travellers, the company assures that their policies are well suited for the

Indians and such issues will not arise. “Baggage need not be a concern when travelling on any of VIA Rail’s long-haul routes as all trains are equipped with baggage cars. It is recommended that due

to the limited cabin space that large item be checked and smaller carry-on items accompany the passenger into their cabin. Passengers using our inter-city trains can take advantage of our new carry-on baggage policy, which allows a two-piece, 50

pound allowance,” explains Santoni. He also assures that vegetarian food options are usually available on the menu but special requests can be made with an advance notice. VIA Rail, the national passenger rail service

on behalf of the Government of Canada, provides efficient, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective passenger transportation. Every week, they link 450 communities across their 12,500 km route network.


TECHNOLOGY

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

29

Revolutionary Abacus solutions for travel agents List of new ‘solutions’

Abacus Automation Hub, a latest automation solution, launched recently by the company, will save time and increase productivity for travel agents and operators…

Queue Automation Module automates tasks like checking waitlist status, handling schedule changes, scanning for unticketed reservations.

Fare Record Automation helps checking PNRs for expiring and expired Ticket Fare Records, and alerts travel consultants for follow-up, have these queued for automated ticketing timeline reminder to the travellers or automatically re-priced via Abacus Ticketing Express depending on how it is configured.

Service Fee Automation automatically applies service fees to new and updated PNRs to prevent revenue loss through errors or oversight. Through an integrated rule engine, service fees can be applied according to the agency needs based on minimum or standard fee logic, Emergency Travel Service (ETS), and even on touches (changes) to the PNR. Automated Messaging automates the sending greetings and offers to customers based on specific triggers such as birthdays and anniversaries complete with tracking of click throughs and open rate. Customer lists can be imported from any customer database platforms, including Abacus ClientBase and third party database in an Excel format.

Automated Ticket Receipt automates the tasks of generating custom ticket receipts complete with QR, 2D or barcodes based on the templates pre-defined by the agency. Setup to work with Abacus TicketingExpress, it will format and deliver the ticket receipt as soon as the ticket has been issued, relieving travel consultants of the need to activate this manually, especially during peak travel seasons Other modules will also be introduced progressively as Abacus AutomationHub is being rolled-out. Built on open standards, Abacus AutomationHub is designed to be able to support local and customised modules.

Automating work

Abacus AutomationHub is a flexible and extensible solution platform that can fully automate the essential but time-consuming tasks such as schedule change notification, waitlist status processing and itinerary delivery. Fully hosted by Abacus, it works non-stop during and outside office hours, keeping travel agencies running at full throttle around-the-clock.

T T B U R E AU

A

bacus International recently unveiled its latest solution – Abacus AutomationHub for travel agents. Designed for automating business process and eliminating time consuming man-

ual tasks, this solution comes with a set of ready modules that will further help agency improve their operational efficiency. Abacus looks at deploying this new solution specifically to help travel agencies further increase their competitive advantage and maximise growth potential.

“Abacus AutomationHub is all about doing more – enabling our agency customers to win more of the travel pie, and to do so profitably. Based on each agency needs, Abacus AutomationHub can be personalised so that agents will have time to focus on other

revenue generating activities,” said Brett Henry, Vice President, Commercial and Marketing, Abacus International. Abacus AutomationHub can be configured, combined and extended to implement process workflows based on specific business needs.

Brett Henry Vice President, Commercial and Marketing, Abacus Internationa


30 TRAVTALK

TECHNOLOGY

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

World Tour Management Course  Center of Learning, the educational wing of Thomas Cook (India), introduced ‘Certificate Course in World Tour Management’ for people who are passionate about travelling and want to enter the travel and tourism industry. Commencing on October 27, 2012, the course will be available at the Centre of Learning Outlets in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad and Chennai. ‘Certificate Course in World Tour Management’ will

be a three month part-time course for working professionals between the age group of 26-45 years. Conducted by senior tour managers from Thomas Cook (India), the Course will cover all international tourist destinations and itineraries for group tours as well as roles, responsibilities and challenges faced by a tour manager. Thomas Cook (India) would provide 100% placement assistance to all the students who are selected for the course.

CSIA ready for Haj pilgrims  Mumbai International Airport Private Limited (MIAL), the operator of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) in Mumbai, recently announced that it has made elaborate arrangements for Haj pilgrims at CSIA in an effort to make their travel hassle free. These include amongst others, a huge pandal fitted with tubelights, fans, chairs as well as separate rest rooms for men and women covering an area of 9,000 sq. metres at the arrival plaza 2C at CSIA. The

facility was inaugurated by Mohammad Arif Naseem Khan Textiles, Minorities Development and AUKAF. A separate gate has also been assigned at the arrival 2C for all such passengers to be used for departure. All Haj pilgrims can complete their immigration formalities and security checks in dedicated counters at arrival 2C and then move on to the mezzanine floor to board their flights. It is expected that around 7000 Haj pilgrims will fly out from Mumbai this year.

Wizie tapping consolidators, OTAs USA-based tech major Wizie has realigned its ambitious plans in India focussing on key consolidators and big OTAs. VIVEK SETHI

T

o build company with a top-line of over a billion dollar, one requires out-ofthe-box ideas; but to preserve, sustain and further grow the company, one needs to have a vision and literally speaking, a sixth sense to not enter acquisitions that will turn out to be a sheer liability. Moondeep Aggarwal, Director, Wizie has realigned its ambitious plans in India backed by a proven record of weeding out seemingly lucrative deals, which, in future, would have turned into net liabilities. “Presently, our primary focus in the Indian market is on key consolidators and big OTAs. We have state-of-the-art technology for empowering consolidators and OTAs, which have been time-tested in developed markets and have been specially tailor-made in line with the Indian conditions. Our tech solution comes

packed with the host of automation facilities for ticketing, invoicing, scheduling, creating debit memos and managing errors, which is our USP. In line with our Indian ambitions, we are also aggressively looking forward to tech acquisitions with a large database of users that complement our strengths in the travel and hospitality business,” said Aggarwal. “Our tech solutions are flexible and can be customised according to the needs of our clients. But, in India, we have experienced that the small and medium players are curious about opting for best technology, but are unsure of allocating budget to make most of the said technology. For instance, one company may desire to have a web presence of the scale and magnitude of a large OTA, which, we can very well deliver. But these realise acknowledge that such an online presence requires ongoing efforts and

smooth and safe through the use of debit or credit cards. Tech solutions available to buy travel options smoothly, for instance, in leading travel markets and agents credit card, can be charged on GDS for accepting bookings, while the same is not valid in the Indian market. Moondeep Aggarwal Director, Wizie

expense to reach and address the requirements of the targeted end-users. It cannot be simply built and left on its own,” he added. On the regulatory front, Aggarwal says the policy makers need to create more conducive environment in term of facilitating purchase of travel option. Presently, the average limit on a credit card is not sufficient to support payments for buying a package for an average family of four. Similarly, more measures need to be introduced to make purchase of travel more

“There is another challenge in the Indian market due to lack of distinction between fares of a full service carrier (FSC) and a low cost carrier (LCC) platform.

The players in the air-transport business should do the thing that they can do best, while keeping their operating costs as low as possible. Otherwise, the turmoil in the Indian aviation sector will continue and companies will remain in red and create nothing but losses for its shareholders,” he added.


NEWS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

31

Non-stop flights on Delhi-Tokyo route After completing five years on Mumbai–Tokyo route, All Nippon Airways (ANA) recently commenced operations on its second connection from India – New Delhi to Tokyo. The airline aims at tapping traffic from India to US. T T B U R E AU

F

rom October 29, 2012, the airline is offering nonstop daily operations on New Delhi-Tokyo route through a wide body aircraft (B 767 – 300 ER) with 35 business class seats and 165 economy seats. To encourage early bookings, the airline offered a three-day inaugural fare of

Kenji Sugino General Manager – India All Nippon Airways

With increasing demand for Japan as business and leisure destination and with our competitive prices, we are positive to receive excellent support from our partners and end travellers as low as ` 9000 plus taxes for economy class (from November 1, 2012 its as low as ` 18000 plus taxes) and ` 60,000 plus taxes for business class on this new route (continues). According to Kenji Sugino, General Manager – India, All Nippon Airways, the expansion in India is part of a wider group corporate strategy to get a foothold in the Asian markets where there is still demand-supply mismatch as far as connectivity to the US market is concerned. From Tokyo

High Traffic A total of 12,892 air seats a month were available on India – Japan (Delhi – Tokyo – Delhi, Mumbai – Tokyo – Mumbai and Delhi – Osaka – Delhi) route offered by Air India, ANA and Japan Airlines (JAL) From November 2012, the seat capacity has increased to 22,346 seats a month due to increase in flights by ANA and JAL

(Narita Airport), Indian passengers are offered convenient options to US destinations like Washington D.C, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco and Seattle. He said, “The constant support

from our travel trade partners in India has encouraged us to add New Delhi on our route map. We will maintain an agency commission of five per cent for our trade partners and encourage them further to support us.”

Off the total seven days a week operations on Mumbai–Tokyo route, the airline offers a mix of business (24) and economy (18) seats for five times a week and all-business class (36 seats) for the remaining two

days. It is recording a load factor of about 80-90 per cent on economy and 60 -70 per cent in business class on this route. “We expect similar load factors on our New Delhi – Tokyo route operated by a wide

body aircraft. With increasing demand for Japan as business and leisure destination and our competitive prices, we are positive to receive excellent support from our partners and end travellers.”


32 TRAVTALK

OTA

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

B2B key to online supremacy brings to you the best practices and strategic intent the leading players in the online travel space have built into their DNA to become the biggest giant in this segment. VIVEK SETHI

T

he online travel space in India has seen many new entrants who have got into the industry with an ambition to become the biggest online travel company. However, still, none of the companies can yet claim to have acquired a sizeable quantum of the market to be crowned the undisputed king. It has led to overcrowding in the market, which gives a mandate for an exigent need to stand out in the crowd. The companies with high growth rate, which strive to grow faster than others in the travel, have to necessarily operate in the online space. As per Vikram Malhi, Country Head, Expedia India, “India is expected to be home to the fastest growing total and online travel market in the APAC region in 2012 with gross bookings expected to touch $24.6 bn. Online travel is the driving force in the ecommerce segment with a global contribution of 70 per cent of all e-commerce activities. According to a recent PhocusWright report, the online travel market is expected to grow more than any other market through 2013, especially with the online travel penetration set to cross 36 per cent from a current level of 31 per cent. With a rise in the penetration further to Tier II and III cities, there will be an exponential growth in the online travel booking segment. Online bookings are where the future for the Indian travel industry lies.” The cut throat competition in India has forced the online travel companies to continuously evolve. Here, Neelu Singh, COO, Ezeego1.com, acknowledges that the online travel companies in India have gone beyond mere providing just online travel ticketing services to the customers. “There are offline payment options like cash on delivery that helps those customers to make payments who are not ready to part with their credit cards or who still want to choose the traditional method of payment by cash,” Singh adds. “While there may not be much scope for differentiation in the breadth of offerings themselves, the critical differentiators that will determine the success of an OTA are the value-adds in terms of innovation - from packaging to delivery of these services, example, smartbundling to offer the bestvalue products, technology

Rajesh Magow

Ankush Nijhawan

Vikram Malhi

CO- Founder, COO & CFO MakeMyTrip

Co Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Travel Boutique Online

Country Head Expedia India

The critical differentiators determining OTA’s success are the value-adds in terms of innovation

To sustain in travel business, one has to stand out in this growing crowd of online players

that enables access in medium-of-choice etc.,” said Rajesh Magow, Co- Founder, COO & CFO, MakeMyTrip.

of our global supply and demand footprints afford us a long-term, sustainable growth trajectory that we believe no other company can match,” said Magow.

Standing out in a crowded market - The entire focus of the key online players is to build on a proposition that helps them stand out in the crowd and strike riches. Malhi here showcases Expedia’s strength in terms of striking the best value proposition. “As we see, our inherent strengths emanate from the fact that we have access to the largest global inventory of 1,55,000 hotels, 438 flights and 7,000 holiday activities, which enable us to get the price points & deals that noone else in the market can offer,” said Malhi. “We have innovative & unique services like build your own Trip, 72 Hr Sale, Deal Hunter and Last Minute Deals in addition to the regular seasonal campaigns that assist the traveller to customise travel per his need. In fact, only we offer discounts and deals even during the peak seasons, coupled with the flexibility in modes of payment ranging from credit to debit card, net-banking to even cash,” he adds. Magow here highlights that MakeMyTrip offers a holistic set of services. “We deliver a combination of convenient booking tools, global selection, a wealth of organised content & reviews, the ability to compare and filter hotel features and pricing along, and trusted service that can’t be duplicated by another OTA. While, we consider the other players healthy competition, the depth and breadth

Interestingly, Ankush Nijhawan, Co Founder & Chief

India is expected to be home to the fastest growing total and online travel market ners. We act as one stop online platform for our agents by providing widest travel products and content at best prices and maintain financial transparency by providing real time reports as well as offer efficient and timely personalised customer service to our

Not allowing the online tech majors forget the backend operations, Parikshit Sawhney, Managing Director, Forerepresentations said, “It is the service of a particular online player, which can help him stand apart from the crowd. Our initiative from day one has been focussed on service and on giving a fair value to our customers. Of course, the quality of the online interface and an error free experience do help but ultimately it’s the backend support, ease of operation and hassle free payment solutions which perform in the long run.” It’s for the intense competition and determination to stand out of the crowd that most OTAs had undertaken an aggressive acquisition strategy. According to Pratik Mazumder, Head of Marketing & Strategic Alliance at Yatra, “Yatra has come with a total of four big acquisitions, which have broadened our horizons and offerings as a leading travel company. We thrive to constantly innovate with the new technology and shift to mobile apps too over the coming years. We are very much opti-

Parikshit Sawhney

Neelu Singh

Pratik Mazumder

Managing Director, Forerepresentations

COO Ezeego1

Head of Marketing & Strategic Alliance, Yatra

It is the service of a particular online player, which can help him stand apart from the crowd Executive Officer, Travel Boutique Online, here bets on entry barriers created by use of the state-of-the-art technology. “In order to sustain in the travel business from long term perspective, one has to stand out in this growing crowd of online players. Our technology is our differentiator and acts as an entry barrier for competition,” he said. “We continuously invest in technology to create innovative product for our part-

There are offline payment options helping customers to pay who are not ready to part with their credit cards

agents. We aggregate largest hotel inventory in the country and would optimise our service and rates to our partners and thrive to become a leader in the holidays & packages vertical as well. We are expanding our reach and have moved into Tier-II and Tier-III cities like Nagpur, Pune, Calicut and Surat and are also focussed to grow to the optimum large existing markets like Mumbai, Chennai etc,” he added.

Our recent acquisition of Travelguru is likely to transform the offerings mistic about our future and thus are focussing to strengthen our position in the market, especially in hotel and holiday bookings. Our recent acquisition of Travelguru is likely to transform the offerings and will immensely contribute towards domestic holiday bookings as well as the hotel offerings.”

Extending reachIn the war like situation in the online travel space, the

winner will definitely be determined by the B2B ammunition these leading players have in their kitty. Hence, all of them have a well-defined task to work with smaller agents and make them act as their extended reach. “Expedia, as a practice, ensures exhaustive and enriching trainings for B2B partners. We have robust strategy in place for our B2B network, beginning with a multi tiered structure aimed at incentivising more producing agent. For Instance, if we were to talk about our agents, a platinum agent gets 11.5 per cent commission compared to a standard agent who gets 10 per cent. Other than this, we regularly introduce seasonal promotions. Another widely appreciated Expedia initiative is the offer newsletter. This bulletin reaches our partners and agents regularly, giving them insights on key Expedia offerings, augmentations and developments. We also have about 11 brand ambassadors across India, who are our top producing agents,” says Malhi. Here, Magow also quickly highlights that MakeMyTrip has a strong presence across India through franchise and personal stores. “We have a total of 20 company-owned outlets and 38 franchised outlets in India. We plan to expand further. Training is an integral part of our franchisee module. Apart from having standard operating processes, destination guides, online tools and product reservoirs, we also make sure that the franchisee sellers spend quality time with the service delivery team to understand the important processes. We also make sure that a senior seller is with them for on-the-job training on various sales techniques. These training programmes are periodical in nature and are mostly done before the peak season,” he added. Forerepresentations, as per Sawhney, has always had a wish tree rewards program, which has been an inherent part of its booking process right from the start. “The program offers gifts and incentives to the front line bookers based on the points earned by them. At present, we have 1000 active agents from a total of 3500 registered agents all across India, Middle East, Europe and UK,” he added. Nijhawan relies on road shows across India, advertisements on its portal and will launch a mobile application by early 2013 to increase reach and also provide value added services to our agents.


NEWS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

The American Express Travel Partner Network

American Express Travel Partner Network held its annual Regional Conference in India this year from September 11-17. A weeklong conference held across Delhi, Agra & Jaipur and was attended by key decision makers from travel agencies and travel management companies from 25 countries across the region. With the theme, ‘Be the Change’, the speakers in the conference included senior global leaders from American Express and a distinguished panel of industry experts from ITC, CAPA, Google, Travelport, Abacus and many more.

Connectivity to Australia a must  Contd. from page 10

“PATA India will work with MOT and the Sydney Tourist office to penetrate into the wholesale tour operator community in these two markets. While retail agents are very important, wholesale agents have a vast network of their own/affiliate offices, which promote identified destinations. Air India’s arrival into the region will definitely help spur greater interest amongst travellers to visit India. We will work on some additional initiatives which are being planned to sustain and augment interest in the Incredible India product,” he points out. Sangha also believes that India is continuously developing as an important PATA Chapter globally. Talking about the recently organised PATA Travel Mart in Manila, Sangha claims, “PATA India is the second largest chapter in the PATA network. Two-way tourism is becoming the order of the day and India has a strong potential to support this expectation. With over 14 million tourists from India and six million into India, we are becoming a significant regional player.” According to Sangha, at PATA Travel Mart 2012, India had a mix of 44 buyers and 22 sellers. This was amongst one of the largest contingents at this premium event. “Many countries in the PATA world are eager to welcome Indian tourists ranging from middle class to affluent, as much as tourists from emerging markets like China are finding their way to India. The landscape of India’s tourism infrastructure has changed exponentially and this is helping build interest in tourism to India. We do have some challenges particularly in the aviation space, which may be transient, but Incredible India has a wealth of goodies to offer,” he adds.

33


AGENTS

Last minute bookings a challenge: Natesan Raja Natesan, Chief Operating Officer, TUI India, discusses the potential of outbound segment and a few challenges faced by the industry. T T B U R E AU

T

he rupee depreciation, heavy taxation and increasing airline costs have affected the outbound market for this year. “This summer was impacted but the result cannot be quantified. There was a definite slowdown in the industry but there were no large scale cancellations,” says Raja Natesan, Chief Operating Officer, TUI India. TUI handles all non incoming travel and this includes domestic and outbound traffic. In the last few years, they have seen positive impact of domestic traffic. “We believe that regular sustainable tourism that is not dependent on summer vacations and other small time slots is only domestic. In domestic travel, you will have the vacation travel but you will also have shorter four or five days break and even weekend holidays and that are not dependent on vacation times,” adds Natesan. In spite of all the difficulties, this winter looks promising for the outbound industry. TUI thinks out of the box, does things differently and suggests new ways of selling destinations. Discussing some of the important issues being faced by this industry, Natesan gives us his opinion on key issues.

Challenges Faced There are challenges in every service industry but some especially pertaining to our industry include, pricing of packages. There is no particular format used for packaging and pricing. Our biggest issue is that there is no understanding of what the other person is going to do. We have no way of standardising a service. A quality rating does not exist and that is a big problem in the package tour industry. One can rate hotels and airlines but one cannot rate a package.

In this industry no one really talks to each other as everyone feels that they can

present in the industry. Their cost of operation for these unorganised players is very low. Therefore they can afford to undercut anyone and they do. Unfortunately quality organisations get compared with smaller organisations. It’s important for people to understand that larger companies are more reliable. So for larger companies there is a long gestation period.

Growth potential Raja Natesan Chief Operating Officer TUI India

At present, we have much larger margins than airlines and can afford to be on our own but this won’t last long get a better deal individually. There is no consolidation. At present, we have much larger margins than airlines and can afford to be on our own but this won’t last long. We don’t factor in the price spent to acquire a customer. No one considers this as a huge factor. Last minute bookings are also a challenge. India, as a country, still considers leisure as a last minute plan. It’s not like we decide and book six months in advance. Luckily because of visas, we wake up 60 days earlier but people don’t understand that they can save up to 20-25 per cent of costs if they are early birds. If you book in December for June you will have a good offer, but we will only see five per cent such advance bookings. Therefore, to make the customer understand that the choices are much more and costs are much less, is a huge challenge for the Indian leisure industry. A lot of small time or unorganised players are also

If everyone pulls their weight together, we can do 10 times more business than present but that means the government has to have the right policies in place or airline tax regime should be regularised, our potential dependent on all these factors together. In the next one-year, if all things remain the same and the dollar price is not fluctuating and if the taxation regime also does not change, then I would expect about a 15 per cent growth next year. We are looking at destinations as a company and will organise some joint marketing with hoteliers in these destinations; Lucknow is one such place that we are gung-ho about. It’s well connected and easy by train. Its one of the cleanest cities in India and the hotels are good. Fantastic shopping, delicious food and some nice places to see, the city is an architectural marvel. So by promoting new destinations, we can develop tourism.

B2B model We have a portal that is connected to around 10 xml’s and the logic we follow is that if someone wants a hotel somewhere, it will go through our negotiated rates and all the xml’s pick up the cheapest available option and if that suits the agent we’ll connect the two. At present, a chunk of our business is coming from our B2B model; about 70 per cent.

Qatar Airways to join oneworld Qatar Airways is to join oneworld®, adding one of the world’s fastest growing and most highly rated airlines to the world’s leading quality airline alliance. Its election as a oneworld member designate was announced on October 9, 2012 at a press conference in New York – home of oneworld’s central alliance management office – with senior executives of Qatar Airways and the alliance’s established member airlines in attendance.


36 TRAVTALK

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

DESTINATION

Madhya Pradesh, the ‘Heart of India’, where the majestic tiger once roamed unchallenged, is the largest state in India, dazzling with forests and is a haven for wildlife. The region accounts for one-third of the total forest cover in India and is home to the magnificent Indian Tiger.

E

very year, thousands of tourists from around the world, armed with fancy cameras make a beeline to Madhya Pradesh to see one of the most popular Indian attractions – the tiger. Madhya Pradesh is home to a large number of tiger reserves offering an opportunity of admiring the royal tiger in its natural habitat. Tiger reserves are open again to tourists! The Supreme Court has finally lifted the ban on tiger tourism in core areas of reserves and sanctuaries. According to the new guidelines, tourism is allowed in at least 20 per cent of the core areas of tiger sanctuaries and NTCA has proposed a new conservation fee for the tourism industry, which will be used in improving the ecology and the quality of life of the local community living nearby. In July, the Supreme Court had banned tourism in core areas of all tiger reserves in the country based on an existing policy of the Centre. Madhya Pradesh is a multi-faceted state, offering incredible wildlife reserves, intricate temples and palaces, and a dazzling tradition of arts, crafts and cuisine. The forests of Madhya Pradesh are a haven for wildlife. Madhya Pradesh is a pioneer state in the national movement for conservation of the Tiger. Madhya Pradesh is also known as the 'Tiger State' as it harbors 19 per cent of India's Tiger Population and 10 per cent of the world's tiger population. At present, there are five Tiger areas in the state namely – Kanha, Panna, Bandhavgarh, Pench and Satpura. Bandhavgarh was the hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Rewa: their old fort still dominates a hill rising out of the forest. Tiger-Spotting is virtually guaranteed at Bandhavgarh as it has the highest tiger density in India. Kanha's sal and bamboo forests, rolling grasslands and meandering streams stretch over 940 sq km in dramatic natural splendour which form the core of the Kanha Tiger Reserve created in 1974 under Project Tiger. This was the park that the Central Indian Barasingha, also known as the hard ground barasingha, was brought back

from the virtual edge of extinction. By a special statute in 1955, Kanha National Park came into being. Since then, a series of stringent conservation programmes for the protection of the park's flora and fauna has given Kanha its deserved reputation for being one of the finest and best administered National Parks in Asia, an irresistible attraction for all wildlife lovers and a true haven for its animal population. Panna is home dominated by the splendid Ken river, altering valleys and plateaus, grasslands, gorges and escarpments, Panna National Park is an ideal tiger country. Relics of Gondwana period (rule of the tribal people of Central India) are scattered all over the Reserve. Besides the wildlife watchers (around 12000 annually), Panna gets visitors (around 20000 annually) who exclusively visit the famous Pandav Fall. Pench Tiger Reserve comprises the Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, the Mowgli Pench Sanctuary and a buffer. The Park nestles in the Southern slopes of the Satpura ranges of Central India. The river Pench, which splits the National Park into two, forms the lifeline of the Park. The area of the present tiger reserve has a glorious history. Satpura Tiger Reserve is a welcome change to the regular wildlife circuit in India. The reserve is spread over 1,500 km of pristine wildlife habitat and is truly one of the few modern day wilderness spots left in the country. What makes Satpura unique is the variety of options it offers, to experience the flora and fauna is this magnificent forest. It is the only park in central India which allows people to explore tiger country on foot. Further the forest department is working towards offering non-motorized ways of discovering the tiger reserve. In addition to walking, guests can also opt for jeep, canoeing, elephant and motorboat safaris. At the park, one will get to see close glimpse of animals like sambar, cheetal, nilgiri, wild boar, barking dear, black buck sloth bear, wild dogs, leopards and the elusive Tiger.

Where to stay The Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) operates hotels in the tiger reserves providing an opportunity for visitors to live near the wilderness and enhance their experience. They include Kipling's Court in Pench, Jungle Camp at Panna, White Tiger Forest Lodge at Bandhavgarh and properties at Kanha which include Baghira Log Huts, Tourist Hostel and Kanha Safari Lodge. Madhya Pradesh Tourism also operates special packages to the Jungles. For more information and bookings, contact the Delhi Marketing office at Room No. 12, Hotel Janpath, Ground Floor, Janpath, New Delhi 110 001.


AGENTS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

37

Sterling Holidays to tap the MICE market The company is focussing on promoting its MICE business to capitalise on India's positive market potential and economic outlook. Sterling Holidays further plans to leverage its MICE offerings through integrated and strategic approach. D E N C Y M AT H E W

S

terling Holidays has witnessed a significant growth in Vacation Ownership Sales and Resort Income in the last financial year of 2011-12. It grew at 82.3% and in the current fiscal half-yearly Total Operating Income represented a total of 85% increase over the corresponding period last year. And as part of its future plans, Sterling Holidays is now concentrating on leveraging the MICE market in India.

Ramesh Ramanathan Managing Director Sterling Holidays

“All our resorts offer conference facilities. Sterling offers complete MICE solutions encompassing transfers, accommodation, state-of-the-art conference facilities, food and entertainment. In addition, Sterling adds value by organising specially designed teambuilding activities. Some of the other Holiday Activities like party games, theme nights and treks are also offered to make sure that employees enjoy their offsite meeting! Our large room inventories across India, professional team of ‘Fun Rangers’ and strategically located destinations with stunning views from the resorts, together make Sterling Holidays the right destination to host offsite conferences and events,” says Ramesh Ramanathan, Managing Director, Sterling Holidays. Ramanathan is of the opinion that the domestic market for MICE is growing at a healthy rate as employers realise the value of offsite conferences and semi-

nars. And today, MICE is an important revenue stream for Sterling Holidays and also plays an important role in Sterling’s core businesses of One-Time Hotel Stays and Vacation Ownership as once a MICE delegate experiences

a ‘Sterling’ holiday, he or she may return as a FIT guest or Vacation Ownership member. Sterling Holidays has also been very active in expanding its properties across India and in 2011-12,

it added 2 resorts in Goa as well as in Corbett, Karwar and Thekkady. Sterling has also recently renovated and upgraded two of its resorts in Kodaikanal and Munnar. These two resorts have been re-launched as Kodai – By

The Lake and Munnar – Terrace Greens respectively. In line with the goal of raising the product and service standards across the network, Sterling has also begun the work of renovating and upgrading all its

resorts in its network. By providing good accommodation, amenities and recreational & entertainment activities, Sterling is now aiming to become the No.1 holiday company in India by 2016.


38 TRAVTALK

STATES

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

Dhanu Yatra - www.dhanuyatra.com

Odisha fairs

Courtesy: Barbati Fort @ Cuttack

Modern Odisha is a meeting ground of different religions, art and culture. So was ancient Odisha. This was a meeting ground of primary races and basic cultures as well.

Peek preview of its glorious past

Dhanu Yatra

Chandan Yatra The 21-day long Yatra celebrated during April marks the culmination of the year-long celebra-

Chandan Yatra

Only a few are aware that the world’s biggest open air theatre festival is held in a small town of Bargarh in the western part of Odisha. The town, which has a

tions of the religious ceremonies that are conducted within the sacrosanct premises of the Jagannath Temple. The festal activities surrounding the sacred Chandan Yatra starts from the observance of the auspicious ‘Akshyaya Trutiya’ and is followed by three weeks of festive fervour. The festival is celebrated at that time of the year when Odisha faces the sweltering summer heat and the mercury soars to unbearable heights. The scorching heat prompts the people to make use of sandal paste (chandan) and plenty of water to keep themselves cool. The celebrations attract swarms of pilgrims and tourists as well.

bargarh Nurshingnath

This literally means ‘Journey to Bali’. Held in Odisha in the city of Cuttack at Gadagadia Ghat of the Mahanadi river, this fair is celebrated to mark the day when ancient Sadhabas (Oriya mariners) would set sail to distant lands of Bali, as

population of about lakh spread over a few square miles, turns in to a unique epic town of Mathura for 11 days festival known locally as Dhanu Yatra. Come the month of Pusha (winter, the first half of January), the whole town becomes stage where people depict mythology. The uniqueness of the festival lies in the fact that all the episodes of ‘Kans Vadh’ (The killing of Kans) takes place in different parts of the town making it the largest open air theatre in the world.

Mahanadi River

Bali Jatra

well as Java, Sumatra, Borneo (Indonesia) and Sri Lanka for trade and cultural expansion. The festival marks its beginning at Kartik Purnima which comes around the end of October and November and goes on for a period of seven days right from the full moon. In Cuttack, Bali Jatra is celebrated annually as a large open fair near the Barabati Fort area. It is said to be the largest fair of Odisha state.

Cuttack-Baliyatra - Photo - Ashok Panda

T

he fairs that started in Odisha are designed in such a manner that it has relevance with science, spiritualism, history and mythology. One of the most amazing acts is that festivals and fairs of Odisha differ from one region to another. This also means that every festival is uniquely celebrated and makes the Oriya bonding even tighter.


40 TRAVTALK

HOTELS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

F1: A success formula for hotels With sports becoming one of the major drivers of tourism in India, the hospitality sector also stands to gain. This was also reflected in the performance of the hotels during the recently concluded second F1 in India… MEGHA

PA U L

T

he World Travel Market plays an important role in bringing key players and influencers from sports and tourism together under one roof for the exchange of ideas and practices, as well as offering excellent networking opportunities. There is a strong focus on the sector at the ongoing WTM, following on from London hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Just as the leading global event for the travel industry is championing the cause of sports tourism, India is also realising the jackpot it can hit through the segment. With sports becoming one of the major drivers of tourism in India, the hospitality sector also stands to gain. This was also reflected in the performance of the hotels during the recently concluded second F1 in India.

Manju Sharma

Philip Logan

Taljinder Singh

Director Jaypee Hotels

Vice-President Formule1 Hotels

GM Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi

The industry in Delhi has changed a lot and has changed for the good Most hotels in the Noida and Greater Noida region witnessed sold-out days during the F1 week and room rates shot up as the F1 teams, sup-

Formule1 was sold out for the week leading up to the big day as well port staff and spectators started trickling into the city. According to Manju Sharma, Director, Jaypee

Thanks to F1, the property witnessed a spurt in bookings Hotels, the hospitality landscape in Delhi is changing due to emergence of these sports events. “The industry in Delhi has changed a lot and has

changed for the good. The hospitality infrastructure, standard and the demand in the industry has skyrocketed with gradual spurt in growth and opportunities. Delhi has been seeing a lot of infrastructure developments,” she points out. There is a lot of positive sentiment in the market with global sporting events in India thronging the scenario. In this year, the awareness is much more than expected. The number of interested guests coming in has also pegged up two-fold. The entire inventory was sold out, Sharma adds. Jaypee Green Golf and Spa Resorts was the official hotel that hosted the F1 teams and staff. Hotels are also betting big on their F&B segment and have thus, beefed up F&B operations. Philip Logan, VicePresident, Formule1 Hotels says, “Formule1 hotel in Greater Noida launched Swagath Restaurant just prior

to the race to cash in on the increased demand. As the race officials, marshals and enthusiasts arrived a weekend before the race, Formule1 was sold out for the week leading up to the big day as well.” The hotel has increased inventory by opening its last floor for the event. During a traditionally lean period, when there are few business travellers due to Diwali, most hotels in the luxury category in the city far away from the F1 circuit also enjoyed an extremely busy weekend. “Business travel is less during this period. However, thanks to F1, the property witnessed a spurt in bookings during the weekend,” Taljinder Singh, General Manager, Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi claims. To ease the long commute on one of the heaviest traffic routes in the NCR, the hotel offered daily transfers to the venue and packed meals for the trip as part of its F1 package.


42 TRAVTALK

NEWS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

Increasing B2B footprint Foresee now serves 24x7 Pathfinders services 2,000 agents across the subconti- This young, dynamic and highly enthusiastic company nent, 650 agents in the Gulf and 200 agents in Russia is growing at a fast pace and making its mark. Two new and the CIS markets. These numbers are expanding. aircraft are on the cards for the company. T T B U R E AU

P

athfinders has now broadbased its reach multifold after laying a strong foundation. As per Ashley Monteiro, Managing Director, Pathfinders, “Pathfinders has broad based and expanded its product by selling Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau as well. Therefore, now it is positioning itself as a company selling South East Asia. We have achieved this through strategic tie-ups with DMC Travel Management in Singapore and Fishtail Tours in Hong Kong.”

Monteiro further adds that their technology has helped them in their pursuit to grow in size. “Pathfinders has its proprietary technology and its own staff operating out of the offices of these DMCs to assist its existing client base with a similar standard of services

and products in these destinations.

Our USP is the fact that we understand the DMC function better than any B2B wholesaler active in the market as its DMC experience is translated into expertise in wholesaling,” said Monteiro. “Our wholesaling and distribution capability can assist DMCs in other parts of South East Asia initially and globally in the medium term, who have been bullied and pushed around by the big name brands. Technology is a tool that Pathfinders employs to the hilt,” he added. Mutual respect and engaging on profitable terms had earned Pathfinders

T T B U R E AU

W

ithin a short span of two years, Foresee Aviation has been able to make a mark in the general aviation industry in India.

Ashley Monteiro Managing Director, Pathfinders

immense goodwill. Here, Monteiro adds, “The B2B partners is the whole reason for our existence. Our relationship is based on mutual respect and we support them with technology that makes their lives easier. Further, a back office in India makes the whole process from product creation to reservations to payments seamless. Pathfinders services 2,000 agents across the subcontinent, 650 agents in the Gulf and 200 agents in Russia and the CIS markets.”

“We’re seriously deliberating on taking two aircraft – a twin-engine turboprop as well as a business jet on lease. Both make a strategic combination as turboprops are commonly utilised by travel agents and tour operators, whereas, jet aircraft are preferred by corporate houses,” says Santosh K Sharma, Director, Foresee Aviation. Foresee Aviation’s mission is simple; to provide outstanding service, unrivalled flexibility and unparalleled value. “We provide the most comprehensive service available - maintaining an aircraft database and managing up to the minute information of the movements. Through our

long established contacts in the industry, we are able to obtain data on airports, current fuel prices, latest legis-

Santosh K Sharma Director, Foresee Aviation

lation and routings to offer the very best charter solutions on the market,” elaborates Sharma. Foresee Aviation is a provider of aviation services to leading travel agencies and tour operators. “We are the preferred private jet provider

for all major inbound operators who service the top end of the tourism market and for a majority of wealthy people who choose to travel privately,” he adds. Every client of Foresee Aviation is allocated an account manager whose job is to provide the client with the best charter solutions in the quickest possible time. “They are trained to get to know what the customers’ requirements are so that they can provide the perfect charter solution quickly and effectively every time. Our experienced and friendly professionals are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” explains Sharma.

Personalised Services Each of the Foresee Aviation client is allocated an account manager to provide him with the best charter solutions in the quickest possible time


44 TRAVTALK

NEWS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

‘Cruising’, Rock n Roll and Googly!

Rural Tourism with cluster villages Integrating the lives of rural communities with tourism to develop sustainable and responsible forms of tourism is the new watchword. And, it is essential to sustain the cultural heritage to help develop Rural Tourism. Ranjitpura Bas will be developed with infrastructure, to provide a new rural experience to the tourists. Boosted by the 5.29 per cent increase in tourism in 2011 in Punjab, the prime objective of promoting Rural Tourism is, to bring the visitors closer, to the rich cultural heritage of Punjab.

T T B U R E AU

R

This was an event which checked the pulse of every Delhiwala. It was time when Star Cruises and Guideline Travels came together and hosted a party at the Movida Cafe and lounge. The result was total fun...full on fiesta and yes a lot of cricket!!

Air passengers: Once up, now down As per the passenger traffic data submitted by various domestic airlines, the number of passengers carried by them is 438.39 lakh between January-September 2012 as against 442.18 lakh during the corresponding period of the previous year showing the growth of -0.9 per cent. The total domestic passengers carried by the scheduled domestic airlines for the month of September 2012 were 40.18 lakh.

ural Tourism is not mass tourism. The challenge lies in readying, the existing assets of the region, to suit the travellers interests. There is a need to develop ‘rainbow tourists’ who want to travel the whole spectrum for niche and experiential tourism experience, feels Sudhir Sahi, Consultant for Punjab Tourism and ex-Consultant for UNDP for their rural tourism project. According to Sahi, integrating the lives and occupations of rural communities with tourism to develop sustainable and responsible forms of tourism is the new watchword. “Tourism and development are two sides of the same coin. However, we forget the rim of the coin – the environment. Going forward, it is essential to sustain the cultural heritage of the area and this is crucial for developing Rural Tourism in India,” he says.

Sudhir Sahi Consultant for Punjab Tourism and ex-Consultant for United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

The concept of developing a cluster of villages rather than promoting a stand-alone village for tourism is now gaining its ground. Talking about the recent initiative of Punjab Tourism in this regard, Sahi informs that the Punjab Government has identified a cluster of four villages in Rupnagar district, on the banks of river Sutlej, to boost Rural Tourism. These four villages - Katli, Bahadarpur, Tibba Tapparian and

Sahi further spoke regarding, the role of the travel trade fraternity, in bringing awareness in Rural Tourism.

“The process of identifying the cluster is an important task. This cluster then needs to be approved by the travel trade as well. Thus, Punjab Tourism had invited ADTOI and IATO for a reiki check before the project took off,” he informed.

Giving information about the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Rural Tourism, he reveals, “The Ministry of Tourism had kickstarted a rural tourism initiative with the UNDP in 2002 at 36 sites in 20 states. The idea was to enhance the capacity building in these sites.” One of the key prerequisite for the success of any rural tourism project is community involvement, the rural tourism specialist opines. The Hodka village in Gujarat, one of the success story of the project, also reflects the same. A village tourism committee owns and operates the Shaam-e-Sarhad (Sunset at the Border) Village Resort. Tourists can stay in tents or traditional mud huts. The resort can accommodate up to 30 people. Among the attractions, there are special organised workshops on embroidery and leather work and interactions with other artisan communities.

Mumbai gets Ginger Hotel Ginger Hotel launched its very first hotel in Mumbai, located on Mahakali Caves Road, Andheri. T T B U R E AU

tea/coffee maker. Other guest facilities at the hotel include

T

argeting the domestic arrivals in India, Ginger Hotels opened its 26th property in Mumbai. The 116room hotel will cater largely to the junior to mid level business travellers in the country’s financial hub. Raymond Bickson, MD and CEO, Indian Hotels Company Limited said, “The Indian hospitality sector offers an immense growth potential for comfortable and hygienic accommodation at affordable pricing. The company, working in association with Prof. C.K. Prahalad, identified this opportunity in India much in advance of the industry, and thus conceived India’s first chain of no-frills, “Smart Basics” hotels. We are proud that Ginger Hotels has successfully set a high benchmark in the limited service hotel segment in India.” The hotel in Mumbai has air-conditioned rooms equipped with electronic locks, a work area, and a 26inch LCD television with satellite channels, direct-dial telephone including STD facility, mini-fridge and

Raymond Bickson MD and CEO Indian Hotels Company Limited

a meeting and conference room, net zone, gymnasium, vending machines, digital safe deposit boxes, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity in the public areas and individual rooms. It is also located within close proximity of the domestic and international airports. The rates for a single room starts at Rs 4999 minus taxes and double room starts at Rs 5999 minus taxes. Commenting on the presence of rival hotels groups like Formula 1 and Ibis in the same segment of budget hotels, Prabhat Pani, Chief Executive Officer &

Director, Roots Corporation Limited said, “There is also more demand in this segment of the market than supply and hence more competition is always welcome. However, we have an advantage as we have been in the Indian market for a long time. Also, we are an Indian brand and hence we understand our customers better and know how to cater to our clients better. The launch of Ginger Hotel in Mumbai is a significant milestone in the hotels’ expansion plans. 60 per cent of our clients are corporate and since Mumbai is a commercial hub, we thought it is important to mark our presence here.” Pani also stated that there is an invested of Rs 13.5 crores in the Ginger Mumbai property. He further informed that Ginger hotel has further expansion plans in Western India and will soon open more hotels in Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Vadodara. It will also open more hotels in Norther India in the next seven months in cities like Noida, Chandigarh, Jaipur and more.


50 TRAVTALK

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

FAMILY ALBUM

Virgin Atlantic says Hello Mumbai Sir Richard Branson, recently in Mumbai, announced the launch of Mumbai – London flights offering onward connections to US to Indian travellers. The launch was celebrated by Branson and team in a ‘Mumbaiya’ style. The airline has also applied for operating slot at Hyderabad airport and expects to soon start operating on HyderabadLondon/ Manchester route.


NEWS

Where innovation rules Alcon Victor works closely with B2B partners, offers lucrative remuneration options and has recently launched a club Tito’s at its Radisson Blu Resort Cavelossim Beach… T T B U R E AU

S

tarting from its inception, the Alcon Victor Group has grown from strength to strength, making a mark in several fields including travel & tourism, hospitality, Ayurveda and nature cure. One of the key factors behind its success is consistent innovation that takes the end-user satisfaction to a higher plane. “The Alcon Victor Group has always tried new and innovative ideas for all our properties. Recently, we have launched Club Tito’s at The Radisson Blu Resort Cavelossim Beach, an up market nightclub for the ultimate clubbing experience. It is 5000 sq ft of lounge, bars and dance club with state-of-the-art lighting and 10,000 watts of

sound,” said Vinay Albuquerque, Director, Alcon Victor Group.

“The USP of our group is guest satisfaction and value-for-money. All our properties offer the best hospitality, good food and facilities. The Dona Sylvia Beach Resort won the Certificate for Reliability and Excellent Service Rendering from ‘Intourist’ Moscow at the recently concluded International Tourist Exhibition Leisure 2012 held at Moscow,” he added. India has a wide range of travel attractions and the Alcon Victor Group has

Vinay Albuquerque Director Alcon Victor Group

excelled in promoting many such avenues including leisure and MICE at its all three Beach Resorts, including the wellness tourism at Devaaya Ayurveda & Nature Cure Centre, says Albuquerque. “We get most of our business through our B2B partners and also offer them good prices along with marketing support,” he adds.

Orbitz launches Fairmont China In addition to end-to-end travel plans for over 300 trade fairs, it also offers premium holiday packages and had recently launched ‘Fairmont China’ package. banking on its B2B partners. Here, Vikamsey adds, “In line with regularly launching new experiences, we have recently launched ‘Fairmont China’ which lets clients experience Shanghai & Beijing combined with a stay in the luxurious & landmark Fairmont Hotel properties in the respective cities.”

T T B U R E AU

B

acked on the growth and prominence of several trade shows all over the globe, Orbitz has created a niche portfolio of complete travel solution for trade events. As per Rupen Vikamsey, Managing Director, Orbitz Corporate & Leisure Travels, “We, at Orbitz, are the pioneers and leaders in business trade fair travel. We offer end-to-end travel plans for over 300 trade fairs throughout the year.” “For international holidays, we offer premium customised & individualised holidays for our clients. We regularly launch flagship products to deliver an entire new experience to the destination, which includes option of

Rupen Vikamsey Managing Director, Orbitz Corporate & Leisure Travels

Indian food in the comfort of the hotel, customised and flexible itinerary, in-depth exploration of the destination and unique experiences for each destination etc,” he added. In its most recent offering, Orbitz has created a niche ‘Fairmont China’ and is

“For us, our B2B partners are very important. We refer to them as Orbitz Official Representatives in the area they represent us. The compensation structure varies and is agreed on mutual basis after considering the market potential, partner strength, product acceptance in local market etc. We always welcome strong partners so we can both grow our business relationships,” he added.

Switzerland tops the tourism list  Based on the global perceptions of residents, tourists, investors and foreign governments, Switzerland has overtaken Canada for the top spot, followed by Japan, which rose a spot to third, and Sweden, which rose three spots to

fourth. Japan (No. 3) New Zealand (No. 5), Australia (No. 6) and Singapore (No. 14) are the region's strongest country brands, according to Futurebrand. Globally, Futurebrand's 2012-2013 country brand index ranks the world's

countries based on perceptions of their cultures, industries, economic vitality an public policy initiatives. The study is based on a survey of 3,600 opinion-formers and frequent international travellers from 18 countries.


ANALYSIS

FDI in hotels on track The hotel and tourism sector attracted FDI worth ` 4,041 crore during April 2011-January 2012. This reflects an increase in FDIs in the hospitality industry, especially over the last two years. M E G H A PAU L

F

oreign direct investment (FDI) inflow in the hotel and tourism sector has witnessed a considerable spurt from April 2011 to January 2012.The hotel and tourism sector attracted ` 4,041 crore FDI during this period. According to a report received from the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, the Centre released FDI equity flows from April 2008 to January 2012 in the hotel and tourism sector. In the financial year 2010-11, the sector attracted ` 1,405.15 crore worth FDI while in the financial year 2009-10, the sector received ` 3,566.32 crore. Feels Akshay Kulkarni, Regional Director – Hospitality, South & Southeast Asia, Cushman & Wakefield, “We have seen an increase in FDIs in the hospitality industry, especially over the last two years. However, it is true that the amount of funds flowing into this sector have still not been up to the

Chris Moloney

Garish Oberoi

Chief Operating Officer South West Asia, IHG

President HRANI and VP, FHRAI

Overall, we are on track to have a 150-hotel presence by 2020 risk and also the ready asset route to fund the growth of hotel development.” A large part of the issue that most foreign investors in this sector face is certainty of

Akshay Kulkarni

Pankaj Arora

Regional Director – Hospitality, South & Southeast Asia, Cushman & Wakefield

Managing Director Protiviti Consulting

We have seen an increase in FDIs in the hospitality industry, especially over the last two years mark. Going forward, with more and more developed properties getting transacted, there will be more institutional or institutional type buyers in the market. This will take away some of the anxiety from both operations and development. We already have a number of examples – Duet, Samhi, Xander, APG in LemonTree, etc all of whom have taken the development

The future of FDI in hospitality industry in India looks bright a project hitting the market at the determined time, cost of real estate – entry barriers, permissions and approvals and the high cost of funding projects as well, laments Kulkarni. According to Pankaj Arora, Managing Director, Protiviti Consulting, the future of FDI in hospitality industry in India looks bright,

FDI in hotels is still on track. Almost everyday you hear of a new hotel chain entering India especially after the opening up of 100 per cent FDI in the country. However, foreign players do question themselves before investing in India on whether they should really go through bureaucratic hurdles or invest in some other country that is more business-friendly and easy to work with instead. “Thus, permit and license hassles, bureaucratic delays and redtapism continue to plague this industry. The government must ease such impediments in order to invite more foreign participation,” he points out. Also, another reason why FDI is still picking up is due to the fact that many international hotel brands enter India not with ownership model, which is assetheavy but with management model, which is asset-light. The reasons would vary for each hotel chain. “Some would want to explore the Indian market before they invest heavily here, while others would want to consolidate management bandwidth before owning and investing hotels in the country,” he adds. Opines Garish Oberoi, President, HRANI and VP, FHRAI, “FDI in hotels is still on track. Almost everyday, you hear of a new hotel chain entering India. The reason is despite all the bottlenecks, the investors know that there is tremendous potential in the country.” One of the instances of the international chains Contd. on page 62 


56 TRAVTALK

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

AGENTS

‘Tourism for India is largely cultural’ India’s history makes it an ideal product for niche tourism. Dabbing into the Indian market, Martin Randall Travel offers new and innovative itineraries for exploring the country. catches up with them and discusses their niche product. D E V I KA J E E T

I

ndia, being an ideal country for niche tourism, has Martin Randall Travel initiating their itineraries in the country. These eight unique and culturally driven itineraries range from experiences such as tours of the British Raj, Kingdoms of the Deccan, The Indian Mutiny and Temples of Tamil Nadu, to name a few. “I had an Indian edge and believed that we must bring our clients to India. Since then, I was finding a way to send tourists to India and I found a way which was ‘high investment high commitment’. We devoted a lot of resources to familiarise ourselves with the country and the research and planning took nearly two years before our first group came in,” says Martin Randall, Founder and

Chief Executive, Martin Randall Travel. “We planned eight different departures for the first year, but this is a big commitment and we plan to gradually increase over the years. It has been a big risk, but, so far, it seems to have done well. I was expecting one or two of those itineraries to

Bottlenecks When the company surveyed the tour operators specialising in India, two facts emerged Firstly, they all do the same type of tours that have been the same for decades Secondly, a majority of the tours and extremely exhausting and tourists do not get to enjoy the potential of India

cialising in India, two facts emerged. Firstly, they all do the same type of tours that have been the same for decades. Secondly, a majority of the tours are extremely exhausting and tourists do not get to enjoy the potential of India.”

remain unsold, but, at the moment, an average of 88 per cent of capacity is sold and this is remarkable for small specialised tours and its above average of what we have achieved earlier,” adds Randall. The shortest tour is 12 days and longest is 15. The average spends for a tourist is approximately £360 a day. “While getting the Indian visa is tedious, it is not a major issue in the scale of things”, he adds. The average age of their clients is in their 60’s and the maximum is 2022 people per tour. The company started 24 years ago with tours to study Art history. They believe in achieving excellence and have done a thorough check before taking any tour group. “We plan to continue building and growing our programme and in the next three to four

Martin Randall Founder and Chief Executive Martin Randall Travel

years, we should be well established and want to be one of the leading specialists to India,” he adds. Each tour has an expert known as the lecturer, a leading specialist in the field, who will be accompanying the tour. Discussing the initial research while planning to enter India, Randall highlights, “When we first surveyed the tour operators spe-

Providing a way out for this, Randall feels it’s very important to bring awareness of different sort of tourists and categorise their different depths of interests. Martin Randall Travel has organised workshops to train guides working with them in Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai. Further dabbing into issues that led to setbacks in the growth of inbound tourism, Randall adds, “Tourism to India is largely cultural especially among the Europeans, Americans and Australians. Tourism providers should grasp this

and focus on the experience that tourists have at cultural sites which is very often lacking in resources and faces a lack of conservation.It is the awareness of the Indian heritage that seems to be lacking and for the tourist who come the see the marvels of Indian architecture, it is a dispiriting experience especially at the museums. Indian museums with honourable experience are sadly neglected places.” Praising the spirit of Indian hospitality, Randall adds,

“Service levels are extraordinary high in India and in terms of attitude and aspirations, you cannot do better than in India. I feel like I am coming home when I come to India.”


58 TRAVTALK

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

FAMILY ALBUM

Harbour Plaza – India Workshop 2012

Mumbai

Delhi

Bengaluru

Harbour Plaza Hotels & Resorts , Hong Kong recently organised workshops in Delhi , Mumbai & Bengaluru in order to give the Indian travel trade an opportunity to discover ‘The Finest Oriental Hospitality’.


60 TRAVTALK

WTM SPECIAL

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

Debutants at the World Travel Market

Some of the first timers at the World Travel Market 2012 talk to and how they see it as a platform to forge new business relations.

Parikshit Sawhney, Managing Director Fore Representations & Travels

Parikshit Sawhney

Rahul Kumar Gaur

Managing Director, Fore Representations & Travels

Chairman & Managing Director, BRYS Group of Companies

We hope to meet new customers and catch up with existing ones. We also hope to increase our online B2B footprint to markets still unknown to us. The World Travel Market has always been the ultimate travel show through good times and bad. For Fore Representations, it would be a premier platform to exhibit our products and solutions to the travel community at large, which will in turn help us make a place for ourselves in this hugely competitive market.

As first time exhibitors at WTM-2012, we hope to showcase BRYS Hotels as an exclusive brand, worldwide, with the intention to promote tourist destinations, along with a true experience of highest standards of service and hospitality. We also aspire to meet potential foreign travel partners across the globe and forge business partnerships with the world’s leading travel and tour companies. The WTM platform will also help us interact with hoteliers from around the world, build relationships with them, exchange ideas and find out what makes them what they are today.

Rahul Kumar Gaur Chairman & Managing Director, BRYS Group of Companies

Pradip Kundu

Rajiv Menon

Maharaja’s Express will be our main focus at the World Travel Market this year. It is one super luxury train that needs to be popularised in the foreign market. We hope to tap in to foreign tour operators to popularise the train among foreign tourists. And WTM is an excellent platform for us to meet foreign tour operators and promote our products among them. We also have other products like the hill charter railways that we want to showcase at the event. It’s not possible to predict the outcome but we do expect a lot from the event and on our part we’ll do out best to promote our products.

Through our participation at WTM 2012, we expect to leverage our presence in London, and showcase our new product offerings to different segments like corporates, tourism boards and of course the various airlines that will be participating at the event. Our products cater to a wider spectrum, both in terms of markets and market segments. WTM is a good platform for us to have a face-to-face interaction with the global travel industry.

Head-Market Development, Verchaska

Joint General Manager-PR, IRCTC

Pradip Kundu Joint General Manager-PR IRCTC

about their expectations from the show

Rajiv Menon Head-Market Development, Verchaska

Networking at its best

This year as India Tourism expands its exhibition floor space by 14% at the World Travel Market in London, participants from India say that the event is a great platform for them to interact with foreign tour operators. Raja Natesan

Chief operating officer, TUI India WTM is different from the others as a lot of senior decision makers are present making it a good platform to network and take quick strategic decisions. There are some very nice talks with senior fraternity members and we get to learn a lot. A good blend of technology providers in travel is present and if you are ready with your strategy, you can meet everyone and finalise everything. Raja Natesan Chief operating officer TUI India

Pradeep Kalra

Satyajit Desai

Senior Vice President - Sales & Marketing, Sarovar Hotels

General Manager–Inbound, Kesari Tours

From our participation at the World Travel Market 2012, we hope to meet Foreign Tour Operators (FTOs). We also hope to consolidate the existing relationships that we have had and build on relationships with new operators. WTM offers an opportunity to us to expose new products to the existing and new operators, resolve any issues that may have occurred during operations and understand the promise of future business for the coming series. The Sarovar Hotels’ strategy this year would be to evaluate East African market which is our next area of focus and to understand supply and demand dynamics along with pricing mechanism.

Kesari Tours is well known, but it is new in the market as an inbound player. Hence we expect wider networking facilities which will help us establish new potential contacts, and enhance market visibility. We generated substantial business deals in the past through WTM, and have built up on the contacts established during last year’s WTM. It has been a win-win situation for the buyers and us, as many overseas FTOs were looking out for new inbound play- Satyajit Desai Manager–Inbound ers, and there we could successfully pitch in and it resulted in good General Kesari Tours business during last year. Out mantra this time around will be to play it simple and use the platform to strengthen old contacts and take it further to help us move ahead in challenging times together.

Pradeep Kalra Senior Vice President - Sales & Marketing, Sarovar Hotels

Kurian Varghese

General Manager - Travel Trade, Citrus Hotels & Resorts We look at WTM as an opportunity to expose Citrus to the international market and to FTOs who come from different markets across the world. With hotels in places like Goa, Kerala, Delhi, Bengaluru and upcoming locations like Pench (wildlife safari), Jodhpur (Rajasthan) it becomes an ideal platform for us to put Citrus and strengthen the brand further globally. This will be our 2nd WTM and Kurian Varghese in the past we have attended ITB Berlin and Singapore and ATM General Manager - Travel Dubai. We are focussing on getting maximum FTOs to our stall. Trade, Citrus Hotels & Resorts Appointments are already scheduled with many of them. With the help of our Indian DMCs, we look forward to have many more meetings during this event.

Geetha Subramanian

GM - Marketing and Sales, Clarks Group The Clarks Group is the one of the oldest and most friendly hotel chains in the India. True to our motto ‘Clarks Care For You’, we are expecting a good share from the market for 2013-2014. WTM is a great platform that helps us to interact with our partners from UK, Germany, France and other parts of UK directly. This year we bring to the market fully refurbished products at Agra, Jaipur, Geetha Subramanian Khajuraho, Varanasi and Lucknow. This year WTM will see India GM - Marketing and Sales Tourism expanding its exhibition floor space by 14% and creating Clarks Group a dedicated region, which calls for more active participation from co-exhibitors, more competition and hence more challenge awaits us… Looking at its positives, we would be blessed with more key buyers this year at the India Pavilion stands.


AGENTS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

61

‘Travel Cloud Suite’ launch at WTM TI Infotech is launching ‘Travel Cloud Suite’ with advanced features at WTM London, this year. It has the capacity and features to enable small players to kick start their business operation within minutes. T T B U R E AU

F

or those who want to be different from others and feel they need more and more, TI Infotech has the perfect solution for you, ’Travel Cloud Suite’ (TCS), with capacity and features to enable small players to kick start their business operation within minutes.“The system will have the functionalities to give small players what they need with extra customisation.

Meenu Sachdeva Managing Director TI Infotech

TCS is built on latest technology and enhanced features with options to sell all type of services such as hotels, transfers, sightseeing and flight with a blended display of results from multiple inventories from XML’s and own negotiated contracts,” says Meenu Sachdeva, Managing Director, TI Infotech. Discussing the affordability of technology, especially for beginners, small and medium companies, Sachdeva adds, “In the current scenario, it is no more a game to be played by the large enterprises. Technology has now become an essential part of the business. Today technology solutions are available and affordable for all kind of players. The scenario only differs from the situation wherein the small players rather than focussing on niche services and their strong USPs, start planning to have the full blown solutions which are being used by the large enterprises. As technology changes every time and small startup companies don’t have a lot of money for the needed tech-

nology investments for their business, a wise entrepreneur must be able to determine what products need to be bought and what software and gadgets will be antiquated before the company can fully utilise them. When a company invests in a technol-

ogy, the technology itself doesn’t need to be replaced due to changes in business.” Sachdeva further adds, “small and medium players should start their automation processes from their core requirement, to the next

important, to the next and keep on building in a step by step mode. This helps to manage the cost, maintenance resources, lesser upfront deposit for instant sale, and gives the confidence to build up more when the taste of success has been achieved at

the first phase. “We see the future bright as a need of better automation processes in this industry in the coming time where the need is increasing beyond the business automation. The industry needs to remain in constant touch with their

esteemed clientele, suppliers and partners. The futuristic technological solution will have a holistic approach to provide and share the information for a business need and for the needs of social connectivity,” explains Sachdeva.


62 TRAVTALK

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

FDI booms in hospitality  Contd. from page 55

investing in India is the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG). In April last year, IHG signed a 20-year management contract with Duet India Hotels to launch 19 Holiday Inn Express hotels in India by 2016. Duet India Hotels, the hotel investment arm of global asset manager Duet Group, has set aside around $145 million (` 650 crore) for the project. IHG, which will run the hotels and formulate expansion plans, will put in $30 million for a 24 per cent stake in the venture. The partnership with Duet also marks the group’s first-ever equity investment in India. Remarks Chris Moloney, Chief Operating Officer, South West Asia, IHG, “The venture with Duet India Hotels marks a significant milestone for IHG. Through this venture, we have established a strategic relationship with Duet who knows the market well, thereby opening up a huge opportunity for us to develop the Holiday Inn Express brand across India. With the 19 new signings for Holiday Inn Express hotels, we continue to add momentum to our current India development pipeline.” IHG is strongly positioned to build a significant India footprint with a growing presence in India’s key business and leisure hubs. Overall, we are on track to have a 150-hotel presence by 2020, he adds.

QUICK READ The Embassy of Slovenia in New Delhi has recently appointed VFS Global for collection of visa applications and delivery process in six Indian cities – Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi.

ANALYSIS

Indian films on foreign land! Films no longer only provide passive entertainment, but also performs the role of an active destination guide. As more and more Indian films are exploring foreign locations, more Indians too are visiting the locations that their favourite movies are shot at. D E N C Y M AT H E W

I

n the past, celebs were hired to act as ambassadors for destinations to help boost tourism. While this practice is still prevalent, it has been observed that in the recent years, the most impactful way to boost tourism to any country is by partnering with a Bollywood movie. While Yash Chopra has been leading the frontier by promoting Switzerland in most of his movies, recently, a lot of other tourism boards too have partnered with Bollywood movies to promote their countries. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Ek Tha Tiger, Don 2, Cocktail, etc, are some of the movies that were associated with Spain, Ireland, Berlin and South Africa respectively. And most of these associations have been very fruitful for these destinations. Not only have the movies showcased these destinations well, it also attracted a lot of eye-

rise of 50 per cent in Indian arrivals in Spain since the movie ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ was released. Indians have also extended the number of days spent in Spain from 6 nights 7 days to 10 nights 11 days. Having shot in beautiful locations all across Spain, the movie helped promote our various destinations as well as highlight our culture, tradition and food. We also noticed that more Indians are opting for road trips in Spain since the movie showcased the lead actors embark on a road trip in Spain. After the movie released, we got a lot of inquiries and calls from travel agents across India who wanted to know more about Spain. Travel agents who earlier showed no interest in Spain have now got themselves at least one itinerary of Spain with them,” says Arturo Ortiz, Director, Tourism Office of Spain, India South Africa also saw an increase in Indian arrivals

India makes up an ever-expanding market for our group, and we are delighted to participate in a marketing opportunity to reach this target Andrew Langston Vice President for Hotel Operations Asia PacificBanyan Tree Hotels and Resorts balls among Indians. So is this the new marketing brainwave used by tourism boards to highlight their destinations and does it really led to increase in arrivals? It definitely causes a positive impetus in the market, feels most tourism boards. The box office success of the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara led to a fillip of Indian arrivals in Spain. “We saw a

since the movie Cocktail was released. Many Indians have even demanded a ‘Cocktail’ itinerary from tour agents. Ireland is another such destination that gained from the screenplay success of the movie Ek Tha Tiger. “We feel there is a strong linkage between films and tourism and hence we wanted to use the platform of a movie to promote Ireland. The partnership

Arturo Ortiz

Beena Menon

Lubaina Sheerazi

Director Tourism Office of Spain, India

Representative India Tourism Ireland

India Representative for the Ministry of Tourism, Oman

We saw a rise of 50% in Indian arrivals in Spain since the movie ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ was released

has worked well for us as Ireland got noticed well among Indians. We plan to continue this association with Bollywood and hope to tie up with more movies,” says Beena Menon, Representative India, Tourism Ireland This trend is now been keenly followed by newer destinations who also feel the quickest and easiest means of attracting attention is by branding itself with a Bollywood film. And cashing on this trend, the Ministry of Tourism, Oman has collaborated with Balaji Telefilms to shoot a part of Balaji produced movie Once Upon a Time in Mumbai…Again in Oman. “This is a concerted effort to create an aspiration for travel to Oman. By creating inroads into Bollywood, we hope to

By creating inroads into Bollywood, we hope to maximise visibility for the destination and promote it as a preferred choice

maximize visibility for the destination and promote it as a preferred choice amongst travellers for vacations. We hope Oman gets noticed as much as the other destinations after the movie releases. Around the release time, we will be promoting Oman more aggressively,” says Lubaina Sheerazi, India Representative for the Ministry of Tourism, Oman In fact, the success of destinations turning into hot spots through movie tie-ups has even led to hotels and resorts across the globe to join the bandwagon. Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts has used Karan Johar’s Student of The Year movie to promote itself in the Indian market as its property is extensively featured in the film. Calling the movie’s shoot at Banyan Tree Samui a

By creating inroads into Bollywood, we hope to maximise visibility for the destination and promote it as a preferred choice amongst travellers for vacations

brilliant opportunity for the resort, Andrew Langston, Vice President for Hotel Operations Asia Pacific said, “Banyan Tree Samui’s collaboration with the cast and crew of Student of the Year was a fruitful one. We are honoured to be the venue of choice for this showcase of some of India’s brightest young talent. India makes up a large and ever-expanding market for our group, and we are delighted to participate in a non-traditional marketing opportunity to reach this target demographic.” So it has been observed that shooting a film in an exotic location adds to the visual appeal of the movie. It also makes Indians pack their bags and travel to the same location where their favourite actors were shooting.

Dia Mirza promotes Japan Tourism Dia Mirza Handrich, Miss Asia-Pacific 2000 and the popular Bollywood actress was in Delhi to promote Japan Tourism in India at an event organised by the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and the Embassy of Japan at the India International Center (IIC). The event is part of an ongoing series of events held to commemorate the 60th year of diplomatic relations between India and Japan in 2012. Mirza had visited Japan in 2011 on an invitation by JNTO to release a video message in support of Destination Japan. "I am thrilled and privileged to be associated with destination Japan – a land of endless discovery of natural beauty, traditions, diverse culture, cuisine and arts. At the same time, it also appeals to young generations looking for modern design, contemporary art, Japanese comics and fashion trends. I feel a strong connection to this great land of contrasts," Mirza said.


64 TRAVTALK

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

FAMILY ALBUM

Bollywood travels with ‘Locations’ In its 10th edition, ‘Locations’, the world’s first film tourism event generated a lot of interest among tour operators, tourism boards and film production houses. The exhibitors included tourism boards of various countries along with line producers and technicians from various destinations.


NEWS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

65

Hotel Metropolitan celebrates 12 years in Delhi

The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa, New Delhi celebrated its tremendous achievements, prestigious world renowned awards & accolades and its successful journey so far in the hospitality industry at a glamorous party recently. The glitzy night saw gathering from diplomats to corporate captains to the travel and trade veterans who were seen enjoying the evening and relishing flavours from across the world.

Verchaska is now ‘VE’ T T B U R E AU

I

ncepted in 2000, Verchaska has grown to be one of the top companies for developing travel e-commerce solution. The company recently rebranded itself to VE to be able to connect with people

Rajiv Menon Head-Market Development, Verchaska

easily and create an identity that is global in nature and represents a global problem in travel. Talking about the rebranding, Rajiv Menon, Head – Market Development, Verchaska says,

“When you look at the name Verchaska, the first two letters have VE. However, when you were to take these first two letters and leverage them as the initials of Verchaska, then the VE becomes WE when you pronounce or read the two letters. While VE is not only about communication, it is also emerging from what we as people are capable of doing.” “Our goal for the next 5 years is to transform Verchaska from an international solutions company to the world’s largest independent software company in travel,” adds Menon.


ANALYSIS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

67

Making India synonymous with luxury Contd. from page 24

travelling to India for business and have a window of about 3-4 nights during the course of their visit. “With encouraging business environment and a growing economy, more and more people want to set up business in India. The best way to tap the top-end luxury travellers is through word-of-mouth. We had been conducting many joint events with several luxury brands to tap into both high-end leisure and corporate segments. Our international network also helps us to tap into the high-end corporate clients,” he added.

Average stay and spend The high-end travellers are known to spend a lot, but that’s earned on account of the state-of-the-art amenities, top-class service extended by well-groomed manpower. According to Sharma, the average stay of luxury clients in India is between 812 days and spending is between $1000-2000 per day

for a couple including stay, transport & meals. Madhok’s experience suggests that, on an average, the top-end long haul luxury travellers from North America and Australia, to name a few, spend about 14 nights, while such travellers from Europe spend 7-8 nights and from UK spends about 89 nights. The average spend of the first set of travellers ranges between $300-600.

Special care for luxury segment “Even the minutest of details need a lot of attention, when taking care of high-end clients and we need to have a very good understanding, with our B2B partners that help us cater such travellers. We need to focus on having the latest high-end cars and very articulate and welldressed drivers & staff to attend to this segment of clients. A standardised grooming and communication session workshops should be held for guides, drivers and other related

service providers periodically, to help them enhance their skills and services and create the desired experience,” said Sharma. Here, Sodhi also stresses that help from business partners, service providers, vendors is required in the form of better pricing and collective efforts in destination promotion as well as helping the DMCs in right positioning of the products backing them with a state-of –the-art infrastructure of the products and professional services being offered. “Keeping the service delivery levels to the highest standards, training, service etiquettes and quality review of guest feedbacks is equally essential,” he added.

Mega Events in India Our travel trade loves the mega events that draw global attention on India. Fortunately, we had a few of them in the past few years. “Hosting such grand events is good for the image of the country and it definitely increases the number of inbound travellers, giv-

ing a boost to tourism. High profile, well run events like F1 are good for the destinations image,” said Deva. Here, Madhok adds that mega events like the F1 series in India helps attract niche clients to India. It includes both F1 sports enthusiasts and the others, who like to cherish the excitement at the grand stands and are being seen at the various social events. Events like the CWG 2010 had got lot of positive press and fostered India’s image as a growing country that has ample growth opportunities and state-of-the-art infrastructure. According to Sharma, such mega events attract highend clients as it holds their interest and is associated with the glamour world. “Celebrities like to attend sporting events like tennis, musical concerts, F1, etc, and by offering special luxury packages, a destination is able to market itself to this segment. These events have higher global visibility and create an opportunity to target such clients and give them an experience of such

magnitude that India becomes a favoured and repeat destination,” said Sharma. In Sen’s opinion, these events are indicators of India’s infrastructure development and this will increase the profile of the country. However, Sodhi believes, it showcases India as a destination ready and gearing up to handle the best of the luxury travellers and such high profile events. Timely marketing and promotion of such events, right distribution of tickets, coordination and tie-ups with DMCs to combine the events as the packages to promote to the international market is required. Going forward, Deva feels India as a destination requires world-class tourism attractions like the Disney Land or the Universal Studios in the USA. The tourist attraction should be designed to cater to the need of one and all, staring from children, women, corporate and leave one and all enticed with its world-class offerings.

“Golfing event is also one of the areas that we need to focus on as they attract high-end travellers. They are not just enthusiastic viewers, but unlike the other events, the travellers can be a part of the event as they can play in both professional and amateur tournaments giving them a more interactive role and learning experience. These clients like to stay in resorts close to the beach and spend the day playing Golf and relaxing at Spas. Through specialised golf division, Pashindia of Le Passage, we hold such events and combine them with wellness,” concluded Sharma.

Sporty Glitz Mega events like the F1 series in India helps attract niche clients to India Events like the CWG 2010 had got lot of positive press and fostered India’s image as a growing country that has ample growth opportunities and state-of-the-art infrastructure


68 TRAVTALK

HOTELS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

Club Med aims 50% growth from India

Formule1 checks in@Gujarat

 Club Med, a French company that owns several premium resorts across the globe, is targetting a growth of 50 per cent from India. Currently, the company receives more than 2000 Indian families across its properties with 80 per cent staying at their Asian resorts while 20 per cent in their European resorts. Having 80 resorts worldwide, the USP of Club Med is their ‘All-Inclusive’ resorts. After successfully launching the concept of ‘All-Inclusive’ resorts many years ago across the world, Club Med hopes that Indians too will soon see value for money in this product.

The hotel group expects Ahmedabad to follow the Pune hospitality sector model wherein the supply will exceed the demand of hotel rooms in the city.

The ‘All-Inclusive’ packages of Club Med include accommodation, all meals, drinks, transfers, sports, water and entertainment activities. Club Med is yet to open a property in India. “We did not start our own property in India in the past because in India, the concept of bed & breakfast is still popular. Our concept of ‘All-Inclusive holidays’ is still new in India. However, we now see a rise in luxury travel in India. India now has a lot of FIT travel were they

A N I TA J A I N

F Vijay Sharma Country Manager Club Med, India

take short breaks to spend more time with their family. With this change in behaviour among India travellers, we are looking at investing in India in the future,” says Vijay Sharma, Country Manager, Club Med, India. Club Med also wants to work with key travel agents in India who will act as Club Med specialised agents. “We intend to grow with our key travel agents and we want to establish ourselves in cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. For this, we intend to work closely with travel agents who have a huge FIT base and who specialise in premium category of customers,” adds Vijay Sharma, Country Manager, Club Med, India.

ormula 1, the budget brand of Accor Hospitality, recently opened up for business on SG Road, Ahmedabad. Featuring 132 rooms and three F&B outlets, the hotel is offering an inaugural rate starting at ` 2499. To record an average of 55-60 per cent occupancy in the first operational

year, the property is actively working with OTAs and preferred travel trade partners along with its own sales team.

General Manager Formule1 Ahmedabad

market. On the other hand, hotel operators have realised the need of budget hotels in a Tier II city like Ahmedabad and therefore there are many projects coming up in next one to two years. We will record a good demand in next six to eight months wherein there will be one or two more budget hotels opening in the city. Moving ahead, in next one year, there will be more than five budget properties opening for business, thus diluting the demand in the market with required supply.

Comparing Ahmedabad with the city of Pune, Parmar said, “The city of Ahmedabad is coming up as an attractive business capital and thus loads of corporate travellers’ movements are happening. With this, the demand is growing a lot in the branded budget hotel category and thus, we fit in this segment perfectly with the right product for the right

We will adjust our room prices as per the market conditions and are confident to sustain in profitable manner as there is room for every hotel to grow.”

demand might go down due to increase in supply of hotel rooms next year.

According to Ketan Parmar, General Manager, Formule1 Ahmedabad, the city has recorded a growth of 10 per cent in room occupancy levels this year as compared to 2011. However, the

Accor sells 60% stake of Formule1 Accor has recently sold a 60 per cent stake in 15 whollyowned Formule1 hotel projects in India to a private equity firm – SAMHI for an undisclosed amount. The economy brand Formule1, which has two operational hotels in India, will see the changed approach of the group as it now follows the ‘assetlight’ strategy. Following the deal, Accor will maintain a 40 per cent stake in hotels and will continue to operate them under long-term operating agreements in India. Currently, Accor has 15 owned and leased developments under the Formule1 brand of hotels in India. Of these, the first two hotels have opened in Greater Noida and Ahmedabad with a further hotel opening scheduled in Pune’s Hinjewadi by this year end.

Ketan Parmar


COVER STORY

New vision for tourism  Contd. from page 1

received, over close to 80 per cent growth in tourist arrivals and witnessed above 130 per cent growth in tourists in Ladakh, which marks a historical movement for the state.” In his address, he also highlighted the role, central financial assistance played in the development of tourism projects in J&K. “I remember during my days in the department of tourism in J&K, many people used to appreciate the fact that our state could pursue projects pertaining to tourism and allied activities.

The chief factor that facilitated revival of tourism in the state had been the continuous flow of central financial assistance. As a matter of fact, the Ministry of Tourism sanctioned over 100 tourism-related projects and approximately ` 365 crore to the state of J&K during the 11th plan period,” said Dewan. Dewan is an IAS officer from the Jammu & Kashmir cadre of 1977. He took over the new post on October 4, 2012. He had earlier served the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs from December 24,

2011 to September 21, 2012. Earlier, he had also served as the Chairman and Managing Director of ITDC from April 5, 2006 to December 1, 2009. Dewan’s predecessor, RH Khwaja had assumed charge as Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in August 2010 from his predecessor Sujit Banerjee and is an IAS from the AP cadre of 1976. He had earlier served as the Special Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India and will now serve the Ministry of Mines.

£56 mn deals for industry  Contd. from page 1

we increased our marketing and PR campaigns directed to the Travel Trade professionals who buy products from these areas. This is done to ensure the growth of product and the companies exhibiting also matches the numbers of visitors wanting to buy these products. We have achieved this, by taking the WTM brand into these markets; through our vision conference series, by working more closely with existing media partners as well as increasing the number of associations we work with. We have also highlighted the business figures and emphasised the amount of business done in each region as a result of WTM. World Travel market is pictorially divided into regions. Previously these included UK and Ireland, Europe, Middle East, Americas, Global Village, Technology and Asia-Pacific Ocean, which also used to include India. For the first time, this year, at the event, India will have its own identity and hall entrance. India is also located at the new East Entrance of the venue and over the last two years we have seen an increase in the number of visitors in this area of the exhibition ground.

33% increase in India region WTM 2012 is going to be the largest event in terms of amount of products showcased over the four days of the event. This mirrors the world economy and we are

witnessing a good amount of increase in the powerhouse economies including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, to name a few. WTM does buck the trend here, as the European region has also seen, a yearon-year increase. The number of Main Stand Holders at World Travel Market within the India region has increased by 33 per cent as compared to 2011. We are proud to announce a total of 126 new exhibitors at the overall event this year.

Beating Slowdown with double digit growth WTM continues to generate double-digit business growth for the global travel industry despite the gloomy economic picture of the past few years. 2011’s £1,653m worth of deals was 16 per cent ahead of 2010’s £1,425m, while the 2010 sum represented a 25 per cent hike in 2009.

India alone will generate a massive £56 million of deals for the country’s travel and tourism industry. The region also strongly represented in the revamped WTM Speed Networking event last year. Exhibitors took advantage of the chance, to meet

contacts briefly, before the event opened and arranged a more detailed discussion later. We hope that the event gains even more popularity with the Indian Exhibitors participating again this year.

Speed Networking is the key to success The Monday speed networking event takes place before the show even opens. The Indian Exhibitors will have the opportunity of meeting around 200 buyers who are looking at buying products from all over the world. A list of these buyers had been distributed at the end of October, which means, the exhibitors had the opportunity to see which buyers are most relevant to them. As the name says it is Speed Networking, it gives the buyer and exhibitor a five minute window to introduce and to understand if there is an opportunity to hold a longer meeting, on the exhibitors stand, during the show open hours. WTM is also introducing an extra Speed Networking event following the phenomenal success of the concept which will take place on the Thursday of WTM. This extra event will encourage discussions about further business opportunities to take place beyond WTM. World Travel Market’s purpose is to facilitate business deals between exhibitors and buyers and the expansion of the WTM Speed Networking programme can only lead to WTM generating even more industry deals.

QUICK READ The Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) in association with four private boat cruise operators recently announced to open a single window ticket counters at the jetty in the state from November 1. The revised uniform ticket price will be Rs 200 per head instead of Rs 150 at present, he informed.


HOTELS

Indana Palace in Jodhpur A new hospitality experience in Jodhpur, that blends the past with the present, will open in November at Shikhargarh, 2 km away from the Airport and 7 km from the city centre. T T B U R E AU

T

he Blue City is set to get a new addition to its hospitality landscape – Indana Palace, Jodhpur. Its architecture and interiors are modelled on the palaces of the desert kingdom while its services and facilities include every expected modern comfort. Indana Palace is a perfect blend of modern luxury and old palatial charm which serves the needs of contemporary business and leisure travellers. The hotel offers 80 rooms, 7 suites and a Grand Presidential Suite. Its F&B offerings comprise a multicuisine restaurant with a

Poonam Gundecha Director Indana

ern facilities, tourist travellers are likely to experience Jodhpur in a uniquely wholesome way. With possibly the largest banquet hall in the city, we will work towards

menu of Rajasthani specialties as well as world favorite cuisines, a bar and a 24 hour coffee shop.

making Indana Palace, particularly appealing to the largescale wedding parties and MICE event organisers.”

Poonam Gundecha, Director, Indana says “Jodhpur still has a lot of undiscovered potential and with our property’s grand architecture and superb mod-

With Rajasthan becoming a global favorite for weddings, Indana is primed to be a sought-after venue for the beginning of happily-everafter stories. At the bride and

groom’s disposal is a sprawling 10000 sq. ft. banquet hall and attached 40000 sq. ft. landscaped lawn, along with wedding concierge services. Indana is also an ideal venue for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) with an array of facilities including business centre, a boardroom and a conference hall. Indana Hotels and Resorts is an endeavour of visionary leaders, Paras Gundecha who heads the Gundecha Group as Chairman, Deepak Gundecha as Managing Director and Poonam Gundecha as Director. Gundecha, the Group’s head, has extensive experience in the hospitality industry and was previously running Hotel Sea Princess, Mumbai. This is slated to be the first property of many Indana hotels, with more coming up in Jaipur, Udaipur, Nagpur and Mumbai.

“Since Mumbai is growing and is expected to grow by three fold, Indana will soon be coming up with a 5 star property in Mumbai which will be located in Andheri International airport road and will have about 250 rooms,” adds Poonam.

Special fares for Mumbai  Launched specially for its Mumbai customers, British Airways introduces an exciting offer on return flights booked in World Traveller Economy Class from Mumbai-London-Mumbai for ` 40, 943. Christopher Fordyce, Regional Commercial Manager, British Airways, South Asia, said, “We are delighted to launch this attractive offer for our Mumbai customers. India is a key market

Christopher Fordyce Regional Commercial Manager British Airways, South Asia

for British Airways and we continue to offer best-in-class services and travel experiences for

our customers from here. This is a great time to visit London and it gives us yet another opportunity to serve our customers from Mumbai.” British Airways has invested more than £110 million in its new World Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabins. The offer is available for the sale period starting from October 16 to October 19, 2012 and outbound travel between October 29 November 16, 2012.

Radisson Blu celebrates BLU DAY!!!

Radisson Blu Hotels across the world celebrated The Radisson Blu Day on 28th September 2012. Turning the World Blu Campaign has been a Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Initiative which has made the Radisson Blu Brand reach its prospective guests across the Globe.


74 TRAVTALK

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

FAMILY ALBUM

ADTOI Convention celebrates Kashmir The sixth ADTOI Convention organised by ADTOI and supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, which happened to be the first ADTOI convention being held out of Delhi, was successfully held at SKICC, Srinagar between Oct 12-13, 2012. It was very much relevant in the convention that the tourism industry is thriving on three magical words-Domestic, Domestic & Domestic.

Contd. on page 76 


76 TRAVTALK

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

 Contd. from page 74

FAMILY ALBUM

For Domestic, by Domestic, of Domestic


78 TRAVTALK

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

FAMILY ALBUM

4 edition of ITTE in Mumbai th

TAAI's annual travel expo - India Travel and Trade Expo 2012 recently concluded in Mumbai. The two day event was inaugurated by Chaggan Bhujbal, Tourism Minister, Maharashtra and attended by the who's who of the industry. The TAAI Travel Awards were also held on the first day in the evening where the awards were given to the 'best' of industry players by Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister of Tourism, Govt of India.

The best of industry players awarded

Contd. on page 80 


80 TRAVTALK

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

FAMILY ALBUM

Awards galore at the ITTE evening  Contd. from page 78


82 TRAVTALK

STATISTICS

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

USA top source market As per the India Tourism Statistics 2011 at a glance, 2009 had 18.8% of growth in the number of Domestic Tourist Visits while 2003 saw the highest growth of 30.1% in the number of Foreign Tourist Visits. T T B U R E AU

T

he number of Domestic Tourist Visits to all states/UTs in India during the period of 1997 to 2011 has seen a tremendous increase year-on-year. The major leap was witnessed in the year of 2009 with a growth of 18.8% compared to the previous year 2008, wherein it was a mere 6.9% growth from 2007. It is quite surprising to see that a double digit growth in domestic tourist visits took place in 11 years out of the 15 years period. In the year 2011, the growth in number of domestic tourist visits were at a percentage of 13.8% compared to 2010’s 11.8%. The number of Foreign Tourist Visits to all states/UTs in India during the period of 1997 to 2011 saw quiet a dwindling number when compared by year to year. The year of 2003 saw a percentage growth of 30.1% (the highest growth in the

Percentage share of Top 10 States/UTs in Domestic Tourist Visits in 2011

1

The growth in the number of Foreign Tourist Visits to India in 2011 was 8.8% In both the cases, the numbers have risen the highest in the year of 2011 with 850.86 million Domestic Tourist Visits and 19.49 million Foreign Tourist Visits

14.7%

2.5%

2.6%

Uttar Pradesh

18.3%

Uttarakhand

3.0%

3.2%

Andhra Pradesh

18.0%

Madhya Pradesh

5.2%

Karnataka

Maharashtra

9.9%

6.5%

2

Tamil Nadu

16.2%

Source: State/UT Tourism Departments

2

Share of Top 10 States/UTs of India in Number of Foreign Tourist Visits in 2012 Himachal Pradesh

Others

2.5%

Karnataka

9.9%

2.9%

Maharasthra

24.7%

Kerala

3.8%

Bihar

5.0% Tamil Nadu

17.3%

West Bengal

6.2%

Rajasthan

Uttar Pradesh

6.9%

9.7%

Delhi

11.1% Source: State/UT Tourism Departments

given period) over -5.1 in 2002. While 2004 and 2010 witnessed the same percentage in growth (24.6%) over their respective previous year, three different year saw the numbers and percentage falling in negatives; 2001 (7.8), 2002 (-5.1) and 2009 (0.1). In the year 2011, the growth in number of foreign tourist visits were at a percentage of 8.8% compared to 2010’s 24.6% while in 2009 the growth went negative with a percentage of -0.1%. In both the cases, the numbers have risen the highest in the year of 2011 with 850.86 million Domestic Tourist Visits and 19.49 million Foreign Tourist Visits. Looking at the strong growth in the domestic numbers, it is evident that domestic segment holds enormous growth.

3

Domestic Tourist Visits in 2011 (P) State/UT Number Percentage Share (%) Uttar Pradesh 155430364 18.3 Andhra Pradesh 153119816 18.0 Tamil Nadu 137512991 16.2 Karnataka 84107390 9.9 Maharasthra 55333467 6.5 Madhya Pradesh 44119820 5.2 Rajasthan 27137323 3.2 Uttarakhand 25946254 3.0 West Bengal 22256968 2.6 Gujarat 21017478 2.5 Total of Top 10 725981871 85.3 States Others 124874769 14.7 Total 850856640 100.00 P: Provisional Source: State/UT Tourism Departments Note: (i) Figures for Chhattisgarh and Delhi have been estimated on the basis of All India Growth Rate. (ii) For some States data adjusted using the information availiable with Ministry of Tourism

Rajasthan

Growing Numbers The number of Domestic Tourist Visits in India in 2011, saw an increase of 13.8%

Others

Gujarat

West Bengal

1

Share of Top 10 States/UTs of India in Number of Domestic Tourist Visits in 2011

Percentage share of Top 10 Countries for FTAs in India in 2011 Others

39.02%

USA

15.97% Australia

UK

2.96%

12.57% Bangladesh

Japan

6.34%

3.01% Malaysia

3.46%

France

3.76%

Germany

4.02%

Canada

4.05%

Sri Lanka

4.85%

Source: Bureau of Immigration, Government of India

Share of Top 10 States/UTs of India in Number of Foreign Tourist Visits in 2011

Foreign Tourist Visits in 2011 (P) State/UT Number Percentage Share (%) Maharashtra 4815421 24.7 Tamil Nadu 3373870 17.3 Delhi 2159925 11.1 Uttar Pradesh 1887095 9.7 Rajasthan 1351974 6.9 West Bengal 1213270 6.2 Bihar 972487 5.0 Kerala 732985 3.8 Karnataka 574005 2.9 Himachal Pradesh 484518 2.5 Total of Top 17565550 90.1 10 States Others 1929329 9.9 Total 19494879 100.00 P: Provisional Source: State/UT Tourism Departments Note: (i) Figures for Chhattisgarh has been estimated on the basis of All India Growth Rate. (ii) For some States data adjusted using the information availiable with Ministry of Tourism

3

Top 10 Source Countries for Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India in 2011

Source Country USA UK Bangladesh Sri Lanka Canada Germany France Malaysia Japan Australia Total of top 10 countries Others All Countries

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) FTAs in Percentage (million) (P) (%) Share 1.004 15.97 0.791 12.57 0.399 6.34 0.305 4.85 0.255 4.05 0.253 4.02 0.237 3.76 0.218 3.46 0.189 3.01 0.186 2.96 3.837 60.98 2.453 6.290

39.02 100.00

P: Provisional Source: Bureau of Immigration, Government of India


84 TRAVTALK

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

FAMILY ALBUM

Global convergence@FHRAI Convention For the first time in the history of FHRAI, its Annual Convention achieved a strong foothold internationally by reaching out to the key global hospitality associations. The presence of international representative heads from IH&RA, AH&LA, HFTP, AAHOA, UNWTO and WTTCII ensured that the 47th Annual FHRAI Convention in Goa during September 6-8, 2012 brought synergy of thoughts amongst each other, which they promised to address in letter as well as spirit.


86 TRAVTALK

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

FAMILY ALBUM

925 attendees in PTM 2012 The PATA Travel Mart 2012 was organised in Manila, Philippines. Some 925 attendees joined the threeday annual B2B travel industry event, organised by PATA and hosted by The Department of Tourism and Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines at the mart venue, the SMX Convention Centre.

PATA India & MOT in Australia & NZ

PATA India organised its first road show in Australia and New Zealand with 19 sellers from India. The cross section of sellers included top-end DMCs, wellness, adventure and cruise suppliers, Madhya Pradesh Tourism, Air India and leading hotel chains.

Auckland

Melbourne

Sydney


88 TRAVTALK

CRUISES

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

Costa calls Indians NOVEMBER 2-4

Vishakapatnam Holiday Expo

3-6

Argentina

FIT America

5-8

London

World Travel Market (WTM)

12-15

Portugal

International Golf Travel Market (IGTM)

12-15

Morocco

PURE Life Experiences

15-18

Shanghai

China International Travel Mart

23-25

Jaipur

India Travel Mart

23-25

Pune

India International Travel Mart

27-29

Spain

The Global Meeting and Events Exhibition (EIBTM)

28

New Delhi

PHD Chamber 2nd India Heritage Tourism Conclave 2012

30 -2 Dec Hyderabad

India International Travel Mart

DECEMBER 3-6

Cannes

International Luxury Travel Mart

5-7

Panama

MITM Americas: Meetings and Incentive Travel Market

6-9

Turkey

Travel Turkey Izmir Tourism Fair & Conference

7-9

Lucknow

India Travel Mart

7-9

Guwahati

Holiday Expo

8-16

Paris

Salon Piscine & Spa

10-12

Guangzhou

Guangzhou International Hotel Equipments & Supplies Exhibition

12

Gurgaon

World Travel Awards Grand Final 2012

12-13

Brussels

Brussels Travel Expo

13-15

Dubai

Dubai International Outdoor Show

15-17

Hong Kong

Diving & Resort Travel Expo

JANUARY 2013 4-6

Chennai

Travel & Tourism Fair

8-13

Gujarat

International Travel Tourism & Hospitality Expo

8-13

The Netherlands Holiday Fair

11-13

Bengaluru

12-20

Italy

Tour.it Expo

18-20

Switzerland

Vacances

18-20

Kochi

India International Travel Mart Cochin

20-22

Guwahati

ATOAI’s Annual Convention

24-27

Singapore

Zak Salaam India Tourism Expo - Singapore

24-26

Poland

ITM Warsaw

25-27

Switzerland

Travel Expo

25-27

Coimbatore

Holiday Expo

25-27

Ireland

The Holiday World Show – RDS Dublin

25-27

Nagpur

India International Travel Exhibition

25-27

Germany

Leisure Travel Market

30-3Feb Spain

Travel & Tourism Fair

Fitur

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

Costa Cruises launched short sail cruise around Middle East in the Indian market. highlights the USPs of the new product… T T B U R E AU

T

o cater to the growing interest among Indians to visit the Middle East and increase Indian arrivals, Costa Cruises will sail through Middle East on its cruise ships Costa Atlantica and Costa Classica. For this purpose, it has joined hands with Emirates and Dubai Tourism Board to offer Indian travellers various attractive packages. Especially for Indian guests, the cruising company has developed a tailor-made cruise with a short-term itinerary ideal for Indian travel customs. These cruises will begin departure from December and will travel from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to destinations like Muscat, Khorfakkan (Fujairah) and Khasab (Oman).

of world-class cruising like never before. Onboard, we will make them feel at home and we will ensure they discover the best of Oman and the Emirates at the destinations we are cruising to.”

Dario Rustico, Sales and Marketing Central Europe, Africa, Middle East and India Director, Costa Cruises, says

The packages for Costa Classica start at ` 54,864 for 6 days/5 nights and ` 59,226 for 8 days/7 nights, while, on Costa Atlantica, its starts at ` 67,596 for 8 days/7 nights. Prices are for fixed departures on twin sharing basis and include air tickets, meet and assist, transfers, pre and post stay in Dubai, UAE visa and the cruise. These cruise packages can be sold by any IATA authorised agent across India through Emirates Holidays. With selected enhancements catering specifically to the Indian tastes, the cruises will also have restaurants that offer selected dishes from Indian cuisine.

“We are sure that together, we will offer our Indian guests an experience

“Emirates, in conjunction with Emirates Holidays, is providing these innova-

Dario Rustico

Essa Sulaiman Ahmad

Sales and Marketing Central Europe, Africa, Middle East and India Director, Costa Cruises

Vice President India & Nepal, Emirates

We will offer our Indian guests an experience of world-class cruising tive packages for Indian travellers seeking to discover another aspect of Dubai. We hope with this, passengers will also experience the

Emirates is providing packages for Indian travellers seeking to discover another aspect of Dubai world-class service and quality that Emirates is known for,” says Essa Sulaiman Ahmad, Vice President India & Nepal, Emirates.

‘Reduce existing taxes’ Contd. from page 19

Addressing the pressing issue of FDI, he adds, “ Yes, FDI will help, but only partly and in short term. Due to accumulated losses of 4-5 years, our airlines have slipped into deep financial crisis. It will certainly bring them immediate relief if they can get an investor to infuse some funds with a view to repaying their loans and enabling them to continue their operations in an uninterrupted manner. However, in the longer run, the airlines have to learn to manage their operations in a more professional and cost effective manner, and devise ways and

means to ensure that the fares are at reasonable levels relative to the cost of operation. As cartelisation is not permissible, each airline will have to devise its own strategy to overcome this difficult situation.” Air connectivity will continue to be essential for economic progress of the country. Eapen suggests that the Government should look into the problems faced by the sector sympathetically and do whatever it can to save it from becoming sick. “The Government should avoid any new taxation in the air travel sector. Effort should be

made to reduce even the existing taxes.” The association is extremely unhappy about the reduction in commissions for the agents. The pending cases on commission – the zero commission by 16 foreign airlines issue and the reduction of commission from 3 to 1 per cent by Air India and Jet Airways, which were pending before the Kerala High Court, stands the hearing completed last week of October and now reserved for an order. With regard to weekly payment issue, the review petition filed by four IAAI members from

Chennai was dismissed due to a few restrictions in time limit. “Our advice to the Travel Agent is to know their strength to fight for their rights. They are still in the dark and not aware of many rules and regulations, which favour them. There are many countries in the world where the payment pattern period is still fortnightly and others where the payment period to IATA is one month. Unbelievable isn’t it. We have succumbed too easily,” says Kuku S. Kumar, DirectorNorthern Region, IAAI.

All eyes on FDI in aviation  Contd. from page 5

Aerospace and Development), India, says, “I do feel it's a good time to invest as the airline market is depressed and the values are down. In the long term there is bound to be growth with the growth in the economy. As far as regulatory issues are concerned which are pulling the industry down, will have to be sorted out sooner than later.” Kaul feels that the growth of the aviation industry in the next five years cannot

be stopped as long as there is growth in the economy.

“The question is about the rate of growth in aviation but this will be driven by price of tickets.

gence of regional connectivity has started and more airlines are joining in with smaller aircrafts. This trend will bring a major thrust to aviation and economy, as the catchment area of passengers, which was largely metro towns, will become much wider.”

Already low cost airlines have over 70 per cent of the market. A shifting of passengers from railways to airline for long distance travel will continue to take place but ticket prices will be a greater determinant. Also, the emer-

While the growth of the transport sector is linked with the overall growth of the economy, or vice-versa. Pandey feels that the civil aviation in India will grow consistently with the economy in the next five years, “however FDI and

other economic reforms undertaken by government will enhance investor confidence and increase capital flow to the sector which sets to grow enormously in the next few years. Further the emergence of India, as a popular tourist destination will strengthen the aviation sector in the country. However, the accelerated growth will largely depend on encouraging private sector in building the aviation infrastructure and tapping the immense potential of Tier I and Tier II markets.”


HOTELS

Preferred eyes 35 members in India With 650 member hotels in more than 85 countries, the Preferred Hotel Group is bullish on the business growth in the APAC region. T T B U R E AU

in revenues and room nights in the APAC region, despite fresh supply of hotel rooms in the market. It has recorded a 25 per cent growth in revenue and a 19-per cent growth in room nights this year compared to the corresponding period last year.” The growth of the group in the APAC region has been satisfying in the last few years. “We invested in the market as we grew. We have six offices in APAC today – Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Delhi, Shanghai and Tokyo,” Ananya Narayan, Executive Vice President – APAC, Middle East and Africa, Preferred Hotel Group, points out.

P

referred Hotel Group is targetting to increase its clientele to 35 hotel members in India by the end of April 2014 as part of its expansion strategy. The group has 29 member hotels in India.

(L-R) Narayan, Ueberroth and Bhatnagar

Feels Saurabh Rai Bhatnagar, Regional Director - South Asia, Preferred Hotel Group, “The group in a decade of its entry in the Indian market has been able to establish member hotels in all the targeted leisure destinations in India in the last four years. Despite being in challenging times, the company has been

able to drive business for its member hotels in recent years.” Apart from driving international business to the member hotels in India, the South Asia office in India has also been able to help Preferred Hotel’s members in other markets with business from India, he adds. Going forward, the group will continue

to invest in people, infrastructure, and technology support system in the market in the future. Talking about the APAC market being the growth driver, Lindsey Ueberroth, President, Preferred Hotel Group reveals, “The company has achieved healthy growth

‘Our location is our USP’ Corporate clients including individual corporate travellers and MICE groups comprise 65% of the business at the IHG property which is two years old. T T B U R E AU

B

arun Jolly, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi Okhla says, “The property came up at an emerging market that was in close proximity to a number of strategic locations within the Delhi-NCR such as Nehru Place, Okhla, Noida, etc. This strategic location is our biggest USP. We also opened in time for the CWG that year.” Thus, the hotel was amongst the closest hotels to the Games

sites and did customised packages for that period. Also, it organised cultural tours of the city pre-and-post event and hosted food promotions around the Games theme during that period as well, he adds. Interestingly, the property has witnessed a growth of 8-10 per cent year-on-year till date. “This is real good news for the hotel as the industry currently is seeing a flat growth,” reveals Jolly. The GM feels that corporate

travel is increasing and this will help sustain business at the property. “As of now, corporate clients that include individual corporate travellers and MICE groups comprise 65 per cent of our business,” he informs. Thus, the group is also betting big on MICE. Be it a small meeting or a conference for up to 400 people, the property has amenities for all groups. There is also a separate valet parking and a meetings entrance with pre-function area at the hotel. There are five meeting rooms with a

Barun Jolly General Manager Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi Okhla

total area of 538.8 sq metre meeting space.

UNA Hotels taps Tier-I & II cities UNA Hotels is betting big on tier-I and tier-II cities in India. The core team of the group covers operations, procurement, finance, HR, sales, marketing, etc. T T B U R E AU

P

ankaj Giroti, Managing Director, UNA Hotels reveals,

“The company wants to be the number one network of hotels in India. UNA Hotels is opening, taking over and operating hotels across the country under its brands – UNA Xpress (Limited Service); UNA Smart (Mid-market) and UNA Comfort (Extended Stay).” The company which is just one and a half year old,

Pankaj Giroti Managing Director UNA Hotels

already has seven hotels in different locations in its portfolio. While five of these properties are operational, two are under construction. Among the five operational properties are UNA Comfort

Nainital Resort (16 keys), UNA Comfort Nandini, Dharamshala (17 keys), UNA Smart Matsya Aravali, Alwar (21 keys), Aravali Hotel, Alwar (42 keys) and La Perle River Resort and Jim Corbett (15 keys). The two upcoming hotels are in Amritsar and Kasauli. “These would be opened almost simultaneously in December 2012 and January 2013,” Giroti adds, while discussing the expansion plans of the hotel chain. Going forward, the hotel company feels the success of the hospitality industry lies in tapping the potential the smaller cities are offering in the country. The

weekend getaways from the main cities are revenue generators. Giroti points out, “UNA Hotels sells Nainital and Jim Corbett as combo-destination and this package has been extremely well received.” Looking at banqueting in a big way, the upcoming hotels at Amritsar and Kasauli would have some conferencing and banqueting facilities to cater to smaller groups. “While the long-term lease property at Amritsar will have banqueting facility for 800 persons, the Kasauli project will also serve smaller MICE groups of almost 50 persons,” Giroti adds.


OPPPORTUNITY / CLIPBOARD

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

TRAVTALK

91


92 TRAVTALK

NOVEMBER 1 ST FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2012

MOVEMENTS

Kuoni India Mumbai

Le Meridien Kochi Kochi

Courtyard by Marriott Chennai

Vishal Suri is the newly appointed the Deputy Chief Operating

Saji Joseph is appointed as the General Manager of Le Meridien

Officer for Tour Operating in Kuoni India. In this new role, he will focus on further strengthening the position that Tour Operating holds across all travel segments and to establish a strong position in the online travel space. Suri has over 22 years of experience across consumer centric industries like Office Automation, Internet, Telecom and Travel in start-up as well as mature and established firms.

Kochi. He joins the hotel with over 16 years of experience in the hotel industry. He has worked with renowned hotel chains like Leela, Radisson, Alila and Taj Hotels and Resorts. In this new role, Joseph will be responsible for directing the strategy of this hotel property in Kochi. Prior to this, he served as the General Manager of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts.

Ankush Sharma is appointed as the new General Manager for Courtyard by Marriott, Chennai. Sharma is an industry veteran and comes with over 15 years of experience in the hospitality sector. Prior to this, he was the Director (Operations) for the Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre and Courtyard by Marriott. After graduating from IHM Aurangabad, he started his career with the Taj Group of hotels. He has had successful stints in various Taj hotels in the different locations of Delhi, Mumbai, Goa and Bengaluru.

Inreach Hotels Delhi

Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon Delhi-NCR

Radisson Blu Hotel Jaipur Airport Jaipur

Harminder Singh Saluja is the new Corporate Director of Sales & Marketing for Inreach Hotels. In his present profile, Saluja will be heading the Portfolio Group of Hotels namely, Holiday Inn Jaipur, Vikram Hotel Delhi, Vikram Vintage Nainital. He brings with him a rich experience of 23 years in the Hospitality & Tourism Industry, specialising in Pre-openings, Business Development and Sales & Marketing. Prior to this he was spearheading the Sales & Marketing for JHM Interstate Hotels, Ramada Goa and Radisson Udaipur.

Nupur Chandra joins Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon as the Senior Manager - Marketing and Public Relations. She has been in the Public Relations domain and communication sector for over 6 years now. Chandra has a wide experience in planning and in execution of strategic campaigns for brands across hospitality, aviation, corporate, technology, telecom, auto and retail & fashion sectors. Prior to her present assignment, she was working with Weber Shandwick India and had handled many successful PR campaigns.

Atal Saran Bhargava has been appointed as Director of Sales & Marketing by Radisson Blu Hotel Jaipur Airport. An alumnus of IHM Mumbai 1994 batch, Bhargava has an experience of over 17 years, 14 years in the hospitality industry and 4 years in Telecom postpaid business. His experience ranges from corporates, FIT, MICE and travel trade to online business. His new role will include planning and strategising the marketing plans for the hotel, directing all sales and marketing efforts towards achieving the operational goals of the hotel.

The Claridges New Delhi

The Westin Mumbai Garden City Mumbai

Park Plaza Bengaluru Bengaluru

Tarun Seth has joined The Claridges, New Delhi as Director –

Kallol Saha has been appointed as the Training Manager in The Westin Mumbai Garden City. He comes with an extensive experience of over 6 years in the industry. Prior to this, Saha was a Training Manager in The Westin Sohna and Gurgaon and Assistant Manager Training & Human Resources at The Leela Kempinski Gurgaon. He completed his Bachelor of Hotel Management from PES Institute of Hotel Management.

Ravi Rai joins Park Plaza Bengaluru as the new Executive

F&B. He comes with over 12 years of experience in hotels and retail. In his current position, Seth will be responsible for smooth operations of the food and beverage department and focus on enhancing service standards and introducing global practices. Previously, he has been associated with companies like Taj, Hyatt, Hilton etc. His last assignment was was Lite & Bite Food as Vice President – Planning and Operations.

Assistant Manager. In his current role, Rai is actively involved in budget formulation and strategic management to maximise revenue and cement prolific business associations. He comes with a decade long career in the hospitality sector. He is a Commerce Graduate from Pune University with a degree in Hotel Management. He started out as managing the beverage services at the Holiday Inn, Pune for prominent events including the President’s Sit Down Party.

Sudhir Sahi, International Consultant for Tourism, started his career in the field of agriculture where he was involved in ensuring best practices during the Green Revolution. A complete travel enthusiast, Sahi has given his standing commitment to adventure and outdoor activities. He has gone for 10 major expeditions in the country, right from the Karakoram Range and the Indus to the Brahmaputra region. His other interests include photography and writing.

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 & Devika Jeet

Sudhir Sahi

Raja Natesan, Chief Operating Officer, TUI India, enjoys playing tennis and travelling for leisure and taking photographs. He is an outdoor person and enjoys adventure sports especially white water rafting and scuba diving. “I also enjoy reading a good book,” he adds. Natesan has been working in the tourism industry for the last 22 years. Speaking on his favourite holiday destinations, he says, “Internationally, it would be Vancouver but having said that I don’t think I have seen enough yet. In India, it’s either Goa or one of the wildlife parks; best I have seen so far is Dudhwa National Par”. Raja Natesan Chief Operating Officer TUI India

International Consultant for Tourism

Stephen King, General Manager, Virgin Atlantic India, has been in India for a year now. “I am thoroughly enjoying being in India, especially the summer. I have been travelling around, visiting Kerala, Kashmir, Goa, Tamil Nadu and a few times to Rajasthan. I love everything I see.” Along with travelling King’s interests include running, relishing Indian food and exploring Delhi. “I go running outside in Delhi and am part of a running club. You meet great people and explore the city at the same time. I love walking around the alley ways especially in Old Delhi and I love the Indian food.”

Stephen King General Manager Virgin Atlantic India


Postal Reg. No.: DL(ND)-11/6044/2012-13-14; WPP No.: U(C)-178/2012-14 for posting on 1st-2nd and 15th-16th of the same month at New Delhi P.S.O., RNI No.: 53492/91 Date of Publication: 30-10-2012

HIGHLIGHT

‘IndiGo offers no gimmicks’ In an extremely competitive times, where opening up of FDI has come as a relief for many, our market leader, IndiGo, has other plans. Discussing their progress exclusively with , Aditya Ghosh, President, IndiGo, highlights the importance of getting the basic right– on time; low fares; courteous and hassle-free travel. promotional fares every once in a while. The prices are always low and that’s the reason we are the fastest growing airline in India, with the highest load factors around. Hence, we get good response on all our routes- always,” adds Ghosh. Aditya Ghosh, President, IndiGo

D E V I KA J E E T

I

n turbulent times for the aviation industry, IndiGo has shown a steady growth and has become a leading Indian carrier. Their growth pattern is like no other and sharing their secret, Aditya Ghosh, President, IndiGo, says, “It all started by building the business idea on a structural differentiator. In 2005, we placed our first order from Airbus of 100 planes. For us, this order gave us the structural advantage we wanted to build. Having said that, the real reason for our position of leadership in India has been the team’s commitment to getting the basics right –on time performance, providing consistently low fares, and a courteous and hassle-free travel experience.” Keeping their three core business propositions in mind, the airline works towards making all their routes profitable. “There are no gimmicks, such as offering

Discussing their load factor, he adds, “Our average load factors are in the mid-80s despite consistently adding capacity every year. Load factors are nothing but a reflection of satisfied and delighted customers who come back and fly us and indeed, encourage others to try IndiGo. We are constantly trying to be that reliable and consistent airline that customers have come to love. We may not get it right 100 per cent of the time, but every day, all of us are putting in our best effort to get there. Our focus on creating the world beating benchmark(s) in the aviation fraternity, from flying experience on-board to maintaining the reliable product, single aircraft fleet including the order of eco friendly A320neo aircraft, and employee development through robust training programmes, are some of the factors that have given IndiGo an edge over the others.” The airline has already signed another deal, a record setting of $15.6 billion to purchase 180 more passenger jets from Airbus.

Cumulatively, they have placed orders for 280 planes. “The airline will continue to tap the huge passenger traffic the Indian market has to offer in the years to come. To meet the growing travel demand, IndiGo’s fleet expansion remains intact. By 2015, we would complete the delivery order of the 100 aircraft order placed in 2005. Thereafter, more airplanes are expected to be delivered between 2016 and 2025. Ordering more A320s was the natural choice to meet India’s growing flying needs. As the air travel becomes more prevalent, IndiGo will continue to expand its network to meet the requirements of both business and leisure travellers wherever they demand it,” highlights Ghosh. Discussing the burning issue of FDI in Indian aviation, he adds,

“We are not looking for investors, neither foreign nor domestic. But I don't know whether foreign investments will itself be the solution to all the problems the Indian aviation is into. Foreign investment can bring in money, but how that money will be utilised is a different issue.”

Discussing the future of the Indian aviation sector and comparing this race to a marathon and not a sprint, Ghosh says, “The Indian economy is resilient and it has a huge domestic growth story. In the airline business, we have many years of growth ahead of us. India is a highly under penetrated aviation market in the world. For a country of more than a billion people, we have less than 500 commercial planes. Less than one per cent of rail passengers travel by air in India every year. There will be a few ups and downs. We have approximately one commercial aircraft per every three million Indians. The alternative modes of transport are either extremely time consuming or they are saturated. I definitely think India’s infrastructure would be able to catch up and accommodate the large fleet. Now just like with any other industry, more so with aviation, success comes with difficulty, but that is not unfamiliar with many other industries.”

Ghosh speaks In the airline business, we have many years of growth ahead of us India is a highly under penetrated aviation market in the world For a country of more than a billion people, we have less than 500 commercial planes India’s infrastructure would be able to catch up and accommodate the large fleet

TravTalk  

TravTalk Magazine

TravTalk  

TravTalk Magazine

Advertisement