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A DDP PUBLICATION

Pages: 52 (Excluding cover)

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Vol. XXV No. 20; October 2 nd fortnight issue 2013

` 50/-


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FINAL_TT_OCTOBER 2ND:TT Layout 17-Oct-13 2:32 PM Page 1

TRAVTALK

1

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OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

The call of the Himalayas The Ministry of Tourism will bear 50% of the peak fee, charged by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation during ‘777 days of Incredible Indian Himalayas’. VIVEK SETHI

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n a major step towards establishing India as round-the-year destination, the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) officially launched the ‘777 Days of Incredible Indian Himalayas’ on the World Tourism Day. “The Indian Himalayas itself is a complete destination which can be explored roundthe-year for a variety of experiences. This campaign has been designed to spread awareness around the globe

that 73 per cent of Himalayan range lies in India. The travellers can look towards Indian Himalayas for adventure and skiing in winters; exploring bio-diversity hotspots during the spring; mountaineering expeditions during the summer; and undertaking variety of leisure and cultural activities during autumn,” said K Chiranjeevi, Tourism Minister. “The tagline of the ‘777 days of Incredible Indian Himalayas’ is the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’. Hence, the activities we had planned

over the two year period will be spread over six states that fall in this region and can avail direct benefits of the campaign,” he added.

Echoing similar sentiments, Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of

Days of the Incredible Indian Himalayas’ campaign, we will open new air strips in various states and also make it possi-

150 int’l buyers for ITM in Tawang See full story on page 5 

TAAI Convention from Dec. 13-16

India, said, “It is our endeavour to develop new destinations based on carrying capacity of the respective regions. To ensure that travellers make use of the ‘777

This campaign has been designed to spread awareness around the globe that 73% of the Himalayan range lies in India.

News Bulletin

See full story on page 4 

15 lighthouses for tourists See full story on page 15 

K Chiranjeevi Minister for Tourism

Carrying forward a legacy in aviation

ble to offer communication through satellite phones.”

See full story on page 19 

“To begin the campaign, our Ministry of Tourism has

Gunning for sports & wellness

Contd. on page 31 

See full story on page 50 

Conventions call for serious business Fun & Party

4%

40%

23%

Information & Knowledge

Meeting New People

33%

Networking

recently conducted a poll asking the industry “Why do you attend trade conventions?” The results highlighted that a majority of the attendees gain from the information and knowledge dispersed at the convention. While networking and meeting new people were not far behind but embracing new industry trends and being updated with the latest happenings remain the key intention. Surprisingly, our industry does not like to party much at a conference and this remained the least popular choice.


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BULLETIN

OTOAI’s 1st Convention in Manila The Convention themed ‘The Changing Face of Indian Outbound’ will create new opportunities for promoting outbound tourism within the industry. The Association expects an attendance of around 300 participants at the event. TT B U R E AU

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he Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) will organise its first annual Convention at Solaire, Resort & Casino in Manila, The Philippines from December 1 to 4, 2013. To boost the outbound tourism segment in India, the Convention is themed ‘The Changing Face of Indian Outbound’. Riaz Munshi, Vice President,

OTOAI has been appointed as the Convention Chairman. Vineet Gopal, Joint Secretary, OTOAI has been appointed as the Co-Chairman of the Convention. According to Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI, agents are looking for new destinations which are viable and can offer choices for leisure, MICE and adventure travel. Thus, The Philippines was its first choice. The Association is

About OTOAI Convention Dates: December 1-4, 2013 Venue: Solaire, Resort & Casino in Manila

Theme: The Changing Face of Indian Outbound

Riaz Munshi

Vineet Gopal

Convention Chairman OTOAI

Co-Convention Chairman OTOAI

The Association is looking forward to having a good Convention this year in Manila. Further, the Association will approach the MOT, Government of India, requesting the presence of its representative Singh Sahni at the Convention Guldeep President, OTOAI looking forward to have a good Convention this year in Manila. OTOAI will also organise preand post-Convention tours for delegates. Further, the Association will approach the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, requesting the presence of its representative at the Convention. It is also considering inviting international tourism boards for the event, Sahni added. OTOAI has also opened registrations for its convention. The Association expects an attendance of around 300 participants at the event. It is offering a discounted package for delegates. The

cost of the package will be ` 35,000 (plus taxes) for the members. This will include airfare, accommodation, transfer charges, sightseeing, all meals, attendance etc at all the business sessions and individual name badges.

Participation O The Association expects an attendance of around 300 participants at the event O The cost of the package will be `35,000 (plus taxes) for the members


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NEWS VIEWPOINT

Balancing inbound & domestic

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n a competitive global tourism market, it’s important to make use of all possible strengths a country possess to develop its tourism sector. The Ministry of Tourism has now been proactive to ensure there is a healthy rate of growth in both the international arrivals and domestic tourist visits across the country. One may recollect the MOT’s ambitious international campaign that was announced in the WTM 2012 in London. It’s important to highlight here that the ‘Find What You Seek’ campaign was announced along with the ‘Go Beyond’ campaign focussed on the domestic segment. Fortunately, both the campaigns looked at increasing international and domestic tourist arrivals. These campaigns also worked in the direction of creating new destinations, with due emphasis laid on developing these places surrounding the popular and well-established destinations. The same tempo has continued in various other initiatives of the Ministry of Tourism. The most recent one is to further strengthen this fine balance of growing both domestic and international tourist numbers is the ‘777 Days of the Incredible Indian Himalayas’. Indian Himalayas themselves are a complete destination which can be explored around the year for a variety of experiences. This campaign has been designed to spread awareness around the globe that 73 per cent of the Himalayan range lies in India. The travellers can look towards the Indian Himalayas for adventure and skiing in winters; exploring bio-diversity hotspots during the spring; mountaineering expeditions during the summer; and undertaking many leisure and cultural activities during autumn. The Tourism Minister present at the launch of the campaign acknowledged that Indian Himalayas are the greatest show on this planet earth. He ensured that MOT will make sure that it lures both international and domestic travellers to six states that will directly benefit being in the vicinity of the Himalayas. Other states he said will gain as these tourists would also like to see other attractions, or combine them with their Himalayan centric itineraries.

Vikramajit Chairman SanJeet Editor & Publisher Deepa Sethi Editor-in-Chief

Editorial Ratan Kr Paul Vivek Sethi Megha Paul Devika Jeet Anita Jain Lyandra D’Souza News-Editor Peden Doma Bhutia Desk-Editor Archana Sharma Sr. Sub-Editor Hritvick Sen

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

TAAI Convention from Dec 13-16 The much-awaited Convention will be held in Bengaluru from December 13-16, 2013 along with its AGM, TAAI Travel Awards and exhibition – India Travel Trade Expo (ITTE). ter for it) followed by the opening of annual convention, TAAI Travel Awards and on the December 16, the AGM will be conducted, informed Iqbal Mulla, President, TAAI.

A N I TA J A I N

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AAI Annual Convention will be held on December 13-16, 2013 after the annual convention of OTOAI (Philippines) and ETAA (Dubai). Unlike the other two conventions, TAAI has zeroed-in on a domestic destination with a view to promote inbound and domestic tourism. The four-day convention is scheduled to take place at Vivanta by Taj Hotel in Bengaluru while JW Marriott and ITC Gardenia will be the other partner properties for the event. The

Iqbal Mulla President, TAAI

event will kick-start with the inauguration of TAAI’s annual exhibition – ITTE (50 exhibitors expected to regis-

The annual convention was earlier scheduled from Nov 30-Dec 2, but considering the other two associations’ conventions taking place on the same dates, TAAI graciously postponed their event. Mulla said, “We are currently working on the logistics of the event and are positive to receive a good

response from the industry. Over the years, TAAI, as an association, has focussed on the well-being of the Indian travel fraternity and through such annual conventions, we try to provide a platform for our members to exchange ideas, learn innovations, meet people who matter to their business, award the top performers who support our fraternity and also take away quality game-plan for their business model.” Currently, the Managing Committee is working on the theme which will be inspired by innovation in business model.

November 1991 | Vol 1 | Issue 3 | Page 1 , 23 years ago, had featured a story on Sikkim Tourism. And now, we are featuring the big plans the state has for tourism on this issue’s back page.

Big Plans for Sikkim Sites for Major Chains Identified Rabindra Seth

In the continuing search for an effective alternative to Kashmir, tourism planners and the travel industry are engaged in a major assessment of the potential of the eastern Himalayan foothills particularly Sikkim and the Darjeeling region. Stirrings in this direction were obvious at the just concluded meeting of the Himalayan Tourism Advisory Board (HIMTAR) and in the conversations this writer had with government officials and ministers in the Sikkim capital. The hotel industry has lost no time in recognizing that it could be a destination of the future. At least two groups have been informally told about the sites available to them. Chief Minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari indicated that he could accommodate yet another chain. Bhandari has pressed the union government to build an airport and has offered land free of cost for this purpose. The director general of civil aviation is examining the proposal and the site. Bhandari

Advertising (Mumbai) Suchita Saran Branch Manager Harshal Ashar Deputy Genral Manager Priyanshu Wankhade Asst. Manager Advertising Rishika Karra Sales Coordinator Advertisement Designers Vikas Mandotia / Nitin Kumar Aarushi Agrawal Design: Nityanand Misra Sudhir Mudgal 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

made it clear that the environmental considerations have been kept in view since the proposal was first mooted ten years ago. The focus on Sikkim and nearby Darjeeling has become sharp after the traffic happenings in the Kashmir valley. Experience in the current season has confirmed that the area could take in tourists, both domestic and foreign, who would otherwise have gone to the valley. The unique attractions of Sikkim and Darjeeling can have an added charm for tourists, interested in monasteries, tea gardens, the mighty Everest and Kanchenjunga view, the world’s most spectacular sunrise and a mountain toy train. There is an added reason for tourism development in Sikkim-a base for the discovery of what is beyond the roof of the world, the Tibetan plateu. Bhandari who is very confident of Sikkim’s place in the tourism sun wants the government of India to negotiate

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.

with the Chinese the reopening of the longtime closed but the shortest trade route to Lhasa. He is hopeful that tourism will follow trade and for the sheer experience of travel on the route there will be many takers. In nearby Darjeeling (three hours drive from Gangtok), which was the venue of the International Tea Festival, there are great expectations. In this second part of the season, Darjeeling is house full. See also back page 

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MOT

OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

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150 int’l buyers for ITM in Tawang Urging domestic participants for the second edition of the International Tourism Mart (ITM), the Ministry of Tourism is expecting 14,000 tourist arrivals in Tawang post this event. M E G H A PAU L

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he birthplace of the fifth Dalai Lama and the only Dalai Lama who was born outside Tibet is all set to host the second edition of the International Tourism Mart (ITM). Urging the travel trade fraternity to gather in large numbers at Tawang for India’s mega travel event, Parvez Dewan, Secretary, MOT feels the event will create a platform for tourism stakeholders

Parvez Dewan Secretary Ministry of Tourism

The Ministry of Tourism will organise a post-event fam tour of one more region, apart from Tawang, for its international delegates from Northeast India to promote their products to domestic and international buyers. “This year, we expect to witness participation of 150 international buyers from 25 countries. The international participants will include tourism boards as well as the travel trade members from both ASEAN and SAARC countries. Besides, all the states in Northeast India (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, and

Fast Facts O Tawang is a 55-minute helicopter ride from Guwahati. O The Ministry will also have campsite accommodations and homestays, in addition to a hotel. O It is strategically located for any traveller who wants to explore neighbouring countries as well.

Mizoram), West Bengal Tourism will also be part of the Mart and exhibit their tourism products at the twoday event (from October 1719),” Dewan said, while talking at the Great Domestic Travel Bazaar in Delhi. Hoping the five-day tourism festival will take Tawang a notch higher in the tourism

map of the world, Dewan added, “We are expecting 14,000 tourist arrivals to Tawang in the first year of promotions. As part of showcasing the destination to the overseas participants, MOT will organise a post-event fam tour of one more region apart from Tawang for its international delegates as well.”

Talking about the importance of domestic tourists and highlighting the importance of Tawang, Dewan said, “Tawang is a 55-minute helicopter ride from Guwahati. We are looking for people who love travelling and are seeking the rush of adrenaline. We are planning to have a private

chopper service provider on board, especially for the event. We will also have campsite accommodations and homestays in addition to a hotel with huge inventory. For the Northeast, West Bengal can be the number one market, and we see a huge chunk of domestic tourists from the region.

Tawang is a famous tourist destination in Arunachal Pradesh. It is strategically located for any traveller who wants to explore neighbouring countries as well. Tawang shares boundaries with Tibet in the North, Bhutan in South West and is rimmed by the Sela Range of West Kameng.”


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MOT ‘Market Development Assistance’ distribution impact

An awareness call for MOT A report on the Market Development scheme, commissioned by MOT and implemented by Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, has come out with interesting facts. A N I L M AT H U R

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uring the 11th five year plan, a total of 745 beneficiaries have availed MDA scheme, out of which as many as 623 beneficiaries are from Delhi/NCR area, accounting for 83.62 per cent of the total, with the remaining 16.38 per cent from rest of the country. Appropriately, the evaluation report has recommended that service providers in other parts of the country should be encouraged to make use of the benefits offered. It pointed out that a wider and effective publicity of the MDA Scheme is required so that the

Manjula Chaudhary

Pawan Gupta

Director IITTM

Principal Investigator

granted, including the three components of sale-cumstudy tour, participation in fairs/exhibitions and publicity through printed material.

Investigator and Ankita Devnath was the co-investigator. The Project Director was Prof Manjula Chaudhary, Director, IITTM.

The success of the scheme can be gauged by the

Gupta, the Principal Investigator, says that 'it was a very rich experience to interact with travel agents and tour operators pan India for the study. The study findings show that the scheme is very important for promotion of India as a tourist destination abroad, and through this, the beneficiaries cannot only promote their organisations, but in turn, also benefit the country's tourism.’ Gupta goes on to add that 'moreover, they are exposed to the best practices and develop contacts for business promotion.'

What does the report say? How the income increases The report, presented to the Ministry in June 2013, goes on to say that ‘due to MDA scheme, beneficiaries have observed increased business opportunities with foreign customers, and that the scheme has also resulted in increased income and employment opportunities.’

Beneficiaries Majority of the organisations that have availed the benefits of the MDA scheme are either travel agents or tour operators.

Most Popular Component Significantly, participation in fairs and exhibitions is the most popular component of the scheme in terms of number of beneficiaries and the funds released.

Funds Granted Average of Rs 1,09,087 per beneficiary has been granted, including the three components of sale-cum-study tour, participation in fairs/exhibitions and publicity through printed material. assistance reaches to tourism stakeholders throughout India. This becomes all the more important because a major finding of the survey is that after availing MDA scheme, beneficiaries have got greater visibility in the source markets for their companies. The report, presented to the Ministry in June 2013, goes on to say that ‘due to MDA scheme, beneficiaries have observed increased business opportunities with foreign customers, and that the scheme has also resulted in increased income and employment opportunities.’ Majority of the organisations that have availed the benefits of the MDA scheme are either travel agents or tour operators. Significantly, participation in fairs and exhibitions is the most popular component of the scheme in terms of number of beneficiaries and the funds released. Average of ` 1,09,087 per beneficiary has been

Chaudhary feels that the scheme has proved to be useful for the promotion of Indian tourism in different markets through methods such as exhibitions, fairs and publications.

The statistics speak An analysis of the beneficiaries under the MDA during the 11th plan period makes for an interesting reading. For example, in Delhi, 551 agents/operators and others benefited, while from Gurgaon, the number was 46 and from Noida 24. Interestingly, Bhubaneshwar had 13 beneficiaries, while Cochin-- Kochi- had a total of 16 beneficiaries during the period. The figure for Mumbai was nine and for Kolkata, it was six. From Chennai, a total of five beneficiaries made use of the scheme and from Guwahati also, five made use of the MDA. There were three each beneficiaries from Pune and Mohali. fact that the MDA beneficiaries were of the opinion that they have a better understanding of foreign tourist and markets, post participation in events abroad. The IITTM report has recommended the continuance of the scheme in 12th Plan in the current format, with raise in ceiling of financial support to match the price increases. It also suggested broad basing of beneficiaries. Pawan Gupta was the Principal Investigator for the evaluation, while Charu Sheela Yadav was the

She adds that 'the financial assistance provided by MOT has helped in reaching to the markets and showcasing their offerings which otherwise would not have been possible. Chaudhary says that it has been observed that majority of the beneficiaries are from the NCR and tour operators from other parts of the country are not applying to get assistance. She feels that an awareness about the scheme among the tour operators from other parts of the country will help in increasing the geographical reach.


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ASSOCIATIONS

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Our tourism potential ‘under-utilised’: Yechury There is a need to create curiosity in the minds of people to come and visit India and make the tourism packages holistic. Tourism can thrive only with synergy in shipping, aviation and culture. KANCHAN NATH FROM KOCHI thrive unless there is con-

G

uest of Honour at the 48th FHRAI convention in Kochi, Sitaram Yechury, Member of Parliament and Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Tourism, Culture and Transport said that India’s tourism potential has remained ‘under-utilised’. “Tourism is not something to sell; rather we need to create that ‘curiosity’ to try and understand what India is all about. Create curiosity about India in the minds of people and tourists will definitely visit.”

Sitaram Yechury Member of Parliament and Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Tourism

A good place to visit should be a good place for local people to live in. Tourism should be part of a holistic development and not of ‘isolated islands’ There is a need to protect the cultural, social and environmental integrity of tourism destinations, otherwise tourism will not survive for that long. He referred to the havoc wrecked in Uttarakhand recently. “The tourist inflow was beyond the carrying capacity of that region. The haphazarded way of infrastructure creation and development activities undertaken in those areas was not ‘responsible’. The result, we all know, was enormous loss of life, loss of infrastructure and tourism.” Lauding the Kerala model of inclusive tourism, Yechury said that “A good place to visit should be a good place for local people to live in. Tourism should be part of a holistic development and not of ‘isolated islands’.” No tourism can

nectivity. Tourism can thrive only with synergy in different segments of road and surface, shipping, civil aviation and culture. He added that Kerala is the leader in terms of responsible tourism. Speaking on the occasion, AP Anilkumar, Minister for

Tourism, Kerala, said that Responsible Tourism initiatives pursued by the state has helped build a ‘tourism culture’. He said that there has been a considerable change in the attitude of people towards tourism. They understand the benefits of tourism to the society in

terms of employment generation and raising standard of living, he added. As far as the recently launched seaplane service is concerned, it will become regular after monsoon. Kerala has spent over ` 500 crore for tourism development in the last two years.

Jose Dominic, Chairman, FHRAI Convention Organising Committee, said that tourism development in Kerala was not because of a large inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), but because of the efforts of the local entrepreneurs.

Addressing the delegates at the Convention, Vivek Nair, President, FHRAI, urged the central and state governments to evolve a ‘holistic development framework’ for tourism in India so that the country can grow to its potential.


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STATES

Winter Chardham Yatra on Funds worth `1,000 crore for tourism outlay plan includes ` 450 crore from State Government, ` 350 crore from ADB and ` 250 crore allocation from MOT. VIVEK SETHI

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he state of Uttarakhand is not letting the natural calamity dampen its tourism sector. In fact, its tourism

At present, our top priority is to undo the damage done to the tourism sites. Fortunately, we have got about `1,000 crore outlay,

sustainable manner. The 14 km ropeway that will connect Kedarnath will be instrumental in making the Winter Kedarnath Yatra a success,”

which includes `450 crore from state government, ` 350 crore from Asian Development Bank and ` 250 crore allocation from MOT,” said Umakant Panwar, Secretary-Tourism, Uttarakhand.

he added. Moreover, in line with the aggressive promotions undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism, Uttarakhand wants to dole our incentives for mountaineers to come explore their state. “Our state has also decided to do away with the peak fee during the MOT’s 777 Days of the Incredible Indian Himalaya campaign, which is part of our dedicated put our state back in league of most successful tourist destinations,” said Panwar.

Umakant Panwar Secretary-Tourism Uttarakhand

departments have put in many innovative initiatives on the platter, which also includes innovations at the Chardham Yatra.

“We will be starting Winter Chardham Yatra. It will be part of our initiatives built as round- the-year tourist attractions.

“The first tranche of the funds allocated by the Ministry of Tourism is expected to reach us shortly. The focus of our fund allocation will also be to now promote lesser known destinations, which will ensure better spread of tourists in most

Ganpati Bapa Moriya!

Thomas Cook (India) launched a unique and engaging initiative for its partner travel agents celebrate Ganesh Utsav. During this event, the Holidays Team from Thomas Cook India personally visited over 90 travel companies in Mumbai and Pune (including Travtalk office in Mumbai), handing over a customised Ganesh Utsav gift hamper comprising of a Ganesh idol, modak (sweets), attractive holiday vouchers, Thomas Cook Winter brochures and CDs.

Hotel occupancies in Bali take a hit during APEC BALI'S hotel sector grappled with low occupancies during the week of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit following the closure of the island's airport and cancellation of over 670 flights. To facilitate the arrivals and departures of APEC delegates, Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport announced that operations would be suspended.


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STATES World Tourism Day

Bollywood touch to tourism Delhi Tourism celebrated World Tourism Day in the company of Sheila Dikshit, Aamir Khan, Rajkumar Hirani and other officials. T T B U R E AU

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o commemorate World Tourism Day, Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC) invited Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister, Delhi, actor Aamir Khan and director Rajkumar Hirani to DIlli Haat, INA. Manish Chatrath, Chairman, Delhi Tourism, GG Saxena, MD & CEO, DTTDC, Rajkumar Chauhan, Minister of PWD, were also present at the event. While speaking on this occasion, Dikshit talked about the significance of World Tourism Day celebrated throughout the world. She said,

“This year’s theme will focus around tourism and water, and as the most widely celebrated global day for tourism, it has a unique opportunity to raise awareness of tourism’s role in water saving” Khan congratulated Delhi Tourism and wished Delhiites a warm World Tourism Day. He also said,

“Delhi is one of my favorite cities, as it is very rich in culture. People from all over the world come to Delhi because of the historical and cultural appeal of the city.” Hirani, who has been shooting for his next film P.K. in Delhi talked about his

day launched in Delhi three years ago, HOHO (Hop on, Hop Off) celebrated its anniversary in a grand way. HOHO hosted a weeklong celebration from 27 September-2 October. During this run, the tourists will be offered flat 50 % discount on

Aamir Khan and Sheila Dixit at the event with other dignitaries

experience while location scouting. "There is so much to explore in Delhi; be it the Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, Hauz Khas or even Old Delhi,” he said. To mark the occasion, Delhi Tourism provided three buses free of cost for sightseeing to the differently able and blind children. Coinciding with its inception

tickets, and they will also get a 15% discount in food vouchers. Garden of Five Senses also celebrated World Tourism Day with a host of activities and enthralled visitors. Delhi Tourism’s HOHO Bus and sightseeing bus passengers arriving at Garden of Five Senses were greeted traditionally with garlands and refreshments and offered free entry.

Incredible India Tourism Walk

On the occasion of World Tourism Day, the India Tourism Mumbai office organised an Incredible India Tourism Walk on Marine Drive in Mumbai. Over 1,000 people participated in this walk, including senior professionals from tourism industry, hotel industry, tourism colleges and institutes, tourism students from various colleges and members of Guides’ Association. In line with the 2013 United Nations International Year of Water Co-operation, the theme for the walk was the same.


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ASSOCIATIONS

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Donning the new leadership hat@FHRAI After the 57th Annual General Meeting of the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) held in New Delhi, SM Shervani has been elected as President for 2013-14. T T B U R E AU

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hervani has previously been the President of the Hotel & Restaurant Association of Northern India (2010-12), Vice-President of FHRAI (2010-11 and 201112) and Honorary Treasurer of FHRAI (2012-13). A highly

The Indian hospitality and tourism sector today faces unprecedented opportunities as well as some equally serious challenges successful hospitality entrepreneur with over 25 years of rich experience, Shervani is the Managing Director of Shervani Hospitalities, which owns and operates a chain of

New Team At the first meeting of the new FHRAI Executive Committee held at New Delhi, the following Office- Bearers for the year 2013-14, were also elected • Honorary Secretary – Vivek Nair • Vice-President – Deepak Puri • Vice-President – Dinesh Advani • Honorary Treasurer – Garish Oberoi • Joint Honorary Secretary – Nitin Kothari boutique hotels and the iconic 'Rodeo' restaurant. He is an alumnus of the prestigious Pusa Institute of Hotel Management, New Delhi and presently serves on the institute’s Board of Governors. He is also a member of the Hotel & Catering International Management Association (HCIMA), UK. On behalf of the industry, Shervani has been at the forefront in actively pursuing various policy and regulatory issues impacting the tourism sector, with the Central and State Governments.

After his election as President, Shervani said, “To be entrusted with the leadership of an august organisation such as FHRAI is indeed a distinct privilege and a profound responsibility. I express sincere gratitude to all my colleagues for the confidence which has

been reposed in me and look forward to the continued support of everyone in the fraternity for the ambitious agenda which we have envisioned for the year ahead. The Indian hospitality and tourism sector today faces unprecedented opportunities as well as some equally

serious challenges. Successfully mitigating the myriad risks posed by an uncertain economic environment and urgently addressing certain systemic impediments which have often constrained our industry's quest to achieve its full potential, would require all

stakeholders to work in unison. One of FHRAI's key strategic priorities will be to effectively articulate and reflect the concern and aspiration of our small & medium entrepreneurs, whose vision and dynamism is truly the future growth engine of our industry.”

SM Shervani President FHRAI


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NEWS

TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

Kerala woos French market Kerala Tourism presented the natural beauty of ‘God’s Own Country’ on the artist’s canvas at the International French Travel Mart (IFTM) Top Resa, the largest travel and tourism fair in France, to woo visitors from the state’s second biggest market abroad.

Focussing on travel insurance Travel insurance providers are looking to work closely with travel companies to make travel insurance part of travel packages. TT B U R E AU

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10-point roadmap by FICCI  A FICCI-Roots Research study on ‘Domestic Tourism in India’ was released at the 3rd edition of Great Domestic Tourism Bazaar. It states that the target of 1,450mn domestic tourist movements by 2016 could be achieved if the 10-point package of measures is adopted in earnest. The key

suggestions are: * Community involvement * Safety & security * Training and education, up-selling * Leveraging technology, increased marketing initiatives * Policy reforms and infrastructure development.

ravel insurance segment in India is growing at snail’s pace, but with increasing popularity and affordable premium rates, this budding product is becoming a crucial part of outbound travel packages. ICICI Lombard General Insurance, one of the travel insurance providers in India, is focussing on making travel insurance a key ingredient of travel packages for both business and leisure travel. The company is currently working with top travel companies in metros and is now extending reach to minimetro cities. According to Shankar Nath, Head – Marketing & Direct, ICICI Lombard; the biggest challenge for travel insurance industry is awareness. He said, “By working closely with travel companies, we want to bring

awareness about travel insurance in the market. Travellers still have the mis-

elled travellers know that travel insurance actually adds value to the travel

Only well-heeled travellers know that travel insurance actually adds value to the travel package with a variety of risk covers, apart from health risks Shankar Nath Head – Marketing & Direct, ICICI Lombard

conception that travel insurance is an added expenditure in travel packages, but only well-trav-

package with a variety of risk covers, apart from health risks.” Nath blamed prevalence of conventional products, coupled with low awareness among travellers as the reason for low popularity and penetration. He said, “The core point that needs to be communicated to travellers is that the travel insurance premium is a minuscule proportion of the overall travel expense that would be incurred, and that

the policy provides tremendous support in case an adverse situation presents itself, when one is in a foreign land. With travel insurance premium accounting for less than two per cent of the total travel cost, it becomes a handy and ‘value-for-money’ product which is a must-buy for travellers visiting Europe and US.” To increase the sale and awareness of the product, ICICI Lombard has tied up with Jet Airways – JetProtect wherein passengers have the facility to club air tickets with travel insurance.

Growing Numbers O According to Nath, the travel insurance industry in India, which is pegged at ` 450 crore, is expected to be a ` 1,200 crore market in the next five years O The travel insurance premium is a minuscule proportion of the overall travel expense


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STATES

Safety a priority for Maharashtra Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is in the process of designing a model ‘Code of Conduct’ for safety of women tourists; dress code for guides and helpline numbers of authorities. sages when in danger. All stakeholders in tourist places including guides, photographers, taxi drivers, shopkeepers among others will be trained and given the dos and don'ts of treating tourists.

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eing the topmost state in receiving foreign tourist arrivals, Maharashtra is also now gearing up to become the safest state in the country for tourists – both domestic and international. Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) recently celebrated the World Tourism Day dedicating it to ‘Women’s Safety’. On the sidelines of the event, the corporation also announced few initiatives it has planned to ensure women tourists’ safety in the state. It is in the process of designing a model ‘Code of Conduct' for safety of women tourists in the state. A dress code for photographers, guides and other tourist facilitators may also be devised. MTDC is also developing a mobile application that tourists can download and access a number of tourist groups visiting a spot, as well as

Kishore Gadre General Manager, MTDC

The Code of Conduct will be finalised in the coming months, and will include instructions on how tourists should be guided those of authorities. The mobile app will also have a GPS system to track tourists as well as facilities like sending alarm mes-

Kishore Gadre, General Manager, MTDC said, "The Code of Conduct will be finalised in the coming months, and will include instructions on how tourists should be guided. It will also

include instructions to ensure good conduct while interacting with foreign and domestic tourists. Also, there are plans to have various stakeholders to monitor tourist activity in a particular spot to ensure that if he/she gets in trouble, immediate action can be taken.” The code of conduct will not only have instructions for localities and other

tourism stakeholders, but also tourists. "For instance, tourists will be told that for any information regarding a visit to a particular tourist spot, they should directly approach MTDC's official centres rather than ask strangers, who may mislead them. Also important in the code is specifying that a fixed amount of money be charged by guides, taxi drivers and other such

service providers to tourists. We will be deciding on this amount, which will be different for Indian and foreign tourists," adds Gadre. Under a pilot project, MTDC plans to provide a dress code to the photographers at the Gateway of India, after which the project will be extended for guides and photographers at other tourist spots across the state. The code of conduct, once ready by next year, will be published in the form of a booklet and will also be put up on the MTDC website.

Safety Radar

Ellora Caves, Kailasa Temple

O Maharashtra is in the process of designing a model ‘Code of Conduct' for safety of women tourists in the state O A dress code for photographers, guides and other tourist facilitators may also be devised


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MOT

15 lighthouses for tourists Kanhoji Angre Lighthouse, off Mumbai coast to be the first destination under ‘Lighthouse tourism’ project undertaken by Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Shipping in India. A N I TA J A I N

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fter focussing on developing Buddhist, rural and medical tourism, the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) is now set to introduce ‘Lighthouse tourism’ among domestic and inbound travellers. The MOT and Ministry of Shipping has agreed to develop 15 lighthouses across the Indian coasts as tourist destinations, starting with Kanhoji Angre Lighthouse, based off the Mumbai coast (operating for more than 150 years now). The first destination under this pilot project will be ready for tourists in next 10 months (August – September 2014). This is a part of the pilot project that will also include Dolphin’s Nose Lighthouse in Vishakhapatnam and the Mahabalipuram Lighthouse in Chennai. The success of Kanhoji Angre Lighthouse as a pilot project will decide the future of the other 12 lighthouses in the country. Lighthouses at Vishakapatnam and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu are undergoing facelifts

K Chiranjeevi

Milind Deora

Minister for Tourism

Minister of State for Shipping

The MOT shall extend financial assistance for developing lighthouses as tourism destinations be declared by end of 2013 and the project will be awarded on a 30-year concession. K Chiranjeevi, Tourism Minister, said, “The MOT shall extend financial assistance for developing light house tourism destinations

I realised that they (lighthouses) can become important tourist destinations Adding further, Milind Deora, Minister of State for Shipping said, “Our ministry runs 180 lighthouses along the coastline of India. They are important navigational tools for ships, but I realised that they can become important tourist destinations. And

Seeing light of the day The Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Shipping has tied up to develop 15 lighthouses across the Indian coasts The first destination under this pilot project will be ready for tourists in next 10 months (August – September 2014) Lighthouses at Vishakapatnam and Mahabalipuram are also undergoing facelifts, and are to be tourist-ready by end of 2014

and are expected to be tourist-ready by end of 2014. The MOT will be providing a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) of `14.71 crore for the Kanhoji Angre project, which will ultimately cost `48 crore. The project will be undertaken through PPP mode, wherein the private bidder will have to invest the remaining `35 crore. The private bidder will

to the Ministry of Shipping. In the first phase, the Kanhoji Angre Lighthouse near Mumbai, Dolphin Nose Point Lighthouse in Visakhapatnam and one near Mamallapuram near Chennai are being developed as pilot projects. Once developed, India will add yet another attractive tourism product in its kitty.”

Get to know the first Lighthouse Kanhoji Angre lighthouse, nine nautical miles away from the Gateway of India is set to get a facelift as part of a tourism project. Work on the lighthouse will include building of a viewing gallery, upgrading of eight rooms in the lighthouse for accommodation, reconstruction of the fort wall, camp-style accommodation facility, construction of a jetty and a passenger terminal. The lighthouse is a 90-minute ferry ride from Mumbai. The first phase of the project will cost ` 47 crore.

of the three we have identified, India's first will be developed just off the coast of Mumbai. It's a unique lighthouse and tourists have to sail to the island which has its own attraction. It's a historical island with a fort built around it by Kanhoji Angre. We feel that the partnership with the MOT should have happened a long time ago. But, better late than never.” Chiranjeevi informed that MOT has already started applying for required permissions from different departments for the development of lighthouses. He said, “Most lighthouses are in remote locations, but they abound in natural beauty and serenity. This, is ideal for leisure tourism.”


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NEWS

TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

Showcasing Reunion Island

Can get over 5% commission: IAAI 5% commission or more, IAAI is asking travel agents as it prepares to make use of all channels to leverage on the recent order issued by MoCA. T T B U R E AU

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AAI continues its crusade for commissions armed with a favourable order from the Civil Aviation Secretary. In fact, IAAI is in top drive to mobilise travel agency to raise their voice on the quantum of commissions, while the association continues its crusade.

Air Mauritius and Reunion Island Tourism organised their first educational fam to Reunion Island. There were two batches, each comprising 12 agents. The idea was to showcase the changing topography of Reunion Island whereby one can experience the volcanos, waterfalls, cirques, etc.

“It is clearly stated here that the term ‘Commission’, ‘Transaction Fees’, ‘Convenience Fees’, or any other terms used for the purpose means the same i.e, remuneration to the intermediaries for the services rendered by them and therefore, all these terms are treated as ‘Commission’, mentioned in the existing rule 135 of Aircraft Rules, 1937 as a part of tariff to be determined by airlines. All these forms of levy of fees as remuneration to be the intermediaries for the services rendered by them for issuing tickets to passengers on behalf of the airlines are services are per-

missible under the existing rules provided these are shown as part of Tariff within the definition of Tariff and no amount will be collected from the consumers over and above this,” said the orderis-

to take a decision in this regard in consultation with intermediaries taking in to account various commercial factors such as the market conditions, the cost of the intermediary’s establish-

“Now, the battle that is left is to determine the quantum of commissions. These are right conditions for the travel agent community to come together and collectively pitch for commissions above five per cent. We can gradually get even more than five per cent. IATO had also extended a helping hand in the fight to restore commissions to travel agents. Subhash Goyal, President, IATO was present at the press meet organised jointly by IAAI and IATO in New Delhi.

(L-R): V L Jaghannathan, Hony. Secretary, IAAI, Biji Eapen and Subhash Goyal at the press conference

sued by MoCA on 16 September 2013. “However, it is made very clear that as per the rules, DGCA cannot lay down quantum of commissions payable by airlines to agents. It is entirely up to the airlines

ment, etc & statutory definition of tariff,” the orders pointed further. As per Biji Eapen, President, IAAI, a major battle has been won, which establishes commissions as a legal right.

“We need to conduct a pan India signature campaign and mobilise the travel agents’ fraternity to decide the quantum of commission,” said Goyal.


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AVIATION

60 routes by end of 2013 India is a very important destination for SriLankan Airlines. Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe shares the carrier’s strategies this year with . M E G H A PAU L

How important is the India market for SriLankan Airlines? Asia, particularly India, is a very important and critical destination for the airline. We give top priority to the region. Colombo is the fastest hub to reach Jakarta and Manila from India besides the Gulf and the UK. The travellers from India come to Colombo for onward connection to West Asia and Far East. Thus, most of our travellers are not point-topoint but use Colombo for their onward journey. We cover most of the cities in India. For instance, we fly four times a day from Chennai to Colombo and once a day from Madurai, Tiruchi and Kochi and also from Delhi and Mumbai with near full capacity on every flight. We also operate flights to Bodh Gaya and Varanasi to cater to Buddhist passengers. We see a lot of synergy between the South Indian states and Sri Lanka. From Sri Lanka, India gets a lot of pilgrim travellers. Vice versa, many Indian travellers come to our country for leisure and business. We are also looking at making Sri Lanka a preferred MICE des-

tination with our affordable flights from India.

more North Indian airports to fly from.

Are you looking at increasing flight frequency from India?

How important is Asia as the growing aviation hub?

We have not exhausted all the routes given to us under the bilateral agreement and have room to include more destinations.

Asia is a place where remunerative pricing is in place and from where the airline can fly passengers to destinations in China, Japan, Far East, South East Asia and West Asia. The future for any airline is in Asia. SriLankan covers several important cities in India and the airline has hopes that the increase in the number of flights here will earn us more business.

Nishantha Wickremasinghe Chairman SriLankan Airlines

Currently, we fly 48 flights a week from India and this will go up to 60 in 2014 and peak with 70 flights by 2015. Reaching to areas known for religious tourism has been our forte. We were one of the first foreign airlines to reach Bodh Gaya, Madurai and Varanasi. Going forward, we will try going for such other routes. We will also tap

How important are the Indian travel agents for your business from the country? We understand that product differentiation and upgradation is the key to meeting competition. We also recognise that travel agents are a very important part of the industry and thus, we have constantly given commissions to the fraternity. But more importantly, our business is volume driven. So we have to incentivise the travel agents. The moment travel agents give us more business, we do give them additional incentives as well.

IRCTC chugs along profit route  The number of tickets booked through the IRCTC website during 2012-2013 has gone up to 14.06 crore as against 11.61 crore last year. The corporation’s turnover from the Travel and Tourism segment has almost doubled from ` 99 crore, in 2011-12 to ` 189 crore in 2012-13. Further, IRCTC has witnessed a significant growth in the internet ticketing sector during 2012-13. The number of tickets booked through IRCTC website during the year has gone up to 14.06 crores as against 11.61 crores last year. Presently, the site books more than 50% of total reserved tickets on Indian

Railways network. It even touched a record booking of 5.72 lakh tickets on a single day on September 2, 2013. The current daily average booking is around 5.10 lakhtickets as compared to 3.85 lakhs in 2012-13. IRCTC recently conducted its 14th annual gen-

Rakesh Tandon Chairman & Managing Director IRCTC

eral meeting in which Rakesh Tandon, Chairman & Managing Director, presented the Financial Report

and the Report of Board of Directors and Auditors. During the year 2012-13, the Corporation achieved a total income of ` 719.69 crores with a Gross Profit of ` 92.41 crore as compared to a total income of ` 554.11 crore with a Gross Profit of ` 76.54 crores in the year 2011-12.

Extension of VoA to 40 more countries The Planning Commission of India has recommended the government for extension of Visa on Arrival (VoA) facilities to citizens of 40 more countries. The Commission also recommended VoA for senior citizens and pensioners from all countries, as well as setting up online visa processing system to enhance smoother facilitation of visas for overseas travellers.


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FAMILY ALBUM

New avenues of domestic tourism FICCI, the Ministry of Tourism and ADTOI, jointly organised the third edition of The Great Domestic Tourism Bazaar (GDTB) in New Delhi recently. While the inaugural session was held at The Lalit, New Delhi, the B2B meetings and Exhibition of GDTB were organised at FICCI KK Birla Auditorium Lawns. The focus of the Bazaar was on Sports Tourism; Wellness Tourism; Domestic Tourism policies and their implementation and benefits.


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AVIATION

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Carrying forward a legacy in aviation After the recent announcement of an agreement (MoU) between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines for the launch of a full service airline in India, there was a lot of discussion in the travel trade industry. highlights more. R ATA N K R P A U L

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eanwhile, the 51:49 per cent stake holding new venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines

“We are delighted that we are partnering in this endeavour with Singapore Airlines,” said Prasad Menon, Chairman of the proposed joint venture. According to Mukund Rajan, Member-Group Executive Council, Tata Sons, greater competition in civil

Prasad Menon Chairman Proposed TATA-SIA joint venture

We are delighted that we are partnering in this endeavour with the world renowned Singapore Airlines has applied for Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval to establish a new airline in India. Tata Sons believes that the civil aviation sector in India offers sustainable growth. There is sufficient distinction in demand, and

Mukund Rajan Member-Group Executive Council Tata Sons

With the right partner in Singapore Airlines, we are confident in the growth potential of the sector, and value creation that is the reason for Tata Sons to enter into two initiatives– recently with Air Asia in the low-cost carrier segment, and now with Singapore Airlines in the full-service segment.

aviation in India will foster benefits for the passenger in terms of greater choice in fares and services. “The trend of increasing urbanisation and growth in travel across India has opened up more opportunities for a differentiated full service offering,” he said. He also maintained that Tata Sons will fully participate in

the management and operations of the airline. As with its other joint ventures with globally respected companies, Tata will play an active role in operations, and leverage its understanding of the Indian industrial landscape and contribute with its long years of experience towards the creation of a

fruitful partnership and collaboration. Rajan underlined the history of previous efforts of Tatas and SIA to partner with each other to launch a world-class airline in India. “We would like to ensure that we are able to realise the original vision of

launching a full-service, world-class airline that India can be proud of,” he emphasised. He, however, refrained to make any comment on their business plan. The venture now is waiting for the FIPB and other regulatory approvals to give a final shape to the proposed airline.


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NTO

‘India a dynamic market’ A new winter destination In 2012, Florida recorded 55,000 Indian visitors and The German Government, in partnership with VFS Global, is targeting 60,000 visitors from India in 2013 and will be opening visa centres in Mumbai, Goa, Ahmedabad 66,000 visitors in 2014. and Pune in 2014 to ease the visa process. ular with travellers from other parts of the world and now we would like Indian travellers to experience it as well. The Circle Tour gives visitors the opportunity to visit both the East and West Coast of Florida which are very different from each other.”

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isit Florida, the official tourism marketing company for the state of Florida in the US, plans to introduce its online training programme ‘Florida Specialist’ in the country in January 2014. Tracy Vaughan, Director, International Marketing & Events, Visit Florida said, “India and China are two of the biggest emerging markets in the world and extremely important for us. The Indian travel trade are our biggest partners in this market and our endeavour is to increase their destination and product knowledge. India is one of the top source markets for the US and our goal is to further develop this dynamic and growing market.” Mainly focussing on the leisure segment from India, Vist Florida is promoting destinations such as Orlando, Miami, the Florida Keys and the Space Coast which includes Kennedy Space

Tracy Vaughan Director, International Marketing & Events, Visit Florida

India is one of the top source markets for the US and our goal is to further develop this dynamic market Centre in India. The Circle Tour in Florida is another focus area. Vaughan revealed, “The Circle Tour is very pop-

Vaughan also added that aside from the online training programme, the tourism board also has extensive activities planned to engage with the Indian travel agents. She informed, “We recently conducted our firstever VIP signature event in Mumbai. Additionally, we also paid sales calls to travel agents and tour operators in Mumbai and Delhi. They are our main target cities in the country, as both have the largest outbound traffic in India. Besides this, we will also conduct seminars, workshops and offline training programmes for frontline staff of travel agencies in metros and Tier-II cities across India.”

Germany is the perfect venue for MICE activities.

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he South-West German Tourism Board now plans to showcase the region as a winter destination in the country. As part of its plans to increase awareness about South-West Germany’s winter tourism products and offerings, the tourism board recently conducted road shows in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi. Christian Gross, Managing Director – Incoming, MICE, Tourist Information Centre, Hochschwarzwald Tourism and Katharina Mariko Kress, Manager, Marketing & Sales, Baden-Wuttemberg State Tourism Board presided the meeting. Hector D’souza, Director-India, South-West German Tourism Board said, “There are plenty of outdoor activities and sunshine just waiting to be experienced during the winter season. D’souza informed, “With its efficient world-class hotels

Hector D’Souza Director-India SW GTB

The Christmas markets of the region are also a popular attraction for tourists with large inventories, restaurants and transport infrastructure, South-West

Michael Siebert, Consul General, Federal Republic of Germany in Mumbai stated, “India is a big potential market for Germany as a whole. In particular, South-West Germany offers several attractive regions for a travellers’ dream vacation. In South-West Germany, visitors have the rare chance to experience an entire range of breathtaking German scenery in just one trip, from mountains and valleys to caves, rivers, and lakes.”

Highlights O Christian Gross, Managing Director – Incoming, MICE, Tourist Information Centre, Hochschwarzwald Tourism and Katharina Mariko Kress, Manager, Marketing & Sales, BadenWuttemberg State Tourism Board presided the meeting.


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NTO

OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

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Spain Tourism eyes MICE from India Last year, out of the 60,000 Indian tourists to Spain, almost 15 per cent comprised Incentive clients. Hence, the Tourism Board is concentrating on MICE groups this year through its roadshows in India… T T B U R E AU

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ith 60,000 Indian tourist arrivals in 2012, which is a 50 per cent increase compared with 2011; Spain Tourism is betting big on the Indian outbound market this year. The primary objective of Spain Tourism in 2013 will be to tap the MICE segment and Incentive groups. Talking about its huge potential in MICE tourism, Arturo Ortiz Arduan, Tourism Counsellor, Embassy of Spain, said, “Spain is the third most popular destination in the world for meetings, according to the ICCA (International Congress and Convention

Arturo Ortiz Arduan Tourism Counselor Embassy of Spain

We want to create awareness about the World Heritage cities of Spain among the Indian travel trade Association). Last year, out of the 60,000 Indian tourists in Spain, almost 15 per cent comprised Incentive clients.” Arduan was talking on the sidelines of the recently-concluded three-city roadshow in Mumbai, Bengaluru and New Delhi. Spain Tourism will also host 15 Indian tour operators for a fam trip to Madrid and heritage cities of Spain in October this year. “We want

Agri-Tourism a `13-crore industry Despite not receiving any financial or marketing assistance from the government, the Agri-tourism segment in Maharashtra has grown to a ` 13 crore industry

to create awareness about the World Heritage cities of Spain among the Indian travel trade. We look forward to organise a workshop for Indian travel trade to meet and interact with their counterparts in Spain,” he added. Agents have been chosen from cities such as Kochi,

Ahmedabad and Chennai apart from the traditional markets of Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. An online training programme is also on the cards for the Indian travel agents. According to Arduan, the tourism board was slow in organising marketing activi-

ties due to budget constraints in the last few years. Going forward, it is looking at aggressive tourism promotion. “There has been no increase or decrease in our tourism budget for India. As of now, the tourism budget is EUR 100,000. However, we have started marketing Spain

aggressively by increasing promotional activities,” he stated. Pointing out the similarities between the two countries as far as festivals are concerned, he said, “Besides beaches and sunshine, Spain is home to many UNESCO World Heritage cities. We have many tourist

products and good price/quality ratio. An important part of the marketing strategy will be movie partnerships, and the Indian film industry will be given priority. The Spain Film Commission has also been set up to work together with all regional and local film commissions,” he added.


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EXHIBITIONS

Strengthening India-Oz ties The re-emergence of Air India services to Australia after a long gap is expected to give a boost to tourism for both Australia and India. T T B U R E AU

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ecognising Australia as an important source market for India, Parvez Dewan, Secretary, MOT led a delegation of more than 20 organisations from India for the Incredible India PATA roadshow in September. Organised by India Tourism Sydney, the overseas office of the MOT, in co-operation with the PATA India Chapter, the event attracted over 100 key players from amongst Australia’s leading tourism service providers. According to Dewan, who is also the chairman of the PATA India Chapter, India has witnessed a substantial increase in the inflow of tourists from Australia in the past few years. As per the

Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 214,000 Australians visited India in 2012. This is an increase of 11.8 per cent compared to

encourage greater travel from Australia to India. There is plenty of headroom, which, we can aim to occupy given the many tourism

History in the Making… 20 premium sellers with 27 participants. Cross section included 12 DMCs, 3 special interest agents, 3 hotel groups, 1 airline and 1 State Tourism body (AP Tourism). The roadshow in Melbourne saw an attendance of nearly 100 participants and in Sydney, the number rose to 125. previous year’s figures of 191,300 Australian visitors in the country. “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

options Incredible India offers,” he added. The re-emergence of Air India services to Australia after a long gap is also expected to give a boost to tourism for both Australia

and India. “Given the buoyancy in the Australian dollar, tourism to India is an affordable product and well within the reach of consumers. And now, with Air India’s daily non-stop flight operations, effective 30 August, 2013, to Sydney and Melbourne, the two countries will come closer through tourism,” the SecretaryTourism opined. In addition to special presentations, there were engaging B2B sessions between buyers and sellers from Australia and India with invaluable information on destinations and new products beyond the iconic Taj Mahal and the Golden Triangle.

The Leela Palaces and Kempinski to end alliance  The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts and Kempinski Hotels have mutually agreed to bring the companies’ fruitful 25-year relationship to a close, effective October 1 2013. Following a progressive phase-out which began in 2012, the agreement will

allow The Leela to further consolidate its sales and marketing network, while facilitating Kempinski Hotels’ direct penetration of the important Indian market. Capt. CP Krishnan Nair, Chairman Emeritus and Founder Chairman, The Leela

Palaces, Hotels and Resorts said, “The strong cooperation enjoyed by the two luxury brands over more than two decades has immensely benefited both The Leela and Kempinski, and helped significantly increase brand awareness globally and in the Indian

market.” Reto Wittwer, President and CEO, Kempinski Hotels, said, “We are proud of the rewarding relationship which Kempinski Hotels and The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts have enjoyed for more than twenty years.”


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TECHNOLOGY

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For hassle-free, affordable communication Gaurav Dhawan, Executive Director, Clay Telecom, talks about his company’s growth plans, new packages, new offices and the unique plans that they are making available to travellers for ITB Asia this year. P EDEN D OMA B HUTIA What are your growth plans for the future? Our focus remains on exceeding customer expectations by fulfilling their international communication needs at an economical price. We are the first brand of choice for telecom service of world leaders like American Express, Kuoni Travels and FCM. Our growth plan is to expand our services in the Indian market by building our distribution model throughout the country. Clay Telecom has added over 200 distributors for its products in the last one year alone and our target is to grow at 100% in the next two quarters. We have just launched an unlimited

Gaurav Dhawan Executive Director Clay Telecom

data bundle option which covers 120 countries with one SIM. The presence has been expanded from India to four other countries in retail operations, including USA, UK, Japan and S. Korea. In addition, we have planned to spend US$ 2.5 million on marketing, enhancing distribution network, loyalty programs & IT infrastructure.

How much has technology changed the way we travel these days? The advent of mobile apps enable people to book tickets; make payments; check-in online; make hotel reservations and so on. However, roaming expenses discourage travellers to carry their phones during their international trips. Clay Telecom has introduced international mobility solutions wherein travellers can reserve a mobile number of a destination country and share it with others before travelling. They can also bundle their voice plan with data services to access e-mails and browse internet, while they are on the move. To have a better mix of price and technology, Clay Telecom has launched full MVNO in top travel markets. This enables us to create unique products for travellers and allows us to manage the entire customer cycle from our back offices in India.

How has the industry developed in the last five years? While leisure travellers give preference to Southeast Asian countries, MICE movements are also being organised at new foreign destinations. The launch of online portals has also

become a successful channel through which travellers can book the best deals with a few clicks. Keeping in view the market trends, Clay Telecom has launched complimentary offers for leisure, MICE and corporate travellers. It has helped us to increase the market

share by 30% in the last five years. The demand for data bundles along with voice has also gone up significantly.

Will the depreciating value of the Rupee affect your business as well? Compared to last year, business has been slightly

low as people are now conscious about spending on international travel. But, people are now opting for our services more than ever as it not only helps them save costs, but it also helps them pay in Rupee, hence saving precious foreign exchange.

What are you offering for ITB Asia this year? To cater this event, we have a special plan for travellers wherein they can take Closed User Group (CUG) plans, free incoming calls, free usage plans, add-on bundle packs and so on.


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‘I Respect Women’ walk In a bid to make domestic tourism safe for women, ADTOI organised a walk from Jantar Mantar to The Lalit New Delhi. The event saw ADTOI members gathering in huge numbers.

FAMILY ALBUM

Promoting ‘Beautiful China’ in India China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) hosted a roadshow in Delhi recently. The roadshow, with the theme ‘Beautiful China’, is an initiative to tap the Indian tourist market and strengthens bilateral tourism exchange and cooperation between China and India. The Chinese delegates visiting India were tourism officials, executives and travel agents from different regions of China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Guangxi, Shaanxi, etc. Chinese cultural performances of Foot Juggling, Diabolo and Face-changing were showcased during the event.


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REPORT

The “5/20 rule” and India CAPA had recently projected that India’s international traffic could reach 96 million by FY-23, based on the current regulatory framework. However, lifting of the 5 year/20 aircraft rule (“5/20 rule”) would result in accelerated growth, particularly over the next 2-3 years. T T B U R E AU

Abolition of the 5/20 rule will be in India’s interest Encouraging signs are emerging that the 5 year/20 aircraft rule (“5/20 rule”) may soon be lifted. This regulation requires that Indian carriers must complete five years of domestic operations before being permitted to launch international services, a restriction which does not apply to foreign airlines. The 5/20 rule has been one of the most damaging and discriminatory regulations in India. This regulation has enabled foreign airlines to capture a larger share of the international market at the

expense of home carriers. The financials of several Indian carriers would likely have been stronger if they had been allowed to launch international routes earlier. This would have reduced excess capacity in the domestic market and improved aircraft utilisation. It could also be argued that Kingfisher’s demise can be traced back to the challenges associated with the integration of Air Deccan, an acquisition that was motivated by the desire to circumvent the 5/20 rule.

India’s int’l traffic expected to touch 50 mn by FY14 end International passenger movements at Indian airports have grown at a strong and steady compound annual growth rate of 11.3% over the last decade. Growth has remained in positive territory every year since FY03, even during periods of economic

downturn, currency fluctuations and elevated fuel surcharges. In the four months to 31Jul-13 international traffic was up 11.0% year-on-year, in line with CAPA’s projection of 10-12% growth for FY14 announced at the start of the year.

Reform could raise int’l traffic to 100 mn by FY21 Lifting of the restriction would permit carriers such as AirAsia India, GoAir, Tata-SIA and other prospective start-ups to operate overseas. CAPA had recently projected that India’s international traffic could reach 96 million by FY23 based on the current regulatory framework. However the lifting of the 5/20 rule would result in an acceleration of growth, particularly over the

next 2-3 years, and traffic could even cross the 100 million mark by FY21. Regional international markets would see the most rapid growth: LCCs are expected to be the key drivers of international growth, especially if the 5/20 rule is lifted. This will result in particularly strong capacity expansion on routes to the Gulf, and South and Southeast Asia.

India could realise potential as a long-haul low-cost hub India possesses a huge home market, an advantageous geographical location and, if and when the necessary fiscal and regulatory reforms take place, a potentially low cost structure. These are the core ingredients for a potentially powerful long haul low cost hub serving not only the point-to-point market to/from India, but acting as a bridge for low

cost services between Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The 5/20 rule has prevented such an opportunity from being realised since any start-up carrier with plans to launch a long haul low cost carrier would first have to operate a domestic airline and then entirely change its fleet and network strategy after five years.

New aircraft tech could shift regional int’l dynamics The introduction of re-engined narrow body aircraft such as the A320neo and the 737 MAX in the latter part of the decade could enhance the viability of narrow body equipment on longer regional routes of six hours or more. This would open up the possibility of LCC services from Delhi/Mumbai to points such as Singapore, Jakarta, Manila, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Moscow and Istanbul, or from Mumbai to Mauritius and Nairobi. And through partnerships with other carriers, 1-stop LCC services would be possible

to destinations stretching from Europe to Australia. IndiGo’s recent decision to convert 20 A320neo orders to the larger A321neos (which can accommodate up to 56 additional seats in high density configuration) will enhance its competitiveness against wide body operators on key routes and could enable IndiGo to become a major international player. Other carriers may also consider inducting the A321neo or 737 MAX 9 to better compete in the short haul international market.

Outlook for global alliances in India becoming clearer The announcement of the Tata-SIA joint venture airline brings greater clarity to the potential tie-ups between branded global alliances and Indian carriers. With its ties to Singapore Airlines, Tata-SIA could be a likely Star Alliance candidate. This would almost certainly bring to an end Air India’s hopes of being

inducted into the alliance. But the AI has another option - Qatar Airways has offered to sponsor Air India for membership of oneworld. Further, speculations say that Jet could establish ties with SkyTeam following alignment between Etihad and SkyTeam members, Air France-KLM and Kenya Airways.


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COVER STORY

For sustainable tourism  Contd. from page 1

decided to bear 50% of peak fee charged by Indian Mountaineering Foundation from the climbing

and international travellers. The Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) is collaborating with the MOT in this campaign and they have designed special adventure programmes running over the next 777 days. Akshay

It is our endeavour to develop new destinations based on carrying capacity of the respective regions Parvez Dewan Secretary, Ministry of Tourism Government of India

Speaking on the occasion, Ashwani Kakkar, Chairman, Mercury Travels said that this campaign would highlight the virtues of Himalayan Tourism since this region contains one of the biggest bio-diversity hotspots of the world. The Himalayas is home to 10,000 species of plant life and more than 2,000 species of animal life and is the single largest natural asset on the earth. Conrad Anker, a noted mountaineer with experience of more than 25 years of climbing expeditions in the

expeditions during the period,” he added. Present on the occasion of launch of the campaign were GA Mir, Minister of Tourism, J&K, Amrita Rawat, Minister of Culture & Tourism, Uttarakhand, Bhim Prasad Dhungel, Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Sikkim, Pasawj Sona Dorajee, Arunachal Pradesh among many other dignitaries. In fact, the representatives of J&K and Uttarakhand urged the Centre to extend support to their states to promote the campaign. The state government authorities also

G A Mir

Amrita Rawat

Minister of Tourism Jammu & Kashmir

Minister of Culture & Tourism, Uttarakhand

Kumar, President, ATOAI said, “With this campaign, the world will now realise the potential of India’s

Akshay Kumar

Ashwani Kakkar

President ATOAI

Chairman Mercury Travels

The world will now realise the potential of India’s Himalayan offerings lauded the campaign to promote Himalayan States in a more aggressive and sustainable manner to the domestic

This region contains one of the biggest bio-diversity hotspots of the world Himalayan offerings. All our members will make the best possible efforts to make this campaign a success.”

Himalayan region, shared his experiences of the area. He expressed the hope that the reduction of Peak Fees by the

Conrad Anker Mountaineer

This will motivate mountain climbers to come in greater numbers Government of India shall motivate mountain climbers to come to the Himalayan region in greater numbers.

Gorakhpur gets world’s longest railway platform The Gorakhpur railway station became the proud owner world's longest home platform. The remodelling work was completed on war-footing within the scheduled time. With the inauguration of the remodelled yard, Gorakhpur now has a platform measuring 1,366.33 metres with ramp and 11,355.40 metres without it.


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HOTELS

Building disaster-relief fund In a novel way to engage its staff members in awareness-building and disaster-relief fund building, IHG plans to contribute a total of US $10 million to communities through monetary donations and in-kind support, including funds deployed through the IHG Shelter in a Storm Programme over 2013-17 period. captured some of its team members led by Greesh Bindra, General Manager of the Crowne Plaza, Greater Noida in action, who contributed to this novel initiative.

Crowne Plaza in Gr. Noida  Business is finally shifting to the other side of the city. Crowne Plaza, Greater Noida has opened its doors on October 8. With the inventory of 400 rooms, in the first phase the hotel has opened with 200 rooms. MICE is going to be the biggest growth driver here. This hotel will also have a convention centre, which will open in the Phase II of the hotel construction. According to Greesh Bindra, General Manager of the upcoming Crowne Plaza, Greater Noida,

The tour operators’ community is excited to see the prospects of the Greater Noida region. The B2B community is already introducing new itineraries to include the region. They are now altering itineraries and doing Jaipur-Agra-Greater Noida and then Delhi packages, he reveals. Regarding the potential of Greater Noida as a region for developing the hospitality industry, the GM of the hotel feels it will do great business by 2015-16.

JW Marriott Bengaluru eyes biz travellers With the debut of JW Marriott in Bengaluru, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts now has five hotels in India. Other locations include Chandigarh, Mumbai and Pune. The JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity will be next in line to be launched. MEGHA PAUL

O

ver the next five years, Bengaluru is expected to witness the highest number of new hotel rooms in the country, of which 75 per cent is under active development. Adding to the inventory is Marriott Hotels & Resorts, which launched its first JW hotel in the city in the last week of September. With a 297-room hotel, built at a cost of ` 750 crore by The Advantage Raheja Group, the group has now positioned

itself well across several brands in the city. The US hotel chain marked its entry into Bengaluru this year. The first Marriott hotel with 344 rooms was opened at Whitefield in February. Now the group has unveiled JW and Fairfield as well. Currently, there are three operational properties of the group in Bengaluru. Talking more about the JW property, Parul Thakur, General Manager, JW Marriott Bengaluru says,

We aim to tap around 70 per cent business travellers, 25 per cent MICE and five per cent leisure travellers. The JW Marriott here offers one of the city’s largest MICE facilities as well

“The 5-star property features 297 rooms and suites, including a Presidential Suite. The JW Marriott here offers one of the city’s largest MICE

facilities as well. It features more than 10,500 square feet of meeting space with the largest ceiling in the city, catering to a variety of meet-

ings and events, from small scale board meetings to global conferences. JW Marriott Bengaluru also offers an array of six dining options.” As of now the hotel has opened its public spaces along with 110 rooms. The hotel is betting big on its strategic location. According to the GM, it is the USP of the property. “We are located in the central business district opposite Cubbon Park. Our rooms overlook Cubbon Park and UB City. Thus, we

Parul Thakur General Manager JW Marriott Bengaluru

aim to tap around 70 per cent business travellers, 25 per cent MICE and five per cent leisure travellers.” The best available rates or introductory rates for the property are ` 13,500.


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FAMILY ALBUM

CTC showcases Ontario to its trade partners Canadian Tourism Commission India organised an exciting familiarisation trip for its trade partners from August 12-18, 2013. The trip itinerary highlighted the various locales of Ontario and had agents participating from Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chandigarh & Chennai.


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‘India is a destination-driven market’ The lebua CEO believes India is destination-driven, and not market-driven like other locations, which makes it a relatively safe tourism market. The most important fact is to maintain the brand DNA of the group. T T B U R E AU

T

hailand-based luxury hotel operator lebua Hotels and Resorts is preparing for a slow and steady

Deepak Ohri CEO lebua

What is most important to us is maintaining the brand DNA. Lebua is a brand with a difference, and we need to keep it that way round of expansion in India. The group will be adding a fourth property in India, but only when the time is right. Throwing light on its India strategies, Deepak Ohri, CEO, lebua says, “We

First palace property in Ajmer for Keys Resorts  Keys Resorts announced its signing of The Pratap Palace, Ajmer which will be operational from November 2013. Christened as The Pratap Palace, a Keys Resort, this property will be

Sanjay Sethi Managing Director & CEO Berggruen Hotel

Berggruen Hotel’s first Sanjay Sethi, Managing Director & CEO, Berggruen Hotel said, “Our focus is on making Berggruen Hotels a holistic hospitality company, and Pratap Palace is a great addition to our bouquet.”

plan to grow carefully into each territory and we’re in no hurry. What is most important to us is maintaining the brand DNA. Lebua is a brand with a difference, and we need to keep it that way.” The chain currently has three properties in India -- Devi Garh by lebua, Udaipur; lebua

Resort, Jaipur; and lebua Lodge, Jaipur. Regarding how rupee depreciation has impacted lebua properties in India, Ohri feels, “Many have been panicking about the rupee. I was always vocally confident it would bounce back, and you see that it has already

been back up to over 61 for about a week now. Of course we are being affected but we are by no means panicking. It’s business for us as usual. Luckily, India is destination driven, and not market driven like other locations, which makes it a relatively safe tourism market.”

Talking about the importance of the India market for growth of the hotel company, the CEO believes, “The commitment to manage three different properties in India – all in such very short period - is a really serious and important move for us.

We have clearly shown a strong commitment to the India market but we are by no means only interested in expanding our portfolio there. There are many alternative markets that are sufficiently sophisticated to become a lebua property location.”


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Thumbs up to luxury tourism from TAT A luxury roadshow hosted by The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), New Delhi, saw participation of 17 sellers, including hotels, resorts, spas, airlines and attended by over 90 travel trade partners. T T B U R E AU

T

he Tourism Authority of Thailand, New Delhi, organised a luxury roadshow to highlight the unique experiences, hotels and services that Thailand has to offer to high-end travellers. The event hosted 17 sellers,

including hotels, resorts, spas, airlines and catamaran cruise and sailing services and was attended by over 90 travel trade partners. The chief guest for the evening was Pisan Manawapat, the Ambassador of Thailand to India. Runjuan Tongrut, Director, TAT, New Delhi, gave a presentation detailing luxurious experiences in Thailand including wellness and spa, diving, fine dining, private villas. She also took the opportunity to introduce new island getaways like Similan Islands and Racha Islands in the South of Thailand. The volume of high-end Indian travellers to Thailand has increased a lot over the years, pointed out Tongrut. She also introduced a new destination in North Thailand - Glorious Chiang Rai, known for its serenity and said to be the gateway to the Golden Triangle. The crowd at the event was also introduced to ‘Self Drive’ book, which will be promoting the concept of fly and drive in Thailand for the new generation of travellers. In his vote of thanks, Manawapat applauded the Indian travel trade for their support to Thailand and shared his experiences in India with the travel trade. He welcomed a roadshow of this kind to familiarise the Indian travel trade to the luxury that’s on offer in Thailand and hoped that the agents pass on this information to the end customers. The Amazing Thailand Luxurious Roadshow also travelled to Mumbai.

Smartphone guides  In September, the Ministry of Tourism signed an agreement with Audio Compass (India), a travel app provider, and technology company Genesys International Corp. Ltd for its much-touted quick response (QR) project. The project is now scheduled to start by the end of the year. The ministry’s plan was to use quick response (QR) codes at tourist destinations across India to provide information. QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can store large amounts of information.


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FAMILY ALBUM

48 Annual FHRAI Convention held in Kochi th

The 48 th Annual Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) Convention was held in Kochi. It was inaugurated by K. Chiranjeevi, Minister for Tourism. The theme of the Convention was ‘Sustainable and Responsible Tourism’.

JATA TABIHAKU sets a record  A record participation of visitors and a record number of booths were the main highlights of JATA TABIHAKU Travel Showcase 2013. JATA TABIHAKU Travel Showcase concluded its fourday run from September 12 to 15, attracting 131,058 visitors to Tokyo BigSight, topping the previous record of 125,989 set in 2012. Compared to 1,093 booths in 2012, this year’s event also set a new record of 1,353 booths representing 730 businesses and organisations from 154 countries and regions around the world.

TABIHAKU NIGHT 2013, a pre-opening event held on September 12 to JATA TABIHAKU Travel Showcase, coorganised by the Japan Tourism Agency, was introduced to help promote Japan as a “tourism nation” as set forth in a national strategy involving the public and private sectors. Some 1,000 people attended the event including tourism ministers from overseas, ambassadors, embassy officials from various countries and government officials as well exhibitors from overseas and domestically to experience Japan’s “omotenashi” hospitality, food and culture.

The opening ceremony on September 13 was attended by 750 people, including ambassadors and embassy officials. It was followed by the first day of the International Tourism Forum, which drew 700 attendees, with the second day on September 14, accommodating 750 attendees. The event also gave the exhibitors and tourism professionals from around the world a taste of the cuisine, entertainment and the culture found in Japan. JATA TABIHAKU 2014 is set for September 25- 28 at Tokyo Big Sight.

US$ 410 mn World Bank boost for UP  According to Om Prakash

Singh, Minister for Tourism, Uttar Pradesh; the state government has approved ` 1,700-crore plan for the overall development of Agra as a tourist destination. Speaking at the inauguration of an air-conditioned toilet facility at Taj Mahal on the occasion of World Tourism Day,

Singh said the state government was looking at improving the condition of Agra to make it a more attractive destination for tourists. He said the UP

government had received a US$ 410 million package from World Bank for the development of tourism in the state and added the State Cabinet had cleared the ` 1,600 crore AgraLucknow Greenfield Expressway project. The project for an international airport at Agra, too, has been cleared as well.


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NEWS

MICE hit, leisure unaffected by US shutdown M E G H A PAU L

With the recent shutdown of national parks and medical research projects as well as other non-essential services in the US, tour operators in India believe that India outbound to the US will not be affected much.

‘Shutdown will not impact travel’ The impact of the shutdown will not have any impact on travel as most of the services are functioning normally. First, obtaining a US visa from India will not be a problem because consular services at US embassies and consulates around the world are largely funded by application fees, not annual appropriations. Visa applications filed by foreigners wanting to enter the United States will continue to be processed, according to the US State Department. Immigration and customs check in facilities at all US airports and air traffic controllers are functioning normally’. Thereby flight operations across all airlines flying to the US will not be affected. However, all 401 National Park service sites, which collectively average about 7,15,000 visitors per day in October, will be closed. But Indian customers prefer to go to theme parks. Karan Anand, Head—relationships, Cox & Kings

It’s temporary

We see the US Government shutdown as a temporary issue that will be resolved soon. We do not believe this is likely to impact the functioning of critical global Government functions. Air travel is not impacted and the traveller sentiment remains untouched with Thomas Cook India witnessing a healthy growth of 40 per cent in advance bookings for holidays in the US. Madhavan Menon, MD, Thomas Cook (India)

Minimal Impact

This is not really the traditional holiday time. Tour operators who do group departures might be affected somewhat. But for FIT segment, this news does not impact them adversely. Holidays and business trips to the US are thus, unlikely to get affected. Even advance bookings remain unaffected and there has been no decrease in the same. Arun Varma, CEO, Allways Marketing & Travel Services

MICE will be hit

The crisis will have an adverse impact on business and MICE travel. Especially, the incentive segment will be hit big time. Obviously if a person is going to Las Vegas on an incentive tour from the company, it will be a sheer waste if he cannot visit the Grand Canyon. Thus, we speculate incentive trips to get postponed for the time being. Vicky Soin, AVPOutbound (MICE), Abercrombie & Kent India


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BOLLYWOOD TOURISM

Lights, camera... Tourism! In order to promote film tourism from India, Locations 2013 was held in Mumbai on September 27-28, 2013. The event brought together under one roof, national tourism boards, film commissions and allied service representatives. L YA N D R A D ’ S O U Z A

T

P Agarwal, President, Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA) & VP, International Federation of Film Producers’ Association (FIAPF); Glen Agustin, Chief Tourism Operations Officer – Market Development Group, Department of Tourism, Govt of Philippines and Shaenaz Voss, Acting Chairperson, Film Fiji inaugurated Locations 2013.

Films are important influencers Locations has a reputation of being a platform for opening up new markets for Indian cinema. Indian films are an important influencer for Indian travellers and we hope to create greater demand for the Philippines as a destination for film shoots by participating and interacting with members of the film fraternity in India. The response from these film makers has been extremely positive and we hope to see an increase in Indian film shoots in our country. Glen Agustin, Chief Tourism Operations Officer – Market Development Group, Department of Tourism, Govt of Philippines

Promoting Columbia as go-to destination The Indian film industry is one of the biggest industry in the world, producing over 300 films every year. Our goal is to promote Colombia as the go-to destination for filmmakers from India and across the globe. The Govt of Colombia has introduced a new film law, by which foreign shoots of feature films and TV movies can avail themselves of cash rebates of 40% on local qualified film spend and 20% cash rebates on lodging, catering and transportation expenses. These new rebates have made Colombia an even more attractive destination for film shoots and our goal is to create awareness about Colombia as a destination amongst the Indian film industry. Colombia as a canvas has varied products like deserts, mountains, beaches, hills, etc., to offer to the film fraternity. Claudia Triana De Vargas, Directora, Proimagenes Colombia

India is one of the most important markets We want to establish Fiji as a filming destination for international productions and India is one of our most important markets for the same. We assist productions in Fiji to ensure that filming in the country is as easy and efficient as possible. Fiji also offers a 47 per cent tax rebate for film productions happening in the country. Fiji is a unique tourist destination in the South Pacific region and our goal is to showcase the same to Indian filmmakers. Shaenaz Voss, Acting Chairperson, Film Fiji

Offering incentives to boost film tourism Tirol has become an ideal location for movie shoots in the heart of the Alps as it has convenient cable cars reaching mountain peaks and glacier tops as well as heritage towns and villages amongst other pristine locations. Alongside offering incentives and rebates to film producers, deals can also be arranged for accommodation, product placement etc. ” Thomas Fuchs, Representative, Cine Tirol Film Commission See photos on page 48 

Vipul Mittra, Big B and The Dream Chasers Amitabh Bachchan recently launched the book 'The Dream Chasers'(Random House) written by Vipul Mittra in Mumbai. It is the story of youth, their dreams and fantasies.


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Scaling the peaks of tourism for 777 Days In a major step towards establishing India as round-the-year destination, the Ministry of Tourism has designed a new campaign, ‘777 days of Incredible Indian Himalayas’ to spread awareness around the globe that 73 per cent of Himalayan range lies in India. It was officially launched on the World Tourism Day in New Delhi.


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TRAVTALK

43

SPATA selects Delhi for its 55 Annual Convention th

SPATA (Society of Polish American Travel Agents) held its 55th Annual Convention at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Delhi this year. The members of SPATA that include airlines, tour operators and travel industry stakeholders met representatives of the travel industry from India to develop business association for growth of sustainable tourism across boundaries. Subhash Goyal, IATO President and Ashwani Lohani, Indian Railways' Divisional Manager for Delhi were present at the event to welcome the delegation and formalise the opening ceremonies.

Outbound Konnections T T B U R E AU

A

ccording to Anjum Lokhandwala, Director, Outbound Konnections, the Indian outbound travel market growth is inevitable despite the fluctuating currency or slowdown in economy. Currently representing accounts in nine destinations including Canada, South Africa, Russia, Reunion Island, Resorts in Maldives, Mauritius, Zanzibar and Tunis along with acting as a GSA for Sri Lankan Holidays, the company is ready to take on more clients by offering its specialised services. “With major developments in the pipeline, we plan to choose, specialise and channelise our professional approach,” she adds. Talking about the organisation’s vision, Lokhandwala said, “Our Mission is – ‘A clearly defined brand will “shout above the crowd” and stand accountable for excellent results.’ We believe that the basic success of a well organised company lies in marketing, sales, good customer relationship management. We also need to ensure that the product is well-tuned at all times. Rep companies need to roll out well-formatted plans directed at the relevant target audiences.” According to her, the Indian outbound travel segment has tremendous potential. She observes, “The resilient India continues to sail to faraway shores. Halfway into 2013, travel agents have their hands full. From 12 million Indians travelling abroad in 2011, the India outbound market is estimated to touch approximately 16 million by 2013-year end.” Adding further on the challenges, she adds, “Personally, I feel India has a market for each and every product and it is easy to find a solution as it is so diverse. But, yes, of course, the currency fluctuation and the challenges in obtaining a visa for a destination can always prove to be deterrent to a destination /product promotion.”


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AGENTS

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‘Prices & logistics make ‘Far East’ better’ With India estimated to account for over 50mn outbound travellers by 2020, Pathfinders Destinations believes there is big untapped potential in the Indian market… TT B UREAU

P

athfinders Destinations is investing heavily in its own office, sales force and technology in India, to tap the rapidly growing outbound market from the country. Ashley Monteiro, Managing Director, Pathfinders

Ashley Monteiro Managing Director, Pathfinders Destinations

Destinations said, “India is one of the fastest-growing outbound travel markets in the world. The UNWTO has predicted that by 2020, India will account for 50 million outbound tourists. I believe

Up-skilling India  International Conference on ‘Skilling India for Health Wellness and Medical Tourism’ concluded here at Ashoka Hotel in Delhi on 23 Sept, 2013, organised jointly by NIMA and Confederation of Health, Wellness and Medical Tourism (CWMTS). The inaugural session of the conference was presided over by Girish Shankar, IAS, Addl Secy Ministry of Tourism GOI. Various representatives of the health and wellness industry coming from Sweden, USA, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Singapore and from different parts of India were present. Earlier, Gulshan Sharma, president of NIMA while laying the ground for the discussion on the occasion said that challenges before the Health and Wellness Industry is lack of skilled manpower and infrastructure. Others who expressed their views included Manish Patwardhan, President of the CWMTS, Dilip Chenoy, CEO and MD, NSDC, Nayana Karunaratne, President OMC Asia, Srilanka, Maya Paranjapye, Director, Butic Institute, Mumbai, Vice President CWMTS and Jatin Walia, Chairman Body Spa, International.

that the Far East will continue to be the most popular, because of prices and logistics. According to a report on the tourism industry, India ‘remains a largely untapped travel market with, by far, the lowest travel penetration in the major Asia Pacific economies’. Needless to say,

this points towards an enormous potential in the market.”

season has been weaker compared to 2012.”

cheaper airfares from Etihad and Emirates.

Speaking on the outbound travel season this year, Monteiro observed, “It has been an ‘FIT’ season, and not a ‘groups’ season. So companies like Pathfinders, that do FIT, thrived. But for most Indian tour operators, the

Monteiro also said that the most popular destinations this season have been Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, with Dubai and Abu Dhabi becoming popular as well due to

Monteiro also opined that the impact of the depreciation of the rupee is being felt from July onwards. He said, “Indians will have to get used to the falling value of the rupee.”

Challenges SENTIMENT: The Indian economy and stock markets are in the doldrums. People don't feel like spending money when they are not making it AIR FARES: Airfares were at an all-time high this season and there was a lack of any product innovation by leading Tour operators


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FAMILY ALBUM OCTOBER

NATIONAL 18-20 22

Tawang Delhi

23

Delhi

23

Mumbai

24

Chennai

24

Mumbai

24

Kolkata

25

Mumbai

28

Bengaluru

29

Delhi

31

Mumbai

INTERNATIONAL 14-18

China

23-25

Singapore

International Tourism Mart Scandinavian Tourism Board’s Seminar B2B Roadshow for Cyprus Tourism Organisation Scandinavian Tourism Board’s Seminar Scandinavian Tourism Board’s Seminar Visit Britain’s B2B UK Destination & Access Seminar Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s B2B Roadshow B2B Roadshow for Cyprus Tourism Organisation Canadian Tourism Commission’s Workshop Austrian National Tourist Board’s Roadshow Austrian National Tourist Board’s Roadshow Canadian Tourism Commission’s Showcase Asia ITB Asia

NOVEMBER NATIONAL 8-10 11 13 15 22-24 26

Vishakapatnam Mumbai Bengaluru Delhi Pune Delhi

27

Bengaluru

29

Mumbai

29-Dec2 Hyderabad

Holiday Expo Monaco Tourism’s B2B Roadshow Monaco Tourism’s B2B Roadshow Monaco Tourism’s B2B Roadshow IITM Pune German National Tourist Board’s B2B Event German National Tourist Board’s B2B Event German National Tourist Board’s B2B Event IITM Hyderabad

INTERNATIONAL 4-7 11-14 19-21

London Spain Spain

NATIONAL

World Travel Market Golf Travel Market EIBTM

DECEMBER

5-7

Chandigarh

7-9 9

Lucknow Delhi

10

Mumbai

11

Ahmedabad

12

Bengaluru

13

Chennai

13-16 23

Bengaluru Chennai

28-30

Goa

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)’s Tourism Fest India Travel Mart Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority’s B2B Roadshow Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority’s B2B Roadshow Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority’s B2B Roadshow Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority’s B2B Roadshow Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority’s B2B Roadshow TAAI Annual Convention Canadian Tourism Commission’s Workshop India Travel Mart

INTERNATIONAL 1-4 2-5 4

Manila France Australia

5-8 6-8

Turkey China

OTOAI Convention International Luxury Travel Market Tourism Australia’s Dreamtime 2013 Travel and Tourism Fair Chengdu International Travel Fair

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

Locations 2013 boost film tourism Locations 2013 was held in Mumbai on September 27-28, 2013 to promote film tourism from India. The event brought together under one roof, national tourism boards, film commissions and allied service representatives to interact with over 150 prominent members of the Indian Film Industry at the Tulip Star Hotel in Juhu.


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EXHIBITIONS

Gunning for sports & wellness The growth of the independent, educated, well-heeled domestic traveller who is looking for new and unique experiences has sparked off wellness and sports tourism in the country. Hosted by FICCI and MOT in collaboration with ADTOI, the third edition of Great Domestic Tourism Bazaar (GDTB) saw experts brainstorming on the significance of these two avenues M E G H A PAU L Parvez Dewan

Jyotsna Suri

Secretary, Ministry of Tourism

Vice President, FICCI & Chairperson FICCI Tourism Committee

The country’s potential in domestic tourism is huge, and the size of the segment has been increasing every year. The most important source markets of domestic tourism in India are West Bengal, Gujarat and Maharashtra. With the launch of ‘777 Days of the Incredible Indian Himalayas’ campaign, MOT has launched a map and website specifically for the campaign, and the same can be seen on MOT’s website. Also, the second edition of MOT’s International Tourism Mart (ITM) will be held in Tawang on Oct 17-18. Both these developments are expected to give a boost to adventure and sports tourism.

There is a need to generate more entertainment in domestic destinations of the country to bring out the fun and punch in them. I also see the Northeast as a potential region for developing hospitality business. It also has the scope to be developed as a fun-filled nightlife destination. However, the major impediment in the development of the Northeast as a destination is its lack of infrastructure.

Subhash Verma

Dipak Deva

President, ADTOI

Co-Chairman FICCI Tourism Committee

With no visa, passport or foreign exchange required, the biggest boost for tourism can come from the domestic segment. Sports tourism has been evolving rapidly over the past five years. Although a niche segment, it has immense potential with an expected growth rate of 10-20 per cent per annum. Wellness tourism has now become a well-established avenue for domestic tourism. There has also been a marked rise in tour operators and agents specialising in servicing the requirements of these two segments. Even mainstream operators have set up a separate division to tap sports and wellness tourism.

GG Saxena Managing Director and CEO DTTDC

Delhi Tourism sees immense potential in budget accommodations. In order to overcome the shortage of budget accommodations in the state, DTTDC recently signed a MoU with Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) to set up hotels on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis at six DTC depots. More such depots will be considered for similar development in a phased manner.

Vivek Mathur General Manager Madhya Pradesh Tourism

The state has been promoting domestic tourism in a big way. The air taxi service, which was launched in MP in September 2011 through a joint venture between Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) and Ventura AirConnect, has given a fillip to tourist footfalls in the state. The air taxi service also fetched Madhya Pradesh the National Tourism Award this year in the category of Most Innovative and Unique Tourism Project. The tourism board has also initiated caravan tourism and is creating land banks for tourism development.

Domestic tourism has currently many roadblocks. The poor infrastructure and road conditions have been dampening the spirit of domestic travellers. We need more technological advancements in roadways, airways and railways to strengthen connectivity between states. This is the need of the hour to give further impetus to the segment. The tourism industry also needs to promote soft adventure and golf tourism.

Cruise offers from RCI Caribbean  Royal International announces special offers – complimentary Upgrades & 50% off on 2nd guest, exclusively for Indian travellers onboard the largest cruise ship sailing from Singapore Mariner of the Seas. Both these offers are valid on 3-5 night sailings from Singapore, between November 2013 – February 2014 and will be applicable on new bookings made by 31 October 2013. With complimentary upgrades, guests can upgrade to Junior Suite Category at the price of Superior Balcony Category and to Superior Balcony at the price of an Ocean View Category, on select 3-nights sailings from Singapore in November and December 2013. The 50% saving offer allows guests to avail 50% off on the 2nd guest booked in the same stateroom on select January and February

2014 sailings. Ratna Chadha, Chief Executive, TIRUN Travel Marketing India Representative of Royal

Ratna Chadha Chief Executive, TIRUN Travel Marketing - India Representative of Royal Caribbean International

Caribbean International, said “Over time, we have seen a substantial increase in demand for cruises from Singapore and by positioning the largest and most innovative cruise ship in the region, we are now pleased to bring more opportunities for WOW! closer to home for our Indian guests.”


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CLIPBOARD

OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

TRAVTALK

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MOVEMENTS

TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2013

IHG

Zuri Hotels & Resorts

Tourism New Zealand

Gurgaon

Bangalore

Mumbai

Jaideep Khanna has joined IHG as Director of Regional Sales, South West Asia responsible for National & Global Sales based at its corporate office in Gurgaon, India. Khanna will be responsible for strategising and implementing sales and marketing plans to ensure competitive positioning of IHG. He has worked with several Indian and international hotel brands as well as DMCs in India over 18 years. Khanna’s earlier assignment was with Accor's India corporate office where he led the creation of its National cross sales set-up. He also worked as the GM -S&M of Accor-managed Novotel & Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC).

Stephen Beale has been appointed as the new senior Vice President of Operations at the Zuri Hotels & Resorts. A graduate in Hospitality and Hotel Management from the Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Mumbai; Beale comes with many years of experience with renowned hospitality brands across the world. He was previously employed at the Windflower Spa and Resort in South India as the Chief of Operations. With his prior experience, he will be aiding the Zuri Hotels & Resorts with their marketing and team development.

Neha Bola is the new Country Manager of Tourism New Zealand, beginning October 15, 2013. She joins Tourism New Zealand from Kuoni India where, as General Manager Innovation and Fulfilment, she oversaw the roll-out of a new portfolio which is to increase market share and revenue growth. Bola has over 12 years of experience in the travel and tourism space with experience in Business Development, Product Development, Contracting, Sales, Operations, and CRM. Her past assignments have been at TUI, Cox & Kings and SOTC.

The Lalit Chandigarh

Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Mysore

DoubleTree by Hilton Pune Chinchwad

Ashish Gawari is the new General Manager of the 179-room property - The Lalit Chandigarh. He will be responsible for the management of this business property which is also a recent venture of The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group. In his new role, Gawari will uphold The Lalit’s brand position in Punjab region and will carry forward the innovations in services and F&B section of the hotel. He is a pass out from IHM Chandigarh and brings with him close to 16 years of industry experience managing business hotels & resorts like Bristol, Sarovar Hotels, Taj Group of Hotels and Mansingh Group of Hotels.

Mysore

Pune

Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Paschim Vihar

SINGHOTEL

The Leela Gurgaon

New Delhi

Gurgaon

New Delhi

Rubdeep Singh Makkar has been taken on as the Business Development Head of Singhotel. Having trained with SingHotel while studying IB Diploma Programme in business management and economics as core subjects, he has taken over a larger role to promote the group in the capital and nationally. Born and raised in the islands, he did his schooling from Carmel Convent School Port. Makkar also looks after Sales and Marketing from Delhi, sourcing partners, maintaining Social Media Networks for the group, and coordinating on any aspects of the business from the capital.

Nidhi Verma has joined The Leela Gurgaon as the Head PR & Marketing Communications. Her prior experience exhibits a varied portfolio including press function, media management, branding, event management, crisis communication, advertising and internal communications. Verma joins The Leela Gurgaon from The Grand New Delhi, where she was heading the public relations and marketing communications function. She has also been associated with hospitality groups like Accor, Claridges, Radisson and Hyatt in her previous roles.

Chandigarh

Firuza Sharma has been appointed as the Director of Sales & Marketing at the Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Paschim Vihar. With more than 18 years of rich and versatile hospitality experience. Sharma has been associated with hotels companies like Ascott Limited, Lalit Hotels, IHHR Hospitality, Golden Palms Spa & Resort, The Leela Hotel etc. Her major working experience has been in Sales & Marketing.

Pankaj Saxena has been appointed as the General Manager of the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Mysore. He is a professional with closely 16 years of extensive managerial and techno-commercial experience in managing profit centre operations, Projects & start-up function, F&B, GDS, CRM, etc. Saxena has served in the Executive Committee as the Vice President (2011-12 & 20122013) -Hotels & Restaurant Association of Andhra Pradesh (HRAAP) affiliated with FHRAI.

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

Being popular as a veteran South Indian Star worldwide, K Chiranjeevi, Union Minister of Tourism today has become the face of the Indian tourism sector. After 30 years of a successful film career, Chiranjeevi started his political career in 2008 and has taken some remarkable initiatives for the tourism sector including Visa-On-Arrival, 777 Days Himalayas campaign. He chuckles, 'As an actor, your acting hours are limited but as a minister, it is unlimited'. In 2013, IBN LIVE named him as “One of the men who changed the face of Indian Cinema". The actor-turnedminister loves the Alps in Switzerland. He loves Kashmir and Goa.

Sahdev Mehta has been appointed as General Manager of DoubleTree by Hilton Pune-Chinchwad. Mehta joined the hotel in August 2012 and guided the transition from the project stage into the operations phase, overseeing each aspect of the hotels transformation into a fully operational property. He is currently steering hotel operations on all fronts, and also preparing for the grand launch of this exclusive property, scheduled to take place soon.

Vineet Raina, Vice President-Outbound, Trail Blazer Tours India is an avid reader. “I pick up any book on different subjects.” Raina also likes listening to Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. An adventure freak, he indulges in horse riding occasionally. A travel enthusiast, Raina feels Kashmir is true Paradise on earth. “I enjoy Kashmir’s pristine natural beauty; Ladakh has such beautiful sky and blissful surroundings. I am actually a beach bum so most island destinations are also on my top list. I go to Hawaii and Maldives for the stunning turquoise blue and green waters and unbelievable underwater activities like snorkeling and scuba diving,” he says. Raina is headed to Koh Samui in Thailand for a quick break to enjoy the beautiful waters in November this year. Sangeeta, Manager, Marketing Communications, India, Lufthansa, is at the gym, six days a week when she has a chance to get away from her busy schedule at Lufthansa. She has started taking lessons in golf. Sangeeta also admits that she is a spa addict. Otherwise she likes to spend time at home, especially in the kitchen. She says she prefers to travel on long weekends every 3-4 months, rather than long holidays, lamenting that she still hasn't seen enough of India. In the last couple of years, she has travelled to Pondicherry, Gulmarg and Srinagar, Goa, Amboli and the next stop will be Coorg Tamara. Outside India, she has a few favourites, Munich and Bali being on top of the current list.

Avijit Arya, Chief Mogul, Internet Moguls, loves going home to his girls- his mother, wife, sister and two daughters. Being a filmmaker by education, Arya, who has done a short course on filmmaking at the New York Film Academy, says he looks at life as a director. He enjoys going to the movies with his wife. He says he likes to understand what may have gone in the director's mind while filming a particular scene. Arya says he loved watching the Homeland series on TV, however, he feels that The Lunchbox was overrated and a tad too slow for his taste. Talking about music, he says he's fond of hip-hop and hardcore Punjabi songs, Yo Yo Honey Singh being one of his favourites.


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Postal Reg. No.: DL(ND)-11/6044/2012-13-14; WPP No.: U(C)-178/2012-14 for posting on 1st-2nd and 15th-16th of the same month at New Delhi P.S.O., RNI No.: 53492/91 Date of Publication:14-10-2013

HIGHLIGHT

‘We need to market Sikkim well’ C Zangpo, Secretary, Tourism & Civil Aviation Department, Government of Sikkim, talks on how the Greenfield airport coming up in Pakyong will help make Sikkim more accessible to all. He also said that awareness is a major roadblock in promoting Sikkim and they are working on making more people aware about the state. PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA

How are you promoting Sikkim among tourists? So far this year, we have received 3.5 lakh tourists in Sikkim. We need not promote Sikkim as such, but the fact is that we are now trying to show people what we have to offer them. Sikkim has everything to offer to tourists mountains, lakes, religious spots, you name it and we have it. The state is also a trekkers’ paradise and we have got great places for adventure tourism. We have started with rock climbing and mountain climbing. We are streamlining the adventure tourism sector; trek routes have been opened up and we have made every basic amenity available to tourists. Besides these, we also have trained personnel for guiding tourists in various adventure-related activities.

What then, are the roadblocks in

promoting a state like Sikkim? Here, we need to admit that marketing and publicity are what we need to focus on to promote Sikkim. We have not been able to market the state very well. In most of the areas, people are not even aware of where Sikkim is. Some of the tour operators that I met recently told me that people often come back asking if Sikkim is in Darjeeling. Hence, ignorance is a major roadblock and we are trying to educate people by promoting the place in a much larger way. And that’s not all, we want to market Sikkim globally and make everyone aware what the state has to offer to tourists. Also, we are now trying to work with the Ministry of Tourism to promote the Buddhist Circuit in Sikkim. Once we are able to work this out, we intend to have more tourists. Sikkim as a place caters to all types of tourists, be it those looking for luxury or tourists who are on a budget holiday. We are also trying to promote the folktales of Sikkim, through which we are trying to familiarise people with the history of our state.

Do you think better air connectivity in the region will help promote tourism in the state? Definitely, air connectivity can help promote tourism in the state. We are coming up with a greenfield airport. We expect the airport to be operative by March 2015, and the deadline for completion is December 2014. This airport will be at Pakyong, which is around 30km from the capital city of Gangtok and since Pakyong is centrally located, it is easily accessible from all parts of Sikkim. However, this airport is only meant for ATRs and not Boeings. We are trying to get flights from Kolkata and Patna to Gangtok. We are also requesting the government to operate international flights from Pakyong to nearby places like Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh.

How helpful has the International Tourism Market (ITM) in Guwahati proved to be for Sikkim? The impact of our participation at the mart was not very apparent right away, but we know that subsequently it'll help promote tourism in Sikkim. We will also be participating in the second edition of the ITM, which will be on in Tawang from October 18-20. Through this platform, we want to make people aware of what we have to offer.

How focussed is the state government on tourism? Tourism is the topmost priority of the state government, as it not only promotes the state, but also

C Zangpo Secretary, Tourism & Civil Aviation Department, Government of Sikkim

creates job opportunities for the youth. We have also come up with a different logistic approach by introducing the concept of homestays. Here, we market our own indigenous local cuisine, so people can get a taste of a different kind of food.

Has the unrest in Darjeeling district affected the flow of tourists in Sikkim? Thanks to the cooperation of the state and the Central Government, we have been able to keep connectivity up. The Darjeeling district is our lifeline as tourists have to pass through there to be able to reach Sikkim. But with the intervention of the state and Central Government, the highway was kept open throughout the bandh period. Initially, we did have problems because of which there was apprehension on the part of the people coming to Sikkim, but we started providing extra buses with security personnel on board to transport them from Siliguri to Gangtok and back.


TravTalk October 2nd Issue 13