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Vol. 3 • No. 3 • December 2009

Inside 6

this issue

Travel & Tourism Climate Initiative Launched in Copenhagen

Live the Deal", an innovative, global campaign to help travel companies and destinations respond to Climate Change, reduce their carbon footprint and move to the Green Economy, has been launched during the Copenhagen Climate Summit.


Cruise Tourism to Help in Sustainable Development of Tourism: Selja

20 OM Beach

With the Indian Economy developing at a steady pace, middle class growing in number and increasingly possessing disposable incomes which can be spent on leisure activities, India could also take on cruise shipping in a big way, said Kumari Selja, Union Minister for Tourism.


Face to Face p 17

Policy to Boost Cruise Tourism

India Government has announced that the policy on cruise shipping will be put into ef fective use to promote cruise tourism in India. The Minister of Tourism Kumari Selja has announced in Parliament that the policy is aimed at developing and promoting Cruise Tourism in India.

10 Questions

Woman of the Month

22 KTM 2010 From September 23 The nex t edition of the Kerala Travel Mart is sheduled to be held from September 23, 2010. Arrangements for the smooth conduct of the Mart have already on with the election of the Managing Committee members for the period 2009-11.

14 WLH Awards Presented 15 Gujarat to Woo Tourists with its Own Brand of Tourism



p 10

p 12

First Person

Home Ground

20 Karnataka Unveils New Tourism Policy 24 Tourism Sector Holds Promise for the Future 26 GKSF Gets Off to a Colourful Start DECEMBER 2009



p 14

p 11 Cover Photo Courtesy: Munich Tourism



editor ’s note

A Editor & Publisher Group Editor Vice President & CEO Executive Editor Consultant Editors

orld over one topic everyone discussing at the moment is the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit and its outcome. The success of the negotiations at the summit would have a telling effect (on the long run) on the travel and tourism industry, since the sustainability of the sector directly depends on the sustainability of the environment. But the travel & tourism industry, which is one of the largest industries in the world, "has often acted ahead of regulation to adopt and disseminate standards and best practices on greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation". As a joint communiqué from United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has rightly observed that "the sustainability of the travel & tourism industry and that of the environment are mutually dependent. Using its role as an international conduit for peace and prosperity, the industry is actively engaged in the protection of fragile ecosystems and indigenous communities and contributes towards the successful advancement of the UN Millennium Development Goals. Travel & tourism's far-reaching benefits position it as a leading player in a strong, united, global effort at combating climate change." The travel & tourism industry has always been aware of the damage the impacts on environment and climate could cause to the well being of the sector and has come up with solutions in the past. "It will play a much needed role in terms of exchange of innovative technology to advance carbon emissions' reduction. Incentives and policies, as well as global sectoral approaches, supported by a 'level playing field' void of restrictions to trade, will allow the industry to efficiently pursue the scale of change for progressive transformation to occur". UNWTO has been working to raise awareness on climate change issues in the travel and tourism sector for many years and has achieved a lot in this regard. The Copenhagen Summit provides everyone with an opportunity to move forward and press for more action. It should be kept in mind that any further delay in action would affect the tourism industry and the people who depend upon the sector adversely. We wish our Patrons, Readers and Wellwishers a Merry X’mas and a Happy New Year.




Publication : : : : :

G. Biju Krishnan G. Gopakumar* M. P. Sreekumar Lerbin T. K. A.G.K. Kumar Om Prakash Sahgal Photo Editor : Retheesh Kariyam Art Editor : Amal Prasad Editorial Team : R. Parameswaran Smitha R. Director (Marketing) : Vinu V. Nair Director (Finance) : K. Harikrishnan Legal Advisor : Adv. G.S. Prakash Financial Advisor : B. Prasad G.M-Nor th : Wg. Cdr. V. K. Gangal Sr.Mgr. Tamilnadu : P. Deenadayalu KSA Sam Mathew, Tel: 00966-505150513 London Abdul Najeeb, Tel: 0044-7769940391 UAE Sanjeev S. L., Tel: 00971 508914709 Kuwait Mariam Titus, Tel: 00965 6638670 New Delhi V. K. Gangal, Tel: 09871180498 Mumbai Mahesh Nair, Tel: 022 32499989 Bangalore Sandeep Viswanath, 09845179243 Chennai Nisha J., Tel: 09841008588 Hyderabad K.S. Johnson, Tel: 09441236010 Dehradun P. Mohandas, Tel: 09719055472 Madurai P. Deenadayalu, Tel: 09843129535 Ernakulam M. P. Sreekumar, Tel: 09447118694 Thiruvananthapuram Vinu V. Nair, Tel: 09745444177 Administration Jaya Rajeshwari, Soniya S., Vidhu Krishna, Jayesh All communications to: Media Steps India, TC-27/1741, PERA-66, Vanchiyoor PO, Thiruvananthapuram–695 035, Kerala State, South India. Tel: +91-471-6540888, 2574411, 09447 555 222, w w Regd. Of fice: Media Steps India, TC-27/1915, MBRRA 70, Mathrubhoomi Rd., Thiruvananthapuram–695 001, Kerala State, South India. Mumbai Of fice: Media Steps India, Unit 9 & 10, Sardar Pratap Singh Industrial Estate No. 2, LBS Marg, Bhandup West, Mumbai-400078, India Tel.: +91 22 32499989 Hyderabad Office: Media Steps India, # B-305 & 309, Vasudha Apartments, Quthbullapur Road, New Jeedimetla, Hyderabad-500 055, AP, India Tel.: +91 40 23080750, +91 40 23176966, +91 40 23176996, Fax: +91 40 27535260 Chennai Of fice: Media Steps India, 6/4, Sangeetha Gardens, 19th Street Ex t, Jai Nagar, Arumbakkam, Chennai - 600 106. Tel: +91 44 42640531 Edited, Printed & Published by G. Biju Krishnan and Printed at M/s. Safire Of fset Printers, Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu for Cristal Printers, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala State, South India. Reg No.: KERENG 01910/11/1/2006-TC New Reg No.: KERENG / 2007 / 28719 RNI Reg. No.: 101276 The news items and Adver tisements published herein have been collected from various source, which are considered to be reliable. Readers are however requested to verif y the facts before making business decisions using the same. No par t of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission from the Publisher. All rights reser ved. Copyright © 2008 *Responsible for selection of news under the PRB Act


over view

New Travel & Tourism Climate Initiative Launched in Copenhagen ive the Deal", an innovative, global campaign to help travel companies and destinations respond to Climate Change, reduce their carbon footprint and move to the Green Economy, has been launched during the Copenhagen Climate Summit. Announcing the new initiative, long time green tourism campaigner and UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General Geoffrey Lipman said, "What Copenhagen represents is a new commitment by the world community towards sustainable low carbon growth patterns. The targets and mitigation actions that countries develop and negotiate through this process will be a new base for travel industry action. What we are providing is a very simple way to get behind the evolving government initiatives, to


keep pace the Deal' with campaign by changing its single patterns and minded to focus, its demonstrate simplicity that our and its Geoffrey Lipman broad based Taleb Rifai sector is Secretary-General Asst. Secretary-General acting, not UNWTO engagement UNWTO simply goals. It will talking." seek to "We encourage should not the sector be ashamed directly and to promote through the growth representative of smart organizations. travel - clean It has green, been ethical and developed quality - it's with the the lifeblood support of of trade, UNWTO, commerce whose and human Secretaryconnection", General he added. Taleb Rifai "Live the Deal" follows calls it "The kind of link the pattern established in the between global policymaking UN led Copenhagen 'Seal and responsible tourism

action that we are looking to inspire and encourage. Our sector fuels the economy, creates jobs and is one of the biggest development opportunities for the world's poorest countries - and it can be a leader in the transformation to a green economy". The campaign will be underpinned by a simple carbon calculation tool that allows easy correlation with government targets and implementation measures, as well as a Think Tank and Annual Innovations & Investment Summit. The inaugural Summit will be in Abu Dhabi in the last quarter of the year. Live the Deal will be promoted by a multimedia video "We can take this Climate Change" from platinum album writer and singer Alston Koch which will be profiled around the world in 2010

Visa on Arrival For Visitors From 5 Countries

Visit India Campaign Extended till March 2010



overnment of India has decided to introduce visa on arrival scheme for visitors from five countries. which are Singapore, Finland, New Zealand, Luxemburg and Japan on a pilot basis for a period of one year. Ministry of Tourism had taken up the issue of introduction of Visa on Arrival (VoA) Scheme for tourists coming from these countries which are potential source markets for India from where there are no security concerns. The modalities of the implementation of the scheme are being worked out with all the stakeholders and will be notified very shortly. Introduction on Visa on Arrival scheme is expected to provide a quantum jump in foreign tourist arrivals to India from these source markets in future. This in turn will also provide a boost to our civil aviation sector as the airports will have an increase in air traffic. The decision to provide VoA facility has sent a positive message about the intention of our country to welcome foreign tourists and also signals a sense of self confidence in the security systems of the country.


s the foreign tourist arrivals to the country is badly af fected by the recent swine flu scare and global economic meltdown Ministry of Tourism (MoT) has ex tended the Visit India 2009 campaign till March 2010. The campaign which was launched to give a fillip to tourist arrivals,

which had dipped significantly post Mumbai terror at tacks in November 2008. The campaign of fered buy-one-get-one-free deals in air tickets and hotel stays. Leading hotel chains and airlines such as The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), East India Hotels, ITC Group, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and Air India are also among the partners in this campaign.



cruise tourism

Cruise Tourism to Help in Sustainable Development of Tourism: Selja


infrastructure including Cruise Tourism under Product and Infrastructure Development for Destinations and Circuits scheme and to Por t Trust Authorities under the scheme of Assistance to Central Agencies for Infrastructure Development. The Centre has already sanctioned Rs 1450.00 lakh to Cochin Port Trust, Kochi in the year 2008-09 and Rs 52.70 lakh to Poompuhar Shipping Corporation Ltd. Chennai for purchase of ferries in Tamil Nadu in the year 2008-09. She mentioned that MoT has been promoting Cruise Tourism at various international plat forms as such World Travel Mar t, London, ITB-Berlin, and Arabian Travel Mart etc. "The Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi will provide us an oppor tunity to receive a large number of visitors from the Commonwealth Nations. New facilities such as Cruise Tourism will The Union Minister for Tourism, Kumari Selja at the function announcing the arrival of International Cruising in New Delhi, India. Also seen is Oneil Khosa, MD, Louis Cruises India no doubt help us in sustainable development of the tourism sector," opined Selja. calls and passenger arrivals in a speaking on the occasion of Selja added that while Cruise sustainable manner. She said that announcement of arrival of Shipping was one of the most the Ministry of Tourism ex tends International Cruising ship Aquadynamic and fastest growing financial assistance to the State marine in India. India with its vast components of the leisure industry Governments and UT Administracoastline, virgin forests and worldwide and emerging as a new tions for development of tourism undisturbed idyllic islands, historiith the Indian Economy developing at a steady pace, middle class growing in number and increasingly possessing disposable incomes which can be spent on leisure activities, India could also take on cruise shipping in a big way, said Kumari Selja, Union Minister for Tourism. She was

cal and cultural heritage, can be a good tourist destination for cruise tourists. Referring to India Government's ef forts to promote the sector, Selja said, a Cruise Shipping Policy has been approved in June 2008 with the aim to develop India both as source and destination market, to increase the number of cruise ship

marketable commodity with growing rate of 12 per cent per annum globally, it was still in its nascent stage in India and only recently witnessed some activity in the country. Selja mentioned that Cruise Shipping world over was seen as employment generating leisure activities. On an average, about 1000 passengers travel on a cruise vessel and when such vessels arrive at a Port, there is demand for a whole lot of services. Thus a cruise call results in gainful employment to a lot of people. Cruise ships also require bunkers, provisions, bonds stores in large quantities, agency ser vice and crew etc. All these demands can be met locally. To that ex tent, Selja said, there would be contribution to the Indian economy from this sector. She said that Cruising was a 'supply driven' market because cruise liners were ever in search of new markets, new itineraries and new destinations. If adequate facilities, services and infrastructure are provided, they will in turn at tract more and more cruise operators.

Policy to Boost Cruise Tourism ndia Government has announced that the policy on cruise shipping will be put into effective use to promote cruise tourism in India. The Minister of Tourism Kumari Selja has announced in Parliament that the policy is aimed at developing and promoting Cruise Tourism in India. The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned Rs. 1450 lakh to Cochin Port Trust, Kochi in 2008-09 for development of Tourism



infrastructure at Cochin Port, Kerala as per the policy. In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha she said that no study had been undertaken by this Ministry to find out the number of foreign tourists who combined land tourism with cruise facilities being provided "either of our own or on code-sharing basis with foreign cruise infrastructure". However, Ministry of Tourism in the year 2005 had undertaken

a study on "Cruise Tourism Potential & Strategy Study", she added. At the moment Ministry of Tourism is promoting


cruise tourism through brochures, compact discs and publicity materials distributed through its Indiatourism offices in the country and abroad. ASIAN TRAVELLER

cruise tourism

MV Aquamarine Opens Up High Seas


Besides 525 spacious state rooms and suites, which are all above sea level, passengers will also get to enjoy her world class facilities including several restaurants, a swimming pool, fitness center, massage/sauna facilities, a casino and duty free shopping. The vessel has also been modified to include a cricket pitch - giving Indian travelers a new experience of playing cricket on the high seas. Food and entertainment on board will also take in Indian taste and has been modified to include both Indian and European themes. The 7 deck ship spans 531 f t in length, 83 f t in breadth and has 4 elevators. With a gross tonnage of 25,611, it will cruise the Indian Ocean at 17 knots. MV Aquamarine is owned by Louis Cruises India, a subsidiary of Louis Cruises - the 5th MV Aquamarine being flagged off at Cochin port by the port trust Chairman N Ramachandran. largest cruise Dominic Presentation MP, Dr. Venu V IAS, Secretary , Kerala Tourism, EM Najeeb are also seen. operator in the world. The company's three-day itineraries to Maldives at the Indian tourism market. decision to expand its In her speech, the Minister said and Sri Lanka were considered to Kumari Selja, India Tourism Minister on the deck of MV Aquamarine. operations to India be ideal as Indians were not that there was tremendous scope Also seen are Oneil Khosa, EM Najeeb and Riyaz Ahmed was to take advaninclined towards long sailing. for cruise tourism in the country, tage of the rising Indian tourism season. The vessel will make her Packages start from Rs 5,000 per given India's strong domestic market. Louis Cruises India will debut voyage tomorrow, from tourism sector and growing middle person per day for a three-night reach out to a broad target Kochi to the Maldives. Kerala tour package. class and of course, the country's segment in India including families, Tourism has tied up with the Addressing the of ficials and 7,517 kilometre long coastline. honeymooners, the corporate company to market and promote travel executives who honored the Director of Kerala Tourism, M sector and MICE. cruise tourism from Kochi. ceremony with their presence, Sivasankar IAS stated that exotic ndian travellers will soon get to enjoy the joys of international class cruising on the Indian Ocean onboard MV Aquamarine, the first international cruise ship to homeport in India. The luxury liner was of ficially launched at a ceremony to celebrate its inaugural sailing, by Union Minister for Tourism, Kumari Selja in Kochi recently. MV Aquamarine is the first cruise liner to of fer cruises targeted

voyages from Kochi, was a unique product for the Indian market, which was craving for new and exciting experiences. He added that the new development would further boost Kochi's position as a cruise hub and destination in the area. Oneil Khosa, Managing Director of Louis Cruises India, while speaking at the ceremony underlined the fact that the two-night-

Louis Loizou, Louis Group Executive Director and Deputy CEO of Louis Cruises has expressed the company's satisfaction for adding Kochi to the list of homeports-the first non-European base for Louis' twelve-strong fleet. MV Aquamarine has a capacity to carry 1,200 passengers and will of fer itineraries on the KochiMaldives-Kochi and the KochiColombo-Kochi routes, in addition to a one-night high sea-sailing itinerary. MV Aquamarine will homepor t in Kochi from December 2, 2009 to April 25, 2010 and will operate cruise itineraries three times a week from Kochi. Around 60,000 Indian tourists are expected to cruise on MV Aquamarine this

Bird Travels Launches Silversea Cruises in India


ird Travels, a fully owned subsidiary of Bird Group and Silversea Cruises has announced the launch of Silversea Cruises in India. Bird Travels Pv t. Ltd. will be the preferred Sales & Distribution representative for Silversea Cruises in India catering to the high end luxury cruise market. The partnership entails Bird Travels to market, adver tise and sell exclusive destinations worldwide which was not available to the Indian market till now, of fering an unmatched luxury lifetime experience to the discerning traveler. Speaking at the launch, Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Group, said “As the preferred


partner for Silversea Cruises in India, we are geared up to set new industry standards, characterizing luxury, and personif ying elegance. The business of creating memorable vacations in India is ready to scale newer horizons, and innovation in services along with worldclass expertise will play key catalysts in taking it to the next level.” “Silversea has continued investing in its product and luxury service, from the refurbishment of the Silver Wind, to the butler service ex tended to all the categories of suites. Moreover Silversea presents a wide range of cuisine

specialties together with Relais & Chateaux on all the fleet and especially on the new vessel Silver Spirit, where the inclusion of the trendset ting menus of the Stars Supper Club and the Sushi and Asian seafood specialties of the Seishin Restaurant complete the culinary experience designed for every own personal preference of our guests,” said Enrico Origone, SVP Sales and Marketing for Continental Europe and New Markets, Silversea Cruises. Silversea Cruises sail across seven continents in over 80 countries covering more than 400


destinations through the year. Bird Travels will be promoting travel across these exotic Ankur Bhatia locations, Exec.Director, Bird Group untouched by the Indian audience. Silversea Cruises is an epitome of luxury of fering tailor made and customized packages to suit the destination preferences of its guest's. The costs involved are dependent on the itinerary and the destination being covered, however, a sevenday package would, on average, cost any where bet ween USD 6000 to USD 7000.



Sharat Dhall is an MBA in marketing with a total experience of over 16 years in the FMCG and internet industries. At the moment he is the Managing Director of TripAdvisor India.

SHARAT DHALL Tell us about your portal and its USPs. TripAdvisor is the world's largest travel community with more than 30 million honest reviews and opinions from real travellers around the world on over 70,000+ cities, 450,000+ hotels, 90,000+ attractions ,560,000+ restaurants and 2,000,000+ traveller photos.. TripAdvisor provides real advice to real travelers across the globe to help them plan their perfect holiday. TripAdvisor has hotel, restaurant and attraction rankings that are based on user-generated reviews. Travellers can add information on destinations as a way to aid potential visitors with topics ranging from transportation, activities and dining guides. Travelers can also post their own snapshots to "behind-the-scenes" view of hotels around the world. TripAdvisor also provides quick guides for a destination and an extremely vibrant forum, where travelers can post their comments of seek help from other travellers. How do you position TripAdvisor in the market? What is your marketing strategy? TripAdvisor is the world's most trusted travel advice since it is based on real advice from real travelers. It has been proven in studies that reviews of fellow consumers are more credible and trustworthy than any other form of information. I am delighted that this position has connected with Indian travelers and TripAdvisor is already the fourth most visited travel website in India, within just 15 months of our launch here. Our goals for 2010 are to penetrate deeper into the Indian market, increase reach amongst Indian travelers and increase the reviews content on Indian destinations, hotels and sightseeing/ attractions. We have a very aggressive online marketing strategy with search marketing as the key driver


of customer acquisition. In addition, we have par tnerships with key travel players, wherein we feature our reviews content on their websites. We have partnerships with Cleartrip, Travelocity and Indian Rail, wherein users of these websites can view TripAdvisor reviews while booking hotels on these websites. How important is an online portal in developing destinations? TripAdvisor is an excellent medium to showcase a destination since we get over 25 million global travelers to our websites every month. TripAdvisor provides ex tremely holistic information on a destination - at tractions or sightseeing places, hotels to stay in, restaurants to visit, as well as, information on transpor tation around the city, weather, etc. A number of Tourism/destination marketing organizations across the world have worked with us to showcase their destinations with excellent results. There are a number of dif ferent ways on the site in which a destination can be marketed to this huge base of global travelers. In addition, tourism organizations like state tourism boards, etc. can feature TripAdvisor traveler reviews about their destinations on their own website, which adds to the credibility of the sites. Could you tell us about your background and how did you come to the industry?

I am an MBA in marketing with total experience of over 16 years in the FMCG and internet industries. I spent a decade with Hindustan Unilever in sales and marketing. I also worked in the New Ventures business, where I started Project Shakti, a globally acclaimed

Managing Director, TripAdvisor India

Unilever rural initiative. This involved working with Self Help Groups providing livelihoods, while increasing marketing and distribution reach of HUL products. Af ter my stint at Hindustan Unilever, I moved to Indiatimes, where I was heading the eCommerce business. I was

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Contd. on page - 30


family Behind every successful professional there is a family which stands by him or her. With out an understanding spouse and a supportive family it is difficult to succeed in today's highly competitive professional world which demands a lot of time energy and attention. But this support seldom comes to the limelight. In this section ASIAN TRAVELLER introduces the families behind successful persons who work in the travel and tourism industry. Jagdish B Nair who is the General Manager of The Travancore Heritage at Chowara in Trivandrum, got married to Meena 21 years ago. It is Jagdish's calm and quite nature that Meena considers as the quality she admires in him most. "He is very much at tached not just to his immediate family, but to his siblings and other relatives too". But Meena is not happy with eena Kumari met her the long working hours which keep husband Jagdish for the first him away. "We miss a lot of family time at a wedding. Incidentally that functions during season." She does was 'their' wedding. "Something not think Jagdish is spending unbelievable for the new generasuf ficient time with the family "but tion", says Meena. "Ours was an since a hotelier's wife I am quite arranged marriage and we met happy with little time that he each other only at the marriage, not spends with us". once before, not even at the But she knows it is the same engagement". with all hoteliers. At the same time



she is happy that he brings home hospitality and hence his approach to any situation is in a very cool and in a polished way. "He is a recognized personality because of his job", she adds. "During season, he has lot of work pressure at the hotel, but once he is back home I see to it that he is kept happy and calm". The couple has a daughter Shalini J. Nair. "Unforget table moment in my life is the birth of my daughter, who came to us with the blessing of Mannarasala Amma." Reading is her main hobby and she loves cooking. "And my favourite dish is varutharachha Meen curry - the typical Kerala style fish fry." Though born and brought up in Kerala Meena spent a number of years in Northern India.

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Meena's favourite holiday spots are hill stations and Mahabaleswar and Matheran in Maharashtra are the ones she likes most. For the last five years she is set tled in Kerala. One thing she does not like about the state is the condition of roads.

Meena Kumari with husband Jagdish B. Nair and daughter Shalini J. Nair


personality Anne Sajeev who owns and runs an exclusive 4-star Resort in Kollam, Kerala, India became a hospitality industry professional by chance. She believes in providing the discerning traveller with an unforgettable experience each time they visit Fragrant Nature Retreat and Resorts.

ANNE SAJEEV Managing Director, Fragrant Nature Retreat & Resorts Pvt.Ltd Kollam, Kerala


How did you become interested in hospitalit y business? Venturing into the hospitality industry was an unexpected turning point in my life and career. This industry has of course always held a fascination for me. Quality vacation with a new and exciting experience each time is something my family and I try to do at least once every year and this did give me an insight into how a holiday experience can be made- which I think is a very impor tant aspect of the hospitality business. My entry into this fascinating industry happened by chance. We saw a beautiful piece of land up for sale, saw its great potential in creating a beautiful holiday experience, and there this journey began. What is your current role at your company? I am the Managing Director, Fragrant Nature Retreat and Resor ts Pv t. Ltd Kollam, Kerala. This Project was initiated and carried for ward with a lot of passion. In this role, nothing can give me more satisfaction than when I see the excitement and contentment in the faces of our guests! That is what it is all aboutgif ting an experience to cherish for a lifetime. What plans do you have for your company? Our vision is to establish Fragrant Nature as a chain of resorts and hotels and we are already in the process of identif ying ideal destinations and preparing project reports. We have just made our first introduction through the World Travel Market in London this year and we are presently working on creating and establishing programmes that would guide our esteemed guests to an experience that can bring them close to nature and rejuvenate them! We are also considering innovative options and activities that can contribute to the whole experience. As a travel industry professional what is your ambition? Where

would you like to see yourself ten years from now? The hospitality industry, as I can experience it now is a truly exciting one. There are no boundaries or limits to the experiences that can be created and gif ted! I believe in working towards making dreams into realities - to experience each day to the fullest and give it my very best. It's the journey that mat ters and the realisation that each day is an opportunity to achieve something really satisf ying! Well, ten years down the line I would still like to feel the same determination and passion to make each day an experience. Who or what has been the greatest influence in your professional life? Along life's journey, many things great and small can influence your life! It may be a profound advice or just a simple word. It could be from a wise man or an innocent child. Every encounter can be an enlightening one! I am fortunate to have wonderful parents who have always taught me to find contentment and pride in each experience. That nothing is accomplished without hard work and through it all, never to lose sight of your values and goals. I believe in the strength of prayer and am convinced that it gives me the confidence to face the challenges of each day with grace. My husband, Sajeev, is my rock- he gives me wings to fly. Ever-loving, he encourages me to always look ahead, learning from each experience along the way. And of course, stories of great accomplishments have always been a source of great inspiration. As woman, what were the challenges you had to face in your professional life? What is your advice to young girls who enter the sector? Every endevour holds challenges and I believe that challenges can be faced equally by both men and women. My advice to everyone who has a career to

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make would be - Life is a challenge- meet it with determination and pride, never lose sight of your values, have a dream and work towards making that a reality, learn from and enjoy that journey. Make each day an experience! What is the secret of your success? Hard work, determination, confidence and a positive attitude are important components of successful accomplishments .These qualities, coupled with God's grace, is the secret! What is your proudest moment (till date) in your profession? Each accomplishment has its proud moments. The proudest moment in this venture-may be yet to come- that is the hope of the journey! Now tell us about your family. I am blessed with a wonder ful family and am ever grateful for that great gif t! My husband Sajeev, is my strongest ally. He looks af ter our business establishments in the Middle-East, at the same time gives me all the support in this exciting venture of ours in the hospitality industry. Our beautiful children- my most precious gif t, are the joy of my life. Son, Ranjith is in grade 7 and daughter Rhea is in grade 3. They give fresh meaning to our life each day. We have a very close knit family- my parents, siblings and, inlaw and all of who contribute to making my life a love filled joyous journey. I count my blessings each day! What are your hobbies? I enjoy doing things that make me creative, happy and rela xed. I love music -it is something I enjoy tremendously. I enjoy reading, I love outings with family and friends, I enjoy good happy movies and I feel happy making others happy‌these are just a few of the things I love doing and the list keeps growing as days go by! I believe in living life each day to the fullest and wisely utilizing the opportunities that come my way.



WLH Awards Presented


Babu Alex, Associate Director, Marketing, State Express, Kerala, India


civil engineer by training, my association with hospitality industry dates back to mid 90's when I was a student in Technical University, Berlin and was working for a company by the name GIATA which is today one among the world's largest content provider for tour operators. While enduring my studies in Technical University Berlin, I stumbled upon the tourism industry which was in a nascent stage in Kerala. I shif ted my focus to this industry and promoted Indian hotels through a web based sof tware Indian Travel Business in early 2000. This had opened up new avenues to market Indian resorts and hotels among the travel agents and tour operators in the European sector. My debut in marketing was with Travancore Heritage and from their moved on to tour operations with GITC and presently I am associated with State Express as Associate Director. The challenge I faced on entering the travel and tourism industry really was to shif t my focus from one profession to a profession which still had to take of f in a big way in India. There is always a much matured, whole hearted, warm binding among the industry colleagues and being in the hospitality industry the all time companion is fun and frolic. Opportunity to travel across continents and experiencing varied culture viz a viz our culture is one among the attractive ingredients in this profession which adds spice to your professional as well as personal life. My family consists of my wife Smitha Babu, working in Future Generali, Trivandrum as Training Manager. We have t wo daughters, Maria and Anna studying in school. My wife is very suppor tive. She runs the house hold in my absence which helps me to travel around and do the job with a light hear t. Captain Krishnan Nair (of Leela Group), who made his debut in hotel industry in his early 60's, is for no doubt my role model in professional life. His amazing potential to popularize brand Leela in world tourism has fascinated me and encourages me for a better branding. I like to spend my free time with family and chit chat with my childhood friends in my native town, Changanacherry. Practicing yoga in Sivananda yoga centre, weekly classical music sessions, burning out calories at the pool with kids and eating out are my ways to rela x and unwind. History has always fascinated me and you can learn a lot from the past. The mundane silence of St. Petersburg with its amazing museums and typical architectural excellence has made an imprint in my mind as my favorite destination. But my dream holiday idea is a week by a lake or sea side with my family. My favourite sport is Football and Ronaldo is my favourite footballer. The most memorable moment in my life my first Europe tour with my wife.


he very best per formances of top hoteliers from across the world were recognized and celebrated at the 2009 World Luxury Hotel Awards glitzy gala ceremony in Thailand hosted at the Residence won the Luxury Suite world renowned lebua at State Hotel category, and Lion Sands Tower, Bangkok on the 27th of Private Game Reser ve was named November 2009. Top Luxury as the worlds best Luxury Game Hotels, Lodges and Resorts kept Lodge. their fingers crossed that they The leading luxury hotel would be amongst the category category went to Coco Palm Bodu finalists and winners. The glamorous red-carpet Gala Hithi, Maldives. Thailand bagged Ceremony evening was opened by eight awards including the lebua at State Tower, Bangkok, Santhiya Jennee Phasuniramol, Network Resor t & Spa, The Sarojin, Layana Manager from ASIAN News Resor t & Spa, Sofitel Krabi Net work followed by a key note Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort, address to VIP's including senior Dusit Thani Hua Hin, Silavadee management from leading hotel Pool Spa Resort, Pimalai Resort & brands by Thawatchi Arunyik, Exec. Director Tourism Authority of Spa. The leading Luxury Hotel & Conference Centre went to Thailand for Europe, Africa & Intercontinental Century City middle East regions. The World Luxury Hotel Awards Chengdu, China. Kempinski Hotel Gravenbruch Frankfurt won the is about congratulating hotels that Luxury Airport Hotel category and have taken the ex tra step with Adam & Eve regards to their Hotel, Turkey facilities and walked away ser vice as the leading excellence and Luxury Coastal as such Hotel title. dif ferentiated Solis Lough themselves Eske Castel from 'good triumphed as hotels' to the winner of 'exceptional the Luxury hotels'. There is Country Hotel enormous category competition in whilst the Luxury Kempinski hotel sector. Raja Gopaal Iyer, Corporate Director, Hotel Barbaros The standards UDS, Kovalam, Kerala with Bay Bodrum, are constantly Marinique Truter, Exec. Manager WLHA Turkey won the being raised to Luxury Coastal Resor t category. almost unprecedented levels of The leading Luxury Casino Resort luxury and ser vice. Good is no category was picked up by Hyatt longer acceptable. Only the absolute best has now become the Hotel & Casino Manila, Phillipines. The Luxury Lodge winning title requirement for the seasoned went to Royal Zambezi Lodge, Luxury Traveller said Marinique Zambia. Truter, Exec. Manager WLHA. Royal Mougins Golf Resort, Throughout the evening France triumphed in the Luxury category winners and finalists Golf Resort category whilst Lake where unveiled with live enter tainOkareka Lodge by lebua once ment by the famous Leelavadee again this year landed among the Quarted Band. Amongst the 22 winners and walked away with the categories South Africa proudly Luxury Country House category walked away with two winners, title. Cape Royale Luxury Hotel &

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vibrant gujarat

Gujarat to Woo Tourists with its Own Brand of Tourism ujarat plans to attract more tourists and travellers to the state with its own brand of tourism without "western gimmicks" like hotels and

Gujarat. He was talking at the inaugural ceremony of Rann Utsav 2009, a threeday desert Festival in the Rann of Kutch in Bhuj recently.

theme parks. "Gujarat's rich cultural heritage has the potential to make the state the world's top tourist destination," said Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of

Gujarat," he added. "We led the industrial revolution, the white revolution, now it's time for a cultural revolution.If a tourist goes to Agra, he would have nothing much to do after four hours.But if he comes "The annual turnover of the international tourist to Gujarat, he will see sights the international tourist industry is 7 trillion US he will not get to see industry is USD seven dollars, more than four times anywhere else in the world". trillion, more than four times India's national budget. And The festival which began India's national budget. I I want to bring in that on December 1 concluded want to bring in that money money here to Kutch and to on December 3.


here to Kutch and Gujarat. We led the industrial revolution, white revolution, now it is time for a cultural revolution," said Modi. "The annual turnover of

Kite Runners International Kite Festival of Gujarat elieve it or not Gujarat celebrates nearly 2,000 festivals a year! Among these the International Kite Festival, held at Ahmedabad on January 14 every year, coincides with the festival of Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti. Makar Sankranti is a festival that heralds a change of season marking the movement of the sun into the northern hemisphere. History has it that India developed a rich tradition of kite flying as a result of the patronage of the Kings and Nawabs who found the sport both entertaining and a way of displaying their prowess. In those days trained fliers were employed to fly kites for kings. Slowly, the art started becoming popular amongst the masses.



The localities of various cities in Gujarat turn into kite producing factories months in advance to Makar Sankranti. Members of various communities irrespective of cast and creed are engaged in the business of kites. Today, manufacturing of kites is a serious business. It even attracts big names of the corporate world who look upon this occasion as a costeffective opportunity for brand building. Although the Kite Festival is celebrated all over Gujarat, it is the most exciting in Ahmedabad. On the eve of the festival the build-up reaches a crescendo with The Patang Bazaar (kite

market), situated in the heart of Ahmedabad city, becoming the centre of activity. The festivities in

continues even after sunset and when illuminated box kites dot the sky. One can learn more about the history and tradition of kite flying at

Ahmedabad begin at the break of the dawn and continues all through the day without and intervals or breaks. The same passion

the Museum in Ahmedabad, which houses a very concisely yet colorfully traced history of kites and beginning of kite flying.

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tamil nadu traveller

Calling the Rhythms amallapuram, one of the mainstays among the tourist attractions of Tamil Nadu is a marvelous heritage destination as well as a popular beach resort. The ancient port city of Pallavas housing the world famous for its shore temple is

is in this backdrop the famous dance festival at Mamallapuram is being held. The event has been drawing more and more crowds year after year with renowned artists from different parts of the country performing here. It is held at the venue of 'Arjuna's penance', a bassrelief sculpted on the face

open-air theatre style ambience. This open-air stage was created about thirteen centuries ago. The dance festival falls during the months of January and February is promoted by the Tourism Department of Tamil Nadu. The Dance festival starts on the 25th of December every year and is conducted on all

situated 58km south of Chennai. There are many ancient monuments, caves, sculptures, monolithic temples at this place which has been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. It

two enormous adjacent rocks. The open-air stage and the dancers from far and wide come to watch the best folk dancers in India perform in front of them under the open skies in an

Saturdays and Government holidays, upto February first week. This year it is celebrated on December 25, 2009 to January 25, 2010. Indian classical dances such as the




• 16 •

Bharat Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Mohiniattam, Odissi and Kathakali are featured in the four-week long event. Along with classical, folk dances are also performed. Mamallapuram is easily accessible from other parts of the country and international locations as the nearest airport is in Chennai (58km). Chennai, a metropolitan city is a city with high connectivity to domestic and international locations. The nearest railway stations are Chengalpattu (29km) and Chennai (58km). Regular Bus services are available from Pondicherry, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and Chennai to Mamallapuram daily. Tourists can also easily hire a taxi to Mamallapuram. ASIAN TRAVELLER

face to face

Ensure that the Interests of Tour Operators are Protected The Hoteliers in Kerala are not doing anything to protect the interests of the tour operators, says E M Najeeb, Chairman & Managing Director of Great India Tour Company. He was talking to Asian Traveller about various facets of travel and tourism. Excerpts: We also have a good range of packages for outbound holidays to almost all nearby destinations. We also have products like Costa Mediterranean tours, Caribbean Cruises, Cosmos Globus tours for Europe, Eurail and others. On Economic slowdown Tourism sector world over has been going through a dif ficult financial patch and it has had a very constraining ef fect on tourism, especially on long haul leisure travel. But fortunately, we have On Cruise Tourism in India not been af fected much and business is The Great India Tour Company is one of the improving. We could foresee a comeback in the Preferred Sales Agent of Louis Cruises in India. tourism industry and worked consistently as if We are quite enthusiastic about this opportunity everything was fine and concentrated in ef fective because it is a niche product and is primarily marketing. We could also protect and nurture associated with the potential for stimulating the enthusiasm and sense of security of the staf f. economic grow th and generating employment. On his tenure as KTM President A study conducted in 2005 by CRISIL InfrastrucThe tenure I have just finished was the third ture Advisory on behalf of the Ministry of af ter the inception of the Kerala Travel Mart. Tourism had found that there was great potenThe success was the result of a combined and tial for India's cruise tourism, which has primacoordinated ef fort of many people involved. rily based on exotic and historic locations, The most important achievement I could see extensive coastline, strong positioning and the was that the whole tourism industry in Kerala expanding domestic tourism sector. Its posicould come together and work as one team. tioning in South Asia would enable forming of a Ensuring cooperation and involvement of number of tour circuits. Our organization has a organizations like the Airlines, Trade bodies, nation-wide presence at 18 locations including State Governments, National media and such important metros and cities in India. We have others was another achievement. We could also sales teams based at these locations who ensure participation of a large number of mobilize sales for the cruise including tours in buyers from dif ferent par ts of the world all this Kerala. For many locations it is a fly and cruise while. The enthusiastic and growing participaproduct. We conduct road shows, corporate tion of the sellers also was very encouraging. presentations and intensive sales for generating Kerala Travel Mart has plans to take up business. In the case of Louis cruise the target steps to make it reach out to specific source segment is people who can take a domestic markets, promoting tourism products. tour, because the cost is just reasonable for the Whether I am the president or not, I am fully cruise, cabin, food and enter tainment. commit ted for KTM's success. I will ensure that On New Plans my commit ted contribution will be there for the GITC has a very at tractive product line success of all KTM s. including packages of fering special experiOn Participating in Travel Fairs ences to the inbound tourists of fered at GITC has been attending major travel marts dif ferent locations in India. It of fers other niche from 1990 promoting Kerala as a destination products like Ayurveda, Medical Value Travel, and its various tourism products. In the case of Backwater and Houseboat holidays, hills, Kerala Tourism it started par ticipating in the plantations, and Eco tours and Event Managefairs later than that, but it has been doing the ment. For the domestic tourists similarly, we promotional ef forts with professionalism and have a range of products including pilgrimage, according to international standards. Though honeymoon, cruise, backwaters, exclusive there are many areas to be improved and Ayurveda and rela xation holidays in resorts. rectified, the ef forts and achievements have to


• 17 •

be greatly appreciated. Strategies and approaches of Kerala Tourism are appreciable and in the right direction. But Government should find ways to make such participations more cost ef fective and value added for the par ticipants. On New Projects? We have a project of a deluxe 5 star resort coming up at Bekal. It is a 160 key beach and back water resort and spa, situated in a 50 acres land. On Diversif ying Business Activities The new area we have entered into is a high-end spa and wellness business. The brand is 'Ela - the world spa'. The first one in the chain is getting completed at the 4th floor of Oberon Mall in Ernakulam. It will have spa therapies of the East and the West, Ayur veda, Hydro therapies, exotic choices of beauty therapies, gymnasium, modern salon and a spa cafĂŠ. It also will have a retail shop counter for 'Ela Naturalle' cosmetic products. On Direct Marketing The trend of marketing and sales all over the world is evolving. Travel & Tourism industry also is undergoing tremendous change in product development and marketing approaches. Though we have been in the field for a long time, we are not staying stagnant as a conventional tour operator. We are also evolving and redefining our strategies and approaches. In the world scenario of the Principals reaching out to the end-customers and the intermediaries are losing their relevance in their conventional role, we are re-inventing our ef fective role in the industry. We should adopt the good practice of Malaysian Hotels in Tourism. The hotels always protect the Tour Operators commission and they don't directly deal with any agents outside Malaysia. So the Tour Operators are forced to deal with the Tour Operators of Malaysia so that their interests are protected It is the duty of the hoteliers to protect the Tour Operator Interests in Kerala. Unfortunately the hotels are not doing this. The State governments should inter fere and support the tour operators' commission and ensure that all tour operators are working as one team and supporting each other for everybody's cause. For the complete version of the interview visit w




his is Performance Appraisal time for most of the organiza tions as the year 2009 draws to a close and the year 2010 star ts -the time for objective realization and goal set ting. And we do have all kinds of degrees of per formance appraisals: 90 degree - one person review (self or another, the boss), 180 degree - two person review (self and boss/manager), 270 degree - three person review (self, boss, and peers or direct reports), 360 degree - four person review (self, boss, peers, and direct reports), 450 degree - review by customers, 540 degree -review by customers and suppliers, and 720 V DURAIKKANNAN degree - review by stakeholders and family and the list could go on endless. Needless to say, there is a lot of resistance for the down-top appraisal. No boss wants to be assessed by his people down the line. Understandably people are scared of such reversal appraisal system. We do not need to have so many gradations for the reversal review - just one simple reversal review at every level is enough - remember there is only one single reverse gear in a car! Call it 09 degree if you will (as against 90). But that would be the quickest tool to set right any development-oriented organization just as it is easier to take the cheese to the mouse rather than take the mouse to the cheese as in a typical maze game. The following is unfortunately not just a joke but more of ten than not a sad truth:An Indian walks into a cafe with a shotgun in one hand pulling a male buf falo with the other. He says to the waiter, "Me want cof fee." The waiter says, "Sure chief, coming right up." He gets the Indian a tall mug of cof fee. The Indian drinks the cof fee down in one gulp, turns and blasts the buf falo with the shotgun, causing par ts of animal to splatter everywhere, then just walks out. The nex t morning the Indian returns. He has his shotgun in one hand pulling another male buf falo

with the other. He walks up to the counter and says to the waiter, "Me want cof fee." The waiter says, "Whoa, Tonto! We're still cleaning up your mess from yesterday. What was all that about, any way?" The Indian smiles and proudly says, "Me training for upper management position: Come in, drink cof fee, shoot the bull, leave mess for others to clean up, disappear for rest of day." A boss can make or mar a company. The man at the top is the change agent for good or bad for any organization. The three companies I have had resigned from in the past were more for the bosses I had than the very companies themselves.

A boss can make or mar a company. The man at the top is the change agent for good or bad for any organization. The three companies I have had resigned from in the past were more for the bosses I had than the very companies themselves.

stapler but then you would hold yourself back remembering the previous day's sermon. Ceding to the ubiquitous rule that boss is always right, you would say it was an airplane. Lo and behold! Again he would jump at you and ask 'Can't you know this simple kid stuf f that it is a stapler?' You would then try to explain that you knew it was but then only the previous day you were corrected by him to see and say that it was an airplane. Now be ready for another bark: 'I may say so many things, man! But where is your brain gone?' I always say that one can live with a dif ficult husband or a dif ficult wife but not with a dif ficult boss! Not on ear th! I had another boss who gave undue promotion to a much junior girl in the system just because she happened to have the same name One of my bosses of the said kind would call for a meeting in the as that of his wife's. We do not morning whether there was know whether it was out of abunsomething wor thwhile to discuss or dant love for his wife or absolute not. (Dave Barry rightly told in his fear for her that he did it. If this is book 'Things That It Took Me 50 what the bosses are about or do, how do we expect the organizaYears to Learn' that if you had to identif y, in one word, the reason tions to really grow or flourish? why the human race has not Patricia Haroski, who was a secretary at State Farm Insurance achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be Company, Dearborn, Illinois star ted 'meetings') He would for instance the Boss Day way back in 1958. The day was/is Oct 16 (interestingly keep a stapler on the table and would ask you what it was. You enough it was her own father's date would say it was a stapler. At the of birth - an exemplary boss in his very moment he would bark at you own way). That is the day all the 'Can't you see that it is an airplane?' staf f members are supposed to say You would be totally flummoxed. 'Thank You!' to their boss. I just wish that it be also the one day in The nex t day also the same ritual would happen. The same stapler the year all the bosses also take and the same question! You would stock of themselves as to whether they are doing their job right! be about to blur t out that it was a

I always say that one can live with a difficult husband or a difficult wife but not with a difficult boss! Not on earth! DECEMBER 2009

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For the Pious and Leisure Seekers m beach is one of the sought after beaches in Gokarana, a leisure come religious destination for the Hindus. The beach got the name just like the


fulfillment spiritually, physically and emotionally. It is also one of the popular holiday destinations of the region. Gokarna, a village in the Uttara Kannada

Om Parbat in Himalayas, as its shape resembles the Om sign, a spiritual Hindu symbol. It is the only naturally Om shaped beach and is hence considered one of the most important places for

district of the Karnataka state, India is primarily a temple town. It is located is about 200km north of Mangalore and 56km southwest of Karwar. Many long-term foreign visitors come to Gokarna,

as there are some nice secluded beaches nearby. Water sports activities including surfing, skiing and banana boat cruises are made available by the nearby resorts. The three beaches other than the Om beach are Kudle Beach, Half-moon and Paradise. They are located south of Gokarna. Kudle Beach is about a twenty-minute walk from Gokarna. The path to Kudle starts on the south side of the Ganapati Temple and goes uphill and then drops down to Kudle Beach which is a kilometre-long white sand beach surrounded by palm trees. Mahaballeswara Temple is one among the most important temples of lord Shiva. According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Siva was sent to Patalaloka

by Brahma to undergo penance. He eventually returned through the ear of Mother Earth and blessed her with the name of Gokarna which literally means the ear of the cow. It is believed that by visiting the temple one becomes liberated from his sins and one becomes free from rebirth by just looking at the Atma-linga, by hearing the roar of the sea, or by taking birth in Koti-tirtha. Hindus also come here to perform the death rites for departed ancestors. The major festival of the place is Siva-ratri or the birthday of Siva held in February. During this festival, a deity of Lord Siva is placed on the huge temple Ratha (chariot) at the end of the bazaar near the Maha Ganapati Temple.

Where to stay Swaswara ( Om Beach Resort (

Karnataka Unveils New Tourism Policy


overnment of has Karnataka has unveiled the Tourism Policy for 200914 recently in Bangalore. According to the policy the state aims to attract Rs 25,000 crore in investments as it is was investor friendly and focused on promoting home stays and resorts. G Janardhana Reddy, Tourism Minister, Karnataka said, As per the new Tourism Policy, all 176 taluks of the state will be covered under five categories based on their tourist attraction: Category A, B, C, D and E. The Policy


offers subsidies ranging from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 30 lakh. Investment to the tune of Rs 50 crore on home stays will receive stamp duty exemption up to 50 per cent; the same will be 75 per cent for investments above Rs 50 crore. Entertainment Tax is fully exempted. Adventure sports like scuba diving, mountaineering, riverrafting, para-gliding besides fishing, cruise and Heli Tourism along with cruise packages between Mangalore and Karwar ports will be encouraged. Amenities for

tourists will be made available at every 150 km distance along national and state highways. Medical Tourism will also be promoted in the state. Light and sound shows are planned in heritage and historical centres like Bidar, Bijapur, Hampi, Srirangapatna, Chitradurga, Kittur, Aihole, Pattadakal and Bellary. Hotel management institutes will be set up in five cities in the state with aid of the central government. The Centre will be pitching in Rs 20 crore

• 20 •

each to two of these centres, to be established in Mangalore and Bellary. The measure G Janardhana Reddy will go a long Tourism Minister Karnataka way in addressing the shortage of human resource in the tourism sector. Another such training centre focusing mainly on guest relations is sought to be established in Belur, a 10-acre space is identified for the purpose, he added. ASIAN TRAVELLER

kerala traveller

KTM 2010 From September 23 T

Riaz Ahmed President KTM Society

he next edition of the Kerala Travel Mart is sheduled to be held from September 23, 2010. Arrangements for the smooth conduct of the Mart have already on with the election of the Managing Committee members for the period 2009-11. Riaz Ahmed, Managing Director, Abad Group of Hotels is the new President of KTM Society. He took over from EM Najeeb, Chairman, ATE Group. Riaz Ahmed, the newly elected President of KTM told Asian Traveller that his prime concern at the moment is, "organising the Kerala Travel Mart in September 2010". This time KTM will pay more attention showcasing new properties in the state. "We want to give the new players a platform to showcase their product and thus ensure a bigger

participation." According to him while the focus of KTM 2010 will remain on Kerala, the Society is trying ensure the participation of other southern states also. "A lot of visitors to the south usually start there journey in one state and go through the others", said Riaz Ahmed. "So it is important for us to include them in the scheme of things", he added. Commenting on the

effect of the economic recession which has badly affected the industry he observed that though the

business class hotels had not been affected by the economic downturn, the resort hotels had suffered. "The KTM Society wants to give a better deal to the exhibitors by cutting cost", said Riaz Ahmed. KTM will also organise domestic and international road shows in 2011. Among international markets, the focus will be on the Scandinavian region, South Africa and Middle East. "The state has also witnessed the coming up of several new products. We want to display them in the domestic and new international markets," he added. The plan is to take the participants of KTM 2010 in its domestic and international road show promotions. KTM Society is also expected to be made the nodal agency to conduct the promotional activities for 2011.

KTM Societ y Elects New Office Bearers he Ninth Annual General Meeting of the Kerala Travel Mart Society held at Kochi has elected new office bearers for the 2009-11 period. Riaz Ahmed is the new President of KTM Society. Abraham George (Vice President), (Hon. Secretary), Anish Kumar P.K. (Hony. Jt. Secretary) and Jose Mathew (Hon. Treasurer) are the other members. Managing Committee members include Dr. V. Venu IAS, Secretary, Tourism, Govt. of Kerala



(ex-officio); Sivasankar M. IAS, Director - Tourism, Govt. of Kerala (ex-officio); K. G. Mohanlal IFS, Managing Director - KTDC, (ex-officio) and E.M.Najeeb

Immediate Past President (ex-officio). Ashraff C.C., Baby Mathew, K.C.Chandrahasan, George Dominic, Gopalakrishnan M.R., Jose

Dominic, Philip Mathew, Ravi Sankar K.V., Sanjeev Kumar P, Sejoe Jose, Swaminathan.S. and Vancheeswaran K.R are the other elected members.

Standing (L to R) S Swaminathan, Vancheeswaran K R, Sanjeev Kumar P, Philip Mathew, Gopalakrishnan M R, Mathew Philip (CEO, KTM Society), Ashraf C C, Ravi Sankar K V, Baby Mathew, Sejoe Jose, K C Chandrahasan and George Dominic. Sitting (L to R) Jose Mathew), Anish Kumar P K, Sajeev Kurup V, Riaz, Ahmed, E M Najeeb, Abraham George and Jose Dominic.

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Move to Take Over Golf Club Flayed onfederation of Kerala Tourism Industry (CKTI) has demanded the government should withdraw its decision to acquire the Trivandrum Golf club. The Club, which is more than 150 years old only the second Golf Club to be established outside England has heritage as well as tourism value, said CKTI President E M Najeeb and Secretary M R Narayanan in a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram. More over the club is functioning as per the rules and regulations put forward by the Government, they added. The Trivandrum



ITDC Signs MoU For Six Properties

Management Association (TMA) has also come out against the State Government's order to the Trivandrum Golf Club authorities to vacate the Club premises. "The government's present demand to vacate the Golf Club amidst the move to acquire the Club remains a mystery. Such moves can be seen only as an agenda to wipe out the historical Golf Club from the country's cultural map,'' said TMA President P T Nandakumar and Secretary V V Vinod in a statement. The State Government's move to take over the Golf Club has invited widespread

criticism from the travel & tourism and hospitality industry as their guests showed good interest in visiting and playing a round in this historical golf club. "The government should take steps to maintain it as a golf club. Instead of spending crores of rupees on a new Golf Club in Kochi, what they should be doing is to maintain this one as it is," said a senior hotelier from the city. Another tourism industry professional who voiced the same opinion added "if the government can't find the required funding to maintain it they should hand it over to some industry organisations like SKHF".

• 23 •


ndia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with six real estate developers across five states for new projects under its new brand name Ashok Alliance. The six new projects are: four-star Airport hotel in Kolkata by Shelter Projects; three-star hotel in Malout in Punjab by Silver Palm Hotel & Resort; five-star luxury hotel in Manesar by Manesar Developers; three-star hotel in Nagpur by Gupta Associates; three-star hotel in Jodhpur by Shakun Properties and three-star hotel in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan by Jagrit Infrastructure. ITDC had earlier signed similar agreements for a property in Chandigarh named Hotel Welcome City Beautiful and another in Surat called River front Hotel.



Tourism Sector Holds Promise for the Future two-day All India Convention of Hotels and Restaurants has been organized in Thiruvananthapuram, capital city of Kerala on December 7th and 8th. South India Hotels and Restaurants Association (SIHRA) organized the event. South Kerala Hotelier's Forum played host to the event. Indian Tourism: Past Learning and Future Earning was the theme of the event. There were panel discussions on subjects including 'India- A Mice Destination', 'New Generation Marketing', 'Business Opportunities in Kerala', 'Medical TourismEmerging Trends'and 'Management - Operational Aspects of Restaurants'. Eminent persons from the industry took part in these sessions. It is the tourism sector along with IT, which hold promise for the future of the State said Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan who inaugurated the two-day convention. The growth achieved in the tourism sector and increase in tourist


arrivals is a testimony to the fact that the State has become a world-class destination. The Government has made good progress in creating basic infrastructure facilities, he said. He added that hotels and restaurants have a major role to play in tourism development. "The tourists who come in for a holiday look forward to affordable accommodation, hospitality from the hotel and restaurant staff and good food. The President of SIHRA, M.P. Purushothaman, in his address, urged the State Government to bring down the luxury tax to 10 per cent on room tariff above Rs 1,000 and to remove the tax on other services. The government should also reduce the licence fee levied on bars attached to hotels as it is a service to guests. SIHRA has also called for rationalising the tax structure and to apply the industrial power tariff to the hotels and to reduce the bar licence fees, which is the highest in the country.

Dr. V Venu IAS, Secretary, Kerala Tourism, who gave the keynote address on day one said India still account for only 0.5 per cent of the international arrivals. "It was 0.35 in 1989. In numbers we have grown, but in market share we have not". He added that the country was sitting on a goldmine and the brand image is there to attract tourists. Cherian Philip, Chairman, KTDC; R. Rangachari Advisor to SIHRA; T. Natarajan Secretary, SIHRA; Suresh M. Pillai, Chairman of the Organising Committee and Shankar Menon, VicePresident, SIHRA were also present. Followed by productive sessions on new generation marketing, business opportunities in Kerala, Medical Tourism and Restaurant Management, attended by T Nataraajan, CEO, GRT hotels and resorts, M Natraj, Expedia, Sanjay Sethi, MD Berggruen hotels, T Damu, VP IHCL,

Elamaram Karim, Minister for industries, Kerala and the Industries department Secretary, T Balakrishnan IAS, E M Najeeb, CMD, ATE, Baby Mathew, MD Somatheeram Group, P Murugan, Secretary, SKHF and other industry majors. The sessions were fruitful for the industry executives as well as the students gearing up for their careers in the industry. There was high participation from different corners of the industry. The last session which features core analysis and strategy building for successful restaurants along with effective communication within the establishments got a lot of applause. People from the tourism industry greeted the event with high enthusiasm as they knew the events of the sort could boost up the quality and quantity of business. Experts also appealed for the inclusion of manpower generation and management for the industry in the future edition of the event. Sudhiesh Kumar, President, KHRA thanked the gathering for their presence in the event.

including more than 79 art forms will be featured on saturdays and sundays during the period.

and the local community in its various stages right from the beginning of the selection of art forms and

The event ensures the active participation of the local bodies, NGO's, Tourism clubs, youth clubs

venues. Utsavam 2009-2010 has a plethora of programmes, conceived and staged in a manner that

would eventually become a memorable experience for the audience. There will be lecture demonstrations and interpretations with the help of flyers. The senior most artistes in various fields will be honoured during the programmes. The event will be the first of its kind in the State with the active support of the Government and the local community.

Folk Extravaganza T

he third edition of Utsavam commenced recently and will be concluding on 28 February, 2010. About 2,000 artists are performing in this event over 26 days in all 14 districts of Kerala. This event is helping to revive many dying art forms in the state along with the promotion of tourism. About 364 programmes DECEMBER 2009

• 24 •



SIHRA All India Convention of Hotels and Restaurants

kerala traveller

GKSF Gets Off to a Colourful Start rand Kerala Shopping Festival, the 45-day long Kerala shopping extravaganza has been formally inaugurated at a glittering function held in Kannur. The opening ceremony held at Jawahar Stadium was marked by the large crowds


and a mega cultural show. The inaugural function was also attended by Ministers, people's representatives, officials and representatives of sponsoring agencies. T.M. Thomas Isaac, Kerala Finance Minister, who inaugurated the Shopping Fest said that the main objective of the 45-day

T.M. Thomas Isaac, Kerala Finance Minister inaugurating GKSF. Also seen are Kadannapalli Ramachandran, Kerala Minister for Devaswon, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Minister for Tourism, AP Abdullakutty MLA along with other prominent personalities.

long festival was to make Kerala an international shopping destination. The GKSF was one of the major steps of the State government to strengthen the commercial sectors in the State. "The government plans to extend the shopping festival spirit to the production sectors as well",

Balakrishnan who presided over the function said that from next year onwards, the GKSF would be organised by the Kerala Trade Fair Authority which was being set up. Devaswom Minister Ramachandran Kadannappally, MLAs A.P. Abdullakutty, P. Jayarajan, K.P. Mohanan and M. P Jayachandran, renowned singer and Jayaraj Prakashan, Principal Warrier at the GKSF inaugural function. Industries Secretary T. he said. Setting up a Balakrishnan IAS, Tourism handloom village at Azhikkal Secretary Dr V. Venu IAS in Malappuram and reviving and M. Venugopal, Managing the KodungallurDirector of the Federal Kottappuram weekly fairs Bank, title sponsor of the were part of this plan, added event, were among those the minister. Tourism present at the opening Minister Kodiyeri ceremony.

ATTOI Members Meet in Kuala Lumpur


ssociation of Tourism Trade Organisations India (ATTOI) has organized a three-day meet in the last week of December in Kuala Lumpur. This initiative was two fold ; one to attend a B2B meet with tour operators and hoteliers of Malaysia to develop

new ties and t wo to develop markets for taking Keralites to Malaysia and to bring Malaysians to India. The entire show was organised by Association of


by them just like us make Malaysia a very potential religious tourist source. Likewise Malaysia has already become a sought af ter destinations because of the pricing as cost of travelling to Malaysia is cheaper than travelling to Mumbai or Delhi. The dream of a Malayali in yesteryears was to fly abroad to secure a job; the dream remains the same but the reason has changed - now it is for leisure. Changing global scenario, increasing pay packets and economical ATTOI members at the meet in Kuala Lumpur destination makes very lucrative market as many want Malaysia an ideal destination. So we can expect to see an to come down and trace their exodus of a dif ferent kind from roots, or see the land where their forefathers were born. Besides the Kerala to Malaysia for fun and frolic. staunch religious values followed Tourism Trade Organisations India. Kerala Tourism has supported this initiative whole hear tedly as this was one of the first in taking brand Kerala and its ef forts to the nex t level. A sizable Malaysian population consists of second and third generation of Indians makes it a

• 26 •

Vijay Thakur RRee -elected IA resident IATTO PPresident


ijay Thakur has got reelected as President of The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO). The IATO National Commit tee which was held recently at The Lalit, New Delhi has also elected Arjun Sharma (Sr Vice President), Pronab Sarkar (Vice President), Rajesh Mudgill (Hon. Secretary), Lally Mathews (Hon. Treasurer), Atul Rai (Hon. Joint Secretary) and Subhash Goyal,(Immediate Past President). An Exe. Commit tee (active) consisting Jatinder S. Taneja, Naresh Sharma, Sanjay Razdan, Tony Marwah and Vikram Madhok and Executive Commit tee (allied) including N.S. Rathor, Sunil C. Gupta, Sunil Sikka, Praveen Chugh as Returning Of ficer and Gour Kanjilal as Exe. Director has also been elected.



The Leela Wins Three Hotelier India Awards


he Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts has bagged three awards at the Hotelier India Awards 2009, the only industry awards in Hospitality including the coveted 'GM of the year' for Biswajit Chakrabor ty, GM, The Leela Kovalam. Other Leela winners from Leela Group are Kunal Chauhan (Food and Beverage Manager of the year) and Neesha Mohapatra (HR Manager of the year) - both from The Leela Gurgaon.

The winners with Vivek Nair, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts

The Leela Kempinski Kovalam Gets 'Preferred Hotels' Recognition


he Leela Kempinski Kovalam Beach has beenrecently recognized by 'Preferred Hotels' for philanthropy, community and environment initiatives. Great Initiatives for Today's (Tomorrow's) Society, was created to recognize exceptional actions on the part of member hotels and employees in the areas of philanthropy, environment, and community. The purpose of this program is to take these great ideas for giving and multiply them," explained John Ueberroth, CEO, Preferred Hotel Group. "The goal of GIFTTS is to recognize the efforts of our members, highlighting them as 'best practices' in the industry."

DECEMBER 2009 IITM, Hyderabad, India

December 4 - 6

HITEX Leisure Expo-2009, Hyderabad, India

December 11- 13

JANUARY 2010 Hoteltech & Baketech Show, Kochi, India Travel & Tourism Fair, Chennai, India

January 6-10 January 8 - 10

Travel & Tourism Fair, Bangalore, India

January 15 - 17

Hospitality World 2010, Mumbai, India

January 21 - 23

ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF), Brunei

January 21 - 28

FEBRUARY 2010 Travel & Tourism Fair, Mumbai, India Travel & Tourism Fair-Delhi, India ITTE 2010, Mumbai, India

February 6-8 February 11-13 February 18 - 20

India International Travel Mart, Cochin India

February 19-21

MARCH 2010 ITB Berlin, Germany

March 10-14

APRIL 2010 IT&CM, Shanghai, China

April 7-9

The Great Indian Travel Bazaar '10, Jaipur, India

April 11-13

Satte Openworld, Delhi, India

April 24-26


• 29 •


variety Contd from page - 10


2. 3.

Enron was first named Enteron but then quickly changed to Enron. Why? What is the meaning of the river name Mekong in Thailand? Which country does Easter Island belong to? 4. 5.


Mekong River

Which drink is called 'mother's ruin' in UK? Eskimos do not call themselves Eskimos but Inuit. What do 'Eskimo' and 'Inuit' mean?

Where is the Biblical Mount Ararat now? What is Tiger Wood's religion? Tyre is the fourth largest city in Lebanon. What does the name mean? 9. When is the World Aviation Day celebrated? 10. Which are the only mammals that can fly?

Tiger Wood

6. 7. 8.

Mount Ararat

Compiled by DEEKAY

Send in your answers to with TYKC27 in the the subject line. Answers should reach us before the 30th of this month. Answers to TYKC 26 1. Sicilian for 'bragging' 2. Warren Buf fet t 3. Spanish guitarist Francisco Tarrega (1902); adopted by Nokia in 1993 4. Cuba, Estonia, and Latvia (99.8 pc) 5. Air France 6. Thai Airways 7. A millipede will not bite 8. Cincinnati 9. For the film 'Pygmalion' of which he was the author 10. It is Portugal for 'beautiful'


responsible for the shopping and travel verticals, and launch the Art and Auto business lines during my stint there. My last assignment prior to heading TripAdvisor in India, was spearheading Expedia's entry into India. Tell us about your experience so far? Is there an unforget table moment in your career which you can share with us? There have been a few moments in my career that have been ex tremely rewarding and memorable. Harvard Business School featuring Project Shakti in a case study, being listed amongst India's Top Young Executives, and TripAdvisor becoming a Top 5 travel site in India within a year of launch, would count amongst these. What plans - immediate and long term - do you have? My immediate goal is to ensure that TripAdvisor becomes India's most popular travel site within the nex t couple of years. We are well on our way to get ting there and I am confident that it is a mat ter of time. Where would you like to see yourself, say, 10 years from now? Tough one, 10 years is a long time to foresee. I could either be running my own enterprise or travelling, listening to music, reading and playing golf… Now tell us about your family. My wife, Malini, with a few partners, runs her own ex tremely successful management consulting out fit. We have two children Raghav, who is 10 and Ayesha, who is 8. Tell us about your hobbies and other interests. I am an outdoors person and enjoy a wide variety of sports, Golf being the current favorite. I love seeking out and watching wildlife, particularly birds, and travelling to new destinations with the family is a massive rush. Apart from this, I enjoy art and have a small collection that I keep trying to add to. I am stuck in the past as far as music is concerned, where the old rock bands from the 60's and the 70's still rule! I love to read non-fiction (when I can muster the time!) - particularly management books and the autobiographies of political leaders and sportspersons. Which is your favorite destination and why? Bangalore is a special favourite since I grew up there and have loads of friends. The climate is spectacular too, even now. However I absolutely loved South Africa, particularly the wildlife which was completely out of the world.

SUWARNA NAIK Tilak Nagar, Kurla, Mumbai

One all-correct entry will get Free Stay at Le-Meridien, Kochi

[ 2 nights and 3 days for two ]* Nestled amongst 25 acres of coconut groves and backwater rivers, Le Méridien Cochin Resort & Convention Centre sits at the heart of one of India's most naturally beautiful cities, Kochi. This prestigious landmark houses 5 floors of luxurious accommodation for international business and leisure travelers. The 151 spacious rooms and suites, most with breathtaking views over the manicured gardens and the backwaters. * Conditions apply


Nimal Panicker has joined SP Grand Days, Thiruvananthapuram, as General Manager

• 30 •

Prasad R, has joined BCG Harbour View Residency, Cochin as F&B Manager

Biju Mathew has joined The Muthoot Plaza, Thiruvananthapuram, as Sales Manager


Asian Traveller December 2009  

Travel & Trade Publication on travel and tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region

Asian Traveller December 2009  

Travel & Trade Publication on travel and tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region