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in. this issue . Vol.5 No. 11 AUGUST 2012

14. Louvre Hotels launches its Royal Tulip 15. IRCTC launches Dazzling and Karizmatic Dubai 16. Taiwan’s North Coast awaits in full bloom to flower your aspirations

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18. Lantau Islands an inspiring MICE destination in Hong Kong 20. More fun in Philippines focuses on Indian tourists 29. MEGA Maldives Airline expands its operation P 24-25 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

WOMAN OF THE MONTH

TEN QUESTIONS

AS I TRAVEL

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P 10

P 12-13

P 26-27

Dr. P g palanisamy

rimi dutta

mervin isaac

V Duraikkannan

Cover: WTO, Wayanad

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ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012


Incredible India

EDITOR’S NOTE

Editor & Publisher

:

G. Biju Krishnan

Photo Editor

:

Retheesh Kariyam

Chief Executive Officer

Art Editor

Senior Sub Editor

R. Parameswaran, Lekshmi P, Smitha R

Director - PR (Mumbai)

:

Ashok Bania

:

Jayachandran S

:

P. Deenadayalu

Marketing Coordinator

Financial Advisor Legal Advisor

GM -Tamil Nadu

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012

:

Dhanya Rajan

:

Adv. G.S. Prakash

: Jiju K. Thomas Tel: 281-709-5433

UK

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Biju Kumar N Krishnadas P

USA

: Abdul Najeeb Tel: 0044-7769940391

UAE

rr acrin a G. Biju Krishnan Editor & Publisher editor@mediastepsindia.com +91 9447555222

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Editorial Team :

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M. P. Sreekumar

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here is no better way than networking to grow tourism industry of a country. Cooperation, which has its root in networking or say an extended form of networking, between tourism authorities of two countries that percolates into industry players and allied sectors is the key to success, especially in troubled economic times such as the one the entire world is going through now. When people network or cooperate, it’s the united effort that is in action. And we know what united efforts can do to reverse adverse situations. It should have been this realisation that prompted travel and tourism industry to organise so called travel marts and other such events year round in different parts of the globe. If one misses one event, one could attend the next and make up for the missed event – an unparalleled opportunity to be part of the global network of travel industry. It’s a platform where industry players from across the world can gather under a single roof and chart new strategies for integrated growth. The more frequent they meet, the more the relationship strengthens, the more they become open about sharing valuable information and the more they behave as members of a one big family! When the belongingness is developed the more they shed inhibitions and work for mutual benefits. What emerges is nothing less than a win-win situation for all the stakeholders. The next biggest rendezvous for the travel and tourism industry in the current year is the Kerala Travel Mart (KTM). Though only into its seventh edition, the event held once in two years has already become a not to be missed event for the global travel trade. Held in Cochin, the commercial hub of God’s own country, KTM enjoys the support of Kerala Tourism, which is known for its innovative tourism products and services. It is the biggest gathering of travel fraternity in this part of the universe and offers enough avenues for everyone to network, cooperate and strike new business deals. To be held at Le Meridien Convention Centre, Kochi, one of the best convention centres in India, from September 27-30, 2012, the event is expected to attract close to 900 international delegates from around 50 countries and more than 1000 domestic travel agents. The mart, organised by Kerala Travel Mart Society, will surely be an event that will exceed your expectations and pen new networking and cooperation mantras for success.

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OVERVIEW

Kerala State Tourism Awards 2010- 2011

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n the backdrop of Emerging Kerala, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy presented the State Tourism Awards 2010-2011 in recognition of the excellence in 22 sectors relating to tourism at a function held at Mascot hotel Trivandrum. The minister congratulated the award winners for their earnest efforts in the tourism sector. Speaking on the occasion Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said, “Tourism is the most important industry for Kerala with diverse opportunities and the government wishes to seize the opportunity and go forward”. The state is ready for Emerging Kerala, and it will be held from September 12 to 14 at Kochi and it will be inaugurated by the Prime minister. Dignitaries from within the country and from across the world will participate. For the state, it is an opportunity to show the world that it has excelled in every field and that is what emerging Kerala is all about. Tourism Minister AP Anil Kumar said, “I am taking the opportunity to inform that from next year onwards 2012 -2013 Tourism Award will be presented during the celebration of Tourism Day on September 27. Tourism means it’s the combined effort and the private sector has a greater role to play than the government.

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Tourism has a long way to go, though Kerala is gifted with large water bodies, rivers and seas, we have not utilized completely for tourism and in the coming year’s government will help to utilize our water bodies for the tourism activities. The government will surely explore the various opportunities to boost tourism in diverse fields, he said. Tourism Secretary Suman Billa said, “Two attributes are essential for any enterprise to flourish, the first is innovation

and the second is the pursuit of excellence. Today, we have come together to put our hands together for those from the trade and industries, who have excelled and pushed the boundaries to emerge as the best in the field”. He said the tourism awards will act as a catalyst to spur greater level of excellence within the trade and industry and those who have not made it this time will make it by next time. Tourism director Rani George said, Kerala tourism is

The Awardees include: Best Inbound Tour Operator- Intersight Tours and Travels Best Outbound Tour Operator- Great India Tour Company Best Heritage Hotel – Coconut Lagoon Kumarakom, Best Five Star Deluxe Hotel -Le Meridien Resort and Convention Centre, Cochin Best Five Star Hotel - Gateway Hotel, Marine Drive, Kochi Best Four Star Hotel -Vivanta by Taj, Kumarakom Best Three Star Hotel - The Marari Beach, Mararikulam, Alappuzha Best Approved and Classified Ayurvedic Centre - Somatheeram Ayurveda Beach Resort Pvt. Ltd. Chowara, Kovalam Best Approved and Classified House Boat Operator -Rainbow Cruises, Alappuzha Best Approved and Classified Home Stay - Anavilasam Luxury Plantation House, Kumily Best Tourism Destination - Wonderla Holidays Pvt.Ltd Cochin Best Hotel Manager - Mervin Issac, General Manager, The Malabar House, Fort Kochi Best Tourism Related Report - Harilal R.L. Chief Sub editor Yathra (Mathrubhumi) Best Innovative Project - Greenix Village, Fort Kochi Best Photography - Joshy Manjummel, Ernakulam Best Tourism/ Hotel Management Institute - Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology (IHMTC) Kovalam Best Tourism Club - St. Joseph H.S.S., Thalassery Best Student Coordinator - Sonima Theresa, Darul Uloom VHSS, Ernakulam Best Teacher Coordinator - Udaya Kumar J., Bharath Matha Public School, Idukki Best Tourism Police - Sathyan C.Dharmadam Police Station, Kannur Best Tourism Guide - Ajaya Kumar N.R, Thiruvangadu, Thalassery Best Tourism Life Guard Award - Antony F, Vallakadavu

proud to honour the winners of various awards and she added that it would help boost the tourism potential in the state. KTDC Chariman, Vijayan Thomas said, “the tourism industry still has long way to go. It is not industrialized completely but to take the industry to new heights commercial plans must be initiated”. Confederation of Kerala Tourism Industry President EM Najeeb said, the efforts of 1.2 billion people working in the tourism industry in Kerala have made it what it is today. “For the last 20 years, we had three tourism policies, but the recent one is a comprehensive tourism policy statement that covers all our apprehensions if we look at any segment either in marketing or HR development, training or promotions or taxation or infrastructure. But, the government should take the right steps to implement the policy statements very effectively for the benefit of tourism industry and as well as for the people coming into Kerala for the experience,” Najeeb said. He went on to say that the Minister has taken lot of initiatives for the industry; one such is the Visa on Arrival in Cochin and Trivandrum.

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Not very often one comes across a hotel that offers an ambience of a resort. That’s what makes Le Royal Meridien Chennai a unique hotel. Its offerings are second to none to that of a resort. Besides royal facilities for leisure and business travellers, the hotel offers an atmosphere, where one can get to know the local culture in an intimate setting. Asian Traveller talked to Dr. P G Palanisamy, Chairman, Le Royal Meridien Chennai, to know the secret behind building hotels that are architectural marvels and its recipe to success, winning the minds of its guests. Edited Excerpts:

A royal hotel I am sure everyone will agree that Le Meridien hotels are architectural marvels. Why do you give so much importance to architecture and design? Design is important because it reinforces a sense of place and it invokes a special feeling in human hearts. Meridien hotels are built keeping the latest trends in technology, fashion and celebrity lifestyle in mind, and we do not compromise on factors such as accessibility, attainability and sustainability. Our sense of style, portrayed through our design aesthetic and brand mindset, is shared by our guests. We are passionate about the culture of a destination and we infuse an element of local culture into everything we create, to provide our guests with cultured touch points at every turn. Providing guests a thrill of discovery is what differentiates us from other

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brands. Each of our hotels reflects the local culture, architecture and history. Our high standard of service and the competency of our associates further make our property a perfect hotel in town.

encouraging guests to say, ‘wow’.

Given the connectivity, facilities and proximity to business districts, how What all facilities, do you think, should a hotel have to suitable is your property for business travellers? meet/satisfy the demands of Our hotel has been planned leisure travellers? Is Le Royal and built keeping in mind Meridien Chennai, a perfect the convenience of both retreat for them and why? business as well as leisure What are the other factors State-of-the-art booking travellers. Located between you are concentrating on tools for easy reservations, the international airport to provide a royal staying where preferences are and the business district, Le experience to the guests? noted and prepared prior Royal Meridien Chennai is Around 80 per cent of to guest arrival; wide range most suitable for business our guests are from the of comfortable facilities, travellers, as it provides easy international market. We including a fine selection access to the airport and the concentrate on looking after all of amenities for guests; business district. our guests, once they are here, recognition and personal Recent reports indicate that ensuring they feel at home and touch; and eco friendly Chennai is slowly emerging have an experience they will initiatives are some of the as a preferred meetings, remember for a long time. things today’s guests are incentives, conferences and Apart from our friendly particular about. and personalised services, we Le Royal Meridien Chennai events (MICE) location. How ensure that the guests enjoy is certainly a perfect retreat for well positioned are you to tap this emerging segment? different meal experiences them, as the above factors are The MICE business is a key at our inviting food and incorporated in our facilities beverage venues. Our and service delivery standards. contributor to the hospitality sector in several nations ultimate aim is to provide Our hotels are designed with across the globe and has the all our guests luxury and a wonderful ambience and potential to add to the overall chic facilities, enriched with beautiful landscaping, which development of India as a an experience. Our core make our guests feel they are destination. value is to focus on quality, in a resort within the city.

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW The lifeblood of any hotel is repeat guests. We are blessed with a steady high percentage of repeat guests. Recognition is the key to guests’ comfort and we consolidate repeat guest information into clear, intuitive systems that make it easy to find the information from a guest’s profile containing detailed demographics, preferences, history of visits and requests taken care of.

Chennai’s growing strength in information technology, automobile and engineering has prompted a few prominent international bodies to host trade shows and conventions, here. Similarly, pharmaceutical, banking and manufacturing sectors are also expected to bring convention revenues to Chennai in the coming years. We, at Le Royal Meridien, have concentrated on the development of MICE in Chennai right from the start. This emerging trend was anticipated by us well in advance and we had taken it into account while designing our hotel. We are proud to say that our Ball Room is the largest hall without any pillar and it can easily accommodate 800 delegates, without any difficulty. We also have the biggest banqueting area (close to 15,000 sq. ft.) than any hotel in Chennai. A look at the configuration of room inventory of our hotel - we have 75 per cent of the rooms in the base category - again reinforces our claim of being able to gain optimal advantage of the MICE opportunity. Our proximity to Chennai Trade Centre is also an added advantage, since we can conveniently offer hospitality

services to the organisers and participants of international events taking place over there. We can rightfully claim that we, Le Royal Meridien, are ready to cater to this emerging segment. We also actively participate in all the international and domestic trade fairs pertaining to MICE. How do you see the occupancy rate at your property and how do you plan to further better it? We have had a very healthy occupancy even during the recession and now the market is consistently picking up and hence business in India is very promising. We have a competitive value added rate strategy in place and our customised approach has broadened markets. Our hotel is the best in quality standards and highly competent hospitality associates make us a preferred hotel among international and domestic travellers. Our unique and beautiful lobby is one of the few lobbies in the world which offers an excellent ambience and vibrant sense of relaxation.

When it comes to the offerings for the guests, how open you are to introduce new experiences and services, keeping pace with the changing times? How important is such a move to be in business? For us, guests are of prime importance. To keep pace with the changing times, we constantly upgrade the knowledge of our associates and the management teams through seminars and workshops. The latest trend and technologies in the hospitality sector are analysed and they are put into practice. Intensive training is imparted on a continued basis and creativity is encouraged so that every guest is made to feel special and truly at home. Where do you like to see Le Royal Meridien Chennai, in the next five years? And how do you plan to realise your goal?

Le Royal Meridien has been a prime mover in the hospitality sector since its inception in 2001. It is a landmark for both the domestic and international traveller. Many historical meetings and conferences have been held here. The best team of architects are going to work on the renovation of the hotel, which should result in a hotel that is chic in style and a trendsetter. Not built on clinical lines, the guests can feel the warmth of hospitality in every room that are fitted with the best of high tech amenities. All these help us to maintain our leadership in the hospitality sector, not only in the city but also in the country. How proud are you to be the Chairman of this property? Why? I am proud because it gave me and my team an opportunity to create the property the way we wanted it to be designed. Everyone’s wish is to visit the Le Royal Meridien in Chennai. Having lived abroad for four decades, it has given me the perspective, as to what we need to give our guests so that s/he might have an extraordinary experience. We are truly a royal hotel and I feel the pulse of every aspect of the hotel, because I have had the pleasure of creating it.

Do repeat guests make a huge difference to the business of a hotel? If yes, how do you go about ensuring repeat visits?

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012

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Q&A

It was the interest in travelling and exploring the culture and culinary delights of a destination that attracted Rimi Dutta to plan a career in the hospitality sector. Once she entered the sector, it was her courage and determination that helped her build a decent career and grow to the position of Country Head of WelcomHeritage, from the humble beginning as part of the reservations team of the Leela Palaces and Resorts. For her impossible means I am possible and success is something that makes one strong and helps one to grow. Read more... What attracted you to the hospitality sector? Please take us through the early days of the career.

and helps them to explore new places comfortably. I started my career with Leela Palaces and Resorts in its reservations. Prior to my current assignment with WelcomHeritage as its Country Head, I have worked with brands like Ramada, Ananda in the Himalayas, Ista Hotels and Swissotel. As a woman, what were the challenges you had to face in building a successful career in this fast growing sector? For a woman, each and every step is full of challenges. But, if you have the courage and determination, you will overcome the leadership and challenges as well. I believe that impossible means I am possible, provided we have an attitude and determination to overcome.

Rimi Dutta Country Head, WelcomHeritage

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I was always interested in travelling. Since my dad was an engineer and every three years we used to move on to a new place, travelling was very part of my life from my childhood days. Every single place we moved on to had a different culture, heritage and food and it attracted me a lot. This passion for travelling, and exploring the culture and food of a destination gradually made me think of a career in the hospitality sector. I knew it is the only sector that caters to the needs of individual travellers

When you look back, do you recall the ones, who have exerted an influence in your professional life? If yes, tell us as to how have they changed your career for better. Yes, there are a lot of people who have influenced my professional life - my friends, ex- colleagues and parents. I must also say, they have supported me a lot. I have always learnt from them new things which have helped me to grow. How supportive has been your family in building a career in the hospitality sector? My family is my strength and they are pillars of my success.

You have worked with some of the known names in the sector in different capacities. How has been the journey so far and if you don’t mind share with us the proudest moments you like to cherish. The proudest moment of my journey was when my efforts were recognised by IHAR and was awarded for the same. I was the highest producer at Ananda and thanks to all my travel partners, who had a major share of contribution. What do you like most about Indian hospitality sector? The warmth that is given by our hospitality sector is most amazing. Where do you like to see yourself, say, 10 years from now? I would like to stay with the WelcomHeritage for the next 10 years. What is success is all about, to you? Success makes you strong and helps you to grow. What do you like to tell the young girls, who aspire to build a career in the hospitality sector? Be strong and focused. Which is your favourite destination in India? Why do you like it so much? Jodhpur is my favourite destination, as it’s my hometown. If not a hospitality professional, what would have you been? Professor. How do you like to spend your leisurely hours? Watching movies.

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012


ALBUM

Glimpse of Tourism Awards

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012

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Q&A

A true champion will always admire the part played by others in taking him/her, where s/he is today. This is the very quality one will find in Mervin Isaac, General Manager, The Malabar House and Malabar Escapes (P) Ltd., who won the best Hotel Manager award from the Kerala Tourism Department, very recently. He is a team player and has a high regard for his team. What makes him unique is his interest in people and it has made him a guests’ man. He is deeply in love with the hospitality sector and his work. A quality required for a true leader!

of a life time for me. My sister, Beena Vijayakumar (Housekeeping Director, Rotana Dubai), is a very passionate person when it comes to her profession. My passion for this industry stemmed from this and was fuelled by my personal interests in travelling, learning about various cultures, nationalities and experimenting with world cuisines. The charm and the challenge that the hospitality industry offers is rarely matched by any other. It has been a great privilege for me to work with The Malabar House and take the lead in this organisation. The success stories I have learnt from the Directors, Joerg Drechsel and Txuku Iriarte, have immensely inspired and helped me on my journey. Their support and faith has been invaluable in making everything possible.

Mervin Isaac

General Manager The Malabar House and Malabar Escapes (P) Ltd

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You have been in the hospitality sector for more than a decade or two. What made you opt for a carrier in this sector and how has been the journey so far? With more than two decades of experience in the hospitality sector, it has been nothing less than a journey

mention cultural exposure that we get. Overcoming challenges and situations in this industry has only made every success all the more sweet.

You have received the best hotel manager award at the recently announced Kerala Tourism Awards. How does it feel like being the best hotel manager in the state? Receiving this award is a great honour for me and my team. This achievement does not mean we will sit back and rest on our laurels. This is but a milestone that marks greater responsibilities and setting higher standards for us. I strongly believe that our most important asset is the people who work in the organisation. We are a wellknit group that takes care of team-work, to achieve the best results for our guests and clients. This award is a great example that proves that team After having spent so many efforts and dedicated work years in the sector, what do towards a common vision can you like and hate about it? take you places. I owe it all to What drew me in during my team for their unwavering the early years to this industry dedication and support. still has a hold over me - the Of course, you should be opportunity to meet vibrant cherishing a number of crowds, the charm of visiting proudest and unforgettable exotic destinations, handling moments in your new challenges each day, the professional life. Do you excitement of seeing great mind sharing some of them projects take off and not to with us?

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012


Q&A One of the most unforgettable moments was when I received the National Award for the Best Heritage Classic Hotel in India from the President of India. It was a humbling experience as well as one of the proudest moments of my life. Every day when I interact with the guests in our properties - talk to them and listen to their stories - I feel that this is an experience unto itself. It makes you realise the depth in everyone’s words and where they come from. Everyone, who I talk to, leaves behind a part of their self and me a part of mine. This has enriched not just my professional life but has had a positive effect on my personal life as well. What plans do you have for Malabar House, as its General Manager? Our aim is to create a world-class group (Malabar Escapes) which offers unique services to our clients, imparts a positive benefit for the society in which we operate through high quality services, economic growth, environmental protection, community involvement and employment. Incidentally, Malabar House holds a unique privilege of being a part of the Relias & Chateaux, which is an association of the world’s finest hoteliers, chefs and restaurateurs that has set the standard for excellence in hospitality. We focus on setting a benchmark in delivering our brand promises to our guests. Establishing higher standards of living through boutique hotels is the mantra we will be focusing on. None of this is possible without the right team in place. Ensuring that we have a smart and capable team that is geared up for these

changes is definitely on my priority list. A good team is one of our strongest assets. Where would you like to see yourself, say, 10 years from now? I personally want to see myself excel in my job and make an impact at the place I work in. Be it today or a decade from now, this is crucial for me. My priority is to develop fresh ideas and implement them. In this ever changing cauldron of factors, changing when necessary for betterment is paramount. An approach to development can be directly linked to clearly defined business goals which do satisfy the organisation’s objectives. Improving and enhancing ability to the highest value possible is one of my goals. I would like to be at the service and share my experience to the future generation.

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012

According to you, what makes Kerala tourism and its hospitality sector unique and how do you see its growth prospects? Kerala Tourism has pioneered some of the most emphatic success stories in the hospitality sector in the country. From being a trend setter to a role model for others, Kerala Tourism is known for its continuous and consistent innovation in tourism services and products. Kerala has another inherent advantage - every district in the state has something to offer to every traveller, irrespective of their background. This has indeed made Kerala truly a global destination. Interestingly, neighbouring states of Kerala have started working on their tourism promotions, after seeing the success of its tourism promotion exercises. The spurt of change brought about by the innovative Do you think hotels measures implemented by have a role in developing a the Tourism Department of destination? If yes, please Kerala has already started detail. rewriting how tourism will One of the most redeeming impact the hospitality sector. factors about a property is Please tell us about your that they work tirelessly hobbies and other interests? to promote a destination I love people! They - not just its immediate interest me and I go to great surroundings but also lengths to know them more. surrounding locales, the state My love for long drives and eventually the country allows me to visit places it is located in. We work on where I’ve always wanted broadcasting the USPs of a to travel to. Being in the location, which in turn brings hospitality industry has only in attention to the place helped me keep my hobbies from the world over. From and interests alive. creating global awareness to Which is your favourite generating jobs at regional level, properties have nothing destination? Why? I love hills stations. I less than a duty to their believe that hill stations are locations to promote it. For instance, The Malabar a traveller’s paradise. From snowy peaks to green valleys House, having been the first boutique hotel in fort Cochin, and deep gorges, not to mention misty woods, wild has helped a great extent meadows and azure lakes, in making fort Cochin a hills stations have it all. destination.

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NEWSLINE

Louvre Hotels launches its Royal Tulip

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ouvre Hotels Group announced the opening of its first ‘Royal Tulip’at Navi Mumbai, in partnership with city-based Concrete Builders. With Royal Tulip brand, Louvre Hotels Group becomes part of Navi Mumbai, the largest planned cities in the world. The first 5 Star Luxury Hotels, Royal Tulip in Navi Mumbai captures the essence of city’s rich and diversified culture with elegant and luxurious facilities. It is just 40 kms from Mumbai International Airport and 2 kms from the upcoming International Airport. Demonstrating a fine blend of European and Indian sensibility, the distinctive two giant towers of Royal Tulip at Navi Mumbai stand tall on its architectural features. It is set to offer customers with world-class luxury and warmth of Indian hospitality with its finest amenities, exotic range of cuisines and recreation options that makes it a class apart. The Luxury hotel has 97 rooms, each exuding an ambience that is steeped in rich classical décor and, includes plush international

of Royal Tulip Navi Mumbai, we have forayed into the hospitality sector as well. As Navi Mumbai lacks high end luxury hotels, we decided to tap this opportunity and give the city, a luxury hotel which shall turn into a landmark product in the hospitality landscape of Navi Mumbai.” The Royal Tulip Navi Mumbai experience is a gateway into a new world amenities The hotel also We are confident that the of discovery and personal features six theme suites upcoming international enrichment, where every that recreate the splendor airport at Navi Mumbai touch-point creates an of Royal Dynasties in their would have global visibility unforgettable memory stately rooms, these include and thus we see tremendous for its revered guests. Its the Mughal, Rajput, Maratha, potential. These new hotels Pallava, Maurya and will provide the travelers with special dining services include Mukammal that the Nizam. more options to experience offers traditional Awadhi The meetings and luxury. We are very bullish cuisine, Kahwa, the coffee conference facilities at this on the Indian market and shop inspires the legendary hotel accommodate private are aggressively looking at elixir of Kashmir, Pakistan and exclusive gatherings. It developing Louvre branded has five elegantly designed hotels in India. We are a long and Afghanistan,. The Connoisseur Lounge – Bar meeting rooms along with a term player and looking at that serves amazing varieties lavish Executive Board Room, long term associations in the of international wines, scotch featuring an in-house video Indian Market.” whiskeys, premium beverages conferencing facility that adds Concrete Builders and cocktails and the Plunge a new dimension keeping in Chairman Suresh Wadhwa – The Poolside beckons the mind the needs of all astute said, “We have a substantial visitor to a refreshing dip and business travelers. contribution in shaping at night it transforms into a Louvre Hotel Group the country’s skyline with perfect party place. It also Managing Director - South developments spanning provides health and fitness, Asia Vimal J. Singh said, across residential and the Limousine Service with the “Navi Mumbai is being well commercial sector. We are latest BMW 5-series cars and developed as an extension aggressive in expanding our of our commercial capital. presence and with the launch pet services.

Hotel Sahara Star bags Today’s Traveller Awards

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ahara Star, the flagship hotel of Sahara India Pariwar, poised with its picturesque tropical lagoon is one of India’s most sought-after 5 star hotels that was honored the Best Business Hotel Award recently by Today’s Traveller Awards 2012. Aamby Valley City and Hotel Sahara Star, CEO Vivek Kumar, received the awards from Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay for the Best Business Hotel in Mumbai to the Hotel Sahara Star and the award for Independent India’s first planned city to Aamby Valley City.

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Vivek Kumar said, it is a moment of great pride for Hotel Sahara Star and Aamby Valley City to be awarded with the ‘Today’s Traveller award’. This accolade, he said, recognizes the outstanding journey of performance which would not be possible without the relentless joint effort of Team Sahara Star and Team Aamby Valley City. “We are very conscious of the tremendous expectation and shall benchmark our standards and service delivery to our esteemed citizens. It is indeed a great honour to be nominated

by industry peers for this. Hotel Sahara Star has always been committed to excellence in the hospitality sector and their zeal is sure to bring them more such accolades in the future,” he said.

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012


NEWSLINE

IRCTC launches Dazzling and Karizmatic Dubai

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he Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) launched two overseas packages including its first `Dazzling Dubai’ a fivenight / six-day package tour at a price of Rs. 44,270 and `Karizmatic Dubai’ a three nights/four days package open for 42 tourists from Mumbai by September 27 at an approximate tariff rate of Rs 37,000 per person. The Dazzling Dubai package has generated tremendous response and all tickets have been booked for the journey that begins on August 21, this year. Incorporating travel by air, land and rail, the journey is scheduled to begin from

Bhopal in an AC-II tier coach by train and on reaching Mumbai the next day, the onward journey will begin by air to Dubai. The itinerary includes: A visit to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building (2723 ft with 163 floors) in the world, a halfday Dubai City tour; a Dhow Cruise down the Dubai creek through fascinating lights and lilting music while enjoying a sumptuous dinner. With that, the visitors can opt for a desert safari adventure trip. “The package is planned in such a way so that the tourists may get enough time at their leisure, as well, to explore the many sights and sounds of Dubai on their own,” IRCTC Spokesman Pradeep Kundu said.

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012

The Karizmatic Dubai package will include economy class travel by Jet Airways and sight-seeing arranged in AC coaches with push-back seats. Its itinerary includes Dubai city tour, desert safari with barbeque dinner and belly dancing show, dhow cruise with exclusive dinner and a visit to Mall of Emirates.

Tourists will be taken to the snow park and Burj Khalifaworld’s tallest building. They will have to pay the entrance fees in case they want to visit the two places. By entering into the Outbound Tourism sector, IRCTC hopes to conduct many such tours to other popular international tourist destinations in future.

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NEWSLINE

Taiwan’s North Coast awaits in full bloom to flower your aspirations

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ome August Taiwan, rich in scenic beauty and several amazing National Scenic Areas, stands out for the North Coast Flower Festival. This stretch attracts many visitors with sunflower, zinnia grass, common cosmos and lotus bloom covered field’s looks like an intricate tapestry. Along the Provincial Highway No.2 from Danshui, passing through Sanzhi, Shimen, Jinshan and Wanli, 70 hectares of flowers create a sea of blossoms and beauty known as the “north coast flower sea.” A bicycle ride along the road or just a walk around is all that one needs to do to experience and shoot the breeze in the beauty and fragrance of flowers. The season from June to August, the beautiful North Coast and Guanyinshan National Scenic Area comes to full bloom, thanks to the flower festival. Moreover, adding to the fervour the North Coast and Guanyinshan National Scenic Area Administration, Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications is collaborating with The Kite Promotion Association

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of Shimen to host a “Kite Experiencing” activity, including kite DIY, kite flying, and a tour of the scenic spots in Shimen. Open to 30 participants for free in two sessions, one on August 18 and the other on August 25.

The geological marvels of North Coast is worth seeing, such as the huge igneous boulders of the Jumping Stone Coast, and the natural stone arch of Shihmen is formed over centuries by wind and water erosion. Further along

the coast is one of the most amazing and strangest of Taiwan geological wonders: the Yeliou Geological Park. Sedimentary rock over 200 million years old stretches as a peninsula north into the sea. The combined effect of the wind and waves has, shaped the rock into a series of natural sculptures which are both unusual and beautiful. Most famous among these is the Queen’s Head, which seen from the right angle, resembles the profile of an Egyptian queen complete with full head and a crown. There are also many other interesting formations, such as the Tofu Rock, which looks like giant slabs of smooth tofu, the Fairy Shoe, which resembles a huge traditional Chinese slipper, and the Candle Rocks, which look like slender pillars of candles standing along the shore. This stretch of the coast is also one of the best places on the island for viewing migratory birds, especially in spring and autumn. In addition to the natural scenic wonders of the coast, the old port of Danshuei is among the most charming places in Taiwan to get a sense of its history. So what are you waiting for? Book a trip to Taiwan’s North Coast today!

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012


NEWSLINE

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012

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NEWSLINE

Lantau Islands an inspiring MICE destination in Hong Kong

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f there is a paradise on earth, its here at Lantau Island, Hong Kong’s largest island where one can experience the spotless nature’s hidden treasures staying in connoisseur restaurants with the state-ofthe-art facilities for Meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE), making it an ideal business-leisure destination . Termed a MICE destination, Lantau Island has world class hotels wellequipped to handle the largest events, to host worldclass meetings such as Asia World Expo. The Island features award winning infrastructure including Hong Kong International Airport. Located at the mouth of the Pearl River, Lantau Island is referred to as `the lungs of Hong Kong’ due to its bountiful indigenous forest and scarcity of highrise residential buildings that characterise Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Its awe inspiring MICE destination

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is only 25 minutes from the Central Island and its green attractions are ideal for group activities such as hiking to playing corporate golf tournaments and from watching wild dolphins to fun sailing-themed activities. Wherever your Lantau adventure takes you, there is a first rate hotel that provides complete accommodation, dinning and meeting facilities. The Island is also inundated with culture and beauty, which can be experienced by the

visitors while commuting in Ngong Ping cable car services that moves gently through the air and one can

see the magnificent Buddha temple. Initially the site of fishing villages, the visitors can explore these cultural dimensions, get hands-on conservation projects, learn almost forgotten traditional skills at Tai O fishing village and even study Kung Fu from a Shoaling master. Discovery Bay, the outdoor dining facility truly energise the guests with Chinese cuisine, magical entertainment at Disneyland and exciting shopping at Hong Kong’s biggest collection of international brand outlets. Asia World Expo, Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, Hong Kong Sky City Marriot Hotel, Novotel Citygate Hong Kong, Regal Airport Hotel, and the Airport World Trade Centre Club truly await the visitors to experience the MICE venues in Lantau Island.

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012


NEWSLINE

WelcomHeritage awarded the best heritage hotel chain

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elcomHeritage Hotels, known for its palaces, forts, havelis and resorts across the length and breadth of the country, has been conferred “The Best Heritage Hotel Chain” at the sixth edition of the Today’s Traveller Awards Ceremony held at the Taj Palace in New Delhi on August 7. Forty Hotels spread over 37 Destinations in 13 States gives WelcomHeritage, the fines collection of Heritage Hotels in India, ranging

from the grand palaces and forts in Rajasthan to striking hill resorts in Himachal Pradesh. It also offers an outdoors adventure holiday in the jungle lodges of

Today’s Traveller Award is the body which recognizes outstanding performers in the Travel and Tourism sector. Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Subodh Kant Sahai handed over the award to WelcomHeritage Hotels Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Kirpal. The award was given to acknowledge the exceptional achievers , who has inspired all the players in the Corporate, Entertainment and the Travel Industry and served as an example for others.

Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh to serene nature resorts in Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal, Punjab,Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim & Goa.

More fun in Philippines focuses on Indian tourists

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hilippine Tourism Marketing Office organised a funfilled four-day workshop in Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi from August 6-9 to empower its reach in the Indian outbound travel industry. The Department of Tourism (DOT), by inviting the travel trade partners, join hands in promoting the brand amongst Indian consumers. Crescent-shaped beaches with talcum powder-like sand, uninhabited tropical islands, lush dense jungles bristling with unique wildlife, historic cities, a diverse local cuisine and culture will really add more fun in Philippines for the tourist. One can also explore and discover some 7,107 clusters or chain of scattered islands, where English is widely spoken. Philippines which has been actively participating in road shows and trade 20

fairs in India has noticed a remarkable growth of 24 per cent in Indian Arrivals in 2011 and is expecting the growth rates to go up this year due to the new Visa regulations. As per the new policy Indian nationals will have a 14-day visa-free stay if they have a valid American, Japan, Australian, Canadian, Schengen, Singapore or United Kingdom visa. The destination, which kicked off its new campaign with slogan ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’ has been earning great reviews for the brand from everywhere. The

logo also bagged the Grand Prix Award for Best Design for Corporate/Brand Identity Category at the recent Adobo Design Awards 2012. Addressing the agents as well as the media, the team showcased a destinationspecific animated presentation highlighting why ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’. The DOT also organised an auction game for the attendees. The workshop included interactive B2B sessions for trade agents and concluded on August 9 with a press conference at Le Meriden in Delhi.

Department of Tourism, Group Head, Europe, India and the Middle East Director Verna Esmeralda C Buensuceso, Tourism Promotions Board, Manager (Travel Trade Promotions) Teresita Mauricio, Department of Tourism, Head, Team India Raymund Glen Agustin, Department of Tourism, Tourism Operations Officer Luisa A. Llave and Tourism Promotions Board Planning Officer Renato Panay along with Team India representatives attended the road show.

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012


ALBUM

Experience the magic of Wayanad Monsoon ‘Wayanad Monsoon Carnival’, Splash 2012, the three day carnival was held with all fanfare from July 13 at Kalpetta, the headquarters of Wayanad. Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of Kerala inaugurated the ‘Business to Business Meet’ organized in connection with Splash 2012, on Saturday, July 14

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012

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TAMIL NADU TRAVELLER

Tranquebar, a perfect driveway for the tourist Tranquebar deserves special attention, as it reflects the traditional Tamil architecture interwoven with intricate European designs and Scandinavian feeling, says Dr. S Bakthavatchalam

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ranquebar, a perfect driveway for the tourist to visit and experience the confluence of distributaries of the river Cauvery and the Bay of Bengal, the small town that lies beyond the baroque Town Gate has witnessed numerous trysts that had lent the place a steep culture and heritage by the end of 16th century. Known in Tamil as Tarangambadi meaning ‘the land of the singing waves’,

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Tranquebar was called so by the foreigners. An eternal paradox that embalms its charm relentless, Tranquebar is a small town situated on the Coromandel Coast in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu, which showcases the unique legacy of Danish aspirations. The town welcomes the visitors through an impressive two hundred year old Town Gate built in a Danish allure. It still safeguards many

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TAMIL NADU TRAVELLER

reminders of Danish heritage, most of them being colonial houses scattered around Kongensgade, the main King Street of Tranquebar. The homes are built with thick stucco walls, massive pillars that support classical pediments, verandahs on second storey and carriage porches that recall the early days of this busy trading centre of Danish culture. The town a vestige of Danish heritage was part of the Cholas and Pandya’s during 13th and 14th century. In the 15th century it was under the rule of the Thanjavur king and flourished as an active international trading port attracting Muslim traders, German theologians and Moravian entrepreneurs. In 1620, the Danish East India Company was established with the construction of the Dansborg

Fort and the trade languages on the coast were Tamil, Portuguese, Arabic and Malay. The construction of Fort Dansborg of Scandinavian military architecture was built by a Danish captain named Ove Gjedde as part of a treaty signed on 19th November 1620 between the King of Thanjavur and the King of Denmark mainly for exporting pepper from India. Tranquebar was taken by the British in 1801, but restored to the Danes in 1814, and finally purchased by the British, along with the other Danish settlements in India, in 1845. A pocket of Danish influence, Tranquebar is a small town where the first Protestant missionaries set foot in India by Danish King Frederick IV. Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Pluetschau opened the first

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012

It is completely free from inter-religious conflicts, as Protestants, Catholics, Muslims and Hindus live harmoniously. Another unique festival confined only to Tranquebar is the anniversary of Lord Ziegenbalg (14th January), celebrated on the same day of Pongal. A large number of religious processions start from all the shrines in Tranquebar integrating people of different faiths and they reflect unity in diversity. Other popular festivals are Christmas, Easter, Diwali, Pongal, Eid and Ramadan. After Tranquebar was hit by tsunami in December 2004, the developmental support and inherent craftsmanship of the townsfolk gave the residents a hope and today the town has a breezy and relaxed atmosphere. INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage), Pondicherry carried out restoration of printing press of India and the the neglected former British New Testament was translated Collector’s residence - now the ‘Bungalow on the Beach’ into Tamil for the first time in a Neemrana Group’s heritage Tranquebar, India. hotel and the Gate House - a The architectural Danish-Tamil style building journey of Tranquebar can on King Street also owned be traced back to the 14th by Neemrana. INTACH has century Masilamaninathar also undertaken restoration Temple built during the of the Shiva Temple, façade Pandya Regime. The unique restoration of St. Theresa’s architectures in Tranquebar Convent and former Danish deserves special attention, governor’s residence in it reflects many influences consultation with the such as the traditional Tamil Danish Museum of Denmark architecture interwoven with and now it’s turned into a intricate European designs cultural centre. and Scandinavian feeling. Two centuries of Danish The golden coastline and the heritage has left important legacy of the fort interlace cultural and architectural to render a distinct sense of imprints which can be seen the place. This rare blend in colonial houses and of aesthetics drawn from opposite corners of the world churches, particularly the Dansborg military fort is a needs to be conserved. perfect example of timely Tranquebar is home to developmental support, mosque and several old conscious restoration and churches and temples that heritage awareness. date back to over 300 years.

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KERALA TRAVELLER

Rowing carnival It’s special to visit Kerala when it hosts boat races, writes Abin K I

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ith Onam, Kerala’s harvest festival, around the corner, it’s time for boat races in God’s own country. It’s the time tourists can enjoy thrilling live action in some of the famed backwaters of

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Kerala. Locally known as ‘vallamkali’, boat races held as part of this traditional festival celebrated to welcome Mahabali, a legendary emperor who once in a year believed to pay a visit to the state, is also an opportunity

for travellers to delve deeply into the rich cultural heritage of Kerala. Oarsmen rowing the boats to the rhythm of ‘vallamkali’ songs and the onlookers encouraging their favourite boat are a spectacular sight to behold.

You can hardly resist being one of them! The action reaches its heightened levels, as the boats move closer to the finishing line. Rowing speed increases and so is the tempo of the song. Add to this the clapping and cheering

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012


KERALA TRAVELLER Nehru Trophy Boat Race is Punnamada Lake, Alleppey. Also, a number of big and small boat races are held at locations such as Aaranmula, Meenachil, Pamba, Achankovilar, Kallada and Korapuzha, during the Onam season. Traditional boat race season starts with Champakulam Moolam Race, held usually by the end of June or early July, every year. Pulimkunnu boat race, Payippad Jalotsavam and Aaranmula Utratathi Vallamkali, which are held during August/ September, follow it. Other major races include Kallada Boat Race held at Kallada River near Munroe Island, Kayamkulam Boat Race and Tazhathangady, Kumarakom and Karuvatta boat races. The main crowdpuller, however, is Nehru voices of the spectators that Trophy Boat Race. Since fill the air. its inception in 1953, it has Held during July to grown in its stature and September, most of the boat has today emerged as a races are associated with a brand unbeatable. Into its historical incident or event 60th edition, this three-day and some of them, like the event features snake boats, Champakulam Moolam which resemble snakes in Boat Race, date back to the appearance. Also known olden days. Boat races held as ‘chundan vallams’, in this part of the world are these snake boats are the so popular that they attract main attraction of Nehru people from different walks Trophy Boat Race. Here, of life in large numbers, from you can find a variety of across the globe. Among boats, including Iruttukuthi, the boat races held in the Veppu, Thekkanodi and state, most popular is snake Churulan boats. Nehru boat race, largely due to its Trophy Boat Race is usually uniqueness. held in August. It also holds In southern parts of Kerala the distinction of having boat races are treated as maximum support from part and parcel of people’s spectators as well as media. lives and they consider The race is organised by such events as part of their Nehru Trophy Boat tradition and living heritage. Society and it is colourful Popular boat races held in the in every sense. state include President Boat Boat races are also held at Race, which was started last central and northern regions year, and Nehru Trophy Boat of this south Indian state. Race. While President Boat Kandassamkadavu Boat Race, Race is held at Ashtamudi held at Kandassamkadavu Lake, Kollam, the venue for River as part of Onam

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012

celebrations in Thrissur district, is gaining state-wide importance, attracting a large number of spectators. A boat race named Biyyam is held at Biyyam backwaters. Organised by the Department of tourism promotion council of Malappuram, Biyyam Boat Race enjoys the participation of numerous country boats. Women participation makes this water carnival more attractive to the general public, who can watch the race from a pavilion custommade for this event. Another famed boat race held in this part of Kerala is Korapuzha Jalotsavam held at Korapuzha River, Kozhikode. All these races are held as part of Onam festivities. Each boat race is different on several aspects such as design and length of the boat, number of participants, duration of the race, etc. However, at each venue, you can hardly miss oarsmen stimulating themselves with rhythmic chanting of ‘aarpo irro’ and ‘thithithara thithithay’, a form of music used for the occasion. Watching a snake boat race live will truly be a memorable experience. Tourists can watch the races from pavilions or house boats floating in the water bodies. The racing season, which among other things showcases the charm,

harmony and spirit of rural folk, is a perfect time for entertainment and fun filled moments with your dear and loved ones. As far as tourism industry is concerned, these boat races turn an otherwise lean season into a much happening time for Kerala. During the boat race season, flow of foreign and domestic tourists has been decent so far. To give more visibility to such events, Kerala Tourism has included them in the tourism calendar. Besides it also has in place an aggressive marketing strategy to promote these water carnivals. Boat racing season has also taken the beauty of God’s own country’s backwaters, lakes, canals, estuaries and deltas, to international and domestic travellers. Onam is the state festival of God’s own country and is associated with the annual visit of Asura King Mahabali, whose reign is considered as a golden era in the history of Kerala. The festival lasts for 10 days and features a lot of cultural programmes, including ‘puli kali’ and ‘kaikottikkali’, etc. The festival is incomplete without an elaborate lunch in traditional Kerala style and intricate floral carpet. Added attraction is the boat races that attract tourists in huge numbers.

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COLUMN Incredible India

W V Duraikkannan

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e pride ourselves that we are living in an Age of Information but many a time I tend to think that the converse is true - that we are living in an Age of Misinformation! I just checked with a random sample of 10 teachers of LKG class as to what LKG stood for. Not even one was able to give the right answer, completely. Most of them answered Lower Kinder Garden (none knew the appropriate word was ‘Garten’ and not ‘Garden’) and hardly anyone was aware of the real meaning it conveyed. The parents of the so-called LKG kids were also not any better informed than the teachers of their kids. All of them were converging on the meaning of being more soft and being more nice to the kids for the word ‘Kinder’. But the fact is that it is the German word for ‘children’. ‘Kind’ is singular and ‘Kinder’ is plural in German for kid and kids, respectively. The term was coined in by the German educationist Friedrich Fröbel for the play

and activity institute that he set up in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg, as a prelude to the main schooling. His goal was that children should be taken care of and nourished in ‘children’s gardens’ like plants in a garden. That is how the word ‘nursery’ also came to denote both a place for growing plants and a school for tiny tots as well! If that was the plight of the LKG teachers, some of our hi-tech computer software engineers were not any lagging behind. All of them were CCNA and CCNP diploma holders. They were all, consoling enough, knowing that the acronyms stood for Cisco Certified Network Associate and Cisco Certified Network

Professional. But, when questioned as to what the name Cisco stood for and what its logo or symbol meant, almost all of them drew a blank. The name ‘Cisco’ is an abbreviation of San Francisco. The couple founders of the company, Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner, who were computer operators at the Stanford University, hit on the name and logo, while driving to Sacramento, to register their dream company. They saw the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, on their way to Sacramento, framed in the sunlight and they got their company name and logo out of that sight. Often our own facile suppositions, glib surmises and sheer apathy for digging deeper to get the complete dope lead to all kinds of misinformation. My son and I were driving down from

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012


COLUMN Washington DC to New York a few months ago. As my son was driving, I was relishing the beautiful stretch of drive - the nice road, the beautiful greenery on either side, etc. There were plenty of road signs all along, guiding one in terms of place names and distances, wayside amenities as well as hazards, if any. As the Honda Acura was noiselessly rolling on its way to New York, I could see a flash on the overhead electronic signboards placed perhaps for every 10 or 20 miles on the way. The board, apart from the other regular information, was flashing in addition: ‘Silver Alert - Mercedes No. so-andso.’ It was quite curious for me and even before I could check with my son what it was all about, he was telling

that possibly there was a car theft somewhere and that the state police were flashing the news. But the adjective ‘silver’ was not allowing me to settle down and I asked him about the same for which he conjectured that it should be for the level of the seriousness of the crime. And he added that the next higher level of alert would be probably ‘Gold’. But when I went deeper into it, it was absolutely something else and it was a pleasant learning for both of us. A ‘Silver Alert’ is a public notification system in the United States to broadcast information about missing persons - especially seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, or other mental disabilities - in order to aid in their return. The flash on

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012

the message boards was to alert motorists to be on the lookout for missing seniors, especially when some of them go missing with their cars. We all know that half knowledge is no knowledge and a little learning is a dangerous thing and yet that is what we are precisely indulging in. We are so much into content-snacking, thanks to our desktops, laptops and palmtops. We have almost stopped using our ‘necktops’ that are our heads. We are missing the depth of the real legacy of learning. Somebody rightly said: ‘The net ate my books!’ Alexander Pope rightly portended the pitfalls of our slipshod and incomplete way of learning as early as some 300 years ago in his ‘An Essay on Criticism’ in 1709:

‘A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again’ It is time that we took to a wholesome and integrated learning, while making use of all the modern day gadgets to claim that we truly belong to the Age of Information!

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AVIATION

MEGA Maldives Airline expands its operation

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EGA Maldives Airlines has announced its plans to develop new routes from Male, the capital of Maldives, to Melbourne in Australia, Johannesburg in South Africa and Tokyo in Japan, as well as one or two points in Germany. The MEGA Maldives Airline, CEO George Weinmann, said, “All new routes will be fixed-weekly, nonstop, point-to-point service using our 767-300ER aircraft, except Johannesburg, which may utilize our 757-200ER with 200 seats configured for long-haul operations”. Currently, Mega Maldives Airlines operates into Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing, as well as several other points in China and will shortly commence operations to Seoul and Tokyo. “Maldives is an attractive destination for Australians with nearly 13,000 arrivals in 2011 and 33 per cent growth. Being an island nation, Maldives imports a lot of consumables from Australia and exports fresh reef and ocean fish to Australia. Australia is also a popular

destination for Maldivian business. “Johannesburg, South Africa, was once a strong source of traffic for the Maldives, but lack of convenient air services has reduced demand. With new convenient direct services, we believe South Africa will once again be a strong market,” he said. With nearly 36,000 arrivals annually, the Japanese market remains significant to Maldives. Cargo services to Japan are also an important focus for both import and export. “Germany has earned the top market position for Maldives in Europe with over 90,000 arrivals and growing. In addition, we plan to open multiple points in Germany providing more convenient direct flight to each major sub-market. The Airlines also plans to add a third aircraft to its fleet, a Boeing 757-200W in August 2012 and it will support the airline’s existing services between Male’ and Hong Kong, Chongqing, and Chengdu. The Airlines currently operates into Hong

Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing, as well as several other points in China and will shortly commence operations to Seoul and Tokyo. The company was officially established in March 2010 and received its operating certificate in December 2010 commencing services into Hong Kong in January 2011. The airline operates three aircrafts, two B767-300ER aircrafts and has recently leased a B757-200ER. The airline plans to add an additional 757 and two additional 767 in the coming year. Mega Maldives Airlines is a private limited company incorporated in Maldives with its major ownership by a private Maldivian investment company with minority American investors. Mega

Maldives Airlines has offices and George Weinmann representation in Male, Hong Kong, London, Beijing, Seoul, and Melbourne. Maldives registered a 6.1 per cent tourist arrival growth during June 2012 with 59,379 arrivals. A total of 4, 58,068 tourist arrivals were registered from January to June 2012. This is an increase of 2.3 per cent compared to the same period in 2011. Outstanding growth during June was recorded from Kazakhstan with 308.5 per cent and Saudi Arabia with 151.8 per cent growth. With the positive figures in June, the Airlines is very much in line with the set target of 1 million arrivals during 2012.

Aviation Ministry lifts restrictions on Private carriers

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ivil Aviation Ministry gives approval for Jet Airways, SpiceJet, IndiGo and private carriers to increase flights to Gulf and Southeast Asia from October 2012 by canceling Air India’s right of first refusal on overseas flights. IndiGo will operate 63 new international flights every week, of which 28 flights will be to Dubai and seven to Jeddah and 28 flights per week covering Singapore, Bangkok and

Kathmandu. SpiceJet will ply 49 new overseas flights, including seven each to Dubai and Riyadh and 35 flights a week to destinations such as Guangzhou, Male, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Kabul. Jet Airways is given the nod for 56 new flights every week, including 14 to Kuwait, seven flights to Dhaka, Chittagong and Male, 14 to Singapore and seven to Dar-e-Salam in Tanzania. A senior official of the Ministry of Civil Aviation

ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012

informed that granting approvals for whatever routes the private carriers are applying for, doesn’t mean Air India’s interests are not kept in mind. Ministry of Civil Aviation decided to do away with national carrier Air India’s right of first refusal on overseas flights after the Private carriers such as Jet Airways, SpiceJet and IndiGo decided to increase flights to the Gulf and Southeast Asia. The Ministry’s move

seeks to reduce the country’s dependence on both Air India and Gulf carriers for connectivity to the Middle East. This will help the Gulf-based carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways to dominate the air routes between India and the Middle East. These airlines will fly to the Gulf and beyond to the US and Europe. About 40 per cent of the total outbound Indian traffic is currently routed through the Gulf region.

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VARIETY

1. Which sports star’s autobiography is called ‘ Open’? 2. Which country’s biggest TV network is Rai? 3. What is the meaning of the word Taliban? Rajeev G Wagle has been appointed Managing Director of Kuoni India

Leslie Thng has been appointed Chief Executive Officer, SilkAir

Rajiv Verma has joined Connect World Travel & Tourism LLC Dubai as Business Head-India & South Asia, New Delhi

4. How is the famous auction house Sotheby’s listed on NYSE? 5. Which is the next Olympic City after London ( for year 2016) ? 6. What was Alfred Butts’ famous invention? 7. Who created the Gmail? 8. When and where was the first ever Winter Olympics held?

Vandana Dutta has been appointed DirectorBusiness Development The Claridges New Delhi

Shridhar Nair has been appointed General Manager of Leela Goa

Bijal Thanavala has been appointed the Country Manager for India, Holiday Pacific Pty Ltd.

9. Which country sold its rights over Nicobar Islands to the British in 1868? 10. What is the literal meaning of the word ‘vodka’, the alcoholic spirit? Compiled by Deekay

Send in your answers to info@mediastepsindia.com with TYKC 58 in the subject line. Answers should reach us before the 30th of this month. Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has appointed Mam Puangthip Chotipantawanon as Director of Operations

Nutan Sneha has been appointed Sales Manager of Virgin Atlantic Mumbai

Neeraj Newton has been appointed Sales Manager of Emirates Airlines New Delhi

Answers to TYKC 57

1. Jelly Bean. 2. Enos, son of Seth. 3. Bogota, Colombia. 4. Three Rows ( Indonesian word). 5. Issued in memory of Gandhi’s Dandi March of 241 miles. 6. Nice. 7. 26 ( 22 competitive + 4 honorary ). 8. Thomas Edison. 9. Larry. 10. To gauge the rainfall.

WINNER OF TYKC 57

Rajalakshmi V 12, 4th Building Brindavan Society Thane West, Mumbai -400601

One all-correct entry will get

Free Stay at UDS, Kovalam [ 2 nights and 3 days for two ]*

With its sleek and stylish design, Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel is nothing less than a golden feather in the cap of Kovalam beach. Located just 15 metres from the sea, this four star hotel can well be categorised into a destination in itself. Its philosophy of combining the best elements of incomparable lifestyle, with the convenience of today’s modern world through exceptional standards of luxury, elegance and services, is well reflected in its products and services and has put the Uday Samudra Beach Hotel, popularly known as UDS, at the top position, in Kovalam. What is more noteworthy about UDS Kovalam is the international flair it sports.

* Conditions apply

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ASIAN TRAVELLER | AUGUST 2012


Asian Traveller August 2012  

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

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