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Vol. XXIII No. 12; June 2 nd fortnight issue 2011

‘Jahaan hai to Jaan hai’

India zooms into UK with a five-city roadshow

Says RH Khwaja on Sustainable Tourism

See full story on page 3 u

Tourism is no longer subscribed to as an elitist industry whose economic benefits accrue to a very few. It is now recognised as a major economic engine and thrives on the involvement of a large part of the civil society. R H Khwaja, Secretary, MOT shared his views on the future of tourism ... R UPALI NARASIMHAN NWTO believes and propagates that tourism is a social cultural and economic phenomenon with far reaching implications on a country’s economy, its ecosystems, its communities (local population) and most importantly on the travellers themselves. The intrinsic nature of tourism or destination development is fragile and UNWTO suggests a holistic approach to tourism development, management and monitoring.

U

Echoing similar sentiments, RH Khwaja, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism said, “Tourism in today’s context has very high socio-economic relevance. It goes much beyond highlighting the brand in International markets. Tourism is a vehicle to bridge the gap between rural and urban India.” Elaborating on his argument, Khwaja added, “60 per cent of the Indian population resides outside urban areas and it is our

endeavour to provide this sector with a skill set that will not only protect our crafts but also upgrade the quality of life.” In a bid to spread the socio-economic benefits of tourism to rural regions that will ultimately stop the exodus from rural to urban areas, Ministry of Tourism introduced a Rural Tourism product under the Explore Rural India campaign.

The Ministry has put Rural Tourism and Hunar Se Rozgar on top of their agenda. The emphasis is explained by the fact that within 10 months (August to April 2011), MOT cleared 32 projects while only 16 projects were cleared in 8 years (2002-2010) The same can be said about Hunar Se Rozgar

that was launched in 2009-10 to help the youth of economically weaker sections of the society. This programme has trained in excess of 14,000 people in the last two years. Commenting on the Ministry’s performance, Khwaja said, “We are working with a new emphasis on programmes that are already in place.” Talking elaborately on a programme that is very close to his heart, the tourism secretary laid emphasis on safe, honourable and sustainable tourism. Very passionate about the subject, Khwaja said, “I firmly believe that the age old adage of jaan hai toh jahaan hain, should be jahaan hai toh jaan hai (which means that if there is a world for all to live happily in then there is room for life and good health). A lot has been said about the subject and UNWTO has laid down new codes of conduct for Sustainable Tourism. Sustainable Tourism is responsible tourism

Cox & Kings leads on Google See full story on page 5 u

incredibleindia.org gets a new look

intending to generate employment and income along with alleviating any deeper impact

See full story on page 10 u

Sibal calls for skill development in tourism See full story on page 10 u

R H Khwaja, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism

on environment and local culture.

holders in the industry. The State Governments have been told that no bad incidents should take place against any tourist in the country.”

Safe and honourable tourism for me is to protect privacy, dignity and decency of every tourist that comes to our country.

To help the tourism industry achieve its objectives and enhance the experience of a traveller, the Ministry is working very closely with state bodies and

Moreover, this is the responsibility of all stake-

Contd. on page 26 u


BULLETIN

India zooms into UK with a five-city roadshow The PATA India Chapter, in its third edition of overseas roadshows, had chosen London, Manchester, Glasgow, Dublin and Birmingham. Earlier, in 2009, it had covered three Scandinavian countries and in 2010, it covered five destinations spread over USA and Canada… ket for India. Through the five roadshows, the stakeholders, who will be part of the Indian delegation, will exhibit lot of new possibilities in line with growth of tourism and hospitality infrastructure in India,” said Devesh Chaturvedi, Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism.

VIVEK SETHI ultan Ahmed, Minister of State for Tourism, is leading the PATA India delegation that comprises over 20 key stakeholders in the travel trade. Having covered three Scandinavian Countries in 2009 roadshows and five destinations in US and Canada in 2010, the PATA India Chapter, in its third edition of overseas roadshows, has chosen London, Manchester, Glasgow, Dublin and Birmingham.

S

Sultan Ahmed

R H Khwaja

Minister of State for Tourism

Chairman PATA India Chapter

“The United Kingdom is a key medium haul market,

which is also the second largest inbound source mar-

In the third edition of the PATA India roadshows, it has engaged services of a private consultant, which will ensure that only quality Contd. on page 28 u


STATISTICS

Air fares shoot up

VIEWPOINT

‘Wall of Shame’ ATA has put India on the ‘Wall of Shame’ along with the governments of the UK, Germany and Austria for imposing high service tax on air tickets. It has asked the government to stop compromising economic growth with aviation taxes. The airline representative industry body went to the extent of stating that governments need a textbook on aviation’s role as an economic catalyst, as it warned the airlines that sustaining profitability will be the biggest challenge for the global airline industry. Tax the bankers who created the mess. Aviation facilitates global trade that is stimulating economies and restoring government budgets. Do not kill the goose that lays the golden egg. These were some of the sentiments echoed by The International Air Transport Association (IATA) at its 67th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Singapore toward governments who impose high service tax structures that threaten the growth of the air transport industry. IATA has asserted that the service tax in India is a complete contradiction to the rules laid down by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), the specialised UN agency created to promote safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. The high service tax on air travel in India bore an extra brunt when the government in the recent budget announced additional service tax on air travel on the domestic and international routes. It is right for industry bodies in India like FICCI and WTTCII to deplore this move and demand a rollback. Additional tax will adversely affect the travel and tourism industry in India, which is already reeling under pressure of high taxation in the country.

On the back of strong fundaments and businesses in India expecting to spend more on corporate travel in the next twelve months, business travel and airfares are likely to increase.

I

“Strong growth fundamentals like fast labour force growth and a rapidly expanding middle class will ensure a steady growth for demand of business and leisure air travel in India. However, the

T T B U R E AU ccording to a new research from American Express, fares will continue to shoot up as the businesses in India are expecting to spend more on corporate travel in next few months.

A

In 2010, the demand for business travel rebounded strongly and helped build momentum in 2011 while enabling airfares to rise accordingly.

business travel market in India continues to cope up with chaotic growth and organisations are still largely unaware of strategic travel procurement/management,” said Sandeep Shastri,

“Companies should allocate 30-35 per cent on top of the base fares for total expected airfare costs when planning budgets for 20112012 as the tax structure in India’s airline industry is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future,” Shastri further added.

India Specific Analysis India - % Change - QoQ & YoY By Fare Type

15% 10%

6%

6%

5% 0%

4% 2%

1%

N/A 0%

-5%

-4%

-4%

-2% -3%

-1%

Economy -Discount

Overall

-6%

-10%

The American Express Business Travel Monitor, which tracks and analyses published airfares on a quarterly basis, found that although fares moderated in the fourth quarter, the influence of rising oil prices and economic growth in the region were too strong to keep prices steady. Airfares across India and Asia-Pacific region experienced strong year-on-year growth in the first quarter of 2011 due to rising demand and capacity discipline by the airlines and rising oil prices.

-15%

FirstFull

FirstDiscount

BusinessFull

BusinessDiscount

EconomyFull

FARE TYPE % Year-over-Year

% Quarter-over-Quarter

India - % Change - QoQ & YoY By Destination 15%

10%

10%

7%

3%

5%

0%

1%

1%

2%

0%

-1%

-2% -3%

-5% -10% -15%

Domestic

IntraAsia Pacific

Europe, Middle East & Africa

Americas

Overall

DESTINATION % Year-over-Year

% Quarter-over-Quarter

Courtesy: American Express

Asia-Pacific Regional Vice President and General Manager, Global Business Travel in India.

Overall - % Change - QoQ & YoY By Fare Type 15% 10% 5%

6%

5% 1%

4%

3%

1% 1%

1%

3% 1%

1% 1%

0%

0%

0% -5% -10% -15% FirstDiscount

FirstFull

BusinessFull

Business Discount

Economy Discount

EconomyFull

Overall

FARE TYPE % Year-over-Year

% Quarter-over-Quarter

Overall - % Change - QoQ & YoY By Destination 15% 10% 5%

4%

4% 2%

1%

0%

1% 0%

3%

1%

1%

0%

-5% -10% -15% Domestic

Intra Asia Pacific

Europe, Middle East & Africa

Americas

Overall

DESTINATION % Year-over-Year

% Quarter-over-Quarter

A number of factors are contributing to the price increase. Taxes on every ticket purchased are a significant component of the total cost playing a determining factor in the Indian market. This trend is even more relevant on domestic trips. At times, the tax component the including fuel surcharge could be as high as 60-70 per cent of the total ticket cost.

According to other recently launched American Express/CFO Research Global Business and Spending Monitor, sixty-six per cent of the senior finance executives at some of the largest companies in India expect to spend more on business travel this year. Further, travel is more likely to increase in India and the Asia Pacific region compared to the more established economies of Europe and North America. Businesses in the emerging economies like India are looking to expand and take advantage of new investment opportunities. Almost sixty-two per cent of the regional businesses say they’ll spend more on travel to meet new clients and 54 per cent report they’ll ramp up international travel. These demand conditions point to further strengthening of airfares. Positives Corporates in India expect to spend more on business travel in next 12 months Fast labour growth and a rapidly expanding middle class contribute to demand of business and leisure air travel Negatives Airfares will continue to soar upwards The influence of rising oil prices and economic growth in the region is too strong to keep prices steady

Courtesy: American Express

Vikramajit Chairman SanJeet Publisher Rupali Narasimhan Editorial Director Deepa Sethi Editor

Editorial Shayan Mallick Ratan Kr Paul Vivek Sethi Anita Jain Desk-Editor Archana Sharma

Advertising Gunjan Sabikhi General Manager N. Sanjiba Singh Sr. Manager Marketing Manish Mangla Asst. Manager-Marketing Amit Sarkar Marketing Co-ordinator

Advertising (Mumbai) Suchita Saran Branch Manager Harshal Ashar Sr. Manager Advertising Lalita Marketing Co-ordinator Design Advertisement Vikas Mandotia/Renuka Mahich Design: Nityanand Misra / Sudhir Mudgal Production: Anil Kharbanda Circulation: Ashok Rana

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

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Durga Das Publications Private Limited


NEWS USP of IDEAL Hotels Worldwide

A low-cost marketing programme for hotels T T B U R E AU DEAL Hotels Worldwide (IHWW), a Hong Kong based

I

Alwin Zecha Chairman IDEAL Hotels Worldwide

worldwide marketing company, has launched a Hotel Low-Cost Marketing (LCM) programme in the Indian market. “One cannot measure or quantify marketing promotions. lf hotels feel that there is a better way to enhance the huge investment they have made towards themselves, this is it! Ideal Hotels is their gateway to the world for incremental business and global visibility,” said Alwin Zecha, Chairman, IHWW. “Ours is a brand new unique concept not available to anyone and not offered by anyone. Any hotel can always enhance their marketing campaign in today’s increasingly competitive environment and the smaller they are, the tougher it gets for them to compete. Therefore, we are offering them a chance to support their current marketing and promo activities at an incredibly cost effective package to enhance their global reach towards incremental business,” he added. Asia is currently the top hot spot for tourism and hospitality industry. India certainly features as a most attractive destination and the hotel industry in India is only second to China in the Asia Pacific. “One of our unique features is that our members pay a tiny fee and remain in full control of their destiny throughout without any intermediary for their bookings. For $3,000 per year, hoteliers will be included in our edirectory, which is an opportunity to be featured in our monthly newsletter and last

but not the least get their hotels represented at all major 5 travel events that include FITUR: Madrid (January), ITB:

Berlin (March), ATM: Dubai (May), ITB: Singapore (October) and WTM: London (November),” said Zecha.

5

Cox & Kings leads with clicks on Google Top 5 Brands in Air Travel Holidays/Hotels/International Airport Air Travel

IHWW offers its hotel clients a host of amenities including representation at top five leading travel exhibitions.

TRAVTALK

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

Holidays

Hotels

International Air

YoY Growth

50%

70%

65%

50%

Top 5 Brands

Cleartrip

Cox and Kings

Ginger

Air Asia

Jet Airways

Club Mahindra

ITC

Emirates Lufthansa

Kingfisher

Raj Travels

Oberoi

MakeMyTrip

SOTC

Taj

Indigo/Yatra

Thomas Cook

Qatar Air Singapore Airlines


6 TRAVTALK

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

HOTELS

The Gateway Hotels & Resorts

Basking under ‘expansion’ glory Currently operating 21 properties across India with 18 more under construction, The Gateway Hotels & Resorts is aiming high with huge plans for the Indian market. A N I TA J A I N

Latest Faridabad project Management contract developed in association with MB Mall New hotel and new construction to be operational in next 36-48 months The new project takes the overall portfolio to 39 hotels

he Gateway Hotels & Resorts, part of Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces is mulling to become one of the leading upscale full service hotel brand in India. With presence in cities like Bengaluru, Agra, Varanasi, Ahmedabad, Surat, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Madurai, Coonoor, Chikmagalur, Calicut, Cochin, etc; it is keen to expand in key business and leisure destination, across India. Accordingly, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai OMR, Chennai Sriperambadur, Pune,

T

Navi Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Mysore, Cochin, Bhandup, Raipur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Shimla, Kolhapur, Hubli, Gondia, Shirdi and Faridabad are all under various stages of development. Divulging further details on the future plans, P K Mohankumar, Chief Operating Officer, The Gateway Hotels & Resorts said, “We are keen on growing in every important business district of India. This would mean multiple hotels in tier I

P K Mohankumar Chief Operating Officer The Gateway Hotels & Resorts

cities and hotels in key locations in tier II & III cities. We

are also looking at hotels in important leisure destinations. We are currently focussing on India because of the huge growth opportunity and with large proportion of our under construction properties getting operational by 2015; we intend to become one of the leading hospitality brands in India. Additionally, we are also looking at brown field projects and adapting existing operating hotels to Gateway brand standards for tie-ups. With the improving economic situation, we are also hoping to grow

more aggressively than we did in the last 33 months.” Adding further on various sales distribution channels, Mohankumar said, “Apart from being present on GDS, with corporate contracts, OTAs and strong sales team, we also share a great relationships with travel trade fraternity. We have a range of offers across hotels and at different times of the year. Currently we are running the Monsoon packages under the Taj Holidays banner.”

Sarovar for 90% occupancy Carlson growing in numbers Majestic Court Sarovar Portico has special concessional With five properties this year, total hotels under the rates for groups and trade partners. It is also offering CIS brand would reach 16 and Carlson plans to increase their number to more than 50 in the coming years. introductory tariff starting at ` 3500 per person. A N I TA J A I N

crore, the 3-star deluxe property is targetting the corporate

arovar Hotels & Resorts has recently launched Majestic Court Sarovar Portico in Mahape, Navi Mumbai. With an investment of over ` 50

S

USP This is Sarovar Hotel’s fourth property in Mumbai after Hotel Marine Plaza (Marine Drive), Grand Sarovar Premiere (Goregaon) and Grand Hometel in Malad Located in Mahape, the busiest business district in Maharashtra Offers 58 rooms and suites Offering tariff starting at ` 3,500 till September’ 2011 Introduces special rates to woo travel trade partners

Arunabh Sinha, General Manager, Majestic Court Sarovar Portico

clientele. The property has five suites, four deluxe rooms and 49 superior category rooms. It also has one 24X7 multi-cuisine restaurant-cum-bar with 80 covers. The newly launched property is positive to exceed the sales target in the first

year. Talking to , Arunabh Sinha, General Manager, Majestic Court Sarovar Portico said, “The biggest USP of our property is the location with accessibility from major MNCs and corporate houses.

Within a month of operations, we have recorded over 50 per cent occupancy levels. Our F&B segment is exceeding far above our expectations with 90 per cent occupancy. We are aggressively promoting the property through outdoor campaigns and print media while marking our presence on major OTAs and closely working with our travel trade partners.”

cessfully run the brand in India over the last 10 years.

T T B U R E AU arlson group is expected to lay thrust on its Country Inns & Suites by Carlson brand in India, by opening five properties this year and signing up for more than 35 properties. This growth will be managed through Country Development and Management Services (CDMS), a joint venture between Carlson and Chanakya Hotels that has suc-

C

5 new hotels 37-room Satbari 50-room property

property

at

Mussoorie

190-key at Gurgaon, NH-8 71-room in Ajmer 130-room property to debut in Mysore by the year-end

“The mid-scale market in India represents a significant opportunity and Carlson is pleased to grow its CIS brand in this market through its strategic partnership in CDMS,” said K B Kachru, Executive Vice President, Carlson Hotels, South Asia. This new generation of CIS has been designed by a Londonbased design company Virgile and Stone. The roll out of the brand will continue to follow the Carlson strategy for India which includes focussing on primary and secondary cities, demographic changes and travel & tourism growth.

K B Kachru, Executive Vice President, Carlson Hotels, South Asia

The first of the next generation of the brand is set to debut in 2012. “I am confident that the new version of the brand will be very attractive to both Indian travellers and developers,” said Ranjan Bhattacharya, Managing Director, Country Development and Management Services.


8 TRAVTALK

NEWS

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

‘Know your baggage rules’ Travellers should know the baggage rules to avoid confrontation at the Indian airports. K Premchand, Additional Commissioner of Customs speaks... S RIPRAKASH M ENON

Rules & regulations Indian professionals abroad returning after 3 months are allowed duty free used household articles of ` 12,000 and professional equipment up to value of ` 20,000 However returning after 6 months can get professional equipment worth ` 40,000 while used household articles up to ` 12,000. Returning after minimum 365 days can get duty free used household articles up to an aggregate value of ` 75,000 Import of jewellery for Indian passenger residing abroad for over one year is ` 10,000 for men and is ` 20,000 for women Travellers cannot carry Indian currency over ` 7,500 while travelling

M

He said, "Indian travellers should declare their expensive belongings including the old laptops while going out of India. If the passengers are carrying expensive jewellery abroad, they should get customs certificate from the Precious Cargo Customs Clearance Centre (PCCCC). The jewellery is sealed in a box here to ensure that it is not

Eyes expansion in Punjab, HP, Rajasthan & NCR The Lords Hotels & Resorts will expand in other parts of the country...

ost of the Indian residents who go out as travellers/tourists need to be well aware of the baggage rules applicable at the Indian airports. Speaking to , K Premchand, Additional Commissioner of Customs said, “As far as Indian Customs is concerned, we have no discrimination. Baggage rules are almost same for all the travellers. Even politicians have no immunity. Baggage amendment rules 2006 apply to everyone.”

Lords Hotels & Resorts focus on North India

JUSTIN THOMAS elieving that synergy lies in the mid market segment, Lords Hotel & Resorts have been catering to that segment for the past few years in Tier-II and III cities of the country. “We have carefully cultivated a culture where the customer needs are paramount and it’s not meant to be a lip service. Idea is to cater to the substantial mid-market while retaining the local flavour,” says Romesh Koul, Director, Lords Hotel & Resorts.

B

K Premchand Additional Commissioner, Customs

tampered with. Our department has been following the rule book despite being liberal and cooperative with the passengers. However, we get all the flak from people when we try to stop cases of gross violation of law.” Baggage rules have been categorised for Indian resident or a foreigner residing in India returning from countries other than Nepal, Bhutan and China. "All Contd. on page 16 u

The group has 10 properties in hand and is planning to add three more properties this year. This will take their total keys from 850 to 1050 rooms. Currently, they are concentrated in the state of Gujarat but are looking to expand in states like Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and NCR. Being a management company, their philosophy is not to jump on sign-

ings. “Our issue is to understand the promoter. Look at the city, product, and location. We emphasise on the promoter as the person has to understand what we want to

Romesh Koul Director Lords Hotel & Resorts

do. We don’t purely focus on the commercial aspect of the business,” says Koul. Another prime focus is the service provided and food on offer. Recalling the recent visit of British prime minister

to Infosys campus in Bangalore, the software major had recommended their Bangalore property for meals to the prime minister. “A mid market hotel hosting a head of state is unheard of and it shows the confidence the campus has in us,” points Koul. As far as occupancy is concerned on a year-end basis, all properties didn’t dip below 65 percent as some properties did more than 85 per cent while some did 100 per cent. Average Room Rent lies between ` 1800 and ` 3,500. “We have a healthy tieup with travel agents. Though it is on commission basis, Koul reveals that they are flexible enough with those that offer more than the rest. Their business from rooms accounts for 60 per cent while the rest comes up from food & beverages,” adds Koul.

Te Aroha

Promising more than just accomodation With formal tie-ups expected soon, the property is hoping to create a niche in the Kumaon region while also offering spa + touring facilities. JUSTIN THOMAS estled in the Kumaon region, Te Aroha is a boutique hotel in Dhanachuli and is close to signing up three international operators to facilitate their business. “The representatives of these companies came over and ran a magnifying glass through the property. Once the contract is signed, I don’t have to worry about the occupancy as a full

around ` 9,950 and ` 12,990. The company under which the property operates is Treepie Hospitality.

N

Te Aroha debuts Te Aroha is close to signing up three international operators to facilitate their business The property makes a debut this year and offers services at competitive prices Respective tariff of around ` 9,950 and ` 12,990

Sumant Batra Owner Te Aroha

house will be assured,” says Sumant Batra, Owner, Te Aroha. The property makes a debut this year and offers services at competitive prices. Placed in the luxury segment, the property was converted to a hospitality address and has an inventory of 10 rooms. It is further divided into deluxe and suites with a respective tariff of

80 per cent of the staff is local and Batra informs that they have been trained for specific work as against multitasking and the managerial level has worked at five-star properties. One of the best offers of their services is food & beverage. “We feel pride in what we serve and though it’s a fixed menu, the offering is sumptuous,” says Batra. There are plans to add a spa to the property while other than catering to guest requirements during their stay in the property, they also offer village and scenic tours in order to provide a complete package. Their tie-ups with travel agents are based on commission basis which ranges from 10 to 15 per cent.


10 TRAVTALK

MOT

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

incredibleindia.org gets a new look

Sibal calls for skill development in tourism

The colour scheme, layout, fonts and other website The Ministry of Tourism is all set to increase the intake modifications have been carried out keeping in mind of its capacity building scheme and take this initiative the standards led by the World Wide Web Consortium. to remote and economically backward regions… train 10,000 such professionals in 2011.

VIVEK SETHI VIVEK SETHI takeholders will be in for a pleasant surprise, when they log in to the upgraded portal of the Ministry of Tourism (MOT). Trade had on their wish-list a more aesthetically strong website of MOT. The new website is not only visually appealing, but faster and is also user friendly.

“With the help of these up gradations, the travel trade and other users can easily locate information on the current events and various divisions, which earlier was not the case,” he added.

S

“Our endeavour was to create a world-class website for the Ministry of Tourism in co-ordination with the

USP The new website is not only visually appealing, but faster and is also user friendly It is fully secured and can also be handled by a non technical team

Subodh Kant Sahai Union Minster of Tourism

National Informatics Centre (NIC) team. In this endeavour, we kept in mind the global best practices and validation standards led by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which is the main international standards organisation for the World Wide Web,” said A K Gupta, Addl DG (Market Research), Ministry of Tourism.

The website developed and hosted by NIC is fully secured and can also be handled by a non technical team, once they are given adequate training. “Our website is fully secured against mal-wares and other cyber hazards, as we follow all the guidelines laid by the Government of India. Going forward, the website can also be manned by a team of non-technical staff, once they had been given adequate training and exposure,” said an NIC official, who had worked on the up gradation of the website.

apil Sibal, Union Minister for Human Resource Development emphasised on the role of State Government for the growth of tourism, and highlighted the need to promote skill development in the tourism sector at a conference organised in New Delhi on May 31, 2011.

K

For the uninitiated, the hospitality industry needs about 2 lakh trained persons every year but the supply is just about 27,000 persons, which gets further reduced by one-third due to attrition.

Kapil Sibal

“The growing economic power of the country has enabled many people to spend their time and money in visiting tourist destinations, resorts and different National Heritage sites. For the growth and promotion of tourism sector, proper training needs to be imparted and the skills of the people associated in this field have to be upgraded to communicate effectively to travellers,” said Sibal.

Union Minister for Human Resource Development

Earlier, while presenting the National Awards for Excellence in Hospitality Education in New Delhi, Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister for Tourism announced that as part of its initiative to enhance the skill set of unskilled hospitality professionals, the Ministry of Tourism thorough its Hunar Se Rozgar programme will

quick read Travel and tourism is expected to generate 24.93 million jobs directly in 2011 (5 per cent of total employment). This includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services.


12 TRAVTALK

ASSOCIATIONS

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

Associations have double standards: Dantas Enterprising Travel Agents Association (ETAA) was formed 12 years ago with around 150 members. It is the only representative organisation for Non-IATA Travel Agents and Tour Operators in India. Karl Dantas, President, ETTA shares his views… S R I P RA KAS H M E N O N

Karl Dantas President ETTA

Travel trade associations are in a turmoil with politicking and groupism. They should shun sectarian interests and honestly work for the travel trade members

Travel agency registration mandatory Department of Tourism, Government of National Capital of Delhi has announced August 31, 2011, as the last date to accept application from tour operators, travel agencies, excursion agent and tourist transport operators, for the mandatory license that will authorise them to operate in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The fee for the issue of license and renewal thereafter shall be ` 5,000 for 5 years. The Government has made it mandatory for all the existing companies/firms of such nature to apply on or before August 31, 2011 to avoid any action.

“The travel trade associations including TAAI are doing nothing to solve the issues concerning the majority of the medium and small travel agents. Instead, many of them, who are left out of the respective management committees are encouraging and forming new associations.”

"My critics in the travel trade may ask what am I doing for the travel industry with ETAA? We are at least working with a majority of the travel agents who are at the grassroots without playing in the hands of airlines or consolidators."

"Our member agents may not be selling high profile destinations but all of us are promoting local destinations within the country.”

“Somehow the local tourist bodies like MTDC and Government of India Tourist Office overlook the contribution made by our agents in promoting Indian destinations. All major travel trade issues are highlighted without taking agents at the root levels in confidence. Will big travel management companies bother to sell tourist spots in the interiors of India?"

“Travel trade bodies are losing its relevance as they don't speak in one voice to the government. Issues concerning over 30,000 non IATA agents are different and wider. In fact, we will be having other travel trade associates as our members besides travel agents to broaden our activities."

Though ETAA has withdrawn support to both TAAI & TAFI, "We still feel all the travel bodies should come on one platform to resolve the various issues concerning the travel trade. There are many double standards now in the functioning of travel trade associations. They fight a certain airlines for commission and ask others to boycott and their members fly the same airlines."

ETAA members work for the budget-oriented customers. "Not that our clients don't evolve. They also travel to Far East and Europe but on an economy package. Our agents provide great experiences to travellers even without any five-star accommodation in several foreign destinations. We have realised that even ordinary travellers aspire to go abroad.”

"Travel trade body elections have become a farce. I was told that ` 20 to ` 30 lakh are spent on elections to fly down members of a particular group to another city for elections of some of the associations. Our members are the real hardcore agents and our annual membership is only ` 700. By this July, we will have about 300 members and we are planning to have our first international convention in Dubai during November this year.”

About Karl Dantas • In Travel business since 1974 • Continues to guide the team as CEO for the New Owners • Founder President of ETAA

MTOA cashing in on agri-tourism By organising fams for its members to agri-tourism sites, Maharashtra Tourist Organisers Association (MTOA) will promote the concept among domestic and inbound travellers… A N I TA J A I N

Going rural MTOA to promote over 100 agri-tourism sites in Maharashtra To promote among domestic and inbound travellers To organise an educational fam for over 50 members in August 2011 To work closely with AgriTourism Development Corporation

n a bid to promote the rural and agri-tourism concept among domestic and international visitors, Maharashtra Tourist Organisers Association (MTOA) has started promoting an agri-tourism concept. In association with Agri-Tourism Development Co-operation (ATDC), the association will promote around 100 agritourism sites located in various regions of Maharashtra. MTOA is also in process of conducting an educational trip for over 50 members from

various parts of Maharashtra to Baramati to provide firsthand experience of agritourism concept.

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Atul Mohile President MTOA

Talking to , Atul Mohile, President, MTOA said, “Agri-tourism is one of the budding concepts in India. However, there is a huge potential as travellers from urban areas and inbound tourists are keen to know and experience the rural lifestyle. Through agri-tourism, travel agents can sell packages such as educational for students,

experiential for young travellers, rural for inbound tourists, etc. ATDC has recently been recognised by WTTC as it was one of the finalists for Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2011. So, when international bodies like WTTC are recognising the importance of agritourism, it’s high time that we the travel agents start promoting the concept for rural, eco and agri-tourism.” MTOA will organise similar educational fams for over 100 members this year.


14 TRAVTALK

ASSOCIATIONS

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

TAFI NI meet reviews its work

TAAI NI to pass a 50% attendance resolution In her second consecutive tenure as Chairperson TAAI NI Region, Jyoti Mayal hints at a more dynamic and strengthened Northern India chapter. S H AYA N M A L L I C K y new tenure would start with reinstating our members’ faith in the association. In Northern Region, we have always believed in presenting our agenda in front of members and maintaining transparency. And we would continue to do so. Being a large family, we would work towards our goals collectively with each others’ support,” said Mayal after her re-election to office.

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The chapter will also look at increasing members’ TAFI Northern India (TAFI NI) recently organised its bimonthly meeting at hotel Le Meridien New Delhi. The meeting briefed the members on the chapter’s activity and follow ups as well the outcome of the last meeting held in Katra. The meeting was also attended by Turkish Tourism Counsellor in India Ozgur Ayturk, who used the opportunity to highlight Tukey’s diverse tourism offerings and invited the trade to visit Turkey to gather first hand information about the destination. The meeting was followed by Lunch.

TAAI NI Team Jyoti Mayal Chairperson George Kutty Secretary Neeraj Malhotra Treasurer

participation in the association’s activity. Sharing her agenda with us, Mayal informed, “We are certainly

Jyoti Mayal Chairperson TAAI NI Region

going to pass a 50 per cent attendance resolution. This is for the better functioning of the region.” Mayal insists that the Northern Region being the largest TAAI chapter should

have a strong voice at National level and should also see to it that any decision taken is for the well being of the association at large. “We have to continue to fight our battles with all our suppliers so that each and every agent, specially the smaller ones are able to sustain and work in a profitable manner. We will continue to open new avenues of earnings and also educate all, from the counter staffs to the management. Working professionally makes you save money and earn more,” she said. In her previous tenure Mayal as chairperson led many result oriented deliberations with Embassies and VFS, Punjab National Bank and Passport Office. There were several workshops on new products and revenue

streams, a seminar on Dos & Don’ts of ticketing and reservation to avoid ADMs, an interactive session with all heads of star alliance members. The chapter was also instrumental in getting the Air India ADM policy made along with a redress cell.

Next on Agenda Increasing members’ participation in the association’s activities Give the chapter and its members a strong voice at the national level Continue to explore new avenues of earnings for members Continue to deal with suppliers so that member agencies are able to sustain


TRANSPORT

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

A seamless business model for the bus travel industry… redBus.in will launch the 1st Global Distribution System (GDS) ‘SeatSeller’. The first of its kind system will go live on June 27 for travel agents and bus operators. A N I TA J A I N engaluru-based Pilani Soft Labs; the parent company of the bus travel consolidator redbus.in is in final stages of introducing India’s first bus booking Global Distribution System (GDS) – ‘SeatSeller’.

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Scheduled to go live on June 27, 2011, the new GDS is aimed at bringing transparency in the bus travel industry for both bus operators and bus ticketing agents. It is also looking at expanding its offline presence in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and

Phanindra Sama, CEO & Co-Founder, redBus.in

We recorded a growth of close to 100 per cent in 2010-11 financial year as compared to 2009-10 which shows the potential of the bus travel industry in India

Bengaluru through the franchise route by this year end. The company recently received a Series-C funding of US$ 6.5 million (close to ` 29 crore), of which the company is going to invest close to US$ 2 million in both SeatSeller and offline expansion. Providing the details of SeatSeller, Phanindra Sama, CEO & Co-Founder, redBus.in said, “We recorded a growth of close to 100 per cent in 201011 financial year as compared to 2009-2010 which shows the potential of bus travel industry of our country. We are currently working with more than 5,000 travel agents and

over 850 bus operators across India. It’s through us that the bus operator gets to know about their potential markets, agents with highest sales figures, etc. With Seatseller, bus

operators will be able to directly view and contact the travel agents with high sales rates. Bus operators can also set up sales-based incentive programme and extra commission

rates for agents to further boost their sales. Thus, redBus.in will now provide a seamless system for the bus travel industry. With the estimated growth figures, we are

targetting ` 250 crore turnover for the current financial year ending March 2012.” Currently, the company operates an outlet in Mumbai

TRAVTALK

15

Growth chart • redBus.in received its Series-A funding in 2008 • Recorded a turnover of ` 55 crore • Next year in 2009, it received ` 8 crore for Series-B round of funding • Witnessed a turnover of ` 120 crore • Targetting ` 250 crore turnover for 2011-12

(Borivali) named ‘redBus lounge’ and is aiming to operate in at least 10 outlets in 10 major cities of India.


16 TRAVTALK

STATES

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

Custom’s rules... Contd. from page 8 u

passengers of and above 10 years returning to India after a stay of more than three days can get luggage up to value of ` 25,000 while those returning after stay abroad of three days or less can only bring luggage valued up to ` 12,000. Similarly for passengers up to 10 years (after a stay abroad of more than 3 days) can bring baggage worth ` 6,000 and passengers up to 10 years (with a stay abroad of three days or less) can only get baggage valued at ` 3,000,” he explained. The used personal effects excluding jewellery are normally allowed duty free. Firearms, cartridges, cigarettes exceeding 200 or more than 50 cigars, alcoholic drinks or wines in excess of two litres, gold or silver in any form other than ornaments are not allowed,” he stated. “Passengers arriving from Nepal, Bhutan and China (returning after stay abroad of more than three days) can get articles valued up to ` 6,000 and passengers up to 10 years of age (for the same period) of stay-

ing abroad gets a duty free baggage of the value up to ` 1,500,” he said. “Indian passenger (professionals) engaged in profession abroad returning after 3 months are allowed duty free used household articles of the value of ` 12,000 and professional equipment up to value of ` 20,000,” he said. "Indian professionals returning after 6 months can get professional equipment worth ` 40,000 while used household articles up to ` 12,000,” Premchand described. "Import of jewellery for Indian passenger residing abroad for over one year is ` 10,000 for men and for women, it is ` 20,000. For those Indian passengers who come to India after a period of not less than six months of stay abroad and have not brought gold or ornaments during his short visits can bring gold (including ornaments) not exceeding 10 kg per passenger by paying the prescribed duty only in convertible foreign currency. Ornaments studded with stones and pearls are not allowed to be imported,” he noted.

Andhra ranks first as tourist destination According to MOT, Andhra Pradesh has been ranked as India’s number one tourist destination. The South Indian state boasts of some great tourism products that are attracting both domestic and international tourists alike. S H AYA N M A L L I C K ndhra Pradesh has developed high quality infrastructure to meet the needs of domestic and inter-

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Sandeep Kumar Sultania, IAS Vice Chairman & Managing Director, APTDC

national tourists. It has 4000 seating capacity convention centre at Hyderabad to meet the demand for MICE. APTDC has 42 hotels with capacity of 1220 rooms to

meet needs of budget and high-end tourists. Most of the hotels have swimming pool, restaurant and bar, banquets and health clubs etc. Besides, there are eight wayside facilities located on the highways to meet the needs of the traveling tourists,” said Sandeep Kumar Sultania, IAS, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, APTDC. Thanks to its diverse tourism offering, the state has now emerged as a leading tourist destination in the country. Andhra attracted more than 155 million domestic tourists last year placing the state right at the top in the ranking of states with maximum number of domestic tourists. The state attracted 3.23 lakh international tourists in 2010. As part of its destination promotion initiative, APTDC recently conducted familiari-

APTDC launches Balaji darshan package APTDC has recently Hotels 42 started package tours with Jet Airways which is meetWayside Amenities 08 ing the needs of tourists to Restaurants 02 have Darshan of Lord Balaji Snack Bars 02 at Tirumala. The package Food Court 01 tour includes Air Transport, Tea & Snacks at Wayside Amenity Srikalahasti, Darshan at Kalahasti Temple, Dinner, Night Halt & Breakfast at Haritha Hotel, Srinivasam, Darshan of Padmavathi Ammavari Temple & Srinivasam Mangapuram Temple Darshan. New Air package tours with Jet Airways & Spice Jet to Vizag, Vijayawada & Rajahmundry are being introduced shortly. sation tour for travel agents from Malaysia. APTDC has plans to organise more such fam tours for travel agents from Dubai, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, informed Sultania. Sultania also informed that Medical Tourism has

been promoted in a big way as there are plenty of International standard hospitals available in Andhra Pradesh. He identifies MICE Tourism,Temple Tourism, Beach Tourism, and Eco Tourism as high potential tourism products.

Orissa set for Rath Yatra ‘Lavasa Holidays’ lures Next month will experience a sea of humanity on the agents with special packages streets of Puri to celebrate this rich cultural festival. Tagged as India’s first hill-city, Lavasa is gearing up to become one of the leading attractions for domestic and inbound travellers in Maharashtra. A N I TA J A I N ith over 200 hotel beds and more in planning; Lavasa hill city (200 kms from Mumbai) is aiming to set new standards in hospitality, tourism, education, healthcare and retail industry. Developed by Lavasa Corporation Limited, the city has recently launched ‘Lavasa Holidays’ – concept devised to promote Lavasa as a holiday destination. To start with, it has launched ‘Summer

Special’ package to target families, youth and FIT

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Summer Special Package One (Saturday and Sunday) –` 5,000 per person Package Two (Sunday or Monday) - ` 4,400 per person Package Three (Tuesday Friday) – ` 4,800 per person Day Package - ` 1999 for an Adult and ` 1499 for kids

Nathan Andrews Executive Vice President – Business Development, Lavasa Corporation

traffic for May and June. Talking to , Nathan Andrews, Executive Vice President – Business Development, Lavasa Corporation said, “Most of the visitors are short holiday seekers and come from nearby cities like Mumbai and Pune. Our endeavor is to drive up the numbers and we will definitely leverage the ‘Lavasa Holidays’ platform to

create special packages loaded with exciting offers for both the seasons. Apart from promoting Lavasa as a holiday destination through various media campaign, we are working closely with some sections of the travel trade and certainly look forward to explore more opportunities with tour operators from domestic and international markets. ” Providing details about the accommodation facility, Andrews said, “Apart from multi-cuisine dining options, hotel brands like ‘Fortune Select Dasve’ with 60 rooms, ‘Ekaant – The Retreat’ with 20 rooms, ‘Mercure’ with 130 rooms and ‘Waterfront Shaw’ with three high-end service apartments are optional in Lavasa. By next year, ‘Pullman Novotel’ and ‘Novotel’ with 258 rooms and 200 rooms will start operations respectively. ‘Doubletree’ by Hilton Group with 150 keys is expected to be operational by June 2013.

T T B U R E AU elebrated with great fervour and intensity, Puri Rath Yatra marks presence of countless stout devotees of Lord Jagannath who throng the place from all parts of the world to escort the pious idols of Lord Jagannath. Three richly decorated chariots are pulled through the streets of Puri. This commemorates the annual journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balarama, and their sis-

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ter Subhadra to their aunt's temple, the Gundicha temple which is situated at a distance of two km from their temple. New chariots are built every year and a bare three km walk witnesses a sea of people jostling among themselves to grab hold of the rope that pulls the chariot. The three chariots for each of the deities, resemble a temple structure reaching almost 45 feet, and are pulled by a rope which is considered lucky among pilgrims. The

‘darshan’ of Lord Jagannatha on the chariot is considered to be very auspicious and worshippers believe that touching the Lord's vehicle brings prosperity. Rath Yatra is the grandest festival of Orissa. Everything is on grand scale full of spectacle, drama and colour. The festival is a typical Indian festival of huge proportions. For the devoted and believers, it is considered the most auspicious occasion.


NTO

DEBI boosts British & Irish tourism profile The 8th edition of Destination Britain & Ireland (DEBI), held in Bengaluru, witnessed success as both buyers and suppliers found the event highly rewarding for their businesses. More than 200 companies attended the three-day B2B event. The event was organised by VisitBritain, in association with Tourism Ireland. S H AYA N M A L L I C K

FROM

BENGALURU

Jaspreet Chopra, Director, Dejavu Holidays

Jatinder S Taneja, Managing Director, Travel Spirit International

I am really impressed with the mix of suppliers present here. The highend segments whom we work with ask for our suggestions on what all to do and where to go. And I have been able to meet all kind of suppliers from service provider and tourism boards to attraction, shopping and entertainment. I would look forward to attend DEBI the next year.

I found the suppliers selection really impressive. I could meet almost all kind of sellers from about every region. The event will definitely help us design better products. We will also increase our product range. Also, I found the seminars and presentation from the regional tourism boards very useful.

Shravan Bhalla, Chief Executive, High Flyer

Vineet Gopal, Director, Engee Holidays

I am a honeymoon specialist. And the types of products that I was looking for like castles or a wine tour etc, I have been able to meet those suppliers here. We were not doing much of Ireland but DEBI this year will certainly change that. The specially allocated time to network with the UK suppliers was a good idea.

We will certainly be able to improve and increase our product range. The event has brought me in direct contact will all kinds of suppliers. Ripley’s will be a definite addition to my London itinerary. I have even met DMCs with whom we can promote ‘Whisky Tours,’ a new product for the Indian market! Golfing in Ireland and Scotland is also a great product to promote.

Parikshit Sawhney, Managing Director, Fore Representation and Travel

M K Ajit Kumar, President, Asia Pacific Tours

This is my first time to the event and I have found it very productive. With the new products and places that we have been exposed to, this event will definitely help us improve visitors’ experience. We didn’t know that the castles in Ireland and Scotland are available on rent or that B&B in London comes for as low as £30 and is commissionable!

DEBI has provided me opportunity to meet and network with the right kind of vendors we would like to work with. Travellers nowadays are more open to exploring new destinations. This event has given me an opportunity to promote and sell new destinations like Scotland and Ireland.

P Vijay Anand, Director of Sales & Marketing, Seyon Holidays The event has been very useful as it was very specific and market targetted. I have been able to meet all kind of suppliers which at times is even difficult at events like ITB or WTM.


18 TRAVTALK

NTO

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

1,00,000 visas and still counting... With enhanced trade ties between India and Australia, the number of visitors to Australia has increased in 2010-11. A N I TA J A I N ustralia High Commission in New Delhi has recently reached a milestone by issuing 1, 00,00th visa to Australia in 2010-11. The figure includes 19 different types of visa including tourist and business visa. As per the information provided by Australian High Commission New Delhi, the visitor visa application rate has increased by 17 per cent this year and over 50 per cent of visitor visa applicants were

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We expect good number of Indians to visit Australia this year and will try our best to make visa issuance more convenient and hassle free for the travellers family members of Indian permanent residents or Australian citizens of Indian origin. This shows that the

VFR traffic from India to Australia is on all time high growth. The business short stays visa application rate

has increased by 15 per cent this year and will continue to grow as India-Australia economic and trade relations also grow. Talking exclusively to , Peter Varghese, Australia’s High Commissioner to India said, “The rise in visa only shows the broader picture of enhanced trade relations between India and Australia. Earlier, we have witnessed rise in visa for trade and investment sectors but recently we have recorded

growth in tourist visas as well. Every year, we contemplate an average growth of 10 per cent in tourist visas which is at the moment over the average rate. We expect good number of Indians to visit Australia this year and will try our best to make visa issuance more convenient and hassle free for the travellers.” Two-way trade between India and Australia has been growing at about 20 per cent year-on-year for the past five years. In 2010,

Peter Varghese Australia’s High Commissioner to India

two-way trade was approximately Australian US$ 22 billion, driven by the strong complementarities between the two economies. Reflecting this dynamism on May 12, Australia and India agreed to launch negotiations towards a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (or FTA).

Turkey to simplify Visas for Indian tourists

Thailand beckons Indian MICE segment

Visa-on-Arrival, currently available for Indian tourists with valid US, UK or Schengen Visa will soon be available for travellers with valid Canadian and Australia Visa also.

The luxury MICE segment is projected to contribute around US$ 130 million this year, as TAT and TCEB initiatives take MICE events in the country to a higher level…

S H AYA N M A L L I C K n response to the rapidly growing demand in travel to Turkey in the Indian market, Turkey is planning to widen the scope of Visa-onArrival scheme that is currently being offered to the Indian travellers. The NTO is moving quickly to capitalise on the robust growth that it has witnessed from India in the recent months and looks well set to close the year on a high.

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“We are planning to expand the range of VoA facilitation for the Indian visitors. Under the current scheme, Turkey is offering VoA to the Indian citizens with valid US, UK or Schengen Visa. Now efforts are being made to grant VoA

to Indian citizens with valid Canadian and Australia Visa,” informed Ozgur Ayturk, Culture & Tourism Counsellor – India, Turkey

Ozgur Ayturk Culture & Tourism Counsellor – India Turkey

speaking at the TAFI North India bimonthly meeting in Delhi recently.

The new scheme, approved by the Turkish Government, is expected to be in place after the general election in Turkey in June. Ayturk informed that this suggestion came from the Turkish tourism companies who have seen great result from India in the recent months. “We are willing. And, we are working on it. We have reasons to be more optimistic about this market,” he said. Turkey has recorded close to 40 per cent growth in tourist arrivals from India in the first four months, this year, compared to the same period last year. It received 63,000 visitors in 2010, registering a growth of 15 per cent in arrivals from India over the previous year.

VIVEK SETHI ourism Authority of Thailand is keen on seeing the MICE business from India growing.

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“India is a very important market for us. With surge in MICE business from India, we are now keen to persuade the stakeholders in MICE business to move a level higher,” said Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Director, TAT New Delhi office. “By taking this step, the stakeholders will derive greater return on their incremental investment and could also avail greater value for money,” he said. Lately, TCEB had also announced a new initiative to build on this success to further boost Thailand’s

Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya

Akapol Sorasuchart

Director, TAT New Delhi Office

TCEB

image and presence in the high-end ‘Luxury MICE’ market, post the ‘Believe in Thailand’ campaign. “Our new initiative is designed both to extend market penetration in the existing luxury MICE market and to increase the size of this niche market. In terms of numbers,

the luxury MICE market has shown steady growth over the past few years. These visitors, especially from long-haul markets, tend to travel in a small, more exclusive and senior-level groups and their expectations and standards are correspondingly higher,” said Akapol Sorasuchart, President, TCEB.


22 TRAVTALK

AGENTS

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

U&I promotes Bali

Explore Europe with Coach Tours

A new destination management company is set to stir the outbound tourism with Bali as its new destination through various travel agencies.

For decades, experts have been predicting the death of planned coach touring. Yet, coach touring is growing, says Gauri Jayaram...

TT BUREAU ali may not be a familiar destination for Indian tourists but two young travel entrepreneurs Ashish Indulkar and Ghanshyam Upadhyay of U & I Holidays are determined to make this exotic beach destination widely known in the Indian market.

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"We are a one-and-ahalf-year old destination management company based in Andheri Mumbai with Bali as our prized destination for Indian travel associates. We are also promoting Maldives and Mauritius in India," explained Indulkar. U & I Holidays directly handles their travel business through leading travel agencies. "Ninety per cent of the tourists going to Bali from India avail our services. We have our own office in Bali,” he said.

"U&I Holidays is the first ever Indian company to start its own local office in Bali. This office primarily aims to attract outbound business from India into Indonesia. We promote & market ourselves only in the B2B sector of the Indian travel trade with over 1000 travel agents across the country dealing with us on a regular basis including some of the best known brands,” Indulkar said. Among our clients are leading travel agencies. "A lot of new travel agencies from small towns have also approached us. We will be shortly opening offices all over India.” The only dilemma which we see in promoting Bali in India is the absence of air connectivity between India and Indonesia, he cited.

T T B U R E AU ndependent travel is growing remarkably well, even to Europe, yet Coach Tours remain the most popular and best way to sample what the charming ‘Old World’ of Europe has to offer. It is not just the all–inclusive one price that Indians like; it is also the diversity of Europe that can be experienced in a short duration of time. Above all, Indians are inclined to travelling with their families and are often accompanied by young children, making Coach Touring the most hassle free style of travelling.

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“Most of all, Coach Touring makes it more affordable to explore Europe,” says Gauri Jayaram, Regional Director South Asia and Middle East for the Globus family of brands. “This is also why Europe is no longer the preserve of the wealthy and affluent Indians. With increasing awareness and

Gauri Jayaram, Regional Director South Asia and Middle East Globus family of brands

On a regional level, many more are operating and managing their own tours for their clients. Interestingly, while the multi-country Panoramic Europe tours remain hot favourites, many of these operators are also adding departures to regions such as Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Italy, etc. In some cases, even companies that started as OTAs whose core business was to sell airline tickets, have now entered this segment.

accessibility, we are seeing an increased demand from across India.” Western India remains the leader, generating maximum travellers, followed by North/Central, South and East, respectively. Moreover, business is no longer restricted to the metros. Tier II cities are also important targets for all tour operators.

“Our vacations are remarkably different from what anyone else offers in India. Specifically, we do not include any Indian meals, travel companions are from different countries and our Tour Directors belong to the region that we tour in.

In the past few years, several companies have launched their own branded tours at the national level.

Despite these features that make our tours very cosmopolitan, we have found a clientèle in India.

Moreover, the fact that all our partners selling Coach Tours are also successfully selling our tours goes to show how the market is evolving and there is room for everyone,” added Jayaram.

Indians on Coach Tours Coach Tours remain the most popular and best way to sample what the charming ‘Old World’ of Europe has to offer Indians are inclined to travelling with their families and are often accompanied by young children, making Coach Touring the most hassle free style of travelling With increasing awareness and accessibility, Global Family of Brands is seeing an increased demand from across India

Go India Journeys takes another leap Having touched 50,000 pax, Go India Journeys now intends to consolidate through extensive product development exercises, training staff members and improving margin calls to keep the growth momentum going… T T B U R E AU fter scaling over ` 100 crore in revenues and 50,000 pax in the sixth year of existence in 2010-11, Go India Journeys intends to consolidate its position before taking another major leap. It had registered over 37 per cent growth in its top line along with doubling the base of guests being serviced.

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“We have registered a remarkable growth of over 37 per cent in 2010-11, which helped us to cross the crucial ` 100 crore revenue mark in our sixth year of existence. Another astonishing fact is that in the said period, our base of guests has crossed 50,000 pax,” said Amit Prasad, Chief Operating Officer, Go India Journeys. “To sustain the growth momentum, we intend to consolidate our position by undertaking extensive product development exercises,

training staff members and improving our margin calls. This will give a new thrust to scale newer heights,” said Prasad. “On the product development front, we have successfully launched luxury self

tourism packages. We have strong plans on the wedding segments and are dedicated to offer an engaging rich cultural experience to our guests,” he added.

quick read

Amit Prasad Chief Operating Officer Go India Journeys

drive holiday packages. Post our ICC world cup experience, we hope that the F-1 in India will add up to 8-10 per cent incremental revenues through our niche sport

all private hotels within 5km of national parks and sanctuaries in india will have to pay a cess which would be used for the upkeep of these wildlife hotspots, the union environment ministry has decided. it has asked state governments to notify the cess by the end of this year.


24 TRAVTALK

HOTELS

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

Accor and Connect Worldwide tie-up

Strengthening distribution channels

Kamat Hotels building on the gains of the past

After witnessing an incredible performance in the previous financial year, the hotel group is expecting more The agreement aims at penetrating the Indian market in the current financial year… and increasing sales from smaller cities. The new through occupancy at least T T B U R E AU for the next six months,” says toll-free call centre for travel is the cherry on the cake. fter reporting consoliVikram Kamat, Executive

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A N I TA J A I N ccor has announced a tieup with ConnetWorldwide, a US based travel Representation Company with office in India to strengthen its sales distribution channel. With the agreement, ConnectWorldwide will be responsible for increasing sales among retail travel agents and small and medium sized travel companies. Through its offices in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru (soon to be launched in Chennai); ConnectWorldwide will be training, educating and assisting the travel trade with various booking options, products and packages available with Accor.

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The hotel company has also launched a toll free call

L-R: Jean-Michel Casse, Eric Otto, Jean Luc Chretien, Vasudha Sondhi and Patrick Mendes

centre for travel agents (1860 500 1010) and has optimized its trade website – www.travelagencies. accorhotels.com and www. businesstravel. accorhotels.com to further help the travel trade to enhance sales for the brand. Talking exclusively to , Eric Otto, President and CEO, Connect-Worldwide said, “We currently represent over 40 brands in various countries and 25 in India.

Currently we represent a total of 12 hotel brands in India and each one has recorded a growth in their sales. We are capable of offering ‘dual marketing’ options to our hotel partners by educating the trade about various products, tools, packages, location and also brand building among end consumers. Accor is a well known brand in India and we are going to help the brand by significantly increasing the market share.”

dated revenues of `127 crore, Kamat Hotels is expecting a raise of at least 15-20 per cent for the financial year 2011-12. This will be further boosted by the consolidation of Lotus Resorts and Vithal Kamat Restaurant chain into the parent company. For the year ended March 2010, the company had achieved a sales turnover of ` 114 crore and earned a net profit of ` 1.40 crore. The company’s business module envisages both management contracted properties and owned properties. Company’s brands include The Orchid – An Ecotel Hotel in the 5-star segment, VITS Business Hotel in the 4-star segment, Gadh Hotels and Lotus

Vikram Kamat Executive Director Kamat Hotels

Resorts. The focus of the company is in positioning its hotels to the business segment in the mid to up-market category. In addition, the company consciously follows the policy of environment conservation in the operation of its hotels in all aspects. “We are going to look at consolidating our position

Director, Kamat Hotels. As far as the grouping of its various companies under one banner is concerned, the process of valuation is still going on. Revenue generation is mainly through owned hotels while managed properties account for only five per cent of the revenue.

quick read india is currently ranked 12th in the asia Pacific region and 68th overall in the list of the world's attractive destinations. – World economic Forum (WeF)


AGENTS

LPTI & Coral Travels welcome charter season To celebrate a successful charter season in Goa, Le Passage to India and Coral Travels hosted a gala evening to thank its partners. Both LPTI and Coral Travels expect the present charter season to be even better.

Deepak with Guests - (L-R): Deepak Bhatnagar, Executive Director – Le Passage to India, Edwin Dias, General Manager Resort Marinha Dourada & Carolyn Naronha -Admin Manager, TUI UK

25

After forming a new ‘Trade Relations and Communications’ team, Thomas Cook is expanding its operations across India through Gold Circle Partners (GCPs)… fter recording an increase of 149 per cent in Net profit in Q1 this year, Thomas Cook (India) is looking ahead for attaining further growth in 2011. The company has recently launched MoneyGram International (global money transfer service) in association with Bharti Walmart and Bharti Retail. It has also formed a new and Relations ‘Trade Communications’ team for

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Arjun Sharma with Guests - (L-R): Arjun Sharma, Managing Director- Le Passage to India, Sushant Nadkarni - Leading legal Honcho, Sundar Advani ,Chairman & MD- Advani Hotels, John Fernandes - Owner Royal Holidays, Reshma Alves, Asst. Vice President – Le Passage to India , Aleona Odud - Coral Travel Head Representative, Ekaterina Ivanona, Le Passage to India Head Representative & Anil Patil- Royal Holidays

TRAVTALK

Thomas Cook India expanding operations A N I TA J A I N

Team Le Passage to India in Goa - (L-R): Arjun Sharma, Domnic Kostka, Tarannum Banerjee, Reshma Alves, Warren Pinto, Shubert Colaco, Egbert Dias and Deepak Bhatnagar

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

Q1 result highlights Net profit increased to 48.3 million from 19.4 million, an increase of 149 per cent Income from Operations grew to 652 million from 502 million, an increase of 30 per cent

developing and enhancing trade relationships in the industry. The company is now working on its next step –

Madhav Pai Chief Operating Officer, Leisure Travel (Outbound), Thomas Cook (India)

strengthening its presence across India. Currently, the company has 84 Gold Circle Partners (franchisees), 180 Preferred Sales Agents and over 600 Associate Agents

along with 201 Thomas Cook locations in 71 cities (inclusive of 26 airport counters in five cities). It is now looking at additional 36 GCP outlets and taking the network to 110 by October 2011. According to Madhav Pai, Chief Operating Officer, Leisure Travel (Outbound), Thomas Cook (India); the Indian traveller is evolving at a speedy pace and travel companies need to have the expertise to meet traveller’s requirements. He said, “ At Thomas Cook India, we have recorded 60-70 per cent growth compared to 2010 for outbound holidays. This proves at what pace the Indian travel market is growing and we are preparing ourselves to meet the future demand by expanding our presence and becoming more accessible for our customers.”


26 TRAVTALK

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

EXHIBITIONS

‘Learn South Africa’ training modules in 14 Indian cities South African Tourism (SAT) is enthusiastic about the steady growth in tourist arrivals from India. Confident of exceeding its arrival target this year, SAT plans to begin ‘Learn South Africa’ modules in the first week of July 2011. The module will be organised in 14 Indian cities that will include both tier I and tier II cities. N I D H I RA J S I N G H

IN

ear 2010 was exceptional for South African Tourism when Indian tourist arrivals surged by 17.3 per cent compared to 2009. The number of travellers

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DURBAN Sharing the figures with , Hanneli Slabber, Country Head India, South African Tourism said, “We are glad that South Africa finds an important place in an

in South Africa this year is our priority.” This positive trend was also witnessed at INDABA 2011, a travel trade fair hosted by South African Tourism annually. It was held at Inkosi

Addressing delegates during the INDABA opening ceremony, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Tourism Minister, South Africa introduced ‘Strategy 2020’. He mentioned that the objective is to increase the number of

Response from Buyers and Exhibitors spoke to buyers and exhibitors about their expectations and experiences at INDABA 2011. Following are the excerpts:

We feel extremely optimistic about the future of Indian market. We have only been marketing ourselves in India for a year now and we’re seeing some incredible business being generated in this short time. In these tough times we are aggressively seeking out business and this business lies within the emerging markets. Mantis was busier than ever and we felt positive. We can also leverage by hosting pre/post fam trips to properties for key players of travel.

Our expectation from INDABA 2011 was to finalise procurement with suppliers, maintain relationships with existing customers and meet new customers. We have been able to sign special deals with suppliers, helping us to increase affordability of the destination. We met a couple of potential customers, particularly from India and South America. One should prepare for the show, scan the list of buyers and try to get prior appointments. Frank Glettenberg MD, Southern Africa, Private Safaris Destination Management

Paul Gardiner Sales & Marketing Director, The Mantis Collection

From our perspective, India is the single most important growth market globally. We focus on and invest in India. It is developing quickly, maturing somehow with new segments such as youth travel. Having been our 25th Indaba, we expected to have meaningful business meetings with existing and potential customers. It allowed us to solidify our new branding and positioning of the company. The golden rule is to ensure pre-arranged appointments. Martin Wiest CEO, Tourvest

The Indian market has great interest in South Africa but Europe airfares and multidestination options are great competition. The Euro has fallen and NTO is also pushing each one’s destination very aggressively. South Africa should keep up the hype they had created with Indian Premier League, not allowing it to die down. We were at INDABA 2011 to look for extensive and exclusive African products. We secured great deals too. We established new relationships and strengthened existing ones. Himanshi Munshaw-Luhar Director, Beacon Holidays

iarisation trips for the trade, they also enhance their knowledge on South Africa through learning programmes. Slabber informed,

“We will engage Indian operators through ‘Learn South Africa’ modules in 14 cities with a good mix of tier I and tier II cities. In 2010, we initiated the entry level. This year in July, around 1,000 graduates will attend module 2.”

Indian’s vacation or business itinerary. The upward movement in figures restored our belief of further intensifying our outreach programme to tap into this growing market. Accelerating Indian arrivals

A call for sustainability Contd. from page 1 u

assisting them to upgrade their infrastructure. This is done at three levels: a)

b)

At the Central Level where various ministries synergise to provide maximum impetus to states. At the State Level where various nodal bodies of the state governments are encouraged to work together to improve the

overall infrastructure of the state. c)

At the Local Level, where grass root bodies, like a panchayat, are involved in basic development of the region.

“All these efforts are aimed at improving the entire infrastructure of a state and not just a monument or a city. The development should be holistic and involve the local community as well,” said Khwaja.

Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) in KwaZulu-Natal province, Durban. With a slogan ‘Leave Ordinary Behind’, it attracted 1,610 exhibitors showcasing their products. Ndabo Khoza, CEO, Kwa-Zulu Natal Tourism estimated that INDABA injected between 200 - 250 million South African Rand into Durban’s economy this year. A total of 3,000 international buyers and visitors from 98 different countries participated, accounting for 11 per cent increase in the number of delegates compared to INDABA 2010. The exhibitors included tour operators, hotels, airlines, national tourism authorities, car rental companies, game lodges and nature reserves, transport businesses, online travel representatives and conferencing facilitators.

foreign tourist arrivals to 15 million by the year 2020. He emphasised on plans to increase total contribution of tourism towards the economy to R499 billion and creating 2,25,000 new jobs by 2020. The focus of SAT is now to strengthen its core tourism market, i.e. Europe and aggressively pursue emerging ones in the Americas, Asia and Africa. A group of hosted buyers from India participated in the exhibition that included Pearl Travel, Lotus Destinations, Travel Tours Group, Varun Worldwide Holidays, Kuoni Travel India, Bespoke Tours and Jagsons Travel. SAT understands the advantage of working closely with the travel trade to achieve their goal. Apart from regularly organising exhibitions, roadshows and famil-

Country Head India South African Tourism

duction to an Indian tourist, SAT plans to popularise the Garden Route and KwaZuluNatal province among others. The profile of Indian travellers is a combination of luxury travellers, adventure seekers, wildlife enthusiasts and wine connoisseurs. Lately, cricket and football fans (for IPL2 2009 and FIFA World Cup 2010), Bollywood actors, models, film directors are thronging the shores. “The Indian wanderlust is now looking for a mixture of luxury and adventure. The entire dynamics of India's outbound travel sector is changing. We have seen many Indian tourists choos-

Hosted buyers from India at Indaba 2011

When asked about the shift witnessed in the inflow of tourists from India, she said that apart from traditional source destinations (Mumbai and Delhi), SAT has lately received tourists from

INDABA 2011 increased to 71,587 in 2010 from 61,007 in 2009. India ranked third in Asia in terms of inbound travellers to South Africa for the period of January to December 2010. Year 2011 looks promising too.

Hanneli Slabber

Attracted 1,610 exhibitors Total of 3,000 international buyers and visitors from 98 different countries 12 buyers from India with 7 hosted buyers 11% increase in the number of delegates compared to 2010 Injected between 200 250 million South African Rand into Durban’s economy

ing South Africa for luxury, adventure, honeymoon, golf, wellness and even culinary tourism,” Slabber informed. SAT has also discovered the huge potential of the Indian MICE sector lately. After receiving large number of inquiries, they are aggressively promoting their annual MICE trade show titled ‘Meeting Africa’. Slabber added, “As major travel agents in India have corporate accounts with them, we have been building on this segment to get Indian companies to visit the country. We select agents from India to experience this event and also have first-hand experience of the destination from a MICE perspective.”

quick read other tier I cities. This includes Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. “Over the last couple of years, tier II cities such as Pune, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Baroda, Surat, Rajkot, Bhopal, Ahmedabad and Indore have grown to be our potential markets too,” she added. While Cape Town and Sun City needs no intro-

The comScore study found that the number of visitors to Travel sites increased 32 per cent in the past year to 18.5 million visitors as more indians turned to the web for their travel needs.


28 TRAVTALK

EXHIBITIONS

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

India shines via 5-city roadshows in UK

Indian MICE catching up with global trends

Contd. from page 3 u

The institution of destination specific convention promotion bureau is a very healthy sign of India’s mature intentions to capture a lion’s share in the global MICE market…

and serious buyers would attend the shows at respective venues. “On behest of the PATA UK Chapter, who had extended support and co-operation for our roadshows, we had appointed a private consultant in this edition of roadshows. The consultant will ensure among other things that only quality and serious players keen on the India market attend the roadshows at respective centres,” said Kabir Vasudeva, Executive Director, PATA India Chapter. “We are confident that on an average, there will be 80-100 quality buyers at all the roadshows, which we will try to ensure meet all the members of the Indian delegation,” he added.

VIVEK SETHI he Indian MICE industry is fast coming out of its formative years to capture a lion’s share in the global MICE industry. The strong economic fundamentals coupled with creation of state-of-the-art MICE infrastructure and other initiatives speak volumes about the maturing of the MICE industry in the country.

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Arjun Sharma

Devesh Chaturvedi

Vice Chairman PATA India Chapter

Additional Director General Ministry of Tourism

The format of the roadshows will stay power packed and will include serious B2B sessions, destination India presentations, India evening, free flow of workshops and other events. “There will be powerful B2B sessions followed

by a reception in the evening at all the roadshows. At the Indian evening, there will be a brief presentation on destination India followed by engaging cultural events, Indian dinner and a raffle draw,” said Vasudeva.

“India is one of the strongest economic growth stories among the emerging economies. On back of such strong economic fundamentals and creation of the world-class MICE infrastructure in most parts of the country,

With world-class MICE infrastructure, India is a formidable player in the global MICE business Devesh Chaturvedi, ADG, MOT

India is a formidable player in the global MICE business,” said Devesh Chaturvedi,

Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism and the Chairperson of India Convention Promotion Bureau. “The establishment of the destination specific convention promotion bureaus, starting from Hyderabad to other leading states in MICE segment is another mature leap that reflects the maturing of the MICE industry’s ambitions in India,” he added. It’s fortunate that the Indian MICE industry has made its intentions to make greater inroads into the global MICE business at a time when the business sentiment has strong upside bias.

Taj becomes ‘luxurious’ online as well! n Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces has launched its new Corporate and Luxury website, www.tajhotels.com . The website houses a sophisticated design that befits the luxurious brand and offers a highly experiential approach

to its customers. The website positions the 25 Taj properties into 5 distinct clusters, namely, Grand Palaces & Iconic Hotels, City Hotels, Taj Safaris, Luxury Residences and Taj Exotica Resort & Spa. Ajoy Misra, Senior

Vice President, Sales and Marketing says, “The design is a result of extensive consumer research, is deeply rooted in digital technology to create customer experiences that are dynamic, elegant and interesting.”

Prakash Shukla, Senior Vice President Technology & Chief Information Officer says, ”In our constant endeavor to provide alternate channels and increased access to our customers, we have designed a website

which is easy to navigate, visually stimulating and has an efficient mechanism to facilitate bookings. The effort to bring more innovation in the mobile and web space will continue.” The user journey is both simple and

informative and intends to arouse trust in first time visitors through exposure to the roots and heritage of the Taj. The revamped ecommerce segment of the website facilitates ease of navigation and bookings.

Ajoy Misra Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing

Germany going from business to leisure This time, a 30-member Indian travel trade delegation travelled to Germany. spoke to agents at GTM 2011 to find out how Germany could be promoted in India with a different perspective… S RIPRAKASH M ENON Surabhi Shrivastava, The Backpacker Co, Mumbai

Shravan Bhalla, Highflyer, New Delhi "Germany is not restricted to Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich. It is a beautiful country with each city having its own charm, style and culture which makes each city different from the other. We being a honeymooner specialist, we can see a lot of new products in Bavaria and Black Forest to offer to our high end clients."

“People have now started to discover some new aspects of Germany. A lot of free minded travellers/backpackers have started to explore the treasures of this land not forgetting the free flowing beer and amazing local food found in the country. The youth of today has discovered the non-traditional way of travelling. The famous Oktoberfest, the biggest rock concerts or the Mardi Gras are catching attention. It is not far left behind in terms of luxury and bliss, the beautiful castles, hotels, spas and richness in their cuisines.”

Gayathri Murthy of Travel Air, Bengaluru "Germany has always been seen as a business destination by Indians. But now, they were promoting it as a tourist destination. It was surprise to know that Indians were not considered very potential or lucrative customers by the tour operators or the hotels in Germany. This is despite the increase in Indians visiting to Germany as tourists and our economic growth. I only hope the Germans change their perception about Indian market.

Meenakshi Chauhan of Orbitz Corporate & Leisure Travel (I), Mumbai "Germany has a lot to offer from UNESCO World heritage sights, museums, great cities, mountain peaks, captivating landscapes, spa & wellness, wineries, sports destination, amazing festivals, unexplored destinations & lots more. It has excellent infrastructure, stay options & transportation network. By offering stay back options for business travellers, the leisure market can be tapped.”

Vineet Gopal, director Engee Holidays LLP, New Delhi He remarked "GTM cologne 2011’ was a fantastic show. Sentiment on the exhibition floor was more positive, with greater opportunities for finalising business deals. The quantity and profile of suppliers was one of GTM's strengths". "The choice of exhibitors was very good and offered excellent opportunity for networking and to do serious business. I enjoyed the 2-in-1 experience of GTM the programmes balanced objectives of education as well as procurement at the exhibition," he noted.


30 TRAVTALK

AVIATION

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

‘DAME’ starts check-in for domestic fliers AI, Jet, and Kingfisher start check-in facility on the Delhi Airport Metro Express (DAME). A N I TA J A I N eading domestic carriers, Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher have started offering city checkin service on the Delhi Airport Metro Express Line effective June 10, 2011.

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According to the statement received from Jet Airways the city check-in service is available for guests travelling on the airline's domestic services, at three Delhi Airport Metro Express Line city terminalsnamely the New Delhi, Shivaji Stadium stations with check-in baggage and Dhaula Kuan station without check-in baggage. Jet has said it will accept passengers and baggage not earlier than 6 hours and not later than 2 hours and 30 minutes before the scheduled departure of its flights. Jet, however, also informed that the

guests using this facility must report at the Jet Airways Terminal 3 Domestic departure Gates 30 minutes before departure. Jet Airways will also introduce Metro express line city check-ins for its international services from Delhi on the receipt of the requisite clearances from regulatory authorities. According to a Kingfisher official, the airline has also started the city check-in facility at least from New Delhi station of the Delhi Airport Metro Express Line.3 National carrier Air India has also started offering city check-in on the Delhi Airport Metro Express Line. Air India will offer this facility at all the three stations on the Delhi Airport Metro Express corridor.

Lufthansa brand on Delhi Airport Metro Express

Bengaluru International Airport commences terminal expansion BIAL to have the terminal capacity of 17 million passengers To double the terminal capacity due to growing demand, the airport of IT capital of India is set for further progress. With terminal expansion, it aims to cater to 350 aircraft movements each day and handle over 13.5 passengers this year… A N I TA J A I N n a bid to cater to the increasing air and passenger traffic, Bengaluru International Airport Ltd

I

Fast Facts In first year of operations (2008-09), BIAL handled 7.9 million passengers and 10 million in 2009-2010 In 2010-11, a total of 11.7 million passengers travelled through BIAL The new terminal will increase the passenger capacity to 17 million per annum

(BIAL) has commenced the expansion of the passenger terminal building at an estimated cost of ` 1,400 crore. The work will be completed in 18 months doubling the existing terminal of 70,000 sq metres and taking terminal capacity to over 17 million passengers per annum. Simultaneously, a comprehensive review of the master plan is underway. The construction partners for the chosen project are Larsen & Toubro which have been selected through an international competitive bidding process. The airport recently completed three years of successful operations.

G V Sanjay Reddy Managing Director, BIAL

Talking about the future plans of the airport, G V Sanjay Reddy, Managing Director, BIAL said, “In the past three years, the airport has witnessed the introduction of 10 new international airlines. This spurt is mainly due to the increase in capac-

Mumbai Airport ATC to go hi-tech As infrastructure is being developed around Santa Cruz and Sahar to facilitate smoother air traffic operations at both domestic and international terminals, the Mumbai airport is going in for an all-round upgradation. S RIPRAKASH M ENON he new air traffic control (ATC) tower at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) Mumbai is likely to be commissioned by 2013. The new ATC will not only make the operations smoother for the airlines but with its hi-tech navigational equipment, it will also help the ATC personnel in the air traffic management.

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Lufthansa adds another first in its long line of innovative marketing strate-

Sangeeta Sharma Manager Marketing Communications Lufthansa India

gies in India with unique branding of the airline on the Delhi Airport Metro Express (DAME). The move

ensures sharp targeting of the brand to traffic of nearly 10000 to 12000 air passengers, which the DAME caters to everyday. Of the 3 trains connecting New Delhi to Terminal 3, Lufthansa's brand is clearly visible in 2 trains and one coach of the third train. With this Lufthansa alone has 80 per cent share of visibility. "At Lufthansa, we believe in promoting marketing strategies that are always localised as per individual markets," says Sangeeta Sharma, Manager - Marketing Communications, Lufthansa India.

The old ATC at Mumbai airport was near the cross runway and this impacted the airlines operations. The proposed ATC tower is being built in an area of 1,200 sqm. The height of this tower will be 83 metre from the ground level and will be a landmark in the city, Manish Kalghatgi, General Manager, Corporate Communication & PR (MIAL) said. It will be located in the forecourt of the domestic terminals in Santacruz. While the tower cab will be specially designed to have a clear line of sight for Air Traffic Controller, the G+3

floors below will house infrastructure facilities supporting the tower. Recently, the designer of the ATC tower, HOK International Limited was conferred the prestigious ‘Autodesk Hong Kong Building

aids have also received a major facelift with the introduction of touchdown Zone lights, taxiway centre line lights and ret identification lights, all controlled through a new control & monitoring system from either the ATC Tower or from the CCR hall. Safety enhance-

ity at the new airport as well as the efficient operating environment that it offers to its customer airlines. Working towards our vision of becoming the gateway to the South of India, we aim to make the environment here friendly for airlines – both domestic and international. Simultaneously, we are in talks with many more international airlines to add Bengaluru to their list of destinations.” BIAL is also planning to start work on non-aeronautical projects like MRO, Cargo & logistics centre, hotel and conference centre to increase revenue margins. However, plan for these facilities will be finalised after review of the airport’s master plan.

IN BRIEF Oman Air connnects Delhi to Munich n

Starting this month, Oman Air has announced the operations of direct non stop flights between Muscat and Milan connecting from Delhi on days 1,2,5,6 reducing the total flight time between Delhi to Milan via Muscat by about an hour. Earlier there was a technical halt at Munich before reaching to Milan. The inaugural one way fare from Delhi to Milan is INR 13,300 excluding surcharge and taxes and Return is INR 20700 plus surcharge and taxes.

RJ offers Berlin as new sector n

Information Modeling (BIM) Award 2009’. Selected as one of the five award winners this year, the award recognises MIAL’s modernisation efforts to upgrade aeronautical-related facilities at CSIA, he said. Additionally, at the Mumbai airport, the landing

ments with the straightening of the centre line and the addition of stop bar and guard lights are also of significance. The primary runway (09/27) was also reconstructed as part of the integral overall master plan for modernisation of CSIA in a period of seven months.

Royal Jordanian, flying from Delhi and Mumbai in India, has added Berlin as a new sector in Europe. Effective June 2nd, the carrier will operate on the Airbus A320 family of aircraft with 3 weekly flights, providing onward connection to its passengers from its network in India. The total fare inclusive of taxes and fuel surcharge ex-Delhi is INR 33,001.


32 TRAVTALK

AVIATION

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

‘Essential Abu Dhabi’ kicks off in India

Turkish Airlines to have direct presence in India from July

Marked as ‘Visit Abu Dhabi Year’, Etihad is keen to promote the In India for 8 years, the airline is also launching new product, replacing country among both Indian leisure A330-200 with the more modern A330-300. and business travellers. Turkish Airlines to in an airline has now decided to S H AYA N M A L L I C K exclusive chat.

T T B U R E AU tihad Airways has also introduced a new A 330 painted in a striking ‘Visit

E

Neerja Bhatia General Manager – India Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi in 2011’ to further boost the campaign. India is the largest market served by Etihad (serving eight cities with 52 connections a week) and is also one of the most potential countries for leisure and corporate traffic to Abu Dhabi. The carrier is working closely with trade associations like TAAI and TAFI,

exploring joint marketing efforts with tour operators and further enhancing air connections to India to meet the increasing demand. Talking exclusively to , Neerja Bhatia, General Manager – India, Etihad Airways said, “This is a special initiative supported by travel suppliers from Abu Dhabi to make Abu Dhabi a top tourist and MICE destination. We will work closely with the Indian travel trade, media and key travel partners to further enhance the image of Abu Dhabi among Indian travellers.” Adding further, Bhatia said, “Currently, we are registering over 90 per cent load factor on all flights from India. We have recently acquired traffic rights to Ahmedabad which will soon be added on our network. We have also requested to remove the frequency cap on Mumbai and New Delhi routes to meet the rising demand from India.”

GoAir declared the Best Performing Airline n GoAir has been ranked by Airbus as the ‘Best Performing Airline’ in the Airbus A320 category operator in Asia Pacific / Middle East/ Africa. The award is presented in every two years by Airbus based on both fleet utilisation and performance achievements in each region and world-

wide and for two categories of fleet size. Their metrics take into account on-time performance as well as severity of the operational interruptions (based on the Airbus Severity Index calculation). GoAir has also been registered with IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) programme.

urkish Airlines’ target of establishing itself as a leading carrier between Europe and India remains on track.

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The airline is now eyeing stronger presence and brand visibility in the Indian market. Come July, and the airline will not only have its direct presence in the Indian market but also, plans to top it up with the new products that is planned for its Indian network from next month. This was informed by Adnan AYKAC, General Manager, Northern & Eastern India,

“India is a very important market for us. We are investing in this country because we see lot of potential in this market. We want to increase our efficiency and brand image. We will service the Indian market with superior products, competitive and applicable fare and be more accountable to the Indian travellers,” said AYKAC. The airline was operating in India through InterGlobe as its General Sales Agent. However, the

establish its direct presence in India once the contract with InterGlobe is over in June this year. It will also have its office in Mumbai and Delhi. Also starting next month, the airline will replace the A330-200 with the more advance wide-bodied A330-300, a two-class configuration aircraft with 22 seats in business class and 279 seats in the economy class. “The new product will boast of a very high quality business class with full flat seat, 19” flat screen TV, new catering service, among a

Adnan AYKAC General Manager Northern & Eastern India, Turkish Airlines

host of other new features. It will also have new design elements in the economy class. Past June, we will have our best product in India,” informed AYKAC.

Jet flies 2 million pax in May 2011 The airline claims creating aviation history in India as it crosses 2 million passengers mark and posts 17% growth in May alone. T T B U R E AU apitalising on the improvement in Global Business environment and the Holiday Season, Jet Airways Group created history in the Indian aviation industry by flying a record 2 million guests in May 2011. This, according to the airline, marks the highest number of passengers carried by any airline of Indian origin on its domestic and international network.

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Jet Airways flew a record 1.55 million guests on its domestic and international network; while JetLite flew an equally impressive 0.47

million guests to assist the Jet Airways Group log this milestone in the Indian Aviation sector. In the domestic market, the annual holiday season lifted domestic passenger traffic for Jet Airways by 17%, as compared to the same period last year. The growth in International passenger traffic saw a similar 17% increase, reflecting a growing passenger demand for the airline’s award-winning International product, not to mention the increasing impact of Jet Airways’ International codeshares and introduction of new routes as

Nikos Kardassis Chief Executive Officer Jet Airways

well as strategic marketing and network initiatives. Nikos Kardassis, Chief Executive Officer, Jet Airways said, “Besides helping further consolidate our lead-

ership position in Indian skies, this new milestone of flying 2 million guests further reiterates the fact that Jet Airways, Jet Airways Konnect and JetLite have all catered to distinct passenger segments. Thus, it has been the Group’s ability to fully anticipate customer and market requirements and consequently customise its product to cater to these requirements that has helped Jet Airways stay ahead. I am certain that our focus to deliver customer delight will further help Jet Airways build on its industry benchmarks of convenience and comfort for its guests.”

Battle for ‘Oman Air Cricket League 2011 Cup’ Oman Air organised ‘Oman Air Cricket League 2011’ at Kochi, Kerala last month. Eight team including 7 IATA travel agents and one led by Oman Air participated in the day-long tournament. Airtravel Enterprise was crowned champion, whereas the runner up cup went to Oman Air. Participant included Airtravel Enterprise, Akbar travel, Creative Tours & Travels, Lawson Travel & Tours, Muthoot Travelsmart – GMG Associates, Riya Travel and UAE Exchange Travel Services.


RAILWAYS

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

New-kids-on-the-block for Rail Europe With an impressive growth for Q1 2011, Rail Europe has signed agreements for non-European markets with ‘Renfe’ for Spain and ‘ATOC’ for UK. A N I TA J A I N aris-based Rail Europe has recently been appointed by the UK-based Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) to undertake the international distribution and sales of Great Britain train services under the new license arrangement. With this, the Rail Europe agents and websites will offer same fares (as offered to the UK travellers) for travel within Great Britain. Kunal Kothari, Executive Director, Rail Europe India informed that Rail Europe, with BritRail products, now offers a complete range of

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Kunal Kothari Executive Director Rail Europe India

passes and tickets covering the UK. With the addition of new products such as the ‘anytime’, ‘off-peak’ and ‘advance’ fares, travellers will be able to choose the right product at the best price suiting to their needs. It has also signed a direct distribution agreement with the National Railways of Spain – Renfe Operadora. In that framework, a direct connection between Renfe's and Rail Europe's distribution systems is also being implemented. Kothari adds, “The benefits of the new agreement are immediate

India growth story - Brazil displaced India from the fourth place for the first time by registering over 54 per cent growth to India’s 23 per cent. Despite that, sales from India topped € 11 million whereas Brazil managed just under €12 million. For the first quarter of 2011, India registered nearly € 1.3 million worth of sales with the sales for peak travel months yet to be generated. During the holiday season, sales from India doubled to stand at € 3.3 million at the end of April 2011 finishing 27.5 per cent up over sales for 2010 for the same period

for both travel agents and travellers. Not only they can enjoy the convenience of e-tickets, but they also have an access to all trains and fares offered by Renfe, including the low cost ‘Web’ & ‘Estrella’ fares (offering up to 60 per cent discount) and promotions.”

These new features come in addition to the current ones offered by Euronet, Rail Europe's online distribution system, such as real time availability and extended search functions. Through Euronet, Rail Europe accredited agents can easily and seamlessly sell all types of

Major initiatives in coming month • Signed direct distribution agreement with Renfe (Spanish Railways) allowing access to the lowest fares and e-tickets through a direct connection to the Spanish inventory • Launch of ‘Print at home’ (e-tickets) for best selling products such as French TGV, Eurostar and Thalys services • Strengthening its support and fulfilment centres all over the world to back the prompt increase of web sales and enhance service level of its partners

TRAVTALK

35

trains from regional trains to the famous ‘AVE’ high speed trains (running at up to 350 km/h) and the international overnight train between Spain and France, Italy and Switzerland, ‘Elipsos’. With a turnover in excess of 137 million euros in 2010, Rail Europe achieved growth of 34 per cent over 2009. Furthermore, the company has recorded the highest Q1 revenues and profits in Rail Europe’s history this year with sales going 30 per cent higher as compared to Q1 2010.


36 TRAVTALK

TECHNOLOGY

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

TECHTALK Hotels on Facebook profile B Y A V I J I T A RYA he Internet and the growth of Social Media have forced each hotel, small or big, across the world to adopt the medium. Facebook being the most important forum is also the most measurable and the easiest to adopt.

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Basically, there is a fan page and a community on Facebook and hoteliers invite their guests’ database on to the Facebook page to engage with them as well as prospective guests. Today, Facebook enables booking engines to be connected with these fan pages which allows your guests to book your rooms through the Facebook page, thus allowing sharing and booking info among other users and guests of the fan page.

It is also a medium to interact with guests throughout the year by keeping them engaged on your Facebook page with regular and relevant updates on current happenings, humour, polls, contests, and various other interesting events. For example, a popular Delhi 5-star Business hotel has more than 2,000 fans who have stayed with them and experienced their hospitality .The hotel has identified that 80 percent of their guests are business guests and accordingly update their facebook pages thrice a day with relevant/targeted information relevant to their fans. These guests or fans go back to their Facebook fan pages to access latest information on weather, stocks, current business news etc and thus are in touch with their hotel brand which also from time to time slips in offers and deals for these guests. Many times I see Facebook pages being too dormant. Hotel social media and online reputation management teams should be proactively uploading photos, videos, creating events and making sure that their FB page gives your guests the opportunity to leave a review, offer feedback or book a room.

This is also a great opportunity for guests to feel empowered by enabling them to be directly in touch with the hotel management before, during and after their stay. Guests can post special messages to reserve special privileges or make a suggestion regarding what they would want during their stay. Facebook is an absolutely empowering tool if used well, and like everything else on the Internet, this too target relevant information to a particular demographic, in this case, type of guest both regular updates for engaging with guests. Facebook traffic is not targeted traffic, but you do get to use it to get people exposed to, and even talk-

Charter enquiries on iPhone Chapman Freeborn’s iPhone app ( private jet) offers the travel trade an immediate access to thousands of aircraft worldwide, along with instant indicative quotes, high-resolution photographs and valuable information… VIVEK SETHI he UK-based Chapman Freeborn Airchartering recently announced the launch of a unique iPhone app.

T

Speaking on the Indian market and the new product,

Tech-savvy iPhone app will set the standard for quick, accurate and executivefriendly ‘on-the-go’ charter inquiries iPhone app may extend similar applications on other platforms like BlackBerry, Andriod and others

Shailendra Seth, Director, Chapman Freeborn Airchartering said, “India is an important market where we are keen on replicating our success on the passenger charter like we have had in the cargo charter business. Our iPhone app will set the standard for quick, accurate and executive-friendly ‘onthe-go’ charter inquiries.”

the latest technology with the finest broker expertise to offer the best service to customers.

Shailendra Seth

“As a natural progression, after monitoring the results of the iPhone app, we may extend similar applications on other platforms like BlackBerry, Andriod and others. The said application is likely to have a three fold impact as it will result in an enhanced brand building,

Director Chapman Freeborn Airchartering

incremental business and also serve as an educational tool,” he added. The company believes the personal touch is central in chartering and so has worked hard to combine

“Our clients expect us to be at the forefront of the charter market and our iphone app shows exactly why we are there - our focus on innovation and exceptional service. In almost every customer-focussed industry, we are seeing a move away from impersonal automation and back towards personal service with the aid of the latest technology. Private Jet offers the very best of both worlds,” said Alex Berry, Group Executive Sales and Marketing Director, Chapman Freeborn.

TBO-Amadeus ME join hands Under the strategic partnership, Travel Boutique Online (TBO) will provide global hotel content through the Amadeus system. T T B U R E AU madeus has entered into a strategic partnership with Travel Boutique Online (TBO), a leading online B2B travel platform that aggregates travel content and makes it available for selling to over 14,000 travel agents across India and the Middle East. As part of this partnership, the ‘Amadeus Content Store Middle East Solution’ powered by TBO, will provide travel agencies an access to over 1,00,000 world-wide hotel properties in the Middle East using the Amadeus global distribution system. The solution provides a single screen access to search, compare and book hotel content from the most popular wholesalers and aggregators in the region.

A

Avijit Arya Chief Mogul, Internet Moguls

ing about your brand. If you have a great offer, people can even spread the word about you on their own resulting in an influx of traffic. Finally, there are 3 key elements required for a successful social marketing/networking campaign. 1. Continuously grow your network. 2. Keep adding great content that people will like, appreciate and find useful. 3. Interact. Instead of posting information about your services, your hotel, your promos and rates, you can talk about the popular destinations. What tourists can do at the sights near the hotel, what are the city sights to be seen, food to be tried, activities to participate in, spots to visit and take photos, sell the destination, then tie-in your current offer / promo at your hotel to get people to avail the services.

Travel agents will also have an access to a wider range of hotel content which will include an extensive variety of India’s small and medium properties, further increasing the traveller’s choice. The ‘Amadeus Content Store Middle East’ is

currently being piloted at select travel agencies and a regional roll out is planned from June 2011’ onwards. Fully integrated with the Amadeus Selling Platform, the new solution offers seamless information flow to mid-back office and accounting systems meaning fewer overheads on the travel agency. With content from multiple aggregators available for the first time, the

be customised with branded vouchers, itineraries and payment methods that suit the requirements of an individual business. Gaurav Bhatnagar, Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer, TBO said, “We are pleased to expand our presence in the Middle East, a very important growth area for us, with a market leading partner, Amadeus. We are sure that travel agents will

Bhatnagar (R) with Amadeus officials announcing the tie-up

agents have access to the widest variety of inventory and pricing options in a matter of seconds, leading to the increased hotel bookings for the agency. The content is completely flexible and can

welcome a solution as powerful as ‘Amadeus Content Store Middle East,’ based on innovative and advanced technology that saves lots of time for the travel agent which would otherwise

be spent on opening, searching and comparing the different offers.” Antoine Medawar, Vice President, Middle East & North Africa, Amadeus, said, “The Amadeus Content Store Middle East solution is further proof of our commitment to the region. We aim at continuing to introduce new technology developments to increase efficiency for the travel agency community.” “We view the tieup with Amadeus as a very strategic step forward for TBO in the MENA region. It is a unique and innovative solution which has not been offered in the region before and brings access to very large hotel inventory to the Amadeus travel agent base. For TBO, working with Amadeus gives visibility to an unprecedented customer base across all countries in the Middle East and North Africa,” says Ankush Nijhawan, Managing Director, Nijhawan Group of Companies

The ‘Leela Palaces’ making the world healthier! n The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts has joined hands with Meta Wellness, a New York based healthcare company to launch India’s first clinically proven, intensive lifestyle-

change program. “People often don’t know how to engage in meaningful lifestyle change. It is very much the need of the hour in India.” said Dr. Aashish Contractor,

chief medical advisor to Meta Wellness and head of Preventive Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation at Mumbai’s Asian Heart Institute. Meta Wellness is launching in India

two physician-led programs for heart disease – re:verseTM (for those who already have heart disease), and re:tuneTM, (for those who may be at risk of heart disease).


OPPORTUNITY / CLIPBOARD

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

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38 TRAVTALK

MOVEMENTS

JUNE 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2011

Swissôtel

Accor

FCm Travel Solutions India

Kolkata

New Delhi

New Delhi

Ferry Warnke has been appointed as the new General Manager

Lokesh Sabharwal has been appointed as Vice President

of Swissôtel, Kolkata, India. He has moved to Kolkata from Swissôtel Merchant Court, Singapore. Warnke first joined the Company in December 2002 as Food & Beverage Manager of Swissôtel, The Howard, London, a position he kept until August 2005. He brings with him over 14 years of experience in hospitality. He then progressed to the Conference and Banquet section at The Lygon Arms, The Broadway, UK and then Beverage Director at The Plaza, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, New York.

(development) Accor, for India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Sabharwal is a professional hotelier with over 13 years of experience in hotel development, consulting and operations. Before assuming responsibilities with Accor, he was Director Development, South West Asia for IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group). He has also worked with HVS International, where he was responsible for directing valuations and feasibility studies.

Manpreet Singh Bindra has been appointed as the Director - Tours & MICE of FCm Travel Solutions India. He will be responsible for all FCm Tours and MICE businesses in Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. In his new role, Bindra will not only look after the two divisions on a Pan India basis but will also be working closely with and reporting directly to FCm India’s CEO Naren Nautiyal.

Radisson Resort and Spa, Alibaug

The Westin, Sohna & Gurgaon

Holiday Inn

Mumbai

Gurgaon

Cochin

Mrinal Sarkar has been appointed as the new General

Vineet Mahajan has been appointed as the new Complex

Manager of Radisson Resort and Spa, Alibaug, near Mumbai. Sarkar joins the team with over 20 years of rich experience in the F&B and hotel operations. His core responsibility would be to spearhead the Resort’s overall growth by enhancing its services and product quality, revenue generation & guest satisfaction. Prior to this assignment, he was heading Le Meridien, Ahmedabad, and has held many key positions in the Indian and International Hotel Groups.

Director of Sales and Marketing of The Westin Sohna and Gurgaon. Prior to joining this place, Mahajan was holding the portfolio of Director of Sales & Marketing with Hotel Leela Venture for about four years and has launched their properties at Gurgaon and New Delhi. He is a qualified MBA and a Hotel Management Graduate. He comes with a rich experience of over fourteen years. He has also worked with Oberoi Hotels, Intercontinental New Delhi & Strategic Capital Corporation in various positions.

Sandit Shah has been appointed as Director of Sales and Marketing of Holiday Inn, Cochin. Shah joins Holiday Inn Cochin after 15 ½ years of experience in the Hospitality Industry. Some of his past endeavours include work with prominent hospitality chains such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Taj Group of Hotels where he has proven track records of accelerating business growth and creating an improved brand perception.

Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Paschim Vihar

Kuoni India

The Claridges

Mumbai

New Delhi

New Delhi

Alpana Banerjee has been appointed as the Global HR Business

Lin Lin Yang has joined The Claridges, New Delhi as Master

Neeraj Balani has been appointed as Director Food & Beverage,

Partner- Market Region South Asia, Kuoni India. She joined Kuoni India as Head - Training & Development in 2005 and by 2007, she was the Global Head Training & Development at Kuoni India. In August 2010, Banerjee moved to HCC as Vice President –HR. Her association with Kuoni India resumed in April 2011 when she joined as Global HR Business Partner – Market Region South Asia. She also serves as the member of the Executive Board, India and supervises the Kuoni Academy.

Chinese Chef. He comes with over 13 years of experience in preparing authentic Chinese cuisine. In his new capacity, Chef Yang will be responsible for the menu planning & operations of Jade, Authentic Chinese Restaurant at The Claridges, New Delhi. His culinary repertoire includes the famous Guangdong, Sichuan and authentic Beijing food. Chef Yang has won several accolades for his culinary skills. His last assignment was with The Oberoi, Bangalore.

Radisson Blu Hotel, New Delhi, Paschim Vihar. Prior to this, he has worked with ‘The Oberoi Group’, ‘The Park New Delhi’ & ‘Crowne Plaza NFC’ in various positions. Balani comes with an experience of over 15 years in the industry. In his new role, Neeraj Balani will be responsible to monitor all service standards of F&B department to ensure exceptional guest satisfaction.

Art, culture, theatre and movies are what Laurent Alquier, General Manager, Club Med Cherating Beach, likes and they play an important role in his life and daily work routine. Alquier feels life has to be viewed as a changing spectrum, and the trick is to adapt according to contemporary needs. This principle can be applied at work too. For example, its important to understand that leisure guests have a niche of their own and their needs are changing and evolving. They stay at resorts because they want to reconnect with their families and spend quality time together. They want the very best of services – food, atmosphere, activities, and courteous staff.

Talking People is a special dedicated corner, created as a sounding board for who’s who of the Indian and International travel industry. With Talking People, it is our endeavour to bring you face-to-face with people.

The leisure hotel business is very competitive, and providing value for money is the main criteria for success.

Dhruv Shringi, Co-Founder, Yatra.com wishes to buy a super bike and a micro brewery if he becomes a millionnaire. The dark chocolate lover is a qualified Chartered Accountant. Since childhood, he dreamt of becoming an army officer and landed up in the travel industry due to his passion for travel. He had an idea of online being the business of the future. The favourite past time activity of this Cancerian is playing with his kids or playing golf. With kids, he likes to get involved by playing football, solving puzzles and reading books. Abdul Kadir bin Haji Sheikh Fadzir ex- Malaysian

Dhruv Shringi Co-Founder Yatra.com

Tourism Minister and Executive Chairman, Sazean Group

(By Anita Jain)

Laurent Alquier General Manager Club Med Cherating Beach

Abdul Kadir bin Haji Sheikh Fadzir, former Malaysian Tourism Minister and currently Executive Chairman, Sazean Group, likes nature and taking long walks in the jungle. He also likes to communicate with different segments of people. Fadzir feels that with today’s global environment having evolved, one has to be a step ahead in whatever he does. “Tourism is an industry that needs the least amount of investment, yet brings the highest returns in the shortest time. To succeed, the industry requires political will at the highest level. But one has to go beyond this and attain overall quality. With several attractions developed over centuries, India’s tourist product is world-class. Tourism can be India’s number one industry. Why waste this huge business opportunity?” he asks. (By Inder Raj Ahluwalia)


Postal Reg. No.: DL(ND)-11/6044/2009-10-11 Licence to Post without Pre-payment No.: U(C)-178/2009-11 for posting on 1-2 and 15-16 of the same month at New Delhi P.S.O., RNI No.: 53492/91

HIGHLIGHT

Responsible corporates commit to Corporate Social Responsibility Arjun Sharma, Managing Director, Le Passage to India Tours & Travels and Anil Alagh shares details of the initiatives undertaken by their Travel Foundation- Shaping Lives. D E E PA S E T H I & V I V E K S E T H I Kindly tell us about the LPTI Foundation?

Q

A: As a leading destination management company, Le Passage to India recognises its mandate and responsibility of positively impacting living standards and alleviating poverty in the environment it operates in. LPTI took a leap ahead in the Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, as the company created an independent department in June 2010 headed by a General Manager to collate, coordinate and expand its role in this sphere. By contributing to the context, which is vital to its long-term viability, LPTI is determined to shape a better future for some of the less privileged by acting as a bridge between travel partners in India and abroad. This strong determination had led to the birth of Le Passage Travel Foundation in December 2010. It is committed to engendering an environment that promotes sustainable development, helps create positive impact and directly benefits local communities. What are the various initiatives you have undertaken so far?

Q

A: Our initiatives at Shaping Lives are pursued with the help of 14 non governmental organisations (NGOs) that include Chintan (Project Arman), Deepalaya, Jaipur Artificial Limb Centre, Disha Foundation, NGO Umang, NGO Ladli, Akshar Society, Surman Sansthan, Sister Valentina’s Little Heaven, Holy Family Convent Girl

Shelter, Margaret Bosco Bal Sadan, Missionaries of Charity, Indian Bear Rescue and HIS- Animal Welfare among others. In January 2011, we had a group of guests from Hong Kong, who visited and spent time with the children

our beloved guru and travel doyen (Late) Ghulam Naqshband, which was followed by a special lunch in his memory for less privileged children. Another initiative of the month was the celebration of festival of colours- Holi, with the special children of Deepalaya along with distribution of sweets and food.

months, we would like the realm of our foundations’ operation to embrace the southern and western parts of the country. Once, the momentum gets going, we will also like to create opportunities in and around our travel domain for skill development and employment creations; especially in the rural areas. Should a law be made to make 2% contributions to CSR mandatory for corporates?

Q

Arjun Sharma, Managing Director, (3rd from left) and Anil Alagh, General Manager, CSR, (extreme left) Le Passage to India Tours & Travels with ‘Shaping Lives’ volunteers & children

of NGO Deepalaya and enjoyed a rural India experience in the nearby village. Another exciting event of the month was an elephant polo with our American friends which was enjoyed by children from NGOs, Umang & Disha. In February 2011, our foundation converted dreams of a few of many of our NGO children into reality. The foundation had arranged three flights of fantasy-an opportunity to fly between Jaipur and Delhi and arranging sightseeing tours of Delhi and Jaipur for our children. In March 2011, our foundation had organised a prayer service dedicated to

Q

What are the future initiatives that are being planned to take the foundation from regional to national level?

A: Every initiative undertaken by the foundation originates from the company’s belief in empowering individuals and communities and creating skill sets that enhance quality of life of the less privileged and ensures that LPTI gets closer to its ultimate goal of its CSR initiative christened as Shaping Lives for the better. Initially, we had limited the scope of the operations of our foundation to Delhi, Agra and Jaipur ensure greater control. Now, in next 12-18

A: In my opinion, responsible corporates earmark over 2 per cent for CSR initiatives. Even, if a law has to be made to this effect, I’ll support such a mandate.

At our end, the know-how we have gathered through the several initiatives of our foundation. We are more than willing to share these with our industry. In fact, we will like members of the travel trade to come forward and join hands to further the ends of making lives of less privileged people more meaningful.

Looking ahead LPTI is determined to shape a better future for some of the less privileged by acting as a bridge between travel partners in India and abroad It will also create opportunities for skill development


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