CONTENTS Vol 9 No 1 FEBRUARY 2014 Pages 44
Points of Distinction
Chairman of the Board
Viveck Goenka G Finest Cuisine at sea Midsize elegant ships with very high luxury standards G Extraordinary high staff-to-guest ratio G Youngest fleet in premium/luxury class cruising
Reema Lokesh* Assistant Editor
Steena Joy Associate Editor
Sudipta Dev CONTENT TEAM
--- Cruises in 2014 ---
Kahini Chakraborty Rituparna Chatterjee Kolkata
Joy Roy Choudhury DESIGN National Art Director
OUR PARKS (16)
Deputy Art Director
Surajit Patro Chief Designer
Round the World in 180 Days Starts & ends from Miami and goes around the world. Smaller Voyages of approx. 30 days can be booked on this Round-theWorld cruise. Europe – 7 to 12 Days
Senior Graphic Designerr
Rushikesh Konka Layout
Ratilal Ladani, Kiran Parker
IRCTC TO DEVELOP NEW CONSUMERFRIENDLY WEBSITE
ATDC TO OPEN AGRI TOURISM CENTRES ACROSS INDIA IN NEXT FIVE YEARS
Spain – Italy, Monte Carlo, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Scandinavia, British Isles
SCHEDULING & COORDINATION Sr.Executive
Rohan Thakkar Photo Editor
Alaska – 7 to 10 Days EMPOWERING CENTRAL INDIA GPS 2014 IN NAGPUR PROVED TO BE A PERFECT PLATFORM TO SHOWCASE THE UNTAPPED POTENTIAL OF INDIA’S TIER II AND TIER III MARKETS
MARKETING Deputy General Manager
Harit Mohanty Chief Manager
TOURISM INCREASES BETWEEN INDIA AND POLAND
North America – 10 to 24 Days Miami – East West Caribbean – San Francisco etc. South America – 12 to 22 Days Valpariso, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador etc.
San Francisco, Vancouver, Seattle
Far East – 16 to 24 Days
B R Tipnis Manager
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HIGH-FLYING SPECTACLE THE BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL AIRSHOW SAW FIRST TIME PARTICIPATION FROM INDIA
RAISING THE BAR THE GULF AVIATION ACADEMY IN BAHRAIN HAS TRAINED AS MANY AS 19,000 FLIGHT CREWS IN FOUR YEARS
P04: EDITOR’S NOTE P34: APPOINTMENTS P41: WEEKEND
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Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, China etc.
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ragile, endangered and to a large extent neglected, wildlife protection and conservation in India needs an extremely serious and sensitive urgent action plan. Wildlife tourism can be an important tool for wildlife conservation. This is done across the world but not successfully in India. It is important for people to appreciate and enjoy the natural wealth, but with respect; it brings an element of responsibility. To much of intervention is dangerous, hence there has to be a fine balance between exposure to humans and protection of wildlife habitat. Wildlife tourism needs to be better managed to make it sustainable. It is extremely crucial to control the number of resorts mushrooming around the periphery of our wilderness areas and tiger reserves. Many of these, even if they are on private land, block critical wildlife corridors. With good science and satellite imaginary one can identify critical wildlife corridors that should not be tampered with. We need better land use policies around wilderness areas. Such policies can only be achieved if it is an inclusive process involving all the stakeholders. It is time we looked at the big picture. It is crucial to strike the right balance between need and greed and what is best for wildlife. If this is done right then it’s a win-win situation for all. Protec-
HEAD OFFICE Express TravelWorld Sunil D’costa Business Publications Division, The Indian Express Ltd, 1st Floor, Express Towers, Nariman Point, Mumbai-400021. India Tel: 67440496 Fax: 22885831 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Branch Offices : NEW DELHI: Prabhas Jha The Indian Express Ltd, Business Publications Division, Express Building (Basement) 9 & 10, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi - 110 002 Tel : +91 - 11- 23465670, CHENNAI: Yuvaraj, The Indian Express Ltd, Business Publications Division,
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“It is time we looked at the big picture. It is crucial to strike the right balance between need and greed and what is best for wildlife. If this is done right then it’s a win-win situation for all ” Hyderabad - 500 082 Mobile : 09849039936 Tel: 040-23418673 KOLKATA: Ajanta Sengupta, The Indian Express Ltd, Business Publications Division, No. 5, Pannalal Banerjee Lane (Formerly Fancy Lane), 2nd Floor, Kolkata-700 001 Mobile: 09831182580 Board No. +91-33-2213 8587, 2231 8879 / 80 Fax: 22138582 E-mail: email@example.com KOCHI: The Indian Express Ltd, Business Publications Division, Sankoorikal Building, 36/2248, Kaloor, Kadavanthara Road, Opp. Kaloor Private Bus Stand, Kaloor - 682 017 Tel: (0484) 2343152, 2343328 Fax: 2343153
tion of wildlife, sustainable and responsible tourism, with participation and benefit-sharing with local communities will give visitors the opportunity to enjoy our natural wealth and be sustainable for future generations. The authorities and stakeholders need to understand this, but sadly nobody seems to be listening. Everyone is on this rapid highway to the so-called development and the biggest tragedy of the nation will be if India's wildlife is destroyed in the process. How will future generations judge us if we allow this to happen? India’s North East region has some of the richest bio-diversity in the world. Places, like Namdapha, Balphakram, Kaziranga and Manas, to name a few, are some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring, wilderness areas in the world. The great opportunity here is that many of the North East's protected areas have not been developed for tourism. This is a fantastic opportunity to get it right and learn from the many mistakes from elsewhere. It is a chance to create the perfect balance between protection, community participation and sustainable tourism.
REEMA LOKESH Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
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IRCTC to develop new consumer-friendly website Plans to start budget category hotels near railway stations Akshay Kumar Mumbai THE INDIAN RAILWAY Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations, is planning to launch a new website, which would be operational by the last week of April 2014. This website would be easily accessible and more user-friendly. Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Pradip
Kundu, joint general manager, public relations, IRCTC, said, “We are launching a new website which would be more userfriendly. The capacity of the website would be increased drastically, from 2000 tickets per minute to more than 7000 tickets per minute.” In September 2013, according to a PTI report, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) had directed IRCTC to make its website more consumerfriendly, observing that it was “inaccessible” most of the time
and needed “drastic improvement”. This new development
is a positive step towards improving the efficiency of the
IRCTC website. Also, IRCTC has plans to start new budget category hotels in the country. This plan is still at a nascent stage as IRCTC has proposed this new venture to the state governments and is awaiting their replies. Kundu said, “We are planning to start new budget hotels, but still there are no concrete talks. We have already spoken to the state governments, and are waiting for their response.” These hotels would be opened in close proximity to the railway stations.
Combat to control the skies Express TravelWorld Sudipta Dev Manama WHEN THE first group of women air traffic controllers started working in the Kingdom of Bahrain in 2004, they stormed what has always been the male bastion. “We were the first group of women air traffic controllers in the GCC region. It was initially a project, no one knew whether women could do the job of controlling the airspace,” said Hanan Falamarzi, who happens to be the second Bahraini woman to become an air traffic controller. Initially their numbers were four, today there are nine Bahraini women air traffic controllers in country, along with two expatriates. Falamarzi mentioned with pride that one of her former colleagues went on to join Gulf Air and became the first female pilot in the country. It has been a tough fight for them through the years, to prove their skills and ability to do the job. “After three years when we proved that we are
good air traffic controllers like men they shifted us to civil aviation. The high management would like to see more women as air traffic controllers, but the problem was dealing with male air traffic controllers even after we got our license. I was the first female air traffic controller to get pregnant and had to face a lot of difficulty at the workplace. I was suspended and forced to stay at home. There was no rule or procedure for such a case. After delivery I had to get revalidation and get my license again,” stated Falamarzi.
She conceded that after 10 years things have changed to some extent. “They know that pilots prefer to deal with women air traffic controllers as we are more patient and can do multi-tasking, besides being less complaining,” she said. But are the new generation of Bahraini women taking inspiration from them to chalk out divergent career paths? “In our society no one knows or understands what we are doing. Our next step is to establish an organisation to talk about what women can do in aviation to attract more women into our career,” she mentioned. Falamarzi does not forget to add that she used to think that the western world had different way of dealing with these situations, but when she interacted with women air traffic controllers from those countries she realised that worldwide women face the same difficulties and challenges.
launches The Explorer
Global Panorama Showcase (GPS-2014) held in Nagpur witnessed the launch of the coffee table book titled 'The Explorer' brought out by Express TravelWorld
ATDC to open agri tourism centres across India in next five years Sudipta Dev Mumbai AGRI TOURISM Development Corporation (ATDC), has been established by Pandurang Taware, who himself hails from a farming family. Today covering as many as 200 villages in rural Maharashtra, the concept has been catching the attention of farmers and tourism practitioners who have come from Bangladesh, Africa, and the United States, UK, almost 14 countries to learn from him. “In many regions across the globe, farmers are recognising the need and desire to diversify their farm products and supplement their agriculture income, with an agriculture economy that has decreased to just two per cent or remained stagnant for last 10
years, farmers across India have tremendous opportunity to diversify their list of products and service offerings with agriculture tourism. Agri tourism increases the potential for higher margins on farm sales of value added products and services,” said Taware. In the next five years, that is 2014- 2019, ATDC has plans to establish Agri Tourism Centres throughout India. “Starting with village Palshi in Baramati, we will establish local Agri Tourism Guiding Centres as extension centres for our organisation. Within two to three years, the staff and systems for these centres will be established enough to function as independent agritourism centre of that particular state,” he stated, adding that, Agri Tourism India acts as an
umbrella organisation that clusters and represents 113 so called Agri Tourism Centres, which are operated by local farm entrepreneurs and employees, and promotes their products in the target markets. “The initiative provides train-
ing and capacity building for farmers, local guides and communities in the areas of small enterprise establishment and tourism product development. Since the year 2005 training was provided to over 1,500 farmers,” added Taware.
He pointed out that agri tourism attracts urban tourists to rural villages for a form of relaxation that follows the growing trend of tourism that is both educational and recreational. It is another option for farmers wanting to diversify their farming operations that will help bring more economic activity to rural areas of India. ATDC’s system includes training and capacity building service to farmers making it easy for rural villagers to start and operate the agri tourism centre in their village. In addition to helping people replicate his idea, Taware has set up Baramati Agri & Rural Tourism Training & Research and Development Centre at village Palshi, Baramati, in Maharashtra.
Konkan to get agrotourism boost Akshay Kumar Dahanu MAHARASHTRA TOURISM Development Corporation (MTDC) in association with Global Konkan Pratisthan had organised the second edition of annual Chikoo Festival at Dahanu recently. Dahanu, a small coastal town which is located around 141 km from Mumbai, has abundant production of chickoo. This festival attracts a number of tourists from nearby major cities like Mumbai and Pune. This year the festival also witnessed a good number of visitors from Ahmedabad. Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Sanjay Yadavrao, president, Global Konkan Pratisthan, said, “Chikoo Festival has seen excellent footfall this year. Dahanu is
a destination which has a great potential for agro-tourism, and Chikoo Festival plays a major role in attracting tourists.” Apart from promoting the different varieties of chickoo and its by-products, this festival also promotes the local culture, traditions and cuisines. Warli paint-
ings, local handwoven baskets and sculptures made by local artists were among the highlights of this festival. Dr Jagdish Patil, managing director, MTDC, said, “Tourism can transform the socio-economic dimensions of Dahanu. Chikoo Festival is an ideal plat-
form to promote tourism fraternity. With over 50 per cent land under fruit orchards, forests and mangroves, this region has a lot to offer through agro-tourism. We want tourists to get a flavour of the indigenous culture of Dahanu.” Also, the Global Konkan Pratisthan is all set to promote the entire Konkan coast and improve various facilities for village tourism. With an initial plan to develop 22 villages, the government has sanctioned already `50 crore for the development of these Adivasi villages and boost village tourism. Speaking about the latest development plans, Yadavrao, said, “Konkan always had a great tourism potential, but no one took the initiative to develop it. The government of Maharashtra is very helpful and we
have received `50 crore to develop 22 villages. Mumbai is a destination which attracts around 48 lakh foreign tourists and more than three crore domestic travellers, we are promoting village tourism so that the tourists from Mumbai can also come to enjoy the beauty of Konkan.” Global Konkan Pratisthan has also put forth a proposal to the government for creating a tourism corridor from Dahanu to Vengurla. The proposal includes development of infrastructure and providing basic necessity to the tourists. Creating new attractions like museums, developing beaches with international standard infrastructures apart from 15 to 20 tourist attractions would increase the tourism inflow in this region.
Tours Limited launches portal and brochure Rituparna Chatterjee Mumbai TOURS LIMITED LLC, a US based destination management company for the Americas, has launched its portal and brochure for the Indian travel trade. The portal www.tourslimitedtickets.com – will be mainly for the FIT segment and will provide the option of booking for airport transfers, dinners and attractions. The online booking can be done in three steps – the travel agent after registration will be given a login id after which he can browse through
the attractions, hotels, restaurants, etc and can book and pay online. The tickets will be sent via email. Speaking about the reason for launching the portal, Prabha Raghava, CEO, Tours Limited LLC stated, “We have been working with the Indian market since five years and we wanted to make things simpler for the FITs for which we decided to build our own portal where the travel agents can go and buy the tickets at their own time and they don't have to email us for every small request.” The brochure - Tours
We have been working with the Indian market since five years and we wanted to make things simpler for the FITs
Limited Product Manual - featuring Canada, USA, Mexico, Central America and South America will cater to different traveller segments. The brochure comes with three main categories. The first category 'Fixed Departures' consist of four itineraries and offers guaranteed departures for the period - April to November. The itineraries include Indian meals. The second category is the space camp tours with sample itineraries for school groups to destinations like the Kennedy Space Centre, Hansville and Houston. The third category
is the sample MICE itineraries. The brochure has been co-sponsored by Universal Studios, Empire State Building, Kennedy Space Centre, Madame Tussauds, SeaWorld. As for their focus for 2014, Raghava revealed, “India is a growing market with year- onyear growth. In 2014, our focus is to get our portal out to more people and we want to market our Fixed Departures and make sure that we have more than one departure a day. We are also taking part in SATTE 2014 at the Brand USA pavilion.”
'As the convention will be held along the banks of the upper Ganga,it will be a unique concept for an adventure conference' Akshay Kumar, president, ATOAI speaks about the association's upcoming convention in Uttarakhand and the plans for 2014 What is your agenda for the 11th Annual ATOAI Convention? Apart from bringing focus back to Uttarakhand post the disaster, the convention will also bring together international and national luminaries in the field of adventure. As a first, the convention will kick start with a networking and ice breaking session among the delegates, and also include a media networking session into the main agenda of the convention. The convention has been planned not only to give a good knowledge and learning experience to the delegates but also give an experience of what adventure is. The setup of the convention this year has been planned keeping adventure top of mind. The fact that the convention will be hosted along the banks of the upper Ganga with accommodation in luxury river side
lenges that the industry is facing? The primary challenge that the industry has been facing is growing regionalism and increasing gap between the central and state tourism policies. Also, the implementation of ATOAI Adventure Safety Guidelines as minimum safety guidelines at central as well as state levels. Initiating a meaningful dialogue with state level associations and increasing benefits for members across the board. tents and lodges, will make this a unique concept for an adventure conference. What are your plans for 2014? The new team started its tenure with a focus on creating opportunities for its members. Not only we have managed to achieve that
through international road shows but also by imparting knowledgethrough ground level safety and risk management workshops. We intend to continue on this path and taking our ‘Stakeholder Seminars and Workshops’ model to other states on a pan India basis. Conducting FAM tours for international agents and
working closely with the Ministry of Tourism to settle nagging issues like use of satelite phones, recognition of small operators and implementation of our minimum standards across the country and will remain high on our national agenda. What are the primary chal-
How does your association address the challenges facing adventure tourism? We are in constant dialogue with relevant ministries and government departments to meet the challenges and remove the obstacles from the course of promotion of adventure tourism in the country.
Tourism increases between India and Poland Sudipta Dev Mumbai POLAND HAS seen an increase in visitor arrivals from India together with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria. “We are making efforts to promote Poland as an independent destination in India,” said Prof Piotr Klodkowski, ambassador of Poland to India. He pointed out that people in Poland have a deep interest in Indian culture. India is a popular destination among Polish tourists. "As many as 40,000 Polish tourists visit India every year and the numbers are rising. There has been a growth of around 30 per cent,” informed Klodkowski. The most popular cities visited by Indian tourists in
Poland are Krakow, Warsaw and Gdansk. Klodkowski reminded that a few Bollywood films have been shot in Poland. 'Fanaa' being the most famous which saw Polish mountains representing Kashmir. Recently a film 'Azaan' was also shot in the ancient city of Krakow. “Poland has excellent mountainous areas if you love climbing or trekking. In Krakow you can spend time in heritage hotels. Warsaw was destroyed almost totally during World War II and has been rebuilt. Those who have interest in the process of renovation would be interested in this aspect,” he stated. There are many cultural links between India and Poland. Klodkowski informed that in Umaid Bhawan, Jodhpur, the paintings and murals
were created by Polish painter Stefan Norblin. “He had his first exhibition in Mumbai. We are grateful to India for show-
ing hospitality to Polish refugees. Jam Saheb Digvijaysinhji, the Maharaja of Jamnagar had then opened his
heart and purse for several thousand Polish children. There was a Polish camp, a school, kindergarten and college in Gujarat. We have a high school in Warsaw in his memory and a square ' The Square of the Good Maharaja' named after him,” informed Klodkowski. Recently a film 'A Little Poland in India' has been made on these children. Another film 'Chitranjali' has been made on the life of Norblin. The Indian community in Poland is very small, just about 2000 people, mostly comprising the business community. “Lakshmi Mittal has invested US$ two billion in Poland, he is the owner of Polish Steelworks. He has a very strong presence in our country,” said Klodkowski.
Bahrain's leading travel agency to open office in Mumbai Sudipta Dev Manama DADABHAI GROUP, one of the pioneers in travel and hospitality space in the Kingdom of Bahrain, plans to open a branch of Dadabhai Travel in Mumbai in a few months. Dadabhai Travel was started in 1981 in Manama. "We have offices in Al Khobar and Jubail in Saudi Arabia. We will soon have offices in Jeddah and Riyadh. There are two offices in Dubai and another will be opened in Abu Dhabi soon. The Mumbai branch will be opened within a few months,” said Aziz Gilitwala, managing director, Dadabhai Travel, adding that there is also an associate office in Iraq. Gilitwala mentioned that
the company has a strong corporate client base and because these clients have business interests in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and India they want to deal with a travel agency which has same work ethics and philosophy. “They are all expanding
As far as the Indian market is concerned the client base is primarily the corporate segment
and they want us to be with them. This gives us an in-house client base, which helps us grow where we move,” he added. Gilitwala disclosed his plans for going into B2B business. “India and Saudi Arabia are very huge markets, we want to make ourselves accessible to smaller travel agencies who are remotely located,” he stated. One of the leading hospitality companies in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Elite Hospitality, a part of the Dadabhai Group, has eight properties in Manama. While most of the clientele are Saudi Arabian families, as far as the Indian market is concerned the client base is primarily the corporate segment. “We get many corporate clients from India. There are
many Indian institutions here,” said Mohammed A Dadabhai, chairman, Dadabhai Group. Chairman of a diversified set of companies, about 91 years back Dadabhai's father came from India and settled in Bahrain. The group properties include Elite Crystal Hotel, Elite Grande Hotel, Elite Resort and Spa Muharraq, Elite Seef Residence & Hotel, Elite Residences, and others. Dadabhai stated, “About 70 per cent of the market share for tourism in Bahrain is for four-star hotels. We have all apartment hotels that have the comfort of more than just a room. This is why many Saudi families stay with us. We create Bahrain as a hub for Saudi Arabia in terms of all the facilities that we provide.
Mohammed A Dadabhai
About three-four million tourists come to a country of one million every year.” He pointed out that tourism in Bahrain is flourishing because of the causeway - it only takes about 40 minutes by road to reach Saudi Arabia, which is a country of almost 30 million people.
Queensland may look at promoting film tourism Rituparna Chatterjee Mumbai TOURISM AND Events Queensland, a statutory authority of the Queensland government, is launching a campaign on the movie Shaadi Ke Side Effects with Tourism Australia, Balaji Telefilms and Pritish Nandy Communications in February 2014. Through the campaign, they are looking at promoting the destination with hopes of bringing more numbers of tourists into the state. Speaking about the campaign, Ryna Sequeira, marketing manager India, Tourism and Events Queensland stated, “There is a
song in the movie that was shot in Gold Coast last year. Through the campaign we are going to promote this song and the destination. This is the first time we have collaborated with a Bollywood film, so let us see how it goes and then we will decide whether to promote film tourism.” Recently, Tourism and Events Queensland held their annual 'Queensland on Tour' roadshow for the eight consecutive year also targeting tier two and three cities in India. The annual roadshow commenced in Chandigarh in mid January, followed by Delhi, Kolkata, Pune and Mumbai. “For the first time
we have gone to Chandigarh and Pune. We have got good responses there. In March, we will be travelling to Ludhiana, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram, Nagpur, where we will be hosting
roadshows and sales calls,” revealed Sequeira. For Queensland, the highest numbers of Indian tourists come from Mumbai followed by Delhi, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. “But business also comes from tier two and three cities,” opined Sequeira. In 2013, the tourism arrivals from India to Queensland grew by 22 per cent over 2012. They closed at 37,000 tourist arrivals in September 2013. For 20142015, they expect a further ten per cent growth. The average length of stay for Queensland is 29 nights and has grown by 5.3 per cent. For the whole of Australia, the average length of stay
is 65 nights. “But if you speak of a holiday, then anybody would spend atleast six nights in Queensland in any itinerary because they would either do three nights Gold Coast and three nights Cairns, or four nights Gold Cost and two nights Hamilton or three night Gold Coast, one night Tangalooma and two nights Cairns. Queensland gets the maximum market share out of India for any Indian traveller going to Australia. We get 63 per cent leisure, 22 per cent GFR, 10 per cent business, and remaining is education and others. We consider MICE as leisure travellers because they are mainly incentives,” concluded Sequeira.
Stuttgart promotes wine tourism Akshay Kumar Mumbai STUTTGART, STATE capital of Baden-Württemberg has now opened up as a wine tourism destination for Indians. Famous for its automobile industry like Porsche and Mercedes, this destination also has numerous vineyards, along with wine museums, wine institutes which not only provides knowledge, but also gives a practical experience of wine tasting. Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Hans-Jörg Hadbawnik, regional director for India and Russia, Stuttgart Marketing and State Tourist Board stated, “Stuttgart is a very popular destination among Indian tourists and in 2013 we have seen a 6.5 per cent increase in tourist arrivals. On an average, the overnight stay by an Indian is 6.5 days and they spend € 175 per day. There are many family wineries in BadenWürttemberg, where tourists can learn how to smell, taste and also learn the styles of drinking these wines. Also, we host the biggest wine festival in the
world. Indians have also developed a taste for good wine and we have some good wines which are only available in our region.” Hector D'Souza, director India, Southwest German Tourist Board said, “Last year we introduced SouthWest Germany as a winter destination, we promoted the Black Forest as a film tourism destination. This year we have a new product - Wine tourism - for the Indians. With a lot of unique wineries in and around Baden-Württemberg, wine tourism would be widely appreciated by the Indian tourists.” Stuttgart has a large number of family wineries which still produce wines by traditional methods. These wineries grow many different varietals of grapes which are bound to this region such as Blaufränkisch, Trollinger, Schwarzriesing and the famous Riesling. Indian tourists flock these family wineries to learn about the local blends. Andreas Unser, winemaker, Weingut Unser said, “We own a family vineyard, where grapes are hand-plucked, the
fermentation and distillation processes are still carried out in a traditional manner. We produce a variety of grapes right from Riesling, which is well known globally to Trollinger which is famous locally. Many tourists visit
our wineries throughout the year, Indians also visit in large numbers and learn about the process and taste our unique wines.” Apart from promoting wine tourism, SouthWest Ger-
many also introduced its summer activities this year for the period April to mid September. The activities include – boating on Lake Constance; canoing; cruising along rivers Nectar and Danube; swimming; sun bathing; self-driving across SouthWest Germany; hiking in Black Forest, Swabian alps and Stuttgart; camping in Black Forest and Freiberg; jogging across SouthWest Germany; ballooning in Baden Baden and Lake Constance; paragliding in Baden Baden to name a few. On January 10 - 11, 2014, the LAPP Group along with IndoGerman Chamber of Commerce organised the 10th 'Stuttgart meets Mumbai' festival. With the motto 'A focus on tourism and film', the festival aimed at promoting tourism in Germany’s southwestern Swabian state of Baden-Württemberg, in addition to promoting ‘Bollywood and Beyond' Stuttgart Indian Film Festival – the biggest Indian film festival in Europe drawing over 10,000 visitors annually to Stuttgart.
Kerala Tourism wins UNWTO Ulysses Award State announces major tax concessions for tourism ETW Staff Mumbai THE RESPONSIBLE Tourism Project at Kumarakom, an initiative of Kerala Tourism, has won the 2013 UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation under the category - Public Policy and Governance. It is the first tourism board in India to win this award. Other awardees of the 2013 UNWTO Ulysses Award under different categories were - UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Enterprises: Arromanches 1944, Biplan, France; UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Non-Governmental Organisations: From Charity to Social Entrepreneurship, Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society, Malaysia; and UNWTO
Ulysses Award for Innovation in Research and Technology: 3D AR Visual Portal, DSP Studio & Momentum Studio, Croatia. Meanwhile, the Kerala government has announced major tax concessions for the state tourism industry in the state budget 2014. The major announcement includes a reduction in luxury tax to five per cent on hotels from June to August to promote off-season tourism. The step is expected to help reduce tariff in hotels and resorts in the state's major backwater and hill destinations. AP Anilkumar, tourism minister, Kerala, said, “The concessions will give a new fillip to the tourism industry in Kerala and help the state discover new avenues of growth for the important sector, which has re-
ceived several international awards and recognitions.” The government has also reduced luxury tax on convention centres and auditoriums with a daily rent exceeding `20,000 to 10 per cent from 20 per cent, in a bid to promote MICE tourism, a niche category for facilitating national and international conferences, conventions and seminars. Other announcements relate to substantial increase in allocation for marketing destinations and implementing special tourism projects. Suman Billa, secretary, Kerala Tourism, said, “By making luxury tax on hotels and resorts during June-August only five per cent, the government is helping the state tourism sector in a big way to promote monsoon travel.”
Malindo Air to add Mumbai and Ahmedabad to its schedule Reema Lokesh Nagpur MALINDO AIR, a joint venture between Lions Group of Indonesia and National Aerospace and Defence Industry of Malaysia, is scheduled to add two new routes to its existing portfolio. The airline is scheduled to fly out of Mumbai to Kuala Lumpur from February 15, 2014 five times a week and out of Ahmedabad to Kuala Lumpur from March 19, 2014, three times a week. The airline commenced operations from December 30, 2013 out of New Delhi with daily flights between New Delhi and Kuala Lumpur followed by flights from Trichy
to Kuala Lumpur from January 2, 2014 again with daily operations. The airline is scheduled to add more routes from the southern region of India in the future. The airline describes itself as a hybrid carrier, which has all inclusive fares with 20 kg baggage allowance and seven kg cabin baggage allowance. The airline also provides light meals on flight and gives its
passengers a choice to order meals on board. The airline connects to other destinations within Malaysia and also flies into Bali and Jakarta. Malindo Air was represented by Karen Low, head, travel network and customer relations and Pankul Arneja, senior manager-sales, at the recently concluded Global Panorama Showcase 2014 event held in Nagpur.
Germany and VFS Global to open five visa application centres in India
Rituparna Chatterjee Mumbai GERMANY AND VFS Global will be opening five visa application centres in India in 2014. Recently, they opened their 10th centre in Mumbai followed by one in Ahmedabad. In the next two months, they will be opening five centres in Goa, Pune, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kolkata. All the centres will issue Schengen Visa (short-term visa) across all categories. Speaking about the reason for outsourcing the visa application business to VFS Global, Michael Siebert, consul general, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Mumbai stated, “The growing application for German visa over the years led us to the decision to outsource the visa application processing business to VFS Global in several big countries and India is one of them. We are in the process of opening five more German visa application centres in India. The Mumbai centre is the 10th operating centre. We had the soft opening a few weeks ago and its operations are already underway.”
The demand for German visa is the highest in Mumbai among other Indian cities. “The German consulate in Mumbai issued 42,000 visas last year. Mumbai is the biggest city receiving 15,000 more visa applications than other cities,” opined Siebert. Adding to this, Anil Katoch, head – South Asia, VFS Global stated, “Over the years the demand for German visa is growing steadily across Tier II and Tier III cities as the Indian economy has grown over the last 10-12 years. Overall, travel to Germany has increased to 10-15 per cent after the financial crisis in 2009.” With the opening of the new centres, the applicants do not require to appear for a personal interview at the Consulate. They can send in the documentation and the passport to the VFS office. The visa once processed and issued will be couriered to the applicants. Apart from door step delivery of passports, the centres will also feature longer operating hours, dedicated website for easy access to information, dedicated call centre and email support, and professional assistance for handling visa queries.
TUI India to open three retail stores in 2014 Looks at Tier II and III cities for expansion Rituparna Chatterjee Mumbai TUI INDIA, a part of TUI Travel PLC, will be opening its retail stores in Ahmedabad by March end, followed by Hyderabad and Chennai by July or August end. These stores will be part of the first phase of their aggressive expansion plan pan India. As part of this phase, they recently opened their sixth retail store in Mumbai with five stores already present in Delhi NCR region. In phase two, the company is looking at opening their retail stores in Tier II and III cities of India like – Lucknow, Jaipur, Agra, Bhubaneswar, Indore to name a few - by end of 2015.
Their rapid expansion plan is part of their strategy to increase their B2C presence in the country through retail outlets.
Though there is growth in both outbound and domestic travel, there is a shift towards outbound travel in India
Speaking on their expansion plan for Bengaluru, Vishal Sinha, chief operating officer, TUI India stated, “The reason why we aren’t opening in Bengaluru is because presently 30 per cent of our calls from the call centres are from Bengaluru. This is how we communicate with our customers. It is not about having a retail outlet or a B2B presence but it is through various channels that we communicate with our customers, to build up the brand so that people think about us when they think of a holiday.” Regarding growth in Indian outbound travel, Jeannette Linfoot, director of tour operations - new markets, TUI
Travel PLC opined, “Though there is growth in both outbound and domestic travel, there is a shift towards out-
bound travel in India. Our advance booking from India is growing at a rate of 20 per cent year- on-year.”
Globus family of brands focuses on Tier II and III Indian cities Rituparna Chatterjee Mumbai GLOBUS FAMILY of brands, one of the world's largest escorted travel companies, continues their focus on tier two and three Indian cities. Varesh Chopra, regional director – South Asia and Middle East, Globus family of brands stated, “We are going to Tier II and III cities and establishing strong relationships with the travel agents there. Interestingly, people in the Tier II and III cities of West Bengal are willing to spend money on new experiences. Next month we are going to meet
travel agents in Siliguri, Bagdogra. We have a loyal clientele coming in from there and the travel agents are also showing
Over time we want to expose the India market to all the destinations and styles
interest.” Apart from tapping into the Tier II and III cities, Globus family of brands is also looking at creating a demand in the Indian market for the different offerings under their four brands – Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways. “At the moment the Indian market is focused on a handful of our itineraries and not the different offerings of the entire brand. Over time we want to expose the India market to all the destinations and different styles we have. So we are offering a combination of our entire product line, bringing in new products and building relationships with
Scott E Nisbet
travel agents,” stated Scott E Nisbet, president and CEO, Globus family of brands. For the Globus family, the US is the largest source market, followed by Australia and Canada with India featuring in
the middle in the list of top 15. “India has been growing at a good pace. The market is maturing and people are asking for something new. We find a shift towards more people opting for Globus, even Avalon Waterways. We are seeing Indian travellers who have done ocean cruises now migrating towards river cruises,” opined Nisbet. As for their strategy for the next two years, Chopra opined, “We will focus on educating the travel agents, telling them about our international experiences, how we are different from the rest, and bringing out different products.”
VisitBritain to focus on culture and heritage Looks at expanding into Tier II cities of India
Kahini Chakraborty Mumbai WITH THE INDIAN market contributing to the tourism growth of the destination, VisitBritain is looking at continuing its promotional focus on culture and heritage segments. As 2013 has proved to be a record year in terms of five per cent increase in tourism numbers and 12 per cent increase in spending, the tourism board is allocating approximately one million pound for tourism promotional strategies to the market. Talking to Express TravelWorld, Sandie Dawe MBE, chief executive, VisitBritain informed, “We are not changing the message of what's GREAT in Britain, but we are looking at promoting different experiences. Britain’s image has improved on the back of the Olympic Games and the Royal Wedding. Working closely with the travel trade in India is of prime importance to us. We are looking at attracting the affluent middle class family segment from the Indian market. Apart from culture and heritage which are our primary segments, Bollywood tourism, sports tourism, music and shopping are also of importance to us. India is the biggest of our BRICS market and it is numbered 15 in terms of value in our top 20 source markets. We look at four aspects - image of Britain, products on sale here, distribution through travel trade, access-transport/visa. Hence we are
constantly working towards bringing in new products in the market to cater to the demands of the discerning customers. We will be stepping up our digital work campaigns.”
VisitBritain is looking at expanding its presence in Tier II cities, through global partnerships and work with regional players
In March 2014 VisitBritain will again join hands with the European Tour Operators Association for the third year running of March Marketplace. For the Hosted Buyers Marketplace, which will be held at the Wembley Stadium, VisitBritain has invited 15 travel trade buyers from the Indian market. More than 200 UK suppliers will be participating in the Hosted Buyers Marketplace event this year. “For 2015, we are looking at growing this event at a bigger scale,” she opined. With an aim to work closely with the travel trade in India, VisitBritain is looking at expanding its presence in the Tier II cities, through global partnerships and work with other regional players in the market. Presently the tourism board has about 900 agents from across India who have completed the BritAgent online destination specialist programme which was launched two years ago. “We are interested in having a retention programme for our travel agents. And we will be launching new modules for the specialist programme to keep them updated on the latest developments, acquisition programmes. Our focus markets are Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru but we will increase our presence in Kolkata, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Chennai. Engagement with the travel trade is key to us,” added Sumathi Ramanathan, regional manager, Asia Pacific & Middle East, VisitBritain.
CastaDiva Resort & Spa to hold pop up gourmet initiative for India market ETW Staff Mumbai LAKE COMO’S luxury resort CastaDiva Resort & Spa located on the east side of Lake Como, Italy is scheduled to hold an exclusive pop up gourmet experience for the India market with an aim to promote and position its presence in this region. The gourmet experience will roll out at the The Ambassador Hotel, Mumbai from February 8-13, 2014 headed by Chef Alessio Mecozzi of CastaDiva Resort & Spa. The team of CastaDiva will be in Mumbai for six nights and will share their Italian specialities at The Ambassador’s Society Restaurant. German born, Chef Mecozzi has worked in some of the finest five-star hotels from St Tropez and Tuscany to New York. Focused on his art for food, he marries traditional Italian with modern twists effortlessly. Speaking on this gourmet initiative, Andrea Luri, general manager, CastaDiva Resort & Spa stated, “Chef Mecozzi, known for his quality Italian cuisine, will bring his culinary
Focused on his art for food, Chef Mecozzi marries traditional Italian with modern twists effortlessly
experience from around the world, and expert knowledge of fresh seasonal ingredients to Mumbai. Diners will be offered a five course menu, signature dishes such as ‘Eggplants parmigiana style with parmesan fondue’ and ‘Red cow parmesan cheese creamy risotto with duck ragú’, followed by a home style Tiramisu to provide a sweet finale. A wine-paired menu will also be offered and recommended to enhance the experience of CastaDiva Resort & Spa.” Culinary consulting firm Cellar Door Hospitality, will also share their domain expertise for the event. The resort was inaugurated on May 29, 2010 and is considered to be the first resort of Lake Como, the only eco-friendly resort in the area.
FHW Mumbai 2014 records increase in international participants ETW Staff Mumbai FOOD HOSPITALITY World (FHW) 2014 exhibition held from January 23-25, 2014 in Mumbai was inaugurated by Anil Deshmukh, minister of food and civil supplies works, Government of Maharashtra. The other dignitaries present at the inauguration were Bharat Malkani, senior vice president, Hotel and Restaurant Association - Western India (HRAWI); George Verghese, CEO, The Indian Express Group; Mehul Shah, managing director, Hannover Milano Fairs India; Dr Ugo Cialatani, Consul General Italy in Mumbai; Gianni Fava, Minister of Agriculture, Regione Lombardia and Michele Trematerra, Minister of Agriculture, Regione Calabria. While inaugurating the exhibition Deshmukh stated, “I am thankful to the Indian Express Group for organising this excellent FHW exhibition in Mumbai. FHW is a platform for building brand awareness, launching new products and networking with leading purchase managers. There are three major industries in India - agriculture, industrial and service sectors. The service sector is growing at a fast pace and from 46 per cent it has increased to 60 per cent in 2013. The service sector is the most important sector in Maharashtra and across the country.” He added, “As many international exhibitors are participating in the exhibition, it will be a good exposure for hoteliers. I wish success to this unique event.” Adding to the same, Verghese opined, “The event is growing. There are more than 50 international exhibitors from 11 countries. The exhibition will be insightful and thought provoking to the guests and exhibitors.” FHW Mumbai 2014,
organised by Global Fairs & Media – a joint venture between Hannover Milano Fairs India and The Indian Express, is spread across 10,000 sq metres of the MMRDA grounds, and is hosting approximately 300 national and international participants this year from various segments of the food and hospitality industry like F&B, interiors, kitchen equipment, housekeeping, bakery to name a few. The international pavilion has exhibitors from 11 countries. The exhibition aims at providing solutions to various industry-related problems faced by hoteliers, restaurateurs, facility managers, prospective students and distributors. Shah said, “This edition of FHW is very special as this is the first global exhibition where more than 50 per cent exhibitors are international and more than 50 per cent have representation in the market.” Cialatani stated, “It is a great pleasure to be here today. I
This is the first global exhibition where more than 50 per cent exhibitors are international saw a lot of Italian companies participating in the exhibition. In Italy, food is one of the main businesses. We would like to be present in the Indian market. For the same, we need the support of the government.” Over the three-days, FHW 2014 will host various special events including the eighth edition of The Great Indian Culinary Challenge (GICC). The competition is set to witness
participation from more than 100 chefs working with various leading hotels and hotel management institutes. GICC is supported by the Western India Culinary Association (WICA). GICC is a food preparation competition involving senior and apprentice chefs from India. The competition provides a professional platform for culinary professionals from India to showcase their individual and collective skills, learn, share experiences, partner and network in a competitive environment. Apart from GICC 2014, the first day of the exhibition witnessed a panel discussion - Hospitality Think Tank: The GM's Conclave, wherein general managers from leading hotel groups shared their insights on the topic -'F&B: The Game Changer'. The second day will witness a panel discussion - 'Hospitality Knowledge Exchange: Rooms of the Future' which will focus on state-of-the-art technologies and
emerging trends in room design and interiors across all segments of the hospitality sector. The Power of Purchase will witness purchase managers and decision makers of leading companies expressing their opinions on the topic – 'Role of Information Technology (IT) in the Modern Supply Chain'. The panel discussion has been organised in association with Hospitality Purchasing Managers' Forum (HPMF). The second day will also witness Tea Appreciation – a tea tasting and sampling event which will be presented by the Tea Board of India. There is also Bar World, where wine and alcohol will be showcased on all three days.The associations supporting the exhibition are Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), All India Wine Producers Association (AIWPA), Hospitality Purchasing Managers Forum (HPMF) and Food Bloggers Association India (FBAI).
FHRAI releases Indian Hotel Industry Survey ETW Staff New Delhi THE FEDERATION of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) has released the latest edition of its annual publication, the FHRAI Indian Hotel Industry Survey, published in cooperation with HVS Hospitality Services. The survey encapsulates the performance of hotels in all major Indian cities and across star categories and market positioning. In addition to in-depth data on financial and operating metrics such as occupancy, average room rates and revenue per available room, the report also includes a comparative analysis based on parameters such as guest facilities, manpower, technology adoption, choice of marketing media, etc. A presentation on the key highlights and trends emerging
from this year's survey was made by Manav Thadani, chairman-Asia Pacific, HVS, to a select audience at an event hosted by FHRAI in New Delhi. Parvez Dewan, secretary, ministry of tourism, Government of India was the chief guest at the event. S M Shervani, presidentFHRAI said, “As the leading national voice of the Indian hospitality industry, FHRAI accords high priority to producing credible research and contemporary thought leadership which can shape policy and guide business strategy. ” Sharing his assessment on the hotel industry's performance in the past year, Shervani said, “Despite sincere efforts, both by the government and the private sector, India’s global market share in tourism remains at a disappointing 0.68 per cent, with the country be-
ing ranked 41st in the world in international tourist arrivals. The World Economic Forum’s influential Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index, placed India at the 65th position among 140 nations in 2013. It is pertinent to note that on their three pillars of competitiveness, India was well assessed in terms of its human, natural and
cultural resource endowments with a rank of 21, but scored an abysmally low position of 110 globally in its regulatory framework for travel and tourism and 67 on business environment and infrastructure. It is thus evident that India has been unable to convert its inherent comparative advantages into a sustainable com-
petitive advantage for our hospitality and tourism sector.” The year 2013 was challenging for the industry on account of the global and domestic slowdown, which is also visible in the pressure witnessed on hotel occupancy and average room rates. “In a tough macroeconomic environment marked by high inflation, rising interest rates, currency volatility and a tepid demand scenario, hotel companies have prioritised realignment of their cost structures, optimising operational efficiencies and adopting flexible business models. At the same time, the industry is optimistic about the long-term potential of the Indian hospitality sector and we remain steadfastly focused on pursuing customer-centric innovation, delivering service excellence and tapping newer market segments,” mentioned Shervani.
Grover Zampa plans to launch spa hotel Akshay Kumar Nashik FORESEEING A BIG potential for wine tourism in India, Grover Zampa Vineyard, one of country's oldest wine makers are planning to launch a spa hotel in their Sanjegaon, Nashik vineyard. The hotel would be located amidst the vineyard, which will be one-of-a-kind hotel in India. This hotel can attract a large number of tourists as Grover Zampa already has various wine tourism packages to complement the stay. Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Sumedh Singh Mandla, chief executive officer, Grover Zampa, said, “We are actually in terms of negotiation with two international groups. We should be able to make progress within the first quarter of 2014, mostly by Febru-
ary or March we should be able to sign the deal and move forward. The idea is that we should have a hotel with spa, up and running within the next three years.” “I think there would be minimum 60 plus rooms, we
would end up anywhere between 60 to 75 rooms and also some villas,” he added. As a part of promotion of wine tourism in the country, Grover Zampa organised 'The Great Grover Stomp', which is a festival to celebrate the first har-
vest of grapes. This festival welcomed a large number of wine aficionados from the neighbouring cities like Mumbai, Nashik and Pune. The guests got a chance to taste the most-relished wines produced by Grover Zampa and they also indulged in
grape stomp. Speaking about the wine tourism aspect, Mandla said, “We are looking very seriously in terms of raising the bars of our hospitality experience. We are aggressively promoting vineyard tours in both our locations, Nashik and Bangalore. We have already initiated many promotional social events in our wineries, where we get large corporate groups, top-end social groups as well as wine lovers. The Great Grover Stomp is an event which is organised to say thanks to our loyal consumers and also tap new consumers and enlighten them about the wine-making process.” In the next couple of years Grover Zampa is also planning to launch new fine dining restaurants and also organise more activities to promote wine tourism in India.
PRESERVING OUR PARKS With increasing opportunities for wildlife tourism in India, there is a growing need to safeguard our national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and other PAs through various conservation efforts ranging from restricting mass tourism entry to active local participation and integrating efforts of various stakeholders BY RITUPARNA CHATTERJEE
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Ranthambore National Park
n recent years, there has been a growing trend towards travelling to destinations like national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India. With around 85 national parks, 448 wildlife sanctuaries and 10 biosphere reserves in the country, the opportunities for wildlife tourism in these areas are immense. However, with this growing demand for wildlife tourism is the increasing challenge to practice sustainable tourism management. “The conservation of a wildlife ecosystem is a continuous process with new ecological challenges/ issues always coming up. These concerns need to
be addressed under a wide range of conservation practices such as - stringent protection of wildlife and its habitat, habitat improvement programmes, research and monitoring, special conservation measures, creation of conservation awareness through eco tourism and involving local communities in conservation, etc,” states Dr Rakesh Shukla, research officer, Kanha Tiger Reserve.
Minimising mass tourism With the growing demand for wildlife tourism, the need to limit the inflow of mass tourists is becoming increasingly important. “Our department has an entry fee system in place, which regulates the tourist inflow to some extent. But the fees charged for entry to Hemis High Altitude National Park are very
low (`20 per person per day) and needs to be revised for which a proposal has been submitted to the government. Tourism in our national parks and wildlife sanctuaries has to be sustainable and regulated. We have to keep the interests of wildlife above the lucrative financial gains involved here. I think there should be a more stringent regulatory mechanism in place which can include enhancement of entry fees and fixing seasonal limits to the number of visitors,” explains Intesar Suhail, wildlife warden, Leh-Ladakh. Silent Valley National Park in a step to minimise the number of tourists visiting its core area is setting up a national interpretation centre and an amenity centre for which it has received a monetary fund of `60 lakh from the Forest Department, Govern-
ment of Kerala. The national park currently receives an average of 20,000 visitors every year. “The national interpretation centre is expected to reduce inflow of tourists into the core area of the national park. Our tourism policy is mainly based on deviating the tourists from the core area. The national interpretation centre will enable the tourist to know about the rainforest without actually going there. The ones who are serious about wildlife will be allowed to go into Silent Valley or else they will be restricted to the amenity centre and national interpretation centre,” states Joshil Maliyekkal, assistant wildlife warden, Silent Valley National Park. “There should be restricted entry inside wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and biosphere reserves. All the regulations need
to be established and strictly enforced to keep tourism activities within sustainable bounds. Time has come to look back to conserve the fragile environment and biodiversity of national parks side by side with the development of sustainable eco tourism which is the only remedy or alternative to the present day mass tourism, threatening to endanger the potential tourist spots,” opines N C Bahuguna, IFS, principal chief conservator of forests, wildlife and chief wildlife warden, Government of West Bengal.
Integrating efforts Apart from restricting the inflow of mass tourists to protect the national parks, there is also a need to integrate the efforts of various stakeholders to practice eco tourism in these areas.
Manas National Park
Among the various stakeholders, the local community plays a significant role in protecting national parks, if they are involved actively. “The state and local administration with the support and cooperation of the fringe people have taken up steps to improve the social and economic conditions of human population through eco-development, eco-conservation, education and training. Such collaborative exercises are critical for long-term conservation of the Sunderbans National Park's ecosystem,” opines Bahuguna. Several eco-developmental activities have been undertaken in the recent past in the fringe areas of Sunderbans like - excavation of rain water irrigation canals/channels to increase agricultural production which has helped in doubling the agricultural production from the region. Providing solar lights to the people in these villages in the periphery both for lighting as well as to prevent tigers from straying into the villages. Providing smokeless 'chullahs' for optimisation of fuel consumption. Digging of ponds for pisciculture activities by the local people in the buffer areas has helped in fishing of sweet water fish and prawns thus generating income for them. Regular mobile healthcare camps have been organised to provide medical care facilities to the villagers through collaborative efforts of the administration and different NGOs. Efforts are also on to meet local fuel wood demand and reduce the pressure on forest resources of the reserve. Non-mangrove plantations are also being raised along roads and embankments of the fringe area to cater to the needs of the fringe people. “The idea is to reduce the dependency of the local residents on the forest resources and to uplift the economic conditions of the villagers. We have been working to restrict the impact of these environmental issues on the local community to the lowest possible extent following the several welfare measures undertaken by the state and local administration. Follow-
“We have to keep the interests of wildlife above the lucrative financial gains involved here” Intesar Suhail, Wildlife Warden, Leh-Ladakh
“Our tourism policy is mainly based on deviating the tourists from the core area” Joshil Maliyekkal, Assistant Wildlife Warden, Silent Valley National Park
ing the measures, there has been no report of either a tiger attacking or killing a villager nor villagers killing a tiger,” assures Bahuguna. Likewise, Silent Valley National Park has actively engaged the tribal community as part of their conservation efforts. “There are many traditional medicinal practitioners located in Mukkali who collect plant parts in unsustainable ways causing harm to the trees. To combat this problem, we have limited the amount of honey, sap, etc being collected from the tress and are telling them to collect them in a sustainable way. Additionally, we are also providing them with the produce that they are
harvesting from the forest. We are also undertaking various initiatives to improve the socio-economic condition of the tribals by purchasing the honey at reasonable rates from them and then selling it at our souvenir shop. We are also conducting tourism with the help of the tribal community by employing them as drivers of park vehicles and as guides for tourists,” states Maliyekkal. Apart from local communities, other stakeholders like NGOs, the travel trade, the hospitality industry, eco tourism groups, etc are also making significant contributions to the sustainability efforts undertaken by the PAs. Silent Valley National Park has approached WWF India which has agreed to develop the park's infrastructure, supply the park with equipments like camera trap, GPS, etc. The Kanha management under the MP Forest Department is responsible for addressing all the key environmental issues of Kanha National Park. However, local communities, interested NGOs/ NGIs and people related to the hospitality business are also being encouraged to participate in conservation activities under the existing governmental rules and laws. “The local community is very much involved in these initiatives through over 150 eco-development committees, constituted by the management, and all the year round employment opportunities in various conservation practices,” mentions Shukla. Adding to it, A Swargowari, IFS, field director, Manas Tiger Project asserts, “Several stakeholders have joined hands to address concerns like poaching of wild animals, encroachment, illegal felling of trees and livestock grazing, both in the core and buffer area of Manas National Park.” Various national and international NGOs like WWF, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), US Fish & Wildlife Service, Aaranyak, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) - are engaged in protection, research, management, and all kinds of sustain-
able initiatives undertaken by Manas National Park. Local NGOs/eco tourism groups constituting of local youths having knowledge about nature and wildlife are involved in the protection work. Manas Naional Park comes within the administrative jurisdiction of the local council called Bodoland Territorial Council which is responsible for the initiative of community participation. “First of all there is a clear message obviously for saving and protecting Manas National Park. Indeed, local communities have accepted these challenges on their shoulder. Further, there are crystal clear indicators of responsible tourism coming into existence through these initiatives. Everybody will agree that conservation and sustenance will have to move hand in hand, if eco tourism has to remain in position,” opines Swargowari.
Pathrakkadavu area of Silent Valley
Photo courtesy: Khenrab Phunchok
Future focus Well managed wildlife tourism can be beneficial for conservation and economic development of local communities living around PAs. However, the impact of disturbance caused to wildlife by tourists, vehicles and infrastructure within PAs has never been properly analysed although many visitors have complained about the poor experience for themselves and the hapless wildlife surrounded by tourist vehicles. Local NGOs have also analysed the poor economic returns to local communities from the current model of tourism prevalent around most Indian PAs. Therefore, while recognising the many potential benefits of tourism for conservation, there is a need for having better designed, managed and regulated tourism in and around India’s PAs. “A scientific tourism management plan based on the ecological conditions of the reserve needs to be developed and effectively implemented across all PAs. This includes implementation of regulations related to tourism numbers, access, infrastructure and behaviour. The land use outside PAs needs to be
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Photo courtesy: Joshil Maliyekkal
Hemis Altitude National Park
Well managed wildlife tourism can be beneficial for conservation and economic development of local communities living around PAs zoned such that critical wildlife areas and corridors are not compromised by tourism development. Key corridors and wildlife movement areas around
most PAs are well known and these should be excluded from further infrastructure development. Existing tourism infrastructure in such areas should
be modified to the extent possible to facilitate wildlife movement,” states Rahul Bhatnagar, DFO, Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. The primary benefits of tourism should accrue to communities living around these areas who may be bearing the brunt of human-wildlife conflict and other opportunity costs. Models of community based tourism should be encouraged and support to such forms of tourism should take precedence over high-impact tourism. “Buffer areas, private lands, revenue lands and reserve forests around PAs that have good wildlife habitat should be developed for tourism to reduce pressure on sensitive core areas and to enhance local benefits. Situations where undisturbed/inviolate areas are needed to maintain ecological integrity, protect breeding areas or sensitive sites, should exclude tourism. In particular, areas from where local communities have been relocated to reduce disturbance and impacts to biodiversity should also remain free from tourism impacts,” he assets. For these sustainability initiatives to take place, the government, forest department, individual communities, groups involved in eco tourism and other concerned stakeholders must do their respective task of practising sustainable tourism from all aspects.
“Regulations need to be established and strictly enforced to keep tourism activities within sustainable bounds” N C Bahuguna, IFS, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Wildlife and Chief Wildlife Warden, Government of West Bengal
“Land use outside PAs needs to be zoned such that critical wildlife areas and corridors are not compromised by tourism development” Rahul Bhatnagar, DFO, Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve
High-flying spectacle The recently concluded third edition of Bahrain International Airshow held at the Sakhir Air Base, Kingdom of Bahrain saw the number of participating companies almost double to more than 100, including first time participation from India. It is also an important event to showcase Bahrain as a business and tourism destination By Sudipta Dev Kamal Bin Ahmed Mohamed
biennial event, Bahrain International Airshow is organised by the Ministry of Transport, Bahrain Civil Aviation Affairs (BCAA) in association with Farnborough International. The third edition of the airshow was bigger and better this time with more than a hundred participating companies, including several new ones. The airshow attracted delegations from 32 countries including the US, UAE, India, China, Germany, France, the Russian Federation, Egypt and Turkey. In fact, the event witnessed for the first time participation from India, namely the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The airshow also saw a record number of deals signed this year - almost US$ three billion, tripling the total from 2012. Conceding that Bahrain International Airshow is a new airshow on the tourism calendar, Kamal Bin Ahmed Mohamed, minister of transportation and acting chief executive, Bahrain Economic Development Board, said, "The number of companies have doubled this year. It is not just names like Airbus and Boeing but many companies participating for the first time, like that from India. DRDO participated for the first time in the airshow to promote its products in this part of the world. There are eight companies from Turkey,
20 EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD February 2014
Lufthansa Technik from Germany participating for the first time, two biggest companies from France that is Safran and Thales.” He pointed out that because of the large number of companies participating this year, apart from the chalets which were always there, a hall was constructed to accommodate companies to showcase their products. “We hope that by bringing the customers - that is all Gulf countries and other Arab countries and all the international companies they will have an environment to crack deals. Only in Bahrain the chalets are not built by the companies, they are read-built with furniture and catering. It is a turnkey package. You do not see this in any other airshow in the world. Companies come with their bags and start their meetings. There are VVIP chalets. We make it very easy for companies to come and do their business, which is the unique proposition for Bahrain,” mentioned the minister. Bahrain International Airshow had a mix of civil aviation and military - approximately in the ratio of 60:40. The Farnborough International Airshow in UK is an important event and BCAA organised the Bahrain airshow with Farnborough to ensure quality, and do it right. “The region also has Dubai airshow, but we are offering something different. All the companies you see there you will see
here. The airshow enables us to bring companies and visitors here to showcase Bahrain. We have the infrastructure available in Bahrain, to set up business here. Following the airshow is the Spring of Culture which is a musical show, then the Formula 1 in April. MICE industry is important for us and having these events achieves the critical target for Bahrain. We have a busy calender throughout the year. There is a convention centre in Manama with plans for a new, bigger one in the pipeline,” he stated. Aerobatic flying displays was in fact one of the highlights of the airshow and enthralled the thousands of visitors attending the airshow and the public who had thronged nearby. Aircraft on display included the Breitling Wingwalkers, The Twisters, The Russian Knights, UAE Al Fursan and the Saudi Hawks.
Showcasing Indian technology DRDO had displayed the models of Light Combat Aircraft - Trainer Model, Fighter Model and Naval version at the airshow. “Apart from this as technology we have displayed the OBOGS (On Board Oxygen Generation System) for LCA. Only few countries in the world have been able to develop this technology. We want to show the world that we have
INDIA CONNECT Currently around 300,000 Indians live in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and are the biggest expat community. Bahrain as a destination has been promoted as a business destination, being a hub between the west and the east. It is an attractive destination for multinational companies who make the country a base to serve the GCC market. “Nobody can ignore the growth happening here, or India or Far East China. Companies from different parts of the world flock to the Gulf markets as they have a high GDP per capita growth, a young population, and they are still spending in developing their countries, whether in terms of infrastructure or entertainment. I cannot say we have done enough to attract tourists from outside the region, we already have five million tourists from Saudi Arabia. We are now concentrating on bringing tourists from other markets. When it comes to attractions here, we have real things to show the visitors with our thousands of years of culture. There is nothing artificial,” said Kamal Bin Ahmed Mohamed, minister of transportation and acting chief executive, Bahrain Economic Development Board. He informed that in February 2014 a large delegation will be coming to India with the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. This high profile delegation will be visiting Mumbai and Delhi.
developed advanced systems for aircraft,” said P Ramachandra, joint director (Planning), Aeronautical Development Agency. Also on display was the airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system. Models of Nishant and Lakshya were also showcased. Nishant is a UAV that is used for requisition and surveillance, Lakshya is a PTA, it is a pilotless target aircraft. “Already the production has started, we recently got the initial operational clearance and this year it will be inducted into the Indian Airforce. The response is very good and people showed a lot of interest in the products,” stated Ramachandra. An aircraft from India took part in the flying display.
Focus on Gulf Air Almost 15 years back, for most people in India, Gulf Air was the first airline that came to mind when thinking of flying to the Middle East region. The airline was owned by four countries in the region till 2008, it was the only airline in the region owned by Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the Emi-
rates. By 2008, all these countries developed their own airlines, following which only Bahrain owns Gulf Air. “This led to the change in the size of the market. We cannot to have a big airline like the other neighbouring countries, as we do not have the amount of gas and oil that they have, and we cannot afford to make mistakes. We have to use our resources effectively. For us Gulf Air is very important for connectivity to Bahrain. We want connectivity to the GCC market, India and Asia. When it comes to this market, we have a largest concentration of flights within the region. We have daily flights to Mumbai, Delhi, Trivandrum, Chennai and other destinations. In the past one only saw Gulf Air because there was only Gulf Air, the numbers have not changed, but others have introduced their flights and because of the size of their fleet you see them more. We are not planning to compete with their numbers, we are going to concentrate on quality and specific markets that we think are critical for Bahrain,” stated the minister.
He acknowledged that Gulf Air has gone through tough times financially and restructuring process has been started. “We are now doing much better, we have cut the losses by almost 56 per cent, so we are on the right track. This we achieved through changes in fleet, network, number of employees. We had to close some destinations that were losing money like Kuala Lumpur. We are now adding new destinations, for instance we just added Trivandrum as a new destination in India,” he informed. Gulf Air has not exhausted its bi-laterals in India. “The India market is very important but the competition is huge. The current network is a good network, we are fine-tuning it. We however do not want to be a transfer hub, as that is what we used to do earlier and loose a lot of money. The strategy is point to point destination. The airport is also being refurbished and expanded. We have the youngest fleet in the region, for wide bodied aircraft we have placed orders for Dreamliners which we will get by 2018,” said the minister.
Engaging discourses Apart from providing a diverse networking platform for buyers and sellers across India and oversees, IITT 2014 also hosted a series of panel discussions to address key industry issues, share expert perspectives and highlight on the challenges concerning the tourism industry. By Rituparna Chatterjee
he first edition of the India International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (IITT) 2014, organised by Asian Business Exhibition & Conferences and ITE Group PLC, witnessed more than 250 national and international exhibitors. Held at the MMRDA exhibition centre at Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai from January 16-18, 2014, IITT 2014 witnessed participation from national tourist organisations, state tourism boards, car rental companies, convention centres, cruise liners, golf courses, resorts, hotels, travel agents, tour operators to name a few. Turkey who has a long relationship with ITE Group PLC was the partner country for the event. Apart from the exhibition, IITT 2014 concurrently conducted panel discussions on the first two days of the exhibition, i.e. three discussions on the first day followed
by four on the second. The first panel discussion held on the first day touched upon the topic – ‘Preservation of national heritage a tourism concern – need for the formulation of a national policy’. Moderated by Subhash Goyal, president, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), the discussion saw prominent personalities from the tourism industry including Iqbal Mulla, president, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI); Pushpraj Singh, chairman, HHR Group; Vidya B Kumar, IFS, executive director, Punjab Heritage & Tourism Promotion Board (PHTPB); and Kishore Mandhyan, former deputy director, political, peacekeeping and humanitarian affairs - United Nations. Starting the discussion was Singh who stressed upon the need to promote untapped heritage sites apart from the popular ones. He
Despite the size of India, there are only 6-6.5 million arrivals into our country every year, just one per cent opined, “If you talk about heritage at large inside India, there are just about a couple of forts, palaces which are known in destinations like Udaipur, Jaipur, Gwalior, Bikaner, Jaisalmer. But heritage tourism isn’t limited to these areas and there is a need to promote other heritage sites as well.” He further went on to elaborate the need for the state and central government to allocate money for the conservation and restoration of heritage sites but the allocation needs to be made to the field people.
Offering his view, Mulla stated, “Despite the size of India, there are only 6-6.5 million arrivals into our country every year. Our international arrivals are just one per cent. The time has come for the state and central government and various other stakeholders to identify the problems and revaluate what we have achieved from last year.” Mulla also agreed to Singh’s view on restoration and opined that conservation of heritage sites is of prime importance since it will improve con-
nectivity in the country and that the government needs to make firmer policies, and we need to hold more trade shows abroad to display our heritage areas. Speaking on the efforts being taken by PHTPB to restore and promote their heritage sites, Kumar stated, “Clean and green practices are being promoted in Andhra Pradesh. We want to encourage preservation of our heritage sites at the panchayat level. We have stared other restoration initiatives like illuminating the Charminar in Hyderabad with dynamic lighting. We are also trying to organise night tours in Hyderabad and we have started tourism clubs for schools to teach responsible tourism to students so that they can practice the same.” On a concluding note, Mandhyan pointed out the issues causing low footfall in heritage sites. “The first issue is that if the elite
By 2023, the region which will contribute the most towards GDP will be Asia, followed by Africa, Middle East, Latin America, North America, Europe and Oceania level is unaware then there is no awareness in the popular level. Hence both the levels need to be enlightened. The second concern is access to the heritage sites and the environmental cleanliness of the surrounding areas. For this, there is a need to have solid infrastructure and also teach students about our heritage in a critical way.”
Going international The second panel discussion witnessed interesting exchanges on the topic – ‘Tourism moving towards 21st century’. The discussion was moderated by Guldeep Singh Sahni, president, Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) and managing director, Weldon Tours & Travels and witnessed participation from Rajeev Wagle, managing director, Kuoni India; Sujit Banerjee, secretary general, World Travel & Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII); and Vasudha Sodhi, managing director, connectworldwide India. The discussion started with Sahni stating the growth of international tourism. “International tourism arrivals have increased to about five per
cent in the first nine months of 2013 and international arrivals has been around 845 million worldwide which is 41 million more than the previous year for the same period. India is also one of the fastest growing outbound market and by 2015, there will be 20 million tourism departures from India,” revealed Sahni. Speaking on similar lines, Wagle mentioned, “The Indian society comes with the need to travel and with more airline connectivity, more people are travelling outbound. Visa on arrival has also increased the numbers. The rising middle class is travelling a lot. However, the recent devaluation of the rupee has made travelling abroad expensive. As an outbound travel company, we are caught on the wrong side when the rupee depreciates as long haul converts to short haul and international travel to domestic travel.” According to Banerjee, Asia is a booming market with respect to its travel industry’s contribution to GDP. “In 2012, the region which contributed maximum to GDP was Africa with nine per cent, followed by Latin America with 8.8 per cent, Asia with 8.6
per cent, North America with 8.4 per cent, Europe with 8.2 per cent, Middle East with 7.7 per cent and India with 6.6 per cent. By 2023, the region which will contribute the most towards GDP will be Asia, followed by Africa, Middle East, Latin America, North America, Europe and Oceania. Asia’s growth will be the highest and this will bring increased income to the middle class, thereby leading to increased destination competition, more opportunities for increasing outbound spending, and increased investments by destinations within and outside Asia in developing their infrastructure. By 2023 China will become the largest outbound travel and tourism market in terms of spending,” he opined. However, he highlighted the Indian government’s failure to recognise the travel industry’s contribution to GDP. “Government investment is bound to decrease in travel and tourism in India. Therefore, the private sector needs to come in a big way and government will act as a catalyst,” he stated. Talking about hotels investing in India, Sodhi commented,
“Though India is an important market, but for most international destinations it is an emerging market and not a primary market. Despite this, hotels are willing to wait because India has the potential to grow. Also hotels are investing hugely in this market to setup their brands. This increases the infrastructure for domestic and inbound tourism and brings in the much needed investment.” The discussion concluded with Sahni asking whether OTAs will overtake offline travel agencies to which both Sodhi and Wagle stated that offline travel agents will exist since they provide customised holidays, add a personal touch and provide the option of experiencing multiple destinations.
Film tourism A panel discussion on the first day focused on a popular topic – ‘Promoting destinations via film tourism’. Moderated by Sudhanshu Hukku, director, Novel Event Works, the panel discussion consisted of other prominent participants like Aleksandra Mandic-Kauzlaric, project manager - convention bureau, Zagreb Tourist Board and Convention Bureau; Hanneli Slabber, country manager India, South African Tourism; Aashish Singh, vice president – production, Yash Raj Films; Chang Chee Pey, executive director - South Asia, Middle East and Africa, Singapore Tourism Board; Lubaina Sheerazi, India
Our mandate for the film Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai Dobara was to showcase Oman in an appealing way representative, ministry of tourism, Sultanate of Oman; and Romit Theophilus, director - sales and marketing, India, German National Tourist Office (GNTO). At the beginning of the discussion, Hukku pointed out the importance of film tourism for outbound destinations. “India produces more than 1000 films for which billion dollars are spent, out of which 10 per cent is spent on outdoor locations.” Sharing her opinion, Slabber stated, “50 Indian films have been shot in South Africa over the last few years. The film industry contributes around US$ 3.5 billion to our GDP, which leads to more job creation. We offer two types of incentives – the DTI incentive purely from a film point of view, while from a tourism point of view, we support films provided if the film depicts the country as it is and employs the locals. In the latter case, we need to be careful about product placement.” Singh went on to say that many tourism boards are looking at the potential of Indian films and are tapping this segment. “We took producer and di-
rector, Rakesh Roshan to Singapore to bring the country alive in Krrish 3. Once the locations were selected, we designed the movie around the destination and spoke to the government to help us,” opined Pey. Reiterating the same, Theophilus stated, “Berlin is positioning itself as a top destination globally. The PR surrounding Don 2 brought Berlin to the forefront.” Adding to this, Sheerazi mentioned, “Our mandate for the film Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai Dobara was to showcase Oman in an appealing way. We undertook many promotional activities like press conferences, interviews, endorsements by the actors, before the film’s release, which gave visibility to the destination.” The second day of the exhibition also witnessed panel discussions on various topics like - A forum for research in the field of sports tourism; Aspects and facets of leisure tourism: Increased demand from emerging markets; Are hotels moving towards OTA (Online Travel Agents) / Are hotels friendly with the partners?; and The hottest travel trend for leisure enthusiasts.
A Schengen sojourn Many are unaware that the Schengen visa is named after Schengen, a small wine-making village in south-eastern Luxembourg, where the borders of Germany and France meet. This is just one of the many unknown and unexpected discoveries about this Grand Duchy (the only one remaining in the world) that has essayed an important role in shaping European history By Steena Joy
haped like a boot with the tip upwards, Luxembourg is strategically nestled between Germany, France and Belgium, giving it economic and political importance in Europe. With 500,000 inhabitants, this is one of the world’s smallest countries, a Grand Duchy (a territory ruled by a grand duke or duchess). Indians remember Luxembourg as the headquarters of Lakshmi Mittal's steel giant Arcelor Mittal - formed after the historic takeover of Arcelor in 2006. The ARBED building which houses Arcelor was built in 1922 and is an historic landmark in Luxembourg's history. The discovery of iron ore in Luxembourg in the 1850s and the introduction of metallurgy in 1876 led to the development of a national steel industry, and provided Luxembourg with sustained economic growth. Today, Arcelor Mittal is the world's largest steel producer.
Clockwise: The Schengen Monument (top left), the Grand Ducal Palace and the ARBED building
Caves St Martin. Set up in 1921 in the aftermath of World War I, St Martin’s one km long underground cellars hewed into a huge calcareous rock stay at a constant 12 - 13 degrees and are still used to produce some of the region’s best cremants (the Luxembourgish version of champagne) and wines. A bottle of finely-crafted Riesling can be picked up for prices much cheaper than in neighbouring France.
From steel to Schengen Luxembourg's another claim to fame is the Schengen Agreement, an important chapter in European history. Signed in 1985 onboard the MS Princesse Marie-Astrid on the Moselle river, the Schengen Agreement was the first step towards a borderless Europe and put Schengen on the global map. A small wine-making village in southeastern Luxembourg, Schengen was chosen because of its ideal location. It's here that the borders of the three Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) meet Germany and France. Now the Schengen
agreement allows over 400 million Europeans to travel across borders with just one visa. A memorial depicting three stars has been erected on the banks of the Moselle river to symbolise the signing of the agreement here. Moselle river is one of the
major rivers of Luxembourg and runs 39 km in length to form a natural boundary with Germany (where it is called Mosel). Moselle or D'Musel as the locals refer to it, lends its name to one of the most beautiful valleys of Luxembourg, famous for its wineries and charming hotels. The Lux-
embourgish Moselle vineyards (most of them family owned) have a 2000-year-old tradition of winemaking, and the region’s renowned wine route offers breathtaking views of vineyard slopes that dot the landscape. One of the interesting wineries in the Moselle village of Remich is
A research hub Apart from being at the centre of international finance, recent years have seen Luxembourg emerge as a hub of innovative research. The University of Luxembourg is one of the youngest universities in
Clockwise: The Golden Lady Monument (top left), the Philharmonie Luxembourg, Notre Dame Cathedral and The Mudam (Museum of Modern Art)
Europe and has five campuses across the country. In 2011, an MoU was signed between University of Luxembourg and PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore. There are many Indian research students at the University’s new bio medicine campus at Belval, a neighbourhood in Esch/Alzette. In Belval, a former steel industry centre is undergoing a 600 million euros redevelopment which will turn the brownfield site into a large scientific and cultural centre. Closer to Luxembourg city, in Kehlen, is Filmland S.A, a onestop studio-site which includes 3,000 square metres of studio space, construction workshops, production offices as well as post-production services including image and sound editing, a colour-grading suite, a final mix auditorium and special effects units. Luxembourg's varied landscapes and its proximity to as many as five countries makes it ideal for co-production of films.
European stronghold The old city of Luxembourg is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the city's old historical district lies the Bock, rocky cliffs offering a natural fortification above the Alzette river which surrounds it on three sides. It was here that Count Siegfried built his Castle of Lucilinburhuc in 963, laying the foundation for the development of the town which later became Luxembourg. Over the centuries, the Bock and the surrounding walls were reinforced, attacked and rebuilt time and again as the invading armies vied for victory over one of Europe's most strategic strongholds, the Fortress of Luxembourg. In those days the fortress was often called the Gibraltar of the North. Ruins of the old castle and the vast underground maze of passages and caves known as the Casemates are a major tourist attraction. Another attraction is the Notre Dame Cathedral, the only cathedral in Luxembourg. Originally a Jesuit church, its cornerstone was laid in 1613. The cathedral with it’s gothic architecture, baroque style and stained glass windows, houses the Ducal
Crypt where deceased members of the Grand Ducal family are buried. Right in the middle of the city is the magnificent Grand Ducal Palace (Flemish Renaissance, 16th century), the official residence of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, (presently Henri) where he performs most of his duties as head of state. The building was first the City Hall of Luxembourg from 1572 to 1795, the seat of the prefecture of the Département des Forêts in 1795, and then the headquarters of the Luxembourg Government in 1817. The state rooms on the first floor are used for official meetings and audiences as well as state banquets. From 1966 till today, soldiers of the military of Luxembourg perform guard duties at the gates of the palace. Another landmark that can be seen from any corner of the city is the 'Gëlle Fra' or Golden
Lady, a war memorial dedicated to the Luxembourg soldiers who fought in the two World Wars. The Monument of Remembrance is a 21 metre high obelisk atop which stands a woman holding out a crown of laurels to two soldiers below, one of whom watches over his compatriot who has died in battle. A stop at the Philharmonie Luxembourg is a must. Also known as the Grand-Duchesse Josephine-Charlotte Concert Hall, the Philharmonie is situated in the Kirchber quarter on the north-east side of Luxembourg. The unique oval shape of the building, designed by French Pritzker Prize winner Christian de Portzamparc, was made possible through the use of colonnade screen constructed by more than 823 steel columns. The complex also has a pyramid structure by Pei (of the Louvre Museum fame).
ANNE HOFFMANN, MD, LUXEMBOURG NATIONALTOURIST OFFICE “Visitors are surprised by what they find in this small country. We were very much inspired by the Incredible India slogan so we adopted ‘Unexpected Luxembourg' as our tagline. We are the heart of Europe so we are in close proximity to any country in the continent, so visitors can get to Germany or France or Amsterdam in a short time. India is not among our top 10 markets as yet but we had 13,000 nights from India last year and we hope to improve on that. We need to work on direct connectivity between India and Luxembourg. The key segments we are targetting are seniors, hiking and biking enthusiasts (the government has invested in cycling lanes), families with children and DINKS (double income, no kids). We also want to grow the MICE segment. We have around 6,000 hotel rooms and convention facilities for around 1000 pax.”
Setting new global benchmarks The architecture of the new Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport airport Terminal 2 quintessentially reflects India’s proud heritage and draws on its rich culture - it presents a new contemporary India and possibilities
VK’s (MIAL) new integrated, state-of-theart Terminal 2 (T2) at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) is an iconic mega-structure (measuring 4.4 million sq ft) that will set global benchmarks in airport infrastructure development. Featuring a highly compact design by New York based SOM, T2 will have the ability to handle 40 million passengers annually. Traversing across four-levels, the vertical and compact design of T2 integrating all operations (International, Domestic, Cargo, Ground Handling, Security, Retail etc.) under one roof enables enhanced passenger servicing and operational efficiency of GVK CSIA. Speaking on the occasion of the inauguration of T2, Dr GVK Reddy, executive chairman, Mumbai International Airport (MIAL), said, “The opening of T2 is one of the most important milestones in the history of CSIA as well as Mumbai. It is my dream to create icons which will last for generations. Over the years, we have developed expertise in executing challenging and
complex infrastructure projects. GVK’s vision is to be pioneer and best in all the sectors we operate in. GVK’s initiatives include setting up India’s first independent power plant, the first six-lane expressway and developing the first brownfield airport under the public private partnership model. We have raised our own benchmarks with every successive endeavour. T2 reiterates our commitment towards building a better India for the present as well as for future generations and this would not have been possible without the unstinted support of our partners, associates and all my colleagues.” The `5,500 crore cost incurred by GVK in building T2 is lowest as compared to similar airport projects in India as well as across the world. The new airport terminal will also be home to India’s largest public art programme, in the form of a three km multi-storey Art Wall, illuminated by skylights, that has over 7000 pieces of artwork and artefacts from Maharashtra and also every region and corner of India. Titled Jaya He (Glory to India),
it captures the expanse, depth and beauty of Indian art, craft and cultural heritage.
Integrated architecture Reaffirming Mumbai’s status as a global economic city, T2 is the outcome of GVK’s vision to make CSIA one of the world’s best airports that consistently delights consumers, and being the pride of Mumbai and India. The new T2 built in four years, is an iconic global mega structure and India’s first and most advanced vertical passenger terminal that integrates world class design, architecture, infrastructure and operational efficiency, with a rich infusion of Indian heritage and cultural character. The Head House roof extends to cover the entire departure roadway. A 15-metre-tall cable-stayed glass wall—the longest in the world—opens to the check-in hall, with the transparent façade allowing accompanying well-wishers, to watch as their friends and family depart. Once inside, travellers enter the warm, open, light-filled and monumentally large checkin hall, featuring 188 + 20 check-in
counters, sheltered underneath the 11-acre long-span roof, supported by an array of only 30 mushrooming multi-story megacolumns. Small disks of colourful glass recessed within the canopy’s coffers speckle the hall below with light, whose constellation of colours makes reference to The Peacock, India’s national bird, and the inspiration for the airport. After check-in, 60 emigration counters, 124 security check positions, 41 travellators, 47 escalators and 73 elevators will efficiently and swiftly process passengers for boarding. The common check-in hall leads to a retail hub for international travellers, while domestic passengers proceed down to Level Three along the spectacular palm and waterfall gardens to their own dedicated domestic retail hub. For the first time in India, the terminal also features an Airport Joint Control Centre that will house all stakeholders from security to airline officials and airport operations to facilitate collaborative and speedy decision making. According to G V Sanjay Reddy, managing director, GVK Mumbai International Airport,
“The new T2 at CSIA is a monument to the beautiful spirit of Mumbai and its people. This terminal will make CSIA a gateway to the city of Mumbai and India with international and domestic passengers. This is an airport that will redefine global benchmarks in aviation and airport development. The prevalence of local art and culture, coupled with the use of warm colours and elegant accents, elevates the ambience of this terminal beyond the typical, often unimaginative airport experience, to create a sense of place and identity that celebrates India.” Throughout T2, there are fixtures and details, such as 1000 chandeliers inspired by the lotus flower, a Diya curtain with 10000 diyas waiting to welcome international travellers and the check in hall which is inspired by 1000 white peacocks in the sky. Reflecting GVK’s environment stewardship, T2 was built to be highly energy and water efficient. Sewage recycling, water recycling and rain water harvesting technologies will contribute to a 20 per cent reduction in water use, over and above the Leeds baseline.
Empowering Central India The recently concluded Global Panorama Showcase (GPS) 2014 event in Nagpur presented by Jagsons Travels made a strong statement in central India and aims to increase both in reach and capacity in the coming years. The event proved to be a perfect platform to showcase the untapped potential of Indiaâ€™s Tier II and Tier III markets By Reema Lokesh
rom Showcase Jagsons in 2013 with about 27 participants the growth into GLOBAL PANORAMA SHOWCASE (GPS-2014) has been phenomenal. The company involved Madhu Saliankar of Entreps Solutions as marketing partner for GPS-2014 and also roped in Tourism Malaysia as the partner country. GPS 2014 witnessed participation from several tourism boards like Bulgaria, Indonesia, Gold Coast Tourism, Destination New South Wales, TCEB, Reunion Island Tourism alongside both domestic airlines like IndiGo and GoAir and international airlines like Emirates, Oman Air and Malindo Air participating at the event. Other participants included Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Taj Hotels, Fairmont Hotels, Jumeirah Maldives, Viceroy Maldives, Sun International, Accor, Rotana, London & Partners, Rail Europe, Star Cruises, MSC Cruises, Island Holidays, Ark Travels, Akquasun, Neotrav from
30 EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD February 2014
Maldives, Tour Oman from Oman, visa facilitators, Roam1 Mobile, Adventure biking Tours and Trawelltag Cover-More (overseas insurance provider). The three-day event, from January 24-26, 2014, received buyers from Raipur, Bhopal, Indore, Bilaspur, Jalna, Nasik, Amravati, Akola, Chandrapur, Bhandara, Bhilai, Gondia, Aurangabad, Mumbai, Pune, Latur, Chindwara and many other neighbouring cities. The suppliers at the event comprised of hoteliers, airlines, tourism boards, visa facilitation companies, travel insurance players, foreign exchange currency providers, tour operators, international roaming SIM card brands, cruise companies, event management companies, online booking engines, white label solutions, etc. â€œOur focus was on outbound tourism, most suppliers were international apart from a few local suppliers. GPS-2014 was a platform to bring the overseas suppliers to the heart of India and get them exposed to the tier two and tier three markets which was much required by these products and we were successful in achieving the
There were close to 60 hosted buyers from Vidarbha , Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. There were a total of 60 exhibitors with more than 100 products goal,” said Harmandeep Singh Anand, managing director, Jagsons Travels. The first two days of the event were dedicated to the travel trade and the last day was open for end consumers. The event is a platform offering all kinds of travel and tourism services and products for the travel trade. This year’s event had a table-top format and had a hosted-buyer programme. Exhibitors at the event had an opportunity to undertake some serious B2B business discussions and to create awareness of their products among the fraternity members of central India on a one to one basis. The event was well received by both buyers and exhibitors alike. The format of the event was unique and different from the regular events that take place across India in the same sphere as it gave opportunity not only to the owners but also the frontline staff, travel consultants and also students pursuing travel as a career option to interact with members of the trade. “We also honoured our partners at the gala evening awards night and on the second gala evening we launched
the prestigious coffee table book titled ‘The Explorer’ in honour of our founder chairman late Jagat Singh Anand, which was brought out by Express TravelWorld from The Indian Express Group,” added Rishiraj Singh Anand, joint managing director, Jagsons Travels. There were close to 60 hosted buyers from Vidarbha , Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. There were a total of 60 exhibitors with more than 100 products. Also 3500 B2B meetings were held over the three days and probable business generation of over `1.5 crore due to the event. The footfall for the three days was well over 2,500 including close to 400 travels agents, travel professionals and final year students pursuing tourism related courses (students attended almost all the 18 sessions over two days of the workshop).
Workshops at the event Product presentations and educational workshops of 45 minutes to an hour were undertaken on two days presented by the participating exhibitors. In total 18 such
sessions were held over the two days. The most successful one was the Travel Agents Engagement programme by Trawelltag-Cover More by Aman Kaushik and Dev Karwat. Malaysia Tourism certification programme which was conducted in four modules was completed by almost 40 participants doing all four modules and was attended by over 280 participants. Star Cruises and MSC certification session also saw a good attendance of over 70 participants each. All sessions were well appreciated by the participants as also the exhibition. The event also gave first hand opportunity to travel professionals and students under the same roof to gain knowledge about various products.
Buyer feedback The buyers who were primarily from India’s tier two and tier three cites, have regarded the event as a confidence booster. Raju Akolkar Destination Travel and Vacation Planners, Nagpur and Raja Gariba - Rising Sun Travels, Nagpur and Ankush Deshmukh - Ankush Travels, Nagpur firmly felt that the event
IN CONVERSATION Reema Lokesh in conversation with Harmandeep Singh Anand MD and Rishiraj Singh Anand, joint MD, Jagsons Travels, gets a detailed view on the event and its vision
Harmandeep Singh Anand
Rishiraj Singh Anand
On the vision and motivation behind setting up Global Panorama Showcase (GPS) Following the success in 2013 we felt that there is a definite need in the market especially in tier two and tier three cites to meet and experience products as this market is open to explore. Most tour operators and agents in these regions have felt left out though there is immense potential in these regions due to higher net disposable income. The vision of Global Panorama Showcase (GPS) was conceived with the intention of educating the buyers from central India who normally do not get the much needed information. With the project we are trying to bring global players to participate in the heart of India and explore the potential by showcasing and educating the agents and consultants in this market and equip and educate the local players so that they are at par with their counterparts from metros and other major cities. Focus areas of the GPS 2014 Main focus areas are particularly the destinations that are keen to capture the potential of central India. All travel related services and products which are essential for a traveller while travelling domestic or overseas, be it insurance, visa support, global phone cards and other related services will be part of the showcase event. Challenges faced while implementing GPS 2014 The project was conceptualised by both of us in early 2007. It actually took us almost six years to bring it to life. One of the major challenges was to convince suppliers to be a part of this event and the exposure and benefit they will gain as delegates. Through good relations within the travel fraternity we were able to overcome these challenges and convince people to participate with the help of few of our close associates and industry friends.
gave them an opportunity to interact with suppliers who were new and suitable for their clientele. They were also proud that this event has given Nagpur a position of recognition. Abhishek Kothari of Bhgawati Travels Nagpur and Madhuri Deo - Soma Travels and TAAI Chapter chairperson Nagpur also shared similar views and are looking forward to be bigger event in 2015. Manohar Roy, Consultant for Jagsons Travels, Nagpur, has plans in place to scale up the event for 2015. Kishore Bagdia of Somesh Travco, Jalna and Mukesh Agrawal Lakshya Holidays from Gondia, were glad to have attended the event and are confident to market the products in their region. Irshad Mehdi of Ideal Tours and Travels, Nagpur went home striking some deals on the ground itself. Future expectations educating the fraternity in central India and equipping them with as much information and tools to cater to the needs of the clientele is definitely the way forward. “We are expecting to host the next edition of the event in 2015 on a much larger scale. While this year
We would try to be different by engaging not only the owners and managers but also the frontline and students pursuing courses in the field of tourism in central India we had focused on central India, with a major participation of suppliers from international tourism boards and products, plans are underway to incorporate a large number of domestic suppliers, focus on metro cities, tier two and tier three cities and witness participation of hosted international buyers in 2015. We would like to showcase what Nagpur and its surrounds has to offer to buyers in India and also buyers from overseas as the Tiger Capital,” mentioned Harmandeep Singh Anand. The main thrust would be to showcase local talent and promote the same to the global exhibitors and buyers. “We would try to be different by
engaging not only the owners and managers but also the frontline and students pursuing courses in the field of tourism in central India. Further, we plan to have food festival, GPS campus interviews for placements of travel pursuing students and professionals, showcase local talent, art exhibition in addition to the workshops and educational programmes and also have a B2B meeting platform which would be the heart of GPS-2015 and the same would be held around similar dates in 2015,” informed Rishiraj Singh Anand. He added that 10 per cent of the revenues from GPS-2015 will be dedicated to CSR initiatives in Nagpur.
TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT
Raising the bar Established with the aim of raising the bar for aviation training across Middle East North Africa region, the Gulf Aviation Academy in the Kingdom of Bahrain has trained as many as 19,000 flight crews in four years, including simulator and pilot training for 34 airlines By Sudipta Dev
HE GULF AVIATION ACADEMY (GAA) is based in the Kingdom of Bahrain. It was launched in 2009, but officially inaugurated in 2010 during the first Bahrain International Airshow. GAA provides pilot training, cabin crew training and engineering training and serves Bahrain and the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. The academy is approved by not just Bahrain civil aviation authority, but also Kuwait, Qatar, Emirates, Saudi, Oman and also Jordan and Pakistan civil aviation. “This makes us one of the few independent aviation training centres in the region, we are not related to any airline. So many of the biggest airlines in the world like Qatar Airways, Emirates, all train with us, apart
from Oman Air, Saudi Airlines, Kuwait Airways and others. They would not go and train with an academy that is owned by another airline. This is a very big advantage that we have. As we are not airline owned we can attract everybody. Our faculty is the best in the field who go through a rigorous selection process,” says Capt Dhaffer Al Abbasi, acting CEO, Gulf Aviation Academy. GAA is the only independent Type Rating Training Organisation (TRTO) approved by the UK Civil Aviation Authority in MENA region. The academy offers more than 50 courses. Simulator training is the main line of business for GAA, which offers simulator and pilot training for 34 airlines. The academy has seven simulator bays and can
train thousands of students every year. Based in Muharraq, near Bahrain International Airport, the location is considered another advantage as the crew arrives at the airport and reach the training centre in five minutes. The pilots stay at the nearby Movenpick hotel or other hotels near the airport. “We offer solutions from A to Z, that is we create a training plan for them, arrange for their visa, their hotel bookings, all the logistics are taken care of. We even arrange for their transportation from the hotel to the academy - this type of facility is not provided by others aviation academies,” mentions Capt Abbasi. Since inception GAA has trained as many as 19,000 flight crews – in less than five years. “We have return clients and
new clients. We plan to be one of the largest academies in the Middle East. We like to think of ourselves as the one-stop shop for airlines and charter operators,” points out Capt Abbasi. From India a few pilots had attended MCC training, that is multi-crew cooperation training. “It is an eight -day course with five simulator sessions of four hours each. Three days extra is ground school where they are trained on how to work together in multi-crew concept aircraft. We are in talks with certain airlines in India though not the major airlines as they already own their own training centres,” he says. GAA's Ab-Initio Pilot Programme is for aspiring Bahraini cadet pilots. “We do not have a flight school in Bahrain so we have agreement
with flying schools in the UK, Australia, where we send our students. Once they graduate we help them find jobs in the region,” adds Capt Abbasi. According to a Boeing report there is requirement of at least 100,000 crew in the aviation sector - around 36,000 pilots and 53,000 technicians and engineers in the Middle East by 2030. “To be able to meet those numbers we need to start planning from now. We need to attract more Bahraini youngsters in the region to enter the field,” he states. A regional training partner and authorised training centre for IATA, GAA also offers courses in airport operations, dangerous goods training, safety management, emergency planning and response management, etc.
MOVEMENTS IATA CONRAD CLIFFORD has been appointed as regional vice president for Asia Pacific at International Air Transport Association (IATA). Previously, Clifford served as acting managing director of Antrak Air Ghana and was formerly CEO of Monarch Travel Group and of Virgin Nigeria. In his new role, Clifford will be responsible for developing IATA’s partnerships across the region.
Amadeus Amadeus has appointed DR MURRAY MAZER as head of innovation and research, effective immediately.
Events Queensland and Football Federation Australia as well as the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee. He is also a current member of the Tourism & Transport Forum Advisory Board.
Macau Tourist Office
Dr Murray Mazer
Reporting to the Head of R&D, Mazer assumes responsibility for defining and implementing the company’s framework for innovation, ensuring that Amadeus develops and delivers innovative, flexible and valueadded technology solutions for the travel industry. He has held a variety of senior technical and strategy posts, beginning his career as a principal research engineer at Digital’s Cambridge Research Lab, one of the world’s top organisations for software innovation.
Tourism Australia Tourism Australia has announced the appointment of JOHN O’SULLIVAN as its new managing director, following the departure of Andrew McEvoy. O’Sullivan joins Tourism Australia from Fox Sports where he is currently employed as COO. Previously he held executive positions with
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The Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) has appointed a new representative office to promote the city in Thailand and URACHA JAKTARANON is the newly-appointed GM of MGTO Marketing Representative in Thailand. Following an open tender launched by MGTO in Thailand, Branded The Agency was the selected company to carry on the work of promoting Macau in the country.
Tourism New Zealand JACQUI SPICE, NORM THOMPSON, and CHRIS PARKIN have been appointed as members of Tourism New Zealand. Spice is the founder and director of Touch of Spice, a New Zealand luxury travel and concierge company. Thompson held the role of deputy CEO, Air New Zealand. Parkin has spent more than 20 years in the hospitality industry and has considerable board experience at both director and chair levels.
Korea Tourism Organisation Korea Tourism Organisation
(KTO) Sydney office has welcomed the arrival of SANGWEON JE (STEVE) as the new director for Australia and New Zealand. Je has twenty years experience working for Korea Tourism Organisation in various departments in KTO Seoul headquarters as well as overseas appointments as deputy director of the KTO offices in Chicago and Hong Kong.
South African Tourism South African Tourism has appointed Lehlohonolo Pitso as regional manager - West Africa. In his new role, Pitso will implement a marketing strategy for all West African markets and work to develop and grow trade, media and other stakeholder relationships to ensure continued robust tourist arrival growth from West to South Africa.
Airbus Group Airbus has confirmed that SEAN O'KEEFE, chairman and CEO, Airbus Group, Inc, the company's North American business unit, will resign his position effective March 1, 2014. His successor will be ALLAN MCARTOR, currently chairman of Airbus Americas. In his new capacity, McArtor will be a member of the Airbus Group executive committee. He will also be named one of the 'Living Legends of Aviation' at an awards ceremony in California.
Tourism Authority of Thailand THAWATCHAI ARUNYIK has been appointed as governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand, Arunyik is the ninth governor of TAT. In his new role, Arunyik would work on further strengthening alliances with industry partners, boosting costeffective communications via social media and ensure that the industry never loses sight of the need for environmental sustainability. Aruntik joined TAT in 1983.
Etihad Airways has also expanded its Guest Ambassador programme with the addition of international PGA golfer MARTIN KAYMER. As the latest Etihad Guest Ambassador, he will work on a series of initiatives to raise Etihad Airways’ brand awareness in Germany and other key markets around the world.
Singapore Airlines has announced a new regional VP South West Pacific in February, with the appointment of TAN TIOW KOR to the role. Current regional VP South West Pacific, Subhas Menon, will be posted to Singapore Airlines’ London office to take up the role of regional VP Europe.
Air Seychelles has announced the appointment of MANOJ PAPA as its new CEO. Papa joins
Virgin Australia has announced the appointment of GARY HAMMES to the role of COO, commencing February 11, 2014. Hammes will be responsibile for Virgin Australia’s group operations which includes ground handling, flight operations, line maintenance, engineering, as well as the safety, catering and network operations teams. The US aviation executive brings more than 25 years of industry experience.
Etihad Airways Etihad Airways has appointed JUAN TORRES as GM for the Philippines. This is his second posting to the Philippines with Etihad Airways; he was the airline’s GM, based in Manila, from October 2006 to March 2010. The airline has also appointed CHRISTOPHE DIDIER as GM for Brazil. Didier joins Etihad Airways from Delta Airlines where he held a number of senior sales positions in Latin and North America.
Costa Crociere Manoj Papa
from South African Airways (SAA), where he held the position of acting GM commercial, overseeing the entire commercial portfolio for the airline. As part of this, he was also instrumental in developing the Long Term Turnaround Strategy for SAA where started his career.
Costa Crociere has appointed NEIL PALOMBA to the newly created position of Senior Vice President Hotel Operations & Guest Experience, reporting directly to Michael Thamm, CEO of Costa Crociere S.p.A.. In this position Palomba will oversee and develop hotel operations and guest service for the Costa fleet.
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E V E N T S
FLYING HIGH The 26th International Kite Festival was celebrated at Priyadarshini Park in Mumbai
BATTING IT RIGHT Delegates from Tourism New Zealand recently visited Mumbai to promote the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup with a focus to increase Indian tourist arrivals to New Zealand before and during the tournament
A TRIP TO OMAN The ministry of tourism, Sultanate of Oman in association with Oman Air organised a familiarisation trip for the Indian outbound tour operators from Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Delhi
ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE South African Tourism recently held its annual roadshow in Mumbai to enhance the destination knowledge of the frontline staff of travel agencies, help them in planning itineraries and manage customer queries
LIGHTING UP CELEBRATIONS
The Gateway of India was illuminated with LED lights as part of an initiative undertaken by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) in association with Philips India to revive the heritage structures and promote tourism in Mumbai
Satish Soni (centre), joint managing director, MTDC and Dr. Jagdish Patil (right), managing director, MTDC celebrated MTDC's 39th Annual Establishment Day at the Police Gymkhana
E V E N T S
GVK's new integrated Terminal 2 at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai was inaugurated by Dr Manmohan Singh, prime minister of India
AWARDING THE BEST GMJ Thampy (third from left), chairman and managing director, Riya Group received the 'Best Outbound Tour Operator 2011 – 12' award from Oommen Chandy (fourth from right), chief minister of Kerala
ENRICHING EXPERIENCES Lifescapes, by Orange County Resorts recently was the recipient of the 'Most Original Marketing Campaign' award in the PURE AWARDS 2013
STRATEGIC ENGAGEMENT In accordance with the UK Government’s agenda for India as a priority market, VisitBritain recently signed an MoU with Indian trade associations in New Delhi
ANOTHER FIRST Jose Maria, chairman of the board, FITUR and former mayor, Madrid resented the UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance to Suman Billa, secretary, Kerala Tourism, for its path-breaking ‘Responsible Tourism’ project in Kumarakom, at the annual UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism event held in Madrid. It is India’s first tourism board to get this award
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