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EDITOR’S NOTE

Drivers of investment

I

ndia is Incredible and her story has been vibrantly voiced since close to around two decades under the famous Incredible India campaign. Internationally, the campaign did attract viewers to this tourism haven. Statistics reveal that foreign tourist arrivals witnessed an upswing and domestic tourism by design or default will grow with time. Tourism movement is certainly taking place but when compared to its potential there is so much more to achieve. The recent discussion on the National Tourism (Sustainable Development and Promotion) Bill 2018, seems to be a step in the right direction. The promises and the famous words of what 'should and could' be done in the tourism space, may get some teeth and fix some vital links at the grassroots level. The procrastination toward achieving a better tourism environment may hopefully turn into being a proactive and progressive one. One cannot help but compare discussion-making and implementation procedure that takes place in a few countries who have tourism as their topline portfolio in the government agenda. The Incredible India 2.0 story, the Adopt a Monument project, etc, will all hold meaning if the political will works in sync with the private sector dynamism for growth.

“The promises and the famous words of what 'should and could' be done in the tourism space,may get some teeth and fix some vital links at the grassroots level”

We as optimists, have focused on our cover story that speaks about India: Incredible Investment Opportunity. We spoke to various state governments and industry leaders on the measures they have taken up to attract infrastructure and hospitality investments and how these can push India as a leading travel destination for inbound as well as domestic travellers. India is exquisitely placed as a splendid luxury abode and it's time we move from just monuments to our mountains and beyond. On the international front, NTOs are still making a beeline to tap the India outbound pie. Destinations today are moving from macro promotions to micro campaigns to suit the Indian outbound palate. From gastronomy to art, the story is diverse and interesting. This clearly reflects the trend of the Indian traveller who is becoming all the more global in taste and trends. Experiential tourism-related journeys are clearly making their mark, and luxury is being redefined both by the buyers and the sellers market.

REEMA LOKESH Editor editorial.etw@expressindia.com

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CONTENTS MANAGEMENT Vol 13 No 3 April 2018 Pages 40

22

Chairman of the Board

Viveck Goenka Sr Vice President - BPD

Neil Viegas Editor

Reema Lokesh* Assistant Editor

Steena Joy

GENTING CRUISE LINES AWARDS: A BIG SPLASH Genting Cruise Lines recently celebrated its achievement by felicitating the travel partners who have contributed significantly to the growth of the company. The award ceremony, held on the World Dream cruise ship, saw Indian travel agents bagging many awards

Sr. Associate Editor

Sudipta Dev CONTENT TEAM Mumbai

Tanuvi Joe New Delhi

Shivasheesh Srivastava DESIGN National Design Editor

Bivash Barua Assistant Art Director

Pravin Temble Chief Designer

Prasad Tate Senior Designer

SPOTLIGHT

Rekha Bisht Graphics Designer

Gauri Deorukhkar Senior Artists

Ratilal Ladani, Rajesh Jadhav DIGITAL TEAM Head of Internet

Viraj Mehta Web Developer

Dhaval Das SCHEDULING & COORDINATION

Santosh Lokare Photo Editor

Sandeep Patil MARKETING Regional Heads

Harit Mohanty - East & West Prabhas Jha - North

INDIA: INCREDIBLE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

(18-21) LIFE

Debnarayan Dutta Ajanta Sengupta

Mohan Varadakar PRODUCTION

MARKETS

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General Manager

B R Tipnis Manager

MEHBOOBA MUFTI SAYS J&K IS SAFEST PLACE FOR WOMEN

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Bhadresh Valia Express TravelWorld® POSTAL REGD. NO. MCS/163/2016 – 18 RNI Reg. No.MAHENG/2005/15993

INTERVIEW WITH KADAKAMPALLY SURENDRAN, MINISTER FOR CO-OPERATION, TOURISM AND DEVASWOM, GOVERNMENT OF KERALA

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Printed by The Indian Express (P) Ltd. and published by Ms Vaidehi Thakar on behalf of The Indian Express Press, Plot No. EL-208, TTC Industrial Area, Mahape, Navi Mumbai 400710 and Published from Express Towers, 1st Floor, Nariman Point, Mumbai - 400021.

AN ABODE IN RISHIKESH Aloha On the Ganges is a place for every type of traveller, from the ones looking for some holistic healing and meditation amidst Rishikesh’s serenity to those who prefer the thrill of adventure activities

Express TravelWorld speaks to various state governments and industry leaders on the measures they have taken up to attract various infrastructure and hospitality investments and how these investments can push India as a top leading travel destination for inbound as well as domestic markets

Marketing Team

CIRCULATION

30

SW GERMANY REINSTATES FAITH IN THE INDIA MARKET

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SETTING THE STAGE FOR PEACE PATA explores the SDGs in the context of youth and tourism in the Asia Pacific

P03 : EDITOR’S NOTE P35 : MOVEMENTS

(Editorial & Administrative Offices: Express Towers, 1st Floor, Nariman Point, Mumbai – 400021)

P37 : WEEKEND

Copyright © 2017 The Indian Express (P) Limited. All rights reserved throughout the world. Reproduction in any manner, electronic or otherwise, in whole or in part, without prior written permission is prohibited. *Responsible for selection of news under PRB Act


IN THE NEWS

Mehbooba Mufti says J&K is safest place for women Steena Joy Srinagar JAMMU & KASHMIR is not just the warmest place on earth because of its people, but it is also the safest for women, according to Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed, chief minister of the state. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 64th Convention of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC), Mufti called upon media to refrain from show-

ing J&K in a bad light. “There is no denying that we have problems. And there are incidents, but the way it is portrayed on television, it is as if the whole state is burning. Globally there are problems everywhere, but our problem is that our own country has deserted us.” She remembered that her father (Mufti Mohammed Sayeed who served twice as Chief Minister of J&K) used to say that when a tourist visits us, he invests in peace. “We have a diverse culture and tourism offerings.

Jammu and Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh can be packaged together to bring in more

tourists, ” Mufti said. She thanked TAAI for holding the convention in Sri-

nagar and hoped that it would open doors to more tourist arrivals.

Abu Dhabi Week in Kochi reaffirms potential of Kerala market Sudipta Dev Kochi THE THREE-DAY Abu Dhabi Week organised in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, recently was a pointer to the significance of the Kerala market for the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. In 2017 Abu Ahabi Week was organised in Mumbai and Delhi, and in 2018 the locations were Kochi and Kolkata. “India is an important market for us. We see a lot of potential in Kerala. Last year we did many big campaigns in India along with various activities, increasing arrivals by a significant percentage, and this year also we are expecting the same growth trend. Abu Dhabi had welcomed 3,60,000 Indian hotel guests last year,” said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, director, Promotions and Overseas Offices, Department of Culture and

Tourism - Abu Dhabi. He added that the near future will continue the focus on this market with activities like FAM trips, participation in different trade shows, and roadshows across the country. Abu Dhabi is keen to promote itself as the perfect destination for weddings in the India

market. The emirate has already been discovered as a MICE destination by Indian corporates. Last year saw good traction from India, 2018 too is expected to attract big MICE groups. Abu Dhabi has leveraged on hosting events to attract international visitors. The events calendar of

Abu Dhabi has much to offer to the Indian visitor every month. Pointing out that Abu Dhabi is a family destination, Bejan Dinshaw, country manager of India, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism affirmed that the emirate organises many such festivals and events which

have something for every member of the family, across age groups. The three-day event in Kochi was a big draw for visitors and gave them a glimpse of the tourism attractions in the city and experience its culture. The highlights included Ferrari Ki Sawaari, virtual experience of Yas Island, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Souk (Arabic market), Arabic dance and music, and much more. “We want the people to be exposed to what Abu Dhabi offers as a destination. It is a showcase of our products and will encourage people to visit. The event was primarily B2C, but there were tour operators here also from Abu Dhabi,” said Dinshaw. For visitors there were a lot of giveaways and contests. Popular Malayalam actor Govind Padmasoorya was associated with the inauguration of Abu Dhabi Week in Kochi.

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EXCLUSIVE

'KERALATOURISM HAS IMPLEMENTED THE FIRSTPHASE OF‘PEPPER’(PEOPLE’S PARTICIPATION FOR PLANNING AND EMPOWERMENTTHROUGH RESPONSIBLE TOURISM) PROJECTATVAIKOM' Kadakampally Surendran, minister for co-operation, tourism and devaswom, Government of Kerala, spoke to Steena Joy about the new RT initiavtives and the future roadmap for Kerala Tourism What are Kerala Tourism's new Responsible Tourism initiatives? The Tourism Department of Kerala has been committed to the concept of ‘Responsible Tourism’ wherein the local community is benefitted by tourism with the sustained effort on environment conservation. Focusing on minimising negative environmental and social impacts, the Responsible Tourism initiative has involved almost all forms of tourism. This initiative has helped in improving the standard of life of the regional population. Kerala Tourism has implemented the first phase of ‘PEPPER’ (People’s Participation for Planning and Empowerment through Responsible Tourism) project at Vaikom in order to promote unexplored destinations. Further, the Tourism Department would implement the project in other pristine destinations in phases. Under the project, unexplored and pristine spots will be identified and committees will decide about their maintenance without spoiling their tranquility. Kerala Tourism has also recently launched ‘Jalayanam’ project under RT Mission with the aim of boosting ‘Water Tourism’ in Kadalundi and Olavanna grama panchayats of Kozhikode district. Aimed at developing farm and aquatic tourism initiatives, the initiative will promote rural entrepreneurs and develop the villages as tourism destinations.

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Which are the new destinations being promoted? We have been extensively focusing on promoting Northern Kerala, which has untapped tourism potential. Kerala Tourism has also planned to promote the Malabar region- Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kasaragod and Kannur, aggressively through a INR 325 crore project. Owing to the immense tourism potential of Kerala to attract adventure enthusiasts, the tourism department has been actively promoting adventure tourism across the state. The aim is to re-brand the state as the ‘Land of Adventure’ in order to entice international travellers to the state. In this segment, the latest development is ‘Adventure Rock Hill’ at the Jatayu Earth Centre, which is now operational for public in groups. Located at Chadayamangalam in Kollam district of Kerala, the Jatayu Earth Centre will be fully operational soon. Currently, Adventure Rock Hill is open for a group of 10-100 people. The attractive tour package for visiting the centre includes 15 challenging adventure activities. It has a separate adventure zone, which provides over 20 different games such as paintball, archery, laser tag, rifle shooting, rock climbing and rappelling for the tourists. From adventure enthusiasts to families, young generation of travellers to couples, this tourist spot caters to a wide audience.

state. Additionally, the tourism department will chalk out the promotional campaign for the coming fiscal for international and domestic markets.

Kadakampally Surendran

What are the new branding campaigns being planned? The Tourism Department has recently kickstarted the fifth edition of Kerala Blog Express, aimed at promoting the destination and niche tourism products of the state through bloggers. Kerala Blog Express facilitates the ‘Trip of a Lifetime’ wherein the bloggers from countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Romania, Venezuela and Peru participate with great enthusiasm. The fifth edition has been chalked out by combining various aspects, including campaign on social media, familiarisation trip, bloggers’ meet and road trip. Utilising social media is the easiest way to reach out to holidayers and added emphasis has been given to it in the new campaign being embarked upon by

Kerala Tourism. The experience of the journey will be documented by the bloggers and shared with all the aspiring travellers around the world. Bloggers will continue with their journey across various places in the state documenting the entire journey covering hills, beaches, backwaters, villages and city life experiences. The bloggers will be sharing photos, videos and articles reflecting the culture, tradition and lifestyle of Kerala and its natural beauty. While focusing on leisure, backwaters and Ayurveda, new products will be coming up to promote adventure, MICE and cruise tourism across the globe. Considering the scope of social media, we will continue to utilise the digital platforms to promote the rich cultural heritage of the

Your plans on Kerala as an adventure tourism destination? Kerala offers a wide range of adventure activities, including trekking, paragliding, river rafting, kayaking, wildlife sanctuaries and numerous more. The Tourism Department has been actively working towards developing several action and water-based activities for the adventure enthusiasts. Our aim is to rebrand the state as ‘Land of Adventure’ to attract foreign tourists to the state. Impact of the withdrawal of the liquor ban on MICE tourism in the state? Kerala Tourism has plans to launch a global awareness campaign to promote MICE tourism following the withdrawal of the liquor ban. MICE tourism has opened up infinite possibilities for tourism in the state. After the policy reversal, the Tourism Department is optimistic about increasing the number of tourist arrivals to the state. We believe that MICE tourism has huge potential to accelerate the growth of the tourism sector. About 14.5 million tourists visited Kerala in 2017, up from 13.1 million in 2016 and the highest in nine years.


IN THE NEWS

SW Germany reinstates faith in the India market Tanuvi Joe Mumbai THE SOUTH WEST Germany delegation visited Mumbai & Delhi in the third week of February for an interaction with leading Tour Operators & Travel Agents from the trade. Additional information on new tourism product offerings, attractions & city tourist cards was discussed by the marketing director, Susanne Schlung, Tourismus Marketing, State of Baden Wuerttemberg (SouthWest Germany). Visitors from the Black Forest Regions, Thorsten Rudolph & Karen Weber as well as the renowned tourist spot of Baden Baden led by Wiebke Freund, head-International Sales & Marketing, thanked the travel trade for its immense contribution in promoting tourism to SouthWest Germany from India. Founded on October 2, 2008, the Black Forest Tourism GmbH is a merger of 10 places namely, Eisenbach, Feldberg, Lenzkirch Löffingen, Schluchsee, Friedenweiler, Hinterzarten, St. Margen, Breitnau and Titisee-Neustadt. Geographically, the Black Forest Tourism GmbH covers an area of approximately 810 square kilometers and the Hochschwarzwald Tourismus GmbH acts as a central tourist office that supports the cooperative tasks of destination Black Forest. It helps summarises the service providers in the region and profiles them under the brand ‘Black Forest’ on the national and international market. Susanne Schlung, marketing di-

Over 150 countries celebrate French culinary event Gout de/Good France ETW Staff Mumbai

rector, Tourismus Marketing GmbH commented on how SouthWest Germany which is the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg has a four-season climate and as Germany’s sunniest state it is booming with flowers in spring. She further mentioned how this makes it perfect for swimming as well as paddling in the hot summers and for those who are looking for adventure, the place is also good for hiking through the vineyards and for couple travellers, the snowy winters offers as a great destination. Mag Thorsten Rudolph , CEO, Hochschwarzald Tourismus GmbH talked about how they want to tap into the Indian market as much as they can and to increase the Indian tourist arrivals by each year. He further spoke about the different experiences that South-West Germany has to offer and the customised packages, Indian tour operators can provide to their Indian clientele for this region. Having around 3.7 million

State Tourist Board Baden Wuerttemberg & Stuttgart Marketing honoured four eminent Travel Editors, including the Editor of Express TravelWorld, who have put in a couple of decades in the journalism industry, having contributed to promoting South West Germany through their articles & have made a fine contribution overall to the domain of Travel Journalism.

overnight stays in the Black Forest, the region is one of the most popular holiday regions in Germany. From the highest peak of the Central German Uplands, to the largest lake in the Black Forest, Schluchsee along with the world famous Titisee and the Wutachschlucht, the largest canyon in Germany, the Black Forest offers the perfect getaway for the Indian traveller. Wiebke Freund, head of International Sales & Marketing, Kur & Tourismus GmbH, Baden Baden discussed about the world-famous spa town in the Black Forest region and how Indian family travellers can unwind at thethermal baths and wellness resorts as well as explore the culture and art the Festspielhaus, Europe’s second-largest concert hall has to offer. Hector Dsouza, director-India, South West German Tourism, says, “We are extremely positive about business from the India market and have only seen the region grow over the years in terms of visitor arrivals.” India has always been among the top three overseas source markets for SouthWest Germany in percentage terms since the past three years. He further discussed about the reverse selling strategy which travel agents should use considering on how the Indian market is increasingly getting competitive with the influx of newer destinations. Nine Black Forest communities have been awarded the coveted seal of approval ‘family holidays in Baden-Württemberg’. The tourism department hopes to strengthen the ties with the Indian market and is constantly innovating on new products and experiences to provide to the Indian travellers.

AN INITIATIVE of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs in collaboration with French Embassies worldwide and Atout France - France Tourism Development Agency, the global culinary event Goût de France has gained a formidable momentum since its launch in 2015. This mega event that pays homage to France's world renowned gastronomy - that finds place of pride on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List since 2010 - will amass a staggering 3300 restaurants in 150 countries and five continents that will all serve a French styled menus to its patrons on March 21st this year. Each participating restaurant will donate five per cent of the proceeds of this evening towards a local NGO.

What's New in 2018 The fourth edition of this culinary extravaganza will showcase French wines and spirits which is a befitting tribute to France's excellence in this domain. Goût de/Good France will also pay homage to legendary chef Paul Bocuse who was symbolic to French cuisine for half a century. Participating chefs will be invited to present a dish from his repertoire or an inspired creation. In 2018, Goût de/Good France will honour the region NouvelleAquitaine. This region is world renowned for its exquisite French wine, with the global brand of Bordeaux, rich in various gastronomy and wine experiences as the holistic flagship for the region. Products from Nouvelle-Aquitaine will be showcased in the menus served in a selection of restaurants in France and around the globe.

Goût de/ Good France and India India has been an enthusiastic participant in this global event since its inception in 2015. This year, 63 restaurants across India will be celebrating the flavours of French cuisine on March 21st. The event annually receives the formidable backing of the Embassy of France in India and the pan India network of Consular services.

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IN THE NEWS

Tourism industry supports the evolving Indian woman traveller Tanuvi Joe Mumbai THE TOURISM industry has witnessed a rise in solo and group women travellers breaking away from the stereotypical norms of 'family trips' and exploring the world on their own. In a group discussion titled 'The Perspective' organised by Express TravelWorld, industry thought leaders including Neela Lad, regional director(western & central region), Ministry of Tourism; Nalini Udai Gupta, head India operations, Costa Cruises; Sunila Patil, founder & director, Veena World and Sonal Divekar, CEO, Mee Time HandCrafted Holidays expressed their perspectives on India being one of the safest destinations in the world and how the Indian woman is travelling now more than ever among various other associated topics. Speaking on behalf of the ministry of tourism, India, Lad said, “We recently invited 15 bloggers from all over the world like Europe, America, etc. to travel on the Deccan Odyssey in India out of which 13 were women and first timers to the country. When asked why they hadn't visited India before, they all hailed the 'unsafe' tag for it. But by the end of the trip, they all echoed in one tune that how India is anything but unsafe. I would like to tell all the women out there that a helpine 1363 is available at all times in 12 foreign languages.” Commenting further on the changing dynamics of women travellers, Gupta said, “The Indian woman traveller is no more feeling guilty to do something that makes her happy. And I specialise in cruise travel where all the facilities are available under one roof. We once had a group of Bori Muslim women travellers and for those few days, they literally let their hair down and enjoyed to the fullest. Whether one

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Indian women have evolved and we've noticed a major change in mindsets and attitudes. The tourism industry is also supporting the new Indian Woman by organising tours to Goa, North- East, etc

wanted go to the casino or discotheque or avail of any kind of entertainment, they didn't have to worry or look out for each other, as their friends were just in the next room doing their thing.” Not long ago, the travel scene was very different for women. Certain destinations like Thailand and Bali were termed as the mens' holiday place for the entertainment available there. Shedding light on how the scene was back then, Patil said, “Before when women used to travel they were busy either looking out for the husband or taking care of the kids, and then if possible might enjoy a little 'me time'. But the Indian women has evolved and we've noticed a major change in mindsets and attitudes. The tourism industry is also supporting the new Indian Woman by organising tours to Goa, NorthEast as well as international locations like Thailand, France, etc.”

Adding her view, Divekar said, “And it's no longer limited to just the usual kind of travel but they are on the constant lookout for that something 'more'. They want to explore avenues like wine tasting, cheese tasting, gourmet food, cultural arts, adventure trips, etc. We try as much to cater to such segments and we also see a significant rise in international women travellers coming to India. I've always believed that one should travel to learn things about themselves that they would otherwise never discover.” The panel further discussed on the importance of experiental tourism, the need for special talks to raise awareness about the varied culture, handicrafts and authentic food preparations that India has to boost inbound tourism and how when you travel, you learn, making the Indian woman only smarter and better.


IN THE NEWS

'ADVANCE DATAANALYTICS CAN HELP COMPANIES SEE HIDDEN OPPORTUNITIES IN TRAVELSPEND' Business travel bookings in India is undergoing transformational changes. Balaji Ramakrishnan, founder and CEO, Insteract Technologies, highlights the benefits of his cloud-based travel platform using advanced data analytics By Sudipta Dev How is corporate travel spending changing in India with the implementation of cutting-edge technology? Technology adoption varies between companies. It depends on the type of travel policy they use to manage their cost. Use of technology in India to manage business travel is still low compared to other markets. Most business still insist on some form of human intervention to buy travel. While some companies have a central desk that uses booking tools, many still use email as their preferred way of managing travel. Regardless of how the process is managed, companies use new tools to keep their cost down and have a better control over the options they book. Companies use the internet to benchmark their options before they make a decision to approve the trip. Also, some companies use benchmarking tools to derive the cost of the trip to achieve more savings and forecasting. Another area, where companies use technology is to simplify and automate the expense process. Expense tools help companies reduce their cost of managing travel and increase transparency. Communication with traveller has improved using tools like chatbot and messenger services. This has allowed companies to manage safety concerns and offer support to travellers while they're on travel.

We believe that AI, and in particular machine learning, will play a big part in exploiting patterns from traveller behaviours to optimise the travel management process Balaji Ramakrishnan

What services and products do you offer in corporate travel space ? Insteract offers a cloudbased travel platform making the process of business trip planning transparent and convenient. The tool helps the traveller and company book the cheapest personalised option as quickly as possible. It eliminates the time and effort in four ways. First, it provides a real-time cost range. It does this using data analytics on the fares it tracks and a real-time benchmarking of market fares. It also tells the traveller what is the lowest logical option available in the market. Second, Insteract shows only seven logical options that is curated based on savings, compliance level and comfort. Using our unique algorithm and data insights Insteract process each option through dozens of parameters that maps the behaviour of traveller with company policy. Third,

since the traveller selections are captured and benchmarked, approvals can be automated. If the company is using a travel desk a trip request (TR) is created and sent for fulfilment. Since the TMC has all the information in the TR Insteract eliminates the time spent in iterations and data exchange. Lastly, using market data Insteract offers a real-time benchmarking of a company travel spend. What are the cost advantages to your clients ? Businesses can expect to save as much as 20 per cent in cost of sourcing and 40 per cent in the cost of managing their travel. In addition, the time and cost of adopting the platform is significantly lower compared to other alternatives in the market. What are the benefits of advanced data analytics ? Using advance data ana-

lytics can help companies see the hidden opportunities in their travel spend. It can help them identify points of friction between a traveller and travel policy. These insights provide valuable feedback in creating a flexible and adaptive travel policy. How is AI making a difference in this segment? We are still in the early days but new opportunities around AI are being developed. Areas like travel search, profiling, personalisation and modelling travel policy use AI to replace existing algorithms. We believe that AI, and in particular machine learning, will play a big part in exploiting patterns from traveller behaviours to optimise the travel management process. This will reduce the friction in compliance and eliminate the redundant processes in buying travel. Since most trips are point-2-point AI improvements in voice and

chat-bots will eventually virtualise the travel desk function this kind of trips. Future plans for your company, in terms of product portfolio / services / geographical expansion? Our goal is to improve and expand the search and planning experience for different types of travel products and across different types of devices. Currently we are working on features to serve large enterprises and build API support for different application partners. In terms of market, our focus, for now is India. Is there any other significant factor you would like to highlight regarding corporate travel in India ? The problem in Indian corporate travel today is travel policies are not updated or benchmarked often to capture the supplier changes and the behaviour of the travellers i.e. welfare of travellers. Regardless of the size and maturity of travel policy, all companies value transparency and automation that is affordable. They want transparency in their sourcing and approval. They want control and convenience in how the expenses are monitored. The trend is to look for cloudbased solutions which are cheaper and easier to implement. The goal is to bring everyone on board within the company and not just a few because of high implementation cost.

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IN THE NEWS

Bureau Veritas recognises MSC Cruises with the 8 Golden Pearls award ETW Staff Mumbai THE INTERNATIONAL classification society Bureau Veritas has recognised MSC Cruises with the ‘8 Golden Pearls’ award for sustainable and environmental stewardship on board its ship MSC Meraviglia. The award is one of the highest globally recognised notations assigned to cruise ships for the attention paid to Quality, Health, Safety and Environmental (QHSE) management. MSC Cruises is the first cruise line to receive the 8 Golden Pearls award from Bureau Veritas. Since she came into service in June 2017, MSC Meraviglia has been making waves in the cruise and tourism industry, and has been collecting prestigious awards for her superior product. The ship has been recognised for bringing to the sea some of the

very latest advances in customer-centric technology, digital innovations and new guest experiences. In addition to this industry-wide recognition, the ship is now also awarded for her state-of-the-art QHSE management. Philippe Donche-Gay, president Marine & Offshore, Bureau Veritas commented, “MSC Cruises has demonstrated its commitment to reducing the environmental impact of their operations and we commend the Company for its wide-ranging, ongoing efforts in this space. The various sustainable and environmental technologies installed on the MSC Meraviglia, put the ship at the forefront of cleaner cruise operations. The Bureau Veritas 8 Golden Pearls award reflects MSC Cruises' commitment to excellence and continual improvement in environmental performance.” Bud Darr, execu-

tive vice president Maritime Policy and Government Affairs, MSC Group said, “We are honoured to receive this award, and we thank Bureau Veritas for their recognition and ongoing support. They are an invaluable partner on this journey and we look forward to continue making further progress in the area of environmental stewardship.” The 8 Golden Pearls award recognises MSC Cruises’ efforts on MSC Meraviglia in eight particular domains of protection, specifically demonstrated by these examples: The ship is equipped with an Exhaust Gas Cleaning System that removes sulphur oxides from the ship’s exhaust gases. Thanks to this system, she meets stringent international and local emissions regulations. An Advanced Waste Water Treatment system treats waste water to a very high quality by

mixing different waste streams together and filtering out the undesirable components, to produce high-quality effluent. In addition to the waste water treatment, the ship has a holding capacity and non-discharge operation of two days allowing for more autonomy and more flexible navigation. State-of-the-art technologies and energy-saving materials contribute to effectively lowering the environmental impact of the ship, and improve her energy efficiency. The ship’s ISO 50001 certification is a proof of her efficient energy management. The company’s commitment to safety and creating a safe environment for crew and guests has earned the ship OHSAS 18001 certification. This notation recognises the company’s efforts in establishing a comprehensive occupational health and safety management system.

In addition, the ship meets the high ISO 22000 standard for food safety. This certification covers food safety management systems across the entire food supply and preparation chain from 'farm to fork.' For its comprehensive and coherent environmental management systems, the Company has earned the ISO 14001 standard. Lastly, in addition to the ISO and other international certifications and standards, Bureau Veritas awarded MSC Meraviglia with the 'CLEANSHIP' notation recognising the company’s efforts to meet strict environmental standards in various domains. MSC Meraviglia, was the 13th cruise ship to join MSC Cruises’ fleet on June 4, 2017 and the first new-built vessel to come into service under MSC Cruises’ EUR 10.5 billion investment plan for growth.

Celebrity Cruises strengthens focus on India market Sudipta Dev Mumbai CELEBRITY CRUISES has a strong focus on the India market, and this was reaffirmed during the first visit of Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president & CEO, Celebrity Cruises to the country recently. In fact one of the Abu Dhabi sailings has been segmented for the Indian market, allowing guests to debark and embark in Mumbai. For Celebrity Cruises the ports of call in India will be Mumbai, Mormugoa and New Mangalore. “As India is such a vast country, you can visit multiple ports and can do a lot of inland travel. We talk about a purpose at Celebrity and what drives us - believe in opening up the

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world. The India market is very important to us and we want it to grow,” said Lutoff-Perlo, pointing out that they will be talking to port development authorities and the government to develop the infrastructure so that cruise companies can enhance the experience for their

guests. Jo Rzymowska, VP and MD, Celebrity Cruises UK, Ireland & Asia mentioned, “It is such an exciting time for us at Celebrity as this part of the world is becoming more and more important for us.” Ratna Chaddha, CEO, Tirun, re-

marked, “The prime minister is keen to bring India on the cruise tourism map. That can only happen if companies like us bring cruise ships in.” Celebrity Cruises is a highly awarded cruise line, having won 110 awards in 2017. It is introducing 'revolutionary' Celebrity Edge cruise ship by this year end. “It is a cruise ship like no other – it has been called transformative, innovative and changing the industry. Part of the reason why it is so special is because we have partnered with world renowned designers,” stated Lutoff-Perlo. A video showcased the worldclass services at the touch of a button and pathbreaking features. Suites with endless panoramic views,

villas with plunge pools, 29 total restaurants and bars, rooftop garden, spacious outward facing cabanas, et al. “We call Celebrity Edge a 'heroic ship' in our company,” she said, adding that in keeping with the spirit, Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is the godmother of the ship. Celebrity Cruises is investing US$ 400 m from 2019 – 2023 across its fleet. “We feel we are in the middle of a revolution for our brand. We will also have a brand new ship in the Galapagos – Celebrity Flora, which is an all suite class. We have been in the Galapagos since 2004 and wanted to make a statement with the ship,” informed Lutoff-Perlo.


IN THE NEWS

ATM 2018 to celebrate its 25th edition in April India is largest source market for tourists to Dubai ETW Staff Mumbai IN BOTH DUBAI and Abu Dhabi, India has been the top performing source market. UNWTO (United Nations World Travel Organisation) data shows that 62 million Indians have passports, yet many do not travel. However, the demographic patterns currently show an increasing younger population and a growing middle class which provide strong indications that the country is about to see a steep rise in the number of nationals travelling abroad, as well as the number of foreign visitors it welcomes. Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) expressed his views on India as a tourism market for Dubai. He said, “India remains a top priority for us now, consistently being the largest source market for tourists to Dubai. This is a feat achieved through years of establishing and building strong trade ties in the market, in addition to the execution of a segment-specific ap-

Issam Kazim

proach across India.” India has been named the largest growing outbound tourism market in percentage terms, with UNWTO predicting 50 million Indians will travel overseas annually by 2020. India will have a strong contingent at the 25th edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2018, which will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre from April 22-25. Discussing the defining evolutions of the hospitality technology, the Travel Tech Show will return to ATM

Issam Kazim said,“India remains a top priority for us, now consistently being the largest source market for tourists to Dubai. This is a feat achieved through years of establishing and building strong trade ties in the market”

2018, with more than 30 dedicated international exhibitors and an influential agenda of discussion and debate in the Travel Tech Theatre, sponsored by Sabre Corporation, a leading provider of technology to the global travel industry. Travel technology is the fastest growing segment at ATM with a 12 per cent increase in exhibitors in 2017, compared to the previous year. On the show floor, attendees will be able to meet with exhibitors such as TravelClick, Travelport, GT Beds, The Booking Expert, INPLASS, XML Holiday, and DidaTravel Technology. Kickstarting discussions in the Travel Tech Theatre, a social media specialist panel will explore how to create a Unique Selling Proposition on social media and how to integrate it as a successful driver of business sales. 72 per cent of travellers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia with an Instagram account, purchased an overseas trip during the past year and a session led by the social media platform will highlight how powerful visuals can inspire potential travellers and drive business. Other sessions taking place in the Travel Tech Theatre include the Digital Future Summit and Smart Tourism 2020. Celebrating its 25th year, ATM is considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, ATM last year welcomed over 39,000 people, including 2,661 exhibiting companies and signed business deals worth more than US$ 2.5 billion over the four days.

‘The Pride and Glory of Bali Yatra’project hopes to boost South-East Asian tourism Shivasheesh Srivastava New Delhi ‘REDISCOVERING India International Of Yore’, an initiative of Resource Indica and Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, New Delhi, jointly organised ‘The Pride and Glory of Bali Yatra’ launch event at embassy of the Republic of Indonesia recently. A coffee table book and a documentary film on ‘The Pride and Glory of Bali Yatra’ were also released at the launch event by Sidharto Suryodipuro, ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia and Sudip Sen, director, Resource Indica. Narrating India-Indonesia’s history as trade and cultural allies, Suryodipuro said, “Of all the theories stating the advent of IndiaIndonesia relations, I personally feel that the attractiveness and uniqueness of Indian culture is the main rationale behind this bond. This initiative will allow people from India and other countries to have a closer look towards how Indian culture is practiced in Indonesia. I am happy to present this unique project that highlights Indian cultural influence in Indonesia- a name that literally means ‘Indian Islands’, and will naturally interest Indians at large.” Sen informed that previous editions in Odisha and Kolkata were organised in association with Odisha State Maritime Museum, ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations), IN-

TACH (Indian National Trust For Cultural Heritage), Asiatic Society, Alliance Francaise and Indonesia Tourism. Addressing the audience at the launch event, Sen narrated his experience and motive behind the launch of Rediscovering India International of Yore’s first multimedia project, ‘The Pride and Glory of Bali Yatra’. He said, “This project highlights the maritime history of India along with influences of Indian cultures across South-East Asia. ‘Bali Yatra’, meaning voyage to Bali, is a popular festival, in Odisha, that commemorates a traditional farewell to the brave sea-farers of yore on the eve of their annual voyage to Bali. Our company is organising ‘Heritage Tours’ in association with Indonesia Tourism and partner destination management companies and tour operators through which this project will be extended to South-East Asia.” Heritage Tours will retrace old trade routes and offer great travel experiences to visitors visiting Indonesia and South-East Asia. “We have plans to offer exclusive itineraries with extra add-ons along with the routine tour packages to grab the interest of tourists and travellers”, added Sen. The event witnessed destination management company representatives to support and join this initiative so as to provide a boost to South-East Asian tourism.

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IN THE NEWS

Rendez-vous Canada to be held in Halifax in May

Centrum Direct launches Great Forex Offer 2018 ETW Staff Mumbai CENTRUM DIRECT launched it’s Great Forex Offer 2018 through Centrum Connect 18’ in Chennai at Hotel Savera on March 28, 2018 where Centrum’s key partners graced the occasion. The timing of the event coincides with beginning of Leisure Travel Season of April May, June and the gathering was apprised of the latest consumer and partner offers . The event saw the famous Mahavishnu ( Madurai Maga - a popular stand- up comic on Sun TV) regale the audience with his

ETW Staff Mumbai RENDEZ-VOUS CANADA (RVC), Canada’s signature international tourism marketplace where the international travel trade connect with Canada’s tourism industry partners, will take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia this May. This annual event rotates across Canada and provides 1,800+ international tourism industry leaders an opportunity to meet one-on-one at the marketplace. Collaboration is quick, yet efficient, with pre-scheduled appointments by mutual request of both the buyer and seller. The end result is focused engagement around the best of the best of Canada’s tourism experiences. RVC will be held from May 13 – 16, 2018 at the Halifax Convention Centre. As the cultural and historical capital of At-

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lantic Canada, Halifax deftly blends the past with the present to produce a skyline dotted with elegant 18th- and 19th-century architecture alongside ultra-modern towers of glass and steel. Nova Scotia's tourism industry had its best year in history last year and its fourth consecutive year of growth. In all, a record 2.4 million visitors came to the province in 2017 and tourism revenue is estimated at $2.7 billion. For comparison, 2017 saw about 195,000 more visitors than 2016 – an increase of nine per cent. Tourism revenue increased by over $100 million – seven per cent more than the year before. 2017 highlights include: ● Highest visitation growth came from Ontario, up 16 per cent, or 84,000 more visitors, compared to 2016 ● Visitation from Western Canada was up 19 per cent,

or 32,000 more visitors Visitation by air, which on average brings higher-spending travellers, rose by 13 per cent ● Visitation by road increased seven per cent ● Licensed room nights sold in 2017 increased by two per cent to 2.8 million. "There were a lot of factors that made 2017 a strong year for tourism, but these results are not by chance. Our industry is working hard, and we’re working collaboratively to create effective marketing campaigns and compelling experiences that will inspire people to choose Nova Scotia,” said Michele Saran, CEO, Tourism Nova Scotia. Twelve new travel experiences were developed by tourism operators in 2017 through Tourism Nova Scotia’s World-class Experience EXCELLerator Program. ●

hilarious tit-bits. This was followed by a presentation on the Great Forex Offer where consumers stand a chance to win a free Europe holiday, weekly ipads and vouchers worth `9300 on every transaction. Centrum also launched a channel partner contest for the season where travel agents and other channel partners stand a chance of winning 100 gms gold and many other exciting gifts on forex card sales. The partners were also felicitated with certificates. The event saw participation from travel agents, corporate partners, film production units and others.


IN THE NEWS

Corinthia Hotels targets segments like highend leisure and corporate travellers in India Tanuvi Joe Mumbai MATHEW DIXON, senior commercial director, Corinthia Hotels recently addressed the travel and media fraternity at Taj Mahal Palace & Towers, Mumbai to connect with the people and look at ways on how to achieve more tourist arrivals to come stay at Corinthia Hotels from India. Corinthia is a collection of hotels founded by the Pisani family of Malta in 1962. The hotels are located in London, Budapest, St Petersburg, Prague, Lisbon, Tripoli, Khartoum and Malta. Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Dixon

says, “We have partnered with Outbound Marketing to bring the message of Corinthia to the India market. We also wanted to make sure, now that we have the hotel brand established in London which is a top luxury hotel in they city, what exactly does Corinthia stand for. We are a family company, started on the islands of Malta, 53 years ago and the brand has been with the same owner and chairman ever since. We always look for the right partners to collaborate with but mostly we like to keep things within the family business and that's what makes us very unique. We know every square inch of the property and this helps us to serve our guests

Mathew Dixon

better.” He further emphasies the segments Corinthia Hotels is looking at in India like the wedding segment, corporate market

and has several conference centres in the hotels around the world. “The hotels are very much in sync with the needs of the Indian market. We have one opening in Dubai in 2020 with great additions to Jumeriah beach. We will also be opening one in Bucharest, that will become one of the hallmarks Corinthia stands for. We also run some of the finest destination centre spas in many of our hotels,” he comments. When it comes to room occupancy from India, Corinthia hotels has observed a four percent room occupancy and Dixon stresses on how he plans to make that number grow to eight percent in the next five years. He

opines, “We have our representation centres that cover all the major cities in India like Mumbai and Delhi. Our London branch is the calling card and we have always felt that the Indian market covers many segments we want to cater to. We work with the populations that surround us for example in Libya as this helps to strenghten our economic ties with them. “ Dixon further mentions how apart from the event held at Mumbai, he is looking at one to one focussed meetings with key travel agents to get the message of Corinthia Hotels to the Indian travellers and how Corinthia Hotels will always be a brand guests can trust and be comfortable with.

IHM's trade and food fair exhibits Thai, Japanese,Lebanese cuisines Tanuvi Joe Mumbai SINCE LAST YEAR, the students, faculty and staff at IHM Mumbai have been hosting the event 'Cornucopia' which is a food and trade fair. Held on March 16 and 17, the food fair witnessed a variety of cusinies all prepared by the college students themselves. Having over 15 food stalls this time with five dishes each, cooking totally over 7000 portions in a day the fair included Thai, Japanese, Lebanese, Indian food as well as bakery products. A K Singh, principal, IHM Mumbai, He said, “From last three decades, the students have been planning and organising this fair. But it's only been two to three years since we have given the name Cornu-

A K Singh

copia to it which means celebration and keeping in mind this thought, we exhibit the several skills and talents the students possess. We only support and guide them while they market the fair to the public

and food and hospitality fraternity. The students form various teams like entertainment team, social media team, etc and execute tasks accordingly.” He emphasies on how this teaches and trains the students

so that when they leave college and apply for jobs, they have knowledge of what is expected of them. “This year we have also associated with the Consulate General of Ecuador and we have associated with the

Food Bloggers Association,India and it is organising a food blogger meet here at Cornucopia where celebrity chef Ranveer Brar will be speaking. Last time we had 3300 footfall in the first day and 4500 on the second day. We are hoping for similar footfalls this year too. We also partner with NGOs and we give the left over food to the underpriviledged kids.” The event was inaugarated by VK Gautam, principal secretary (Information Technology), Government of India and the chairman of IHM, Mumbai. Several dignitaries were present at the event along with representatives of Maharashtra Tourism who is the event's main sponsorer. It's a no profit event and the profits that are made are kept for the next year's IHM trade and food fair.

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IN THE NEWS

Kempinski Hotels opens three global sales offices in India Tanuvi Joe Mumbai KEMPINSKI Hotels started their presence in India with a roadshow throughout the country recently, in which 12 representatives and general managers from various hotels were able to re-introduce Kempinski to around 300 top clients who attended the bespoke events. Theo Ocks, vice president, global sales, Kempinski Hotels says, “We are Europe’s oldest luxury brand and under this

Theo Ocks

brand we have around 73 fivestar hotels and residences in 32 countries some of which include the Ciragan Palace in Istanbul and Hotel Adlon in Germany. Apart from the world-class luxury we provide to our guests, our hotels have interesting back stories to them making it even special to the ones who stay there.” Ocks further emphasises on how Kempinski Hotels have been proud custodians of this brand since 1897 and this gives them an added advantage com-

pared to the other big playersin the market. “When it comes to the India market, we are looking at providing the Indian traveller a wonderful stay experience at our hotels, one which they can go back and brag about to their friends. One of the segments that we are targeting at is the Indian wedding segment and our hotels provide the best of facilities to make the wedding a grand celebration,” he comments. To strengthen the brand’s presence in the India market,

Kempinski Hotels has partnered with the Nijhawan Group led by MD Ankush Nijhawan. “We are extremely excited to have partnered with a third generation group as our thought processes and ways of working in the industry is quite similar. We have opened three global sales offices in India which are in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore. Our sales team is putting in the extra mile to help us to focus on the business and wedding segments in these cities,” he adds.

IAMAI’s ‘Incredible India 2.0’paves way for tech innovation in the tourism sector Shivasheesh Srivastava New Delhi WITH AN AIM to chart the roadmap on how technology and its applications can be used to maximise the potential of travel and tourism industry, a conference on travel and tourism ‘Incredible India 2.0: The Next Trillion-Dollar Opportunity’ was organised by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) at The LaliT Hotel, New Delhi recently. The conference witnessed the congregation of members from travel and tourism fraternity, delegates who were a part of various panel discussions that were held during the event. According to the agenda of the conference by IAMAI, the tourism sector in India generated `14.02 lakh crore ( US$ 220 billion) or 9.6 percent of nation’s GDP in 2016 thereby

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creating 40.343 million jobs or 9.3 per cent of country’s total employment. This sector is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 6.8 percent to `28.49 lakh crore (US$ 450 billion) by 2027 contributing to 10 per cent of India’s GDP. Also, over 10 million foreign tourists arrived in in India in 2017 compared to 8.89 million in 2016, registering a growth of 15.6 per cent. The tourism ministry aims to double foreign tourists arrivals to over 20 million and double foreign exchange earnings to US$ 52 billion by 2020. The inaugural address was delivered by Deep Kalra, chairman & group CEO, MakeMyTrip.com and vicechairman, IAMAI. Highlighting the stronghold of the online tourism industry, he said, “Online tourism industry is evolving at a faster pace as compared to previous years.

India is the largest growing market of civil aviation and it will be the second fastest growing market for outbound travel, which means Indians have money and they want to travel. The only way we can achieve this is by integrating technology that will provide a seamless experience to the customers With the growth of tourist inflow, the industry has become one of the main sectors to increase in manifolds growth vis–a–vis other sectors. With the evolution of tech-enabled startups and newer concepts like a staycation, adventure tourism, ecotourism, medical tourism and pilgrimage tourism across the country the industry is on the cusp of potential growth. At present this industry is standing at

2.O knocking the 3.O for the next level to kick off.” He also emphasised on leveraging technology for the convenience of customers and stated that the future lies in technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and requested the tech and travel fraternity to make the most of such technologies as they will shape the future of travel and tourism industry in India. He also stated examples

of how chatbots are assisting customers to book online tickets. “India is the largest growing market of civil aviation and it will be the second fastest growing market for outbound travel, which means Indians have money and they want to travel. The only way we can achieve this is by integrating technology that will provide a seamless experience to the customers,” added Kalra.


IN THE NEWS

Cox & Kings celebrates 260th anniversary in New Delhi Shivasheesh Srivastava New Delhi COX & KINGS, the world's oldest travel company celebrated its 260th anniversary at an event held at Hotel Shangri-La’s Eros, New Delhi recently. The event was also graced by K J Alphons, minister of state (Independent Charge) for tourism along with travel and hospitality fraternity, diplomats and business leaders. Speaking about the future prospects in the field of tourism, Alphons said, "The tourism sector in India is looking very positive this year as we have crossed the 10 million mark for foreign tourist arrivals and earned revenue of 27 billion dollars through foreign tourist arrivals. This has been possible because of companies like Cox & Kings who have been working together with the government. In the next three years, we aim to double the foreign tourists' inflow and the revenue we earn from foreign tourist arrivals and that is only possible if the industry continues to work together." The evening witnessed the launch of a series of year-long events and exciting offers curated for customers including the '260th Grand Celebration Offer' where travel fraternity can book any Duniya Dekho/ Gaurav Yatra/ Aamhi Travelkar/ Instant Holidays tours and enter contests and win 260 Free Holidays to Dubai, Thailand, Oman, Optional tours, 260 Gift Vouchers of `26,000/- each and `5,000/- each among several other offers. Enumerating his experiences and journey till now, Peter Kerkar, group CEO, Cox & Kings said, "We are unique in the leisure space with an unrivalled tradition of 260 years of service to our customers. It is with pride that I commend our staff for making our company so successful and more particu-

larly relevant even today. Our longevity is a testimony to their ingenuity and transformative spirit that Cox & Kings remains a world leader in the travel, education and hotel space." Cox & Kings is the oldest travel company in the world and also one of the leading leisure and education travel groups with operations in 22 countries across four continents. It is one of the most experienced travel companies in the world, having been in operation since 1758. Headquartered in India, C&K has over the last three decades transformed itself into a diversified, multinational travel conglomerate with a focus on the new-age global consumer. C&K operates in three key verticals; Leisure, Education, Hybrid Hotels. Leisure-India is best known by the Cox & Kings brand in India, an integrated travel enterprise, offering the best and widest range of travel options to individuals, groups and businesses in the fastest growing major economy in the world. Leisure-International operates in multiple countries, mainly under the Cox & Kings brand, with a greater focus on premium-end travel. Education operates under the brand names PGL and NST, among others. PGL and NST are market leaders in experiential learning in the UK. Cox & Kings is one of the founding members of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and also a member of premier industry associations across the world. Over the years the company has won many awards which stand testimony to its excellence in service. Continuing with its winning legacy, the prestigious PATA Gold award 2017 was presented to Cox & Kings for Marketing Media in Social Media category.

Peter Kerkar, group CEO, Cox & Kings presenting a book that chronicles the achievements of the company to the minister of state for tourism

(L-R): Karan Anand, K J Alphons, Peter Kerkar, Anthony B M Good lighting the lamp to commence the celebration of Cox & Kings’ 260th Anniversary in Delhi

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IN THE NEWS

Singapore’s Passion Made Possible brand targets young Indian travellers Tanuvi Joe Mumbai G B SRITHAR, regional director, South Asia, Middle East and Africa, discusses the growth of tourism in Singapore and the upcoming campaigns Singapore Tourism has in mind when it comes to attracting more Indian tourists arrivals to Singapore. Srithar says, “Speaking about cruises in particular, Singapore has noted 127,000 of Indian tourists travelling on luxury lines, 25% more growth than the previous numbers. I think the main reason for this is the increased awareness of cruises as a fun-filled vacation among the Indian travellers. Speaking about the Indian MICE market, Singapore has always pushed for world-class amenities and customised packages to increase the arrivals of business and incentive travellers to the country. “ To maintain this steady growth and double the numbers in the coming years,

G B Srithar

Srithar unveils the new campaigns that Singapore has in store for the India market. “We are focussing on sending the right message across to the India market so that it is able to connect with our brand. ‘Passion Made Possible’ is one such initiative which gives importance to the passions each traveller has. It can be adventure based, meditation and healing, art and craft anything under the sun. Also Singapore is invit-

ing tourists by sharing heartfelt stories of Singaporeans already living there. This gives a completely different connect and will give the traveller all the more reason to visit Singapore, ”he comments. He also mentions about how these travellers will be part of passion tribes and that Singapore’s main objectives will be to strengthen the existing collaborations and formulate new ones that will take the country’s brand image to the next level. He further adds,” We want to deepen and expand our portfolio and we will also be looking at secondary cities in India. Our message ‘With Passion, Forging new Possibilities’, we hope to see many young Indian travellers be a part of our quality brand. Through various artworks, performances and installations in cities, for eg. At Sassoon Docks in Mumbai, we are spreading more and more awareness about the country’s belief in fulfilling one’s passion.”

Visitor arrivals from India to Australia crosses 300,000 mark Tanuvi Joe Mumbai VISITOR ARRIVALS from India to Australia has crossed the 300,000 mark as recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics(ABS) for the year end December 2017, an increase of 15.4 per cent over the previous year. Nishant Kashikar, country manager, Tourism Australia India and Gulf comments on this achievement saying, “We had planned to achieve the target of 300,000 visitor arrivals from India to Australia by 2020. It is then with great pride to know we have already crossed the mark three years before the actual deadline. We have introduced several facilities to make this happen, one being, the online visa applications. Just sitting at the comfort of their homes, travellers can fill in their visa form with a click of a button.” These new statistics makes India the eighth largest inbound market for arrivals for the year end December 2017. In the year end December 2017, 70 per cent of Indian visitors visted Australia for leisure. Other visitors travelled for business, employment, education and other purposes. “Our team focusses their efforts on the right Indian segments and through various marketing strategies, gets the message of Australia out there. We have partnered with Balaji, Sony, Star Plus, Living Foods, etc.

Nishant Kashikar

Channels and through content-generation in serials, we promote Australia as a 'must visit' destination. We believe in exhibiting products that provide experiences as that is something our visitors will stay with long after they have returned to their hometown,” he says. He further mentions how through webminars, training is provided as to how the tour and travel operators can market Australia to the Indian public. “We are mainly targeting the Indian MICE and wedding market as we see a huge potential in these segments. Australia provides worldclass facilities like a private yacht, sky diving for the adventure-hungry travellers and amazing convention centres and connectivity for business travellers. The Indian travellers is growing to be more value-concscious and they are willing to spend for a high-valued experience which Australia at every step fulfills.”

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cover )

INCREDIBLE INVESTMENTOPPORTUNITY

Express TravelWorld speaks to various state governments and industry leaders on the measures they have taken up to attract various infrastructure and hospitality investments and how these investments can push India as a top leading travel destination for inbound as well as outbound markets

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(

THE MAIN FOCUS

W

ith 29 states and 4,000 cities, India is home to an incredible diversity of culture and history. These factors contribute to the tremendous potential of the travel and tourism industry of India. Serving as an engine for economic growth, job creation and development, India welcomed over nine million international travellers in 2016 and its domestic demand nearly reached the 100 million mark. This makes India one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and according to The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017, the country is one of the most improved nations, reaching 40th position, compared to its previous 65th rank in 2013. Foreign investors thus see this as a perfect opportunity for various infrastructure and hospitality investments and this in turn promises to boost the tourist arrivals exponentially to India. Various state governments and industry leaders are working together to attract investments that will increase the GDP of the country and push India as a 'must-visit' destination on the global front.

Investment driven efforts

“Kerala Tourism has been taking steps towards encouraging PPP participation" Kadakampally Surendran minister for co-operation, tourism and devaswom, Government of Kerala

The Make in India programme focuses majorly on tourism and it is crucial to recognise the potential of this sector as an economic multiplier which will move the country at a faster rate and stengthen the image of Brand India. Speaking about the kind of efforts Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is making, Vijay Waghmare ,(IAS), managing director, says, “We are focussing on destination development like the coastal and western part of Maharashtra. Heritage forts is another section where we have been focussing on to attract investments as there is a dire need to improve the facilities around forts like Ajanta, Ellora, Ele-

phanta, etc. The Buddhist and Ashtavinayak circuit, along with the religious and wildlife tourism is also gaining weightage in this aspect.” In September 2016, the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) for the Swadesh Darshan Scheme in Ministry of Tourism approved projects to the tune of around US$ 68.89 mn for development of a Heritage circuit in Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Ramayana Circuit in Uttar Pradesh, North East Circuit in Sikkim and Coastal Circuit in Tamil Nadu. Hari Ranjan Rao, IAS, principal secretary, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation elaborates on this further with respect to their state government saying, “Keeping in view the role and importance and contribution of private sector and other stake holders, the State Govt. has established an Investment Promotion Division (I.P.) under Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board. This division takes care of all investment promotion matters. To attract private investment we offer government lands and heritage properties to the investor through online transparent bidding process on lease for 90 years.” He further mentions the minimum reserve prize for bidding is as under - Lands in rural area @ `5.00 lakh/hectare,

lands in urban area @ `10.00 lakh/hectare and heritage buildings with appurtenance land upto 2 hect. @ `1.00 lakh. “Under the Way Side Amenities Policy 2016, we also offer ready to start (Plug and Play type) amenities to private investors on lease for 30 year for operation. Under the Tourism Policy 2016, capital subsidy @ 15 per cent up to `1000.00 lakh is given to set up hotels, resorts, convention centre and other tourism projects as defined in the policy,” Rao adds. To make India, an investment worthy tourism destination, the government has adopted various campaigns and intiatives that enable infrastructure development which in turn will make the project 'Incredible India' successful. The goal is to push for India becoming a must revisit and must experience destination. According to Budget 2017-18, the Incredible India 2.0 has been put forward to promote tourism as well as employment. Commenting further on this and emphasising their role on how the industry helps state governments in these efforts, Rahul Chakravarty, consultant, Tourism Department, FICCI states, “FICCI Tourism has organised two editions of the Tourism Investors Meet. The meet is an annual event to

address the infrastructure development for Indian Tourism Industry. It focuses on an Interactive, one to one meetings where by state tourism boards showcase their policy and facilities with respect to soliciting investment in Tourism Infrastructure through pre scheduled structured face to face business meetings between the State Governments and prominent investors. The 3rd Edition will soon be held in July 2018.” In the last three years, i.e 2014-17, India has cumulatively improved its ranking by 25 places. This strong position of India is further emphasised by gaining the 24th rank in Number of International Tourist Arrivals as per the UNWTO Barometer 2017 report. Building on these above statistics, Kadakampally Surendran, minister for co-operation, tourism and devaswom, Government of Kerala says, “We aim to promote adventure tourism, medical tourism, spiritual tourism and MICE tourism through a rigorous marketing and promotional campaign. However, our immediate focus is on accelerating the growth of adventure and MICE tourism to woo international tourists to the state.” Kerala Tourism had organised a string of B2B meets across high potential domestic and international markets.

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cover ) “In 2017, the tourism sector contributed 6.88 per cent to the country’s total GDP ” Rahul Chakravarty consultant, Tourism Dept, FICCI

“Key challenge is viability – with 18 per cent (earlier 28 per cent) tax applicable on all tourism entities” Raveendra Singh (AVP – Marketing and Strategic planning), Adlabs Imagica

“To attract private investment we offer government lands to investors through online transparent bidding process ” Hari Ranjan Rao MD, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board & principal secretary to CM, Tourism, Revenue and Public Service Management, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh

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Photo courtesy: investindia.gov.in

“Aimed at showcasing culture and tradition of Kerala Tourism, the road shows & fairs have strengthened the trade and tourism business of the state, while establishing new trade connections in the potential markets,” Surendran adds. Sanjiv Kumar Besra, IAS, director, Jharkhand Tourism, says, “Jharkhand has been declared as a strong industry state and whether it's industrial or mining tourism, we draft various policies that will only push for national and international markets to invest in us. The Jharkhand Travel Mart is one such positive initiative towards that goal of developing Jharkhand as a top tourism market on a global level.” The tourism and hospitality sector is among the top 10 sectors in India to have attracted the highest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). During April 2000-June 2017, the tourism and hotel sector together attarcted around US$ 10.48 billion of FDI, according to the data released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

PPP model: Positive impact? The public-private partnership(PPP) model is a funding model that enables a public infrastructure project, like airport, new telecommunications system or power plant to be represented by the government. The representation of the public partner is done at a local, state and/or national

level. On the other hand, the private partner can either be a privately owned business, consortium of businesses with a specific area of expertise or a public corporation. This term can be applied to simple, short term management contract to a long-term contract that can include planning, building, operation, maintenance and most importantly funding. A pioneer in terms of large tourism-related investment in Maharashtra, Imagica is owned and operated by Adlabs Entertainment. An investment of `1,650 crore was made on the destination which is spread over approximately 300 acres. It opened in April 2013 and is a major tourist attraction among the top places to visit in Maharashtra. Raveendra Singh (AVP – marketing and strategic planning), Adlabs Imagica, shares the key challenges of tourism investors in India. “As a mega tourism project declared by the Government of Maharashtra, Adlabs Entertainment (Imagica) had been granted a 10 year waiver of entertainment tax, the prevailing tax applicable at that point of time. In the initial years, postlaunch-consumers did not have any burden of indirect taxation. Subsequently, in 2015, the central government imposed Service Tax and in July 2017, upon introduction of GST, amusement parks were classified under 28 per cent GST bracket which had made it prohibitive for consumers. AEL absorbed

a major component of this impact. Key challenge is viability – with 18 per cent (earlier 28 per cent) tax applicable on all tourism entities (hotels, tourism/ entertainment destination like theme parks), and a 12-15 per cent cost of capital, the viability simply won’t be achievable. All tourism investments face this particular challenge,” he informs. India ranks first in the world when it comes to the direct contribution to employment (2016) by travel and tourism. In 2016, around 40.3 mn jobs were supported by travel and tourism which accounted for 9.3 per cent of the country's total jobs. This sector has made a total contribution to GDP at US$ 208.9 bn in 2016 accounting for 9.6 per cent of GDP which is expected to further increase to US$ 424 bn by 2027. “We have just recently started a project of over `100 crore based on this PPP model. It's our very first collaboration and we can't wait to see the results,” says Mahmood Ahmad Shah, director tourism, J&K. Foreign tourist arrival (FTAs) in India stood at 8.8 mn in 2016 while domestic tourist visits to states/UTs stood at 1.6 bn. A growth of around 8.4 per cent was witnessed in FTAs in January 2018 over January 2017 and 58.5 per cent growth in FTAs was recorded for eTourist Visa in January 2018 over January 2017. According to the World Economic Forum, international tourist arrivals in

India is expected to reach 15 mn by 2027. Surendran supports the PPP model and discusses on how it has given an impetus to tourism projects in Kerala and the tourism industry as a whole. “PPP projects have been playing an instrumental role as one of the key strategies for promoting state tourism. The tourism department understands the significance of the PPP model for overall growth of the tourism sector. We believe in being a promoter of the industry, rather than a regulator.” Mentioning further on how several of Kerala's projects have been undertaken under the PPP model, Surendran says, “Kerala’s first BOT-model eco-tourism project - Jatayu Earth's Center had been undertaken under the PPP model. The 'Adventure Rock Hill' of the center is now open for public in groups. The Jatayu Earth Centre will be fully operational soon for adventure enthusiasts. Kerala Tourism has been taking considerable steps towards encouraging PPP participation, including fast track clearance to tourism project and residential tariff for home stays.”

Invest in infra Regional budget airlines have been given incentives by the government to offer cutprice flights to remote areas. Chakravarty discusses how this can be seen as a positive investment in the tourism industry and what more can be done to make transport easier for


( domestic as well as international travellers. He says, “Connectivity to remote destinations has been prioritised and this is a welcome move. This can benefit the local industry, bring in revenue to the local area and generate a need for training and skill development that will enhance the livelihood and give a boost to the local economy.” Rao speaks about the upcoming airport projects in his state. He mentions, “Under aviation policy 2014 we provide subsidy on flying hour basis up to `100.00 lakh per month. The private airline is selected through bidding, on the basis of minimum subsidy quote per flying hour. Indore and Bhopal airports has been developed as international airports. Currently, apart from five airports viz. Indore, Bhopal, Khajuraho, Jabalpur and Gwalior, no new airport project is underway.” Shah discusses the various investments made in his state by big chains like ITC, Sheraton, etc. As well as the growing homegrown brands that are making a huge impact and attracting tourists from all over. “We are focussing on making our places tourist destinations and for this we have some large golf courses where tourist can enjoy themselves with their families. We're also concentrating on pilgrim destinations and developing the entertainment scene by conducting sound and light shows around the state,” he said. He further comments on the Kargil airport and the Kargil airfield which is at a height of 9,600 feet and only nine km away from the international border. “We also provide the Pawan Hans service in the state at subsidised rates to increase more connectivity to the various destinations we have to offer,” he adds. In January 2016, Goldman Sachs has invested US$ 66 mn for a significant minority stake in Indian hotel investment and development firm Samhi Hotels. Samhi, which operates 10 hotels and is developing 16 more, will use the money to grow its portfolio to about 30 to 35 properties.

When it comes to infrastructure investments, Rao further states, “Under Swadesh Darshan and PRASAD scheme of GOI, tourism infrastructure development works is in progress in Wildlife, Buddhist, Heritage and Eco circuits and Omkareshwar. GOI has sanctioned `406.00 crore for this.” Waghmare draws our attention to the Shirdi airport and NAINA project, a smart city near Navi Mumbai. “We have received proposals that aim to revive infrastructure of various monuments and heritage sites. For concepts like development of land, we are looking at investments that will improve not only the sites but also provide top-class amenties. Incentives for wellness hubs are being introduced especially in Nashik so as to make it a wellness hub. We are even focussing our efforts to develop projects like Bollywood Tourism.” Singh invites suggestions that can be adopted by various state governments to attract tourism investors. He believes that this is a capital intensive industry with a long gestation period and high capital risk. “Lack of infrastructure and tax incentives from the government make it difficult for the industry to grow. Theme and amusement parks, being a family outdoor entertainment avenue, away from gadgets, is perfect family bonding time, especially for children. It has a potential to boost tourism both domestic and international, which eventually helps job creation and public spending,” he opines. “However, we were being taxed at the highest tax bracket of 28 GST along with activities such as casinos, gambling, horse racing etc., which has now been reduced to 18 per cent and should be corrected further to 12 per cent. This will only propel tourism and tax earnings through greater consumption of core and allied activities in this segment,” Singh further stresses. He also emphasised the fact that compared to global peers in the same category, India still has the highest indirect tax

with 18 per cent GST, whereas most of the global parks have tax subsidies or are taxed in single digits. And some governments not just support to provide public transport and road infrastructure, they also provide tax as well as interest subsidies or equity participation. With a dual benefit of 'Made for India' entertainment and a world class domestic tourism option, we definitely need continued government support to grow.

Incredible India: Future stakes In May 2017, Ctrip.com, China's largest travel portal, bought a stake in India's largest travel portal MakeMyTrip for US$ 180 mn via convertible bonds. This allows Ctrip to increase its share in MakeMyTrip up to 26.6 per cent. Expressing his views on investment in skill development for the tourism and hospitality sector in the future, Chakravarty says, “In 2017, the tourism sector contributed 6.88 per cent to the country’s total GDP and 12.36 per cent of the total employment in terms of jobs. India’s rank in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), 2017 has also shown a 25 places jump from 2013. Rank of India in TTCI Report of 2017 was 40th as compared to 52nd in 2015 and 65th in 2013. Given the growth of the Tourism Industry, there is huge need to match this growth with skilled and trained manpower and this can only be possible with more investments in setting up Travel and Tourism training institutes.” Singh adds, “If state governments start supporting the sector more, we foresee positive substantial growth in the future. It is a large employment generation sector which has direct as well as indirect employment and economic impact. There have been some positive developments like identification of some key tourism sectors for promotion in Maharashtra, but a lot more needs to be and can be done to compete in domestic tourism with other states like Kerala, Goa, MP, etc. We would like to

THE MAIN FOCUS

work collaboratively with all government institutions to ease access to larger mass of people via infrastructure development and propel tourism in a positive direction.” Rao further mentions how Tourism investment shall be treated as investments in infrastructure. “Tourism projects should be treated as industry projects and power, water, local taxes etc should be charged at industrial rates.” Besra plans to develop cultural circuits around the state and work on more similar projects like the Birsa Munda airport. “Tribal as well as experiential tourism is receiving more and more attention and this year's theme for the state is to come and explore the 11 wonders of Jharkhand. We also encourage film shootings which will give the region good publicity attracting more and more investments”, he says. Highlighting the future investments in Jammu & Kashmir, Shah says, “Under the PMDP (Prime Minister's Development Package), we have been allotted funds which will facilitate more growth and increased tourism investments in the state by private players.” The HRIDAY scheme, National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana which was launched on January 21, 2015 stresses on the development of heritage cities. Through this scheme, heritage cities are preserved by encouarging appealing, accessible, secured and informative environment. The plans will focus on anitation, drainage, development of water supply, tourist conveniences, electricity wiring, and many such citizen services. Another scheme that has been crucial in attracting foreign investments is the PRASAD scheme, Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual Augmentation Drive. Under this scheme, pilgrimage tourist destinations are identified and developed by synergising all efforts towards increasing tourist arrivals, enriching their religious experiences and to open up employment opportunities.

“Under the PMDP, we have been allotted funds increasing tourism investments in the state by private players” Mahmood Ahmad Shah director tourism, J&K

“For concepts like development of land, we are looking at investments that will improve not only the sites but also provide topclass amenities” Vijay Waghmare managing director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation

“We encourage film shootings giving the region good publicity attracting more investments” Sanjiv Kumar Besra director, Jharkhand Tourism

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Genting Cruise Lines Awards: A big splash Genting Cruise Lines recently celebrated its achievement by felicitating the travel partners who have contributed significantly to the growth of the company. The award ceremony, held on the World Dream cruise ship, saw Indian travel agents bagging many awards By Sudipta Dev

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he past year saw unparalled growth of three brands Dream Cruises, Star Cruises and Crystal Cruises, marking a key milestone for Genting Cruise Lines. On board the magnificent World Dream cruise ship from Hong Kong, Genting Cruise Lines Travel Partners Tribute saw the company honouring those travel partners who have made significant contribution towards the growth of the company. A total of 36 awards were conferred at the awards presentation event to recognise the achievements of partners who contributed to the growth of Genting Cruise Lines in terms of sales performance and marketing strategies. Kishan Biyani, managing director, Ark Travels was the proud recipient of five prestigious awards - Highest Sales In Asia for Genting Cruise Lines; Top Sales for ‘Singapore Deployment’ for Star Cruises; 1st Runner-up for ‘Singapore Deployment’ for Dream Cruises; 1st Runner-up for ‘Hong Kong Deployment’ for Dream Cruises; and Genting Cruise Lines ‘Best Marketing’ Award. Pradeep Saboo, CEO, Guideline Travels received the 1st Runner-up Star Performer Award International Singapore Deployment while DPauls Travel & Tours won the 2nd Runner-up Star Performer Award International Singapore Deployment.

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Giving his welcome speech Kent Zhu, president, Genting Cruise Lines said, "As a company principally concerned with cruise and cruise related business stream Genting Hong Kong launched Genting Cruise Lines last year - a new division focusing on its three core cruise brands to promote the company's diverse range of products. The division will also

synchronise sales and marketing activities and support services of Dream Cruises, Star Cruises and Crystal Cruises for more efficient operations. The Genting Cruise Lines Travel Partners Tribute was conceived to help us to honour the most important partners in success and to recognise the significant contribution that they have made for outstanding


IN FOCUS growth of Genting Cruise Lines over the past year.” He added that with Asia Pacific home to the large middle class, consumers are searching for new travel experiences and cruising is witnessing growing popularity. The potential of cruise market in Asia is huge and enviable. To ensure that the staff of the travel partners get the best tools and knowledge to promote cruise further, the Genting Cruise Lines Academy and online certification programme is being developed which will provide training and information for them to excel in the cruise travel market. A video showed the recent steel cutting ceremony of the brand new global class ship of Dream Cruises in Germany. For Star Cruises the design process of a new class of ships is being done, which will rejuvenate the Star brand to continue its pioneering spirit. In his address, Thatcher Brown, president, Dream Cruises, mentioned that the company has in the last 24 months really pushed the envelope, “We have launched two ships and a new brand, and there is a latest addition to the Dream brand. The first global class of ship will be ready in 2020 and we look forward to welcome her.” He pointed out that the most important aspect of delivering a vacation nowadays is to remove as many pain points, and to do this and deliver a better service, cuttingedge technology and a very sophisticated IT platform will be used. “We will use technology like facial recognition, RFID, voice recognition. We are also looking at automation and robotics to deliver back of the house efficiencies. This ship will have an incredible theme park approach with water park. What we have learnt developing integrated resorts at sea is that when you get on board the ship needs to be a destination in itself,” remarked Brown. Crystal Cruises has undergone probably the most rapid brand expansion in the last two years - river boats, yachts, refurbishments of Symphony and Serenity, Crystal Air. “Crystal

is top of mind and we have brought more attention to the brand by forming a division in Hong Kong - Crystal International Asia that will help to support out colleagues in sales and marketing efforts in Miami as well. By May 2018, Crystal will have a family of five river boats,” he stated, adding that the Rhine class of river boats are special as all the cabins are suite cabins, with personalised butler service. Last few months Crystal Air cruises has curated extraordinary trips. The plane is also available for charter. According to Ang Moo Lim, president, Star Cruises, 2017 had been a very rewarding year for Genting Cruise Lines as well as Star Cruises. “We continue to pioneer new assets, including introducing new port of calls and continued to develop new home ports,” he said, reminding that the focus is on building in a balanced manner regional cruise tourism, in particular multiple home ports. Lim also expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the travel partners.

New achievements Naresh Rawal, VP – Sales, Genting Cruise Lines was very happy and proud that Indian travel agents had bagged most of the awards at the Genting Cruise Lines Travel Partners Tribute. “The support that the PSA’s receive from their subagents is remarkable. We believe in strong handholding and relationship building that the PSA holds with trade. Singapore as a destination is much easier to sell as its well connected with all the major cities of India, thus making it another key factor for high sales,” said Rawal, adding that what made him most proud as the head of Genting Cruise Lines in India was the continued growth of cruise segments in India market. “And with same passion our agents have been selling our product aggressively. Also, the strength of our PSA and their agent networks have just been growing year on year,” he stated, reminding that the Indian traveller has

evolved from a two nights itinerary and is now choosing three nights, five nights and seven night itineraries. “Moving from regular cruising to experiencing luxury cruising. There has been evolution on the cabin category as well. Where they were earlier choosing Inside Staterooms, now we are witnessing a higher demand for Balcony cabins and Suite cabins. The consumer now understands the advantages of a cruise holiday versus a land holiday,” he mentioned. Pointing out that the Indian market is relatively a new and upcoming market for travellers looking for cruise vacations, Biyani stated, “Cruisers are actively looking for weekends cruise options from the short haul destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. The Singapore deployment of Genting Dream has helped us to reach a newer height in engaging travellers to cruise to their favourite destination.” He affirmed that almost 80 per cent of his customers belong in the age group of 25 – 50 years. “We have a relatively fair percentage of young cruisers mostly opting for weekend cruises. Around 30 per cent of our passengers have already experienced cruise travel and these are the ones who aims for a longer stay on the cruise with minimum 7 – 10 night cruise itinerary. Another 20 – 25 per cent of our passengers are in the age group of 55 years and above, while children between 7 – 12 years forms 15 per cent of our customers.” Highlighting his achievement, Biyani stated that Ark Travels is known for its innovation. “To target young cruisers we initiated a concept of charter cruise promoting two-and-three night itineraries in the Indian market. Our charter cruises known as Big Bang Nautical Fiesta are targeted at corporates whose employees are in the age group of 25 – 40 years. Besides this, the newlyweds / honeymooners form a large part of our younger audience,” he stated.

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A star in the Indian Ocean completes 50 years As Mauritius celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Independence, President of India, Ram Nath Kovind joined the celebrations, reaffirming the strong bilateral ties between the two countries which share not only the Indian Ocean, but common cultures and a huge migrant community who came to the island many years ago as indentured workers By Steena Joy

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t is not just the Indian Ocean that Mauritius and India share - the two countries are linked by a long historical and cultural legacy. After the French, the British colonised the island in 1810 and following the abolition of slavery in 1835, Indian indentured labourers were brought to the island to work in the sugarcane plantations in place of the former slaves. The indentured labourers originated mostly, from central India, from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and speaking Bhojpuri as their mother tongue, changed the ethnic composition of the island nation. In those early days of migration, the labourers referred to Mauritius as 'Marich'. Today, nearly 70 per cent of the population have ancestral ties with India, who has been Mauritius' ally in its economic and social development. It was

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only apt then that Indian President Ram Nath Kovind was chief guest at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the island country's independence.

An Indian touch The celebrations started with a sailing regatta on the Mahebourg waterfront and cultural events that even included the famous koli (fishermen's) dance of Mumbai and a Bharat Natyam performance. The official flag hoisting ceremony was held at the Champs de Mar racecourse (the second oldest in the world) in Port Louis followed by drills and demonstrations including one by the Sarang team of the Indian Air Force with death defying helicopter manoeuvres that held everyone spellbound. Earlier, in the day, Kovind and Mauritius PM Pravind Kumar Jugnauth signed a number of MoUs. In a statement to the me-

dia, President Kovind announced, “India has signed an MoU to revive the Nalanda University which was a global seat of learning in what is today Bihar, from where ancestors of many Mauritians came. Also, the ministry of AYUSH India will institute an academic chair for Ayurveda at the University of Mauritius to help promote the science for the benefit of the people of Mauritius. India and Mauritius share deep historical links and people to people ties. We have now entered a new era of cooperation with 25 priority projects being implemented in Mauritius with Indian assistance.� India has lent Mauritius $353 million of assistance and a line of credit in November. India has also financed 950 housing units in the island nation. Continuing with the co-operation and as part of the historic moment,

President Kovind laid the foundation stone for an ENT hospital here as well as inaugurated the World Hindi Secretariat. Jugnauth informed that India and Mauritius have renewed the Programme for Cultural Cooperation for another four years upto 2021. This will ensure exchanges in culture, arts, literature and languages between the two countries, he said. Speaking exclusively to In-

dian media, Mauritius tourism minister, Anil Kumarsingh Gayan said, “Our association with India goes back to pre-Independence days and has strengthened over time. And today we are seeing the blossoming of the ties. As we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of our Independence, we had a magnificent helicopter display by the Indian Airforce. This is something that happens every year. The Indian


IN FOCUS

CHECK OUT Mahebourg museum and market

earth in Chamarel, Curious Corner is a house filled with optical illusions including a 200 mirror maze and the upside down room. Be sure to allow at least an hour and a half to experience the whole adventure.

Located on the shores of the country’s biggest lagoon, Mahebourg is a coastal town that is closest to the island’s only airport. Its unique amalgam of colonial and Creole architecture, and its local markets makes Mahebourg a must visit. Founded in 1805, the town was named after the famous French governor Mahé de Labourdonnais.

L'Aventure du Sucre (Sugar World)

Aapravasi Ghat

level with a depth of between 50 and 55 feet. In 1972 a priest from India brought sacred water from the Ganges and amid much ceremonial poured the holy water into the lake. From then on the lake has been known as Ganga Talao. Ganga for Ganges and 'Talao' means 'pool'. Chamarel

The Maconde route

A small complex of buildings on the seafront in Port Lousi, Aapravasi Ghat was the place where the first indentured workers arrived into Mauritius. Indenture was a 19th century worldwide phenomenon started by the British after the abolition of slavery. It involved the mass migration of workers from India, China,Africa and South East Asia to labourimporting colonies. Mauritius was the first country which had recourse to indentured labour. Between 1834 and 1920, almost half a million indentured labourers arrived from India at Aapravasi Ghat (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site) to work in the sugar plantations of Mauritius, or to be transferred to Reunion Island,Australia, southern and eastern Africa or the Caribbean.At present, less than half of the Immigration Depot area as it existed in 1865, survives. However, some of the key original structural components still stand.These include the remains of the sheds for the housing of the immigrants, kitchens, lavatories, a building used as a hospital block and the symbolical flight of 14 steps through which all immigrants entered the Immigration Depot.

Chamarel is a mountain hamlet, home to the famous Terres de 7 Couleurs (seven coloured mud), a natural phenomenon and a prominent tourist attraction.The rolling dunes of multi-coloured earth have long intrigued geologists. Chamarel is also known for its world-class rum. En route to the seven coloured earth lies La Rhumerie de Chamarel Distillery, one of the rare distilleries that cultivates its own sugarcane for its rums.There are guided tours ending with rum tasting.

Grand Bassin or Ganga Talao

Curious Corner

Grand Bassin is a crater lake about 550 meters above sea

Located just a few minutes away from the seven coloured

military is always present on our Independence day. But this year is special because the Indian President is here.” Commenting on tourism between the two nations, Gayan said, “I wish we had more Indian tourists coming to Mauritius. We plan to increase Air Mauritius flights from Mumbai from the current four to daily. The airline also flies from Delhi twice a week and operates a hopping flight from Chennai and Bengaluru as well. But nothing beats

Sugar has left a profound impression on the history and identity of Mauritius. Located near the Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens, L'Aventure du Sucre (Sugar World) museum was inaugurated in October 2002 and covers over 5000 m2 inside the converted old Beau Plan Sugar Factory which stopped its industrial activity in 1999.All the original machinery is present and leads the visitor through the complicated process of sugar production, understanding of the sugarcane plant and its end products, the sugar routes and the sugar markets.The visit includes a free tasting of more than 30 products at Le Village Boutik including 12 unrefined brown sugars, rums of the New Grove House, jams and honey. Don't forget to visit Le Fangourin Restaurant under its shaded veranda facing the plush garden of Beau Plan for a taste of regional cuisine.

a direct flight. So we want Indian airlines like Air India and Jet Airways to fly to Mauritius. We want them to know that we are open to business and we would love them to fly to Mauritius.” He added, India is a big country and the airlines may want to tap the domestic potential, but a time will come when they will want to explore farther destinations. And I am sure with the increased cooperation between India and Mauritius in developing a new airstrip on the Agalega islet

The Maconde route with its hairpin curves hugs the coastline between Le Morne and Baie du Cap and is one of the most scenic routes in the world.Visitors can stop by at the Maconde View Point, a rocky outcrop offering stunning coastal views.The point was named Maconde after the governor Jean Baptiste Henri Condé, who built the outlook many years ago.

in the Indian Ocean, which will be used by the Indian military, there are exciting possibilities.” He also spoke about Mauritius as a tourist destination. “We have excellent facilities in terms of accommodation, infrastructure and activities. We have a temperate climate and when India has monsoons, we have winter here with temperatures of 15-16 degrees. So this is something we can work on to bring Indian tourists here. But over and above that we have

lots of other things that makes us close to India. Like the festivals, recently we celebrated the Mahashivratri for 4 to 5 days. We are a multi cultural country, a peace loving people and we want more people to experience it, ” Gayan stated. There are many hotels in Mauritius including Beachcomber Hotels & Resorts with eight resorts on the island. The Mauritian hospitality brand is the pioneer of the hotel industry in the country.

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April 2018


EVENT ROUNDUP

India says ‘tres bien’ to Salon RDVF 2018 The recently concluded Salon Rendez-vous en France, French tourism industry's international B2B trade show held in Paris, welcomed for the first time India's largest contingent of 30 tour operators and agents from across the country. By Reema Lokesh

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rom being an eye opener to an eye catcher, from learnings to yearnings, Salon Rendez-vous en France 2018, proved to be all this and more for those who were on field at the venue Parc des Expositions, Porte de Versailles. It was an intense workshop as both buyers and sellers gathered under one roof for some serious knowledge sharing and networking. It was the ideal platform to understand and upgrade one's understanding of the destination and its diverse product offerings. The two day workshop, witnessed 750 French exhibitors, 947 influencers, 37 journalists from 69 countries, 380 international tour operators and 13 French destinations. According to Christian Mantei, MD, Atout France, “In a highly competitive environment, marked by a resurgence in tourism in France, this event represents a unique opportunity for French exhibitors to promote and sell their products to a high quality international panel of buyers.” The welcome event for international buyers at Les Puces de Saint Ouen, was by invitation of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau and their partners. After a stroll around the biggest antique market in the world, spread across seven hectares, 14 markets and 1,700 stall-holders, the delegates experienced a unique sit-down welcome dinner in the heart of the market. For the official ‘France’ soiree, Atout France welcomed delegates both, exhibitors and visitors, to La Seine Musicale. A new symbol of Parisian culture, this musical temple is an ideal backdrop

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for an evening celebrating French music and culture, with a focus on a variety of contemporary artistic expressions. The spotlight of the event was the Centre-Val de Loire destination, which is celebrating “500 years of Renaissance(s)” in 2019. The event also showcased French gastronomy and culinary specialties. For the Indian delegation, the farewell dinner was hosted by the Atout France- India team at the Paradis Latin, a unique cabaret in the heart of Paris.

India director's perspective For the Indian contingent, led

by Atout France-India, director, Sheetal Wadhwa Munshaw, the feedback and the take home has been both encouraging and positive. India had its largest delegation this year of 30 tour operators and agents and two media professionals. Though Rendezvous had all of France and its hallmark destinations well represented, within that there were six unique regions, which were offered to the Indian travel consultants to explore and promote. From Occitanie in South West France to Northern France, from Champagne Alsace to Auvergne-Rhone Alps, from Normandy to Bordeaux, the sellers had to zero in on their destina-

tion in terms of its potential from their respective clientele. Speaking further on the event, its focus and future, Munshaw states, “The interest toward France and its various regions is only growing with time. It is not just the regular but the special interest tours that are gaining popularity. This demand is not only restricted to India's leading cities but also from the Tier II and Tier III cities. Hence we took a conscious decision to invite agents and operators from across the country. The source market is diverse and this trend will only grow with time.” She further added, “The event Rendez-vous is the perfect platform

for those who wish to get the best insight on the region, up close and personal. It is all about meeting the suppliers in person, dealing with the right people and also getting the feel of the place first hand.”

Buyer's buzz and seller's story From the Indian tour operators and agents perspective, the event was the ideal zone to both learn and unlearn, to erase doubts and build confidence. From seasoned players and tourism professionals to new entrants in the business, each one had their own unique take home from the event. For Sudhir Patil,


EVENT ROUNDUP

founder director, VeenaWorld, the entire experience was worth it as it provided him with a deep insight of the interior regions of France. He is confident the workshop and the destination learning will assist perfectly in converting the learnings into business. Voicing his opinion is Ajay Chhabria, director, Intime Travels by Design Mumbai, he felt the entire experience was fabulous in terms of the take home as a tour operator. Clients today are looking for experiences, which are out of the ordinary and France he feels, has the right ingredients to tap the discerning traveller, though Paris is always a must see on any itinerary, be it group or FIT. Urjit Thaker, founder & CEO, World Wide Travels, shares his perspective and some interesting facts on the Gujarat market. He states that, “The Gujarat market is one of the largest and fastest growing markets for outbound travels. This trip will certainly help me promote France beyond Paris and certain parts of Southern France, which are popularly

sold in this market. Post my visit to Rendez-vous 2018, we are keen to promote other regions of France which remain unexplored in our market. Our meetings at the event with local suppliers, hotels and each regional tourism office & representative were very helpful in making different sets of itineraries to promote France’s wine regions, ski resorts, heritage, culture etc. We have already closed 45000 Euro business for France after visiting the workshop and the destination for Rendez-vous.� Atout France India is also focused to offer the Indian market authentic and well crafted tourism experiences through various specialised programmes, including gastronomy. The Indian delegation received an encouraging response from sellers on the floor. From hotels to attractions, from destinations to DMCs, the India market has gained confidence amidst the French tourism sellers. From shopping zones like La Vallee Village, Galeries Lafayette to destinations such

as Normandy, Champagne-Ardenne Tourisme, Auvergne Rhone-Alpes and more, from attractions such as Disneyland Paris, to CV sightseeings, from chateaus to hotels, the feedback has been buoyant with respect to the India market. Sellers who have strong links with India are keen to further strengthen their spread and ties with the market, while those who are new entrants are hoping to understand and explore more with respect to the trends and demands that emerge. For Laurent Cormier, deputy director, Auvergne Rhone Aples tourism and Barbara Breheret, India representative of the region, India is a important source market. They feel their destination, which is attractive in terms of adventure sports beyond skiing is ready for Indians. Patrick Allais, business development manager, Value Retail, is focused on India and has been constantly engaging with the India market. Paradis Latin, also has an Indian chef on board to cater to the Indian palate.

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April 2018


EVENT ROUNDUP

Jharkhand gets its first Travel Mart A three day event, the first Jharkhand Travel Mart welcomed the travel and media fraternity from all over India to showcase the history and culture of the state and to discuss the upcoming niche areas of tourism By Tanuvi Joe

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he first Jharkhand Travel Mart was inaugurated on Friday, 23, 2018 by honourable minister Amar KR Bawari for Revenue & Land Reforms, Art, Culture, Tourism, Sports & Youth Affairs Goverment of Jharkhand. It was held in Khelgaon in the capital city of Ranchi. Sudhir Tripathy, chief secretary, Goverment of Jharkhand addressing the travel, tour operators and media fraternity, said, “This year we plan to promote Jharkhand as a state of 11 wonders to domestic and international tourists. From building convention centres to sports stadium, we are also focussing on MICE markets and sports sector.” He further discussed how several employment opportunities are opening up for the youth interested in sports. The state has also started training for the Olympics for children between 8 to 12 years old. Apart from that, the chief secretary emphasised on the colourful, dynamic and diverse culture that Jharkhand has. “We also want other states to come visit Jharkhand and for that we are customising three to five day packages that will show them the 11 wonders of the state. The main objective here is to spread awareness and through convergence, we want to be among the top destinations for travellers to visit,” he added. Bawari explained how the government helps the tourism industry and what more can be done to get Jharkhand on the global map. He said,“We are pro-

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EVENT ROUNDUP moting places like the Betla National Park and Netarhat with respect to nature tourism. There are plenty of places that are still untapped in the region and we are looking at changing that. At the same time, the state has been declared as an industy, for eg. The Tata Steel industry in Jamshedpur. But we are striking a balance between both, nature tourism and industry tourism which is why it's growing hand in hand.” He further commented on how Jharkhand is home to several tribes and each tribe has their own culture which can be seen through various art forms, music, dance and clothes the people wear. Chandil Lake, Jubilee Park, Bokaro Steel city were some of the places he mentions that one should visit. “From several shrines to around 15 falls, the history of this place tells unheard stories of warriors and legends and through JTM we hope to reach out to the rest of India,” he said. In the evening, various cultural programmes showcased the rich culture of the tribes of Jharkhand. Some notable ones was the Paika dance which is very popular and is performed by males. This dance also has a high degree involvement of martial arts. The other dance was the Santhal Dance which is generally performed by both the men and women of the Santhali tribe. It even covers issues related to gender and land rights. A fusion of this dance graced the stage at day one of JTM. On day two, Manish Ranjan, tourism secretary, Government of Jharkhand spoke about the purpose of conducting the first ever JTM. “It's high time state branding takes place. Adding to nature tourism, mining tourism and religious tourism is already gaining momentum in the state. 'Jharcraft' in particular is fulfilling two objectives at the same time. These arts will be showcased and the paintings and handicrafts are at the stalls around you. We encourage the travel and media fraternity to support us in this initiative and at the same time we need to support the people behind the making of these arts and crafts.” He added that various self-

NETARHAT: GATEWAY TO NATURE One of the 11 wonders of Jharkhand, Netarhat welcomes its visitors with dense forests, cool breeze and sunny mornings. A unique product that must be included in travel itineraries Once known as the summer retreat of the British governer, Netarhat is home to several tribes who have been living in close harmony for ages. Netarhat is situated at about 3622 feet high in Lather district which is about 4-5 hours away from the capital city Ranchi. Netarhat is easily connected to Ranchi by roads. One can take a bus or use private transport from the Birsa Munda International Airport in Ranchi to Netarhat. Once you reach there, take the road from the bus stand leading to the Hotel Prabhat Vihar, a government accomodation and tourist bungalow. The stay offers easy access to the various points and sightseeing places that Netarhat has to offer. Early morning, you can see the mesmerising sunrise from the terrace of the hotel. After that, one can proceed to the Mangolia Point. This point is in Batua Tola and situated around nine kms away from the bus stand at Netarhat, the place speaks about a love story in the past. According to a legend, a British maiden fell in love with a local shepherd. When her love was opposed by the community, she chose to end her life by plunging from the cliff along with her horse. Around this site, lies the village settlements of primitive tribes from the Birhor and Birjia community. Between the October-February period, the tribals will entertain you with their local dances around camp fires. One of the major rivers in the area is the river Koel. Two kms away from the bus-stand, the river Koel originates from a local hilly village called Tutua Paani. The view from the Koel view point is breathtaking with the pine trees welcoming your presence. On the banks of the river, there are tiny clusters of villages like Chaatam Jori and Saarna Toli. After visiting these points, visitors can drop in at the Netarhat Public School where many eminent people from the state government have passed out. Established in 1954, the school stresses on sports majorly and has six football grounds, 14-15 basketball courts and two grounds for lawn tennis. The students are admitted through strict entrance tests and the hostels for these students are more like ashrams for them. Wildlife can't be left out when we speak about Netarhat. The Betla National Park is situated on the Ranchi-Daltaonganj road, which is about 25 kms away from Palamau headquarters. The first of the nine tiger reserves, there are around 30 tigers in the park and home to over 170 species of birds and also offers shelter to over 40 species of mammals.

help groups make these artworks and this is their only means of livelihood. This is the second part of the objective the Government of Jharkhand wants to achieve in the tourism sector. Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Sanjiv Kumar Besra, director of tourism gave his valuable insights on JTM and the overall tourism market in Jharkhand. He said, “Tribal, experiential tourism and adventure tourism is on the rise in Jharkhand. We also are encouraging heritage walks for college students and making strong use of social media, for eg. Right now latest updates of JTM is available on Facebook as well as Twitter. We are also promoting the state as a film destination and recently actors Anupam Kher and Hema Malini were here to shoot for their upcoimg film.” He commented on how the state is developing heritage circuits. The jail where freedom fighter Birsa Munda was kept is now a museum. Similarly, the tourism department of the state is looking at such projects to disseminate the history of Jharkhand among international travellers. Day Two ended with fashion shows that showcased the textiles of Jharkhand, wedding wear and recycled sarees made out of used clothes.

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SPOTLIGHT

AN ABODE IN RISHIKESH

Aloha On the Ganges is a place for every type of traveller, from the ones looking for some holistic healing and meditation amidst Rishikesh’s serenity to those who prefer the thrill of adventure activities. By Shivasheesh Srivastava

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oming from the house of Leisure Hotels group, Aloha On the Ganges resort is located on the banks of river Ganga in holy Rishikesh, Haridwar. The resort is located at a distance of 255 kilometers from India’s capital city, New Delhi. The resort is easily accessible by rail, roads, and air. Setup in a traditional surrounding, with river Ganges flowing right in the front, surrounded by forested hills, the resort bears proximity to Laxman Jhula, which is hardly 15 mins from the resort on foot. Similarly, the resort is also well connected to nearby

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tourist attractions like the Parmarth Ashram, Ram Jhula and other Ganga ghats in Haridwar. Speaking to Express TravelWorld, Shahzad Aslam, head, sales, Leisure Hotels says, “Located in the heart of Rishikesh, this exquisite resort 'Aloha on the Ganges' is right on the banks of the Ganges River close to the Laxman Jhulla, in a very serene and peaceful environment. The setting of the resort on the fastflowing Ganges, surrounded by forested hills, is conducive to meditation and mind expansion. In the evening, the breeze blows down the valley, setting temple bells ringing as sadhus (spiritual

men), pilgrims and tourists prepare for the nightly Ganga Aarti.” Aloha On the Ganges is a place for every section of travellers from the ones looking for some holistic healing and meditation amidst Rishikesh’s serenity to those who prefer adventure activities. Aslam also informed about the type of tourists visiting this Resort. He said, “Rishikesh as a destination caters to all the segment of travellers be it Spiritual yatris(40 years and above), Adventure seekers (21-40), leisure travellers (Family audience- 30-60), Long stays for yoga and medita-

tion(mix youth and adult) and corporate group workshops (youth and adult both).” Our source market comprises of 50 percent tourists from North India (majority from Delhi NCR), 15 percent from Western India (majorly Maharashtra and Gujarat), 15 percent from rest of India and 20 percent foreign tourists from UK, US, South Africa, Spain.” The resort has a total of 65 accommodation units comprising of 24 Superior rooms, 12 double-bedroom apartments offering Ganges view, two double-bedroom premium apartments with Ganges view, eight

single-bedroom apartments and five deluxe rooms. There is an Ayurvedic and International Spa by Tattva that facilitates healing from within and rejuvenation of mind and soul. Apart from offering well set up rooms, the hotel also offers an indoor and an outdoor restaurant that serves purely vegetarian meals. These restaurants also serve finely crafted international cuisines for foreign tourists. The resort offers free yoga and meditation sessions every morning to its guests along with activities like guided nature walk, live music, family games, library. Guided


SPOTLIGHT

adventure activities like rafting, zip lining, giant swing, paragliding, cycling, waterfall trek with open jeep ride, beach camping activities, wildlife safari in Rajaji Tiger reserve, tour to Beatles Ashram etc are also available. Another property from Leisure Hotels, The Haveli Hari Ganga, is a luxury heritage hotel located on the banks of river Ganges in Haridwar.

The hotel was built in 1913 to host the royal guests of the then Maharaja of Pilibhit. The hotel has 20 air-conditioned rooms and suites, a Satsang Bhawan for listening to sermons and holy preachings, a multi-cuisine vegetarian restaurant, coffee shops and Spa by Tattva. The hotel also offers yoga and meditation sessions and has a private bathing

ghat on the Ganges. The Haveli Hari Ganga hotel stands at the Ramghat in Haridwar. Commenting on Uttarakhand’s potential as a tourist destination, Aslam says, “We see a lot of potential in Uttarakhand as a state for tourism, because of the diverse options available for a traveller, from wildlife, hills, nature, spirituality to adventure

and heritage. Uttarakhand, is already known as the land of God, origin of Ganges, one of the largest tiger reserves of India and the Yoga Capital of the world. Uttarakhand as a state has good connectivity by road, railways and airways to the major source markets.” “The Leisure Hotels group is the largest chain of hotels in Ut-

tarakhand and has been present in the state for the last 29 years having 20 properties at 16 locations. We pioneered the concept of 'Experiential Holidays' in Uttarakhand with holiday experiences ranging from wildlife and spiritualism to heritage hill holidays. That in itself is testament to the tourism potential of the state,” he adds.

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SPOTLIGHT

Integrate, Inspire and Innovate to promote Kashmir as a global tourist destination: TAAI The 64th TAAI Annual Convention held at Srinagar focused on strengthening industry leadership in the field of aviation, inbound and outbound tourism, MICE and tapping of technology to digitally empower tour operators and travel agents while moving ahead with an aim to develop Jammu and Kashmir as a full-fledged tourist destination By Shivasheesh Srivastava

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HE INDIAN Travel Congress 2018 organised by Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) from March 27-29, 2018 was held in Srinagar, the summer capital city of Jammu and Kashmir to showcase the

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rich natural heritage and tourism opportunities to the members and create new areas of trade. The 64th Convention and Exhibition of TAAI was held at Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) which was supported by ministry of tourism, Jammu and Kashmir. Around

600 delegates and TAAI members attended the event. The convention was organised on the theme ‘Integration Inspiration Innovation’ with its main focus on existing tourism activities and creating fresh opportunities for tourism in Jammu and Kashmir. With TAAI’s large member base ac-

tively offering industry leadership in the fields of aviation, inbound and outbound tourism, MICE, technology and other industry verticals offering opportunities to network, interactions with prominent leaders at the knowledge sessions, the tour and travel fraternity also witnessed the hospitality of Jammu

and Kashmir. The inauguration ceremony was held at the SKICC amidst the gathering of prominent personalities namely Mehbooba Mufti, chief minister, Jammu and Kasmir; Tassaduq Hussain Mufti, minister for tourism, Jammu and Kashmir and delegates from travel trade industry.


SPOTLIGHT Speaking at the inaugural, Sunil Kumar, president, TAAI, stated, “TAAI has organised its convention in this beautiful city of Srinagar, the city of valleys, lakes and snowcapped peaks, after 30 years. Kashmir is the only state that has an abundant potential to be a full-fledged tourism destination and a place that offers the warmest hospitality. We at TAAI are delighted and thankful to the Government of Jammu and Kashmir for giving us the opportunity of organising our convention here in Jammu and Kashmir. It’s high time now that we showcase this warm hospitality to the world. I see this convention as an opportunity for building and strengthening local support with TAAI, strategise and create new associations. This convention will give Kashmir the right kind of exposure and identity which will help in attracting more and more tourists to the state and promote local tourism.” During the course of the three-day convention, various knowledge sessions, ITTE-B2B question-answer sessions were held during which lectures and presentations were given by the panel members on topics concerns and solutions related to tourism, aviation, digital empowerment of tour operators and travel agencies. Wahid Siddiq, lecturer, and director, SCC said, “There has been a considerable fall in the number of tourists visiting Kashmir. This is largely because of the missing credibility factor. Tour and travel operators do not present a clear picture to the tourist as a result of which, tourist influx decreases. Also, they the travel agencies try to squeeze as much as they can from the domestic and foreign tourists hampering inbound tourism. This approach needs to be changed.” Adding to the solutions for this problem, Siddiq added, “According to me, the best marketing strategy is to ‘Know your Client’. We need to fill the gaps in the existing tourism infrastructure. All we need to do is to address the skill, product integrity, believe in teamwork.” A number of delegates and experts from tourism and trade

industry also spoke on different aspects of aviation. Kapil Kaul, CEO, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) - India, New Delhi said, “In order to boost tourism, there is a strong need for civic infrastructure development. Besides, institutional framework within the industry is needed so that trickledown effect on the local economy is considerable.” Taking account of low tourist footfall in Jammu and Kashmir, Kaul said, “Because of this lack of tourism infrastructure in the valley, there is less tourist arrival. There is a limited number of five-star hotels in Kashmir which is also attributed to the

fall in tourist arrival.” Commenting further on high ticket prices, Kaul added, “Rise and fall in the air ticket fares are mostly due to the demand and supply aspect. So, the earlier you book, the cheaper your ticket will be. Also, Srinagar airport should extend its operational hours in order to make the most out of the existing airline infrastructure.” During his address, he also highlighted the future travel trends. Kaul stated, “ In the next two years, there will be a 15 to 20 per cent growth in domestic tourist arrivals and around 12 per cent growth in foreign tourist arrivals.”

Also, TAAI and the PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PHDCCI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the second day of the event for the promotion of tourism. Kumar and Anil Khaitan, president, PHDCCI signed the MoU. Sessions held on digital innovations and empowerment also invited questions from tour and travel fraternity. Speaking on the future trends of digital technology, Nakul Anand, executive director, ITC and chairman, The Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) said, “Technologies like

use of connected intelligence along with artificial intelligence, automated search algorithms, blockchains and other technology-driven platforms will help provide a seamless experience for the tourists.” Alongside the convention was the ITTE - India Travel Trade Expo offering an excellent B2B opportunity to the visiting delegates to connect with suppliers. The exhibition saw participation from both the local as well as international tourism stakeholders. Different tourism and travel stakeholders had set up their stalls for the delegates.

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WORKSHOPS

Setting the stage for peace PATA explores the SDGs in the context of youth and tourism in the Asia Pacific

U

niversity students along with representatives from the travel and tourism industry came together at the Asia-Pacific Youth and Sustainable Tourism Workshop to examine how the industry can help in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Asia-Pacific Youth and Sustainable Tourism Workshop, organised by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and supported by the Global Peace Foundation and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), took place recently at the United Nations Building in Bangkok, Thailand. Under the theme ‘Setting the Stage for Peace’, the workshop took place in conjunction with the Global Peace Youth Exchange Thailand 2018. The students, who came from various universities in Macao SAR, Austria and Thailand to name a few, began the day with an introduction to the SDGs by Marco Roncarati, Social Development Division – Social Affairs Officer at UNESCAP. He highlighted that one of the primary focuses of the SDGs was to address the issue of inequality. This was followed by round table discussions between the students and the workshop speakers regarding five SDGs: Zero Hunger, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Partnerships for the Goals. The morning session ended with the groups presenting their results and ideas. The afternoon sessions began with PATA CEO Mario Hardy providing an overview of the travel and tourism industry

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and the upcoming challenges the industry will face, especially regarding human capital development and the future of jobs. The session, under the title Your Ticket to the Theatre of Sustainable Tourism – Setting the Stage for Peace, closed with Dr Hardy highlighting the importance of supporting the education and training of youth in travel and tourism.

The remainder of the workshop was divided into three sessions: The Cast: Ambitious World Explorers,where the speakers shared their reasons and passions in supporting local communities; The Directors: Behind the Scenes of Sleeping, Travelling and Flying, which highlighted the current CSR work of various organisations; and The Indie Producers:

Let’s Get Techie, Earthy and Artsy, with speakers giving ideas how new technology can support the SDGs, how education and hands on practices can improve Responsible Consumption and Production, and how important it is that everyone is taking part in responsible actions. The workshop ended with the launch of the “BUFFET

for Youth“, a challenge targeted at the next generation of tourism leaders that builds on the BUFFET Initiative - a PATA food waste campaign. The announcement was made by PATA Young Tourism Professional (YTP) ambassador, JC Wong, and PATA sustainability and social responsibility associate, Veronika Forstmeier.


MOVEMENTS DoubleTree by Hilton Pune Chinchwad SAGAR GAONKAR has been appointed as director of Rooms at DoubleTree by Hilton Pune Chinchwad. He is a well healed professional with over 11 years of experience in Hotel Operations.

Sagar Gaonkar

Having worked with established names such as Leela, JW Marriott, Starwood,Wyndham and Hilton, he has an expertise and proficiency in handling guest relations, implementing systems and managing a gamut of key operational divisions. As the Zonal. Incharge at Double Tree by Hilton, Pune, Gaonkar will be responsible for monitoring activities of all associates in coordination with HOD’s ensuring that they adhere to the standards of excellence, plan and initiate the best practices to achieve targets and goals in order to maintain the brand leadership, implement best practices and drive quality check, by leading the team as a change champion and ensure to the adherence of all the brand standards. RAJESH RAWAT has been appointed as pastry chef at Dou-

bleTree by Hilton Pune. He is an energetic and talented young chef with over 14 years of experience in creating and serving wondrous pastry treats as well as unique gourmet indulgences. He has an exceptional knowledge of a wide range of food products, culinary applications, and different baking techniques. Hailing from the picturesque Dehradun, Rawat had a keen interest in understanding varied cooking techniques from a very young age. His passion for creating exotic food and penchant for baking encouraged him to study food and hospitality professionally. His expertise lies in creating dishes that are international in nature and adapt them to regional tastes and diets. He has worked with some of the most prolific hospitality brands such as Radisson Blu, Marriott Hotels and Resorts.

responsibility would include curating strategic initiatives that will lead the hotel to solidify its leadership position. He will develop and implement business strategies for the hotel which are aligned with Carlson Hotel and the hotel owner’s overall mission, vision, values, and strategies.

The Fern Hotels & Resorts ARIJIT CHATTERJEE has joined The Fern Hotels & Resorts as the chief people’s officer. He carries almost two decades of experience having worked with some of the best hospitality companies. He is a certified Asia Region trainer from Accor Academie Thailand & Marriott Intl. Chatterjee is also a certified lead facilitator-Adv Change Tech,

Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park has recently appointed NALIN MANDIRATTA as the general manager, Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park. He will also be taking over the role of area general manager, South India. Mandiratta has over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry with significant expertise in the hotel operations & marketing, across reputed hotel brands like Hilton, Marriott and Carlson hotels. He started his career with Intercontinental Hotels Group in May 2010 as general manager of the Crowne Plaza New Delhi Rohini and later moved to the Soaltee Crowne Plaza Kath-

mandu, Nepal in May 2012. He then moved to Crowne Plaza Gurgaon in July 2015. During his tenure as general manger, the hotels received various accolades and industry recognition for performance excellence.

Radisson Blu Pune Hinjawadi Radisson Blu Pune Hinjawadi has appointed PANKAJ SAXENA as the general manager. He was last holding the position of general manager at Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, Mysore. Saxena brings with him 20 years of hospitality experience. Radisson Varanasi, Sarovar Hotels, and ITC Hotels are few brands that he has worked with previously. He also served on the Executive Committee as vice president 2011 - 12 Hotels & Restaurant Association of Andhra Pradesh, India. As the general manager of Radisson Blu Pune Hinjawadi, Saxena will be accountable for all aspects of the hotel including operations. His

Arijit Chatterjee

Amit Kumar Sinha

Suprit Karkera

Mly and Assessor from the TATA group. He obtained Advanced Certifications in Strategic Management of Teams and Managing Teams in the New Global Economy from MIT Sloan, USA and the Kellogg School, NW University, USA. Most recently he also completed an Advanced HR program on Leadership Coaching & Mentoring from XLRI Jamshedpur.

tels & Resorts, he served as the general manager of Hotel Amit Park International in Bhilai. He has previously worked at Lords Plaza, Surat among other known hospitality brands and specialises in Front Office & General Operations. A process oriented personnel, Sinha’s key strengths are setting up and maintaining brand standards. He will be responsible for bettering the guest response and recognition processes at Lords Inn, Somnath. Lords Inn Somnath is a fifty-eight room property located at close proximity to the popular Hindu shrine.

ness head, Intellectual Properties and Events. He will be responsible for creating engaging and globally aspirational experiences for audiences. Karkera has a stellar record of over 13 years working with renowned experiences like Sunburn Festival, Road to Ultra - India, Amazon India Fashion Week, Justin Bieber Purpose World Tour and Sensation (World’s leading dance event) among others to Indian audiences. He holds the pulse to the latest trends transforming the industry, with expertise in Branded Content, creation of Intellectual Properties, and concept sales. He joins Dome Entertainment from Percept Live.

Lords Inn Somnath, Gujarat

Rajesh Rawat

Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park

Pankaj Saxena

Lords Inn Somnath, Gujarat has appointed AMIT KUMAR SINHA as its operations manager (OM). With a Diploma in Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Sinha has more than 19 years of industry experience. Prior to joining Lords Ho-

Dome Entertainment SUPRIT KARKERA joins Dome Entertainment as busi-

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MOVEMENTS Lion Lords Inn Rajula Lion Lords Inn Rajula, Gujarat has appointed SUMAN KUMAR SHARMA as its operations manager (OM). With more than 16 years of work experience in the hospitality industry, Sharma specialises in Revenue Management and Front Office management. A Diploma in Hotel Management from Pune University, he has served with several reputed ho-

driving visitor arrivals growth for other destinations.

Brussels Airlines

Vijay Kumar

assimilates employees as strategic and supportive growth partners by fostering a spirit of collectivity. Prior to JW Marriott Chandigarh, he was with The Westin Sohna Resort and Spa, Delhi NCR as HR Manager.

As of May 1, DIETER VRANCKX will become the third member of the Management Board of Brussels Airlines, which will collectively report to the SN Airholding Board of Directors. Next to his responsibilities as chief financial officer, Vranckx will hold the position of deputy CEO of Brussels Airlines. He is currently Lufthansa vice president Asia Pacific and will join Brussels Airlines as of May

Tourism Fiji Suman Kumar Sharma

tels including Howard Sarovar Portico and The Fern (An Ecotel Five Star Hotel) among others. His knowledge and experience in the MICE and Wedding events hosting will be a key asset for the hotel property that houses a banquet Hall, two lounges with swimming pool and a lawn that can accommodate anywhere between 45 to 600 guests at a time. Lion Lords Inn Rajula is a three storied, fifty-eight room property and is located close to Pipavav Port.

Tourism Fiji is happy to confirm the appointment of SEEMA KADAM in the position of country manager, India. She will be based in Mumbai and be responsible for Tourism Fiji’s activities across India. Kadam steps into her role on March 15 and brings with her an abundance of knowl-

Seema Kadam

VIJAY KUMAR has joined JW Marriott Chandigarh as manager, Human Resources. Having worked with some of the renowned names in the hospitality industry, Kumar comes with an impressive track record of over 10 years in the Human Resource domain. In his new role, Vijay will promote the desired work culture around the core values of the organisation by developing a human resource culture that

edge of the travel industry and products as well as great interpersonal and business development skills. Having worked and excelled at other international tourism companies such as Switzerland Tourism, where she was the area manager, she is well qualified to lead the team in India for Tourism Fiji. Visitor arrivals from India have, grown by 24 per cent over the last three years and she fits the role as Kadam has proven experience in

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Preferred Hotels & Resorts MICHELLE WOODLEY has been promoted to president. As president, a position previously held by Ueberroth, Woodley now oversees multiple departments across the company including sales, marketing, IT, revenue management, and customer relations. During her 15-year tenure with Preferred Hotels &

Dieter Vranckx

1 and will head the Finance department (accounting, controlling, legal, purchasing & facilities) of the Brussels based airline, as well as the Aeropolitical and HR units. The IT division will also be placed under his responsibility.

The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat

JW Marriott Chandigarh

focusing on enhancing guest experience and aligning operational departments’ activities to achieve the same. A diligent worker, More is entirely focused on maintaining high standards for himself, his team and his hotels and possesses a record of service excellence with his teams having outperformed in their respective markets.

AMOL MORE has been appointed as director of Operations at The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat. His current role includes

Amol More

Michelle Woodley

Resorts, she has held a variety of positions including senior vice president of Global Marketing Strategy, senior vice president of Revenue Management & Distribution and, most recently, executive vice president. KRISTIE GOSHOW joined Preferred Hotels & Resorts as chief marketing officer, effective February 1, 2018, taking over the responsibilities previously held by Casey Ueberroth. In this role, she leads the company’s global marketing strategy, responsible for driving revenue, brand awareness, and engagement through the I Prefer Hotel Rewards program, all brand, regional, and cooperative marketing efforts, and ecommerce and digital marketing initiatives. With 20 years of

Kristie Goshow

vast global experience, Goshow has led teams across the airline, hospitality, and travel technology spaces for companies such as Sabre Hospitality, Jumeirah, and, most recently, Viceroy Hotel Group, where she was responsible for managing the company’s brand marketing, digital, distribution, international sales, and technology strategies as senior vice president of Commercial. In her new position as executive vice president, Corporate Communications & Public Relations, CAROLINE MICHAUD drives the global integrated media relations strategy for Preferred Hotels & Resorts, defines the voice behind messaging campaigns for the company’s executive team, with a focus on Ueberroth’s communications, and is responsible for the company’s intranet and extranet channels. Since joining Preferred Hotels & Resorts in 2012 as senior manager of Public Relations for the Americas, Michaud has orchestrated several extensive media campaigns to elevate the company’s global profile.

Caroline Michaud


weekend

E V E N T S

FORGING NEW RELATIONS Dusit International, one of Thailand’s leading hotel and property development companies, recently organised the India Roadshow 2018 as part of its newly acquired focus on India as a source market for its hotels and resorts.

VALENTINE'S SPECIAL Keys Hotels added their distinctive flair to Valentine’s

PLAYHOUSE FUN Marriott International’s brand, Moxy Hotels, created the ulti-

DRIVE IN STYLE Sofitel Mumbai BKC recently hosted the Vintage & Classic Car

Day this year, celebrating the day of love by lighting up the lives of differentlyabled children. Kids from the Muskan Foundation were invited by the brand to Keys Select Hotel, Nestor in Mumbai.

mate 'playhouse' at the Moxy Tokyo Kinshicho to celebrate the debut of the brand in Japan. Mike Fulkerson, VP, brand & marketing, Marriott International Asia Pacific with Toni Stoeckl, global brand leader were present.

Rally. Biswajit Chakraborty, GM, Sofitel Mumbai BKC with Nitin Dossa, VCCCI were also present at the Vintage Car Rally.

BUY, SCRATCH AND WIN ! Freedom Refined Sunflower Oil announced the winners of the bumper draw of 'Freedom JARCAR Offer'. Famous Tollywood actress Pragya Jaiswal gave away the awards to the lucky winners from Telangana

SWAYING WITH THE GROOVE Recently the 11th edition of SulaFest 2018 was celebrated. This year fest-goers swayed to the tunes of over 100 artists including Bollywood sensation Amit Trivedi and internationally celebrated artists including Gypsy Hill, electronic-folk band Crystal Fighters among others.

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weekend

E V E N T S

Resource Indica : Roots & Revelations, in collaboration with the Embassy of the republic of Indonesia, New Delhi, presented ‘The Pride And Glory Of Bali-yatra’.

DELHI TOURISM CALENDER BAGS AWARD Delhi Tourism, Govt.of Delhi’s Calendar for this year was awarded as exceptionally creative publication (Crystal category) during the annual Conclave of PRCI, at Pune.

HONOURING WOMEN POWER Women from various walks of life were honoured by Rodas an ecotel hotel on the occasion of International Women’s Day. This included RJ Mallishka,Indian film and television actress Tanaaz Irani.

INDIA & MOROCCO STRENGTHEN TRAVEL TIES His excellency Mohamed MALIKI, the ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco along with Cox & Kings Global Services (CKGS) staff at the Travel Agents Meet in New Delhi.

NATURE FOR WATER Meluha, The Fern an ecotel hotel, Mumbai organised a

CELEBRATING WOMANHOOD To celebrate and honour the essence of

Creative Collage Competition to spread awareness about the importance of water for its staff on the occasion of World Water Day.

womanhood, Conrad Pune hosted a week from March 5 to March 8, 2018 to celebrate the diversity that women bring to life.

VOYAGE TO BALI ‘Rediscovering India International Of Yore’, an initiative of

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Sports

2018 FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIATM

Cutting Edge Events Pvt. Ltd. is appointed as Exclusive Sales Agent of MATCH Hospitality in India for the sale of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Official Hospitality Programme.

+91 22 30205903 / 04 , +91 9920752826 Email: sales@cutting-edge.in Web: www.cutting-edge.in

Sports

cuttingedge_sports

CuttingESports

India’s Exclusive Sales Agent R of F1 Experiences REGD.WITH RNI NO. MAHENG/2005/15993,POSTAL REGD. NO. MCS/163/2016 – 18, PUBLISHED ON 11TH EVERY MONTH, POSTED ON 12TH,13TH,14TH OF EVERY MONTH, POSTED AT MUMBAI PATRIKA CHANNEL SORTING OFFICE,MUMBAI – 400001.

CuttingESports

Profile for Indian Express

Express Travelworld (Vol.13, No.3) April, 2018  

India's Foremost Travel Business Magazine

Express Travelworld (Vol.13, No.3) April, 2018  

India's Foremost Travel Business Magazine

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