Page 1


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

CuttingESports

Sports

cuttingedge_sports

CuttingESports

India’s Exclusive Sales Agent R of F1 Experiences


CONTENTS MANAGEMENT Vol 13 No 4 May 2018 Pages 40

29

Chairman of the Board

Viveck Goenka Sr Vice President - BPD

Neil Viegas Editor

Reema Lokesh* Assistant Editor

Steena Joy Sr. Associate Editor

Sudipta Dev CONTENT TEAM Mumbai

THE MANY FACETS OF THAILAND Thailand as a destination continuously reinvents itself with new products which are of great draw for repeat travellers. The recent Mega Familiarisation trip effectively showcased many of these new attractions in the country, for the Indian market

Tanuvi Joe New Delhi

Shivasheesh Srivastava DESIGN National Design Editor

Bivash Barua Assistant Art Director

Pravin Temble Chief Designer

Prasad Tate Senior Designer

Rekha Bisht Graphics Designer

Gauri Deorukhkar Senior Artists

LIFE

Ratilal Ladani, Rajesh Jadhav DIGITAL TEAM Head of Internet

MAKING HAY WHILE IT RAINS

Viraj Mehta Web Developer

Dhaval Das

33

SCHEDULING & COORDINATION

Santosh Lokare Photo Editor

Sandeep Patil MARKETING Regional Heads

Harit Mohanty - East & West Prabhas Jha - North Marketing Team

Debnarayan Dutta Ajanta Sengupta CIRCULATION

Mohan Varadakar

Express TravelWorld spoke to various tourism and hospitality stakeholders on the plans they have undertaken and the promotional activities that they will conduct during the monsoon season to increase tourist arrivals during the rains and push India as a leading monsoon destination to visit

(24-28)

PRODUCTION General Manager

B R Tipnis Manager

MARKETS

Bhadresh Valia Express TravelWorld® POSTAL REGD. NO. MCS/163/2016 – 18 RNI Reg. No.MAHENG/2005/15993 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. (Editorial & Administrative Offices: Express Towers, 1st Floor, Nariman Point, Mumbai – 400021)

13

KINGDOM OF MOROCCO TO OPEN TOURISM OFFICE IN INDIA

18

NBTC PROMOTES HOLLAND AS LUXURY DESTINATION IN INDIA

19

TOURISM MINISTRY, GOOGLE ARTS AND CULTURE BRING INCREDIBLE INDIA CAMPAIGN TO VR

WARUK: A HELPING HAND IN HEAVEN In strife torn Jammu & Kashmir, a group of youngsters called Waruk, are working with the Department of Tourism to give local artisans a platform to showcase their talents

P05 : EDITOR’S NOTE P35 : MOVEMENTS P37 : WEEKEND

HEAD OFFICE MUMBAI EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD® The Indian Express (P) Ltd. Business Publication Division 1st Floor, Express Tower, Nariman Point Mumbai- 400 021 Board line: 022- 67440000 Ext. 527 Branch Offices NEW DELHI Prabhas Jha The Indian Express (P) Ltd. Business Publication Division Express Building, B-1/B Sector 10 Noida 201 301 Dist.Gautam Budh nagar (U.P.) India. Board line: 0120-6651500. Mobile: +91 9899707440 BANGALORE The Indian Express (P) Ltd. Business Publication Division 502, 5th Floor, Devatha Plaza, Residency road, Bangalore- 560025

HYDERABAD The Indian Express (P) Ltd. Business Publication Division 6-3-885/7/B, Ground Floor, VV Mansion, Somaji Guda, Hyderabad – 500 082 KOLKATA Ajanta Sengupta The Indian Express (P) Ltd. Business Publication Division JL No. 29&30, NH-6, Mouza- Prasastha & Ankurhati, Vill & PO- Ankurhati P.S.- Domjur (Nr.Ankurhati Check Bus Stop), Dist. Howrah- 711 409, Mobile: +91 9831182580 Email id: ajanta.sengupta@expressindia.com KOCHI The Indian Express (P) Ltd. Ground Floor, Sankoorikal Building, Kaloor – Kadavanthra Road Kaloor, Kochi – 682 017

COIMBATORE The Indian Express (P) Ltd. No. 205-B, 2nd Floor, Vivekanand Road, Opp. Rajarathinam Hospital Ram Nagar, Coimbatore- 641 009 AHMEDABAD Nirav Mistry The Indian Express (P) Ltd. 3rd Floor, Sambhav House, Near Judges Bunglows, Bodakdev, Ahmedabad - 380 015 Mobile: +91 9586424033 JAIPUR Prabhas Jha The Indian Express (P) Ltd. S2,J-40, Shyam GHP Enclave, Krishna Marg, C-Scheme, Jaipur - 302 001 Mobile: +91 9899707440

Important: Whilst care is taken prior to acceptance of advertising copy,it is not possible to verify its contents.The Indian Express (P) Limited cannot be held responsible for such contents,nor for any loss or damages incurred as a result of transactions with companies,associations or individuals advertising in its newspapers or publications. We therefore recommend that readers make necessary inquiries before sending any monies or entering into any agreements with advertisers or otherwise acting on an advertisement in any manner whatsoever.

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


EDITOR’S NOTE

April thoughts

T

he month of April, highlighted some interesting changes that appeared on the travel and tourism scene, especially in India. From the much discussed 'Monument Mitras' (shortlisted for developing tourist friendly amenities at 95 monuments) to the recently conducted IATO elections, from Qatar Tourism making inroads in the India market, to airlines like flydubai who consider the Indian aviation scene robust for further growth, there have been few noticable changes and discussions in this service industry. There is a lot written and said about the monument adoption plan, which is technically not a new concept. Corporate houses have stepped in and taken responsibility, but this time there was repeated analyses on the how's and why's of the plan. "There is just too much I have spoken and said about the Monument Mitra plan and I am glad you are speaking to me about few other things that are in the pipeline,” said K J Alphons, tourism minister, in an exclusive conversation. The ministry of tourism is clear that it wishes to bring quality tourism into the country and is planning a focused tours road show in key cities of USA from June 17 to 22. China is yet another destination on

“ The ministry is working on promoting India as a strong storyline with focused themes.From Yoga to Ayurveda,the plan is to speak about India's beauty and potential through one minute videos”

the immediate radar. Alphons further added that, the ministry is working on promoting India as a strong storyline with focused themes. From Yoga to Ayurveda, the plan is to speak about India's beauty and potential through one minute videos. On the international scene, Qatar Tourism has awakened to the India outbound opportunity. The country’s national airline already has a strong presence in India and the trade looks at this development as promising especially for the MICE sector. Continuing the conversation on the airline sector, flydubai has expressed interest to further spread its wings in underserved routes. The North East sector of India is what the airline finds promising and it is all ready to support the Government of India in its UDAAN plan. Our cover story this issue is on the potential of monsoon tourism in India. Tour operators can truly look at seasonal tourism closely and promote and project some unique itineraries for their clients to explore. Their hospitality counterparts would be only glad to assist I guess. So happy trekking... REEMA LOKESH Editor editorial.etw@expressindia.com

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

5

May 2018


IN THE NEWS

India’s first Bollywood theme park opens in Maharashtra Tanuvi Joe Mumbai SPENDING over three and a half decades in the film industry, Nitin Desai planned to expand his love for Bollywood to the entire world. MTDC supported his idea and thus was born ND’s Film World, India's first Bollywood theme park creating a novel tourism market altogether. Nitin Desai, today is a household name when it comes to art direction and production design. Seated at his office, surrounded by several accolades and certificates he has collected over these years, we delve a little deeper into Desai's mind and what has led up to him creating India's first Bollywood theme park. “Before when I started out as a production designer, we had to create sets in 2D format. Chanakya was my first project and extensive research went into making the set. Research is a very key factor when it comes to taking the audience back to an era that no longer exists, is just alive maybe through pictures,” says Desai. Recreating periods from then on became Desai's thing. Set on a journey to discovery India, he also unfolded the past of Indian history. Whether it was the 1942 love story or Jungle book or the TV show KBC, Desai didn't shy away from venturing into subjects completely differ-

Nitin Desai

ent from each other. To keep all these memories safe and linger on them once in a while, he has specially maintained a historical library that fulfills that wish too. But it was not always a smooth sailing. “In my time, art direction was not even a job. My mother always questioned me about my work and couldn't understand why I had to give so many hours to this profession. Once I just casually took my mother on a trip to visit one of my sets. She was so mesmerised and moreover proud of what I had made and could make,” exclaims Desai. Given all this, it should come as no surprise that he is the face behind creating India's first Bollywood theme park. To support his idea and give it further impetus, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC)

associated with his studios, named ND Studios and thus was born ND'S Film World. MTDC terms this idea as Mahabhraman. This term encourages an entirely novel concept of tourism. Set in the beautiful landscape of Karjat, the studios has something special for the tourism industry. Speaking further on this project, Desai excitedly says, “Sometimes it would take me months to build a particular set as massive research, material and technology go into recreating eras that the director dreams of having in his films. But what used to pain my heart the most is when after the film was done, the set was dismantled and shattered into pieces. I couldn't grasp this because when I went abroad, many of the studios preserve the sets and keep it

as it is. This is very important as sometimes these sets become timeless and the next generation should be able to go visit them.” After understanding and speaking to various experts, Desai decided that India was not going to be behind in this field especially given how sets bring movie scenes to life connecting the audience to the film's story, making them feel a part of it. Working on this chain of thoughts, Desai has set up a theme park spread over 45 acres in Karjat. Several hit films and television shows like Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, Mangal Pandey, Jodha Akbar, Kick, Dabbang, and Indu Sarkaar, Raja Shiva Chattapati, Bajirao Mastani, Big Boss were shot here. Other major attractions include Sheesh Mahal, village Set-up, Mumbai’s Town Square and

iconic locations such as Fashion Street, Wax Museum, Ghost House, Jail Restaurant, Chor Bazaar and Food Bazaar (Khau Galli). “But what will attract tourists the most, especially domestic tourists is the fact that they can be one with these sets. If they choose to, we have fashion designers and hair and makeup artists that will dress them up and from Madhubala to Julie to Jodha, you can be anything you want. Just recently on the occasion of International Women's Day, we partnered with Veena World and to our amazement, over 8000 women came to fulfil their Bollywood dreams over four days at the theme park, adds Desai. Along with this, Desai is also looking to provide employment opportunities to millions of people by conducting auditions at the park as they have a huge stage and all the possible facilities to create the right scene which they want to enact. He will then send those videos to directors in the industry thus giving these people a smooth platform to showcase their talent. Tour and travel operators can add ND’s Film World in their itinerary not just when it comes to visiting Maharashtra but also when it comes to visiting India in particular as foreign tourists have long been fascinated with Bollywood.

Maharashtra to get new airport at Sindhudurg this year ETW Staff Mumbai MAHARASHTRA will get a new airport at ParuleChipi in Sindhudurg district in 2018. Work on the project is expected to be completed in June this year, before the onset of monsoon and the Ganesh Festival,

6

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

May 2018

which will begin in September this year. The airport is being constructed by IRB Sindhudurg Airport on a design-build-finance-operate-transfer (DBFOT) basis for the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). Sindhudurg airport will have a

2500-meter runway which has provision for future development. The airport will be built at an approximate cost of INR 520 crores. Sindhudurg airport will have the capacity to handle 200 departing and 200 passengers arriving during peak hours with expansion facilities to

serve up to 400 departing and 400 arriving passengers without additional construction. Although the airport will be serving domestic travellers it will be equipped with facilities to serve international charter flights. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has given in-principle ap-

proval and environmental clearance has also been granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forest. An airport in Sindhudurg was necessary in order to provide better connectivity to the Konkan region of Maharashtra, parts of Goa, North Karnataka and Western Maharashtra.


IN THE NEWS

IATO elects new office bearers ETW Staff Mumbai IATO’s elections for the post of office bearers and executive committee members were held recently on April 28, 2018 at The Ashok Hotel, New Delhi.

Total number of votes cast were 313 out of 376 members eligible to vote. The new office bearers/EC members who have been elected are as follows: president - Pronab Sarkar, Swagatam Tours; Sr vice president - E M Najeeb, Air-

travel Enterprises India; vice president - Rajiv Mehra, Uday Tours & Travel; hony. secretary - Rajesh Mudgill, Planet India Travels; hony. treasurer - Ravi Gosain, Erco Travels; hony. joint secretary - Rajnish Kaistha, Paradise Holidays (India); Immediate past

president - Subhash Goyal, Stic Travel. EC members (Active): Raj Bajaj, Adventure world India; Tony Marwah, Indian Travel Promotion Company; P S Duggal, Minar Travels India; Deepak Bhatnagar, Aamantran Travel Company and

Viney Tyagi, Uni Crystal Holidays. EC members (Allied): Sunil Gupta, Travel Bureau; Zia Siddiqui, Alliance Hotels & Resorts and P Vijayasarathi, Benchmark Hotels.

'THE EMPOWERMENTPROGRAM GIVES AN EDGE TO SMALL& MID-SIZED TRAVELAGENCIES' Advantage Travel Partnership has associated with Pricol Travel to launch Advantage Asia Travel Partnership. A Dharmaraj, COO, Advantage Asia Travel Partnership speaks about the travel consortium, bringing international travel services and tools to travel businesses in India by offering Empowerment Program By Sudipta Dev What is the nature of your partnership with Pricol, for the India market? Advantage Travel Partnership is UK’s largest independent travel agency consortium. Pricol Travel has bought the rights to replicate and market the same business model as Advantage Asia Travel Partnership. Pricol Travel, an existing business travel partner of Worldwide Independent Travel Network (WIN) – a majority owned subsidiary of Advantage which operates a global hotel and special products programme, will utilise Advantage’s expertise in travel management to grow India’s first leisure consortium named Advantage Asia Travel Partnership. The Advantage Asia Travel Partnership Consortium provides the necessary edge to smaller or mid-sized holiday travel agencies in Asia and Middle East through its Empowerment Program. This program consists of technology, marketing, trainings, business consulting, suppliers negotiations, net-

A Dharmaraj

working and assistance in designing holiday products. This will enable them to offer best blend of travel products and services. Does Advantage Travel operate only in travel B2B space? Yes, our Empowerment Program is suitable for small to medium sized holiday travel agencies, already in the business and aspiring to grow their business in the leisure travel segment.

Information about your Empowerment Program for travel agencies? In our Empowerment Program, we work closely with our member partners to boost their business by implementing the right technological solutions and offering their customers the most inspirational, yet affordable range of travel products, thereby having access to the world’s best tourism product suppliers. We are looking forward to associate with over hundred agencies within the next three years. How does this program address the many concerns of small and medium operators in India? Also, the benefits of the program for them ? Though there are various travel associations or franchise models that exist in the Indian travel fraternity, however at present it is hard to find a consortium supporting the holiday travel business. We very strongly believe that the holiday agency entrepreneur need

a complete business support system who can help them find their way out from the onslaught of the online players and achieve success. In order to address these issues our Empowerment Program extends the following services to the travel agencies: operations management, marketing, preferred partners, overall business management, trainings, networking opportunities. Your strategy for promotion ? Will you be engaging the travel agent associations? Since the inception of this business, our endeavour is to carve out value for each of our member partners which would impel longer association and holistic success of this partnership. We carry out informative sessions and educational conferences in various parts of India (to begin with) and invite the target agencies to these sessions. These sessions impart knowledge to overcome challenges that these agencies face

on a daily basis and focus on growth. We explain them how Advantage Asia can support their business in achieving the aspired goals. Your future plans for the India market? We have a three step development plan for this program: First to get the best fit agencies as members within the program, which we have already achieved; second, reach the right size to continually deliver value; third, once we believe that the consortium has the right size which we believe is 80+ agencies within India, we will build up on that strength and deliver not just what is existing in the program but also strive for a continued upgrade of all solutions including marketing, technology, suppliers and trainings. Also like what Advantage Travel Partnership UK (our parent brand) has been doing now, providing assistance on holiday products and building futuristic technology.

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

7

May 2018


IN THE NEWS

IGH: A successful partnership Sudipta Dev Mumbai INTERGLOBE Hotels (IGH) is a partnership between InterGlobe Enterprises and Accor Asia Pacific to develop ibis hotels across India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The company has a strong pipeline of hotels, and will have in its portfolio 22 operational properties by 2022. Following the opening of ibis Pune Hinjewadi earlier this year, the company announced the commencement of construction of ibis Vikhroli in Mumbai. ibis Kolkata Rajarhat is expected to start operations soon, while Novotel Richmond Road in Bengaluru will welcome guests by 2020. Construction of ibis hotels at Thane (Mumbai) and Hebbal (Bangalore) is also expected to start soon. Speaking about how the partnership has worked so well, JB Singh, president & CEO, InterGlobe Hotels said, “What this joint venture does is right from inception and planning we have complete visibility what a hotel should look like, the process should look like. From back of the house to every floor is scientifically designed to make it sustainable - energy efficient, employee efficient, all processes are efficient. At the planning stage every light point gets debated, etc.” Singh pointed out that now that there are 18 hotels, they have perfected the whole transition of developing and operating. “We have understood each other's roles in this - as developing and operating partner. When we open a new hotel, everything is mapped out and documented and a lot of stress is taken out. It is all on auto pilot with strong processes. As the hotel nears completion, the Accor team takes over and it seamlessly transitions. Accor wanted to grow in India they were looking for a partner

8

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

May 2018

who understood the market. We have been around a long time.” He asserts there is no competition, "The hotels that we are building are very unique in experience and efficiencies. While there are people dabbling in this space they do not have it put together in a smart way. So we have created a niche for ourselves. The corporate market views us as an efficient and stylised hotel, which gives great value and is consistent with the offerings. We are viewed as a very strong product in terms of hygiene and safety. 80 per cent of our customers are from India, which is a great thing. The Indian consumer likes it. We have tailoured our food offerings along that. 50 per cent of our customers are repeat customers. We get a good mix of corporate and FIT guests.” IGH will keep its focus on the ibis space, however Singh averred that they might put up a Novotel, like in Bangalore. “We want to keep our fo-

Following the opening of ibis Pune Hinjewadi earlier this year, the company announced the commencement of construction of ibis Vikhroli in Mumbai and ibis Kolkata Rajarhat is also expected to start operations soon cus on ibis space as the middle class will double in 10 years. Only 17 per cent of hotels in the market address this middle class. Otherwise they pay so much more. We believe there is a lot of opportunity,” he mentioned. Jean-Michel Cassé, COO, India and South Asia, AccorHotels believes that the partnership is successful because of many reasons. “Interglobe is an ethical company. It

is well established and considers that the hotel industry is complementary to the aviation, distribution, travel industry. Bringing our knowhow along with their own know-how is a very good and beautiful association,” Accor is going to continue focusing on its partnership with Interglobe to further developing and enhancing the ibis Hotels, and also developing the Novotel brand. “We

are also looking at the upscale, luxury space. Since the acquisition of Fairmont Raffles we realise that owners are looking at us differently. We are coming as a real strong opportunity in the market in the luxury space and we are increasingly seeing opportunities. This is the way forward in terms of development.” Pullman Delhi is the only one in India today and Cassé hopes to develop more in India because it belongs to the luxury space. He also pointed out that Sofitel BKC is a powerful brand in Mumbai now. More investments have been made on Fairmont Jaipur. “We are associated with the Banyan Tree and have the right of developing the brand in India - for smaller inventory in luxury leisure space. Either in vineyards, by the sea or the hills - I believe the Banyan tree here is what the leisure market requires in terms of luxury positioning. Banyan Tree is an opportunity,” mentioned Cassé.


IN THE NEWS

‘XOXODAYAIMS TO BUILD ACOMMUNITYOF200,000+ HOSTS SELLING THEIR EXPERIENCES BY2020' Xoxoday, an experience company, seed funded by the Mahindra Group, has built a platform that enables hosting of experiences and makes them available for guests and enterprises to explore and book on the go. Kushal Agarwal, co-founder, Xoxoday, speaks to Steena Joy about how the company plans to tap into this US$ 10 billion market Whose brainchild was Xoxoday? How did the name come about? Xoxoday was started as a gifting company, Giftxoxo.com in 2012. While researching about the gifting market, two of the early founders of the company, Sumit Khandelwal and Manoj Agarwal, discovered the concept of 'Experiences as Gifts'. It was in trend in the US and European markets at that time. Companies like Smartbox (in Europe) and UniqGift (in Singapore) were doing quite well in those countries. Back then, there were no matured players in India and hence we started the 'Experiences as Gifts' business. We, four founders jointly pitched this idea in the market and raised funds from Kshatriya Ventures in 2013. Xoxoday was a name given by the wife of one of the founders, Suruchi Jain, who is a doctor by profession. How did it evolve from Giftxoxo to Xoxoday? Xoxoday's core product happens to be booking of 'Experiences, Activities & Things-todo" in the city. The experiences can be gifted as well as self-consumed. You may consume it when you want to explore a new city or when you want to enjoy your own city during weekends or special occasions. Due to word 'Gift' in Giftxoxo, people treated us as a gifting company. However we were much more than a gifting company and people knew us with the name Xoxo. Hence we deleted the prefix "Gift" and added a suffix 'Day' to Xoxo to make it Xoxoday.

What is Mahindra group's stake in this venture? Are they giving any technical expertise? Mahindra group's investment was a strategic round. One of the business entities of Mahindra Group - Club Mahindra operates in the hospitality industry. Club Mahindra has 200,000+ members. Experiences can be consumed by Club Mahindra members during their holidays as well as when they want to enjoy their own city during weekends. Mahindra group has a 12 per cent stake in Xoxoday. What benefits can accrue to hotels from Xoxoday? Tell us about the Treebo Hotels case study. Whenever you stay in a hotel, you often visit the hotel's travel desk to enquire about things to do in the city. You ask the travel desk manager for the prices too. You may feel the prices he is quoting is either very high or the information he is sharing is incomplete. Upon survey it's been found that, out of 100 people who check into the hotel, 60 people go to the travel desk and only 11 gets converted (buys from travel desk). This is a major missed opportunity for hotels and also a cause for dissatisfaction among their guests. Xoxoday for Hotels is a new hotel-tech product built by Xoxoday. It's a SaaS based product for hotels to generate revenue from selling 'Local Experiences, Activities & Things-todo' to its resident guests. Here as soon as the guest reaches the travel desk, the travel desk manager shows several options

the communications. Xoxoday has created a white-labeled web link treebo.xoxoday.com which is accessible to all the guests. Any hotel which intends to create value for its resident guests can opt for Xoxoday for Hotels. It's a tech partner for its own guests, its travel desk managers and the hotel.

Kushal Agarwal

on a digital screen along with real photos, content, reviews and real-time access to book it. This builds confidence among the guests and purchase decision happens unbiased. Xoxoday for Hotels also lets hotels to build a white-labeled website with transparent backend about the commissions earned on each booking. The commissions are shared between Xoxoday and hotels based on the package a hotel buys. Hotels may even #Host an experience from inside their own hotels or other experience partners they might have. The same can be selectively visible to the world. Treebo has been a strategic partner of Xoxoday. Both are new age companies and see a natural synergy in business. A resident guest at Treebo is educated about the 'Local Experiences, Activities & Things-todo' of the city. It happens when a guest books a Treebo hotel, before the check-in day, at the hotel's reception and in his room. This allows the guest to learn about the city well and he can book it using QR codes in

How do you curate the local experiences/activities? Xoxoday lets #Hosts to selfhost an experience. It allows them to manage their bookings, its inventory, its pictures, its content, its pricing and its FAQs. These experiences go through a content hygiene check, host quality check, social presence check, after which it gets listed on Xoxoday. Xoxoday also sends a feedback form to guests after every booking, which keeps adding into the experience's description. Some of the experiences which are not convincing have been shot in a video. Experiences which receive multiple bad reviews are removed from Xoxoday. Which are your target markets (in terms of demographics and regions)? Experiences can be mainly consumed for two purposes: ● When you're travelling to a city to explore. ● When you want to explore your own city. Currently Xoxoday has 5000+ experiences from 2000+ hosts across 50+ cities in India. Xoxoday sells these experiences primarily via three B2B2C channels: ● Mid and large enterprises use experiences as gifts for employees, channel partners

and associates Digitising travel desk of hotels by providing value to its resident guests ● Experience APIs for travel agents and other travel companies. The overall market size of India pegs to be more than US$ 10 billion. ●

Your insights on millennnial travel? Millennials usually like to consume and move on. They don't want to store things. They don't want usual things. They don't want to travel to usual destinations. They don't want to sit back at home on weekends. They want to do something which is unusual, offbeat and different. Hence the future trends are in Xoxoday's favour! Is the industry in India ready for a platform like Xoxoday? The industry is picking up and has started showing positive trends. Xoxoday is currently serving the market via B2B2C channels. This reduces the cost of education and sales to reach out to consumers. Xoxoday will pickup the B2C channel once the market is ready. Future plans and vision? Whenever you travel, there are three things which you need to take care of: Book travel arrangements, book hotel and book experiences. Xoxoday's goal is to answer the third problem and reach out to consumers via B2B2C and B2C channels. Xoxoday aims to build a community of 200,000+ hosts selling their experiences via its platform by 2020.

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

9

May 2018


IN THE NEWS

Monument mitras shortlisted for developing tourist friendly amenities at 95 monuments ETW Staff Mumbai THE 3RD AWARD Ceremony of Adopt a Heritage Project was conducted by Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), State/UTs Governments in New Delhi recently for awarding the Letters of Intent to the shortlisted agencies under Phase IV of the project. Awarding the Letters of Intent to nine agencies for 22 monuments of Phase-IV, Union Minister for Tourism (IC) K J.Alphons asked the stakeholders to 'protect, pre-

serve and market' the heritage of India. The Minister also emphasised on creation of awareness amongst the corporates and citizens to adopt heritage sites under the project for creation, operation and maintenance of basic and advanced amenities at tourist destinations. The event had a discussion session with the stakeholders in which the concerns and suggestions were made to the minister and Ministry officials. The scheme 'Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan' was originally launched on September 27th 2017 to preserve the rich cul-

tural and natural heritage and to promote tourism across the length and breadth of our country. The project began with selected ASI ticketed monuments and the scope has now been expanded to include other natural and cultural sites across the country. It was strongly emphasised that tourist experience is the prime parameter to evaluate our performance in the sector. As on date, the project has received an encouraging response with over 195 registrations as per the project website. Various agencies that have come forward for adoption in-

clude not only public and private industry, but also schools and individuals. So far, 31 prospective monument mitras have been shortlisted by the Oversight & Vision committee for developing tourist friendly amenities at 95 monuments, heritage and other tourist sites including major heritage sites like Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Hampi, Sun Temple, Ajanta Caves, Char Minar, Kaziranga National Park. Earlier, two MoU’s were been signed between Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir, Govt. of Uttarakhand and Adventure Tour Operators Association of India(ATOAI) for Mt.

Stok Kangri, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir and for Gangotri Temple Area & Trail to Gaumukh in Uttarakhand. Further, two MoUs were also signed for Red Fort, Delhi and Gandikota fort, Andhra Pradesh between Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Archaeological Survey of India and Dalmia Bharat. Rashmi Verma, secretary (Tourism), Satyajeet Rajan, DG (Tourism), Meenakshi Sharma (ADG Tourism) and other officials were present for the event. The event also witnessed wide participation by public and private stakeholders from different parts of the country.

Garuda Indonesia launches Bali Mumbai direct flight Tanuvi Joe Mumbai GARUDA Indonesia, the national flag carrier of Indonesia will serve Denpasar - Mumbai direct flight starting April 23. This new route will offer variety of connection flights to Indonesia for Indian tourists as the airline has served Jakarta – Mumbai route since 2016. Denpasar is the capital city and main hub of Bali. To announce the launch to the Indian travel industry, the tourism ministry of Indonesia organised an event in Mumbai and the key spokespersons from Garuda Indonesia and Tourism ministry of Indonesia were present. The GA-814 flight departs Denpasar at 3:40 p.m. and arrives in Mumbai at 8:25 p.m. Meanwhile, the GA-815 flight

10

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

May 2018

takes off from Mumbai at 9:50 p.m. and lands in Denpasar the next day at 7:55 a.m. (All times are local). The airline has deployed its Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the route, which has a seat configuration of 36 seats in Business Class and 186 seats in Economy Class Pahala N Mansury, president & CEO, Garuda Indonesia, said,

“Before without direct flights from India to Indonesia, the tourist arrivals from India to our country has always been phenomenally high. This is why with the introduction of direct flights, we hope to take those numbers to another level. We got over 500,000 tourist arrivals from India in 2017 and we want to push this number to 700,000 by next

year.” The government of Indonesia has given the tourism industry top priority in 2018 and various new infrastructure and hospitality ammenties are being introduced. With respect to tourist arrivals from other countries, China is number one, Japan was on six and Korea is on seven. But in recent times, India is now on the sixth position of those arrivals. To Bali alone, India ranks third when it comes to tourist arrivals, after China and Australia. Indonesia recorded a growth of 6.9 per cent from India to Bali during January and February, 2018 with 805,538 tourist arrivals. Arief Yahya, minister of tourism, Republic of Indonesia, further commented on this launch, “India has always remained a partner in our growth and by the numbers, one of the

important markets for Indonesia. The opening of the new service from Mumbai to Denpasar will strengthen the relationship between Indonesia and India. India has become a promising market for Garuda Indonesia as the number of Indian tourists visiting the country has increased by 21.6 per cent in 2017. This is the highest growth noted as compared to other countries as Bali is one of prime tourist attractions for Indian travellers in Indonesia.” The ministry of Tourism, Indonesia also spoke about Bali plus, where various packages for places like Komodo, Lombok and Lake Toba are planned to increase awareness about destination cities other than Bali. New concepts were discussed like Nomadic tourism and digital tourism.


IN THE NEWS

Safir Tours promotes Great Australian Rail Journeys

Tourism NewZealand launches new streamlined visa process for Indian visitors to NZ Tanuvi Joe Mumbai

Sudipta Dev Mumbai MELBOURNE based Safir Tours, a bespoke DMC, is promoting Great Australian Rail Journeys for 2018-2019 in the Indian market. The packages are - The Ghan train that departs Adelaide every Sunday for Alice Spring; and the Indian Pacific train that takes travellers across the coast of Australia – East to West from Sydney to Perth or vice versa. Highlighting the key attractions for Indian travellers, Nayaz Noor, CEO, Safir Tours said, “It offers the Indian traveller a different way to see and experience the central part of Australian outback and its vast stretches of landscape that is completely different from the

rest of the continent. A unique journey that is unmatched. It combines luxury with the rugged scenic beauty of the Australian red soil terrain. Most of all it offers the Indian traveller bragging rights to have done a journey in Australia that is once in a life time and so different from the others.” With a continent as large as the USA, train travel on The Ghan and Indian Pacific gives a different perspective to the experience one encounters, pointed out Noor. It is an all inclusive experience. Informing about the facilities, he added, “The trains have Platinum and Gold Class services each with their own lounges and restaurant area for the guests. Three course meals for Gold Class and five course for Platinum. All bev-

erages including wines, spirits are included. Coffee/tea/canapes in the lounge throughout the journey, commentary on the train, its history and sights along the way on a channel in the cabins, streaming music on other channels, en-suite bath rooms for Gold and Platinum twin cabins, water and tea/coffee making facilities on board, a small souvenir shop. Reminding that journeying from South to North or East to west or vice versa, the stark emptiness is in itself an attraction, Noor mentioned that the itinerary is a total contrast to visiting just the cities in Australia. “Learning about the indigenous culture in the off-train excursions allows one to become a part of it in some ways,” he stated.

TOURISM New Zealand and Immigration New Zealand launched an extension of the Tourism Industry Partnership (TIP) programme to enable quicker processing of visitor visa applications for the Indian leisure traveller. Riding on the success of the previous partnership between Immigration New Zealand (INZ), Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) and important travel agents, the Tourism Industry Partnership (TIP) programme has now been extended to leisure agents. Steven Dixon, regional manager, South and SouthEast Asia, Tourism New Zealand signed a MoU between INZ, TNZ and key travel agents of India at a ceremony held recently in Mumbai. Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Dixon said, “We are targeting the 25-54 age group demographic and from families to multi generational travellers, we hope that this new visa process, with faster processing time will make it easier for these Indian travellers to come to New Zealand and experience the culture and beauty of the

country.” Marcelle Foley, head of operations, Immigration New Zealand commenting on the partnership said, “We hope that with our faster visa processing, Indians that find it usually difficult to plan their leaves way in adavnce, don't have to worry about last minute plans when it comes to visiting New Zealand. Now with a click of a button, sitting anywhere they can apply for their visas and we hope that in the future we're able to push ourselves to make the process even more simpler and cumbersome free. We're very glad that we're extending this programme to some of the important travel agents in the Indian market.” Four travel agents were present at the signing, namely, Thomas Cook (India), SOTC Travel, Cox & Kings and Kulin Kumar Holidays who are the preferred suppliers for the TIP Programme and will be responsible for bringing high value visitors to New Zealand. In the year ending February 2018, 3.77 million international visitors arrived in New Zealand: an increase of 6.5 per cent on the previous year and Indian tourist arrivals also have a major share in these numbers.

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

11

May 2018


IN THE NEWS

SriLankan Airlines plan to expand operations to Goa, Ahmedabad Tanuvi Joe Mumbai SRI LANKA and India, the two culturally strong nations go way back and over the years, have developed a deep bond of friendship. SriLankan Airlines has been greatly instrumental in facilitating this bond. Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Udeni Perera, manager of Western India, SriLankan Airlines discusses about this bond and how the airlines is pushing further for increase of Indian tourists arrivals to Sri Lanka in the future. Udeni Perera says, “The Sri Lankan carrier has adopted a new concept called the neo-concept. Through this concept, we hope to be more eco-friendly and create a sustainable environment to travel in. Apart from this, we also firmly believe in the spirit of hospitality and following this philosopy, our aircrafts are designed to make the traveller's experience fulfilling.” Sri Lanka offers its travellers

Udeni Perera

long stretches of virgin beaches, plenty of greenery to meditate and wildlife that can be seen only here. But what mainly attracts Indian travellers is the deeply rooted religious and cultural traditions the country offers. “The Indian market has always been a top priority for us and both these nations are very similar in their values and tradition. Sri Lanka is very symbolic when it comes to the Ramayana which attracts many Indian

Following the visit of the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi last year to Sri Lanka where he took part in the International Vesak Day celebrations and addressed Indian-origin Tamils, ties between both countries have been strengthened

12

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

May 2018

travellers. To further increase this number, a port-city will be built spread over 500 acres of land which will have entertainment and nightlife for the visitors,” Perera mentioned. To boost Indian tourist arrivals, Sri Lanka offers visa on arrival services and has increased flights from metro cities in India to cities in Sri Lanka. Following the visit of the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi last year to Sri Lanka where he took part in the International Vesak Day celebrations and addressed Indian-origin Tamils, ties between both countries have been strengthened. Perera commented on how the SriLankan flight connectivity is supporting this. “Currently, the airlines operates 145 flights per week to India across 14 destinations. We're also leasing aircrafts like A3 20, A3 21 and A3 30 some of which will be the neo ones. Apart from just a religious destination, Sri Lanka is been widely promoted as a wedding destination and that is made possible with hotels like Anantara and Shangrila. Also with the country being promoted as a MICE destination, Sri Lankan airlines has seen quite a few MICE visitors like Mahindra, Bajaj, SBI, ICCI and Ceat tyres to the country. We plan to expand operations in Goa and Ahmedabad. By 2025, we hope to double our existing numbers and expand to several other cities.” Apart from India, SriLankan irlines partnership with Oneworld Alliance has helped them connect to over 1000 destinations in 150 countries.

Nijhawan Group and Turkish Airlines conduct FAM trip for Indian travel agents to Bosnia and Herzegovina ETW Staff Mumbai NIJHAWAN Group in partnership with Turkish Airlines recently conducted a familiarisation trip for top travel agents from India. The aim was to increase the knowledge of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a versatile tourist destination and to ensure the better visibility amongst travel trade fraternity in India. The travel trade partners who participated in the FAM trip from India were Cox and Kings, Thomas Cook, N Chirag Travels, Carnation Travels, Pacific World, Khanna Enterprises, Krisia Holidays and Aurora Travels. Two staff representatives from Turkish Airlines and two escorts from Nijhawan Group joined in the trip to ensure the trip proceeded smoothly on schedule as planned. The group visited Sarajevo, Blagaj, Mostar, Mokka Gora, Zlatibor and Belgrade. The trip aimed at showcasing some of the best hotels to the agents educating them about the various offerings Bosnia as a tourist destination has in the luxury living space. This trip will help the travel agents to create their customised itineraries with different experiences which will further result in promoting Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is an unexplored destination. Ankush Nijhawan,

The trip educated the agents about the various offerings Bosnia has to offer in the luxury living space managing director, Nijhawan Group said, “The group who participated in the FAM trip loved Bosnia as a tourist destination, its properties, various attractions and cuisine. We look forward to reengaging and working with these valuable partners in 2018 and beyond.” Her further commented, “The FAM trip was a good opportunity to let the agents experience the hotels along with other popular attractions in Bosnia that will help them advice clients planning a trip to Europe accordingly.” Visiting these destinations provides the travel agents with firsthand knowledge that helps them to better promote Bosnia and Herzegovina and convince their clients to book travel to Europe. The travel trade fam tour was a huge success for both the travel agents and destination partners.


IN THE NEWS

Kingdom of Morocco to open tourism office in India

Mohamed Maliki

Sudipta Dev Mumbai THE KINGDOM OF Morocco is very focused on the India market and is opening a tourism office in New Delhi soon. This information was given by His Excellency Mohamed Maliki, the ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco at the opening of the new Morocco Visa Application and Information Centre in Mumbai. The Kingdom of Mo-

rocco is associating with Cox & Kings Global Services (CKGS) to open 12 visa application centres across India. Reminding that Morocco is a destination that sells easily, Maliki said, “It is one of the oldest countries in the world. Geographically, it is strategically positioned, between the Arab world, Africa, Europe and the nearest point to the US. It is somehow at the centre of the world, at that part of the world. We have old diplo-

matic traditions, the ambassadors of Morocco almost go back to 1600 years.” Relations between Morocco and India go back to the 11th century. Morocco received 11.30 million tourists in 2017 – world ranking 25th. “11.30 million is below our target but it is one-third the population of our country. It has unique selling points and has been attracting repeat visitors, who have visited the country at least twice. There is a growing

intent among Indians to travel,” stated Maliki, adding that the country was visited by 21,850 Indian passport holders (including NRIs), from India the number of visas issued was approximately 15,000. The embassy is expecting to double the figures by 2019. From FITs to MICE and wedding groups, Morocco has a lot to offer as an exotic new destination for Indians. There are modern conferencing facilities and good infrastructure. It also

meets the demands of vegetarian travellers. It has always been popular with Hollywood, but now Bollywood has also discovered Morocco, e.g. some parts of the movie Tiger Zinda Hai and Raees was shot there. “Moroccans are Bollywood movie fans and there are many movie halls in the country showing only Hindi movies,” mentioned Maliki, adding that there are many incentives for film shooting. It is also well connected with India by some Middle Eastern airlines. Maliki hopes that with the signing of the newly revised air service agreement between the two countries, will lead to more flights and also bring down the fare charges.

KFTwins at Traveller Made award ceremony ETW Staff Mumbai ON MARCH 19, 2018, the fourth Traveller Made award ceremony took place during the Gala Dinner at the Essence of Luxury Travel show in Deauville. Traveller Made Member Travel Designers rewarded hotels, DMC partners and one

Preferred Destination who have delivered outstanding services to their clients. Traveller Made Partners also rewarded Traveller Made Member Travel Designers for their excellence in mastering 5 extraordinary expertise. The 17 award winners are amongst the finest professionals of the luxury travel industry worldwide.

Sanjay Arya, CEO, KFT Corporation won at the Traveller Made Award Ceremony under the Supplier Knowledge category. KFT has over 150 years of combined experience with around 10,000 clients. Travellers can choose from over 200 destinations that are specially scouted and profiled to provide the traveller with the

best experience no matter which destination he/she chooses to travel to. KFT handcrafts experiences according to the customer’s taste and interests. Keeping this in mind, Traveller Made found it fit to give the award to Sanjay Arya, who uses his expertise knowledge to deliver the best service and experience to travellers.

Sanjay Arya

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

13

May 2018


East Sikkim

Department of Information & Public Relations Government of Sikkim

E

ast Sikkim offers visitors an interesting concoction of the quaint and the modern, be it the cosmopolitan M.G Marg in Gangtok or the serpentine Old Silk Route in Dzuluk. Sightings of the State Animal, the adorable Red Panda and the mesmerizing Memencho Lake are sure to fill ones heart with delight.


West Sikkim

W

est Sikkim like other districts of Sikkim is rich in history. Visitors can indulge in the Rabdentse Palace Ruins (Heritage Monument of ASI), holy and highly revered ancient monasteries like Dubdi, Tashiding and enthralling trekking routes which are accompanied by sweeping views of the mighty Mt. Khangchendzonga within the area of Khangchendzonga National Park which is a UNESCO Mixed World Heritage Site. R.O. No : 253/IPR/Pub/Dis/17-18

Dated: 24.03.2018


Nor Sikkim

N

orth Sikkim is home to snow-capped mountain peaks and glistening turquoise lakes which are found in plenty in the region and all over Sikkim as well. Cho Lhamu Lake, Gurudongmar Lake and the abundance of flora and fauna in the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary in the Yumthang Valley attracts visitors from near and far alike.


Sou Sikkim

S

outh Sikkim offers spiritual retreats like the Char Dhaam at Namchi with the 87 ft. tall statue of Lord Shiva and replicas of four revered Dhaams of the country, the 120 ft. statue of the buddhist Guru Padmasambhava at Samdruptse and the 130 ft. majestic statue of Lord Buddha at Tathagata Tsal, Rabongla. Visitors can also indulge in organic tea grown and brewed at the Temi Tea Gardens which is famous the world over. R.O. No : 253/IPR/Pub/Dis/17-18

Dated: 24.03.2018


IN THE NEWS

NBTC promotes Holland as luxury destination in India Shivasheesh Srivastava Mumbai MOVING AHEAD WITH the motto 'Supporting the known, introducing the new', Netherlands presents a different avatar to tourist groups and business travellers and showcases the country as an attractive destination for holidays, business meetings, conventions and weddings. Since most visitors would visit Amsterdam, therefore this year Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions (NBTC) plans to promote Netherlands beyond Amsterdam. Addressing a press meet at the Embassy of Netherlands, Alphonsus Stoelinga, ambassador of Netherlands spoke about the growth factors with respect to aviation. He said, “We are registering growth in every aspect. Mentioning specially about aviation, it is clearly evident that the main growth was

witnessed after 2016 when we had a joint venture with the Jet Airways. Also, visa applications increased by three times from 32,000 applications per year to 100,000 applications per year.” 2017 ended with 30 per cent growth rate as compared to 2016, so 2018 is also predicted to conclude with double digit growth. There was also a hike in direct air capacity. Elaborating about upcoming marketing activities,

Stoelinga said, “NBTC along with Jet Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Schiphol will run joint co-operation partnerships with travel agents and OTAs.” “Also, we will be running an extensive destination training sales blitz for better penetration and improving destination knowledge in tier two markets. Under this programme, our sales team will visit the key agents in their cities and pro-

vide customised training. This would include leisure agents, luxury agents, and online travel agents in cities like Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Hyderabad, Pune, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Udaipur and Bangalore,” he mentioned. Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld abou new initiatives to further boost the diplomatic ties between India and Netherlands, Stoelinga said, “Because of the visit of prime minister Narendra Modi in 2017, that zone of comfort between the two countries has strengthened considerably. Our prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende visited India in the year 2007, followed by prime minister Mark Rutte again visiting India in 2015 and he will be visiting India this year by the end of this month. We are the second largest exporter of agricultural produce in flowers. We have a huge agro economy

driven by latest technologies. We have introduced apple trees here that yield five times more produce as compared to normal apple tree. We have set up seed companies providing hybrid seeds for tomatoes, cucumber, eggplants and onions.” “During the visit of our prime minister, we want to support Haryana as the state has water related problems, rice related issues, grains and Horticulture. Keeping these in mind, University of Horticulture will be established in Haryana to help them with agriculture and horticulture related issues. We also intend to set up supply chains and super markets like we did in Karnataka, for facilitating easy distribution and delivering quality produce. We are also working with companies like Tech Mahindra in the field of agriculture to boost existing agricultural produce,” he stated.

GNTO launches Culinary Germany as the global marketing theme for 2018 Shivasheesh Srivastava Mumbai TODAY WHEN EXPERIENTIAL travel is rapidly gaining pace in leisure travel among countries, the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) has launched 'Culinary Germany-More to Explore' as its core global marketing theme this year. With a purpose of showcasing Germany as a favoured culinary destination a press conference was organised in New Delhi recently. Addressing the gathering, Romit Theophilus, director,

18

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

May 2018

sales and marketing, GNTO, India said, “Food forms an integral part of any traveller's itinerary. Experiencing the local flavours helps enhance the flavour of any holiday and makes for everlasting impressions. With over 5,000 beers from 1,300 breweries, 300 types of bread, 1,500 types of sausage, 13 wine regions, 292 Michelin-starred restaurants and 3,000 to 5,000 Christmas markets, Germany is sure to satiate any traveller's appetite. From 'Pannfisch' fried fish in the north to green sauce and 'Bratwurst' sausages in Cen-

tral Germany to dumplings, 'Maultaschen' pasta pockets and 'Eisbein' ham hock in the South-German cuisine is as diverse as the country's varied landscape.” Germany is among the top destinations for India outbound. The country witnessed 8,52,224 visitor overnights in 2017 registering a growth of 13.8 per cent over 2016. GNTO has also predicted that there would be five to eight per cent growth in visitor overnights for the year 2018. “We have witnessed a rise in solo travellers to Germany including

both men and women above 18 years of age. Around 44 percent of travellers belong to MICE segment and visit Munich, Cologne and Berlin in large numbers," said Theophilus. According to the Quality Monitor survey of the German tourism industry and the Global Web Index, four per cent of international holidaymakers come to Germany specifically for the variety and quality of its food and drinks. The sector, therefore, contributes at least 3.2 million overnight stays to Germany’s

inbound tourism. 53 per cent of holidaymakers from abroad say that going to restaurants and cafes is one of their favourite things to do, besides sightseeing and visiting museums and exhibitions. 40 percent of international guests like to experience typical regional cuisine while on holiday in Germany. On being asked about the popularity of Indian cuisine in Germany, Theophilus informed, “Indian cuisines are very popular. There are around 2000 Indian restaurants across Germany.”


IN THE NEWS

Tourism ministry, Google Arts and Culture bring Incredible India campaign to VR ETW Staff Mumbai FROM A GOA beach, to a teeming bazaar of Delhi, to a close view of the Guru Granth Sahib in Amritsar’s Golden Temple, Google Arts and Culture brings India’s heritage, festivity, spirituality and adventure to users in form of a new 360-degree video. Created in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism for its international tourism campaign 'Incredible India', the video takes viewers on a journey to some of the most iconic destinations in India like

Hampi’s Vitthala Temples and Qutub Minar in Delhi. Speaking about India as a destination of diverse experiences, Union tourism minister K J Alphons said, “India is an iconic destination that offers unique experiences of climate, geography, culture, art, literature, and food. We want to give people in India and across the world an opportunity to immerse in our country’s rich heritage. Through our partnership with Google, we want to engage new and global audiences and offer them immersive content in a never-before-seen manner.” The Google teams visited Hampi, Delhi, Goa and Amritsar

over 12 days to capture 'stunning slices of life that typify each place' using the best of 360-degree video capture technology, including Google’s Yi Halo camera. “After 12 days in India, and

over 40 hours of travel, we had transversed India. The music is inspired by the rhythms and melodies of the regions depicted in the video,” the company said in a blog post.

For Google Cardboard users the experience will be even more gratifying as they can turn the 360-video into a fully immersive Virtual Reality experience. “Google Arts & Culture brings the best of travel experiences from the world to the fingertips of culturally curious people and travel enthusiasts. Through our partnership with ministry of tourism for their internationally acclaimed Incredible India! campaign, we want to bring new and global audiences to India’s rich heritage and history,” said Luisella Mazza, head of operations, Google Arts & Culture.

Foreigners can now travel to Nagaland,Mizoram,Manipur unrestricted: Home ministry ETW Staff Mumbai FOREIGN TOURISTS, EXCEPT those from Pakistan, China and Afghanistan, would now be allowed to visit some of the most pristine locations of the country which, so far, were out of bounds for them without a special permit, officials said today. The home ministry has decided to relax the six-decadeold Protected Area Permit regime from Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur for five years with effect from April 1, a ministry official said. Under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958, all areas falling between the Inner line and the International Border of some states were declared as protected areas. The protected areas currently include whole of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim, besides parts of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan,

Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. Some parts of Sikkim fall under the protected area regime while others under the restricted area. “A review is underway to lift the PAP from other areas too,” another official said. Citizens from Pakistan, China and Afghanistan, however, continue to be banned from all PAP areas, including Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur. As per a December 30, 2010 circular of the ministry, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland were excluded from the protected area regime initially for a period of one year from January 1, 2011, subject to some conditions. As per the guidelines, a foreign national is not normally allowed to visit a protected or restricted area unless the government is satisfied that there are extraordinary reasons to justify his or her visit. Every foreigner, except a citizen of Bhutan, who desires to enter and stay in a protected or restricted area, is required

to obtain a special permit from a competent authority having the power to issue such permits. In cases, where the power to issue such permits has not been delegated to a subordinate authority by the Union government, the application for the special permit has to be referred to the home ministry for prior approval, at least eight weeks before the date of the expected visit. With an aim to promote tourism, the govern-

ment, time to time by notification, exempts some of such restricted or protected areas from the need of special permission for foreigners to visit them. Necessary powers have been delegated to various authorities to issue such special permits without the prior approval of the home ministry to facilitate foreign tourists subject to the certain exceptions. In cases of foreign diplomats,

including the members of the United Nations and international organisations holding diplomatic or official passports, the special permits to visit such protected or restricted areas are issued by the ministry of external affairs. In cases of the citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan and foreign nationals of Pakistani origin, no permit, however, can be issued without the prior approval of the Union home ministry.

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

19

May 2018


IN THE NEWS

SOTC Travel ventures into Forex business ETW Staff Mumbai SOTC TRAVEL HAS ventured into the Forex business to provide customers with a one stop solution for their entire travel related requirement, thus bringing convenience to the traveller to book forex. Users will have access to the best rates for foreign exchange and based on customer requirement they could either collect it from the store or have it home delivered. To bring complete transparency, SOTC showcases the exchange rates in real time and delivers the order to the customer’s doorstep. SOTC engages in the FFMC business which enables it to not only service such requirements internally but also make an entry into retail and wholesale foreign exchange business, thereby opening up another revenue stream. Speaking on the launch, Vishal Suri, managing director, SOTC Travel said,� The main priorities of Indians travelling abroad are secure and hassle-free travel, easy access to foreign currency and convenience of making payments. With the launch of the forex business, SOTC offers all these benefits and more. It aims to provide the ease of travel with utmost security feature to the target audience. As a company, SOTC is focusing on the growing travel requirements of the millennial and looks forward to making a mark in this segment. Since its launch in Mumbai, SOTC has observed immense potential in this business and will extend its forex services in Delhi shortly�.

India ranks 2nd as fastest growing nation for passenger traffic: ACI ETW Staff Mumbai INDIA HAS BEEN projected to be the second fastest growing country in the world for passenger traffic by the Airports Council International (ACI) in its traffic forecasts between 2017-40. In its forecasts, the ACI said by 2022, passenger traffic in emerging economies like India would surpass advanced economies. Passenger traffic in emerging economies would touch 5.4 billion, slightly ahead of advanced economies at 5.3 billion by 2022. By 2040, international passenger traffic would attain parity with domestic traffic, meaning more and more number of people would travel off shore with heightened economic activities, it said.

20 EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD May 2018

The ACI, a global trade body representing airports across the globe, has put Vietnam at the top position with a 8.5 per cent growth rate, followed by India at 7.5 per cent and Iran at 7.3 per cent. China has been placed at the 8th position with

5.9 per cent growth rate. The Asia-Pacific region would continue to show a healthy growth rate and between 2017-40, the passenger traffic growth rate would be 38.8 per cent, the fastest in the world. The growth in Europe

would be 26 per cent and 8.4 per cent in North America, indicating that Asia-Pacific region would shape the future of the global aviation industry. Describing the middle east at the 'aviation bridge', the ACI said the strong growth in the

region was because of its strategic location and liberalised market. This had enabled the region to be developed into an international hub, connecting long haul flights from east and west, north and south. Earlier, in its report, ACI had said that India was poised to be one of the largest aviation markets in the world in the years to come and it placed the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi among the top twenty busiest airports in the world, putting it at the 16th position. Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai were also ranked among the fastest growing airports in the world with an year-over-year growth of 26.9 per cent, 19.6 per cent, 12.9 per cent and 10.5 per cent, respectively during 2017, the ACI said.


IN THE NEWS

JetSetGo acquires Indo Pacific Aviation ETW Staff Mumbai JETSETGO RECENTLY ANNOUNCED the acquisition of Indo Pacific Aviation – India’s oldest non-scheduled aircraft operator (NSOP) with operations in India. Incorporated in 2014 and for the first time aggregating India’s available private jets and helicopters, JetSetGo has rapidly grown to have pan India presence becoming the country’s largest private aviation

company that offers cost-efficient air connectivity with 2,800 aircraft movements executed last financial year alone. Typically managing and executing chartered flights through DGCA approved nonscheduled operator permits that are owned by others, the acquisition of Indo Pacific Aviation now gives far more flexibility to JetSetGo to directly manage its own fleet and to provide on demand air connectivity. It will also offer its customer’s aircraft sales & acquisition, fleet

management and other aviation support services. Speaking about the acquisition, Kanika Tekriwal, CEO, JetSetGo said, “As the oldest NSOP and having truly created the aircraft management market in the country, Indo Pacific has been instrumental in many ways in the growth of the private jet and helicopter market in India. Indo Pacific has far too many firsts to its credit and we are excited that this acquisition brings together the values of the old with the dy-

namism of the young. This acquisition now gives a significant boost to our ability to grow our fleet and offer unique services and next generation aircraft for personalised on-demand mobility.” With rapid growth in the domestic civil aviation market and increasing global investor focus on hybrid electric planes, flying taxis and disruptive transportation models, JetSetGo has been positioning itself well at the centre of India’s evolving on-demand air travel

market with a simple vision to enable the fastest form of travel from any Point A to Point B at a time when most forms of commute unfortunately remain far too inefficient in the country for a variety of reasons. Unlike most start-ups in the country that continue to burn cash, JetSetGo has been cash flow positive from inception. Government approval from the DGCA and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) was obtained prior to completing the transaction.

Philippine Airlines appoints Bird Group as GSAin India ETW Staff Mumbai PHILIPPINE AIRLINES (PAL), the flag carrier of Philippines has appointed Bird Travels, the Airline Management Services arm of Bird Group as its local representative in India. The association marks the airline’s latest step in developing its sales distribution network within the Indian market. The appointment of Bird Travels is part of the intensive preparations undertaken by Philippine Airlines to realise its firm plans to commence operations to India by Winter 2018. Reinforcing the airline’s commitment and growing confidence in the market, Bird Travels is given the challenge to take responsibility for all the airline's sales, marketing and ticketing activities in India through its centrally located headquarters in New Delhi. “India's tourism industry is expanding rapidly and already we’re seeing a steady flow of leisure and business travellers flying between India and Philippines. Bird Group is a veteran in air travel management and we

India's tourism industry is expanding rapidly and we’re seeing a steady flow of leisure and business travellers flying between India and Philippines. Bird Group is a veteran in air travel management and we are challenging them to capitalise on their strength to help successfully launch our upcoming flights to New Delhi and Mumbai

are challenging them to capitalise on their strength and capabilities to help successfully launch our upcoming flights to New Delhi and Mumbai and help us strengthen our presence in India and enhance the quality of our services for the Indian market,” said Ryan Uy, vice president, Sales, Philippine Airlines. With over 45 years of experience, Bird Group is wellpositioned in the important Indian cities with a team of seasoned marketing professionals. “We are delighted to be associated with Philippine Airlines and look forward to building a strong partnership. Armed with our extensive local knowledge and experienced team, Bird Travels is wellequipped and committed to promote the airline's presence in the country." said Vijay Bhatia, president, Bird Group. PAL’s planned services from New Delhi and Mumbai to Manila will enable India-based travellers to easily access over 31 destinations in the Philippines, out of PAL’s hubs in Manila, Clark, Cebu and Davao.

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

21

May 2018


IN THE NEWS

L.A.Tourism launches L.A .Insider for Indian travel trade professionals ETW Staff Mumbai LOS ANGELES TOURISM & Convention Board (L.A. Tourism) recently launched 'L.A. Insider,' a new online training tool for travel trade professionals. The mobile and tabletfriendly program is the first of its kind for L.A. Tourism. It has been designed to help travel trade across the globe - includ-

ing India - better sell the city and stay up-to-date with its latest offerings by means of international market-specific modules. Demand for a bespoke online portal of information and selling tools for the travel trade is strong and growing, as global demand to visit Los Angeles continues its rapid upward trajectory. 48.3 million tourists visited L.A. in 2017, a figure that is expected to reach 50 million by

2020. The city continues to gain preference among Indian travelers as well. 2017 saw 1.2 lakh Indians travelling to Los Angeles. India is an important and rapidly growing market for L.A. Tourism and Indian traveller trends and demands have inspired added efforts to tap the market potential. “We're proud to launch such an advanced training programme, one that will help our

clients discover L.A. like an insider and sell L.A. like an expert,” said Ashlee Ciora, senior director, Tourism. It can be difficult to stay on top of all the new developments - L.A. Insider aims to provide the travel trade with a one-stop-shop platform for everything they need. L.A. Insider, developed by TravPRO which also launched Visit California's STAR programme, will provide easy ac-

cess to L.A. Tourism's marketing assets, sales collateral such as factsheets, maps, videos and even neighborhood tours in virtual reality. The programme also provides information on the gateway to the West Coast, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and updates on the airport's multi-billion dollar modernisation programme with multimedia assets added as they become available.

Santa Monica Travel & Tourism appoints Sartha Global Marketing as its India Representative Office ETW Staff Mumbai SANTA MONICA TRAVEL & Tourism (SMTT), the official destination marketing organisation of the city of Santa Monica has announced the appointment of Sartha Global Marketing as its representative office in India. Sartha Global Marketing has been tasked to implement ongoing public relations and travel trade programmes, to educate potential travellers on the destination’s unique attributes, thereby attracting a larger number of Indian visitors to Santa Monica. Santa Monica Travel & Tourism was introduced to the India market in Fall 2017 by attending Visit California’s mission featuring destination CEOs from across the state. Visit California sees India as one of the fastest growing inbound markets for the state and is currently investing $1 million each year into tourism development there. Santa Monica is Los Angeles’ beach city, a seaside town with all of the culture, events

22

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

May 2018

and urban amenities of a bustling metropolis. Speaking on this new collaboration, Misti Kerns, president & CEO, Santa Monica Travel & Tourism states, “We are very excited to enter the Indian market via our representative office with Sartha Global Marketing. Santa Monica is a very

walkable city and an ideal location for travellers to use as a base for a Southern California visit. Our restaurants, cafes and the shopping options not only attract the tourists visiting LA but also the celebrities from Hollywood. With its proximity to Los Angeles International

Airport and year-round excellent weather, it is no surprise that National Geographic named Santa Monica one of the 'Top Ten Beach Cities in the World'. Sheema Vohra, managing director, Sartha Global Marketing added, “From pristine beaches to lively open spaces,

delectable culinary offerings and high-end shopping, there’s so much that Santa Monica has to offer that would excite the Indian traveller. We are thrilled to represent Santa Monica Travel & Tourism in India and support their efforts to attract leisure, business and conference clientele from India.”


NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

Ezeego1 - YOLO Abu Dhabi Jw Marriott Jaipur Resort And Spa, Rajasthan E

zeego1, an Indian online travel market place, launched its contemporary range of holiday products for Abu Dhabi, designed for the rapidly emerging affluent millennial class. YOLO (You Only Live Once) is a series aimed at presenting holiday products with a modern twist for the highly restless, globe-trotting, yet value driven Indian millennial traveller. The YOLO Abu Dhabi offers a unique mix of packaged and unbundled options, giving the traveller the complete freedom to design their own holiday. The product

range also features a mix of tradition and modernity, which Abu Dhabi offers in abundance. Whilst the rich heritage and traditions have been one of the key attractions, YOLO Abu Dhabi recommends the traveller to experience the one of its kind and spell binding, The Louvre Abu Dhabi, the unbeatable Ferrari World experience and host water sport activities including kayaking and the Yellow Boat Tour. YOLO Abu Dhabi also has a host of interesting night life recommendations, catering to the millennial traveller.

Park Regis Lotus Hotel, Bahrain S

tayWell Holdings recently announced the expansion of its Park Regis brand into Bahrain with the opening of the country’s first Park Regis hotel in the city of Manama (Juffair). The brand-new 19-storey hotel offers 164 luxuriously appointed guest rooms, an onsite fitness centre with 24-hour gymnasium and lap pool, and state-of-the-art business facilities. The hotel’s business facilities offer a superior accommodation and conference solution for corporate travellers, including two fully equipped meeting rooms, offering spectacular views of Bahrain and a range of facilities and services. Centrally located in Bahrain’s capital of Manama, Park Regis Lotus Hotel has easy access to the diplomatic area, financial centre, Bahrain Bay in Manama, major shipping centres and Bahrain’s largest mosque, the Al Fateh Mosque.

M

arriott International (NASDAQ: MAR) recently announced the opening of the JW Marriott Jaipur Resort & Spa, marking the debut of the global luxury brand in India's fabled 'Pink City'. Nestled among the green hills of the ancient Aravalli Range in the Indian state of Rajasthan, the 200-room, five-star JW Marriott Jaipur Resort & Spa features luxurious amenities and services that celebrate the region's rich tapestry of history, heritage, and culture. The JW Marriott Jaipur is inspired by the regal palaces of Rajasthan

featuring grand arches, pleasant fountains, intricate 'Jaali' metalwork, delicate inlays and hand-painted patterns in a classical blue-and-white palette. The resort features

200 luxurious guest rooms, villas and suites, including Royal Terrace Rooms, Royal Courtyard Rooms and Royal Pool Villas with private plunge pools, as well as 2-bedroom Palace and Presidential Suites. The resort also features a range of enriching activities such as yoga and meditation sessions, visits to nearby villages for a firsthand experience of traditional Rajasthani life, special excursions to the nearby 'Haathi Gaoon' to spend a day with elephants, and curated culinary experiences to discover the secrets of spices in Indian cuisine.

Tivoli Spa, Lisbon

T

ivoli Hotels & Resorts is excited to present the debut of the Tivoli Spa brand in Lisbon, Portugal. Located at the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa an elegant historical landmark known for over 80 years of superb hospitality the Tivoli Spa is a refined oasis where holistic approaches and innovative techniques meet. Tivoli Spa offers six deluxe treatment rooms, including a wet room with multi-functioning Vichy shower, together with unique and highly personalised experiences. As the brand’s debut, Tivoli Spa guarantees unparalleled ex-

periences catering to the specific needs of each client, reducing the effects of arduous travel through relaxing

and comforting one-of-akind touches. A blend of professional service, organic zests and tranquil ambience

promise our guests return home from their voyages feeling newly inspired, energised and awakened.

Address Al Marjan Island M

ohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, recently announced the launch of the company's first hotel and residences project in Ras Al Khaimah, at the Arabian Hospitality Investment Conference 2018. Located in the Views island of Al Marjan Island, a four-island mega-development, Address Al Marjan Island hotel and residences will be managed by Emaar Hospitality Group's premium

lifestyle brand, Address Hotels + Resorts. This marks the first expansion of the Address brand to Ras Al Khaimah, and the first development venture by Emaar Development (DFM: EMAARDEV) in the emirate. Address Al Marjan Island will be a resort-style development that draws on its exceptional natural location, directly by the Arabian Sea. The hotel will have 249 rooms, including suites, while Address Resi-

dences Al Marjan Island will comprise 234 high-end apartments. As part of Views, the largest of the four islands that make up Al Marjan Island, residents will be in close proximity to the ubran core of the masterplanned community as well as the town centre. With direct access to over 600 metres of beachfront, residents and guests will have uninterrupted views of the sea in addition to a range of lifestyle amenities.

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

23

May 2018


cover story )

MAKING HAY WHILE ITRAINS Express TravelWorld spoke to various tourism and hospitality stakeholders on the plans they have undertaken and the promotional activities that they will conduct during the monsoon season to increase tourist arrivals during the rains and push India as a leading monsoon destination to visit By Shivasheesh Srivastava and Tanuvi Joe

24 EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD May 2018


( tourists from around the world to India. According to reports by several travel agencies and tourism boards in India, domestic tourists have started flooding popular tourism destinations like Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Meghalaya including many others.

Identification of monsoon tourism getaways

T

urning this lean season into a viable business opportunity, has helped mon-

soon tourism create its unique niche in the market. There is a segment of travellers who prefer travelling during the rains, hence with the right strategies and implementation, travel agents and tour operators can craft customised monsoon tours and activities to attract

The mainstream destinations which remain flooded with tourists during the monsoon season are Munnar in Kerala, Khandala in Maharashtra, Ooty in Tamil Nadu, Coorg in Karnataka, Udaipur in Rajasthan, Lonavala and Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra, Agra in Uttar Pradesh, Goa and the Western Ghats. Some other destinations that are set in beautiful locations are Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, Gushaini-Tirthan valley in Himachal Pradesh, Mandu in Madhya Pradesh, Saputara, Dang in Gujarat, Shillong in Meghalaya, Hampi in Karnataka, Kabini in Karnataka, Lansdowne in Uttarakhand, Dudhsagar Falls in Goa and Chandratal Lake in Manali, Himachal Pradesh. Aditya Thakur, manager, operations and experience, Tripver expresses his views on top visited monsoon destinations in India. He says, “Leh, Spiti, Kheerganga, Jibhi Tirthan and Mc Leod Triund are top four domestic destinations that the travellers visit during the monsoon season in India. There is an increase in travellers going to these destination especially in the monsoon season as most of the above-mentioned destinations are operational only in this season. Indians travel to almost all states like Maharashtra, Kerala, Meghalaya, Karnataka and Uttarakhand during the monsoon season and some even head towards international locations mostly in Europe, Thailand, Bali and Vietnam.” P Bala Kiran, director, Kerala Tourism, Government of Kerala talks about the top visited places of tourist attractions in Kerala during mon-

THE MAIN FOCUS

soons. He says, “Tropical monsoons in Kerala are a sight to behold due to their intense and beautiful nature. Monsoon tourism is gaining momentum in Kerala and many destinations in the state are emerging as monsoon destinations. The houseboat rides in Alleppey, Kumarakom and Ashtamudi during monsoon are once in a lifetime experience one should never miss. The hill stations like Wayanad, Athirapally and Munnar are offering special monsoon adventures and activity packages.”

about the stats, increase in the growth rate was observed in the Domestic Tourist Visits (DTVs) during 2016, registering a marvellous growth rate of 15.5 per cent over 2015. During 2016, the number of DTVs to the states/ UTs was 1653 million (provisional) as compared to 1432 million in 2015 registering a growth of 15.5 per cent. So, we would find that tourism in India has been progressing by leaps and bounds. And monsoon tourism segment has also added to these stats.”

Tourist influx

Tourist engagement activities

Commenting on the tourist influx during the monsoon season, Kumar Manish, general manager, The LaLiT Golf & Spa Resort Goa says, “If you analyse the tourism inflow statistics published by the department of Tourism-Goa, it is pleasantly surprising. Compared to 2016 where the seasonal difference of tourism inflow was 37.2 per cent, the difference was only 29 per cent in 2017 which is a clear indication that the market is changing. More families and traveller groups from around the country are travelling to Goa with intent to enjoy the onset of monsoon.” Giving the detailed breakup of the tourists visiting India during monsoon, Shahzad Aslam, head sales manager, The Leisure Group of Hotels informs, “We get around 50 per cent tourists from North India (majority from Delhi NCR), 15 per cent of tourist footfall from Western India (mostly Maharashtra and Gujarat), 15 per cent from rest of India and 20 per cent foreign tourists (mostly UK, US, South Africa and Spain). During the monsoons we host approximately 15000 Indian tourists.” Acknowledging the changing trends in tourist arrivals during monsoon and growth in tourism activities during this period, Thakur says, “There has been a sudden spike in the number of travellers. As most of them are now online and on social media, this trend can be noticed and tapped. If we talk

Since every tourist has his personalised itinerary and demands during monsoon season, hotels, tour operators and tourism boards look forward to catering to these demands and offer exclusively curated packages and activities to capture this particular tourist segment. Speaking on the types of activities in Maharashtra that attract hordes of tourists during monsoon, Swati Kale, general manager, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) says, “Apart from regular monsoon tourism activities, 'Festival of Fireflies' at Bhandardara in Nashik is a great attraction for tourists during monsoon. During this time, millions of fireflies camp on the trees of Bhandardara just before monsoon starts. This happens because the onset of monsoon marks the beginning of the mating time of fireflies. We often call this natural visage, 'Monsoon ki Diwali'.” “We also organise stays at three destinations in Maharashtra namely at our Lonavala, Malshej and Chikhaldara resorts. These resorts offer magnificent views during the monsoons and serves as a perfect monsoon destination to the tourists,” Kale further adds. Sometimes the tourists usually engage in excursions and trips during the monsoon season. As per TripAdvisor’s report on 'top drives and road trips during monsoon' some of

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

25

May 2018


cover story) “Adventure tourism, being one of the most important segments of the tourism industry, makes India an all year destination with a variety of activities even during the monsoons” Captain Swadesh Kumar president, ATOAI

“We plan to make more out of the digital empowerment that will help enhance the traveller experience during the monsoon season” Aditya Thakur manager operations and experience, Tripver

26 EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD May 2018

the preferred drives and road trips along the popular road routes during the monsoon are from Mumbai to Coorg, Ooty to Wayanad, Coimbatore to Valparai, Chennai to Kodaikanal, Kochi to Kovalam via Alappuzha-Varkala-Trivandrum, Bengaluru to Calicut, Dehradun to Nainital, Bengaluru to Pune, Mumbai to Goa and Goa to Hampi. Expressing his views over types of activities that tourists love during monsoon, Thakur says, “Ours is an online travel platform that helps a tourist to select his/her own kind of experience and activity driven by the experiences shared by other travellers. Tripver is a global travel community of travellers that curates trips to travel all across the globe. So one can easily go online and find the activity that best suits his/her taste.” Kiran also speaks on the types of tourist engagement activities in Kerala during the monsoon. He says, “The major snake boat races happen during the monsoons. The world famous 'Nehru Boat Race' is conducted in Alleppey which is fiercely contested and attracts lakhs of tourists. Each snake boat with more than 119 oarsmen, zooming across the backwaters during this time is a sight to behold. The government is also conducting various monsoon festivals to attract tourists. The monsoon festival called 'Splash' in Wayanad has gained worldwide fame as a monsoon festival. The Splash festival has special offers for tourists, B2B meets, a lot of monsoon sports events like mud football, mud volleyball etc. The government is also launching an International Music Festival called 'Monsoon Raga' during this time, inspired by the success of Nishagandi Dance festival. This is expected to attract thousands of music lovers all across the country.” “Moreover, the government is also launching the 'Jatayu Para Adventure ropeway' in Kollam district in the monsoon season, which also has the largest bird statue in the

family. Some features would include a relaxed check-out time, F&B credit, a complimentary teaser massage at the spa and many more. Large families and groups may also inquire for wonderful offers on our exclusive and luxurious villas. We encourage the tourists to go out and embrace the monsoon with our golfing or go for a trek to Kuske which has an amazing bio-diverse ecosystem, but if they prefer to stay indoors we have a host of activities for the young and adults alike. They can try snooker, squash, dance classes, personalised Yoga and Ayurvedic sessions, cooking classes and board games, the list is endless. They can even just sit in the balcony and see the clouds gather atop the Sahyadri mountains.” Elaborating over the kind of activities that are offered to the tourists during the monsoon visit, Aslam says, “Activities popular during monsoons are ashram and temple tours, early morning yoga meditation sessions, nature walk /trekking, white water rafting, cycling, outdoor picnic lunches and camping activities for family and kids.” world. Jatayu is the mythical bird of ancient Indian epic, Ramayana, which mythologically fell on this rock after the wing was cut off by Ravana, while Jatayu was trying to save Sita,” Kiran further adds. Speaking about the types of adventure tourism activities in Ladakh during monsoon season, Captain Swadesh Kumar, president, Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) says, “During the said period, trekking is very popular in Ladakh for foreign clients and also they love to attempt one of the most important trekking peaks - Mt. Stok Kangri (6153 mtrs) in Ladakh. Many adventure lovers and explorers from around the world come to India to attempt the peak and go on a trekking trip to Ladakh during this period. One can also do white-water rafting on the Indus and the Zanskar rivers, since water levels re-

main high all throughout the month of July and August, during the monsoons. One can also engage in local cultural activities and get engorged in the serenity that Ladakh offers. I also wish to mention here that ATOAI, as a part of our commitment made to ministry of tourism, Government of India, to support them in their project 'Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan', have taken up the cleaning of the trail from Stok Village to the Base Camp to Mt. Stok Kangri. This project will be launched very soon.” Elaborating about the types of facilities and activities for attracting tourists in Goa during monsoons, Manish says, “The LaLiT Golf and Spa Resort Goa is the place to be, to welcome the monsoons. We offer an amazing monsoon package which is very competitively priced and has a lot of interesting offers for the whole

Future strategies to boost monsoon tourism Since Monsoon tourism has emerged as a niche segment in the tourism and travel industry, every concerned travel organisation and hospitality sector is trying to move ahead with the right kind of approach to tap that particular segment of tourist and deliver them with the best of experiential travel and itineraries as doing so will draw the attention of more tourists. Taking into account the immense potential of digital platforms and technology, Kale says, “Along with physical activities, we have also extended our presence over social media and digital platforms to maximise our reach and penetration among specific segments of tourists. We have launched several social media campaigns for the promotion


(

THE MAIN FOCUS

“The world famous 'Nehru Boat Race' is conducted in Alleppey during monsoons which attracts lakhs of tourists” P Bala Kiran director, Kerala Tourism, Government of Kerala

of tourism in Maharashtra. We believe that technology is the best medium for information dissemination and we intend to use it further to boost tourism in Maharashtra.” Expressing his insights over the measures to be taken by the government for promotion of monsoon tourism in Kerala, Kiran says, “Kerala Tourism has realised that the monsoon tourism would offer a brand new product and will launch a new set of market in the coming years. The government intends to add 75 lakh new tourist arrivals by 2021 and this is only possible if we tap the monsoon season running for five months in a year. Kerala Tourism is encouraging all modes of new monsoon tourism products of the tourism industry. We are also launching a new monsoon campaign called 'Dream season' campaign which will position Kerala as a premier monsoon destination.” Thakur also informs about the course of action that could yield positive outputs and help OTAs to have a better grip over the season. He mentions, “There has been a downfall in travel agents and travellers have shifted to more of an extrovert attitude towards travelling. Digital is already playing a major role in the sector. Domestic air ticket and railway bookings continue to be

“We get around 50 per cent tourists from North India, 15 per cent of tourist footfall from Western India and 20 per cent foreign tourists” Shahzad Aslam head sales manager, The Leisure Group of Hotels

among the top contributors to the online travel spends. Online hotel booking has seen a substantial year-on-year growth of 60 per cent. However, as the times change, the new era of travellers will now be catering to the audience of the millennial. Ours is a perfect platform for the millennials who want to take off seeking new paths, new companions, conversations or just places that put life back into perspective. We cater to the new age of travellers and wish to provide our travellers all-inclusive, hassle free & safe

travel experiences to carefully curated destinations at the least price possible. So we plan to switch over and make more out of the digital empowerment that will help enhance the traveller experience during the monsoon season.” Discussing the core strategies of monsoon tourism promotion, Manish said, “Our core strategy revolves around giving our guests an amazing experience whenever they visit our Resort. This encourages a lot of repeat guests during the monsoons. We are also keen to tap the family vacationer’s segment and more inflow through OTAs. This is our present and future strategy to nurture that special segment of monsoon tourists.”

India’s potential as a monsoon tourism destination Acknowledging India’s hidden potential as a monsoon tourism destination, Kiran says, “India has huge potential in tapping monsoon based tourism activities. Indian monsoons are the most exotic and beautiful rainy seasons in the world. If it is packaged well and made available to the tourists, India can become the world leader in the coming years.” Kumar also comments on the scope of monsoon tourism in India. He says, “Adventure tourism, being one of the most

important segments of the tourism industry, makes India an all year destination with a variety of activities covering the whole country through all the seasons. Therefore monsoon tourism can open doors to a world of new possibilities in terms of boosting tourism and revenue generation when combined with the right approach.” Commenting on what needs to be done to help the country unleash its full potential as a monsoon tourism destination, Thakur says, “The diversity that India offers being a subcontinent is immense. India offers options for mountains, beaches and deserts. However, for this to take place more strongly, the government must lower the tax burden, ease rules and build infrastructure if it wants to ensure 15-20 per cent annual growth in tourism in coming years. Issues pertaining to GST, opening up of the shared economy and facilitating the adoption of new tech could herald the next trillion opportunities for the sector.” Given the activities that the governments have in place for this monsoon, tour operators hope for a smooth implementation which will boost tourism during June-September to a large extent contributing to the overall economy of the country.

“We organise stays at three destinations in Maharashtra namely at our Lonavala, Malshej and Chikhaldara resorts” Swati Kale general manager, MTDC

“We encourage the tourists to go out and embrace the monsoon with golfing or go for a trek to Kuske” Kumar Manish general manager, The LaLiT Golf & Spa Resort Goa

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

27

May 2018


cover story)

Monsoon adrenaline By Mandar Mandke

T

he monsoon period especially in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra turns into a perfect spot for adventure enthusiasts. The vibrant biodiversity gives travellers a plethora of natural spots to explore from unique treks and trails and more. Tour operators make sure you include these in your itineraries.

Treks and trails Maharashtra is laden with hundreds of forts all over the state and in this aspect it stands out from all other states. It is said that it’s impossible to hike up all the forts which are about 500 years old in Maharashtra. The treks are great and range from easy to extremely difficult. Another highlight during the onset of monsoon season is the blanket of fireflies one can will witness almost all across the state. We have handpicked some forts for you this season. Lonavala is a great place to start. Easily accessible from Mumbai and Pune, Lonavala is surrounded by many easily accessible forts to explore. The place last provides tourists with a wide range of accommodation facilities from budget to luxury. Some of the most popular treks are Rajmachi, Lohagad, Visapur, Tikona, Tungi and Duke’s nose, with Rajmachi trek being mostly one of the most exciting and endurance testing treks. The trek is 18 km one way from the base village of Rajmachi and offers some interesting flora and fauna treats. Duke's Nose is an enchanting trekking spot between Khandala and Lonavala. It’s a paradise for all the nature enthusiasts. Valiant trekking is required to reach the panoramic peak. The fog and green spread makes for a real visual treat. The twin forts of Visapur and Lohagad make up for a great overnight trek. The forts stand side by side and offer lots of

28 EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD May 2018

space for activities. There is ample parking at the base of the mountain. The trek is moderate and it takes about 4-6 hours to get to the top. When your clients go to Lohagad, don’t forget to add the spectacular Karla and Bhaje caves in their itineraries. Tikona and Tungi are the two forts on opposite sides of the Pavna Lake near Lonavala. Tikona also known as Vitandgad, is the dominant hill fort in Maval. It is located near Kamshet around 60 km from Pune. The village nearest to the fort is called Tikona-Peth. The 3500 ft high hill is pyramidal in shape and the name Tikona means "triangular". Half way through the trek that starts via paddy fields, one can reach a point called 'wind point'. If a place less congested is your thing, you might consider the Kohoj Fort trek near Wada in Palghar District. About a 100 km north of Mumbai on the Ahmedabad highway, Kohoj Fort stands out and provides a great experience for trekkers. The trek to the top is about three hours from the base village of Vaghote. There is no facility to stay on the mountain. Further, if it’s a road less travelled you are looking for, try the lesser known Kamalgad near Panchgani in Satara district. Kamalgad has very few built structures visible and the old tunnels have long been blocked. The base village is Kondhawali about 30 km from Wai and it takes about three hours to get to the top. There is a lone farmer on top of the hill who can provide you with meals and a place to pitch your tent but please be extremely generous to him since he has to trek down and up the hill every time he needs something from the market. Kaas plateau is the most popular region to visit and soak in the beauty of this blanket of wild flowers. Venture out to lesser known valleys of flowers near the twin hills of Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar and get mesmerised by the blossoms of nature.

Adventure One of the best adventure activities you can do only in the monsoons is waterfall rappelling. It is extremely important to select a place and choose an operator that is competent and has certified adventure experts that conduct such activities and that use quality safety equipment. Mud Run is another activity that

is successfully conducted by a few tour operators. Phanasrai is one alluring campsite with a gushing waterfall and fresh fauna in the surroundings. Adventure activities include rappelling and flying fox. It's a unique outdoor idea for people who are always looking for new adventures and want to explore the mountains. This lo-

cation is full of birds chirping, light air flowing and clear blue sky. It’s an abode of peace. Explore adventurous activities curated to provide the adrenaline you seek in the rains you cherish, all under one roof (or rather, sky). Mandar Mandke is secretary, ATOM – Adventure Tour Operators of Maharashtra


DESTINATION OUTBOUND

THE MANY FACETS OF

THAILAND Thailand as a destination continuously reinvents itself with new products which are of great draw for repeat travellers. The recent Mega Familiarisation trip effectively showcased many of these new attractions in the country, for the Indian market By Sudipta Dev

T

ourism Authority of Thailand recently organised a Mega Familiarisation trip for Indian media and travel agents. The trip effectively highlighted the new tourism attractions in Thailand, which would be of much interest to repeat travellers as well as first-time Indian visitors to the country. The capital of Bangkok, has always remained a popular destination for Indian leisure and MICE travellers since last two decades. The newest mega attraction in the city is definitely Madame Tussauds. From being greeted by a life-like statue of Britney Spears at the entrance to getting yourself clicked with Thailand's royal family, from rubbing shoul-

ders with music greats like Ludwig van Beethoven and Luciano Pavarotti to getting yourself clicked with minds that shaped the world (Mark Zuckerberg and Albert Einstein). A section showcasing the history of Madame Tussauds including how the wax statues are created is an eye opener. Visitors of all ages can also enjoy a fun-filled 4D movie Ice Age : No Time for Nuts. A visit to Madame Tussauds can be combined with other nearby attractions like Sea Life Bangkok where visitors can get up close with fascinating creatures of the deep sea through interactive displays. While the Seahorse Kingdom takes visitors to the colourful world of sea-

horses, they will be equally mesmerised by the enchanting jelly fishes. The Ocean Tunnel, the Shark Walk, Rocky Hideout and Penguin Ice Adventure are among the highlights at Sea Life Bangkok. An upcoming attraction about a two hours drive from Bangkok is Suan Lamai - Kingdom of Fruit on the Mountain. This place is at a distance of 150 km from Bangkok and 70 km from Rayong. The destination is being promoted as a "fruit paradise" where visitors can enjoy fruit buffet, indulge in activities like sheep feeding and get themselves photographed in the Cosmos flower field. There is also a quaint cafe in the premises.

Discovering an old town Old Town Chanthaboon Waterfront in Chanthaburi province is an interesting walk into the past. You can interact with residents who have been living here since generations, there are also a few curio shops where visitors can get a good bargain. The lane is lined with beautiful old lamp posts on which are perched golden figurines of Kinnaris. These are much loved mythical beings in Thailand, which have the head and upper torso of a human and lower body of a bird. The waterfront community is also famous for its mouth-watering street food - from crab noodle soup to Durian ice cream to roasted ba-

nanas, and many other delicacies. There is a Buddhist temple, and a side lane leads one to a quaint bridge over the Chanthaburi river to the beautiful Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The cathedral has been rebuilt several times over the centuries.

Family getaways The beautiful island of Koh Samed is off the coastline of Rayong. It is a marine national park and protected area, and a favourite weekend getaway for families. While the island has many beach facing resorts for those wanting to spend a couple of days here, it is also a perfect destination for day tours. The activities include snorkelling,

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

29

May 2018


DESTINATION OUTBOUND

WHAT'S NEW IN THAILAND G

fishing, para sailing, etc. From Rayong to Chon Buri, enroute to Pattaya is the Ramayana Water Park. Spread over an area of 45 acres it is the largest waterpark in Thailand. It has been uniquely designed to give the ambience of magnificent ruins housing a modern waterpark with many innovative rides for people of all age groups. From a double wave pool with artificial beach to freefall slides and serpentine rides – families can spend an action-packed day at the water park.

World of fantasy As a destination, Pattaya has reinvented itself with many interesting attractions. Topping the list is the KAAN Show at

30 EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD May 2018

Singha D’Luck Cinematic Theatre. The 75 minutes show is a spectacular mix of stage act and cinematic experience and stateof-the-art technology. Combining mythology and magic, KAAN is a fascinating escape into the world of fantasy. Art in Paradise, Pattaya is the largest 3D arts museum in the world. Visitors can go click happy amidst the stunning display of visual arts - from getting yourself clicked with a unicorn to being a fairy to flying like an angel to walking into the frame of Claude Monet's The Water Lily Pond. The 12 exhibition zones are spread over two floors and all the creations have been made by experts in 3D illusion realistic painting.

iving the Thailand Product Update 2018, Dr Walailak Noypayak, executive director, ASEAN, South Asia and South Pacific,Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said, “This is the biggest Mega FAM we have organised till now for the India market.There are in total 213 direct flights per week between India and Thailand, from 14 Indian cities." There are many new products across the country which would be of much interest to Indian travellers. In Bangkok, the new attractions include Lhong 1919, a heritage community mall along the Chao Phraya river; Chang Chui, a new creative space for artisans;Thailand's tallest tower, Mahanakhon Tower; Madame Tussauds Bangkok; future mixed use development project ICONSIAM; Siam Green Sky; Pathumwan Intersection Skywalk; the much awaited The Marvel Experience Thailand to be opened in 2018. In northern Thailand, the new attractions include the those in Chiang Mai like MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum; the Hidden Village Chiang Mai and the Tube Trek Water Park. In the north east it is the 21st century shopping mall,Terminal 21 Korat and the largest shopping mall in the region, Central Plaza Nakhon Ratchasima. In the eastern region there is a new ferry service from Pattaya to Hua Hin, while the spectacular KAAN Show is a great draw for tourists of all ages.The T21 (Terminal 21 Pattaya) will be opened this year. In the south of the country the SAMUJANA Yacht offers a differentiated experience to boat lovers at Koh Samui while new properties like The RitzCarlton Koh Samui and Rosewood Phuket provide luxurious vacations to the new generation of global travellers. Festivals and events form an integral part of Thailand's tourism offerings, and S2O Festival (Songkran EDM Festival) tops the list. In October the Buriram International Circuit will host the Grand Prix of Thailand.


SPOTLIGHT

flydubai: Ready for more business in India flydubai is ready to spread its wings further in the India market and is all set to work with India's aviation sector to also work in the North East region By Reema Lokesh

f

lydubai is aggressive in its growth and expansion plans for India and the world and the airline is ready to explore unexplored regions and destinations. flydubai as they say is ready for more business. "We are extremely positive about the India market and ready to explore new territories like the North East," says Sudhir Sreedharan, senior VP Commercial Operations (Indian Sub-Cont/GCC/Africa). flydubai has expressed keen interest to support the Government of India's aviation policy Udaan. He also feels India should aggressively develop its greenfield airports. The airline works on a clear objective, says Sreedharan, to give its passengers a seamless and valued experience. The airline works on a model that provides its clientele value for money service and with facilities, which are better than a low cost carrier model. A striking example is that the airline takes off and lands in the home country's main airport and not secondary airports. From business travels to leisure clientele, the airline offers value added services. Sreedharan also feels that the airline does well in connecting and reconnecting people and places. From family celebrations to work trips, the diverse network helps people connect to where they wish to go. The airline has the potential to connect Dubai to a population of over two and a half billion people, creating opportunities for our passengers to enjoy new

Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai

connections in trade, tourism and travel. The airline is opening up the world; go explore it, is its strong message.

Fast track service For business travellers, the business class facility and fast track service works well as it

gets you out through the entire airport formalities seamlessly. On the personal front, from a touch down at 7.15 am to being out of the airport by 7.33 am, the experience was truly fast track. From ground handling to on board service experience, flydubai offers its passengers a choice from the palate to loyalty programmes. From its home in Dubai, flydubai has created a network of more than 90 destinations and over the next decade the airline will see its fleet grow up to 296 aircrafts. Since commencing operations in June 2009, flydubai has been committed to removing barriers to travel, creating

free flows of trade and tourism and enhancing connectivity between different cultures across its ever-expanding network. Flydubai has created a network of more than 100 destinations in 48 countries across Africa, Central Asia, The Caucasus, Eastern Europe, The GCC and The Middle East, and the Indian Subcontinent. It proudly speaks about its forte in serving underserved markets. It has opened up more than 70 new routes that did not previously have direct air links to Dubai or were not served by a UAE national carrier from Dubai. It operates a single fleettype of 61 aircrafts, including Boeing 737 MAX 8 and Next-

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

31

May 2018


SPOTLIGHT Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The company carried 10.9 million passengers across its network in 2017. holidays.flydubai.com is yet another add-on in its product portfolio. The website is designed to make holiday planning and booking easier and more affordable.

flydubai fleet The fleet continues to grow. The airline received the delivery of aircraft from the order announced at the Dubai Airshow in 2013 for 100 Boeing 737 Max 8s and 11 NextGeneration Boeing 737-800s. In 2017, an order to purchase 175 additional 737 MAX aircraft was finalised, the largest single-aisle jet order in Middle East history. This order allows flydubai to take advantage of the 737 MAX family’s flexibility and commonality, while using the unique size and range of the MAX 8, MAX 9, and MAX 10 to suit its growing network. flydubai was the first airline in the Middle East to receive the Boeing 737 MAX 8 which entered into service in the second half of 2017.

The flydubai experience Over the years, flydubai has gained loyal customers from all around the region because it is dedicated to providing a better travel experience. The cabins are bright and airy. Combined with the benefits of the Boeing Sky Interior and a lighting system that helps minimise jetlag, the onboard environment allows you to stay relaxed while flying. As for the cabin crew, they’re friendly and welltrained and have passion for making your flight as enjoyable as possible. You can explore the onboard entertainment and catch up with the latest movies, TV shows and music. The airline has not forgotten its younger flyers with hours of entertainment dedicated just to them. Stay connected with the Wi-Fi packages and access the internet using your phone, tablet or laptop. There’s also an option to purchase live TV during the flight.

32 EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD May 2018

Business Class

Boeing 737 MAX 8

flydubai Business Class offers a more relaxed and personal flying experience. On the ground, you’ll benefit from faster check-in and priority ground services including a dedicated check-in desk, boarding gate and bus service. You can relax before your journey in our Business Class lounge at Dubai International Terminal 2 and at airport lounges across most of the airlines' network. On board, you’ll enjoy a personal, professional and friendly service from a member of crew dedicated to the Business Class cabin. Choose a delicious meal from an internationally inspired menu for flights over nine minutes. For shorter flights, lighter cold meals will be served.

With a generous seat pitch, gentle recline and a bottom cushion that adjusts for support and comfort, the design of the MAX economy seat is just one of the reasons the travel experience with flydubai is hard to beat.

Economy Class In Economy Class, one can expect an affordable and relaxing journey. There’s a variety of food options available on board – snacks can be purchased on all flights, while on select flights over 90 minutes, the airline offers delicious hot meals which can be pre-purchased when you

Next-Generation Boeing 737-800

Sudhir Sreedharan

book. And because every seat is fitted with an individual state of the art HD touchscreen, you are in full control of your entertainment experience.

Next generation Boeing 737-800 The seats are innovatively-designed to optimise legroom and maximise comfort. The increased overhead locker space and mood lighting system create an atmosphere that allows you to sit back, relax and enjoy your flight.

The seats are exceptionally comfortable and spacious. Made in soft Italian leather, with built-in lumbar support, generous recline and extendable leg-rests, they provide the perfect opportunity to relax. And don’t forget the 12.1-inch personal touchscreen so you can enjoy hours of great inflight entertainment.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 The MAX business seat takes comfort to a new level; you can work on board, enjoy something to eat, or simply get some shut-eye with a fully flat bed which measures 78 inches from top to toe. To keep you entertained, every seat has a 15.6-inch HD touchscreen so that you can stay up-to-date with the latest

movies, TV and music. In July 2017, Emirates and flydubai announced an extensive partnership which saw the two Dubai-based airlines join forces to offer customers unmatched travel options. The partnership offers flydubai customers seamless connectivity to Emirates’ worldwide destinations spanning six continents while Emirates’ customers will enjoy access to flydubai’s regional network and previously under-served destinations. The innovative partnership goes beyond code-sharing and offers greater frequency and easier access to more global destinations with the advantage of connecting baggage to the final destination. This is an exciting first step in unlocking the benefits of the partnership for passengers who will have the opportunity to enjoy the unique advantages each airline offers as well as greater choice and flexibility when connecting via Dubai. This is just the start and there will be many more opportunities for both airlines’ passengers to explore the world together.


HERITAGE CONSERVATION

Waruk: A helping hand in Heaven In strife torn Jammu & Kashmir, ironically known as Paradise for its natural beauty, a group of youngsters who call themselves Waruk, are working with the state Department of Tourism to give local artisans and craftsmen a platform to showcase their talents and preserve Kashmiri arts and crafts

Taha Mughal (third from left) with his Waruk team

W

aruk (meaning 'a page from a book' in Kashmiri) was informally founded way back in 2010 by Taha Mughal, an architect by profession. However, it got its formal name only in 2017. Waruk started like many of those public organisations driven from a bitter personal experience. The

founder, a victim of physical abuse, broken family and child bullying was understandably reticent and introvert, so art and poetry proved to be the only possible catharsis in his personal survival story. This experience, evolution and strategy laid the foundation of Waruk that started with individual contributions of the

founder in the same school where he was bullied and harassed. As time passed by, friends started to appreciate the cause and gradually as Mughal puts it, “log judtey gaye, karwaan badhta gaya' (people gradually joined the cause and it all became a movement). The core team of Waruk, now consisting of 10 young people,

provides a space for selfexpression and healing through creative arts in our by-andlarge conservative society that still considers many important issues a taboo.�

Working with tourism Waruk's collaboration with department of tourism in J&K started in 2016 during a state

level art exhibition as a part of annual Gulmarg snow carnival. Over time, the department has collaborated numerous times in a lot of events, activities and workshops that promote the culture, heritage and traditions of Kashmir through the media of creative arts including writing, poetry, photography, painting etc.

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

33

May 2018


HERITAGE CONSERVATION Mughal adds, “The department as a part of its social responsibility has also many a times facilitated activities that have no direct link with the portfolio of the department. Last year, it sponsored a month long creative writing workshop that was experimentative in terms of the participants that varied from seven year olds to 71 year olds. We thought to help old men become children again while infusing some of adult wisdom in the children. It was with the financial aid of the department that we could pay some humble honorarium to at least 10 different experts from ten different states of India including people associated with film making and Bollywood. This year the tourism department also helped us in sponsoring the screening event of a documentary film 'The poet of silence' on Gyanpeeth awardee Rehman Rahi directed by Bilal a Jan. Waruk played the role of event management for the same.” As an organisation striving to promote creative arts among the youth in the valley, Waruk conducts activities that include: ● Capacity building workshops including language trainings, oratory, soft-skill and interpersonal skill workshops. ● Self-expression workshops through creative writing, special crash courses on short-story writing, painting and photography workshops/exhibitions etc. ● Public literary reading sessions, intellectual discourses and discussions. ● Personality development workshops for underprivileged students from rural areas and orphanages. ● Promotion of arts and crafts of Kashmir through live demonstrations, exhibitions and sale counters. ● Specially designed workshops to help victims of sexual, physical or emotional abuse express their pain through different creative arts. About funding, Mughal informs, “Waruk is extremely privileged and lucky to have

found friends and family members who have never asked any money for their own pockets. This not only means that they contribute charitably as a volunteer and a resource person, but also the fact that they help fund the projects. Waruk seems to us personally a selfdriven inspiration where a part of our individual earnings go into the functioning. However, this also throws up many challenges and burdens to us at individual levels and certainly restricts our functioning.” Since last year, with the help of the department of tourism, Waruk has been able to generate some resources. “The fact is that we are technically so poor that our legal registration formalities as a trust are yet not complete and has until now never been a priority. Realising the on-ground need for the same and to help establish transparency for fund transfers, we are thinking of registration now,” says Mughal.

The grassroot level Waruk has now district coordinators in around seven districts of Kashmir who in turn have a web of around 80 artisans currently. The indirect linkages involve around 200300 people. Waruk started handicraft promotion on an experimentative basis during the recent TAAI convention at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC), Srinagar. Mughal proudly informs, “We generated around `70,000-80,000 for the master artisans during the convention. Raising money means promotion of arts and crafts at ground level. We intend to have a lot of activities in this area this year and have been approached by three government departments already for the same.” 'Regional identity and universal consciousness' is the principle Waruk aims to achieve. “Kashmir is unique and it has to become global one day. With Waruk it shall. As of immediate or near future, we want to reach maximum of rural beneficiaries whenever and wherever pos-

sible and are currently looking for sponsors for the same,” reiterates Mughal. And his message/advice to the youth of Kashmir and to the world? “We all humans live under constant conflicts or struggles; and life seems to be an ever rolling baggage of burden to deal with. We Kashmiris have not only to deal with the personal crisis in a madly competition driven world, but also deal with the uncertainty of our own life and ambitions in the political uncertainty of the land. Nobody knows how uncertain life can be as those who live in a conflict, most militarised zone of the world. Our dreams are uncertain as are our ambitions. But this awareness of death can also become the reason of living for all of us. Life is tough and short, and let's join hands together for the very few hours we have, the best we can! Let's celebrate life and let's help each other grow, realising that all of this man standing against another man is a vain, useless and dividing concept. At the end, love is all we want to have. Let's have it together for as long as we are allowed to live,” sums up Mughal. Adnan Amin

34 EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD May 2018


MOVEMENTS Karnataka Tourism

Yatra.com

RAMU B, IAS has taken charge as the director of the Karnataka state tourism department. The 2010-batch IAS officer Ramu B had earlier served as the district collector in Chamarajanagar. His priority in the new role would be to

Yatra.com, one of India’s online travel companies, has announced the appointment of MUDIT SHEKHAWAT as chief marketing officer of the company for handling leading marketing activities, alliances and ancillary revenues across all Yatra.com business-lines and group entities. With more than 12 years of experience in the consumer internet space, in addition to further strengthening Yatra's brand positioning, Shekhawat will also manage all consumer marketing initiatives across platforms to drive customer stickiness and loyalty. As a veteran of the industry, Shekhawat brings with him, a vast experience in digital and consumer marketing, prior to his role at Yatra.com; he has worked with Ola as head of marketing. He has also served different marketing leadership roles during his tenure at Myntra, Yahoo and HCL technologies and delivered rich consumer marketing experience to them. Mudit has been an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras alumnus from where he went to Pennsylvania State University to do Masters in Engineering. He finally switched to marketing with Master’s in Business Administration from ISB, Hyderabad.

Ramu B

improve the marketing of Karnataka tourism. 'One State Many Worlds' is all about selling an experience. He will study and understand the kind of experience the government is trying to market.

IndiGo IndiGo has announced the appointment of RAHUL BHATIA as its interim chief executive officer. He will continue as a director of the company. The company also announced the appointment of GREGORY TAYLOR as senior advisor to the Company and he will report directly to Bhatia. Aditya Ghosh is resigning from the post of President of IndiGo effective July 31, 2018 and as a director of the Company with effect from April 26, 2018. In the coming months, the Board will consider the appointment of Greg as President and CEO of the Company, subject to receiving the necessary regulatory approvals and paperwork. Taylor holds more than 40 years of experience in large, world class airlines. During the years 2016 and 2017, Taylor was the executive vice president of revenue management and network planning at IndiGo.

gade will play a pivotal role in ensuring the hotel meets its business objectives, continues to achieve stellar results, whilst maintaining and establishing Hyatt Regency Mumbai as a benchmark for business hotels in Mumbai.

Amadeus

With over 15 years of successful room operations experience in the hospitality industry, Hyatt Regency in Mumbai is pleased to announce the pro-

Amadeus announced the appointment of CYRIL TETAZ as the executive vice president, airlines, Amadeus Asia Pacific. He will now hold the responsibility of leading Amadeus’ Airlines business in Asia Pacific (APAC), effective April 2018. Holding a 13 year experience of Amadeus, Tetaz served as head of commercial for Airlines Asia Pacific recently. He will be reporting to Julia Sattel, senior vice president, Airlines, he will lead the charge in continuing Amadeus Airlines’ growth momentum in the region, supporting and enabling APAC airlines

One&Only Reethi Rah

Sonale Zagade

Cyril Tetaz

One&Only Reethi Rah resorts in Maldives has strengthened its portfolio by appointing JAN TIBALDI as its general manager. Having worked with some of the renowned names in the hospitality industry, Tibaldi carries with himself 30 years of unadulterated international experience in luxury hospitality industry. He has held senior positions at some of the most prestigious luxury hotels in the world. Jan has served as the general manager at The PuLi Hotel and Spa, a five-star resort in Shanghai, China. He has held senior leadership positions at global luxury hotel brands including Oberoi, Viceroy and Four Seasons. At One & Only Reethi Rah, Tiabldi is responsi-

motion of SONALE ZAGADE from the post of director of rooms to director, operations effective January, 2018. Previously, Sonale has served as the director of rooms at the Hyatt property for about three years. During her tenure of work in the hospitality industry, Zagade has worked with top tier hotels including five years with Hyatt hotels. In the past Zagade has also been a part of Starwood Hotels and Resorts before joining the Hyatt family. She has been very active in hotel operations as well as preopening units with a passion for ensuring the customers’ needs are put at the center of the business. With such vast experience in the industry, Za-

in their ambitions to pursue growth, greater customer-centricity and digital transformation. Tetaz started his career in 2004 when he first joined Amadeus.

Jan Tibaldi

ble for delivering global expertise and extensive background knowledge in the field of luxury hotel sector.

Hyatt Regency Mumbai

Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre & Hyderabad International Convention Centre Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre and HICC (Hyderabad International Convention Centre) is pleased to announce the appointment of BANDISH MEHTA as its

Bandish Mehta

new general manager. Mehta brings with him over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Mehta has held multiple roles for over 19 years with the AccorHotels Group across Asia Pacific. Being a proficient hospitality professional, he holds necessary expertise and valuable insights on augmenting brand standards for the company. In his new leadership position, Mehta will be responsible for spearheading operations at this dual property. Through his vast knowledge and skillfulness in diverse areas of both corporate and business leisure, he will be in command for accomplishing corporate objectives, developing procedures, service standards, operational policies and overseeing the property in a comprehensive effective manner.

Thomas Cook India Thomas Cook (India), India’s integrated travel and travel related financial services company, has announced the appointment of ROMIL PANT as senior vice president for its leisure business, both international and domestic. Pant comes with more than two decades of experience in operations and credit management across sectors, including, telecom, financial services and travel. In his role, Pant will provide leadership and functional expertise to drive productivity and results across the Company’s Leisure Businesses, while focussing on Thomas Cook India’s omni channel growth strategy.

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

35

May 2018


MOVEMENTS Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport

Mohammed Shoeb

Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport, part of the InterContinental Hotels Group has announced the appointment of MOHAMMED SHOEB as the new general manager. Shoeb is a seasoned professional with over 28 years of diverse experience in hotel operations, marketing and guest relations' management. He holds proficiency in devising marketing strategies to accelerate business growth and has been successful in achieving increase in turnover, occupancy and RevPar. Shoeb is a keen planner with a track record of developing and setting up standard operating procedures, business policies and motivational schemes.

DoubleTree by Hilton PuneChinchwad DoubleTree by Hilton PuneChinchwad announces the appointment of HIMANSHU KUMAR as the new director of

Himanshu Kumar

36

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

May 2018

revenue. Holding an experience of 17 years primarily in the hospitality sector, Kumar holds expertise to an in-depth exposure to room management, revenue management, room reservation and front office. Kumar is well known for bringing new creative ideas, strategies and implementing them successfully. During his career, Kumar has worked with various international brands including Crowne Plaza - Bahrain, Fraser SuitesDubai, Oakwood Asia Pacific, Intercontinental Hotel Group and Marriott International.

Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel & Lakeside Chalet Marriott Executive Apartments

Fairmont Jaipur

Prasad Metrani

Fairmont Jaipur is pleased to announce the appointment of PRASAD METRANI as the new executive chef, who comes with a distinct culinary background. A seasoned chef and carrying forward with him, an experience of over 15 years, he has gained practical know-how in both fine dining and specialty banqueting operations. Chef Prasad brings with him an extensive array of expertise and a deep understanding of the unique and modern aspects in the F&B industry, which is critical to his role. His stint of working overseas has rendered him with an ever innovative and fervent nature to create something new in the world of gastronomy.

Chandigarh as its director of sales and marketing. Having gained a rich experience in sales and marketing from working with various leading properties across India in both metro and non-metro markets, Chaudhary has worked as the director of sales at Courtyard by Marriott, Agra prior to joining JW Marriott, Chandigarh. Chaudhary has had a long association with Marriott having overseen various roles across different Marriott properties across India over the years.

Grover Zampa Vineyards

Hotel Sahara Star

Krishna Baranwal

Hotel Sahara Star, one of the five star hotels in Mumbai has recently anoounced the appointment of a new management team who will share their knowledge and expertise to their respective departments of the hotel.Having previously worked as an IT Manager at Almalfa Hotels & Resorts in Saudi, KRISHNA BARANWAL has joined Sahara Star as the IT head. A seasoned hotelier with over a decade of experience in various roles, Baranwal’s core responsibility would be into IBMS system integration and technical support. Fronting the entire gamut of IT Operations; administration with complete accountability of

Vivek Chandramohan Vinay Singh

VINAY SINGH has been appointed as the director of sales and marketing for Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel and Lakeside Chalet - Marriott Executive Apartments with over 773 keys. In the leadership role, Singh will now be responsible for spearheading the marketing and sales function of both the hotels. Prior to joining Renaissance Mumbai, Kumar was associated with the prestigious St. Regis as the director of sales and marketing. In the past, he has also worked with leading brands such as The Westin Mumbai Garden City, Hilton Worldwide, Le Meridien Mumbai and The Orchid Mumbai.

JW Marriott Chandigarh Gringing ahead with him, an experience of over 17 years in the hospitality sector, PANKAJ K CHAUDHARY has joined JW Marriott

Pankaj K Chaudhary

Grover Zampa Vineyards, the longest standing and most awarded winery in India has announced the appointment of VIVEK CHANDRAMOHAN as its chief executive officer. Chandramohan has nearly 26 years of distinguished experience in the Alco-Bev arena. Hailing from Bangalore, he started out as a campus recruit at Citi Bank in 1995 and later joined Bacardi-Martini in an entry role, steadily rising to a senior regional sales position. He stayed for nearly seven years working on brands such as Bacardi, Bacardi Breezer, Glenfiddich, Grants and Grey Goose and liased extensively with the National Marketing and International teams.

Ankita Deorukhkar

delivering project while ensuring smooth IT functioning, Baranwal would be held responsible for IT operations. Next on the team is ANKITA DEORUKHKAR who has joined Sahara Star as manager, Human Resources. She will look after human resources and manage employee development policies and systems.


weekend

E V E N T S

CROSSING THE 10,000 MARK Centrum through its technological innovation, digital presence and penetration in tier II markets and expansion at airports, it has now crossed the coveted benchmark of `10,000 cr forex transactions

AGENTS BRUSH UP ON THE INDUSTRY The Enterprising Travel Agents

DISCOVERING BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA Nijhawan Group in association with Turkish Airlines conducted a FAM Trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina for top travel agents from India

NOVOTEL IN GOD'S OWN COUNTRY AccorHotels along with the Muthoot Pappachan Group, announces the launch of Novotel Kochi Infopark. L-R: Jean Michel Cassé, Mascot, Thomas John Muthoot and Sachin Maheshwary

AGENTS UPSKILL ABOUT NZ More than 50 travel agents from India and South East Asia visited New Zealand this month to wrap up a year of up-skilling themselves on New Zealand

CELEBRATING THE STAR ALLIANCE PARTNERSHIP Turkish Airlines

Association (ETAA) organised a knowledge seminar for its members at Kilachand Hall IMC, Mumbai recently

celebrated the 10th anniversary of joining the Star Alliance network at Turkish Airlines headquarters with the participation of Turkish Airlines

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

37

May 2018


weekend

E V E N T S

UNWINDING AT BALI VITO (India) in association with Scoot Tigerair recently organised travel agents familiarisation trip to Bali in April 2018

BOWL THE TURKISH WAY Turkish Airlines brings the 6th edition of Turkish

INDIA BONDS WITH OMAN Oman Tourism along with Cox & Kings hosted a cocktail and dinner evening in Delhi and Mumbai. Around 40-45 attendees representing the top management were present

YEAR OF ZAYED Etihad Aviation Group launches four initiatives to

REDUCING CARBON FOOTPRINT Planet 21, an AccorHotels’ initiative provided a sustainable and positive environment through Novotel Hyderabad Convention Center & HICC. Free dental checkups and blood donation were held

KOLKATA WELCOMES TRAVEL TOURS Travel Tours inaugurated its second retail and first franchise store in Kolkata, taking its overall footprint to 28 stores across the country

38

EXPRESS TRAVELWORLD

May 2018

Airlines Bowling Tournament to India. It brought together over eight passenger agencies and 24 players for the event

commemorate the Year Of Zayed. The initiatives include a Year of Zayed themed freighter which will carry out humanitarian missions and a Zayed themed A380


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.

Profile for Indian Express

Express Travelworld (Vol.13, No.4) May, 2018  

India's Foremost Travel Business Magazine

Express Travelworld (Vol.13, No.4) May, 2018  

India's Foremost Travel Business Magazine

Advertisement