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Life must go on‌

Publisher & Editor Srishti Rai Director Bharat S. Rai Managing Editor Prem Kumar General Manager - Marketing Prem Sagar (M) +91 99106 81111 Art Director Sunny Singh Web Designer Mohit Chaudhary Senior Reporter Archana Sharma Correspondent (Kolkata) Swaati Chaudhury Accounts Chander Shakher Balodi Administration Executive Sarwat Jahan

For any query, write to us at: Printed, published and owned by Srishti Rai. Printed at Somsons Printing Works, 1/7, Doctor’s Lane, Gole Market, New Delhi - 110001, and published at P- 23/90, Connaught Circus, New Delhi 110001; Editor: SRISHTI RAI

2017 is here, and we all have great expectations from the New Year. We expect our economy and business to perform better this year. However, we need to keep our fingers crossed. We have to wait to see how implementation of Brexit and the inauguration of Donald Trump's presidency this month will play out for the world economy, globalization and international tourism since both the Brexit and Trump's presidency go against the spirit of Globalization. 2016 was a fateful year as far as safety and security of tourists is concerned. Tourism is intrinsically meant to understand different cultures and promote international harmony among people of different races and religions. Unfortunately, it has become one of the biggest victim of terrorism, which is showing no sign of ebbing. Even the New Year started with a terror attack at a popular nightclub in Istanbul that killed 39 people and injured many others. We can only hope that good sense will pre-

vail upon those inhumane individuals who use terror to achieve their political objectives. Back home, we should hope that the pain of demonetization will soon be over and the upcoming general budget will bring cheers for the industry as well as for consumers. We should hope that 2017 turns out be better than any other year yet for our industry. Read our cover story 'Travel & Hospitality Sector will continue to expand in 2017' on page 18 to gauge the expectation of the industry from 2017. Also read our regular destination features 'Explore the World' (page 32) and 'Explore India' (page 30) to plan your future travel, wherein we have featured Spain as the must visit international destination and Chhattisgarh as our selected domestic destination this month. In this issue, our Diplomat Corner (page 40) features the interview of the Honorable High Commissioner of South Africa to India, MR FRANCE K. MORULE, who emphasized elaborately what make South Africa a popular tourist destination, and explained why Indians should visit the country. Happy new year to one and all!

Best Regards,

Srishti Rai Editor

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Travel Hospitality



Travel & Hospitality Sector will continue to expand in 2017


Dubai Parks & Resorts: Ultimate Touristic Leisure Landmark










NTOs buoyant about 2017 in India


Smart Safety Tips for Snorkeling


Civil Aviation Trends to Watch Out For in 2017

30 EXPLORE INDIA Chhattisgarh: A Perfect Blend of Nature, Culture and Tribes

32 EXPLORE THE WORLD Explore the top destinations of Spain


2017 likely to be an eventful year for the hotel industry

40 DIPLOMAT CORNER Reasons galore to visit South Africa


Visa on Arrival: 5 top destinations for lastminute plans

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GLOBAL TOURISM COUNCIL GOES LIVE After two years of relentless forethought on its work and values, the Global Tourism Council (GTC) is finally launched and comes into force effective 9th December, 2016. The core team of Global Tourism Council—Advisors, Business Entrepreneurs & Tourism leaders represent the best of the breed from across all the sectors of the industry. GTC’s key focus is on increasing Tourism, Destination Promotion, Education, Real Estate & Tourism Investment between India and abroad. Global Tourism Council is a coming together of the best professionals from across India and the world as knowledge partners with a commitment to advancement of the global trade & tourism industry. The Board of Trustees of GTC has appointed the Governing Council members namely Iqbal Mulla as the Chief Council, Rajiv Duggal as the Deputy Chief Council and Manoj Gursahani & Sheldon Santwan as Governing Council Members. Talking about the initiatives of the Council, Iqbal Mulla, said, “The Council will address the problems and focus on all the segments of the travel & tourism industry like aviation, road transport, bilateral by TNH DESK tourism, inbound travel, etc.”

ATOAI TOURISM CERTIFICATION PROGRAM SKILLING MADHYA PRADESH INITIATIVE ATOAI organised an 8 day Workshop on Skill Development in Adventure Tourism (Adventure, Water Sports and Nature related) from 7th to 14th December in Hanumantiya, Indira Sagar Dam in Madhya Pradesh. The objective of the workshop was to provide ground level employment to the youth of Madhya Pradesh which fits in beautifully with the Government’s pro poor agenda. This program was designed for local youth in the villages and small towns of Madhya Pradesh who have an interest in tourism. At the opening of the workshop, Akshay Kumar- President of ATOAI said, "The adventure travel industry in India is facing a big challenge in producing adequate number of skilled manpower to manage and by TNH DESK operate activities across states and regions.



From left to right: Indiver Rastogi - GM Operations, Thomas Cook & Jyoti Mayal - Director, New Airways Travels


Sandeep Dwivedi Chief Commercial Officer, ITQ

Student of the Year contest has entered its fourth year. It’s time again to celebrate the joy of searching and finding the best talents of and for the industry. Throughout the last few years, with extensive support from the travel fraternity, media, and travel trade academies, InterGlobe Technology Quotient (ITQ) has been able to provide this platform of recognition to students across India. This year too, we are set to venture on the journey of looking for the finest talents and make the ride one of the best educational experiences for the travel industry professionals. We are inviting nominations from Travel Academies PAN India for Galileo trained students who aspire to be recognized for their abilities at the very beginning of their professional careers. Student of the Year, since its inception, has been an exclusive event designed to specifically select students who thrive in knowledge and are eager to show it to the world. With this platform we not only boost the confidence in the Students, but also bridge the gap between deserving talent and companies by TNH DESK in need of it.

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Karnataka declares 2017 as 'Year of the Wild' Karnataka tourism has declared 2017 as the ‘Year of the Wild’ for tourists who not only want to explore the wilderness & wildlife, but also experience the wild side of life. “The Year of the Wild”, a brand new campaign was launched by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in the presence of Priyank Kharge, Minister of State for IT, BT & Tourism along with AN Mahesh , Chairmain JLR, Secretary Tourism Naveen Raj Singh, IAS, Dr. N Manjula, IAS, Director-Tourism and Kumar Pushkar, IFS, MD – KSTDC. Karnataka’s forests and wildlife are her priceless natural heritage. The state is home to some of the largest jungle tracts south of the Vindhyas, that make it a dream destination for adventurers and naturalists. From the majestic evergreen forests of the Western Ghats to the scrub jungles of the plains, Karnataka has a wide variety of habitats teeming with diverse flora and fauna, some of them endemic to the region and the best way to explore this is with India’s largest network of eco lodges, Jungle Lodges & Resorts with 17 Jungle Resorts and 5 Jungle Camps. Also, celebrating Karnataka’s wild

side is a host of activities on land, water and in the sky. Karnataka’s jagged coastline, the Western Ghats with its majestic peaks, incredible craggy formations, expansive water bodies and the many rivers that criss-cross the state make it a haven for adventure sports and other outdoor activities. Karnataka Tourism has already launched Motorcycle tourism with a bike road in Hampi in mid December with a series of more rides in Karnataka’s varied destinations. The Government is activity promoting Mysore as an aero sport destination especially for sky diving. Also, on the cards is an international level surfing festival in Mangalore in mid 2017 which will go a long way in promoting Karnataka’s beaches as a water sports destination. In December 2016, jointly with forest department, tourism department has identified 9 eco trekking routes in western Ghats areas which would be legally open to tourists and trekkers. All these trekking routes are being created and trained nature guides would be accompanying and educating tourists about nature conservation.

Speaking on the occasion, CM Siddaramaiah said “I am happy to know Karnataka Tourism, in its endeavour to promote the state has declared 2017 as the Year of the Wild. We are committed to preserving our precious natural heritage and this is one of the many steps taken to fulfill this objective”. Priyank Kharge, Minister of State for IT, BT & Tourism said “ Today, most people are passive spectators to the gradual ruination of the earth and the extinction of species and habitats that we inherited from our forefathers. However, unless we do something we won’t be able to leave behind a livable world for our children and grandchildren. There is an environmental crisis at hand. And we are living through it. We at Karnataka Tourism are doing our duty in conserving our environment in every way possible. Today, JLR is a laboratory for green practices. Our endeavor is to ensure that all of these entities are green-compliant, with a passionate commitment to nature and the environment.“ by T NH DESK



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Re-define thrill‌ Jalmahotsav-II 15 Dec 2016 - 15 Jan 2017, Hanuwantiya, Khandwa The second edition of Jalmahotsav, a festival of adventure tourism in central India has unfolded in Hanuwantiya, a serene destination by the banks of the Indira sagar dam- one of the biggest man-made dams and is attracting adventure lovers with its unmatched scope for adventure sports. The one month long adventure carnival is a treat for all thrill- seekers. A wide range of water , land and air activities like parasailing, para motoring, hot air ballooning, wind surfing, para-sailing, island camping, jet -skiing, artificial climbing wall, Burma bridge, night camping, bird watching are on offer. Para-motoring and hot air ballooning will make you reach out for your cameras to freeze the thrilling moment of your life up in the air. The islands in the Indira Sagar dams are sites of island camping which translates the thrill of sea water island camping into fresh water island camping. The wildlife, avifauna and botanical riches of Boriyamaal island adds it into the must do activ-



Shivraj Singh Chouhan CM, MP

ities of the Carnival. House boats are yet another novelty to be explored in this Jal Mahotsav. Madhya Pradesh Tourism becomes the proud owner of 2 house boats with AC rooms, restaurant and an open deck which offers an unparallel experience of luxury coupled with adventure. The house boats and cruise are a permanent service offered by

the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Corporation. This quiet, secluded place has been transformed into a tented city with spa and yoga zone to host the guests from India and abroad. Month long cultural extravaganza every day, after sun down including the ne w year eve -party are added attractions Craft bazaar, food bazaar, cycle rides and many more recreational activities are waiting to be explored. Vitals - Nearest Rail Head – Khandwa / Indore Nearest Airport- Indore For details log into or Tourist Helpline- 18002337777 by T NH DESK

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ATLANTIS, THE PALM WELCOMES 2017 WOWING 6,500 GUEST AT THE DINNER UNDER THE STARS Atlantis, The Palm, lit up the sky with a show that exceeded all expectations in the presence of 6,500 guest during this New Year’s Eve 2017. The mesmerizing show lasted for 10 minutes and was synchronized with creatively selected music. Guests enjoyed an elegant outdoor dining experience, live entertainment and aweinspiring views of the resort’s impressive fireworks, on a beautiful 1.4 kilometre beach setting with The Palm and the city skyline as a back drop. Cold luxurious delicacies such as 36 kilograms of best caviar were displayed on 175 handcarved ice sculptures. The sumptuous introduces one-tap registration by integration with Truecaller

dinner included live cooking stations, barbeques and buffets with a wide array of international dishes. Atlantis, The Palm is the first entertainment resort destination in the region and located at the centre of the crescent of The Palm in Dubai. Opened in September 2008, the unique ocean-themed resort features a variety of marine and entertainment attractions, as well as 17 hectares of waterscape amusement at Aquaventure Waterpark, all within a 46 hectare site. It is home to one of the largest open-air marine habitats in the world, with over 65,000 marine animals in lagoons and

displays including The Lost Chambers Aquarium, a maze of underwater corridors and passageways providing a journey through ancient Atlantis. Aquaventure features 18 million litres of fresh water used to power thrilling waterslides, a 2.3 kilometre river ride with tidal waves and pools, water rapids and white water chargers. by TNH DESK

Airbnb and Châteaux & Hôtels Collection –Ducasse Entreprise, join forces to offer a visionary approach to hospitality Sharat Dhall COO (B2C), has tied up with Truecaller allowing new users to sign up on Yatra’s Android mobile application using their Truecaller account providing a convenient and seamless experience. Through this integration of TrueSDK, Yatra now offers phone number based on boarding and verification, which significantly reduces friction in user on-boarding. Any user having the Truecaller app and signing up to Yatra for the first time will have a completely seamless experience with their user details being auto-filled in the Yatra app. Adding another layer of convenience and security, integration of TrueSDK on Yatra’s mobile app will make mobile number verification a simple and easy process. Speaking on the partnership Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C),, said, “At Yatra, we are constantly thinking of new and innovative ideas to make user interface simple and convenient for our customersand the partnership with Truecaller is a firm step in that direction. Truecaller’s TrueSDK will help in instant user verification, hence simplifying the app on boarding experience. It will make the authentication swifter and secure for our users.” by T NH DESK

Airbnb and Châteaux & Hôtels Collection, presided over by Alain Ducasse, has announced a partnership centered on a common vision for hospitality; to include new accommodation and inspiring and unexpected travel experiences. In November, Airbnb unveiled Trips, a people-powered platform designed to bring together where you stay, what you do and the people you meet all in one place, making travel both easy and magical. Launched within Trips, Airbnb Experiences are handcrafted activities designed and led by local experts - be it a single activity or an immersive multi-day experience. They offer unprecedented access and deep insights into communities and places and in Paris alone, there are currently over 80 experiences with 500 offered worldwide. Châteaux & Hôtels Collection has created exclusively for Airbnb, four new gourmet experiences that will be offered to travellers for the very first time: Visit local food markets with Gilles, a celebrated head chef from Châteaux & Hôtels Collection, leading his renowned restaurant, Citrus Etoile which is just a short stroll from the magnificent Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe. by TNH DESK



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EZEEGO1 INTRODUCES ADVANCED B2B TRAVEL PORTAL FOR TRAVEL AGENTS Offers single window platform to access all travel related services Ezeego1, India's biggest online travel bazaar, introduced their advanced B2B web portal to leading travel agents in North-East India, designed to offer best travel solutions and promote their offerings. Commenting on this, Neelu Singh, CEO & Director, Ezeego1 said, “We see strong potential in North-East India, that is set to witness rapid progress in the travel and tourism industry. The advanced portal aims to support the need of the growing client base of travel agents and tour operators in North-Eastern cities of India. As a leading travel solutions provider, Ezeego1’s advanced portal will give travel agents access to our strong distribution network and technological expertise to market their products and expand their travel business.” The portal’s easy-to-use and unique characteristics assign agents

COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT AND FAIRFIELD BY MARRIOTT OUTER RING ROAD, WIN AT THE ‘HOTELIER INDIA AWARDS’ 2016 Courtyard by Marriott and Fairfield by Marriott, Bengaluru, bagged three prestigious awards at the eighth edition of the Hotelier India Awards held at The Leela Ambience Gurgaon Hotel & Residences recently. The twin properties swept all the important categories such as ‘The General Manager of the year’, ‘HR Manager of the year’ and ‘Director of Rooms’ awards for 2016. The most coveted and biggest award of the evening, ‘The General Manager of The Year’ was won by Gaurav Singh- General Manager Courtyard by Marriott and Fairfield by Marriott, Outer by TNH DESK Ring Road, in the Upscale to Midmarket Segment.

with unique login credentials and allows them to sell their products to customers with their own branding. Further, it enables agents with optimal flexibility through GDS and LCC integration as they can access schedule, fares and make flight and hotel bookings instantly. The ‘Hold option’ feature allows agents to book flights in advance, lock-in the flight fares for a specific time period while they confirm the bookings with the customer. Additionally, travel agents will get access to 5,00,000 hotels worldwide, can review and choose hotels based by TNH DESK on suppliers and deals.

COX AND KINGS OWNED MEININGER HOTELS TO OPEN ITS SECOND HOTEL IN BRUSSELS Cox & Kings-owned MEININGER Hotels signed a lease contract with Nelson Canal for a hotel in Brussels. The hotel will have 150 rooms and 668 beds and will be located on Rue Bara 101, close to the main railway station in Brussels. The hotel is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2018 and will be Meininger’s second hotel in Brussels. Thanks to its location next to the biggest train station in Belgium, Gare du Midi, the hotel’s connection to public transport is excellent. High-speed trains from major European cities like Paris, London and Amsterdam stop here. The new building with a gross floor area of 6,700 sqm. The room types will range from standard double rooms, to private rooms with multiple beds through to a bed in a dormitory. All public spaces including the reception, lobby, lounge, breakfast room and bar as well as guest kitchen and games room, which are all typical features of a MEININGER hotel, will be located on the ground floor. Hannes Spanring, CEO of MEININGER Hotels, said, “In two years’ time MEININGER will have two hotels in Brussels. The location of the new hotel at Gare du Midi is excellent. We are looking forward to welcoming the typical MEININGER guest mix of families, tourists and business travelers.” by TNH DESK



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Garuda Indonesia launches flights to India Garuda Indonesia, the airline of Indonesia, launched a new service from Jakarta to Mumbai via Bangkok recently. Mumbai serves as the airline’s first gateway in the region, and by launching the three times weekly service to Mumbai, Garuda Indonesia is now able to provide the first direct link between Indonesia and India. The opening of Garuda Indonesia’s flight to Mumbai is part of its international network development program, especially in the South Asia region, as well as the manifestation of the airline’s strong commitment to continuously support the Indonesian government’s program to double the number of international tourists visiting the country by 2019. President and CEO of Garuda Indonesia, M. Arif Wibowo commented, “We are very pleased to be able to add Mumbai to our extensive global network. There are strong economic partnerships as well as numerous social, cultural, and tourism relations between Indonesia and India, and we believe this new service will further boost those activities amongst the two countries, whilst offering easier access for travelers between India and Indonesia.” He continued, “Today, India remains a partner in growth as well as an important market for Indonesia, and Garuda Indonesia’s fights on the JakartaMumbai route will establish an important direct link between the two countries in friendship.

We place great belief that the opening of our service to Mumbai will forge an even more solid bridge in enhancing the future partnership between India and Indonesia, which are now two

of Asia’s new economic powerhouses.” Indonesia is currently one of the largest markets to India with 350,000 people currently traveling to the region on both busi-

ness and leisure. This new direct route will not only boost the economic activities between the two countries, but also help towards meeting the Indonesian government’s target to increase inbound tourism to Indonesia from India. by T NH DESK



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REZLIVE.COM APPOINTS “AFRICAN ORIGIN TRAVELS & SPORTS TOURISM” AS ITS GENERAL SALES AGENT IN GHANA, a product of Travel Designer Group, appointed “African Origin Travels & Sports Tourism” as its exclusive General Sales Agent (GSA) for Ghana. is a B2B global reservation system offering single feed to 250,000+ International rooms around the world, with real time access to rooms that are available at the best net rates. also offers 45,000+ Sightseeing items and over 5000 tours in 500 cities & 5,000+ Transfer options in over 900 Airport and City Locations. With the launch of Ghana office, has further cemented its position in the Africa region and is looking forward to have healthy business with the local travel trade. Jaal Shah, Group Managing Director of, says: Our increasing presence in Africa region will help us to boost trade from the region which will eventually generate good amount of business in the near future, looking at the potential of the market. So, through our GSA in Ghana we will be able to reach out to local travel partners in the best convenient manner.

REZLIVE.COM APPOINTS “CONTINENTAL TRAVEL GROUP” AS ITS GENERAL SALES AGENT IN KENYA, a product of Travel Designer Group, appointed “Continental Travel Group” as its exclusive General Sales Agent (GSA) for Kenya. is a B2B global reservation system offering single feed to 250,000+ International rooms around the world, with real time access to rooms that are available at the best net rates. also offers 45,000+ Sightseeing items and over 5000 tours in 500 cities & 5,000+ Transfer options in over 900 Airport and City Locations. With the launch of Kenya office, is slowly and steadily increasing its foot prints in the Africa region and is looking very competitive. Jaal Shah, Group Managing Director of, said: Our presence in Kenya will strengthen our reach in Africa market and will boost trade from that region. So, this region will contribute to a greater extent to our overall business and will help us to reach out to more travel partners. Wherein “Continental Travel Group”, which has its roots in the Kenyan Travel Industry for over a decade now, has been offering best deals to its clients, be it domestic or International. By partnering with “Continental Travel Group” and the experience they bring to the table, will help us to mutually accelerate our success in this market. by T NH DESK



Wherein “African Origin Travels & Sports Tourism”, which has its presence in the Ghana Travel Industry for quite a sometime now, has been offering best deals to its clients, be it domestic or International. By partnering with “African Origin Travels & Sports Tourism” and the experience they bring to the table, will help us to by T NH DESK mutually accelerate our success in this market.

TWO DAY TRIBAL FESTIVAL ON JANUARY 7-8, 2017 AT XELDEM – GOA A two day tribal festival, and its sixth edition, is set to be organized by the Adivasi Sangatna, Quepem on January 7-8, 2017. The festival aims at reviving, promoting and preserving the State’s unique traditional games, culture and cuisine, especially the customs of the tribal population. This year the festival is being organized at the Village Panchayat Ground, Xeldem – Quepem. The Tribal Association will organize various events, competitions, folklore programmes and special programmes for children. by TNH DESK

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Deutschland beckons Indian tourists with evergreen charm The amazing European destination of Germany is accessible to all segments of tourists for its wide array of attractions. Demonetization has led to a sharp fall in travel for domestic tourists and for those flying out to Asian destinations as well but for outbound tourists jetting away to long-haul European destinations like Germany, the currency crisis has not made any impact. The year round travel destination of Germany has been the cynosure for outbound Indian tourists owing to affordable hospitality,

Romit Theophilus Director of Marketing & Sales Office India, German National Tourist Office (GNTO)

natural landscape, convenient travel and culinary delights. Romit Theophilus, Director of Marketing & Sales Office India, German National Tourist Office (GNTO), explained, “Among the top global big-spending tourists, Indian tourists figure in the fourth slot who are high spenders in Germany. They spend as high as Euros 3500 and are categorized as one of the highest spenders in Germany. One of the significant chunk of Indian travellers visiting Germany are on incentive tours. We have started off our India Facebook page – sometime in February, 2016.” Theophilus was speaking at a marketing campaign themed “Germany – Holidays in the heart of nature” hosted in Kolkata sometime on November 30. Airberlin, the second largest airline in Germany with hubs in Berlin and Dusseldorf has entered into a code share agreement with Etihad Airways that flies out to 11 destinations in Germany from Abu Dhabi.


TOURISM AUSTRALIA GEARS UP FOR STRATEGIC APPROACH ON INDIA MARKET For those having a yen for Australia, look out for more competitive fares in 2017. In an attempt to achieve the goals of India 2020 Strategic Plan, Tourism Australia has charted out an array of interesting plans that will consolidate Nishant Kashikar Country Manager, India and Gulf, Tourism its growth story in the InAustralia dian market. Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager, India and Gulf, Tourism Australia commented, “We will tie-up with our significant airline partners to devise competitive fares for Indian flyers heading to Australia. We look ahead to work with state and territory tourism organizations and Australian airports to spruce up air connectivity from India to Australia since aviation access forms the key to the success of a tourist destination. Increase in connectivity from India to Australia is one of the significant factors contributing to rise in Indian tourist arrivals to by T NH DESK Australia.”

THAILAND: THE ULTIMATE GOLF PARADISE Every year, a whopping 600,000 visiting golfers criss-cross this golfing paradise to try their hand in some of the 300-odd designer golf courses dotting in Thailand, as the Thailand cake for golfing tourists is undoubtedly the golfing experience. The courses most of them in fact, are designed by the biggest names in the business from Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Peter Thomson ,Phil Ryan to a host of American ,Japanese, Australian and British designers. Thai designers too have taken to the trade in a big way and the Banyan Golf Club in Hua Hin, the finest in all Thailand is designed by a Thai Golf architect. Most of golf courses are the sheer size and majesty of the club houses. No other country has such elaborately designed and perfectly maintained club houses. The indulgent luxury of some of the locker rooms is breath-taking; beside superbly equipped showers and change rooms some has a few heated and ice-deep pools inside the locker room! Some provide

Saunas, massage centre. But no mention of Thailand golf would be complete without mention of their caddies. by TNH DESK



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LUXURY HERITAGE TRAIL IN PINK CITY Shahpura House has interiors flaunting Shekhawati paintings and fresco works that are a visual delight for inbound luxury seekers. For luxury travellers, Jaipur is full of surprises and if you’re wondering where to head to, here’s an idea. Shahpura House in the heart of the city was once an old palatial structure owned by the royal family of Shahpura in the district of Alwar. The property was eventually converted into a luxury hotel in 1991 and today, figures prominently on the itinerary of highend luxury global tourists. Adhiraj Singh Shekhawat, Proprietor, Shahpura Hotels commented, “We are on an expansion binge and we are contemplating to kick-off more luxury properties in the coming period. We prioritize to enhance the experiences of our guests and we are constantly upgrading our infrastructure, revving up our property and adding value to our existing heritage property. We have come up with a large gentlemen’s club area with a full-fledged snooker table. It was difficult for us to

accommodate free individual travellers and group tourists together for one buffet in our hotel. Hence, we have two roof-top fine-dining restaurants including one all day dining restaurant and another pool side restaurant.” The luxury hotel is high in catering to high-end, free individual global travellers and rarely concentrates on meetings, events and catering activi-

ties. Shekhawat added, “We are thinking to expand our activities for MICE tourists. Nearly 81.62 per cent travellers visited our hotel last year of which about 71.55 per cent were global visitors and the remaining were domestic tourists. We have plans to receive around 92 per cent guests by the end of this fiscal.” by TNH DESK

INDIAN TOURISTS COUNT ON STEADY GROWTH IN KIWI LAND The Indian tourism figures to New Zealand is on the upward trend and is expected to peak in future months. For outbound Indian travellers wondering to have a glimpse of bewitching landscapes, exotic activities, Maori culture and friendly denizens, New Zealand should figure on their bucket list. Steven Dixon, Regional Manager, South and South East Asia, explained, “The Indian tourism figures to New Zealand is currently on the rise and we hope to keep this momentum going in the new fiscal. We are scaling up our marketing campaigns to draw more



number of Indian tourists and the accent is on North India. We have teamed up with a number of travel groups to consolidate our business and trade activities in the New Year.” Dixon said, “The tourist arrivals from the Indian market has shown a steady growth over the past few years. Indian tourists help to offset seasonality issues and with independent groups like honeymoon couples jetting away from October to March, the tourist arrivals peak from the months of April to June. The honeymooners from India are interested in self-drive itineraries and

Steven Dixon Regional Manager, South and South East Asia

take up driving and exploring activities in North and South Islands making it a popular choice to visit the destination.” by TNH DESK

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Dubai Parks & Resorts: Ultimate Touristic Leisure Landmark Dubai Parks & Resorts recently had its grand official opening marked with much fanfare and extravaganza. DPR promises guests and visitors from across the world a unique and fascinating world of entertainment.

theme park based on some of its biggest blockbusters. The entire destination is connected by Riverland Dubai – a uniquely themed retail and dining district, and guests will be able to stay at the Lapita

v B Prem Kumar Y

The official launch event was marked by a colorful grand ceremony. The occasion was graced by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and other dignitaries of the UAE. Among others present on the occasion were officials of DPR and media persons from across the world. With this official launch, DPR has thrown its doors opens for visitors and guests from across the world. The launch of the DPR makes Dubai home to the largest theme park destination in the Middle East. Spread across 30.6 million square feet, the Mega theme park is the perfect blend of inspiration, imagination and creativity to deliver a world-class recreational product. DPR has been built with investment of AED 13.2 billion ( £2.8bn). Dubai Parks and Resorts comprises three separate theme parks, a water park, a uniquely themed dining and retail district and a Polynesian themed family hotel covering 30.6 million square feet: The destination includes LEGOLAND Dubai, the region’s first LEGOLAND; a Hollywood-inspired park called MOTIONGATE Dubai; and Bollywood Parks is the world’s first Bollywood

Hotel, a Polynesian themed family hotel part of the Marriott Autograph Collection. The event showcased its theme parks in a special show involving the dancers and actors from Dubai Parks and Resorts’ live entertainment team, who perform in shows such as the Bollywood musical, Jaan-e-Jigar and Step Up All In, inspired by the Step Up film fran-

chise. Amidst predictions of 6.7 million ticketed visits expected in 2017, the first full year of operation, the resort has a projected revenue of half a billion pounds (2.4bn AED) next year. The integrated mega park is targeting all key segments of travelers including family and MICE segments. The park offers ideal venues for MICE activities. Rajmahal Theatre in Bollywood Parks Dubai is a perfect venue for business and social events. Riverland and other destinations inside the park also offer plenty of space for holing MICE events. Six Flags Dubai, which is expected to open in late 2019, will be destination's fourth theme park and the regions first Six Flags theme park. The inauguration of Dubai Parks and Resorts was witnessed by more than 1,500 of the world’s media and UAE dignitaries. Over 200 children were also invited to attend the event in cooperation with the Ministry of Awqaf. Minor Affairs and the Make A Wish Foundation. Key facts • DPR is a large-scale AED 13.2 billion development project • It is spread across 30.6 million square feet of land • 6.7 million ticketed visits expected in 2017



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Korean Air commences flight service between Delhi and Incheon Korean Air celebrated its inaugural Delhi-Incheon direct flight service with a welcome ceremony at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Airport. Korean Air’s maiden flight from Incheon to Delhi, KE481, touched down at Indira Gandhi Airport and was welcomed with a water canon event prepared by the airport. Following was a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the inaugural flight departing from Delhi. Present at the ceremony were Cho Hyun, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of India, Pradeep Panicker, CEO of Delhi International Airport (P) Limited (DIAL), as well as Song Bo Young, Korean Air’s Regional Director for South East Asia. Officials of Delhi airport welcomed Korean Air with warm greetings and speeches.

Korean Air’s Incheon-Delhi direct service will operate 5 days a week utilizing an Airbus A330-200 aircraft capable of seating 218. Equipped with Korean Air’s newest seats in both First and Prestige Class and cutting edge AVOD system, the aircraft will provide customers utmost comfort.

KE482 will depart Delhi at 19:40 and land in Incheon at 5:50 next day which will enable passengers to benefit from Korean Air's extensive global network. The return flight, KE481 will depart Incheon at 12:45 and land in Delhi at 18:20. Korean Air will continue to offer its extensive global network with a wider range of options for each of its passengers, delivering true “Excellence in Flight”. by T NH DESK

Aitken Spence Travels, Sri Lanka appoints Nijhawan Group as their India representatives Aitken Spence Travels, the leading destination management company in Sri Lanka appoints India’s leading representation company, Nijhawan Group as their sales and marketing representatives to develop the Indian outbound market to Sri Lanka. Nijhawan group will support the tour operators and travel agents in their sales efforts and to make Sri Lanka one of the most sought after destinations. Announcing this partnership, Priyanka Nijhawan, Director - Representations, Nijhawan Group shared that Nijhawan Group has been the representing partner for Aitken Spence Hotels, Sri Lanka since



2013 and this initiative has been taken to further strengthen this collaboration in India and to maximize the numbers from India to Sri Lanka through Aitken Spence Travels. Suranga Ratnayake, Assistant Vice President, Aitken Spence Travels,

Suranga Ratnayake Assistant VP, Aitken Spence Travels

Priyanka Nijhawan Director - Representations, Nijhawan Group

stated that with and an estimated annual inbound volume of 1,30,000 tourists, Aitken Spence Travels is backed by a reputation of being the most professional in the business. He added that Aitken Spence Travels is fully diversified in to every aspect of tourism related activities namely; leisure, eco, adventure, MICE, shore excursions for cruise liners and by T NH DESK luxury tours.

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JW Marriott debuts in Singapore Global luxury brand opens design-driven landmark in the heart of arts & culture district. JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts debuted in Singapore by launching JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach. Located in close proximity to the Marina Bay entertainment and business districts, the new 634-room luxury hotel is poised to become an iconic lifestyle destination in the heart of Singapore's arts and culture district. "We are thrilled to welcome discerning travellers to this design-led landmark in the hub of Singapore's arts and culture district," said Derek Flint, General Manager, JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach. "We look forward to enriching guests with a truly luxurious experience and showcasing the warm, intuitive service that is synonymous with the JW Marriott brand globally."

The hotel consists of both historic and newly constructed buildings with interiors designed by renowned French designer Philippe Starck and architecture by awardwinning British architects, Foster and Partners. Complemented by a multi-million dollar collection of more than 30 works and installations by regionally and internationally acclaimed artists, guests can expect enriching and multi-sensory cultural experiences throughout the hotel. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a 7metre video wall installation by South Korean artist Lee Lee Nam. The wall brings art to life through movement and technology with the use of the LED monitors as a canvas to create an artistic symphony. Additional works include the Donna a Cavallo, a lobby sculpture by the acclaimed Fernando Botero, and the Gorilla, a reclaimed scrap metal

sculpture at the hotel entrance by Turner Prize winner Iain Nutting. Guest elevators are also an artistic expression with custom RGB wallpaper, and graffiti artwork by Milan-based art and design duo Carnovsky. Set to become one of Singapore's most coveted culinary destinations, JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach will feature a total of nine dining options. Five outlets opened includ Akira Back, by celebrity chef by T NH DESK Akira Back.



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In 2016, India's travel and tourism industry continued its expansion and saw some technological innovation. This trend is likely to continue in 2017. TnH speaks to some industry leaders to elicits their expectations from 2017, and what they are planning to do in the New Year.

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DR. ANKUR BHATIA Executive Director, Bird Group & Member, CII’s Core Committee on Aviation

The New Year will witness a spike in demand from tier 2 and 3 cities Tourism, hospitality and aviation have emerged as one of the key drivers of growth in the services sector in India. In 2016 these industries experience a new era of expansion driven by strategic initiatives by the government and also attracted some of the highest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from investors. The same trend is likely to continue in the coming year as businesses will focus on growth and expansion resulting in greater options, better connectivity and improved quality. The competitive landscape within the Indian hospitality industry has never been as dynamic as now and the coming year will witness a spike in demand from tier 2 and 3 cities. It is important to recognize the impact technology has had in increasing profitability for tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors. Going further as the industry grows steadily, Global Distribution Systems (GDS) will be an even more essential part of its success by linking services across sectors and improving efficiencies. For super-charging growth, the government and the industry need to work together to address the various opportunities and challenges in these sectors. It is imperative to aggressively market brand India globally to create a huge impact and attract high-end international tourists. With a relentless focus on quality and infrastructure, India would be well placed to achieve the potential of these industries. ANIL PARASHAR President & CEO, InterGlobe Technology Quotient

In 2017 our mission would be to cater to the industry requisites much more



InterGlobe Technology Quotient was in the peak of remarkable performance in 2016. For this spectacular performance, we have been conferred numerous awards and accolades during the year. On the technological front, we have redefined travel commerce through peerless contribution in making travel businesses easier and more manageable. We have made headway towards gaining market position in the OTA sector with our pioneering products such as Universal API (uAPI), VR3, Galstar and many more. We have launched upgraded version of Travelport Smartpoint having a hoard of new features enabling smoother travel related transactions. And now with India’s largest LCC, Indigo onboard, we have created history in 2016. In 2016, we also contributed lots to the society. We had initiated a skill development program with the help of CAP Foundation, a registered trust and an innovative workforce development initiative demonstrating end-to-end solutions to link learning and livelihood for disadvantaged young people. ITQ had organized the 3rd edition of 'Student of the Year' contest, aimed at creating talent for the travel industry and encouraging academy students to reach standards of high excellence in the Travel and Tourism space. In 2017 our sole mission would be to cater to the industry requisites more and more. We already have products that are right now catering to smarter travel business management, but we aim to go a step forward and portray ourselves through the colors of our advanced technological vision. With increase in travel demand, the demand of customization and, therefore, ancillary services will continue to grow. And what’s more? Our own Travelport Merchandising Suite is ready for airlines to display their ancillaries in the best possible way. As the ancillary revenue continue to soar at almost 60 billion dollars worldwide, the importance of apt display tools and customized travel solutions come in. Now with more than 200 air-

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lines onboard, including Indigo, with Travelport Merchandising Platform, agents have access to more ancillaries and therefore customized travel. Even Travelport Smartpoint with its updated version will continue to offer smarter travel options. Next year will continue to move at a better pace for us and we are positive about the technological progression that we are about to bring in the GDS Industry. However, that does not mean that we are not wary of the digitalization concerns. Travelport and ITQ work towards making virtual transactions as safe as possible by introducing high-security checks for the payment procedures. RAJESH MAGOW Co-Founder and CEO MakeMyTrip.

We are bullish about the growth prospects once the demonetisation effects are settled 2016 has been a phenomenal year for MakeMyTrip, beginning with the USD 180 million funding from Ctrip to ending with the intent of merging of business operations with Ibibo. The year also saw us launch our marketplace for alternate accommodations – Rightstay and roll out customer friendly campaigns aimed at eliminating barriers that stop customers moving online from offline, with our new brand ambassadors – Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt . Our campaigns Pay-at-checkout, Zero Cancellation and 100% Refund, Last Minute deals and exclusive tie-ups with banks are all aimed at building trust among customers and the same gave us remarkable results. In 2015-16, we earned 51% revenue from hotels and packages and we are on our path to take this to 70% in the next two to three years. We have successfully reduced our dependency on the air side and increase exposure towards the hotels and packages segment that offer relatively higher margins in double digits. We remain strongly focused on strengthening our mobile technology and are constantly enhancing our systems to offer a seamless booking experience to our customers which has resulted in clocking nearly 27.5 million app downloads till date. Last year (FY2016), 75% of our hotel transactions happened through the app and standalone hotels booked on mobile increased by 453.6% YoY in Q2 FY2017. We achieved very strong year on year growth in transactions for the hotel and packages segment, driven primarily by our

standalone online hotel bookings, which represented over 90% of all segment transactions in Q2 FY2017. With 27% share of the online hotels market in India, our hotel inventory is growing month on month and currently stands at 33,000 domestic and 310,000 international hotels. The year is ending with two biggest developments impacting the industry – introduction of GST and Demonetisation that few had predicted at the beginning of the year. This coupled with smartphone penetration and adoption led by young travellers is driving the shift from offline to online in the travel industry. Young Indian travellers are also very spontaneous and social media driven, and this has been demonstrated by the surge in last minute bookings. With higher disposable income, people have started spending more time on their holidays (12-14 nights) by clubbing multiple destinations in their itinerary. The average holiday frequency has also gone up due to extended weekends and average vacation time period is up by 10%. More people are taking 3-4 long weekend breaks in a year and a couple of short-holidays, especially during the festive season. Strong advance purchase, rise in travel spends, lower airfares year-round, higher spending on luxury travel experience within India & abroad by travellers, rise in solowomen travel are some of the top trends we observed during this year. Going in 2017 on the back of Christmas / New Year bookings, we are bullish about the growth prospects once the demonetisation effects are settled. KARAN ANAND Head, Relationships, Cox & Kings.

We are quite positive about the future outlook of the travel industry We live in challenging times and disruption is the new normal. In the face of all this travel and tourism industry has been growing steadily and this is indicative of the importance that people accord to travel and tourism. There is no overall negative impact on the Indian travel industry as more and more people are continuing to travel domestically as well as abroad. The year 2016 was a significant year for Cox & Kings in terms of the overall business growth and we grew more than the industry average. We launched several innovative products this year such as Diving holiday packages to Maldives, trek to Everest Base camp, 100% Veg Kitchen Tours and much more. We expanded our



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school tours segment with some distinct offerings such as NASA Astronaut Training eXperience (ATX), Space Camps to Kennedy and European Space Center, Science tours and so on. Our Getaway Goddess tours for women were made even more appealing in 2016 with several new itineraries, elements like shopping and spa and many new destinations like Ranthambore, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Indonesia and China. In order to make travel more affordable, we introduced budget friendly EMI scheme and Save Now Travel Later scheme in association with Bajaj Finserv and RBL Bank respectively. In terms of expansion, Cox & Kings owned Meininger signed agreements for new hotels in Leipzig, Heidelberg, Milan, Zurich, Saint Petersburg, Brussels and Copenhagen. In India, considering the growing demand for travel, Cox & Kings opened new franchisee stores in Indirapuram, Mangalore, Ajmer, Kolkata, Nashik, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Opera HouseMumbai and Yavatmal this year. In order to make travel affordable for everyone, Cox & Kings introduced two different schemes in association with Bajaj Finserv and RBL Bank. In Budget-friendly EMI schemes, the customer can seek a pre-approved loan offered by Bajaj Finserv to travel with a minimum down payment. In Save Now Travel Later, travellers can open a recurring deposit account with RBL Bank and save for the next 12 months to make their dream travel a reality. The unique saving programme gets you the 13th instalment absolutely free. In addition, the holidays can be booked at today’s price. In 2016, the company won a string of awards and amongst them are the World Travel Awards for Asia’s Leading luxury Tour Operator, India’s Leading Travel Agency and India’s Leading Tour Operator. Cox & Kings Trade Fairs was recognised as Champions of ChinaPlas for 2016, 4th time in a row. German Consulate recognised Cox & King's committed support to South West Germany Tourism. Cox & Kings was chosen as ‘Best Tour Operator’ at Travel + Leisure - India’s Best Awards 2016. It was voted ‘India’s Favourite Tour Operator’ at Condé Nast Traveller India Readers’ Travel Awards 2016. We are quite positive about the future outlook of the travel industry as India is a large market for tourism and the sector is observing a steady growth in the demand y-o-y basis. The Government has also been making serious efforts to boost investments in tourism sector. For Cox & Kings, we expect to drive synergies and value from the current developments to continue the momentum of growth in the upcoming year too. NISHANT PITTI CEO & Co-founder,

Expect 2017 to be more beneficial for Indian travel industry Year 2016 has been really great for my company as intro-



duction of e-Visa has helped a number of international travelers visiting India. As compared to last year, EaseMyTrip has seen a growth of 29% in international trips. As far as domestic tours are concerned, around 200% of the previous year’s packages have been booked. We have also seen a remarkable growth in booking of flight tickets. One of the biggest achievements of EaseMyTrip in year 2016 was that it associated with Bollywood thriller ‘Madaari’ as co-producer. We also co-produced film “Freaky Ali” with Sohail Khan. Our company had also taken distribution for movie “Rustom” for Delhi and UP area. The company also participated in various entertainment events and became one of the exhibitors at WTM London. We also associated with some other films in the same year. We are expecting year 2017 to be more beneficial and productive for Indian travel industry due to the gradual reforming relationships of our country with world. New year will also see growth in number of travelers and holidaymakers as vacationing has become a trend now. I am planning to launch EMT holiday cards and EMT holiday vouchers for our customers that they can purchase as gifts for their loved ones. Very soon EMT wallet will be introduced that will help our privileged customers in taking more benefits from our travel products. We will also open EMT holiday hubs in various major cities for increasing revenues from Non-Air Products, including hotels, holiday packages and car rentals. PRAKASH BANG Founder & Executive Chairman, roomsXML Solutions Ltd.

2017 will be another path-breaking year for us Thankfully, we have witnessed sustainable growth despite low sentiments due to political (Brexit), economic (Middle East Oil crises) and terrorist activities. Couple of high profile bankruptcies have not helped the industry either, but this gave opportunity for our users to respect our profitable model. Showcasing our offering in 2017 will be an opportunity to consolidate our position. 2017 will be another path-breaking year for us. Till date we have introduced 11 unique features in roomsXML. Many of the features are yet to be emulated by similar systems in the marketplace. And now, we will be introducing next generation API with cutting edge features. Two of them are: Under

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1-second response and Multiple hotel searches in single request. There are a few more, which we would like to keep under cover for now. Over and above, there will be major enhancements to the booking platform with innovative search and filter tools, improved hotel and room level content, integrated CRM which will allow users to submit and track all their support queries directly from the roomsXML platform. roomsXML is a 100% B2B accommodation specialist working exclusively with travel agents. We have been around for 10 years now. In these years, we have witnessed the markets churn. From a travel agent's perspective, it's very important that they choose to work with profitable companies; they would need to look beyond cheap prices and sales gimmicks. And it would be in their interest to keep away from affiliate programs and B2B arms of OTA's because moving forward they will be a serious threat to travel agents. Recently, CRISIL (An S&P Global Company) has rated roomsXML as being ‘MSE 2’ which denotes a company to have High Credit Worthiness; High Financial Stability; Highest Operating Performance. To be on the safer side, it would be a good idea for travel agents to check the credit worthiness of their suppliers. SUBRAMANYA SHARMA Chief Marketing Officer, Cleartrip

Weekend getaway destinations will continue to be favorite in 2017 For us 2016 was the year of innovation. We pioneered the introduction of Price Lock to enable travellers to protect themselves from air fare increases by holding the lowest price well in advance and the Flash Sale Calendar for our customers to make the most of frequent airline flash sales. We amplified the reach through our TVCs for Price Lock and Pay@hotel, which lets travellers book now and pay later at the hotel. 2017 is a year of long weekends, perhaps the highest num-

ber in last few years. We will continue to see weekend getaway destinations getting a larger piece of pie. We are excited as the customer demographic will continue to grow younger and independent. We see new types of consumer interfaces like voice input take main stream in time to come. With innovation and customer centricity on top of our mind we are very positive on the road ahead for Cleartrip.” AMIT AGARWAL Senior Marketing Manager,

2017 seems to be a promising year in travel 2016 has witnessed some of the most impactful shifts in the tourism industry as a whole. From the terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels and Turkey to ground breaking political agendas such as the Brexit in the EU and Demonetisation in India, tourism in these respective countries has been greatly impacted. In addition to inbound tourism, travel behaviour of tourists as a whole has also seen a change. But on the bright side, many hoteliers, tour operators and airlines offer great deals/ discounts to lure travellers to these calamity-struck destinations. has seen an overall growth of almost 11% on hotel bookings in India as compared to last year. Bangkok, New York, Pattaya and Jakarta continue to remain popular international destinations with Indians. In addition, Mumbai, Kolkata. Goa, Delhi and Chennai have been all-time favourite Indian destinations for International travellers. has successfully achieved 1 in 3 hotel bookings globally through mobile devices. With mobile technologies developing at such speed, there’s no doubt mobile usage when it comes to travel will change and evolve in 2017. 2017 largely seems to be a promising year in travel with 14 long weekends owing to public holidays falling either just before or after a weekend. Weekend getaways have become quite popular amongst the Indian travel market. Travelers are not just restricting themselves to destinations in the vicinity but are also opting for short hauls destinations such as Dubai, Malaysia, Phuket, etc.



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NTOs buoyant about 2017 in India NTOs, which see India as their key source market are optimistic about the Indian market in the New Year. They expect number of Indian tourists visiting their countries to increase substantially in the new year due to their efforts in 2016 in the Indian market. The Indian outbound travel market is growing fast and many NOTs aim to increase their share in this pie.

v B Prem Kumar Y

HANNELI SLABBER Country Manager - India, South African Tourism 2016 has been absolutely stellar for South African Tourism for various reasons. Arrivals spiked by 26.6% in comparison to 2015. By September 2016, our arrivals had hit 73,902. This makes India South Africa’s 8th largest long-haul tourism source market. We are witnessing travelling trends that point to qualitative growth in addition to the quantitative growth we have discussed above. We learned at last year’s roadshow and during the course of the year that the market is definitely moving towards experiential travel i.e. there has been a marked shift from seeing to experiencing. Second, South Africa has cemented its position as a monodestination, which also speaks volumes of the market’s evolution. Both these factors contribute directly to a third trend – increased spends. A higher awareness and tendency towards South Africa’s amazingly unique experiences is resulting in a willingness to spend more to experience more. People are happy to invest in experiences. We’re delighted to say that total foreign direct spend from India has hit ZAR 1 billion. Additionally, Indian travellers have become more adventurous with activities. Bungee jumping off the Bloukrans Bridge (the world’s highest commercial bungee) is becoming a much soughtafter activity." In terms of targets, as always, we are extremely optimistic and about the New Year. We will aim at surpassing our achievements during 2016 and we look forward to setting new benchmarks internally as well as in the industry. We’re hoping to achieve a 10% increase over last year’s arrivals and to ensure we continue to draw in over 1,00,000 Indians in the coming year. The market can expect better infrastructure: at the moment, a lot of Indians are using Air Seychelles to fly to South Africa via Mahe and our sources tell us that an additional flight to Durban



is likely to be announced soon, starting March next year. We hope that this will add convenience and offer choices to the traveler. Ethiopian Airlines added Cape Town last year and this means a whole lot more seats on our route. The market can also expect our annual appointments in terms of activities/ events: We will, as we do annually, set the pace for the year with our 4-city roadshow in January. We are tremendously excited about re-connecting with all our trade partners in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore. The upcoming edition of the roadshow already has nearly 60 registered suppliers coming in from South Africa. We will continue to support trade initiatives with BRAND BUILDING in the B2C space: Our focus for the year will be bringing to life our new “South Africa – wow in every moment” campaign through aggressive consumer and trade engagement across India. Also on the cards is the launch of a Facebook page especially for India which will help travellers get a better virtual feel of the destination thus converting intent to travel. Posts and content on this page will be tailored to suit the Indian market’s aspirations and ideas of a perfect holiday. A host of on-ground consumer events and a serious push for awareness, education and of course, demand in the consumer space is likely to translate into increased queries for South Africa and we encourage travel agents to keep themselves up to date with product information.

NOEL SAXENA Country Head, Taiwan Tourism Bureau, India Taiwan received good response in 2016 since the group visa policy was introduced. This has helped a lot of Corporates with the ease of visa. The MICE Incentive Plan has complimented the group visa. There is a visa exempt entry into Taiwan for Indian Passport Holder for 30 days via online system. The applicant must have at least one of the following visas issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand or any of the Schengen countries, UK or USA: 1. Valid resident or permanent resident card, 2. Valid entry visa (may be electronic visa), 3. Resident card or visa that

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has expired less than 10 years prior to the date of arrival in Taiwan. Under online Group Visa, the Visa Exemption for Indian passport Holders with minimum 5 or more people travelling in a group to Taiwan via online system is for 30 days. The Indian market is a potential market and the agencies are very eager to know about the Taiwan market. The Indian market to Taiwan will keep on growing and will show high numbers to Taiwan. There are more leisure and MICE groups to Taiwan. In 2016, the new visa norm for leisure, which talks about expired and valid visas, has helped to grow leisure traffic. This will continue to grow in 2016-17. The group visa has also helped MICE business to Taiwan. India has been writing to cosmopolitan Taipei city along with Sun Moon Lake and Kaohsiung. Taiwan is catching the Indian travellers’ attention and there is a growing interest in this beautiful island, thanks to its superb location (a mere 6 hour direct flight from New Delhi); and because it offers the perfect amalgamation of fabulous food, superb night life and night markets; hot springs; culture; history and stunning natural beauty. Also, Taiwan is one of the unexplored and still-to-be-discovered destinations of South East Asia which makes it a unique offering for the adventurous Indian traveller waiting for new experiences in travel. Indian Nationals are now entitled to free Taiwan visa which can be applied online - so it’s now even easier to plan a leisure holiday or MICE event for a visa to travel to Taiwan. We are expecting good numbers in 2017. Also, Taiwan is catching the Indian travellers’ attention and there is a growing interest in this beautiful island thanks to its superb location; and because it offers the perfect amalgamation of fabulous food, superb night life and night markets; hot springs; culture; history and stunning natural beauty - a unique offering for the adventurous Indian traveler waiting for new experiences in travel.

ASHIT TANEJA Country Manager, Jordan Tourism Board India is one of the most promising and upcoming source markets for Jordan. It is an extremely important target market as there is a tremendous scope to increase the Indian arrivals into Jordan. Tourism between India and Jordan is flourishing and the intrepid Indian traveller is visiting Jordan in increasing numbers. While Jordan is known for the Rose Red ancient rock city of

Petra, it offers much more to the modern Indian traveller, from the Jordan Valley, fertile and ever changing; to stunning desert canyons of Wadi Rum, to the gorgeous blue waters of the Red Sea in Aqaba to the Biblical sites and the natural wonders and therapeutic powers of the Dead Sea. The demand for the destination has increased and many agents are now offerings Jordan as part of fixed departures, special itineraries. As a key strategy, Jordan Tourism Board is highly focused on marketing the key offerings and USP’s of Jordan. We have conducted a range of activities in the Indian market. Through these activities, both trade and consumer are targeted to keep abreast with the destination offerings, USP’s and latest developments. We are also carrying out extensive campaigns through print, indoor, outdoor and online mediums to have a 360 degree presence all year round. Joint promotion with select trade partners is an ongoing activity for Jordan Tourism Board. It is year round practice. The main aim is to promote Jordan more effectively and on a bigger scale and further encourage traffic to Jordan. As for expectations from the year 2017, we are hopeful that all the efforts we put in the last few years will aid us in achieving more visitors in the year 2017. Indians are becoming increasingly adventurous and thirsty for new destinations and experiences. This enables us to bring to their notice the vast potential of Jordan as a complete MICE, family holiday, wedding and honeymoon destination. Jordan has a lot to offer in terms of historic sites, wellness, culture, religious, and leisure options. Amman, Wadi Rum, Petra, Aqaba and the Dead Sea are all unique sites and give a 360-degree diverse experience to the traveler as it includes the sea, mountains, desert and a number of historical and architectural." highlights.

BEJAN DINSHAW Country Manager, TCA Abu Dhabi, India The year 2016 has been great for our destination in the Indian market. The recorded figures till September this year is 2,36,968 Indians, who have checked into Abu Dhabi hotels accounting with a longer-than-average stay of 3.12 nights. This makes it a 20% year-over-year in-



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crease in the guest night, with a longer-than-average stay of 3.4 nights. The most significant event which took place in Abu Dhabi was the 63rd TAAI Convention. We received an amazing response during and after the convention. All the delegates had a great time at our destination Abu Dhabi, moreover most of them availed the pre and post tours to explore more of the destination. This also gave the agents clarity on the destination which will thereby help them to sell our destination in the Indian market. We are very confident that we will surpass our last year’s number of Indian tourists visiting Abu Dhabi. We are looking at few other huge conventions or events opportunities to be hosted in Abu Dhabi, as the destination is a very convenient location for the Indians.

SORAYA HOMCHUEN Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Mumbai Thailand welcomed 1.06 million Indian travelers in 2015. For 2016, the target is 1.1 million and Thailand has already

recorded over 8,00,000 Indian arrivals by August. TAT Mumbai is positive that India will achieve its arrivals target of 1.1 million by the end of the year. Thailand has been top of the mind destinations for Indians when it comes to weddings, first time traveler, bachelorette, honeymoon, family outings, and more. Thailand's centuries old exotic allure, its array of beaches and gilded Buddhist temples have ensured that the country remains one of the world's top travel destinations. Thailand's tourist arrival from India forecast is expected to rise by 10 percent next year and we are anticipating up to 1.21 million tourists in 2017. Next year too seems promising with ‘Discover Unique Local Experiences’ theme, which will mark the opening of a new chapter for Thai tourism.

SERIES OF STRATEGIC EXPANSION AND GROWTH DEVELOPMENT OF SRILANKAN AIRLINES SriLankan Airlines had earlier announced the commencement of the direct flight service between Seychelles and Colombo, the business hub of Sri Lanka. Accordingly, SriLankan will fly four days a week non-stop flights from Seychelles to Colombo connecting 47 countries and 101 destinations within SriLankan’s network and over 1000 destinations via the oneworld alliance network. The commencement of the Seychelles-Colombo operation is yet another initiative launched by SriLankan Airlines focusing on the region, offering the people of Seychelles nonstop travel to Middle Eastern destinations namely Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman; Europe and North America via London; and the SAARC region’s main cities including Male and Gan in the Maldives, Dhaka in Bangladesh, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Trichy, Trivandrum, Kochi, Madurai, Kolkata, Varanasi and Bodh Gaya. The commencement of the Seychelles operation coincides with the airline’s new expansion initiative under which it is adding eleven new destinations across Asia namely Jakarta, Bahrain, Muscat, Madurai, Kolkata, Lahore, Dhaka, Varanasi and Bodh Gaya, offering passengers the opportunity to immerse themselves in unique cultural experiences while inviting the world to experience the vibrancy of Sri Lanka. SriLankan becomes first international airline to fly to Gan Island SriLankan Airlines will consolidate its traditional positioning as the largest airline operation in the Maldives, by commencing services to Gan Island on early December 2016, in the Indian Ocean island nation. Thus, SriLankan Airlines will become the only airline to operate international flights to Gan International Airport, with four flights per week.



Siva Ramachandran, Srilankan Airlines CCO with Seychelles Tourism Minister

Accordingly, Gan Island operations will facilitate visitors’ travel to any destination in the world via SriLankan Airlines’ global route network with 102 destinations in 47 countries and 1000 destinations under the oneworld alliance. Gan is the most populated island in Addu Atoll (also known as Seenu Atoll), the southernmost atoll in the Maldives. SriLankan flights will depart from Gan on every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday Ganat 9.05hrs, arrive in Colombo at 11.25hrs. Hours; depart Colombo at 7.01hrs and arrive in Ganat 8.20hrs. The commencement of services to Gan is part of the recent strategic shift by SriLankan to heighten its focus on its network in South Asia namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and in the Middle East Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman, and the Far East including Japan, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. Gan is one of 11 new destinations in the Asia-Middle East region to which Sri Lanka’s national carrier is commencing by T NH DESK services in the fourth quarter of 2016.

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Travel ManTra

Smart Safety Tips for Snorkeling Snorkeling is an exciting sea sport which allows you to see colorful sea creatures and become one with the ocean. It is comparatively easy to do and those who can swim generally excel at Snorkeling. Quite different from Scuba diving, snorkelers remain close to the surface of the water and need not to deal with complex equipment which scuba diving require. However, there are some specific rules to help and keep safe snorkelers in the water. To make your search easy, we have listed some important and smart safety tips to enjoy snorkeling…

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Using right equipment One of the prime benefits of Snorkeling is that you need less equipment for a safe dive. The equipment is easy to find and needs a little skill to use it properly. In fact, first-time snorkelers can quickly put on the equipment, practice in shallow water and prepare for a dive. The entire equipment set includes a ‘Dive mask’ (that allows snorkelers to open eyes under water and prevent their eyes from seawater), ‘Snorkel’ (it is a breathing tube which allows divers to breathe under the water), ‘Swimming fins’ (they lets you to navigate through the navigate the water and makes movement in the water easier and less tiring), ‘Wetsuit’ (this suit keeps you warm in cold water but not required in warm water) and last but not the least, ‘Flotation device’ (this acts as a safety device, and ideal for beginners or people who don’t know swimming), it should fit well so that it does not slip off during a Snorkeling excursion in the water. Don’t forget to defog your dive mask and practice before going into the ocean. Always Snorkel with a buddy There is mostly a risk when Snorkeling

out in open ocean waters, thus having a buddy is very important. Some call it Snorkelers’ Buddy System, to snorkel in teams while in ocean. The buddy system for snorkelers also allows the so-called 'one up - one down' skin diving method according to which, one team member remains on the surface while other Snorkel underwater. For instance, if someone gets overly tired, has an equipment mishap or experiences an injury in the water, a buddy can assist or help him in getting back to the boat or shore. Another tip is that the buddies should snorkel together and use the "thumbsup" signal in about every five minutes to alert each other that everything is going fine. Make sure to retain energy and be hydrated This fun underwater activity requires constant movement of the feet and legs which can quickly lead to exhaustion. Also, you should be hydrated well before going for snorkeling. Instead of having heavy food, you can eat fruits like, pineapple, watermelon and other citrus rich food item to keep you hydrated underwater. A floating device, such as a

basic life jacket or a waist belt can help increase how long someone can stay in the water. Another way to help stave off exhaustion is to stay warm, and a wetsuit is beneficial for this (in cold water of ocean). Don’t touch marine life The first and foremost rule of snorkeling or any other underwater activity is not to touch the natural marine life. Mostly, during such activities marine life does not approach humans and they do not care to bother people, therefore it is very important for people to respect that this is their space. Touching the marine animals would look appealing but it can cause you much damage and harm to them as well. For instance, getting too close to or directly touching a jellyfish may result in a sting. Some exceptions include a few species of jellyfish in the Indian Ocean, Australia, the central Pacific Ocean, and the Philippines, and stings from these species can be very dangerous for you. In fact, to keep them and you safe, touching marine animals is an illegal activity which can cause you heavy fine.



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Civil Aviation Trends to Watch Out For in 2017 v B Neha Kirpal Y

Needless to say, the Indian civil aviation industry is a fast growing market—currently the ninth largest in the world with a size of around US$ 16 billion. The industry witnessed a growth of 17.62% over the previous year and total passenger traffic stood at a 223.6 million in FY16. In other words, the world is focused on Indian aviation—from manufacturers, tourism boards, airlines and global businesses to individual travelers, shippers and businessmen. Its huge growth potential stems from a host of factors, including India’s large middle class population, its rising aspirations, increasing disposable incomes, fall in prices of aircraft turbine fuel (ATF), increased competition, visa reforms, low-cost carriers, expanding modern airports, advanced information technology in-



terventions, foreign direct investment, regional connectivity, and an increase in foreign tourist arrivals. Indian domestic air traffic is expected to cross 100 million passengers by FY2017, compared to 81 million passengers in 2015, as per Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA). Further, passenger throughput is expected to reach around 370 million by 2020, with domestic traffic constituting around 80% of the total. According to the ‘India Aviation Report 2016’ released by the industry body FICCI and consultancy firm KPMG, India is expected to be the third largest aviation market by 2020 (after the US and China), and the largest by 2030! Further, by 2034, it is expected that the Asia-Pacific region will be the biggest market for global aviation. This vast potential has forced global aircraft-makers to woo Indian companies to buy more planes. According to the world’s two

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largest firms Boeing and Airbus, India is expected to order more than 1,600 aircraft over the next 20 years. According to sources, the country’s largest airline by market share, IndiGo, has already finalized orders for 250 aircraft with Airbus, touted as the world’s largest-ever order by the number of planes. SpiceJet, another low-cost airline, is also in talks to buy some 100 aircraft. Key investments and developments in India’s aviation industry include the following: 1. Leading European aircraft manufacturer Airbus SAS has signed an agreement with the Karnataka-based aircraft component maker Aequs Aerospace, for the supply of over 100,000 titanium machined parts for its A320 new engine option (NEO) aircraft. 2. American aircraft manufacturing major Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. (TASL) have entered into a joint venture to set up a new facility in Hyderabad to manufacture Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter fuselages. 3. TASL has signed a joint venture with Boeing to establish a centre of excellence for manufacturing aerostructures for the Apache helicopter initially and collaborate on integrated systems development opportunities in India in the long term. 4. India's fifth-biggest carrier by passengers travelled, GoAir, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Airbus to buy 72 A320 neo aircrafts, valued at US$ 7.7 billion, as part of an expansion drive. 5. Lockheed Martin Corporation plans to make India a manufacturing base for its F-16V fighter jets, C-130J Super Hercules military transport planes and helicopters. 6. Auto components maker Bharat Forge Ltd (BFL) has formalized an agreement with Rolls-Royce Plc, under which BFL will supply critical and high-integrity forged and machined components for a range of aero engines. 7. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has signed an MoU with Finland, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Oman and Ethiopia for increased co-operation between the countries in terms of additional seats, sharing of airlines codes, increased frequencies and additional points of call. 8. Boeing also plans to assemble one of its two helicopters namely, Chinook (heavy-lift) or Apache (attack type) in India, thus becoming yet another global company to invest in India encouraged by the ‘Make in India’ campaign. 9. Airbus plans to invest US$ 40 million to set up a pilot and maintenance training centre in New Delhi, which will be operational by the end of 2017. 10. Airbus also expects India’s aviation industry to grow at over 10% annually in the next decade, almost double the average growth rate of the global aviation industry. Government agencies project that around 500 brownfield and



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greenfield airports would be required by 2020. The private sector is being encouraged to become actively involved in the construction of airports through different public private partnership (PPP) models, with substantial state support in terms of financing, concessional land allotment, tax holidays and other incentives. In the Union Budget 2016–17, the government introduced various proposals for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) operations for airplanes. These include customs and excise duty exemption for tools and toolkits used in MRO works. The government has also scrapped the one-year restriction for the utilization of duty-free parts apart from allowing the import of unserviceable parts by MROs for providing exchange. As per revised norms, the foreign aircraft brought in to India for MRO work would now be permitted to stay up to six months or as extended by the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Such foreign aircraft would also be henceforth permitted to carry passengers in the flights at the start and end of its period of stay in India. Some major initiatives undertaken by the government: 1. The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) unveiled the Civil Aviation Policy 2016 with the mission of providing safe, secure, sustainable and affordable air travel for passengers and air transportation of cargo with access to various parts of India and the world. 2. The MoCA has finalized and put forward for approval to the Union Cabinet, the new aviation policy, which includes proposals such as allowing new airlines to fly abroad, the introduction of more regional flights and a new formula for granting bilateral flying rights.



3. Under the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016, the 5/20 rule, which stated “for an airline to commence international operations, it should have operated for at least 5 years in the domestic market and should have a fleet of minimum 20 aircrafts” is scrapped. The new rule states: “all airlines can commence international operations provided that they deploy 20 aircraft or 20% of total capacity (in terms of average number of seats on all departures put together), whichever is higher for domestic operations.” 4. India’s aviation regulator, the DGCA, has given its approval to Air India’s MRO unit. 5. The government of India is planning to boost regional connectivity by setting up 50 new airports over the next three years, out of which at least 10 would be operational by 2017. 6. There is a proposal for the development of 200 low-cost airports by 2035, along with an investment of USD 1.3 billion for the upgradation/improvement of non-metro airports by 2017. 7. Foreign aircraft brought into India for MRO work will now be permitted to stay up to 6 months or as extended by the DGCA. Such foreign aircraft would also be permitted to carry passengers on the flights at the start and end of its period of stay in India. 8. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) plans to develop cityside infrastructure at 13 regional airports across India, with help from private players for the building of hotels, car parks and other facilities, and thereby boost its non-aeronautical revenues. 9. The government of India has given site clearance to the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor and Development Corporation (DMICDC) for the setting up of a greenfield airport for public use near Bhiwadi in the Alwar district of Rajasthan and has granted 'in-principle' approval to 13 other greenfield airport projects.

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ExplorE IndIa


Karma Dance

hhattisgarh is the 10th largest state of India and has various facets to attract an intrigued traveller. Naya Raipur is the new capital city of Chhattisgarh. This less explored state has good wealth of ancient monuments, elegantly carved temples, rare wildlife, palaces, Buddhist sites, waterfalls, caves, rock paintings and hill plateaus. The virgin forests, dotted with picturesque waterfalls, scenic plateaus and winding rivers offer a feast to eyes. Renowned as one of the electricity and steel producing states of India, this state was formed on November 1, 2000 partitioning from Madhya Pradesh. In this exclusive feature, we have mentioned what makes Chhattisgarh so special‌


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Chirmiri Waterfall

favourite motifs of Chhattisgarh. Chhattisgarh also has a rich literary heritage with roots deep in the sociological and historical movements of the area. Art and Crafts Chhattisgarh is renowned for its special "Kosa silk" and the "lost wax art". The traditional crafts include painting, bell metal craft, woodcarving, bamboo ware and exclusive tribal jewellery. Tribal life Kawardha, a small town offers breathtaking views of nature and a rich tribal life. The royal palace at Kawardha is one of the major tourist attractions in Chhattisgarh. The village of Bastar, apart from offering a vivid glimpse of the tribal life provides an array of metal crafted exclusive handicrafts.


Cultural Heritage of Chhattisgarh As per popular legends, Chhattisgarh has a momentous role in the life of lord Rama. Lord Rama along with his wife Sita and his younger brother Lakshaman had started his Vanvas (exile) in the Bastar region (more precisely Dandakaranya region) of Chhattisgarh. They lived more than 10 years of their 14 years of Vanvas in different places of Chhattisgarh. One of the noteworthy places is Shivrinarayan, which is nearby Bilaspur district of the state. Literature The state is a melting pot of literature, crafts and performing arts - all of which forms its substance and sustenance from the day-to-day life experiences of its people. Religion, social and political events, mythology, nature and folklore are



Dance or Native Tribal Dances: Panthi Panthi is a folk dance of the Satnami community and has religious overtones. This dance is performed on Maghi Purnima, the anniversary of the birth of Guru Ghasidas. The dancers dance around a jaitkhamb set up for the occasion, to songs eulogizing their spiritual head. As the rhythm quickens, they perform acrobatics and form human pyramids. Pandwani A unique folk art of Chhattisgarh, Pandavani is a folk ballad form performed predominantly in Chhattisgarh. It illustrates the story of the Pandavas, the leading characters in the epic Mahabharata. The artists in the Pandavani narration consist of a lead artist and some supporting singers and musicians. Teejan Bai is one of the most famous Pandavani performing

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ExplorE IndIa

Barnawapara wildlife sanctuary

Baiga Tribe Women

artists. There are two styles of narration in Pandavani, which are Vedamati and Kapalik. Raut Nacha Raut Nacha, the folk dance of cowherds is a traditional dance of Yaduvanshis (clan of Yadu) as symbol of worship to Krishna from the 4th day of Diwali (Goverdhan Puja) till the time of Dev Uthani Ekadashi (day of awakening of the gods after a brief rest) which is the 11th day after Diwali according to the Hindu calendar. In Bilaspur, the Raut Nach Mahotsav folk dance festival is organized annually since 1978. Soowa Nacha Soowa or Suwa is a tribal dance of Chhattisgarh, which is also known as Parrot Dance. It is quite a symbolic form of dancing related to worship. Dancers keep a parrot in a bamboo-pot and form a circle around it. Then performers sing and dance, moving around it with clapping. Soowa is one of the main dance forms of tribal women of Chhattisgarh. Karma Dance Many tribal groups such as Gonds, the Baigas and the Oraons in Chhattisgarh inculcate Karma dance as part of their culture. In this dance, both men and women arrange themselves in two rows and follow the rhythmic steps, directed by the singer group. Another significance of this tribal dance is that it marks the end of the rainy season and the arrival of spring season. Apart from the culture, the next aspect of this young state is its tourist attractions. Beautiful waterfalls in the state are Akuri Nala and Amrit Dhara waterfalls, while Chirimiri is the Jannat of Chhattisgarh. Temples: Shri Ram Janki Temple at Setganga, Bhoramdeo temple, Chandrahasini Devi temple, Bambleshwari Temple and many more. The hot spring known as Taat Pani, the hot spring flows in Balrampur district. This hot spring flows throughout the year and is reputed to have medicinal properties due to its high sodium content.

Bhoramdeo Temple

How to reach Chhattisgarh? By Air Chhattisgarh has a domestic airport- Swami Vivekananda Airport in Raipur which operates scheduled commercial air services. This airport is linked to almost all major airports in the country. It is currently served by Air India, Jet Airways (operated by JetKonnect), and IndiGo airlines which operate regular flights to and from Raipur. By Rail Two major railway stations in Chhattisgarh- Raipur and Bilaspurconnect the major railway stations in India. Since Raipur comes almost in the middle point between Mumbai and Howrah, two most important railway stations in west and east India respectively, it is served by important trains regularly. By Road Road-network in Chhattisgarh is excellent. 11 National Highways pass through the state while State Highways connect the neighbouring states.

Caves Gadiya Mountain, Kotumsar cave in Bastar district, Kailash gufa, Ramgarh and Sita Bengra in Surguja district and Singhanpur cave in Raigarh district with pre-historic paintings are well known. There are several cave paintings at Ongana and Kabra Pahad near Raigarh, though most of the paintings lie in open and have been over written by graffiti. National parks and wildlife sanctuaries Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary in the Bilaspur district, Gamarda Reserve forest at Sarangarh in the Raigarh district, Indravati National Park and Kanger Ghati National Park in the Bastar district, Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary in the Mahasamund district, Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary in the Raipur district, and Sitanadi Wildlife Sanctuary in the Dhamtari district are good places to explore eco-tourism.



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ExplorE thE World

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f you’re visiting Spain for the first time, then be warned: this country is that fast which becomes an addiction for you as a traveller. You might intend for some specific kind of holiday but before you know you’ll find yourself hooked by something different and amazing factor of this country. The marvelous beaches, vivacious nightlife, scrumptious cuisine and lively fiestas all make Spain amongst best getaways of Europe for holidaymakers. Just because this country encompasses numerous autonomous regions and islands, Spain boasts one of the most broadly diverse landscapes and cultures on the continent. Still confused for where to go in the country? Then, read on to know about top destinations of Spain that we have listed just for you!


Barcelona Located in north-eastern Spain, it is one of the top travel destinations of the country. Barcelona offers almost everything to tourists look for in a European city right from historic architecture to lively culture, dynamic shopping and vibrant nightlife. This place has unique architectural marvels of Spain’s famous architect, Antoni Gaudi that include the popular Sagrada Familia church and the Casa Batllo. Both of these extraordinary structures feature combinations of captivating designs, shapes and colors. Apart from these, some popular activities to try in Barcelona are strolling along La Rambla, which is a scenic tree-lined pedestrian avenue, or else enjoy sunbathing one of the city’s popular beaches, Barceloneta.

Madrid Largest city and the capital of Spain, Madrid is majorly known for its vibrant nightlife scene. This city constitutes a miscellany of ethnic groups that makes



it one of the Europe’s most lively cosmopolitan cities. The Royal Palace, the residence of monarch of Spain is situated within the city centre, which is also a famous tourist attraction of the city. However, you must explore the heart of Madrid (and Spain) ‘Puerta del Sol’, which is a large plaza serving as the scene of festivals, main gatherings and street performers and a hub for the public transportation network. Another popular square is Plaza Mayor, which is mainly known for the San Miguel Market.

Spanish Islands Spain owns some of the most scenic islands in Europe. One of the largest Spanish Islands is equally divided between the Canary Islands and the

Balearic Islands. In the east of the Spanish mainland, the four main Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca and Menorca) sustain a character different from the rest of Spain and from each other. Mallorca is the biggest and best-known Balearic Island while Ibiza is famous for being a party destination. The Canary Islands, which also called ‘the Canaries’, are located just off the southern coast of Morocco in the Atlantic. These Islands are popular for their beautiful beaches, mild climate and important natural attractions, specially the ‘Maspalomas Dunes’ in Gran Canaria and the ‘Teide Volcano’ in Tenerife.

San Sebastian The San Sebastian is the capital of

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ExplorE thE World



Enjoy the La Tomatina Festival – held last Wednesday in August in Buñol, tens of thousands of people descend on this small town in the morning to throwing tons and tons of tomatoes at each other. It was the messiest, most fun hour of traveling and worth for having fun.

La Tomatina Festival

the Gipuzko province. It is located in the Basque country of North Spain and off the coast of the Bay of Biscay. This charming seaside city is loved for its pristine beaches and stupendous culinary tradition. However, the Old Town features various historic buildings reconstructed in the 19th century after the city was almost destroyed during the Napoleonic Wars. San Sebastian also boasts some of the best beaches in Europe. The most popular of these is Playa de la Concha, which provides sunbathing and water activities such as swimming, water skiing and kayaking.

Santiago de Compostela Santiago de Compostela is the capital city of the Galicia region in northwestern Spain. This city is popular as the final destination of the traditional pilgrimage known as Camino de Santiago. It is important to many Christians because they believe that Santiago de Compostela is the place where St. James, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, is buried. Presently, the city attracts thousands of visitors every year both for its religious tradition and history. The ar-

Ibiza Island

riving point for most of the pilgrims is the main square, Praza do Obradoiro. The Santiago Cathedral, where the tomb of St. James is amongst the most popular attractions of this city. Join the Running of the Bulls – This festival is held in July in Pamplona. It is a multi-day celebration which includes going drink sangria, eat good, wear a red scarf, and party the way only Spain can.

How to reach Spain? By Air Spain can be easily reached from other European countries and also from countries all over the world by air. Both Madrid and Barcelona have international airports and airlines from all over the world have regular flights to these cities. By Train International trains connect Spain with other European countries via France and you can travel in Eurail to reach Spain by rail. By Road Spain has borders with France and Portugal, and you can drive into Spain from any of these two countries. By Sea Gibraltar is connected with Morocco and Tangiers by ferry services.



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2017 likely to be an eventful year for the hotel industry 2016 was a good year for the hotel industry, which saw room rates stabilizing. Both occupancies and ADR saw an upward trend. The hotel industry expects 2017 to be more exciting and fruitful in view of likely implementation of GST from this coming financial year, and increased economic growth in the country. TnH talks to some stalwarts of the hotel industry to know their assessment of 2016 and expectations from the new year:

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Ajay Bakaya Executive Director, Sarovar Hotels 2016 was a great year. We have seen room rates stabilizing and tourists’ movement have increased. Domestic travellers have led the demand and we hope the trend to continue. However, the rate of growth has been slow and one of the major challenges has been the lack of infrastructure and good connectivity. 2016 has been an eventful year. We opened 6 hotels last year. Apart from openings in Chennai – Vandalur, Dehradun, Bangalore and Bhavnagar, we opened the first branded hotel in Palampur. We also became one of the early birds to set footprints in the world’s youngest country South Sudan when we took over the management of the Panorama Sarovar Portico in Juba. Our overseas portfolio too has been strengthened with the signing of new hotels in Addis Ababa-Ethiopia and LusakaZambia. With these two overseas signings our footprints increase to five countries in Africa which includes Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Zambia. Year 2017: We expect 2017 to be another exiting year. We are expanding to newer destinations including Raipur, Jaisalmer, New Delhi – Kapashera and Amritsar. We will also



be opening The Lazizi Premiere, Nairobi in February. We expect to add at least another 6 hotels in 2017. We are hopeful of a budget that spurs GDP growth and a bigger upswing for tourism. Demonetization and GST : Demonetization has had some impact on domestic level. It should be back to level in another one to two months. We are optimistic that GST would be implemented sometime in 2017. The much anticipated GST bill brings in a new era in fiscal reforms in India. However, as is applicable in many countries, the rate of GST for the hotel industry in India should also be kept low. We feel a low tax rate of 6 percent on the industry here for at least five years would benefit the sector and increase the tourists inflow which is currently the lowest in the world considering the size of the country. The effectiveness of GST will also depend on its simplicity or complexity. The fewer the slabs, the more effective will be the implementation. Piyush Tiwari Director (Commercial & Marketing), ITDC Ltd. 2016 was an important year for ITDC as it completed a glorious and satisfying journey of 50 years (Golden Jubilee) on 1st of October 2016 and this gives a great sense of satisfaction and pride to all of us. ITDC has posted a strong performance for the financial year 2015-16. The Corporation not only recorded a turnover of `465.69 cr but also posted a Profit Before Tax (PBT) of `32.42 cr whereas, Profit After Tax (PAT) was recorded at `22.55 cr. This was in continuation to ITDC’s profit making journey where the organisation posted profit for the fourth consecutive year. The Ashok Events Division managing events, conferences and exhibitions both within the country and abroad has established itself as a leader in Professional Conferences and VIP Event Management. Reflecting this position, the Division handled more than 200 events during 2015-16. With all the upliftment and changes in 2016, we at ITDC are only looking to enhance the experience of our guests while also making sure that the property becomes a destination pick for everyone coming into Delhi. We are very happy with how the hotel has done in terms of business and look forward to a better new year.

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Vikramjit Singh President & Chief Revenue Officer, The Lemon Tree Hotel Company 2016 was a positive year for the Tourism Industry. Both hotel occupancies and ADR have seen an upward trend. While the average occupancies across the industry have grown to around 62%, all Lemon Tree hotels have clocked average occupancy of over 75% pan India. With key initiatives like E Visas, Swachch Bharat and the first Incredible India Tourism Investment Summit-2016, tourism and investment has got a boost, generating a positive outlook for India, globally. This has been a path-breaking year for the group in terms of opening new hotels and expanding footprint in demand dense cities and leisure locations pan India. Currently, the 3rd largest Indian Hospitality chain by owned and operated rooms, we command an inventory of 40 hotels in 23 cities of India with 4100 rooms. By 2019, our aim is to own and operate over 8000 rooms in 60 hotels across 30 major cities of India. This year, with the opening of 10 new hotels and an additional 5 hotels in the pipeline by end of March 2017, we are all geared up to give our customers more choices at different locations. Accelerating our focus on the leisure portfolio, while on one hand we have opened new resorts in Bandhavgarh and Goa and inaugurated hotels in pilgrimage locations like Trichy and Katra; on the other hand we have steadily expanded our business hotel portfolio and are adding three new hotels in Gurgaon by end of FY 2016-17, besides adding another hotel in Chandigarh and soon to open hotel in Hyderabad and Bhiwadi. On the Marketing front, our efforts on bettering the digital experience for guests continued. We have just revamped our website thereby providing a speedier and seamless experience to guests. Our Lemon Tree Smiles, loyalty base, has also grown to over 5 Lakh members now. While 85% of our customers still comprise of domestic travelers, our average occupancy across hotels pan India has jumped to 75%, which is much higher than the current industry average. While ARRs have also seen an upward growth, keeping in mind our value for money proposition; in the coming year, we expect to drive an even better ARR in 2017. Budget 2016-17 was a bit uneventful for the hospitality industry as a whole. It is hoped that the upcoming budget will

provide greater clarity on GST and its implementation, focus on extension of e-tourist visas and take a closer look at providing infrastructure status to hotels with a project cost of Rs 25 crore viz. a viz. the present Rs 250 crore; an important aspect that remained unfulfilled in the last budget.

Rishi Puri VP, Lords Hotels & Resorts 2016 was on course to becoming one of the best for the hotel industry in the last five years. Hotel occupancies were at an all-time low the last few years before the cycle changed. The spurt was on account of the opening up of Visa On Arrival schemes for a host of countries as well as the popularity of the Online Travel Aggregators (OTAs). However since demonetization came into action, bookings from both foreign and domestic travellers reduced, and the F&B business has been majorly impacted. But the industry is hopeful that the turn of the year will change the scenario for better and that things pick up from where they were left off. For Lords Hotels & Resorts, the year was great on several counts. This year we added four properties to the chain, taking the count to twenty-six. 2016 began with the launch of a new property in Jammu followed by three new properties; in Bengaluru, Agra and Thrissur. We have also signed up two new properties in Kathmandu in mid of 2016 and one in Bharuch in November. We debuted in Thrissur, Kerala with Lords Resort Thrissur which is one of our biggest luxury properties spread over twenty acres of land surrounded by rubber plantations and houses cottages and tree houses for the discerning holidaying guests. We will shortly open another hotel property in Bharuch which will make it fifteen properties for Lords Hotels & Resorts in Gujarat alone. Besides adding new properties to the chain we have also strengthened our operations and administrative systems, and brought on board some of the finest and experienced Hotel Management talents. We have received an overall positive feedback from our guests and have successfully maintained an above average CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) for the various services provided under the Lords Hotels & Resorts banner. This is the crux of everything in our industry and we are happy to say that we did a pretty good job at it. Year 2017: We will hope that the effects of demonetization wear off in the New Year and things normalize beginning next



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year. We plan to make our entry in the fun capital of the country - Goa, with a leisure property sometime in the first quarter of 2017 followed by properties in New Delhi, Lucknow and Mumbai. We are also in advanced stages of discussions with the promoters of niche hotel properties in Indore, Kanpur and Rishikesh. One of the biggest hopes we have is from the Goods & Services Tax (GST) reform which is slated to come into effect in the coming Financial Year. This taxation reform has the power to change the tourism landscape in the country which will immensely benefit the hospitality sector. We are prepared for the change and are positioned to cater to the increase in tourist arrivals. We are increasing the room inventory on an average of 50 rooms per quarter and hopeto operate at max capacity.

Sanzeev Bhatia GM, The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa Financial year 2015-2016 had been a great year for us, we had achieved our budgeted revenues and won many prestigious awards for our performance. The year 2016 in particular has been full of uncertainty. First different fevers in India affected the inbound tourism and now due to demonetization the affect is also there. Also, post diwali the high level of pollution also forced many tourists to avoid Delhi. The top targets for 2016 were to increase our Online Business, More advanced training to staff, Product upgration and better offerings to our customers. We succeeded in increasing our online sales which resulted in an award from for highest revenue in Delhi NCR in five star hotel category, Customer's Choice Award 2016 from, Loved by Guests 2016 award from, Powering Global Travel Award from GTA. We changed the Carpets in many of our rooms and LED 43 " screen TV were placed in all our Club & Suite Rooms. Keeping in mind the high demand of WiFi we changed our WiFi system with all the new equipments with the latest technology. To offer some new speciality dishes we also changed our restaurant menu in our Zing Restaurant and Chutney Bar + Tandoor Restaurant. The well trained staff and product upgradation resulted in a Best Spa Hotel India Award from Haute Grandeur Global Hotel Awards - 2016, Our Japanese Restaurant Sakura won Best Japanese Cuisine award from World



Luxury Restaurant Awards 2016 and our NeoVeda Spa was awarded as Best Ayurveda Spa by World Luxury Spa Awards 2016. We are expecting excellent growth in 2017 as the economic situation by next year is expected to settle down and lot of efforts are being made by our Ministry of Tourism to have more & more tourists in India from world wide.. Our major focus in 2017 will be to continue providing world class services to our guests through consistent training to our team.

Sachin Malhotra GM, Grand Mercure Mysuru 2016 was a promising year for the hospitality sector in Mysuru with multifold growth within the industry among all the business segments. As a travel destination, the city of Mysuru has also witnessed rapid development in infrastructure which has generated consistent business opportunities for the city. The title of the “cleanest city” is an add-on to attract international travelers and so is the distinguished position of Mysuru being the “yoga hub” of the country. For Grand Mercure Mysuru, 2016 was our first year of inception and we have received an overwhelming response. We registered a 20% percent premium on the standard Average Daily Rate and have been able to sustain a profitable business within six months of inception. We have been gladly accepted by our guests and are being recognized as the preferred hospitality provider in the city. The guest reviews on various social media platforms have been phenomenal and we have been appreciated for our design, décor, concepts and sincere approach towards guest delight. We also hosted eminent personalities like the Dalai Lama and singers like Hariharan, Vasundhara Das, Kunal Ganjawala and Jonitha Gandhi, who stayed at the property. Our primary focus for 2017 would be to sustain our position as the preferred hotel in the city by ensuring consumer delight, consumer loyalty and business growth. With our European influence, we look forward to delivering top-notch hospitality to every guest visiting Grand Mercure Mysuru. We have strategized towards achieving higher benchmarks to milestone our growth in the industry. We are committed to be a benchmark brand and set new standards of hospitality in Mysuru.

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CHINA SOUTHERN LAUNCHES NEW NON-STOP CANADIAN SERVICE China Southern Airlines has announced the launch of new non-stop service between Guangzhou and Toronto. The new service will operate three times weekly and will be the first commercial service between South China and Toronto and is the second route operated by China Southern Airlines to Canada; the airline also operates direct service between Guangzhou and Vancouver. China Southern will use a Boeing 777-300ER on its new Guangzhou-Toronto service which can accommodate 309 passengers in a four-class configuration with four First Class, 34 Business Class, 44 Premium Economy and 227 Economy seats. Passengers can enjoy a host of world famous Cantonese as well as International cuisine in-flight. Toronto-bound passengers may also take advantage of superior transfer services provided by China Southern Airlines at Baiyun International Airport Guangzhou, which allows a single ticket and one-stop check-in for the entire trip including baggage handling.

TCA ABU DHABI SUCCESSFULLY CONCLUDES ROAD SHOWS IN INDIA With India being the best source market for Abu Dhabi, the emirate’s tourism and culture authority successfully concluded their four-city road shows from 5th8th December which took place in Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai. TCA Abu Dhabi’s road show featured 10 stakeholders which included Etihad Airways, Lama Tours & Holidays, ORYX International Tourism, Ryna Tourism, Armed forces Officers Club & Hotel, Rotana, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Seawings, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, and Yas Island Abu Dhabi. by T NH DESK

The Guangzhou/Toronto service schedule is as follows (all times local):

CENTARA NOVA HOTEL & SPA PATTAYA TOOK HOME GREEN HOTEL GOLD AWARD 2016 Centara Hotels & Resorts announced its latest accolades following the country’s most prestigious environmental awards ceremony for tourism industry operators. At the Thai Environment Day Event, held recently at IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Centre in Nonthaburi, Centara Nova Hotel & Spa Pattaya received its first “Green Hotel Gold Award 2016” from Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment. Winning this prestigious national award is a testament to the hotel’s persistence and dedication to promote several of its green initiatives, as well as to the tireless work of all employees and involved industry partners. Throughout the year, Centara Nova Hotel & Spa Pattaya has integrated green initiatives into every aspect of the hotel operations, from overall energy and water saving, utilisation of renewable energy – namely turning sunlight into electricity by solar cells, to social initiatives that promote recycling of material waste from by TNH DESK the hotel.



Jonas Sjöstedt, General Manager of Centara Nova Hotel & Spa Pattaya received the hotel’s first Green Hotel Gold Award 2016 from Natural Resource and Environment Minister General Surasak Kanjanarat at the ceremony held at Impact Muangthong Thani, Nonthaburi.

Jonas Sjöstedt (third from right), General Manager and his team from Centara Nova Hotel & Spa Pattaya and Centara Pattaya Hotel at the Green Hotel Awards Ceremony 2016, joined by Ms. Montakarn Shutt (second from right), Corporate Director of Public Relations, Centara Hotels and Resorts.

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INDIGO ENDS THE YEAR WITH A BANG, TAKES DELIVERY OF ITS 125TH AIRBUS A320 AIRCRAFT Announces 10 additional frequencies, 36 flights. Connecting Hyderabad to Goa, Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar, Visakhapatnam IndiGo, India’s largest and fastest growing airline and favourite on-time performer draws the year to a close with a truly Happy New Year. IndiGo took delivery of its 13th Airbus A-320 Neo ‘VT – ITH’ aircraft to join its ever growing fleet on 27th December, 2016. With this aircraft, the airline now has a 125 aircraft fleet in its 125th month of operation. The expansion is in sync with IndiGo’s organic growth in route network and in response to the growing demand on its existing routes. Effective January 01, 2017, the new schedule will see 10 additional frequencies connecting Hyderabad to Goa, Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar and Visakhapatnam. Strengthening of 6E’s fleet size illustrates the airline’s expansion plan, and the month-onmonth growth IndiGo has witnessed in

the domestic skies. Excited about the milestone, Aditya Ghosh, President and Whole Time Director, IndiGo said, “The delivery of the 125th aircraft in the 125th month of our operation is indeed a landmark occasion for us. It reinforces our commitment towards the industry and liv-

ing our promise of providing the best flying experience to our passengers. The entire IndiGo team has worked extremely hard to reach where we are today and we are raring to go. Here’s wishing each of you a wonderful 2017.” by T NH DESK

Flight schedules for new routes are: Flight No.



Departure Time

Arrival Time

6E 743





6E 744





6E 745





6E 752





6E 754





6E 816





6E 773


Visakhapatnam 17:25


6E 776





6E 777





6E 779





A JOURNEY THROUGH THE KINGDOM OF BHUTAN WITH SIX SENSES Six Senses Bhutan will open in the second half of 2017. Set jewel-like between two giants, Bhutan is an age-old culture where the population remains untainted by the outside world; a world with which they had no interaction until the 1950s and from where their first real international visitors arrived by invitation in 1974. This amazing Kingdom coined the phrase upon which the success of the country is measured – Gross National Happiness. Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has designed a project that is actually five

individual satellite resorts in five separate locations, but all under the umbrella of one all-encompassing name: Six Senses Bhutan. It is five unique experiences crafted into one enchanted journey through the Kingdom. With a total of just 82 guest suites and villas

distributed between five intimate lodges, guests will visit the heritage and hospitality of Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang and Paro in the colorful Kingdom known as the Happiest Place on Earth. by T NH DESK



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Diplomat Corner

Reasons galore to visit South Africa There are myriad reasons to visit South Africa. Blessed with beautiful landscapes, natural diversity, exotic wildlife, rich traditions and culture, South Africa is one of the most attractive destinations in the world. Cape Town, the Cape Winelands, Garden Route, Johannesburg, Durban, Robben Island, Soweto, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve and Wild Coast are some of the most popular destinations in South Africa that attract tourists from across the world. In an exclusive interview with TnH, HIS EXCELLENCY FRANCE K. MORULE, HIGH COMMISSIONER OF SOUTH AFRICA TO INDIA elaborated on what make South Africa a popular tourist destination and why Indians should visit the country.

v B Prem Kumar Y

What is extraordinary about South Africa as tourist destination? Research shows that Indian travellers are looking for the following when selecting a leisure destination: beautiful scenery, variety, value for money, experiential activities (e.g. adventure, safari). South Africa as a tourist destination performs above average on all of these experiences and activities in Indian market - we are number one in wildlife and adventure and in the top 3 with the others. I think main reasons for Indians to visit South Africa are its beautiful scenery, safari, value for money, friendly people and activities.


Why do you think that South Africa is good destination for Indian visitors? It is India’s affinity with South




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Diplomat Corner

Africa, which has a well-established Indian population which still practises the religion and culture of Mother India. South African made the great Mahatma Ghandi whose political consciousness was shaped in that country. He was later to return to India and led her struggle for independence. As per above we can deliver on what people want in a holiday. Besides, we I would like to underline the following facts: • Comfort on 'hygiene' issues -

vegetarian food available in all establishments, third safest drinking water in the world, etc. • Over 60 000 registered tourism products - Indian that travel to SA wants to do lots of activities - in SA we have so many activities that they can do in the same place - so need to spend so much time travelling from activity to activity. Exemplary record on safety for our adventure activities so people comfortable and eager to try new things. • Favourable exchange rate plus SA products quote the Indian market in ZAR - so with the strengthening of the rupee against the rand, packages are actually cheaper this year than last - what we have seen is that instead of 'banking' the saving, people are staying an extra night and doing more activities. • Peak travel period during Indian monsoon - winter in SA - average temp is 18 degrees - Indians love the weather + low season in SA so our travellers have the pick of top accommodation and activities at low season prices.



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Diplomat Corner • South Africans do generational travel and the products are prepared for it - Indians do the same so if you arrive at e.g. a wine estate with grandparents, parents and children we have loads to do at the same place for the different generations. How simple is the visa process of South Africa for Indian travellers? How about first time travellers? The visa application process has been outsourced to VFS and currently we have 9 Visa facilitation centres: Gurgaon, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad. The process period for short term visas are 5 working days and long term visas are 6 weeks. Long term visas are work visas and study visas and compliance of these applications are verified both in India and South Africa. South Africa is also the only BRICs country that is offering the 10 years, multiple entry BRICS business visa to Indian business persons to promote investment between the two great nations


How does South Africa visa service remain competitive? In collaboration with our partner department, South African tourism




we are engaging the tourism market and encourage regular interactions between the South African Mission in India to understand the requirements of the industry and sensitise the market to the legislative requirements for visa applications to ensure a smooth application process. We have also removed the transit visa requirements for Indian nationals and signed a bilateral agreement on a visa free agreement for holders of Official and Diplomatic passports. Frequent travellers are also issued with a multiple entry visa for

a period of up to 3 years. How important is the Indian outbound market for South Africa? How many Indian tourists visited South Africa last year? According to STATS South Africa, 78385 Indian passport holders arrived in South Africa in 2015. Value: Direct contribution of incountry spend ONLY will be over ZAR1 billion (that excludes what gets spend in India - so no flights, accommodation, activities prebought, etc.)


How is the air-connectivity between the two countries? We need direct flights. Carriers are seeing the benefit and business to SA - seen lots of changes in schedule to make the connection more seamless. Airlines include Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, Kenya, Ethiopian, Air Seychelles and Air Mauritius. Lift is going into Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Code-shares with Jet Airways and SAA.


What do you like the most about India? India’s immense contribution towards human civilization, its vibrant democracy and demographic diversity.


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Brush with royal hospitality in Udaipur v B Swaati Chaudhury Y

Udaipur was much a favourite for luxury-seekers as it is now and there are some must-dos for tourists in the city. For global luxury travellers, it is easy to fall in love with Udaipur fondly known as the “City of Dawn” that has been the bygone capital of Mewar. Surrounded by Aravalli Hills and enchanting lakes, the city has been the creation of Maharana Uday Singh, way back in 1559 AD and for centuries, it has been serving as an inspiration for travellers with a great number of touristy haunts. The luxury travellers to Udaipur don’t need to travel far away from the city that has a plethora of attractions under one umbrella. A weekend visit to Udaipur can be quite refreshing and the longer the time, one spends here, the deeper you will get under the skin of the place. The city is full of royal and historic attractions that is sure to steal the hearts of travellers. Visiting royal heritage hotels The prime destinations for highend luxury tourists in Udaipur are the grand heritage haunts of Fateh

Prakash Palace and Shiv Niwas Palace in the premises of the City Palace. Owned by HRH Group of Hotels, both the luxury heritage destinations are architectural wonders set in marble and granite and overlook the historic and fascinating Pichhola Lake. Equipped with 65 rooms, Fateh Prakash Palace rolled out its service for guests in 1990 and has the rooftop restaurant- Sunset Terrace. Shiv Niwas Palace opened up for guests sometime in 1983 and has a Ganesha temple at its entrance. There are 17 suites in the palace that are steeped in the world of luxury. Take a peek at the walls of the palace that are adorned with Mewar school of paintings depicting Rajput kings like Maharana Pratap riding on his horse Chetak or Rajput kings in

procession. There is Panera Bar where one can sink into luxury. For those wishing to know about Mewar style of dining, visit Paantya, the multi-cuisine restaurant in Shiv Niwas Palace. The City Palace For those halting in either of these heritage haunts, can take time out to make a round of the City Palace- the historic landmark of the city. The entrance of the majestic City Palace has three huge arched gates called Tripolia with eight marble porticoes. The City Palace presents a blend of corridors, courtyards, pavilions, terraces and large rooms. Pichhola Lake While ambling at Fateh Prakash Palace, one can get to have spellbinding views of Pichhola Lake and the Lake Palace now managed by Taj Group. Embedded by Aravalli Hills, one gets mesmerized by the beauty of the Pichhola Lake, the blue waters of the lake and the magnificent Lake Palace built on the lake. On the extreme end of the Pichhola Lake is the Jag Mandir perched on the hilltop that has emerged as a popular wedding destination in the city.



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Festivals around the World

A look at some of the most interesting festivals around the world this month! Beginning of the year, January brings a lot of festivity with variety of colorful festival / carnivals and music festivals for an avid traveller. There are many festivals around the world like, Carnevale di Venezia (Venice, Italy) to Quebec Winter Carnival (Quebec City, Canada). Here are some of the best festivals / carnivals which a traveller must enjoy! January 5 - February 28, 2017 Location: Harbin, Heilongjiang, China

Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival The Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival (or Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival) is an annual winter festival that takes place with a theme in Harbin, China. The festival includes the world's biggest ice sculptures. While ice sculptures are erected throughout the city, the two main exhibition areas are Sun Island - a recreational area on the opposite side of the Songhua River from the city, which features an expo of enormous snow sculptures and, Ice and Snow World - an area open at night which features illuminated full size buildings made from blocks of 2–3' thick ice taken directly from the Songhua River. Winter activities during the festival include Yabuli alpine skiing, winterswimming in the Songhua River, and the ice-lantern exhibition in Zhaolin Garden.

January 11 - 28, 2017 Location: Venice, Italy

Carnevale di Venezia The Carnevale di Venezia (Carnival of Venice) is an annual festival held in Venice, Italy. Wander Venice’s waterways and alleyways concealed behind a Bauta, Moretta, Volto, or with other classic masks it is a pre-Lenten celebration. It is the one of the most elegant Carnivals in the world. Socialites come out and play, disguised in 18thcentury costumes, in a spectacle that transports visitors to an age of opulence. Venice Carnival is unapologetically upscale and thrives on it. The elaborate Carnival balls are among the world's most elite parties and come with a high price tag, but the most alluring aspect of this festival is just wandering the labyrinthine island city of historic canals and alleyways filled with costumed revelers and soaking up the one-of-a-kind ambiance.

January 21, 2017 Location: Nara, Japan

Wakakusa Yamayaki Mount Wakakusa, also known as Mount Mikasa is a 342-metre-high mountain located in Nara, Nara Prefecture, Japan to the east of Nara Park. On the fourth Saturday of each January, the dead grass of Mount Wakakusa is burned in an annual festival known as Yamayaki, which is "mountain roast" or "prescribed burn". The tradition supposedly originated from a boundary dispute between two temples, T daiji and K fuku-ji in 1760. As the mediations failed, the entire mountain was set ablaze. Other explanations suggest the extermination of wild boars or pests as a result. The festival today begins with a ceremonial igniting by members of both temples, followed by a fireworks display. In short, peaceful park, Buddhist temples and Shinto shrine along with lots of Asia tropes exploded by the Wakakusa Yamayaki.



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Festivals around the World

January 27 - February 12, 2017 Location: Quebec City, Canada

Quebec Winter Carnival The Quebec Winter Carnival or the Carnaval de Québec is a festival held in Quebec City. After being held on and off since 1894, the Carnaval de Québec has been held uninterruptedly since 1955. That year Bonhomme, the mascot of the festival, made his first appearance. Up to one million people attended the Carnaval de Québec in 2006 making it one of the largest winter festivals in the world. The most famous attractions of this winter festival are the night-time and daytime parades led by mascot Bonhomme Carnaval. The parades wind through the upper city, decorated for the occasion with lights and ice sculptures. Snow sculptures, winter sports, parades and traditional Québec activities like dogsled and canoe races are beloved highlights of the largest winter carnival in the world.

January 27 - 30, 2017 Location: Lexton, Victoria, Australia

Rainbow Serpent Festival The Rainbow Serpent Festival has come a long way since it started in 1998, from a small gathering in a secluded clearing to an internationally recognized festival. The festival has become an institution to many of its loyal followers. Each long weekend during the Australia Day national holiday, the small town of Lexton in regional Victoria swells from its sleepy population of around 150 to over 10,000 as festival-goers from around the world arrive for the annual Rainbow Serpent Festival. The festival is mainly known for Psychedelic trance and Minimal Techno music, but also features other genres of electronic music and non electronic music. The festival also has many art installations, workshops and other attractions. It is an extremely important creation figure in aboriginal beliefs and mythology.

January 31, 2017 Location: Lerwick, Scotland

Up Helly Aa Up Helly Aa refers to any of a variety of fire festivals held annually in Shetland, in Scotland, in the middle of winter to mark the end of the yule season. The festival involves a procession of up to a thousand guizers in Lerwick in a variety of themed costumes. The Shetlands, Scotland’s northernmost islands, have long been an ideal target for Vikings, but today their only invaders are festival-goers. The last Tuesday of every January, Lerwick, the islands’ capital, is overtaken by costumed warriors bearing torches, which they use to set a traditional longboat aflame. This winter festival brings the heat - literally. Europe’s largest fire festival is about more than just flames. It’s a cultural celebration of Nordic heritage and ritual.



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TOGETHER IN THE SPIRIT OF XMAS Never missing an opportunity to celebrate a festive occasion, members of Skal Delhi got together to celebrate Christmas on December 23 at the lawns of hotel The Imperial, New Delhi. On the occasion, members greeted each other in the spirit of Xmas and enjoyed delicious lunch, and Xmas goodies.



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Visa on Arrival: 5 top destinations for last-minute plans

Sri Lanka

One essential step when travelling abroad is securing a visa, though the process can be quite long and strenuous. But on the bright side, there are many countries which provide visa on arrival to Indians. These countries also happen to be the most beautiful and exciting places on earth. Sri Lanka Our neighbour, Sri Lanka, is an enchanting destination with scenic locations scattered across the island nation. Explore charismatic Colombo on a city tour or explore its charming past at the colonial city of Galle and ancient capital, Anuradhapura. Wildlife enthusiasts shouldn’t miss a visit to the Yala national park and the Pinnawala elephant orphanage. Thailand Already one of the most popular holiday spots in the world, visa on arrival in Thailand just gives another strong reason to make it your next holiday destination. Shop and bargain to your heart’s content in Bangkok. Experience the spiritual tranquility of Buddhist temples. If trekking’s on your plan, elephants would love to keep you company at the Chiang Dao elephant camp. And



Samoa A paradise that is safe, sweet and accessible for its visitors, there’s a lot to choose from when in Samoa. You can check out the beaches and nightlife in Apia. Or head to Manono Island to try your hand at adventure sports. St Lucia

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Bali

it would be criminal to not mention the island paradises of Phuket and Krabi. These picture-perfect locations attract tourists like magnets. Indonesia There’s something for everyone here. While the temples in Bali will introduce you to the Far East’s fascinating vision of the epic Ramayana, your hankering for adventure can be satisfied by sports like scuba diving, surfing and snorkeling.

St. Lucia Home to volcanic beaches, coral reefs, fishing villages and untouched rainforests, St. Lucia gives numerous reasons that can make it your ideal Caribbean vacation destination. While the northern part of the island offers modern comforts amid a beautiful bay, the south is a gorgeous region of old plantations, hidden beaches and the impossibly photogenic Pitons Mountains. “While these locations are our top picks when it comes to destinations that provide visa on arrival, there are plenty more on the list,” says Viren Batra, co-founder of Nirvana Excursions. “Bolivia, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guyana, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Seychelles, Tanzania, to name a few.” by T NH DESK



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Stephen England-Hall Chief Executive, Tourism New Zealand Tourism New Zealand Chair Kerry Prendergast has announced the appointment of Stephen England-Hall to the position of Chief Executive at Tourism New Zealand. Stephen will commence in the role in early April 2017, based in Auckland. Hall holds an MBA from Cambridge University and also attended Victoria University in Wellington. Stephen was born in Papakura and spent his teenage years in the Manawatu. He has worked across New Zealand, the United Kingdom and North America as a senior executive of leading digital marketing, data and technology companies. Razorfish is Tourism New Zealand’s global media agency. He inherits a high performing team successfully delivering integrated marketing communications that has supported the tourism industry to become New Zealand’s number one export earner.

Sean Menke President and CEO, Sabre Corporation Sabre Corporation has appointed Sean Menke as president, CEO and a member of Sabre’s board, effective December 31, 2016. Menke will succeed Tom Klein, who has served as president, CEO and board member since 2013. Menke joined Sabre in October 2015 and currently serves as executive vice president of Sabre and president of Sabre Travel Network, Sabre’s largest line of business. Under Menke’s leadership, Sabre Travel Network has won major new business opportunities, increased global market share and secured Sabre’s position as the leading global distribution system in three of its four major operating regions (North America, Latin America and Asia-Pacific), and successfully extended new multi-year agreements with many of its largest global travel management companies, online travel agencies and travel retailers.

Dr. Betty Radier CEO, Kenya Tourism Board Dr. Betty Radier is the new Kenya Tourism Board's Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Radier's appointment by the KTB Board of Directors is the result of an extensive recruitment process. Announcing the appointment, KTB Chairman Jimi Kariuki said the Board was confident that Dr. Radier had the right qualifications to steer KTB and the country's tourism sector into great new frontiers. She brings on board vast leaderships skills complemented with expertise in Strategy. Dr. Radier brings to KTB over 18 years senior management experience in marketing, strategy and operations. She holds a Doctoral degree in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development, University of Cape Town, Graduate School of Business, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree and from the University of Nairobi.

Surajit Ghose Director of Sales, The Suryaa New Delhi Surojit Ghose has recently joined The Suryaa family back as Director of Sales. He was also associated with The Suryaa in the past in the capacity of Director of Sales Leisure. He brings in a vast and varied experience with a front office and Sales background and has started his career with ITC Maurya. He has been associated with brands like IHG, Soaltee Crowne Plaza Kathmandu, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and The Pallazioto mention a few. He is also adept at generating business for the hotel from the leisure segment and to create an awareness of the product by focusing on CRM activities. He does not believe in sales as just lead generation, but as a wholesome end-to-end process that takes into account various segments of the hotel.

Rajeev Jalnapurkar IAAPA inducted in its Asia Pacific Government Relations Subcommittee The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), Virginia USA has inducted Rajeev Jalnapurkar, CEO of Ramoji Film City into its Asia Pacific Government Relations Subcommittee. Started in 1918, IAAPA is world’s largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities worldwide. The organization represents facility, supplier, and individual members from 99 countries. Jalnapurkar would be serving the committee for the year 2017. He is also the only Indian to be selected for this prestigious position. He is the Director of IAAPI and Education Subcommittee of Education at Asia. The Subcommittee’s mission is to implement comprehensive communications and advocacy approach to educate key governments, media, consumers, public and other external constituencies.



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Traci Mercer Senior Vice President of hotel, car, cruise and rail, Sabre Corporation Sabre appoints Traci Mercer as senior vice president of hotel, car, cruise and rail, to lead commercial efforts and supplier relationships for the company’s growing land and sea customer portfolio worldwide. In this position, Mercer will focus on defining a strategic direction and commercial initiatives to cater to the needs of lodging, hospitality, ground and sea transportation providers, ensuring Sabre is developing industry leading technology that meets distribution and e-commerce needs of this customer segment. She will be based at Sabre’s global headquarters in Southlake, Texas, and report to Sean Menke, president of Travel Network. Mercer’s industry experience includes over 10 years at Expedia, Inc. working in various leadership roles, driving their business strategy and sales operations in North America and Asia-Pacific markets.

Timothy Wright Vice President & General Manager, Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has appointed Timothy Wright as Vice President & General Manager for Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo due to open during the second half of 2017. The hotel will be the second property in Sri Lanka for the leading Asian hospitality group, joining Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort & Spa, which opened in June this year. Wright brings with him over thirty years’ experience in the hospitality industry, including senior management positions within Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts. British born Timothy Wright studied Hotel Management in London. His most recent assignments include General Manager Positions for Traders Hotel Singapore (now Hotel Jen); Shangri-La's Eros Hotel, New Delhi; Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa, Cebu; Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok and Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu.

Jie Cheng (JC) Wong Young Tourism Professional Ambassador, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has appointed Jie Cheng (JC) Wong as Young Tourism Professional Ambassador effective January 1, 2017. This new role has been created as part of the Association’s continuing commitment to the development of young tourism professionals. In her new role Wong reports to PATA’s Director – Human Capital Development Parita Niemwongse. JC holds a Bachelor Degree in International Tourism Management with a Recreation major from Taylor’s University, Malaysia. She speaks five languages including English, Thai and Mandarin. JC Wong moved to Thailand from Malaysia in 2014 to explore career opportunities and pursue her passion in Human Capital Development, which she developed as one of the pioneers and the Chairperson of the PATA Malaysia Taylor’s Student Chapter. She joined PATA as an Intern in January 2014.

Saraswathi Naveen Hotel Manager, Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park has announced the appointment of Saraswathi Naveen as Hotel Manager. She has over 15 years of experience in managing and leading the Sales & Marketing division and has been associated with Starwood Hotels & Resorts (now Marriott International Inc.) since August 2011. Her expertise lies in developing talent, creating business development plans, sales operational policies and guidelines for maintaining market leadership. Saraswathi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Masters in Business Administration from Bangalore University. Saraswathi is known among industry veterans and team members for her excellent guest management skills and superlative communication. Being seasoned sales personnel, her convincing abilities and knack to handle challenging situations puts her notch above the others.

Parthiv Joshi Executive Chef, DoubleTree by Hilton Pune Chinchwad DoubleTree by Hilton Pune Chinchwad announces Parthiv Joshi as their new Executive Chef. An industry veteran with more than 14 years of experience, Parthiv Joshi has been associated with some of the best hotel brands in the country. In his new role, Chef Parthiv Joshi will be responsible to come up with new ideas for buffets, designing new menus and in the development and implementation of new procedures for safety and hygiene for their kitchen. Presently, Chef Parthiv heads the multi talented culinary team at DoubleTree by Hilton, Pune, in the Capacity of Executive Chef. Chef Parthiv’s forte lies in creating a high quality product, working closely with producers and suppliers in Supplying exclusive produce and concept creation and managing multi cultural teams. We surely hope that he continues to weave his magic with food the way he has always done in his trademark style.



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Global buzz

FOUR SEASONS STRENGTHENS PRESENCE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA WITH FIRST URBAN PROPERTY IN MALAYSIA Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the world's leading luxury hospitality company, and Venus Assets Sdn Bhd ("Venus"), an internationally renowned property developer, announced plans for Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, set to open in early 2018. Located in the heart of the Golden Triangle neighbourhood, Kuala Lumpur's thriving business and financial district, the Hotel is part of a 65-storey mixed-use tower that will include 242 Four Seasons Private Residences, 27 serviced apartments, a 209-key Four Seasons hotel and a five-floor, 300,000 square foot (27,900 square metre) luxury retail podium, collectively known as Four Seasons Place Kuala Lumpur. Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur will be conveniently located in close proximity to the city's major attractions, including the Petronas Twin Towers and the Kuala by TNH DESK Lumpur City Centre (KLCC).

TRAVELNEVADA LAUNCHES FALL/WINTER MARKETING CAMPAIGN TravelNevada (Nevada Division of Tourism) recently launched its new Fall/Winter integrated marketing campaign, continuing its successful outreach to millennial and adventure travelers. The Fall/Winter campaign will feature an enhanced digital experience on, new photography and videography featuring authentic Nevada characters, creative executions in key markets such as Los Angeles, and a new email marketing program offering personalized content. Since 2013, TravelNevada has been using a “Don’t Fence Me In” integrated PR and advertising campaign, featuring a custom rendition of the famous cowboy song recorded by The Killers, by TNH DESK to market tourism – Nevada’s No. 1 industry.



AIR CHINA INTRODUCES "FULLY ENTRUSTED-NO BAGGAGE CLAIM" IN EUROPE AND THE AMERICAS Starting January 1, 2017, passengers who fly on Air China's flights departing from Europe and the Americas for Chinese cities with a transit in Beijing can benefit from Air China's newly introduced "Fully Entrusted-No Baggage Claim" service. With the "Fully Entrusted-No Baggage Claim" service, passengers can, in the form of pre-authorization at the airport of origin in Europe and the Americas, fully entrust their checked baggage to Air China, and Air China can, on behalf of the passengers, open their checked baggage in transit via Beijing for inspections by the customs and quarantine authorities. by TNH DESK

AIR CANADA INAUGURATES YEAR-ROUND SERVICE BETWEEN TORONTO AND PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD Air Canada recently inaugurated new year-round service between Toronto and Trinidad. This morning's departure of Air Canada Rouge flight AC1880 marks the beginning of twice-weekly, non-stop flights from Toronto to Port of Spain's Piarco International Airport. "Air Canada is very pleased to inaugurate this new, year-round service between Toronto and Port of Spain as part of our ongoing global expansion. In addition to being a popular vacation destination for Canadians, Canada and Trinidad and Tobago have longstanding ties, with many Canadians of Trinidadian descent visiting friends and relatives, and there are also substantial business ties. This new service will connect conveniently with our extensive domestic and international network through our Toronto-Pearson global hub," said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger by TNH DESK Airlines at Air Canada.

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DL (ND)-11/6167/2017-18-19 | DATE OF POSTING: 5-6 OF MONTH | rNI NO.: DELENG/2010/33723 | DATE OF PUBLISHING: 4 th OF THE MONTH

Travel and Hospitality (TnH)-January 2017  
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