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Highlights Vol. 11 I No.09 I June 2018


10 Plum Judy; Offering experiences of exceptional quality

Cover Story: GermanyThe Land of Diversity

Germany’s landscape offer a wealth of options for an unforgettable holiday

Plum Judy, The Leisure Hotel, is a soothing eyrie situated amidst the rolling hills and scenic beauties of Munnar

Little Guests Glamp In Style at Grand Hyatt Taipei Taipei’s most established five-star hotel launches new indoor kids camping experience

22 14 The Leela Partners with Lufthansa for New In-Flight Menu The new menu offers a selection of nutritious meal options

Shore temple; An architectural marvel Dr S Bakthavatchalam talks about The Shore Temple, the icon of the ancient monuments of Mahabalipuram






he World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has called for greater awareness of sustainability in tourism policies and business practices as well as in tourist behaviour. The flagship publication of the organization, ‘Tourism for Development’, which was released in Brussels on 6 June provided “concrete recommendations on how to use tourism as an effective means for achieving sustainable development”. It showed that tourism has a global reach and has positive effects on many other sectors. According to the report tourism sector spearheads growth and improves the quality of people’s lives. It also supports environmental protection and champions diverse cultural heritage and strengthens peace in the world, the report underlines. If properly planned and managed, tourism can effectively and directly contribute to the shift towards more sustainable lifestyles and consumption and production patterns, the report points out. However, the document also says to achieve this goal the sector must “make evidence-based decisions that ensure a consistent contribution to sustainable development.” As UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili rightly said, this report offers a tangible, wide-ranging evidence of the fact that tourism could make a meaningful and substantial contribution to achieving sustainable development and the 2030 Agenda. According to the report measuring tourism’s impact accurately and regularly, and putting the results on the service of the right policies, business practices and consumer behaviour would help in attaining these targets. Meanwhile, ‘Tourism for Development’ calls for governments to “establish and enforce inclusive and integrated policy frameworks for sustainable tourism development”. So the task for the tourism sector is clear-cut. It is time to start working for it.

Editor & Publisher : Dr. G Biju Krishnan* Chief Mentor : Rony Paul Thekkanath Group Vice President : Santhosh Kumaar K Directors : Sai Gayathri B Girish N.M. Creative Director : Rasheed Image Technical Directors : Resh Chidambaran Roshin Wilson Director-PR : Ashok Bania Senior Sub Editor : Gireesh R G Sub Editors : Rose Brigit V M Jif fin Thomas C J Editorial Team : R Parameshwaran Smitha . R Regional Head (Hyderabad) : Uma Ram Director-Finance : K Harikrishnan Financial Advisor : Sailendranadha Pillai K S Legal Advisor : Adv. Raman Kartha GM-Tamil Nadu : P Deenadayalu Design : Kailasnath Secretary to CMD : Latha Nair USA UK UAE Qatar Kuwait Mumbai Kolkata Hyderabad Kochi Erode Madurai

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The news items and Advertisements published herein have been collected from various source, which are considered to be reliable. Readers are however requested to verif y the facts before making business decisions using the same. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the writ ten permission from the Publisher. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2018 *Responsible for selection of news under the PRB Act

Cover Story Germany Tourism

Germany: The Land of Diversity

Germany’s landscapes offer a wealth of options for an unforgettable holiday: long sandy beaches on the coasts and lake shores, enchanting lowland plains, extensive ranges of hills and the high peaks of Saxon Switzerland


ot only is Germany indisputably the most popular destination for international conferences in Europe, it is also constantly gaining in importance as a holiday destination. It is also ideal as a destination for health and relaxation – whether travelling with the whole family, unwinding after a business trip or engaging in active pursuits. With around 200,000 kilometres of walking trails and 70,000 kilometres of cycle paths you can explore the country at its most unspoilt, getting close to nature while being kind to the environment. Almost one third of all European visitors to Germany opt for a city break – and the numbers are rising. There are numerous festivals, celebrating everything from


music to wine or beer, along with arts and cultural events and, of course, the country’s many Christmas markets, which are as popular as they are enchanting. The huge diversity of events always makes it worthwhile extending your stay a little longer. Outstanding architecture, cultural and historical treasures and the highest standards of heritage preservation can be found in the capital Berlin, urban areas such as the Rhine-Main region – home to Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Mainz and Darmstadt – the RhineRuhr region with Cologne, Düsseldorf and Essen, and also other major cities such as Hamburg, Munich and Dresden. Germany boasts 27 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The 20-kilometer-

long Elbe river valley snakes from the southeast to the northwest fringes of Dresden, encompasses a rich ensemble of ornate royal residences, historic architectural monuments as well as swaths of natural reserves and river landscapes. Its leafy towns and cities boast excellent public transport networks and a good cycling infrastructure. Hotels and restaurants support the use of regional produce within a very lively culinary scene that will delight anyone who enjoys good food. Many attractions and amenities also cater for disabled guests through the ‘Tourism for all’ project. At the cultural heart of Germany is the capital, Berlin, home to many fine museums and galleries, while nature lovers will find

a world of possibilities in Germany’s great outdoors.

Cologne Cathedral Cologne Cathedral is one of the most iconic and well-visited buildings in Germany. The towering Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Mary, Kölner Dom, on the banks of the Rhine is Cologne’s most impressive landmark. This masterpiece of High Gothic architecture, one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, was begun in 1248 and was the most ambitious building project of the Middle Ages. The Cathedral was hit by 14 aerial bombs and more than 70 firebomb hits over the course of the Second World War. Whether by an act of God


or just good luck, the building did not collapse and remained standing in an otherwise flattened city. Repairs were finished in 1956 although some bad-quality brickwork was left visible until the 1990’s as a reminder of the war. According to the Cathedral’s website, they receive 20,000-30,000 visitors daily, or a whopping 6 million per year. But these astoundingly high numbers aren’t surprising when you consider that the Cathedral has previously been voted Germany’s best attraction.

The Black Forest The Black Forest is a large forested mountain range in the state of BadenWürttemberg in southwest Germany. The beautiful Black Forest with its dark, densely-wooded hills is one of the most visited upland regions in Europe. In the southwestern corner of Germany and extending 160 kilometers from Pforzheim in the north to Waldshut on the High Rhine in the south, it’s a hiker’s heaven. On the west side, it descends steeply to the Rhine crossed by lush valleys, while on the east it slopes more gently down to the upper Neckar and Danube valleys. Popular spots include Germany’s oldest ski area at Todtnau, the magnificent spa facilities of Baden-Baden, and the attractive resort of Bad Liebenzell. Other highlights include the spectacular Black Forest Railway centered on Triberg with its famous falls, and Triberg itself, home to the Black Forest Open Air Museum.

European unity and peace.

Neuschwanstein Castle

year. While there are many places in Germany to enjoy this majestic river, the lovely Upper Middle Rhine Valley section is probably the best place to see it. Here, this often-dramatic 65-kilometer stretch of river boasts more than 40 castles and some 60 picturesque medieval towns all just waiting to be explored either by river cruise or by car. Bingen, where the river cuts through a deep gorge before entering the Bacharach valley, is a good place to start. These days, it’s as popular among day-trippers as it is with those staying for longer visits, offering numerous long-distance trails and bike routes, along with a wide variety of river excursions.

Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate The Brandenburg Gate is an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin, built on the orders of Prussian king Frederick William II after the (temporarily) successful restoration of order during the early Batavian Revolution. Measuring an impressive 26-meters

One of the highest mountain ranges in Germany is the Harz Range, a region populated by picturesque, traditional homes, snow-covered peaks and peaceful rivers in height - including the spectacular four-horse chariot perched atop - its six huge columns on each side of the structure form five impressive passages: four were used by regular traffic, while the center was reserved for the royal carriages. Huge Doric columns also decorate the two buildings at each side of the Gate, once used by toll-collectors and guards. Undoubtedly Berlin’s most iconic structure, it was also once part of the infamous Berlin Wall and for a few decades was symbolic of the division of Berlin into East and West. The Brandenburg Gate was often a site for major historical events and is today considered not only as a symbol of the tumultuous history of Europe and Germany, but also of

Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The old town of Füssen, between the Ammergau and Allgäu Alps, a popular alpine resort and winter sports center, is a good base from which to explore nearby Neuschwanstein Castle, one of Europe’s most famous royal castles. From 1869-86, King Ludwig II of Bavaria built this many-towered and battlement-covered fantasy fortress - the inspiration for Walt Disney’s famous theme park castles. A variety of tour options are offered, including guided tours of the sumptuous interior taking in the Throne Room, the Singers’ Hall, and some of the country’s most spectacular views.

Harz Mountains One of the highest mountain ranges in Germany is the Harz Range, a region populated by picturesque, traditional homes, snowcovered peaks and peaceful rivers. The Harz Mountains is the land of German fairy tales: steep-roofed houses with tiny windows and narrow, cobblestone streets, dark forests, rushing streams and stormy mountains. There is something familiar about these little towns tucked away in deep,

The Rhine Valley The Rhine is not only one of Europe’s most beautiful rivers, it’s also one of the most important waterways, flowing some 1,320 kilometers from Switzerland all the way to the Netherlands and the North Sea. One of the most appealing sections of this mighty river flows through Germany’s Rhine Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty that draws large numbers of tourists each June 2018 | ASIAN TRAVELLER


Cover Story Germany Tourism wooded valleys. These were the scenes of childhood stories: the home of wicked witches, dwarves digging in caverns under the earth and poor woodcutters in lonely cottages. The Brothers Grimm collected their stories from various places, primarily the area around Kassel about 40 miles to the west, but the Harz Mountains have long been famous as an important source of German folklore. Many of these stories are well-known outside of Germany as well: Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, Rumpelstiltskin, Tom Thumb, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, The Frog Prince, and The Wolf and the Seven Kids.

Sylt Sylt is an island in northern Germany, part of Nordfriesland district, Schleswig-Holstein, and well known for the distinctive shape of its shoreline. Sylt boasts endless beaches, not to mention gorgeous sand dunes and traditional lighthouses. A short walk from thatched roof cottages and open fields, you can make a splash at the beach and stay in a contemporary hotel suite. It is also popular to rent bicycles and tour the island that way. Sylt has made a name for itself as a venue for top sporting events thanks to the annual Windsurf World Cup. And the water sports conditions are great for amateurs too! Swimmers on Sylt’s western coast find themselves sharing the sea with sailors, kiteboarders and surfers. Back on dry land, golf courses boasting superb


views over the North Sea present a different challenge altogether. Vast swathes of the island’s natural beauty are safeguarded by law, with one seventh of its total area covered by conservation zones and one third by nature reserves. The surrounding Wadden Sea became a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in 2009. There’s no better way to get to know a country than by taking part in its festivals. If you’re living in Germany, there’s no better time to immerse yourself in German culture than during the burst and celebration of their revered top German festivals.

Berlin International Film Festival The Berlin International Film Festival, usually called the Berlinale, is a film festival held annually in Berlin, Germany. The festival was the idea of Oscar Martay, a film officer in the U.S. military who was stationed in West Berlin after World War II. In 1950 he formed a committee that included members of the Berlin Senate and the German film industry. Together they

German food is rich, hearty and delicious and many top German dishes make great comfort food laid the groundwork for the inaugural festival, which was held in June 1951. Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940) was the first film shown, and its star, Joan Fontaine, was on hand. Martay was awarded a Golden Bear (Goldener Bär), the festival’s

top prize, for his work in bringing the Berlinale to reality. The public programme of the Berlin International Film Festival shows about 400 films per year, mostly international or European premieres.

Rock am Ring and Rock im Park Rock am Ring and Rock im Park Festivals are two simultaneous rock music festivals held annually. While Rock am Ring takes place at Mendig on an old airbase; Rock im Park takes place at the Zeppelinfeld in Nuremberg, in the south. Combined, Rock im Park and Rock am Ring are the largest music festivals held in Germany and one of the largest in the world with a combined attendance of over 150,000 people in 2007, selling out both events in advance for the first time. Both festivals are usually regarded as one event with a mostly identical lineup for both festivals.

Oktoberfest Oktoberfest is the world’s largest Volksfest (beer festival and travelling funfair). Held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, it is a 16- to 18-day folk festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year. The festival, which spans just over two weeks, is held annually in a meadow just outside Munich’s city centre. In addition to eating, drinking

and dancing, visitors can enjoy colourful parades, a variety of fairground rides. The original Oktoberfest in October 1810 was held in honour of the wedding between Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of SaxonyHildburghausen. For five full days, the burghers of Munich were invited to eat, drink and be merry, and enjoy parades involving kettle drums and music, shooting displays and a horse race around a meadow on the edge of town. Each German region has its own specialty dishes plus regional variations of top German cuisine recipes. German food is rich, hearty and delicious and many top German dishes make great comfort food. Many German foods are easier to make than you think, and you’ll find it’s not too difficult to incorporate one of these dishes into your weekly meals. Germans tend to eat heavy and hearty meals that include ample portions of meat and bread. Potatoes are the staple food, and each region has its own favorite ways of preparing them. Some Germans eat potatoes with pears, bacon, and beans. Others prepare a special stew called the Pichelsteiner, made with three kinds of meat and potatoes. Germans from the capital city of Berlin eat potatoes with bacon and spicy sausage. Sauerbraten is a large roast made of pork, beef, or veal that is popular throughout Germany, and is flavored in different ways depending on the region. ASIAN TRAVELLER | June 2018

Resort focus

Plum Judy;

Offering experiences of exceptional quality Plum Judy, The Leisure Hotel, is a soothing eyrie situated amidst the rolling hills and scenic beauties of Munnar. Luxurious interiors, exotic cuisines and gracious service combine to create a memorable vacation full of delightful surprises for you


lum Judy combines charm and hospitality with every modern convenience at your fingertips. Hotel Plum Judy is a high altitude hotel where a bird’s-eye view is the number-one selling point. It promises that you’re cocooned in comfort, but still on top of the world. Name of the hotel has been derived from the name of a butterfly, Plum Judy, a striking and beautiful active butterfly usually seen at the top of trees and amidst foliage. In the same manner, Hotel Plum Judy is located on top of a mountain which adds to its beauty. Hotel Plum Judy located in Pallivasal is situated around eight kilometers from Munnar. It is a fabulous masterpiece of nature having a dreamlike view, which combines greenly mountains, valleys, lakes, waterfalls, verdant forests. One side of the hotel faces towering hills and on the other side is the valley which has excellent scenic beauty, panoramic views, lush green forests, enchanting streams and attractive surroundings makes the guest’s dream


come true. In addition to the dreamlike sceneries, there are numerous flora and fauna in the scenic area and rare species of animals. The story of AK Hotel Group, which opened its first hotel in 1997, is a tale of continual innovation, remarkable expansion and a single-minded dedication to the highest of standards. The AK Hotel Group, owned by Ashok Kumar who is a well-established owner, developer, and operator of brand hotels is an Ernakulam-based company for nearly 20 years. He owns, operates and franchises three hotels in which two are three star hotels and one Leisure 5- star complexes in Kerala. The company focuses on major gateway cities including Kerala, as well as planning to expand business in various parts of the country. During these years, it has transformed the hospitality industry by combining friendliness and efficiency with the finest traditions. In the process, Hotel Plum Judy has redefined luxury for the modern traveller. The location, décor and

lavish atmosphere distinguish the Hotel Plum Judy as an ideal destination for an exclusive holiday. Rooms and Suites are elegantly furnished, with king-size & twin beds, sheer curtains, plush carpets and polished wooden floors. Natural light and views across the Mountain are delightfully captured in our signature, picture frame windows with a private balcony. The interconnected rooms at plumjudy is ideal for a family to set in their comfort stay. Plumjudy Jacuzzi Suite features favored appointments designed to enhance your comfort and modern conveniences you’ve come to expect, elevated by extras. A private master bedroom with Jacuzzi and en suite bath, a spacious sofa in living room and a private balcony. Marvel at the scenic majesty of Munnar – from the air, mountain and tea garden. Serene surroundings, luxurious rooms and legendary service, a stay at Plum Judy promises all of these benefits and more. Offering luxurious style

and modern convenience in equal measure, our rooms are beautifully furnished, ornamented with unique, modern art and equipped with the latest technologies. Premium Mountain View Rooms are elegantly furnished, with a kingsize and twin beds, sheer curtains, plush carpets and polished wood floors. Natural light and views across the Mountain are delightfully captured in our signature, picture frame windows. Premium Valley View Rooms are elegantly furnished, with a king-size and twin beds, sheer curtains, plush carpets and polished wood floors. Natural light and views across the Valley are delightfully captured in our signature, picture frame windows. Hotel Plum Judy Offers 60 luxury bedrooms with spectacular views across misty mountains of Munnar which includes four Jacuzzi suites, fifty-three Premium Rooms and three Interconnected Rooms that distinguish themselves


you have more time to do exercise, Hotel Plum Judy has a full and renovated gym. At Hotel Plum Judy Spa, there is wide range of luxurious spa treatments along with Jacuzzi Massage Spa to boost your natural beauty. The spa therapists will carefully tailor each treatment and recommend the perfect remedy. You’re sure to leave relaxed and feeling pampered from head to toe. for their elegance and refinement. Dining at Hotel Plum Judy is at once a culinary voyage and a coming home. At Ringlet, Multi Cuisine Restaurant, they have a tasting menu for moments of indecision, selected by

provide excellent modern facilities for banqueting, meetings and offer state of the art conference facilities. Specially designed and decorated board rooms of 12 pax of Hotel Plum Judy offers superior facilities which will help unleash

“My stay at this opulent hotel was certainly an amazing experience. The facilities and services provided by this Hotel is top notch, be it the cuisine and then comfort, or the staff approach and the ambience, all adds up to a superior deluxe experience. Well elevated in the heart of Munnar, the rooms provided by the Hotel, especially the Valley- View rooms is beautifully furnished and well equipped with a breathtaking view of the sunrise, naturally brightening up your day, followed by a simple and appetizing breakfast menu provided in an open foyer near the restaurant, to enjoy nature at its best. I would certainly recommend this Hotel to everyone out there looking for a satisfying and pleasant stay whilst at Munnar, as I would definitely love to relive this wonderful experience.”- says Sandra Anil Varkey, a customer. Munnar is an idyllic hill station, famous for its tea estates, exotic scenery,

our Chef to fully recharge your energy and experience our eclectic range of regional cuisines. The banquet hall of Hotel Plum Judy can host gatherings of over 100 or seat 75 people. This hall is fully accessible by people with special needs. They


abundance of flora and fauna and craggy peaks. One of the biggest tea-plantation area of South India, Munnar is one of the most beautiful and popular hill-stations of Kerala. Situated on the banks of three riversMadupetti, Nallathanni and Periavaru, Munnar is also blessed with natural view-points apart from the tea-plantations. It is divided into Old Munnar, where the tourist information office is, and Munnar, where the bus station and most guest houses are located. The Eravikulam National Park, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and tea plantations are its major attractions. Eravikulam National Park and the Nilgiri Tahr is considered to be the icon of tourism in Munnar. The national park is also famous for its Neelakurinji population. At this place, you can witness the highest peak in South India, Anamudi. A trekking to this peak will no doubt energise you. When you stand yourself on the top of this peak, you will feel that you are standing very close to the sky and very soon you can touch the sky. The lovely Devikulam Lake; Kolukkumalai (the highest tea plantation in the country); the waterfalls like Lakkam, Attukal, Nyayamakad, Chinnakkal, Kuthumkal, Cheeyapara, Valara and Thoovanam; the ‘cattle village’ or Mattupetty etc makes Munnar the abode of nature.

your inner self to new vistas of vision. High up above the hills, you can work undisturbed, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday business. If you are passionate about sport and like to keep up your routine when you are on holiday, or take advantage of the fact that 11


Aim is to make TGI an international class with an Indian identity: Arun Kumar Arun Kumar VK, Executive Director and Co Founder of TGI (The Great Indian) Hotels and Resorts, shares his views on the growth prospects of Indian hospitality sector and future plans of TGI Group of Hotels and Resorts You have been in the hospitality industry for the past several years. Could you tell us about your early days? What made you enter the hospitality sector? I have always been a foodie and also had a liking to the hotel business from my childhood. As I grew up, this liking grew up with me and had become a passion; I have joined Oriental School of Hotel Management and completed my DHM. Later I got my Master’s Degree in International Hospitality, from Leeds Metropolitan University, UK which strengthened my knowledge. I started my career at TAJ and worked for many brands like Le Meridian, Marriott International, and Aitken Spence, for more than 12 years. Then later in 2014, along with Amitava Roy, I co-founded TGI Hotels and Resorts.

In your opinion, what makes TGI Hotels and Resorts unique? We want to showcase true Indian hospitality “Atithi Devo Bhava” through the Brand TGI - The Great Indian Hotels and Resorts. In the midst of numerous international and local brands, we aspire to create a special niche for small and medium-sized hotels and resorts, allowing TGI to be of international class with an Indian identity. The hotels and resorts we handle, have less than 100 rooms, to ensure personalized attention to the guests and to make them feel at home. . Our strength lies in inbound tourism. We deploy award-winning strategies to assist numerous hospitality organizations, which makes us the best hotel management company 12

in India.

What are the upcoming projects of TGI Hotels? We are very much excited about the future of TGI Hotels. We have signed various projects (under management contract, lease and minimum guarrantee mode), which are almost ready-to-launch in various parts of India including – Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Ooty, Kuttikkanam, Bhopal, Lonavala, and Ghaziabad – to name a few. We are aiming to serve people from all the states in India.

Would you please share with us the proudest and some of the unforgettable moments in your professional life? My proudest moment in my professional life was when we launched our first property in Yelagiri. We can never forget the moment when we decided to start TGI Hotels and Resorts. We both had a well and stable career when this idea had started to brew in our mind, which we had to leave to get in field and get going. We had confidence in our capabilities, and we are really happy where we have reached today, by God’s good grace and with the support of our team members.

How do you see the growth prospects of Indian hospitality sector? What is the most important thing to pay attention to in hotel management? Hotel management industry will be a major contributor to the Indian Economy in the coming years

The World Travel and Tourism Council forecasts Indian tourism sector to grow at annual average growth rate of seven per cent over the next ten years. The sector’s total contribution to GDP stood at US$ 208.9 billion (9.6 per cent of GDP) in 2016 and is forecast to rise by 10 per cent of GDP in 2027. So I think, hotel management industry will be a major contributor to the Indian Economy in the coming years.

marketing campaign. If you keep your customers happy, they will definitely keep coming back to you.

For us, the supreme important thing to pay attention in the Hotel Management industry is quality service and retention of customers. Customers can make or break an industry. A good word of mouth is worth a lot than any well-funded

As we are expanding now, I don’t get much free time. Generally speaking, my free time is fully dedicated to my small family, my wife, Thushara and our son, Aarav. I come back home to them from work and relish each & every moment with them.

Where would you like to see yourself, say, 10 years from now? Ten years from now, we would really like to spread across India as well as abroad helping our customers to get better facilities and services at reasonable charges.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?


Hotels and Resorts

The Leela Partners with Lufthansa for New In-Flight Menu Innovative recipes inspired by signature Indian restaurant - Jamavar - to delight flyers


ufthansa India unveiled a brandnew menu that has been curated in collaboration with The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts and its Master Chef Vinod Saini. The new menu offers a selection of nutritious meal options, based on innovative recipes but still use traditional ingredients and bring out authentic Indian flavours to spoil flyers while cruising at 36,000 feet. Starting immediately, passengers travelling on Lufthansa German Airlines to/from India are able to order from an array of delectable meal options offering a modern take on traditional Indian cuisine. Featuring exquisite dishes from across the country that have been created using freshest seasonal ingredients involving modern food techniques, the in-flight menu ensures that passengers have access to a healthier and exclusive dining experience. Commenting on the launch of the new menu, Master Chef Vinod Saini, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts said: “Exploring the world has led me to find my passion for being a chef. Working with Lufthansa means to explore the world further. To train chefs in India and Germany on such a high quality level has been very enriching for me too. Indian food is soul food!


Yet, we have combined Indian culinary traditions with a creative approach to meet the needs of a modern traveller.” For the new menus Lufthansa German Airlines partnered with The Leela and Master Chef Vinod Saini who creates unforgettable experiences focusing on the royal kitchens of India at the brands’ signature fine dining restaurant – Jamavar. Wolfgang Will, Senior Director, South Asia, Lufthansa Group, said: “At Lufthansa, we are delighted to encourage the growing zeal within Indian travellers to explore the world as reflected by our #sayyestotheworld campaign. Being a preferred partner in airline travels also means, listen to our customers preferences. Indian passengers are demanding more diverse and healthier culinary experiences during their travel”, said “Our new inflight menu reflects our understanding of changing passenger preferences and reaffirms our commitment of being ‘More Indian than you think’.” The new menu features dishes such as roasted chicken slices with sunflower seeds on a bed of carrots and honey sesame oil mint leaf or Lobia Sundal, a raw mango salad as appetizer choices. Martaban Gosht garnished with ginger

julienne and chopped coriander, Chandani Murgh Korma and Shalgam Gosht and more for main course. To satisfy sweet cravings, passengers can choose from traditional classics such as Baked Rasgulla with caramel sauce, Kasi Halwa, Litchi Nariyal ki Kheer. Moreover, passengers with special requests for a diabetic, Jain or Kosher meal or passengers with food allergies also have scrumptious options to choose from. Lufthansa recently introduced Chaayos Masala Tea on flights to/from India effective May 2018. Exclusively crafted for the airline, it features a special blend of high quality natural ingredients, including Assam tea, dried ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper and cloves, with no added artificial flavours. The new in-flight menu is introduced across First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy Class as well as Economy Class. Established in 1986, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, owns and operates nine awardwinning properties in major cities and magical leisure destinations across India. These include the flagship in the capital city of New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurgaon, East Delhi, Goa, Udaipur and Kovalam Beach, Kerala. Over the last three decades,

The Leela group has been recognized for its unique identity among the world’s leading hotels, and received numerous accolades by prestigious publications and industry groups around the globe. Each property is a market leader in its respective location, and internationally acclaimed for excellence in luxury hospitality. The Leela is committed to providing guests with unforgettable stays in settings that capture the essence of India. The group has several new projects under development, including Bengaluru, Jaipur, Agra, Lucknow, Kathmandu, Chandigarh, with plans to expand to Maldives, Dubai, Fujairah Beach, and Seychelles. The Lufthansa Group is an aviation company with operations worldwide. In the financial year 2017, the Lufthansa Group generated revenue of EUR 35.6bn and employed an average of 128,856 staff. The structure of the business segments was adjusted in line with the three-pillar concept behind the corporate strategy at the beginning of the financial year. Since then, the Lufthansa Group has been organised into the business segments Network Airlines, Point-to-Point Airlines, Aviation Services (comprising the segments Logistics, MRO and Catering), and Additional Businesses. ASIAN TRAVELLER | June 2018

Kerala Tourism

Kerala Tourism gets ‘Best Destination for Families’ award


set an ambitious target of increasing domestic tourist arrivals by 50 per cent by the year 2021 and doubling the foreign tourists by this period.

erala Tourism has bagged the ‘Best Destination for Families’ award through an online poll conducted by Lonely Planet Magazine India Travel Award 2018. The award ceremony was held in Mumbai and Director of Kerala Tourism, P Bala Kiran, received it on behalf of the state. Kerala Tourism had won the award for ‘Best Destination for Romance’ for Munnar by Lonely Planet Magazine India Travel Award last year, a government press release said. This is the latest in the bunch of prominent awards that Kerala Tourism has been winning. The consecutive award wins demonstrate the growing popularity of the state as the most soughtafter destination across the globe. Rightfully, Kerala has become the tourism trendsetter in India. Lonely Planet Magazine India Travel Award 2018 recognises the best national and international travel destinations. Out of a

wide range of categories, travellers get to choose the best destination across the globe based on their travel experiences. Speaking on the occasion, Bala Kiran said Kerala has something to offer from every generation of travellers, which makes the state best destination for families. Stressing on the concept of ‘Best Family Destination,’ Kerala Tourism has launched ‘Come Out and Play’ campaign that emphasises on the prominence of the state being the most preferred family destination, a press release said. “Additionally, the

Tourism Department has been offering experiential water and action-based activities for the tourists. Subsequently, Kerala is hopeful to drive the growth of tourist arrivals during monsoon season this year,” he added. Over the years, the state has witnessed tremendous growth in tourist arrivals. More than expectations, an increase of 11.39 per cent has been recorded in domestic tourist arrivals to Kerala in 2017, compared to the previous year. Foreign tourist arrivals have increased by 5.15 per cent during the period. The Tourism Department has

An Industry expert panel nominated a couple of destinations across the country for various categories such as romance, culture, adventure, food and drink, and wildlife, on the basis of certain industry parameters. Winners were chosen by an online-based readers’ survey. Tourism minister, Kadakampally Surendran, Kerala Tourism expects to woo vacationers from across the world during this monsoon season with two key tourist attractions that include Neelakurinji and Jatayu Earth Center, which is Kerala’s premium tourism product. Tourism Secretary, Rani George, Kerala is one such state that offers travel enthusiasts enriching travelling experiences throughout the year. It’s a 12-month ready tourism destination, which caters to every generation of travellers, she said.

Kerala Tourism page tourism ranked best in country by Facebook country in 2017.


he Kerala Tourism Facebook page has secured the first place among FB tourism pages of all states across the


The Kerala page, which has garnered 1.5 million likes, secured first place in a ranking done by Facebook based on total engagement with tourists that included reactions, shares and comments from January 1 and December 31, 2017, of various state government’s Facebook tourism pages in the country. The Kerala Tourism

page pushed the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department’s Facebook page to the second place, while Gujarat’s page came third. The list was released by Facebook on Wednesday. Rani George, Secretary, Tourism, said Kerala Tourism has been able to successfully convey the reasons why Kerala is a destination that should be on every traveller’s itinerary. “The department’s presence on social media has taken this message across to millions across the world.” She added that Facebook’s laurel this was heartening. Tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran

lauded the entire social media team for their efforts. P Bala Kiran, Kerala Tourism Director, accepted the award at the Facebook office in Delhi. The recognition comes at a time when the State Tourism Department’s digital marketing budget has been increased by 15 percent. The recognition for the FB page came on the same day as the department’s tweet inviting Karnataka MLAs to relax in Kerala’s resorts after the “rough and tumble” of the elections. The tweet, which took an obvious dig at the ‘resort politics’ in Karnataka elections, was later pulled out following backlash from users. ASIAN TRAVELLER | June 2018

Kerala Tourism Hit by Nipah Virus


he sudden outbreak of the Nipah virus in north Kerala has dashed the hopes of the state Tourism sector, which was expecting a huge inflow of domestic and Gulf holidayers in the coming months. The Health Department was quick to respond when the outbreak was reported from Kozhikode, and issued a travel advisory to four districts in northern Kerala. The southern state is now witnessing wide cancellation of hotel bookings and tour packages and many holidayers are even demanding safety assurance from tour operators to visit Kerala. Many industry players blamed the media for blowing out of proportion the virus outbreak, which


has affected only some districts. Though MayJune-July-August months are generally considered off-season, the state used to witness large number of domestic tourists as well as those from Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE during the period. However, following the

outbreak of the virus, some states and Gulf countries have cautioned against travelling to Kerala, they said. Rajesh Pillai, a Kochibased tour operator, said cancellations have been a daily affair since the rare virus claimed 11 lives in the two districts of Kozhikode and Malappuram. Businesses worth Rs 30-40

lakh has been affected during May-June months, he said. “The Nipah issue has affected the industry so badly. Even the bookings for the month of August and September have been cancelled,” he told PTI. The bookings of group and family packages have been the most affected, he said. “Tourists are saying that they cannot take risk. They are also asking if any assurance can be given for their safety. They believe that the entire state is facing threat from the Nipah virus,” Pillai, the Kerala head of a leading tour group, said. “The visitors are not prepared to believe that the outbreak had happened in a tiny village in Kozhikode and only some districts have been affected due to it. Unfortunately our media reports gave them such an impression,” he said.



THAI Smile Airways did it again THAI Smile wins the Grand Prize from Tripadvisor for the second consecutive year, Best Airline in Thailand, Winner of Regional Airline in Asia and Winner of Economy Class Airline in Asia


HAI Smile has won the Winner of Regional Airline in Asia and the Best Airline in Thailand for the second consecutive year, also the Winner of Economy Class in Asia from the review of passengers in 2018. TripAdvisor, a famous travel website with over 350 million users worldwide. This makes Thailand famous and highlights the leading full-service airline, and we continue to develop our world-class service as to meet the needs of travelers and create the impression to our passengers. Chatchai Panyoo, Acting Chief Executive Officer, THAI Smile Airways Co Ltd, revealed that the prize from 2018 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards has reflected the readiness to compete in the region and is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our employees through our heartfelt service which is the concept and value of our organization. We also strive to provide the best experience for our customers in every touch point and create a superior travel experience for our clients in every flight. “Best Airline in Thailand and Winner of Regional Airline in Asia are the awards we have received for the second consecutive year. We are proud of it and


this award is a reflection from our customers who have used our service. It can guarantee the success of THAI Smile that focuses on providing excellent service coupled with the value for money. The cleanliness of the cabin can substantially meet the needs of our customers. This year, we have also won the award for the Winner of Economy Class Airline in Asia for the first time. It is a proven record to the significant marketing position as a full-service airline that is ready for delivering full services and offers maximum comfort to all passengers, especially for serving foods and drinks on board. “We have also created more surprises for our passengers from special menus during waiting for boarding throughout the year, also the Grab and Go service is an impressive. We also take into account the right for receiving equal service by providing Safety Information in Braille for both Thai and English. It is available for visually impaired passengers, and flight attendants got trained on sign language to explain the safety information to passengers with hearing problem.” Acting Chief Executive Officer of THAI Smile said; “I, as a representative of

the management and all staff, would like to thank everyone, passengers review and the tireless effort of our staff. This is a great opportunity for us to continue our journey. At the same time, the most important thing that we always hold for the standard of work of all personnel is to provide service with the heart. It’s not easy to foresee the customers’ needs, but we will continue to develop and deliver the best of our services to reach that goal.” TripAdvisor is a wellknown online travel website that gives members and travelers around the world the opportunity to share their experiences and to rate their favorite airlines around the globe. The ratings are both quantitative and qualitative throughout the period of 12-months. The scores indicate the prominence of both quality of service and worthiness the customers’ favor. THAI Smile Airways, a subsidiary airline of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI), is a regional airline operator for short and medium range flights. The airline operates using “WE” as an airline code and aims to become a favourite airline with the Heart of Thai in Asia. Unlike other carriers, THAI Smile is a ‘Full Service” airline

being Regional Wings of Thai Airways.They provide excellence and quality services to meet the needs of short-haul travelers with an affordable price, while ensuring greatest comfort and convenience for a superior travel experience. The airline fleet consists of 20 aircrafts in 2016 and operates using narrow-body fleet with operation bases located at Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Products and services of THAI Smile are suitable for passengers travelling short distances. The airline has adjusted several dimension of its strategy to serve travelers with a tagine: Fly Smart, Fly Sabai, Fly THAI Smile. At present, THAI Smile Airways operates in 10 domestic destinations: Chiang Mai, Phuket, Khon Kaen, Chiang Rai, HatYai, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Surat Thani, Narathiwat, and Krabi with one interline flight between Chiang Mai – Phuket. For international routes, THAI Smile also operates 18 international flights to Siem Reap, Penang, Changsha, Chongqing, Zhengzhou, Gaya, Varanasi, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mumbai, Yangon, Phnom Penh, Kuala Lumpur, Vientiane, Mandalay, Kaohsiung, Luang Prabang and Phuket- Guangzhou. ASIAN TRAVELLER | June 2018

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Belmond opens its authentic country escape in the heart of rural Tuscany Belmond is a global collection of exceptional hotel and luxury travel adventures in some of the world’s most inspiring and enriching destinations


elmond Castello di Casole joins the Belmond portfolio, a truly authentic Tuscan retreat, steeped in Etruscan history, fully encapsulating ‘The Art of Good Living’ and connecting guests with local culture and rich heritage. Joining its Tuscan sister hotel, Belmond Villa San Michele in Florence, the storied castle hotel and grounds sit within an untouched nature reserve in the Tuscan hills between Siena and Florence. A cypress tree lined private road ascends to the historical estate which is situated atop rolling hills with panoramic views of the surrounding villages and patchwork farmland, including olive groves and vineyards, producing the property’s own olive oil and ‘C’ privatelabel signature wines. Built in the year 998 and originally named Querceto Manor, the iconic property was restored by the aristocratic Bargagli family in the 20th century and sits within its own medieval village, featuring original Etruscan artifacts and architecture.

Romantic Luxury in True Tuscany

Located in the former medieval village in the grounds, the Essere spa offers a sanctuary to connect 20

with Etruscan history and disconnect from modern day living. Set in the old wine cellar, the tranquil space features original stone walls and Etruscan artifacts dating back to the 4th century, owned by the Bargagli Collection. The spa terrace is a space to relax and enjoy sunrise yoga with long views over the expansive golden valley. Rejuvenating signature treatments using local ingredients– rosemary, grape seed and olive oil – and ancient Etruscan methods, reflect the spirit of Tuscany and connect guests with the

The spa terrace is a space to relax and enjoy sunrise yoga with long views over the expansive golden valley rich surrounding landscapes. The Divino Ritual is inspired by Belmond Castello di Casole’s vineyards, featuring a red wine bath and hydromassage enriched with red wine extracts. Belmond Castello di Casole offers a dynamic mix of local Tuscan and Italian flavours. Classic Venetian dishes such as tender carpaccio and tagliolini verdi are served in the sun-lit courtyard of Cip’s Clubby sister property, Belmond

Hotel Cipriani. Old Tuscan traditional dishes with modern flair can be found at Tosca, using ingredients grown in the hotel gardens. With classic marble detailing, Bar Visconti is named after previous occupier and cinematographic legend, Luchino Visconti. The legendary filmmaker hosted notable social events at the castle, inviting Hollywood glitterati such as Sophia Loren and Helmut Berger. Overlooking the calm infinity pool, the bar is the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset or gaze at the stars from the panoramic terrace.

Entruscan Dreams

Each of the Castello’s 39 all-suite rooms capture the spirit of the region. Throughout the property, design features include original stone flooring, terracotta colours and traditional alabaster from the local region of Volterra, reflecting the estate’s rich history. Suites located in the original 10th century medieval tower, feature original fireplaces and stone wall detailing.

Wild and Rustic Tuscany

The vast acres surrounding the property provide an unrivalled backdrop for a range of activities, offering access to the region’s hidden secrets. Guests are invited to head out with the estate rangers for a sunset safari to see

the plethora of wildlife, including deer, wild boars, pheasants, foxes and hares, or discover truffle hunting, explore the estate from the many hiking trails and cycle along the tracks amongst the vineyards.

Town and Country

Guests can journey between Belmond Villa San Michele in Fiesole, Florence and Belmond Castello di Casole for the ultimate Tuscan adventure. Prices start from 500 Euros per night + 10% VAT, based on two sharing and including breakfast. Visit castellodicasole for more information and bookings. Established almost 40 years ago with the acquisition of Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, its unique and distinctive portfolio now embraces 47 hotel, rail and river cruise experiences, including one scheduled for a 2018 opening in London, in many of the world’s most celebrated destinations. From city landmarks to intimate resorts, the collection includes Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, St. Petersburg; Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro; Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya; and Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara. Belmond also encompasses safaris, eight luxury tourist trains, including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, and three river cruises. Belmond also operates ‘21’ Club, one of New York’s most storied restaurants. ASIAN TRAVELLER | June 2018

Summer Vacation

This summer plan the perfect vacation experience for your kids Summer break is a great time for family bonding! Whether you’re looking for a blast of sunlight to rejuvenate your soul or outdoor winter fun, this summer is your excuse to ditch the monotony of 9 to 5 life and head for a much-deserved vacation with your family


experience. Enjoy your stay at Royal Reserve Safari & Beach Club. This African style resort is set amongst coconut palm groves on the white sandy beach at Kikambala. This area is rural and unspoilt. Nairobi National Park in Kenya has access to some wonderful child-friendly attractions.

CI identifies the perfect places to spend your summer vacation with your kids. Go ahead and plan your trip right away with RCI stay options at the below kidfriendly destinations.

Toons & More: If you ask a child about his/her ideal vacation, it would be Disney Land. Across the plaza from Disneyland’s monument to fantasy and make-believe is Disney California Adventure (DCA), an ode to California’s geography, history and culture, perfect for children of all ages. DCA, covers more acres than Disneyland and feels less crowded, it has more modern rides and attractions inspired by coastal amusement parks, the inland mountains and redwood forests, the magic of Hollywood, and car culture by way of the movie cars. Club this trip with a fantastic stay at Breathless Cabo San Lucas Resort & Spa. Situated in the heart of California Surf on the beautiful Medano Beach, it is the safest swimmable beach in Cabo San Lucas for your children. Cast a Spell: Along with your children, if you’re a Harry Potter Fan, you must visit London and the studio where Harry Potter was bought to life. Have a magical day out with a behind-the-scenes tour of June 2018 | ASIAN TRAVELLER

the Harry Potter films at Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London. Several guided tours in London will take you around familiar Harry Potter film locations, either by foot and boat, or by bus. Brit Movie Tour, London Walks and Discovery Walks of London all offer tours dedicated to Harry Potter London locations, among other iconic British movies. Dressing up as wizards and witches is optional! While in London, enjoy your stay at Odessa Rental.

Samui and feasting on the beach wherever sand meets sea. The Thai are known for their hospitality and kid-friendly nature, which makes for a welcoming family vacation spot. Complete this perfect vacation with a perfect stay at Aochalong Villa Resort & Spa. It offers a tranquil retreat by the sea set among beautiful tropical gardens and overlooking the calm waters of Chalong Bay and stunning offshore islands.

Water Babies: With a long coastline and jungletopped islands in azure waters, Thailand will be right choice among travellers looking to take in some vitamin D. This paradise offers a varied menu: playing in the gentle surf of Ko Lipe, diving with whale sharks off Ko Tao, scaling the sea cliffs of Krabi, kiteboarding in Hua Hin, partying on Ko Phi-Phi, recuperating at a health resort on Ko

Adventure, the key ingredient to fun: With vast plains, massive herd of wildlife and snow-capped mountains, Kenya is an enchanted adventure garden for you family. A coastline of beautiful beaches perfect for lazing, stirring landscapes, ranging from equatorial glaciers and jagged peaks to wildlife-laden plains and tropical reefs, provide the visitor with too many exciting things to

Ski Away from Monotony: Tucked in a captivating Alpine nook, Switzerland is essentially the ski-bunny country. Switzerland’s ravishing landscapes demand immediate action – grab boots, leap on board, toot bike bell and let spirits rip. Skiing and snowboarding in Graubünden, Bernese Oberland and Central Switzerland are the best choices. The great thing about Switzerland is its fresh mountain air which does wonders to children of all ages. While in Switzerland, stay at Aparthotel Helvetia Intergolf. It is in an exclusive setting amongst shops and international boutiques, as well as the famous ski slopes. Additionally, take your kids to ride on the Chocolate Train (Glazier Express) that allows you to visit a cheese factory, a castle and a chocolate factory in Broc. What’s better than snow and chocolates? 21

Kids camping

Little Guests Glamp In Style at Grand Hyatt Taipei Taipei’s most established five-star hotel launches new indoor kids camping experience


his summer, Taipei’s largest luxury hotel is offering young guests the excitement of an authentic outdoor camping experience, but with all the creature comforts of a fivestar hotel. Perfect for little campers, Grand Hyatt Taipei’s new Family Adventure Package is just like regular camping, except temperaturecontrolled and with room service. Best of all? Housekeeping can help to

set it up and take it away in the morning. Guests between the ages of three and six can delight in an evening of adventure, sleeping in a tent for two equipped with all the camping essentials, including featherbeds and pillows, a battery-operated lantern, plush toys (that children can take home), a picnic table, and a planetarium projector, which brings the twinkling stars of the night sky inside. While children spend the night exchanging campfire


stories and snuggling in the tent, parents will be able to enjoy the privacy of their separate, king-bedded guest room. Grand Hyatt Taipei’s Family Adventure Package is only available for guests staying in one of the hotel’s 893 sq. ft. Grand Executive Suites and is priced at NT$17,300 (US$580) per night (reservations must be made at least three days in advance).

year, said Taipei is an ideal getaway for families. “Firsttime visitors to Taipei are often surprised what a family-friendly city it is,” he said. “Compared to most big cities in Asia, Taipei has a cool, laid-back vibe, people are friendly, most restaurants are welcoming of children, and the streets are wide and flat, making them easy to navigate with a buggy if you have toddlers.”

“The best vacations for young travelers, are the

During the day, families can take advantage of Grand Hyatt Taipei’s outdoor Oasis Swimming Pool (which is heated during the winter), private yoga classes with a personal instructor, as well as the popular allday buffet at Café. The restaurant’s wide selection of international cuisines and dedicated dessert bar, featuring a chocolate fountain, is sure to impress even the most welltraveled young jetsetter.

ones that leave lasting impressions,” said the general manager of Grand Hyatt Taipei, Jan-Hendrik Meidinger. “Grand Hyatt Taipei’s unique indoor camping experience was designed especially for our younger guests. By bringing the spirit of the great outdoors inside, we’re tapping into children’s imaginations and sense of adventure, ensuring an unforgettable stay for the whole family.” Meidinger, who relocated to Taiwan from Hong Kong with his young family last

Meanwhile, the hotel’s central location, coupled with the city’s geographic diversity, translates into plenty of fresh-air activities for kids, including hiking Elephant Mountain (the start of the trail is located a short walk from Grand Hyatt Taipei), cycling along Tamsui river, a picnic in Daan Forest Park, and a visit to Taipei zoo just to name a few. Grand Hyatt Taipei’s Family Adventure Package

also includes two Easycards (with a value of NT$100 per card), which can be used to purchase tickets at Taipei Metro, Taipei zoo, or rent a bicycle through the city’s bike sharing service, YouBike. Grand Hyatt Taipei, one of the best Taipei hotels in Taipei located directly adjacent to Taipei 101, Taipei World Trade Center and Taipei International Convention Center, is the ultimate choice for both leisure and business travelers with numerous shopping and entertainment venues nearby. Two MRT (subway) stations within walking distance provide easy access to all other areas around

While children spend the night exchanging campfire stories and snuggling in the tent, parents will be able to enjoy the privacy of their separate, king-bedded guest room the city to discover endless things to do in Taipei and many exciting Taipei activities. At Grand Hyatt Taipei, guests will find total relaxation in our luxurious rooms and suites complete with thoughtful services and amenities including 24-hour room service, complimentary WiFi and more. Nine restaurants and bars offer a variety of international specialties and local favorites. 24-hour fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, and the luxurious Oasis Spa provide guests a perfect getaway from a long day of travel or work. ASIAN TRAVELLER | June 2018

Heritage Trips

The Ultimate Travel Goals List to Celebrate World Heritage Day Tourism is one of the biggest industry in the world which continues to grow at an accelerated pace with more than a billion tourists now travelling to an international destination each year. One of the key motivation to travel is mankind’s inherent curiosity and desire to explore cultural identities across the world. Natural and cultural heritage sites are prized tourism assets that distinguish one destination from another


orld Heritage Day is an annual event celebrated on 18 April every year. It aims to preserve the human heritage and recognize the efforts of all the relevant organizations in the field. This World Heritage Day, RCI brings to you a list of destinations to discover some of mankind’s highest achievements and explore natural wonders.


Italy is home to 53 UNESCO world heritage sites, which is more than any other country. Apart from these must-sees; Italy also has the largest number of cultural sites that one must experience. Venice, is a crowded city with a combination of houses, churches, palazzi, city squares, and different ancient as well as new manmade structures. Travelers who do not mind exploring new places would definitely love to move beyond Venice’s central districts and explore the Venetian Lagoon. Celebrated throughout the world for its singular beauty, Venice and


its lagoon were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1987. While in Venice, book your stay at Ca’ de Venezia. Located in Venezia, it allows guests the opportunity to walk through the lesser known parts of the city.


With 52 noteworthy sites, China ranks 2nd in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty, one of the UNESCO approved world heritage site, consists of 114 buildings constructed between 1625–26 and 1783. It contains an important library and testifies to the foundation of the last dynasty that ruled China, before it expanded its power to the center of the country and moved the capital to Beijing. This palace then became auxiliary to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. This remarkable architectural edifice offers important historical testimony to the history of the Qing Dynasty and to the cultural traditions of the Manchu and other tribes in the north of China. Enjoy your stay at Badaling Hot Spring Resort which is surrounded by amazing scenery as the calm and pretty Guishi River runs across the lush green landscape in the summer,

and the snow-covered grounds in the winter.


Spain is home to a staggering 45 UNESCO World Heritage sites, third in number only to Italy and China and also a current tourist hotspot. Mérida - a model Roman city was established in 25 BC and according to UNESCO is a “remarkable example of a Roman city built according to all the Roman urban design rules”. Apart from this, another must visit place is the Toledo. Situated in central Spain, this city of three cultures was added to the UNESCO list for its extensive history spanning 2,000 years, as well as for its

Travelers who do not mind exploring new places would definitely love to move beyond Venice’s central districts and explore the Venetian Lagoon many years of co-existence among Jewish, Christian and Muslim groups, earning it the nickname City of Three Cultures. Its popular sight-seeing spots include synagogues, mosques and churches. While in Spain, enjoy your stay at the Olivia Beach Club.


France boasts of 41 heritage sites preserved under the UNESCO. With more than 1.3 million visitors each year, Chartres

Cathedral is one of the most visited heritage sites in France. Partly built starting in 1145, and then reconstructed over a 26year period after the fire of 1194. Chartres Cathedral marks the high point of French Gothic art. Club this trip with a fantastic stay at Camping la Grande Métairie. Set in the parkland grounds of a Breton manor house, this beautifully maintained ‘Castels’ site has been awarded ‘five red tents’ by Michelin and offers a wide range of first class facilities. On a Canvas holiday the accommodation is provided in mobile homes, and whilst your mobile home will be different to anything you’ve experienced before at an RCI resort, it still features all the comforts and furnishings of a home away from home.


World Heritage sites aren’t simply ancient stones and cultural sites. UNESCO’s list also includes natural wonders. Situated in the heart of Assam, the Kaziranga National Park is one of the last areas in eastern India which is undisturbed by a human presence. Complete your trip with a stay at United-21 Resort Kaziranga #D628. Located in close proximity to the park, the resort is your window to the most precious and rarest of wildlife, flora and fauna such as tall elephant grass, one-horned rhinos and the endangered tiger population, promoting the spirit of eco-tourism. ASIAN TRAVELLER | June 2018


Adventure Holidays: An emerging trend among Honeymooners


ather than opting for boating in the lake of Mussourie, and going on a gondola ride in Gulmarg, the honeymooners are choosing to go to Ratnagad for hiking, or mountain biking in Manali. Studies have revealed that adventure sports have actually proven to be beneficial for couples. Adventure sports like trekking, mountain biking, rappelling; mountain climbing, camping, etc need people to work their body out. The exercise in return help couples to release endorphins which are known to enhance mood. The rush of adrenaline that couples get to experience from indulging in adventure sports is something that energizes them. Health experts have proved that couples taking part in adventure sports together are known to be more sexually responsive than others. The youth today are extremely health conscious,


and they are always looking for opportunities that would keep them fit. This common love for fitness is also a reason why couples are going for adventure packed holidays than the usual ones. The want of activities to give then that boost of adrenaline is driving more and more couples to choose adventure holidays for their honeymoon. Souvo Chowdhury, hailing from Kolkata, who is into banking sector, had gone for a trek for his honeymoon. On being asked why he chose to go on a trek over a conventional honeymoon destination, he says, “I met my wife, Madhurima, on a trek. We share this mutual love for adventure and treks and hikes. It only made sense that we chose an adventure holiday than a nonadventure one. We wanted to do something different than what the crowd does.” Beyond this, couples also love the feeling of togetherness. Marriage is a beginning of journey of togetherness. Couples feel, engaging in adventure activities and sports together only helps them creating a stronger bond with each other. Relationship experts and counselors say that honeymoon is the

The youth of today is much different from their last generation. They want to break free from the set rules, the conventions, and the age-old norms. From choosing offbeat careers to choosing offbeat options for memorable things in life, there has been a paradigm shift that has emerged. One such emerging trend among honeymooners is adventure holidays

phase where you strengthen the bond of togetherness after marriage, away from family and friends, away from the daily mundanity of life. This is when adventure holidays play a vital part. Rather than sitting in a car and going for normal sightseeing and shopping, engaging in adventure activities help the couple come close to each other and understand each other better.

Akash Korgaonkar is the founder-director of a lifestyle sports company called Ruggedian. He says, “We arrange for different adventure activities like treks, mountain biking, hiking, rappelling, camping,

Adventure sports like trekking, mountain biking, rappelling; mountain climbing, camping, etc need people to work their body out and the likes. Of late there have been a lot of inquiries from couples who want to engage in adventure activities. A lot of travel agencies are also approaching us to organise these sports on their behalf for their guests. These are a mammoth demand for adventure sports.” Ruggedian is a new-age lifestyle sports management company. Registered as Ruggedian Lifestyle Pvt Ltd, it is conceptualized and launched by Akash Korgaonkar. An Ironman finisher, Akash wants to infuse the fitness potion into the youth today. Akash

dreams of a fitter nation; the channel to which is Ruggedian. Ruggedian organises different alternate sports that are finely enmeshed with adventure and entertainment. The amazing part about these sports is that, they facilitate everyone to take part in them, with age, gender, caste, and colour being no bar. Ruggedian has also used technology to meter the timings and distances covered by the participants. Every participant who takes part in marathons, or trail runs can get their performance details as an SMS or a more detailed report as e-mails. Ruggedian is the galloping horse in the industry of alternate sports, and already a part of the democratisation of such sports besides the conventional games of cricket, tennis, and badminton. Places like Ladakh, Manali, Lakshwadweep, Shillong, Andaman, Lonavla have gained huge popularity as adventure holiday destinations for honeymooners. It is not only in India, couples are choosing adventure holidays for honeymoon abroad too. 25

Middle East

TIME Hotels to open six new properties in Middle East by 2020 One brand debut, 99 apartments, 61 villas and over 600 hotel rooms will be added to existing portfolio


IME Hotels, the UAE-headquartered hospitality company and hotel operator, is set to announce plans to open six new properties across the Middle East by the end of 2020. The properties, which will see the growth and launch of existing as well as new TIME Hotel brands to key territories throughout the region, was unveiled during Arabian Travel Market 2018 (ATM), which held at Dubai World Trade Centre from April 22-25. Mohamed Awadalla, CEO TIME Hotels, said: “Our current pipeline of hotels and residences meet the demands of multiple valuedriven markets by offering a high-quality stay across all our brand portfolio. “With two new additions in both Dubai and Sharjah, we will also be extending our brand presence to Saudi Arabia and Egypt by the end of 2020, taking our total portfolio to 20 properties across the Middle East.” TIME Hotels will debut the TIME Express Hotelsbrand with the opening of a property in Sharjah, during the third quarter of 2018. The threestar hotel will feature 55


keys in total, including 45 standard rooms and five suites, with an additional five disabled-friendly suites. Also opening in Sharjah during the third quarter of 2018 will be the second property under the TIME Hotel Apartment brand. It will comprise 33 studios, 53 one-bedroom units, 11 twobedroom units and two fully adapted, disabled-friendly apartments. In Dubai, two new hotels will open including the firm’s first five-star property. Scheduled to open during 2020, the hotel will boast 277 rooms and suites. The second, located in the Al Barsha area, is a four-star hotel comprising 232 rooms. This property is scheduled to open during the final quarter of 2018. TIME’s international openings in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Ras Sudr, Egypt, demonstrate the brand’s strength and popularity in markets outside of the UAE. TIME Hotels will open its first resort in Saudi Arabia

Over the next few months, four TIME Hotels’ properties will undergo a series of refurbishments during the second quarter of 2018. Featuring 61 villas, the resort is located close to the beach, and 20 minutes’ drive from Jeddah International Airport and the city centre. The mid-range resort will offer fitness and leisure facilities and concierge and business services. The first beach resort property by TIME Hotels is under development in Ras Sudr, Egypt. Scheduled to open during 2018 it will feature 56 rooms, three F&B outlets, fitness and leisure facilities and meeting rooms. Awadalla continued: “It is set to be a very busy year for TIME Hotels with a raft of properties announced, and five out of the seven new openings scheduled to take place this year. “We have been very strategic with our current pipeline

of hotels and residences, identifying and assessing demand within each market, and implementing the most suitable brand from the TIME portfolio to best match that demand.” Over the next few months, four TIME Hotels’ properties will undergo a series of refurbishments. Under the TIME Hotel Apartments brand, 100 apartments will be refurbished at TIME Crystal Hotel Apartments by end of April 2018 and 64 at TIME Topaz Hotel Apartments by end of May 2018. At TIME Oak Hotel & Suites, bathrooms in all rooms will be renovated, carpets will be replaced by vinyl flooring and four rooms will be adapted to fully disabled-friendly. Refurbishments will also take place in Petals restaurant and Vanilla lobby lounge. While, at TIME Grand Plaza Hotel all flooring across the property will be replaced. TIME Hotels was founded in 2012 by a multinational team dedicated to the art of international hospitality. Each of the hotels in the UAE is run with incomparable passion, with all travel needs not only anticipated but exceeded. ASIAN TRAVELLER | June 2018


Five Must-Visit Places to Challenge Your Spirit of Adventure While few prefer relaxing on a beach or exploring historical cities for their holidays; others let their spirit of adventure dictate their holiday destination! If adrenaline rush and a sense of excitement is what you look for, then adventure travel is what you need to plan for your next outing


his summer, get ready to challenge yourself and undertake energetic, fun-filled activities with your family! Here are a few must-visit destinations across the world curated by RCI that are on every adventure traveler’s bucket list. With RCI offering stay options in all of the below destinations, go ahead and plan your trip right away!

Sea Kayaking in Phuket

Sea Kayaking is an activity for people across all age groups. Explore this fun-filled activity during your stay in Phuket. Phan Nga Bay lies between southern Thailand’s mainland and Phuket Island. Paddle through sea caves inside Phang Nga Bay and get ready to enjoy the beautiful views of the various islands. Kayak to less-visited parts of the island and witness stunning sea caves and secret lagoons. Visit several small islands in the famously, beautiful landscape of turquoise waters and limestone karst. While solo adventure is an amazing feeling, being adventurous with family is a splendid experience altogether. While at Phuket, book your stay at Aochalong Villa Resort & Spa . The resort allows you to escape the crowd and discover the real Phuket. It also offers a tranquil retreat by the sea overlooking the calm waters of Chalong Bay and stunning offshore islands.

F1 in Singapore For those who crave


that electrifying rush of adrenaline, get ready to treat yourself to high speed adventure. One of the most exciting outdoor activities to do in Singapore is to live the life of an F1 racer. Rev up the engine and unleash the power of fancy, sports cars, like Ferrari or Lamborghini, on the Singapore’s Formula One circuit. Get behind the wheel of a real ex-F1 car and live life like the racers and enjoy a few hair-raising laps. Club this power—packed vacation with a stay at 30 Bencoolen Hotel. Newly opened and set on a broad, tree-lined street in the heart of the arts and cultural district, 30 Bencoolen offers a cool, contemporary ambience in an ideal central location.

everybody’s vacation wish list. Under the green hills of Waitomo lies a labyrinth of caves, sinkholes and underground rivers. Embark on an exploration spree with activities that will challenge your spirit of adventure in true sense. Enter the underground and combine the best elements of backwater rafting with climbing, swimming and tubing. You could also explore activities like abseil and haggas honking holes and satisfy your thirst for adventure. While in New Zealand, stay at try Club Lavaud . Besides rich history, this RCI property ensures great relaxation and recreation in the area. Experience the beach, tennis, horseback riding, and golf, all within easy reach of the resort.

Caving Expedition in New Shark Cage Zealand Diving in Australia New Zealand is arguably

the adventure capital of the World and the perfect place for every adrenalin fix. Waitomo Caves in the Northern Island for New Zealand is a magnet for domestic and international tourists and is a part of

Australian waters are home to some of the oldest land surfaces and are inhabited by the most spectacular and rarest of the world’s sea creatures. If exploring the mysterious marine life is your thing,

you cannot afford to miss shark cage diving – one of the most enthralling activity in Australia. Explore this unique opportunity to experience the legendary Great White Shark in their natural habitat. Start off with a cruise trip with possible sightings of dolphins and local sea birds. Sail through the sea and jump into a cage to swim with the white sharks. An activity like this is sure to satisfy your thirst for adventure. Complete this perfect vacation with a perfect stay at Allegra Hervey Bay. Located at Hervey Bays magnificent Shelly Beach the resort overlooks the blue ocean waters, nearby Fraser Island and beyond.

Kayak with Crocodiles in South Africa

Kayaking is one of the most adventurous activity. However, kayaking with crocodiles can altogether be a terrifying, yet adventurous experience. While in South Africa, get some chills run up your spine and dare paddle through the river to witness a terrific encounter with crocodiles and hippos. An activity like this, will not just satiate your adrenaline rush but will leave you asking for more! Enjoy your stay at Banana Beach Holiday Resort which is set among lush, tropical vegetation and has stunning views across Banana Beach. Relax on golden beaches or get involved in the many on-site activities provided to keep the family holiday action-packed. 27


Shore temple; An architectural marvel Shore Temple is a standing testimonial to the regal heritage of India. The Shore Temple is the icon of the ancient monuments of Mahabalipuram Dr S Bakthavatchalam India.


uilt in the 8th century, Shore Temple depicts the royal taste of Pallava dynasty. During the reign of Rajasimha, the temple saw its construction when Pallava art was at its apex. Ravaged by wind and sea, the temple has witnessed the historical events of India. This work of genius was recognized and listed amongst the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Its small size belies its excellent proportion and the supreme quality of the carvings, many now eroded into vaguely Impressionist embellishments. The Shore Temple is so named because it overlooks the shore of the Bay of Bengal. Shore Temple comprises three shrines, where the prominent ones are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. In the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), an image of Shivalinga embraces the site. At the rear end, one can find two shrines facing each other. Here, one shrine is dedicated to Ksatriyasimnesvara and other to Lord Vishnu. In the shrine, Lord Vishnu


is imaged reclining on the ‘Seshanag’, which is a symbol of consciousness in Hinduism. Shore Temple is built using the granite stones and it is one of the oldest stone temples in South India. It is one of the famous structural stone temples which has stood strong over the years. Shore Temple was named as ‘Seven Pagodas’ due to its pyramidal structure. The name ‘Seven Pagodas’ indicate to the existence of 7 temples in the past. Now only Shore temple remains to tell the tales of the past. The existence of Mamallapuram and the Seven Pagodas have been recorded by some European travellers. It indicates to the popularity of the port and its trading connections outside

The exterior wall of the shrine to Lord Vishnu and the internal side of the boundary wall are elaborately carved and sculptured. The images on the sculpted panels depict scenes from everyday life. However, the sculptures are incredibly real and artistic. The exterior walls of the temple are segregated by plasters into bays, where the lower part has been impressed into a series of nurturing lions. The archeological department has excavated certain other figures from the site. The mythology of the King Hiranyakashipu and his son Prahalada is related with the temple. It is believed that after Hiranyakashipu was killed by Lord Vishnu, Prahalada becomes the king. The legend goes that Prahalada’s son Bali founded Mahabalipuram in this place. In the recent years, a stone wall has been constructed to protect the shrine from further seaerosion. Perched on a 50 feet square plinth, the pyramidal structure raises to the

extent of 60 feet. Presenting a typical specimen of Dravidian temple architecture, Shore Temple generates an exclusive combination of history and natural splendor. The temple was designed to grasp the first rays of the rising sun and to spotlight the waters after sunset. In the words of

Shore Temple was named as ‘Seven Pagodas’ due to its pyramidal structure Percy Brown, Shore Temple served as “a landmark by day and a beacon by night”. The temple was also named as Jalashayana (lying in the water) because it is situated at the sea level. The existence of more temples around the Shore Temple has been recorded. It is also believed that a natural calamity must have submerged other temples in the complex. Surprisingly, the Tsunami in December 2004 exposed some of these submerged parts of temples in Shore Temple complex. This provided food for further research about other temples on this coast line. The area around the Shore Temple, has been beautified. The horticulture wing of the ASI has created a green lawn of 11 acres (4.4 hectares) around the Shore Temple. Fixing of signages with information on the monuments and creating fountains was also part of the beautification programme planned by ASI. Located at Mahabalipuram, Shore Temples can easily be reached by taking regular buses or by hiring taxis from anywhere in Tamil Nadu. The nearest airport is located at Chennai that lies at a distance of 60 kms from Mahabalipuram. ASIAN TRAVELLER | June 2018


SOTC Travel ventures into Forex Business SOTC Travel has ventured into the Forex business to provide customers with a one stop solution for their entire travel related requirement, thus bringing convenience to the traveller to book Forex. Users will have access to the best rates for foreign exchange and based on customer requirement they could either collect it from the store or have it home delivered.

exchange business, thereby opening up another revenue stream.

To bring complete transparency, SOTC showcases the exchange rates in real time and delivers the order to the customer’s doorstep. SOTC engages in the FFMC business which enables it to not only service such requirements internally but also make an entry into retail and wholesale foreign

Speaking on the launch, Vishal Suri, Managing Director, SOTC Travel said,” The main priorities of Indians travelling abroad are secure and hassle-free travel, easy access to foreign currency and convenience of making payments. With the launch of the forex business, SOTC offers all these

benefits and more. It aims to provide the ease of travel with utmost security feature to the target audience. As a company, SOTC is focusing on the growing travel requirements of the millennial and looks forward to making a mark in this segment. Since its launch in Mumbai, SOTC has observed immense potential in this business and will extend its forex services in Delhi shortly”. SOTC Travel Limited (Formerly SOTC Travel Pvt. Ltd.) is a step-down subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings Group;

held through its Indian listed subsidiary, Thomas Cook (India) Limited (TCIL). SOTC India is a leading travel and tourism company active across various travel segments including Leisure Travel, Incentive Travel and Business Travel. SOTC was established in 1949. Since then, it has escorted lakhs of travelers across the globe for more than 68 years to various destinations around the world. It is one of the leaders in segments, namely Escorted Group Tours, Customized Holidays, Holidays of India and Incentive Travel amongst others. A new age innovative holiday maker, SOTC strives to make holidays a priority for every Indian. ‘We are for holidays’ and we want Indians to prioritize their holidays.

Ignace Bauwens to lead Wyndham Hotel Group’s growth across Middle East, Eurasia and Africa including in key GCC states such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The addition of the Eurasia region to his remit will add responsibility for overseeing expansion in additional high-growth countries including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Wyndham Hotel Group, the hospitality giant with an unparalleled global portfolio of nearly 8,400 hotels, today announced the promotion of Ignace Bauwens to Regional Vice President for Middle East, Eurasia and Africa (MEA). Based out of Wyndham Hotel Group’s office in Dubai, Bauwens has led the Middle East and Africa region since 2016. His newly expanded role underlines the Company’s strategic plan June 2018 | ASIAN TRAVELLER

to unite the broader region, in recognition of the strong economic ties between India and the Middle East. In this new role, Bauwens will be responsible for driving Wyndham Hotel Group’s continued growth in both established and new markets across this larger region. Bauwens has been a catalyst in expanding Wyndham Hotel Group’s portfolio of hotels across the Middle East and Africa,

“I am incredibly excited to be taking on this expanded leadership opportunity at such an important time in the history of Wyndham. We are on the precipice of becoming a standalone, pure-play hotel company and in the midst of a period of incredible growth for the Middle East, Eurasia and Africa region. Around the world the middle class is growing, which is enabling International travel on a scale not previously seen. As the global leader in midscale and economy hotel brands, Wyndham is synonymous with making travel possible

for all,” commented Bauwens. Bauwens has more than three decades of experience in hotel operations, having previously held leadership roles with Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH), Accor and InterContinental Hotels Group; he also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel Management from Vives Brugges (previously HTI Brugge) in Belgium. He had an early start into the hospitality industry, working at his family’s restaurant along the Belgian seaside as a child. Wyndham Hotel Group expanded its footprint in the Middle East, Eurasia and Africa (MEA) with a number of significant openings throughout 2017 and early 2018, bringing the total number of hotels across the region to 95. This consists of 42 hotels in Eurasia, 45 hotels in the Middle East and 8 hotels in Africa. 29


Thomas Cook India to leverage high growth market for Customized Holidays Thomas Cook (India) Ltd., India’s leading integrated travel and travel related financial services company, intends to leverage the high growth segment of travellers opting for personalized holidays, with a unique technology platform designed to build instant customized holidays that are bookable on the go. Thomas Cook India’s customer research reveals that in this the new age of travel, the mantra for Indians is increasingly, ”My Holiday, My way,” with a clear demand for bespoke, tailor-made itineraries that offer a range of options/experiences. Additionally, being both last-minute and impatient travellers, Indians are keen on immediate pricing, coupled with the ability to book and confirm instantly. Thomas Cook’s internal

data highlights significant opportunity with a strong YoY growth of over 36% for this segment. Voyager, an innovative technology platform, was hence launched by Thomas Cook to address the needs of this high potential segment of personalized holiday makers. Voyager empowers Thomas Cook India’s front line teams (across its call centers, branches and franchise partners) with the ability to build, price and book personalized travel packages that include key elements of flights, hotels, ground transport and sightseeing experiences/ attractions- instantly. Voyager’s platform is able to compare rates obtained for over 600,000 hotels, sightseeing attractions and transportation options, in addition to more than 450

airlines- worldwide. Voyager is the first of its kind platform that provides a range of available options (across flights, accommodation, transfers, sightseeing) at competitive rates and then seamlessly bundles all elements into a comprehensive package with an immediate turn round. Post customer approval and payment, Voyager, also enables prompt booking of the package and confirmation. Amit Madhan, President & Group Head- Technology & eBusiness, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. said, “Voyager’s cutting edge technology significantly reduces the entire build to book process of a customized

holiday by eliminating usage of multiple engines/ multiplicity of availability checks, booking scenarios, etc. The single platform allows us to condense the traditional turnaround time of 28-36 hours to a mere 1520 minutes! I am delighted that we have been able to equip our frontline staff with this innovative technology.” He added, “In the first phase, we have empowered our retail outlets and call centre agents. In the next phase we look forward to empowering our end customers.”

Cusco launched its 2018 festivities staging the Inti Raymi in Lima With the staging of the Inti Raymi “A new dawn” as a framework, Peruvian authorities launched the 2018 Cusco Festivities during an event that took place at the Huaca Pucllana archaeological site in Lima, on the night of May 8. The staging included an impressive display of film technology, led by the Inka, the Colla and the Imperial entourage, with the same actors who will perform this act at the Sacsayhuamán esplanade, in Cusco, on June 24. This presentation was possible thanks to the strategic alliance between EMUFEC - Entity that 30

promotes celebrations, customs and cultural manifestations in the region-, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) the Ministry of Culture, as well as the Municipality of Miraflores. The aim of highlighting

the image of Cusco worldwide is to promote tourism and the cultural wealth this city has. It´s important to mention that the Inti Raymi in its contemporary version is organized since June 24, 1944, when the festivities of Cusco were instituted to remember its millenary origin and the cradle of the great Inca civilization. The Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Roger Valencia, the mayor of Cusco Carlos Moscoso and the full board of Emufec S.A., among other national and local

authorities, attended the event. Meanwhile, and with the same purpose, the regional presentation of Cusco Festivities will take place on Thursday, May 17, at 7:00 p.m. at the Koricancha esplanade, where the staging of the “Tinkuy Pachamama” ceremony will take place. This ritual represents the birth of the Sun and its relationship with the Inca culture. Inti Raymi, was a magnificent festival in the Inca empire and was held at the winter solstice in June when the sun is the furthest away from Earth, that’s when the harvest begins. On the main day of the celebration the most important people gathered in the main square of Cusco, there were generals, princes, governors and of course the Inca Emperor, all wearing their finest clothing, shields and scepters. ASIAN TRAVELLER | June 2018


Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug wins ‘Best Wellness & Spa Resort’ Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug, part of the Radisson Hotel Group, has been awarded as the ‘Best Wellness & Spa Resort’ at the ‘Times Travel Awards 2018’ presented by VFS Global. The event took place on 20th April 2018 at a glittering ceremony in New Delhi. Consistently recognised for its exceptional guest service, spacious rooms, rejuvenating spa, elaborate corporate and leisure venue options – Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug is a remarkable setting for both the leisure and corporate guests. Set amid beautifully landscaped grounds, the 20,000-square-foot spa is one of the unique aspects of the resort. Designed to have a calming influence and enhance one’s sense of peace and tranquillity, the spa

picturesque 110 kms ride from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) and is one of the few destinations that is accessible by an exhilarating 45-minute catamaran drive from the Gateway of India. will leave our guests feeling completely rejuvenated, recharged and ready to face the demands of daily life. Speaking of the occasion, Shridhar V, Director of Sales & Marketing, Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug, said, “It’s an honour to win such a prestigious award. It is a recognition of the hard work and dedication our teams put in building the brand. Winning Times Travel Award 2018 is a true testimony to the premium services that we offer at Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug and

an encouragement for us to keep the momentum high.” The Times Travel Awards 2018 is a recognition of the companies, brands and people behind transforming travel into memorable experience. Part of the Carlson Reizdor Hotel Group, Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug is an ideal weekend destination for a family to unwind. This beautiful resort, which is strategically located between Mumbai & Goa, is accessible by a

Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug boasts of seven exquisite accommodation categories to choose from, in a combination of rooms, suites, Duplex villas, Spa Villas and Top Suites with all rooms offering complimentary highspeed internet facility. The amenities in the Superior and Deluxe rooms have been upgraded with more entertainment options while the Spa villas have undergone a complete refurbishment with the Mechanical, Electrical and (MEP) service.

Bird Academy IATA 2018 Regional Top Performer Award Bird Academy, one of South Asia’s Top-10 2011 IATA- certified Authorised Training Centers, has been awarded the IATA 2018 Regional Top Performer Award at the recently concluded Global Training Partners Conference in Istanbul. Speaking on the occasion, Radha Bhatia, Chairperson, Bird Group said, “We are thrilled & thankful to have received this prestigious award from IATA. It is an acknowledgement of the dedication and hard work that has been put in by everyone at Bird Academy since its inception. With our growing portfolio of training programs and our partnership with IATA, we aim to bridge the employability gap within the aviation and aerospace sector.” Established in 1998, Bird June 2018 | ASIAN TRAVELLER

Academy offers a complete spectrum of quality training programs on Aviation, Travel, Tourism, Hospitality and Retail. The courses offered are conceptualized with a view to provide an in-depth understanding and technical skills in the various fields. Recently, Bird Academy has also introduced ‘English Speaking Course’ to help in the overall grooming of students. The IATA Regional Top

Performer Award recognizes training centers for their contribution to developing the human capital for tomorrow’s air transport industry. IATA endeavors to provide a wide range of training programs spanning all aviation industry sectors in collaboration with training partners and prestigious academic institutions worldwide. Bird Academy, run under the aegis of Bird Education

Society for Travel & Tourism - a registered society, is providing skill development by way of training students to enable them to gain necessary skills and qualification in the travel, tourism and aviation sector and meet the job sector demands by providing a multi skilled, competent and efficient work force. Bird Academy is a pioneer in designing curriculum, developing content and conduct of training and vocational programs. Bird Academy is also closely associated with Women in Aviation (India Chapter), a non-profit organization that skills and empowers women in the aviation industry. The Academy is associated with Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University (RGNAU), Delhi University and US-India Aviation Cooperation Program (ACP) as its knowledge and training partners.



Jet Airways to commence operations under the ‘regional connectivity scheme’ is our constant endeavor to provide connectivity with a view to providing a fillip to the development of trade and tourism within all parts of India.”

Jet Airways, India’s premier full-service international carrier, today announced the launch of operations under the ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik’ (UDAN) scheme. The airline has been awarded four routes under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) and will launch operations on three new routes out of the four routes awarded, and will subsequently launch Lucknow-Bareilly-DelhiBareilly-Lucknow. On the occasion, Mr. Gaurang Shetty, Whole time Director, Jet Airways said, “Jet

Airways started off with the aim of introducing India to a world class travel experience and connectivity embodied in the ‘joy of flying’. Having pioneered the operations of the ATR aircraft in India, the launch of these new flights mainly onboard ATR aircraft, will allow Jet Airways to embark on a journey to ensure that unserved regions and underserved airports are maximized to their full potential. The UDAN scheme is a great initiative which facilitates in realizing the benefits of the aviation sector, reach the vast expanse of India and its various geographies. It

Starting from June 14, Jet Airways will fly three times a week on the LucknowAllahabad-Patna sector. Jet Airways 9W 3555 will depart from Lucknow at 0630 hrs (IST) and arrive into Allahabad at 0805 hrs (IST). Going onward, flight 9W 3558 will depart from Allahabad for Patna at 0835 hrs (IST), arriving in the state capital at 1015 hrs (IST). On its return journey, flight 9W 3557 will depart Patna at 1040 hrs (IST) and land in Allahabad at 1220 hrs (IST). From Allahabad, flight 9W 3556 will depart at 1250 hrs (IST) and land in Lucknow at 1425 hrs (IST). This route will be catered to by a Jet Airways ATR aircraft. Commencing from June 15, Jet Airways will fly three times a week between New Delhi and

Nashik. Flight 9W 3509 from New Delhi will depart at 1205 hrs (IST) and arrive into Nashik at 1405 hrs (IST). On its return leg, flight 9W 3510 will depart from Nashik at 1435 hrs (IST), and return to New Delhi at 1635 hrs (IST). This route will be serviced by a Boeing 737 aircraft. Effective June 16, Jet Airways will commence operations three times a week on the Nagpur-AllahabadIndore sector. Jet Airways flight 9W 3553 will depart from Nagpur at 0945 hrs (IST) and arrive at Allahabad at 1150 hrs (IST). Going onward, flight 9W 3552 will depart from Allahabad at 1220 hrs (IST) and arrive into Indore at 1430 hrs (IST). On its return journey, flight 9W 3551 will depart from Indore at 1500 hrs (IST) and arrive into Allahabad at 1710 hrs (IST). On its return journey, flight 9W 3554 will depart from Allahabad at 1740 hrs (IST) and arrive into Nagpur at 1945 hrs (IST).

Taj InnerCircle wins global accolades at The Freddie Awards Taj InnerCircle, the signature loyalty program from the iconic Taj Hotels has been bestowed with the special 210 Award in the hotel category for the Middle East/Asia/ Oceania region for Strongest Performing Program off the Radar of Voters. The 210 Award is given to the highest-rated loyalty program that should be watched out for as they gain more awareness from members and the industry. Additionally, Taj InnerCircle was ranked in the top four among five other major award categories for the Middle East/ Asia/ Oceania region, including Best Hotel Promotion, Best Hotel Redemption Ability, Best Hotel Customer Service, Best Hotel Elite Program and Hotel Program of the Year. Taj InnerCircle received


this global recognition at the coveted annual Freddie Awards event held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, USA. The Freddie Awards are one of the most prestigious membergenerated awards in the travel loyalty space globally and are considered an industry benchmark. Chinmai Sharma, Executive Vice President & Chief Revenue Officer said, “We are very thankful to our guests and members for this great recognition. This award is a testament to our commitment to being a customer centric organization and continuing to add value for our loyal guests.” Taj InnerCircle is the frequent guest program of

Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris. It offers members a host of benefits across Taj, Vivanta and Gateway hotels worldwide, including unparalleled benefits like no black-out dates on room redemptions, ‘no points’ expiry for active members and real time redemption options for food, beverage and spa at all participating hotels. Taj InnerCircle

members also enjoy benefits like tier match and ability to earn and redeem Taj InnerCircle points for stays at Shangri-La hotels worldwide through the award winning Warmer Welcomes alliance. This program gives members the flexibility to earn and redeem points across more than 200 hotels in 27 countries and 131 destinations worldwide. ASIAN TRAVELLER | June 2018


Bawadi Mall anticipates increase in sales and footfall during Ramadan

As the region gears up to embark on summer with the blessed month of Ramadan, Al Ain’s Bawadi Mall is all ready to witness an upswing in footfall during the holy season. “Ramadan is a very important month for us. We

generally observe an uptick in our operations and the footfall to the mall is one of the highest during this period. Last year the mall recorded 848,000 visitors during Ramadan, and we are confident that this year the numbers will double,” said Bassam Saleh, Marketing

Manager for Bawadi Mall. The mall stated that the hypermarket and F&B retailers at their premises typically expect a rise in sales during Ramadan. Consumer spending, particularly on food and beverage, tends to go up a few days before the start of the holy month until after the Eid celebrations have concluded. Similarly, retail outlets that offer electronics, fashion items and cosmetics offer several discounts and deals which entice visitors to indulge in shopping. “Ramadan is clearly a month of high consumer spend. At Bawadi Mall, our tenants offer visitors steep discounts and incentives which serve as a blessing for

the customers as well as the retailers. That’s not all, as a mall we’ve observed that there’s a lot of spending on children’s stores followed by home furnishings. Contrary to our belief that Value Added Tax (VAT) will lower the sentiments of our visitors and shoppers, the sales and footfall numbers have only shown an increase in the past few months and we are optimistic that this Ramadan will be better than ever,” added Bassam Saleh. Drivers of retail growth during Ramadan include greater expenditure on groceries and gifts and extended opening hours in the evening, which account for a greater spending on food.

The Sukhothai Shanghai officially joins Small Luxury Hotels of the World Small Luxury Hotels of the World is pleased to announce its newest member hotel in China, The Sukhothai Shanghai, which opens on 28th April. The official joining ceremony was held today at The Sukhothai Shanghai. The contemporary lifestyle hotel is conveniently located at HKRI Taikoo Hui in the vibrant Jingan district which offers a shopping mall and access to the Shanghai Metro. Designed by internationallyacclaimed Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, the 201-room luxury hotel marks the first foray into Mainland China’s hospitality scene by the prestigious Sukhothai Hotels & Resorts. The neighbourhood is easy to explore on foot with People’s Square, Grand Theatre and Shanghai Natural Museum all nearby. Ranging from 44 to 172 square-metres, the guest rooms are among the largest in the city. The hotel features natural materials including environmentally-


friendly diatom-silica clay walls, which are highly effective in air purification, humidity regulation and sound absorption to create a healthy and peaceful environment. The hotel will include La Scala restaurant - led by Michelin-starred guest chef Theodor Falser and Chef de Cuisine Stefano Sanna - serving fresh-toorder contemporary Italian cuisine from an open theatre kitchen. Additional restaurants and bars include URBAN Café & Lounge where guests can create their own tea blend from a herb trolley with over 18 infused fresh herbs, The ZUK Bar featuring artisanal and classic cocktails as well as Nordic cuisine at daytime, and Beans & Grapes serving wholesome comfort food and beverages by day and Asian-inspired tapas paired with wine by night. The Retreat will offer a range of Southeast Asian healing therapies and signature wellness programmes, and

guests can also workout at the Fitness Studio’s 25-metre heated indoor pool, sauna and steam room. Filip Boyen, CEO of Small Luxury Hotels of the World says: “SLH is delighted to have a presence in Shanghai after a four-year absence. Bookings for our China hotels have risen by 33% over the past 3 years, and having such a stellar member hotel in the main hub of China will serve not only as a fantastic base to explore this vibrant city, but also as a great starting point for guests to experience authentic Chinese culture at our eleven other member hotels around the country.” Marcel Holman, Hotel General Manager of The

Sukhothai Shanghai says: “We are thrilled to be part of the distinctive collection of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, a name synonymous with excellence in the art of hospitality, which is very much in line with the essence of The Sukhothai Shanghai. We bring together sophisticated design, thoughtfully-curated facilities, a welcoming ambience and experiential hospitality to create “a place apart” in the heart of Shanghai”. Rooms start from CNY 2098.00++ including daily breakfast, in-room refreshments a credit of CNY300 on food & beverage consumption and WIFI broadband access.


TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE CONTEST - 119 1. What is the name of the elephant which serves as the mount of Lord Indra? 2. Name the place famous for Chikankari work, which is a traditional art of embroidery? 3. Which classical dance is named after the village it was born from ?

Sanjay Kaushik

appointed as chief operating officer, The Raviz Hotels and Resorts

Karan Bakshi

appointed as cluster general manager-north Keral, The Raviz Hotels and Resorts

Dileep Kumar

appointed as General Manager of The Leela Raviz Kovalam

4. Which Indian Community celebrates the Khordad sal ? 5. Who is known as Barefoot Painter ? 6. Which is the largest fishing ground in the world? 7. Which is the second most abundant metal in the earth’s crust ? 8. Which city is known as ‘Gold capital of the world’ ? 9. The famous Rock Garden is located in which city?

Srijith R

appointed director of sales and marketing, The Leela Raviz Kovalam

Sooraj Nair

appointed director of sales and marketing, The Raviz Hotels and Resorts

Hyung Gyu Kim

appointed as executive chef, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay

10. Which places is said to be the cathedral city of india? Send in your answers to with TYKC 119 in the subject line. Answers should reach us before the 30th of this month.

Answers to TYKC - 118

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