Page 1


Issue V

Pages 52

March 2017

Rs 60

CHENNAI 15, 16, 17 JULY 2017

BANGALORE 21, 22, 23 JULY 2017

DELHI 15, 16, 17 SEPTEMBER 2017

MUMBAI 22, 23, 24 SEPTEMBER 2017

PUNE 24, 25, 26 NOVEMBER 2017

HYDERABAD 01, 02, 03 DECEMBER 2017

KOCHI 18, 19, 20 JANUARY 2018

KOLKATA 23, 24, 25 FEBRUARY 2018



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oreign Tourist Arrivals into India in January, 2017 stood at 9.83 lakhs, recording a whopping 16.5% growth from the same time last year. This can be attributed to the E-visa scheme and the increasing air connections across Indian metros, as well as collective promotions of Indian state tourism boards,

While the Union Ministry of Tourism has embarked on a host of initiatives and projects to boost tourism into the country, travel trade partners outside India must also be accredited for their efforts to send foreigners to our country. It is a two-way situation now as even we, as a nation, continue to become increasingly important source markets for other countries. On that note, we have looked at the performance of India's outbound figures and travel trends through interviews with NTOs and OTAs in this issue. We have also featured the present status of Indian aviation as the cover story. Happy reading.. Warm Regards



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06 10

Industry Buzz


Surinder Hakhu sanjay@voyagersworld.in & Rohit Hangal rohit@voyagersworld.in

India Outbound NTO news and developments

Hospitality Melia Hotels, Chidambara Vilas


Travel Events International and domestic shows


Cover Story Present trends in Indian Aviation


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Industry Buzz VFS Global opens Czech Republic VAC in Kochi


he Embassy of the Czech Republic and VFS Global recently launched the 11th Czech Republic Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Kochi. The centre was inaugurated by Martin Smolek, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and H.E. Mr. Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic in India and, Mayor of Municipal Corporation of Kochi.

6>> Kerala Tourism conducts roadshow in NewDelhi


he Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala organized roadshows in New Delhi. The delegation was led by K. P. Nandkumar, Dy. Director Kerala Tourism. Kerala Tourism noticed an increase in the arrival of tourists within a year due to the various marketing initiatives implemented by the Government. In September 2016, foreign tourist arrivals showed an uptick of 5.61% compared to that of September 2015. The domestic tourist arrivals figure in September 2016 increased by 6.01% compared to September 2015. The Green Carpet Initiative, launched last year, highlighted cleanliness, hygiene and scientific waste management methods. The Spice Route Revival Project also received a boost from the UNWTO. Some of the other projects included NATVENTURE showcasing wildlife, hill stations, beaches, backwaters, adventure activities, etc.

HE Mr Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India, said, “It is a great experience inaugurating such a centre in a major city in India where people can easily submit their Schengen visa applications for travel to the Czech Republic by visiting VFS Global centres."

Blue Square Consultants to represent Israel Tourism in India


India’s First Pod Hotel opens in Mumbai


rbanpod is the first ever Pod Hotel setup to open in Mumbai, to cater to the new form of smart hotels. It is also a GenNext accommodation that offers the new age travellers, business and leisure travellers at a reasonable cost. Urbanpod provides luxury accommodation on budget offering 140 Pods in various categories like Suite Pods, Private Pods, Classic Pods for men and an exclusive Ladiesonly. Other facilities include a cafeteria to read and network with new people from across the world, individual locker facility and bathroom suites. One can also avail of complimentary breakfast, 24 hour Pod service, laundry and office services.

Malaysia offers free e-visa for Indians


alaysia has announced free e-visa for Indian nationals. Malaysia is looking at 1 million visitors from India this year on account of a slew of initiatives, including visa fees waive-off — except for a processing charge of USD 20. Besides, the e-visa will be processed within 48 hours. "This single visa is valid for a period of 15 days,” said Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, Director General, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board.

srael Ministry of Tourism (IMOT) appointed Blue Square Consultants (BSC) as its new Public Relation (PR) partner in India. The latter will be responsible for all aspects of Israel Tourism’s communication strategy, consumer PR, brand management across its key target markets. Hassan Madah, Director – IMOT India & Philippines said, “India is one of the key emerging markets for us and with this new association we hope to further strengthen our presence in India and witness an increase in tourist arrivals. Israel recorded a growth of 13% in 2016 over the previous year with 44,672 Indian tourists visiting the destination."

IHG introduces its first Holiday Inn® in Kolkata


nterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®) introduced its first Holiday Inn® hotel in Kolkata -Holiday Inn Kolkata Airport. The hotel offers comfort and convenience to the contemporary business and leisure traveller with 137 well-appointed rooms & suites. For MICE and corporate guests, the hotel offers 6,076 sq ft of meeting and banqueting space, state-of-the-art technology as well as creative catering for their events. With a vision to expand its footprints in the region, IHG in partnership with Jain Group will introduce two more Holiday Inn properties in Durgapur and Siliguri, West Bengal.

Ranveer exudes Swiss love ‘InLoveWithSwitzerland’ video


ollywood actor Ranveer Singh, who recently became the first Indian ambassador for Switzerland Tourism, tries an array of adventure

activities in a new video as part of the ‘InLoveWithSwitzerland’ campaign. The video takes one through Ranveer’s summer trip in Switzerland where he tried various sporty adventures. The extended video also covers him visiting the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich. The ‘InLoveWithSwitzerland’ campaign highlights the best experiences that one can have in Switzerland and captures Ranveer Singh’s love and admiration for the country, which he now calls his second home.

Voyager’s World > March 2017

Industry Buzz


India, UK sign pact for more flights to boost tourism PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU

The agreement will allow airlines to develop new services and air routes.


ndia and the United Kingdom (UK) signed a MoU to ease restrictions on the number of scheduled flights between the two countries, following successful talks in India in February 2017. Limits on flights from key Indian cities including Chennai and Kolkata have been scrapped, allowing for a greater range of flights for passengers while providing a boost to trade and tourism for the UK and India.

The Aviation Minister of U.K., Lord Ahmad said: “India is one of our closest allies and key trading partners and this new agreement will only serve to strengthen

Building new links with important trading partners is a key part of the government’s plans for a Global Britain, opening up new export markets and creating jobs and economic growth. The agreement also opened all destinations in the UK for Indian carriers for code share flights, and reciprocally the UK carriers can also operate code share flights to any International Airport in India, through domestic code share arrangements.

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Tourism from India makes an important contribution to the UK economy. In 2015, there were 422,000 visits from India to the UK, bringing more than £433 million to the economy.

is great news for both the UK and India and is yet another sign that we are open for business and ready to build and strengthen our trade links.”


The agreement was formally signed by Minister of Civil Aviation, Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju, on behalf of India and Lord Ahmad of U.K. during a visit to India where he led a delegation of British companies for the 2017 CAPA India Aviation Summit. Indian Civil Aviation Minister Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju, said “The increase in number of flights between the UK and India is encouraging news for our businesses and tourists. We already enjoy strong ties with the UK and we welcome such continued association which in the long run will not only encourage business activity, but also peopleto-people contact. I am sure that this agreement will bring direct and indirect benefits to many sectors of the economies of our two countries”.

this crucial relationship. We are unlocking new trade and tourism opportunities which will boost our economies, create new jobs and open up new business links. This

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Industry Buzz

8>> Sands Resorts Macao appoints AVIAREPS as India representative

Via.com unveils exclusive app for corporates



ia.com has unveiled ‘Via Corporate’, an exclusive app for its corporate clients to boost bookings from its existing pool of over 5000 corporate users and increase its corporate client base. The Android app which is available on Google Play Store is expected to make travel management simpler and faster in 2017. With this app, corporate users will be able to save on business travel transaction costs. Some of its features are lowest fare calendar and roundtrip fares in a single screen for airline bookings; last minute nearby hotel bookings and display of map view of hotels; and real time chat with travel assistants.

SpiceJet wins Champions trophy at Skylympics 2017


piceJet emerged victorious at Skylympics 2017 bagging the overall Champion’s Trophy at the championship held from 3-5 March at the New Udaan Bhawan, IGI airport, New Delhi. The Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL) organized the first edition of ‘Skylympics’. Team SpiceJet --- ‘Spice Strikers’ bagged the highest number of honours across categories with two gold and three silver medals across five of the six categories, which included cricket, badminton, volleyball, athletics and table tennis. A multi-sport event held for the first time in the history of Indian aviation, Skylympics comprised a total of 22 teams and 411 matches.

Zoom Air commences operations in India


oom Air, new private airline entrant in India, started its daily scheduled operations from the Delhi-Kolkata- Durgapur-Delhi sector. The same will be extended to Amritsar in the afternoon followed by a Delhi-Surat-BhavnagarDelhi, an evening service. Zoom Air aims to rope in 1:1 lady pilots on board, Operating from Premium T3 in New Delhi and T2 in Mumbai, it will also connect from Delhi and Kolkata to Tirupati, Vijaywada, Mumbai, Shillong, Aizawl, Pasighat and Zero (in Arunachal Pradesh), Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Indore and Bhopal, at least once daily as its route planning.

IndiGo expands operations across India


ndiGo announced Amritsar as its 44th destination effective 16 March, wherefrom the carrier will operate a daily non-stop flight between Amritsar and Delhi and Amritsar and Mumbai catering to both the corporate and leisure customers. It also announced its entry in Madurai with the launch of two flights - a maiden flight from Delhi to Madurai via Chennai and return Madurai to Delhi with a touchdown in Chennai. IndiGo is also commencing Madurai - Hyderabad daily flight from 26 March 2017. The airline has also inducted two brand new Airbus A320 NEO aircrafts into its existing fleet this month in line with the company growth strategy as well as to meet the growing demand of air travel in the country.

Voyager’s World > March 2017

Codeshare agreement between Jet and Fiji Airways


et Airways and Fiji Airways signed a codeshare partnership which offers guests travelling on both carriers convenient connectivity between India and Fiji via Singapore and Hong Kong. As per the codeshare agreement, a first-of-its-kind between the airlines of the two countries, Jet Airways will place its ‘9W’ code on Fiji Airways’ flights from Singapore and Hong Kong to Nadi and Fiji Airways will place its ‘FJ’ code on Jet Airways’ services between Singapore and Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai as well as between Hong Kong and Mumbai and Delhi. JetPrivilege members will also be able to accrue and redeem JPMiles on the codeshare flights operated by Fiji Airways flights; and the accrued miles will count towards their tier status as well. Codeshare bookings are open for sale for travel effective 9 March 2017.

ands Resorts Macao recently appointed AVIAREPS as its representative in India. Sands Resort Macao comprises the Venetian Macao, the Parisian Macao, Holiday Inn Macao,Cotai Central, Conrad Macao, Cotai Central, Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Cotai Central, the St Regis Macao, Cotai Central and Four Seasons Hotel Macao, Cotai Strip. Joseph Fernandes, General Manager India, AVIAREPS said, “Macao is one of the popular destinations that welcomes a large number of Indian travelers and MICE groups each year. Our goal will be to ensure the momentum of growth of travellers from all over India to the Sands Resorts Macao.”

BLS International launches Spain VAC in Chennai


LS International opened its first Spanish Visa Application Center (VAC) in Chennai, thus making it the third Spanish VAC opened after New Delhi and Mumbai after winning the global contract from the Government of Spain in December 2016. The visa center has been designed and staffed to provide quick, economical and hassle free visa services to the residents of Tamil Nadu, supported by experienced staff who work with the cutting-edge technology to process the applications and enable speedy biometrics capture. With PM Narendra Modi likely to visit Spain this May to boost strategic and investment partnership, these VACs will help increase tourism in Spain.

Trabug India offers first travel phone for travellers


rabug India launched Trabug®, the country’s first travel phone that assists one to stay in touch while travelling, while allowing them to discover new places of interest, safely without having to worry about phone bills. Trabug® offers foreign tourists a smartphone powered by a 4G SIM card which has a customized version of the Android operating system and has a menu that provides tailored recommendations to visitors about restaurants, shopping centres. Some of the other features include an option to get Indian rupees delivered to the visitor’s hotel. Trabug®SIM can be applied online by travellers.



Meliá anticipates tremendous growth opportunities from the Indian Market ANJU ANNA ALEX

Ruben Casas, Senior Director Sales and Marketing, Asia Pacific and and Tonia Sehan, Director of Sales, India, Meliá Hotels International, carefully weigh in on the positive prospects for the company given the encouraging signs from the Indian Outbound Travel market.


eliá Hotels International counts a presence of more than 370 hotels in 40 countries and 7 brands for all segments of travelers including family, luxury, honeymooners, wedding, business and leisure. Meliá Hotels International, the leading hotel company in Spain, organized a three city roadshow in Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Mumbai from 20th to 22nd February 2017. The roadshow was organized with the objective to strengthen and build up relationships with key travel partners across India and showcase the USPs of the brands viz. Gran Meliá, ME by Meliá, Paradisus, Meliá Hotels & Resorts, Innside by Meliá, Tryp by Wyndham and Sol by Meliá. Response from the Indian Market Ruben Casas, Senior Director Sales and Marketing, Asia Pacific, says, “As a company, we are very positive. We have been receiving encouraging responses from the market. We have seen how the Indian market is growing in our hotels. From an outbound perspective, because we don’t have properties located in India at the moment, our current strategy is to increase outbound business in India to any of our hotels in the world. We are at a fast pace and in the past year we have grown over 30 percent which is very reasonable and are hoping to see even better results in the near future.” Commenting on Meliá’s success in the Indian Outbound Travel market, Tonia Sehan, Director of Sales, India, Meliá Hotels International says, “The awareness of Meliá brand has actually spread through in the entire Indian market. Now people realize that it’s not only Meliá Sarria or Meliá Bali; it’s entire Meliá in 42 countries. Therefore we can safely say that the awareness has spread and this year we are going to see much more growth than 30 percent definitely. We do not have any properties in India. In fact, we do not have anything in the SAARC countries. In the south-east Asia we have in Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia. We also have properties

Voyager’s World > March 2017

in Dubai and onwards and Europe. We have an Asia-Pac Headquarters which is Shanghai. Therefore all the Asia Pacific hotels for us would be inbound hotels. Any property outside Asia pacific will be outbound hotels. Hence we have a different strategy. We say inbound for Asia Pacific and outbound for outside Asia Pacific. Marketing Strategy Ruben says, “For marketing we have a multi-channel strategy, through different channels. We have a strong PR network all over the world including Asia pacific where we have an official agency, which is based in Shanghai. We have a social media strategy well in place. We have two different strategies, one for China and one for the rest of the Asia Pacific. China has different channels, behaviors. India is more similar to what we have in Europe and therefore our strategy is quite similar. We have a very aggressive sales strategy in order to gain a strong position in the market as compared to other internationals brands. We are the top hotel in Spain, the largest hotel group in Europe, the leading resort company in the world. In Meliá Hotels International, we have different branches in order to cater to the different demands from different customers. We have 3 branches in the luxury upper scale, totally different from each other. Then we have branches also in the upper scale and in the middle scale. Thus, we have a different approach to the end-user because as we are pretty well known among the travel

professionals but not necessarily for a new user” Latest Trends According to Ruben, “What we see is that India has a wide number of clients willing to do different things which is pretty much similar to what we saw in China years ago. This is because the lower class has become middle class and they have more spending power. In the Indian Market, we have people willing to spend 500 Euros a night and at the same time, we have groups of leisure travelers who prefer to stay at one of our properties at budget friendly rates. The trend is more in the mid-scale upper scale more than the luxury but this changing; this is evolving slowly. If we talk about the different channels they use; they say a big portion still book through local partners in the different destinations. Most of their partners in India at the same time, are trying to book directly to the hotels. They approach us in order to work on different ways of connectivity to have direct access to our inventory. Of course the direct client is becoming extremely important for us because we see how the clients with the same pays are becoming familiar with the company and their different branch, they increase their bookings through our direct channels and it always guarantees the best available rates.” Online Marketing Ruben says, “We are very aggressive

in the online space and allocate on a yearly basis, a huge budget. Nowadays most of the budget is spent online especially for our own channel. A few ago we started what we called Meliá Digital transformation. All departments in the company like Finance, HR, Operations etc. are also becoming digitalized. These days the media is giving us a lot of recognition. In Europe, we are one of the leading companies in the digital transformation nowadays.” Toniya explains, “In the B2B segment we have a portal by the name of Meliá Pro. This is for all our travel agents’ fraternity. This is a beautiful tool which we are actually promoting at this point of time in India. As we speak, we are actually doing a campaign on this one for the next three months for the travel agents. So anyone or any travel agent who is making a reservation on Meliá Pro, are actually entitled to lovely discounts but of course they win prizes as well.” Expected Growth According to Ruben, “Well it is difficult to guess what will be the overall growth because it’s a huge market which is evolving very fast. If the market remains stable we know exactly how much we will be growing year after year. On the contrary, if something unexpected happens we cannot make any predictions. But in India we expect to grow at a pace of 40 to 45 percent for over a year.




t n e m o m lasts . . . r e v e for






Sangam Hotels leverages legacy and location in its expansion plans PRIYAMVADHA BALARAM

TK Murthy, Group General Manager, Sangam Hotels, talks about the group’s Chettinad heritage property and how its location has been leveraged to draw tourists.


he Chidambara Vilas, a luxurious heritage property situated near Karaikudi, is a name to reckon with as far as heritage addresses are concerned in Southern India. The property is being managed by Sangam Hotels for six years now and the other hotels in the group’s umbrella include hotels in Trichy, Thanjavur and one in Madurai which is currently under renovation. TK Murthy, Group General Manager,

Sangam Hotels, says that the group was confident when it set about to take Chidambara Vilas under its wings. “The goal was very clearly set by our Managing Director. We set up a chain of hotels of various tiers, by that I mean city hotels, boutique hotels, heritage and business class hotels all over south India. Our hotel in Trichy was established 42 years ago. Chettinad was becoming popular as a destination in the last few years. The Bangala Hotel was doing well and had no competition. So we thought of managing this property. The biggest advantage we have is all our hotels are in one belt. When the tourist comes on a holiday today, he does not prefer to stay in one hotel, unless he is on a business trip. In this case, he can visit three or four places in the same belt. Trichy has the nearest airport from Chettinad at about 50 km. This

is a 106-year old house that we have converted into a hotel.” Demand and supply We had a break-even for Chidambara Vilas in the first year itself. The concept of heritage properties in India has come on very forcefully. People want a different stay experience. Compared to Rajasthan or even Madhya Pradesh, the south does not have as many heritage properties. We thought we would be the pioneers USP Our USP is our standards and the Chettinad cuisine. The school next to our hotel was visited by Mahatma Gandhi and had signed in the ledger. A French group which stayed at our property recently, spoke to the principal to see the ledger.

Promotions Promoting the property was not very difficult as we are an established group. We marketed it to all tour operators who have been patronizing us and we invited them on Fam trips and then, the property speaks after that. Americans have been our No.1 market, followed by French and German groups. Now Japanese groups have started coming from this season. People other than those in south India still do not know about Chettinad. Domestic tourism has just started picking up. Initially inbound groups gave us more business. The movements of foreigners are more in season. But these days a lot of countries come even in off-season. We have direct flights from Madurai to Mumbai and Delhi. Trichy has got more international connectivity.

Guests more likely to post review upon satisfied stay: Revinate VW BUREAU

Online reviews are a critical component in understanding how to provide a better product and guest experience, says Revinate in its study on reviews.


evinate, the software as a service (SaaS) company that helps hotels reinvent the guest experience, rolled out its 2017 Global Hotel Reputation Benchmark Report. The study analyzed 70 million published online guest reviews worldwide over the last two years – nearly 40 million of those in 2016 alone. The sections on review distribution, pace and response rates shows that top review sites are becoming more prominent over time, overall review pace is accelerating, and hoteliers are responding more than ever to their guests’ feedback. Regarding review distribution, a solid 78% of all reviews in 2016 came from the top four review sites

Voyager’s World > March 2017

– a percentage that increased by 7.7% compared to the previous year. Guests are still more likely to post a review after a satisfactory stay, with 4- and 5-star reviews representing 79.6% of the total. Only 8.2% of reviews were 1- or 2-star ratings. Review pace also accelerated in 2016, with notable changes in the number of mid-range reviews. The volume of one- (+18.8%) and fivestar (+19.5%) reviews continued to increase the most of all review types. But two- (+11.8%), three- (13.5%), and four-star (+14.4%) reviews grew at a much faster pace than in previous years, suggesting that as more people start writing reviews, more nuanced perspectives of the hotel experience are being explored.

Revinate’s report also shows that review responses are increasing. Although the increase in review volume (+16.4%) far outpaced review responses (+2.8%) in 2016, hoteliers seemed to take their online reviews more seriously than ever before. This trend comes hot on the heels of a new study by Cornell University, which found that hotels that respond to up to 40% of their reviews observe a 2.2x average lift in revenue. On average, hotels responded to 27.9% of all reviews in 2016: a 2.8% increase compared to the previous year. Hoteliers were particularly inclined to respond to one- (27.1%) and five-star reviews (31.6%), although the percentage of answers to one-star ratings experienced a

small dip compared to 2015. According to Marc Heyneker, Revinate co-founder and CEO, “In 2016, more hoteliers saw the value in their online feedback. It’s clear from review response rates that they recognized the importance of monitoring and responding to online feedback, and of acting upon guest reviews insights. At the same time, the deceleration in response rates suggests that managers are struggling to keep up with the modern guest, who is increasingly using social and online review channels to share their experiences.” Heyneker also recommended that hotels “prioritize negative reviews and aim for a 40% response rate.”

India Outbound


South African Tourism hopeful to grow double figures from India in 2017 Despite the demonetization woes and lack of direct connectivity, South African Tourism remains bullish for 2017 in the Indian market, according to Hanneli Slabber, South African Tourism (SAT), Country Manager for India. ANJU ANNA ALEX

Growth and set-backs The growth between 2009 and 2013, we doubled up numbers from India. 2014-15 was a challenging period. Firstly, we were hit by Ebola which we never anticipated because it was four and a half thousand miles away from us and we were suffering cancellations overnight despite not being near the outbreak. Secondly, SAA changed their strategy and

instead of Mumbai, they decided to hub in Abu Dhabi. So we lost the direct flight. Despite the huge increase in numbers, we never increased the immigration personnel. In India currently, 70 percent of the bookings are made a month in advance. The existing bottle-neck on immigration coupled with the urgency to travel immediately, creates huge visa issues. Hence, we do go back to the drawing board and rethink. Currently, our visas are absolutely easy and take 5 days to come out. We really need extra hands on deck during the peak season to deal with the inflation. 2016 was our pull back year. We only have figures up till October but we are quite positive that we can turn higher than 2013 which was our biggest year here in India with 27 percent up.

People are recording good numbers. The problems we had in November and December had more to do with the fact that we can’t find capacity. In terms of growth, the number of travel agents who came to our road show in Bangalore has gone up from 70 to 300 in a year’s span. We have done great work in Tier 2& Tier 3 cities with regard to learning’s aid. With our status quo, no demonetization and no availability issue we should grow double figures in 2017 because the lot of the stuff is just capacity issues. If we get direct flights then that changes the picture of course. Shift in Indian Market We used to be a big group market and have witnessed a big shift to younger people travelling in groups. The market is getting younger and

more independent working class people, young women travelling in groups etc. are coming forward for experiential holidays. The market is very much experience driven. They are willing to compromise where they stay in order to save money to do the activities. Connectivity We don’t have direct flights and depend on indirects. However, Middle Eastern carriers- Qatar, Etihad, Emirates; have changed connectivity times to make it easier for the business in South Africa. They have definitely seeing the business so they are making it as easy as possible. Air Seychelles has increased to 5 flights a week out of Mumbai only.

Singapore records 1.1 million Indian arrivals in 2016

G.B Srithar, Regional Director for South Asia, Middle East & Africa (SAMEA), Singapore Tourism Board (STB), dwells at length about cruising, upcoming itineraries and films to increase the numbers from India. PRIYAMVADHA BALARAM

Plans for 2017 India is a very important international arrivals source market for Singapore. Last year was another record year of Indian visitors to Singapore. We welcomed close to 1.1 million Indians to Singapore which was

Voyager’s World > March 2017

an 8% growth over 2015 when we had crossed the 1 million mark. India is my fourth largest source market after Indonesia, China and Malaysia. It has jumped one spot above Australia and importantly, India is my third largest tourism receipts generating market after China and Indonesia. We wanted to begin this year by thanking the travel trade for helping us to achieve the record and to share our plans for 2017 and beyond. We started with a four-city roadshow in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai.

is 100,000. We are trying to raise the awareness of cruising as a holiday option for families and couples at an all-in-one price. We are working with cruise line partners and travel agents intermediaries. As it is, Indians consider Singapore as a major cruising destination and we want to entrench that perception. Come 30 March, we would be doing a Cruise Forum in Mumbai with representatives from cruise lines, CLIA training representatives, to have a general discussion to market cruises better.

Cruise travel India is Singapore’s No.1 cruise arrival market. In 2016, we saw a 29% increase in cruise passengers from India. The number of cruise passengers from India to Singapore

We are tying up with Royal Caribbean Cruises through TIRUN marketing. Besides, Costa Cruises, Star Cruises and Princess Cruises sail out of Singapore at some point and we would like to market them more.

This year, Genting Dream will start sailing from Singapore. Room inventory There are approximately 55,000 rooms available in the country across a wide range of categories from five-star and high-end properties to three-star properties. At the moment, we have adequate room supply for the kind of visitors that come into the country. Overall, we welcomed 16.4 million visitors last year from the world over. It is a question of market dynamics; as and when the numbers go up, we would have to re-look at the inventory. Emerging markets The key metros in India - Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi – remain our primary forte from where

India Outbound

15>> we draw the major portion of our Indian visitors. Yet, in metros, there is still a huge potential for first-time travellers; so also for those who have already visited Singapore as they will have reasons to re-visit us. There are certain changes that have taken place in Singapore every two to five years. We have integrated resorts, enhancements to existing products; the National Gallery Singapore has opened and Sentosa Island’s experiences have evolved. We are pushing aggressively into Tier 2 cities and are engaging with travel agents and consumers. Some of them are Kolkata, Hyderabad, Amritsar, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Trichy.

Influence of films In 1960, Shammi Kapoor acted in a movie called ‘Singapore’. Indians have an emotive connect to Singapore, beyond the infrastructure, due to Tamil and Bollywood films. The ‘Chikkumangu’ song featuring the Haw Par villa in the MGR-starrer ‘Ulagam Suttrum Valiban’ was a huge hit. Singapore was given a big boost when MGR shot the film here. The other milestone movie from the south was ‘Ninaithale Inikkum’ where the story revolved around a music troupe in Singapore and the country was an integral part of the story. For a while, south

Indian movies had not showcased Singapore in their films as an integral part. Recent Bollywood movie ‘Dear Zindagi’ filmed few scenes here. ‘Badrinath ki Dulhaniya’ has sizeable portions shot in Singapore. We are looking at working on a south Indian movie which is about to be released. The key message is that STB remains interested in working with Kollywood and Bollywood movies where Singapore is an integral part to the story and the script should be aligned with the branding that we are trying to promote. We do not have a ‘Film in Singapore’ scheme any more, but we can facilitate through other ways like shoot permits, hotel accommodation, logistics, etc.

ASEAN tourism cooperation Singapore Tourism is the chair for the ASEAN Promotional Chapter for Tourism (APCT) in India for this year. For us, it is about how we promote travel to the region, because at the end of the day, Indian outbound market is set to grow and more; Indians will travel to Southeast Asia and we will have our share of the growing market. It is in our interest that the region becomes more attractive. For example, cruise tourism is a big push for us because it connects Southeast Asian cities. We do not see it as competition; instead, we like to see it as regional tourism cooperation among us, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.

Upcoming itineraries Mandai is within Singapore mainland. By 2020-2021, we will have the Mandai area totally revamped. The Singapore Zoo, the Night Safari and the River Safari are in the Mandai area, while the bird park is in Jurong. By 2020, the bird park will move to Mandai area and the entire area will become an eco-tourism hub with four parks with accommodation also. A rainforest park will also be part of the Mandai area development by 2020. Everything is consolidated for travellers to go to one place. Just as how Sentosa seems to be a different destination altogether where tourists can spend 2-3 nights on the Sentosa Island, travellers can stay for 1-2 nights in the Mandai area. Indians are also increasingly evolving as travellers who want to deepen their experiences in the country they are visiting. They want to experience the city more and more as a local. Singapore allows people to explore places they have not been to, such as the Everton Park area, Haji Lane, ethnic precincts in Little India, China Town and Kampong Glam, where there are nice streets to walk around.

RezLive.com Key Offerings

Engaging with travel trade We engage with travel agents with a pan-India presence and with those have presence within cities. Similarly, our partnerships extend to all the major airlines flying into Singapore. Today, we are connected to India through 15 cities. There are about 230+ weekly flights from all the major airlines in India. We look at how creatively we can promote our country. Indians seem to know Singapore through movies and their friends and yet they do not know many interesting nuggets about Singapore. Our challenge is promoting creatively the secret, unexplored parts of Singapore.


India Outbound


USA comES calling as numbers from India surge

Over the last five years, there has been a tremendous surge in reaching out to the Indian outbound market by USA destinations and attractions, resulting in having their offices and representations here.


ndia and the United States have long been able to sustain the world biggest democracies tag, but till now, there has never been a more concrete measures to woo each other's outbound travel markets! This has led to the creation of the US India Travel and Tourism Partnership Year. The agreement signed last year between the countries had

Todd Davidson

Christopher L. Thompson


named 2017 as a year focused on furthering and strengthening travel and tourism ties. Over the last five years, there has been a tremendous surge in reaching out to the Indian outbound market by US destinations and attractions, resulting in having their offices and representations here. India could well be the next big long-haul market

for the US, having spend almost $ 12 Billion! Speaking on the visit to India Christopher L. Thompson, President and CEO, Brand USA, told Voyager's World "Over One million Indians visited USA and over 1.2 million visas issued, makes India the 11thlargest feeder market". He added "the Partnership will have a tremendous impact to grow in each other's market and will fuel better connectivity". Currently only about 11% of visitor movement are on direct flights, with the rest being via the Middle-East and Europe. The delegation also included Todd Davidson, Executive Director of Oregon Tourism Commission, one of the newer entrants into the Indian market. Speaking with VW, he said

"Oregon has seen an over 40% growth from the Indian market, especially in the VFR and Leisure segments, and our presence in the India will only reinforce our commitment to receive more travellers looking for quality adventure and unmatched natural beauty". He added "Oregon is known to have the most diverse and scintillating landscapes in North America. Once in Oregon, visitors will be prompted to try things out of the ordinary. You will be spellbound by the by the number of extraordinary activities that awaits you at Oregon. Be it learning to paddleboard or getting a chance to taste some of the most exquisite wine or just to unwind by the ocean side, Oregon has it all".

Weather shapes hotel rates in favour of Indian holidayer: tripadvisor VW BUREAU

The report by TripAdvisor highlights the most affordable months to stay at hotels in popular travel destinations worldwide.


ripAdvisor announced the results of its 2017 Hotel Pricing Report, revealing global accommodation trends based on TripAdvisor hotel shopping data. Designed to help travellers discover destinations that offer great year-over-year accommodation value, the report also highlights the most affordable months to stay at hotels in popular travel destinations worldwide. “The price conscious Indian traveller is always looking for ways to find the best prices to book, along with saving on time and effort. TripAdvisor’s Hotel Pricing Report aims to help the travellers planning their vacation by identifying some of the best-value travel periods in popular destinations around the world,” said Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager, TripAdvisor India.

Voyager’s World > March 2017

Where and When to Travel for Hotel Savings USA- While the most affordable month to stay in a hotel in the U.S. was in January (INR 13,175), May (INR 16,692), June (INR 18,163), and September (INR 17,801) are the best months to visit, boasting an optimal combination of price and temperature. Spain- The least expensive hotel rates in Spain were in January (INR 8,347), however, travellers are able to enjoy low prices and better weather in March (INR 9,823), April (INR 11,531) and November (INR 10,044). Caribbean- Travellers can find the best prices on hotels in the Caribbean from August through October, with nightly rates averaging as low as INR 21,679. Since it is hurricane season,

travellers need to watch the weather and consider purchasing travel insurance. Brazil- While the weather is always warm there, hotel rates in Brazil are coolest during the months of March (INR 8,983), April (INR 8,618) and May (INR 8,937). Mexico- With warm temperatures year-round, travellers can seek out the lowest hotel prices in Mexico between September and November, at an average of INR 18,295per night or less. U.K- Though the least expensive hotels in the U.K. were in January (INR 11,972) and February (INR 11,972), travellers can also enjoy affordable rates and mild temperatures in May (INR 16,517), August (INR 14,720) and October (INR 14,601). Japan- January (INR 14,601) was the least expensive month to book

a hotel in Japan, however, travellers will find April (INR 18,334), May (INR 14,228), and June (INR 13,264) offer the best combination of warm temperatures and low rates. Italy- Travellers can enjoy the largest hotel savings in Italy during the winter months, but will want to travel during April (INR 15,747), October (INR 14,999), or November (INR 14,999) for the best mix of price and weather. Thailand- Boasting of consistently high temperatures, travellers can go low on hotel prices during Thailand’s shoulder season in April (INR 7,317), May (INR 7,177), and June (INR 7,342). India- Featuring warm temperatures most of the year, Indian travellers who are keen on exploring their home country can find the least expensive hotels in April through June, with nightly rates below INR 5,890.



Seasons and surveys are key factors in product innovation PRIYAMVADHA BALARAM

Amod Thatte, Head – Products & Innovation, B2C, Tour Operating, SOTC, talks about product designing and promotion in line with the latest market trends and travel preferences.

Long weekends On a recent visit to the Bangalore office, Amod Thatte, Head-Products & Innovation, B2C, Tour Operating, SOTC, talked about how the long weekends in 2017 have led to new product designing and innovation to cater to the various needs of the customers. “I believe in 2017, we have far more than what we had in 2016. Today, Indian customers want to have more number of holidays than one extended holiday. Long weekends are becoming very popular. Our primary focus on long weekends is two-fold; on the international side, we are looking at visa-on-arrival destinations; at this time of the year, Southeast Asia becomes a hot favourite due to favourable weather. Dubai continues to be in flavor and normally, one does not need a reason to travel to Dubai.” “For long weekends, SOTC generally picks up products from our entire range and then talk more about them. On the domestic side, we have customised packages according to the particular regions. We have identified certain specific destinations for the south market. The idea is that the travel time should not be so much that you are not able to enjoy your holiday. From south, we have packages for Mysore, Ooty, etc.; likewise for West, North and the East.” On what brings him to Bangalore at this time, he said, “I lead the back

office for SOTC and very important aspect of my job is to be in touch with the ground realities and how people are able to sell the products because I am the one who creates the products. These are the people who sell them plus get feedback from them in terms of the trends in the market. Also, I believe that you cannot think of India sitting in Mumbai. You have to go to every region and city to understand the nuances as there are unique aspects attached to each region.” Research for product innovation “Thankfully, we are not novices in this business, we have been in this for many years and have collective wisdom of having done it for so long. From a product line per se, we are established in terms of customized holidays, domestic offerings and group players. Of course, we are new entrants when it comes to domestic holidays and not as big as some other players, but on the Free and Independent Travellers (FITs) front, we are a solid brand across the country for decades now. There are cycles in which we design product. We have summer and winter offers and we recommend destinations based on the time of the year. Every six months we re-check the products, look at past performances and experiences and take customer inputs and on-tour customer surveys. We do take structured feedback after finishing the holiday and then collate the data. SOTC has embarked on unique exercise called Co-create in 12 cities where we conduct customer meets to ask how they want a holiday to look like. It is a mix between loyal, repeats, new guests, as well as those who have not booked with us to understand if there was anything wrong in our pre-sales process. In our group tour brochures, for example, there are certain products that we have flagged off as co-created. There is also the market trend that we figure out in terms of what destinations are in vogue and deals in airlines as

airlines form a big role in our product planning. Then the structure gets formulated.” Pricing “Some costs, such as the rate of exchange, keep varying and are beyond our control. In a holiday package where you collect part payment in Indian Rupees (INR) and part payment in the currency of the particular country, if the latter fluctuates vis-à-vis INR, the cost can dramatically change. While our input cost can be the same, the customer ends up paying differently at different times of the year. The other variable, to some extent, is the airline and the airfare. Airfare is very dynamic and it shoots up closer to the date of travel. We plan our launches well in advance for that reason. For instance, our Europe and USA summer long-hauls will start departing from April right until September. We launch them in the first week of October.” Capturing new customers We have a decent and well-oiled customer relationship management (CRM) of our own which makes sure that our own customer database is tapped well to know preferences and likely choices for next travel. We are in the industry for almost 70 years now. While we do not have the database of 70 years, we have a solid database of our customers. A lot of customers come by word of mouth, friends recommendations, etc. We are now increasingly investing in the online and social media platforms and targeting customers based on the specific products they ask. We can slice the database the way you want and design the products accordingly. Then we have a network of our own controlled 120 distribution outlets.” Penetration in Tier 2 and 3 cities The market in India is completely evolved due to Internet and mobile penetration. Smartphones have become a necessity. We train our

people on the products and have a B2C roadshow from January to March to do a customer reach and call our past and new customers to educate them on our product range. The simple yardstick is we are present in nearly 70 cities in India. Emerging markets and segments In the South, Coimbatore is a big market for us, so also Kochi and Mangalore. In the North, Kanpur and Indore are doing well. Ahmedabad and Pune have evolved completely. The new age young travellers are an enigma at this point in time. They are too many in number and we still trying to understand their buying and behavior patterns. We are a traditional brick-and-mortar company and are entrenched into a certain age bracket. It is a challenge if you want to stay relevant in this industry you cannot ignore the youth market. The youth today are not necessarily last minute bookers. They may not have excess cash but they are one of the most planned holiday seekers and save for it. We have our own luxury brand called ‘Perfect moments by SOTC’ which is on for about a decade now to offer concierge services to people. There are five to seven themes that we broadly structure our luxury holidays on. This is giving you a flavour of our capabilities, but as far as booking is concerned, we can do almost everything a customer would want,” Amod signed off. Personal touch is the basis of our business model. Our customer is coming here only to piggy-back on our expertise. If we don’t live up to his expectations, tomorrow he will do everything online. We are only banking and doing everything it takes to hone the skills of these people so they add value to the customer. We heavily bank on our group tours business though FIT has grown for us.


Travel Events


IITM Kolkata 2017 receives overwhelming participation from travel trade More than 149 exhibitors from across India and the world participated in the 95th edition of the event. VW BUREAU


phere Travelmedia & Exhibitions organized its 95th edition of India International Travel Mart from 3, 4 and 5 March at Milan Mela Trade Center, E. M. Byepass, Kolkata. AB Bardhan, IAS Principal Secretary, Tourism ,Govt. of West Bengal, inaugurated the event in the presence of other tourism officers on 3 March. With this year’s edition of IITM in Kolkata, Sphere Travelmedia & Exhibitions completes 17 successful years of providing the travel industry and discerning buyers from the travel – trade and corporate sector,

Voyager’s World > March 2017

an unparalleled opportunity to do business. With organizations and tourism boards from over 12 Indian states, India International Travel Mart showcased a variety of destinations from different spheres such as pilgrimages, adventures, culture & heritage, beaches, hills and many more. The India International Travel Mart provided an ideal marketing opportunity and excellent backdrop to enhance the participant’s brand equity in the eyes of the discerning end consumers and the travel-trade. The event had over 149 participants

from over 12 Indian states as well as three countries- Nepal, Dubai Philippines. The participants included travel agents and tour operators, associations, publications/media, DMC, hotels and resorts, National Tourist Organizations, cruises, airlines, online travel portals, etc. The event attracted over 5448 general visitors and 569 trade visitors. Some of the States and Union Territories represented included: Andhra Pradesh Tourism, Andaman & Nicobar Administration, Delhi Tourism & Transportation Development Corporation, Gujarat

Tourism, Himachal Pradesh Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir Tourism, Jharkhand Tourism, Karnataka Tourism, Tripura Tourism Development Corporation Ltd., Madhya Pradesh Tourism, Uttar Pradesh Tourism, and West Bengal Tourism. More than 15 hotels, resorts, tour operators and travel agents participated from across India making it an impressive venue for the display of the most diverse range of hospitality products in the country. Diverse Tourism segments that were on display included Adventure, Eco Tourism, Cultural pursuits, Wildlife Tourism, MICE etc.

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Travel Events


IAAPI's 17th Amusement Expo a mega success!

This year's event had over 120 exhibitors from India and 21 countries, showcasing a comprehensive range of products and services in the amusement industry under one roof. VW BUREAU


he 17th Indian Association of Amusement Parks and Industries (IAAPI) Amusement Expo was inaugurated by Ashok Goel on 22 February 2017 at the Bombay Exhibition Centre. Ajay Sarin, President - IAAPI and N.D. Rana, Chairman Trade Show & Director IAAPI were present for the grand inauguration. The Guest of Honour, Ashok Goel, Founder Member & Director IAAPI, in his inaugural address, mentioned that the amusement industry was a social infrastructure which required government support and handholding. "This would help in creating world-class amusement facilities,” he said. Ajay Sarin, President – IAAPI welcomed all the exhibitors and

Voyager’s World > March 2017

visitors to the show and stated that IAAPI’s premier exhibition would present a unique platform to all the stakeholders to help gain a meaningful insight into the current trends, new technologies, sustainable and environment friendly products as well as global best practices in the amusement industry. IAAPI’s Amusement Expo, this year, was supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, under its 'Incredible India' banner. This year, Maharashtra was the Host State and the Government of Andhra Pradesh was the Partner State. The exhibition witnessed over 120+ exhibitors from India and 21 countries. This year 27 new exhibitors participated from India and overseas.

Spread across 10,000 sq m of exhibition floor area, the event showcased the latest innovative rides and equipment for amusement parks, theme parks, water parks, adventure sport and family entertainment centres (FECs). The three-day exhibition provided a platform to share and learn new ideas. The Expo showcased comprehensive range of products and services offered by the industry under one roof and provided an international platform to the participants to interact with the end users. It aimed at creating an ideal business environment to explore new avenues of growth for all involved. Apart from business transactions, the show also provided an exposure to international trends through its many foreign participants.

Big players from the industry shared their learning, innovative ideas, schemes and experience. Many important issues related to the amusement industry were also discussed in depth. The attendees and participants included trade professionals and decision makers from amusement parks, theme parks, adventure parks, FECs, resorts, hotel chains, real estate and mall developers, sports bars, cafes, museums, science centres, government officials from tourism development boards, town planning, municipal and local bodies. The highlights of this year's Expo was it being hailed as South East Asia’s only focus technology show for the amusement & theme park sector.

Travel Events


CTW China strengthens Global Partnerships

This year American airline Delta has confirmed itself as Diamond Sponsor in the third year of their partnership with CTW China. VW BUREAU


he U.S. airline returns as a Diamond sponsor at the highest tier for the third year of their participation at Corporate Travel World (CTW) China 2017, reiterating the show’s ability as a trade platform to connect suppliers to the quality Corporate Travel buyers they want. Recognising the importance and value in knowledge-building and localising global best practices, Delta Air Lines will also contribute their expertise as panelists at the CTW China conference sessions. On their sponsorship affirmation and importance in being involved as panelists, Wong Hong, President – Greater China, Delta Air Lines, said “CTW China has been an

outstanding B2B platform to promote the Delta brand, hence our decision to step up our sponsorship this year. Delta is focused on delivering exceptional customer experiences as the most Chinesefriendly U.S. airline and we are excited to be able to share our initiatives and know-how with the corporate travel industry through our speaking opportunities.” Delta continues to deepen partnerships with both their Chinese airline partners, China Eastern and China Southern, to improve customer experience in the air and on the ground. The company already has a minority stake in China Eastern, a SkyTeam partner and presently one of the big-three

airlines in China, and provides international connectivity for its domestic passengers transiting through Shanghai by tapping on these service routes. Wong Hong added, “China is a key part of Delta’s globalisation plan, and we are committed to long-term growth in the China market. We are always looking for opportunities to meet corporate buyers from international and local Chinese organisations and explore potential partnerships or collaboration.” As the Asia market continues to grow, Delta’s increasing network of routes and boosted connectivity will give it the edge in their focus on China and Shanghai. The airline

believes that the emphasis on their people and the airline’s service culture will make the difference in solidifying their status in the Chinese market. This year, Delta Air Lines celebrates its 88 year anniversary for passenger service and various activities are in the works to commemorate its history on this auspicious milestone. Corporate Travel World (CTW) China 2017 will be held from 21 – 23 March in Shanghai and is co-located with IT&CM China, the leading international MICE event in China.To explore how you can make the most out of the exhibition, sponsorship,and speaking opportunities at CTW China, contact us at sales.ctwchina@ttgasia.com.


The CNN Business Forum offered an insightful leeway into the challenges faced by Indian Aviation sector, despite India making huge leaps towards becoming an aviation super-power. ANJU ANNA ALEX


he Taj West End, zestfully presented the annual Asia Business Forum for the second time, with CNN playing the host. The event was a gathering of movers & shakers of the aviation industry, investors, entrepreneurs who struck the right chords of wit and wisdom. The discourse about the burgeoning Aviation industry, found itself the most prominent spot amidst the discussion. While in an exclusive conversation with Richard Quest, the Civil Aviation's Union Minister, Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju, established that though the aviation industry is in hot water with all the heavy taxation problems and high operational costs, it still has a large impact on India’s trade and commerce. He said the main focus now is to improve regional connectivity,

because that can open the door for a host of economic opportunities. Mr Gajapathi Raju with reference to the business model proposed by the Government affirmed that the correct blend of private and state partnership will help the aviation industry to conquer greater heights. When asked to comment on the privatization of the Government owned Air India, the Union Minister answered, “If it is left the way it is, it is bound to die. We want Air India to survive; it doesn’t matter where it is as long as it serves the Indian people and our Indian skies.” He added that the airline had not suffered from additional losses in the preceding 2 years, and also said how he categorically wished to see Air India thrive. The interview was followed by a panel discussion on aviation,

hosted by Richard Quest. The panel members consisted of the Chairman and Managing Director of SpiceJet, Ajay Singh; the CEO of Vistara Airlines, Phee Teik Yeoh; and the CEO of JetSetGo, Kanika Tekriwal. A product of Tata Group and Singapore Airlines' collaborationVistara's CEO, Phee said, a lot of external factors can undermine an airline's growth opportunities. As an example, he talked of the soaring airline fuel prices in India, and mentioned how the cost has increased by above 50% this year already which eats into profits, and diminishes thin margins. Phee admitted that the luxurious business travel market in India is not as high as they had anticipated despite the fact that the market for civil aviation in India had grown in excess of 20% in the last 25 months. Ajay Singh

said SpiceJet was a great example of success. Singh, stated that SpiceJet would spend on planes only in cases where they could earn a proper return on investment. Singh was positive that there is a high degree of growth potential in long-haul, lesser cost flights in India in the future. He also said in comparison with other parts of the world, airline industry in India faces huge competition because of high airport costs, low airfares, and towering costs of Aviation Turbine Fuel. Kanika Tekriwal stated that "despite being a cut-throat industry, there was no better time to be in the aviation business". She operates an immensely successful business where she leases private airlines, and has an own set of pilots, mechanics and crew members who look after the planes.


Travel Events


Outbound Travel Roadshow takes Middle East by storm!

In a one-of-a-kind opportunity for the travel trade to network with their global counterparts, this year's Middle East edition of OTR recorded remarkable success in this edition. VW BUREAU


he second edition of the Outbound Travel Roadshow (OTR) in Middle East concluded with aplomb as buyers and sellers achieved business through focused networking sessions. This year's OTR Middle East series took place from 27 February to 1 March 2017 in Dubai, Kuwait and Doha respectively.

Organised by Sphere Travelmedia & Exhibitions P Ltd., this year's Dubai edition was held at the Sheraton Dubai Creek; in Kuwait, it took place at the JW Marriott and the Doha edition was held at Crowne Plaza Doha. The programme consisted of roadshows and interactive cocktail dinners in the three destinations and had Exhibitors from Croatia, Spain, Georgia, Italy, USA/Canada, UK, Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Portugal. It served as an interactive platform for B2B travel trade from across the Middle East region to meet face-to-face with international travel trade to share the latest information on travel and tourism.

Voyager’s World > March 2017

Travel Events


testimonials from otr middle east 2017 exhibitors Nina Knific Executive Director, Asia and Middle East, Uniline I have attended OTR for the first time and met quite many interesting agents. It's now on us to continue the job, but for sure, OTR is an excellent opportunity to meet many different buyers in a very short time. I am looking forward to new OTR and new markets.

Elchin Guliyev General Director, The Tour Hope will have great results. We found very useful connections which will result in good profit. Very happy with OTR.

Aparna C Basumallik Country Head, Europamundo It was our maiden trip with OTR to Dubai. I must admit that it was a great experience. Attendance was good, Handling of the event was flawless. Well done team OTR. Wish you success.

Irakli Mamporia Director of Sales, Gudauri Ski Resort Ltd. It was a very good opportunity to attract more clients from GCC Countries. Our resort was very much in demand. Hope we will see it in results.


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Travel Events


Andhra Tourism says Hola Amigos!

The Department of Tourism, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, organised roadshow in Spain recently to showcase itself as a globally tourist friendly destination. VW BUREAU


he Andhra Tourism roadshow was held in Madrid, Spain, on 17 January, 2017, with an aim to portray the State as a globally pristine tourist spot, with its elegant beaches, pleasant hill stations, divine temples and mystic rivers, as well as with a proposal for a perfect tourist investment destination in order to expand its tourism sector. The roadshow was also organised to further extend its branches to attract tourists, media and tour operators. The spectacular roadshow was guided by the secretary of Culture and Tourism, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Srikant Nagulapalli. Dr. Nagulapalli expressed the State’s desire to increase its tourism infrastructure, and welcomed the advent of investment with its unique and feasible policy in tourism. He also promised attractive financial, non-financial and various other interesting opportunities and

incentives to investors willing to invest in the State’s tourism infrastructure. The idea, as Dr. Nagulapalli professed, was to develop the State of Andhra Pradesh as a globally tourist friendly destination, for every guest, who wishes to visit the beauty and brilliance of the State. Under the guidance of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri N. Chandrababu Naidu, the State of Andhra Pradesh aims to take progressive developmental strides in the field of its tourism sector. The roadshow also witnessed the gracious presence of Dr. D. B. Venkatesh Varma, the new Indian Ambassador to Spain. The Secretary also displayed an audio visual on the tourism prospects of Andhra Pradesh. The audio visual played principle tourism features which tourists visiting the State can witness and cherish. The Secretary also mentioned that the State was

organising several interesting and colourful festivals for tourists to visit and enjoy, such as Lepakshi festival, Araku festival, Visakha Utsav, Flamengo festival and so on. These festivals will be carried out in unison with the State government’s approach to promote the rich heritage of Andhra Pradesh and portray it as an incredibly fulfilling tourist destination for tourists all over the globe. The State will aim to provide every tourist with elegant and indigenous tourism products and services of the State, as a healthy approach to uphold the rich cultural heritage of Andhra Pradesh and its tourist friendly prospects. The exciting roadshow further showcased a plethora of colours, forms and tunes with a variety of cultural performances and arts. Andhra Pradesh’s traditional dance form is Kuchipudi, a highly popular

and enthralling dance form in India. The audience at the roadshow witnessed a cultural and visual feast, with a graceful Kuchipudi performance by Ms. Korneliya, a student from Poland and a dancer of the Arunima Kumar Dance Company in London, trained under Ms. Arunima, one of the most renowned names in Kuchipudi who has received several accolades and awards like the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar, affiliated to Sangeet Natak Academy’s and awarded by the Hon’ble President of India. This enamouring performance was followed by a delicious dinner comprising of Andhra Pradesh’s delicacies, in order to familiarise the guests with the varied cuisine of Andhra Pradesh. The event was graced by seven delegates from Indian Embassy and Indian Tourism, along with 44 participants and 37 other dignitaries.


Flight Talk


Optimism pervades the Indian Aviation Industry! ANJU ANNA ALEX

-In conversation with Mr. Subash Goyal, Chairman- STIC Travel Group, about the growth in the Indian aviation sector and the challenges it needs to address before it can become an aviation super-power.

TIC is India’s largest Aviation & Tourism marketing company representing 10 International Airlines including United Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Air China, Air Madagascar, Malaysian Airlines, Srilankan Airlines, Ukraine International Airlines, Myanmar Airways International, Philippine Airlines and Royal Brunei Airlines; 4 Cruise companies which include River Cruises like Holland America Line, Seabourn Cruises, Windstar Cruises and A-Rosa River Cruise and Wyndham Group of Hotels etc. Established in 1973, STIC has today become one of the largest travel groups in India with offices in all major cities across the country. It represents about twenty of the world's best travel, aviation, tourism, cruise and hotel brands exclusively in India, and is focused on bringing the best of the world to India's doorstep. With its head office in Delhi, STIC Travel Group's vast network of offices practically covers every corner of India. Backed by trained travel professionals across various divisions and supported by the latest technology, it has the resources to offer seamless travel marketing solutions. Mr.Subhash Goyal, Chairman - STIC Travel Group, being one of the travel fraternity's foremost spokesperson, speaks about what the future holds for the Indian aviation sector given the promising trajectory of growth and also about the Groups’ continuous efforts at staying on top of their game.

Voyager’s World > March 2017



Indian Aviation Infrastructure India has one of the fastest growing aviation industries in the world. We are growing at more than 20% annually. The Indian Aviation Infrastructure is definitely keeping pace with the growth. In fact in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore the infrastructure is already there, we need growth by way of more and more airlines flying to these airports. There are many airports in India which are not utilized fully. Also, we need to have some upgradations. When probed about the issue of capacity crunch in the industry and about the revival of the 400 plus airports and air strips, Mr. Goyal explains, “There is no capacity crunch. In fact there is an imbalance which needs to be rectified by integrated approach. The only way to revive the 400 plus unserved airports is to implement the scheme of regional connectivity which has been initiated by the Civil Aviation Ministry. Now the ball is in the court of the State Governments and the private entrepreneurs. They all need to come together in order to evolve a strategy for an integrated approach. I hope within the next 5

years, a lot of these small unutilized airports will become operative because of the excellent financial incentives in the new civil aviation policy.” The only way forward for functional and loss making airports is to build shopping malls and commercial complexes around the airport and also connect them with metro services so that airports become a hub of commercial activity, not only for the passengers but also for the nearby residents. Yes, PPP is the only way forward, not only for the Indian Aviation Industry and Air India but most of the public sector undertakings which are not making profits. Marketing Strategies Since we market so many airlines, our strategy is to focus 100% on B2B. This means all our business is routed through travel agents, tour operators, excursion agents, MICE agents, wedding planners etc. There is no segment of the travel industry that we do not cover and we have offices in all the major cities of India.

Referring to how the company has thrived despite the cut throat competition and heavily discounted rates in the industry, Mr. Goyal says, “Competition has always been cut throat and discounts have always been there. During the last 43 years, we have been able to win the confidence of all the travel agents, tour operators and all segments of the industry and they are confident that as principals we will never undercut them and in case they face any problems with any of their clients on any of our products we ensure that we assist them to the best of our ability. If your service & reputation is good then you will never fall short of any business.” STIC’s Success Mantra The secret of success of our company or any other company is honesty, integrity, hard work, team work, innovation, always trying to introduce new products and services, planning, strategizing, winning the confidence of both the customers and suppliers and always keeping the industry issues and the national issues above personal selfish interests.

Flight Talk




GIA was recently adjudged as # 1 airport in the world in 5-15 MPPA category by the passengers in the survey conducted by Airports Council International’s (ACI) in its Airport Service Quality (ASQ) programme. GMR Group has been a pioneer in the aviation sector in India starting first with Hyderabad and later expanding into the national gateway at Delhi and most recently into the new greenfield airport at Mopa in Goa. The group has also expanded into overseas markets, having successfully built and operated airports in Turkey,

Maldives and Philippines over the years. According to Mr. SGK Kishore, CEO, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. (GHIAL), “Indian aviation is on the trajectory of high growth, especially with the government’s current focus towards developing the aviation industry in the country into the world’s 3rd largest by the end of the decade. While world-class aviation infrastructure has already been built up using PPP model in the 4 metro airports in the country, the focus is now shifting to creation of aviation infrastructure to the other parts of the country. Now with the tier-2 and tier-3 cities coming to the forefront of the growth vortex, a lot of activity is on with respect to airport infrastructure development in the country.”

to avoid capacity crunch, we need to ensure that the necessary level of investment in capacity creation and augmentation is made at the right time, especially in key elements of aviation infrastructure in terms of airports, air navigation services and external connectivity to the aviation nodes in the form of roads and railways among others. While it is important to revive the large number of unserved airports, it is also critical to ensure that the revival is done in a manner that is sustainable and viable over the longer term and this can be done only if the demand for air services is in place at these locations. In our view, the hub-and-spoke model can be a viable way of reviving unserved airports.

Issue of capacity crunch and revival of unserved airports With the advent of strong double digit growth in the industry over the past 2-3 years, the level of capacity utilization and anticipated future demand have both risen sharply. From an industry perspective, in order

Way forward for Indian Aviation Small aircraft are critical to the next phase of Indian aviation’s growth story which will come from India’s tier-II and III cities. Smaller aircraft are best suited for initiating affordable air connectivity on routes and sectors which despite having unmet demand

for connectivity, may not yet have the level of traffic to justify operating larger aircraft. Public Private Partnership model has certainly served to modernize and upgrade the Indian aviation infrastructure scenario and the benefits of this are also being seen in airports owned by the public sector, thus serving to improve the overall experience of flying public of India. Going forward, continued use of PPP model would certainly help in further grow and expand the aviation sector in the country to bring the benefits of air connectivity to all corners of the country. Mr. Kishore says, “Looking back, the biggest take-away from the entry and success of GMR Group in the aviation sector has been the paradigm shift that we have been able to bring to the way Indian airports are built and operated. The passenger centric and service oriented approach that is at the center of GMR’s operating philosophy has helped to bring in a sea change in the service quality at Indian airports.”


UDAN hopes to take the Indian aviation sector to new skies and uncharted territories.


ncreasing the country's passenger traffic in air by stirring the demand pattern of the regional routes is the primary objective of Ude Desh ka Naam Naagrik or UDAN, a Regional Connectivity Scheme. The amount that has been collected as funds, is called RCF or Regional Connectivity Fund will be used to support the Scheme's operations financially. Apart from the Categories IIA and II routes that are under RDG or RCS routes or aircrafts with takeoff mass lesser than 40,000 kg, a small levy will be charged per departure on every domestic flight to fund the RCF. This has been directed by MoCA to ensure development and growth in the aviation sector. Till date, some 19 states have either signed the UDAN MoU or given consent to contribute towards the fund. Eligibility to avail the advantages of RCS also extends to the airlines that are nationally scheduled and that which operates on domestic routes in which such

departure fees is charged. The operators in regional areas face tremendous costs, and this is recognized by UDAN. The scheme assists to bring down the operating costs by lowering the airport charges and other costs and also the taxes on fuel (aviation turbine fuel/AVF). With the improvement in liquidity in the leasing market for small planes, it will be easier for airlines and entrepreneurs to fly such routes. The bidder who wins would avail an individuality on the route for three years to help the route be more matured and to make it more money-making. Other businesses like Railways and Telecom, which similarly builds connectivity and gets advantage from the network effect; it becomes essential to contribute the amount that's collected with anticipation under this levy. The net revenue (annual) of the Indian Telecom industry was almost Rs.

1.8 lac crores, out of which 5% was paid into a USO or Universal Service Obligation fund that ultimately gathered Rs. 9835 crores in F.Y. 2016. The Indian Railways' social service obligation is visible as it reports a loss of Rs. 33,004 crores in the coaching and passenger segment to get connectivity to India. In spite of the fact that the amount that would be charged as a levy is small, the Ministry trusts that it would go a long way and help to bring more cities and passengers to the aviation network in India. There's immense growth in the sector so it is expected that the passengers would not be negatively affected and the airlines would be in the state to take in bits and parts of the levy. An ICOI study reveals that indirect benefits worth Rs.325 can be availed for every 100 rupees spent on air transport. The development of national as well as regional economies can be boosted

with the collection of funds for RCF from airlines that are nationally scheduled. Remote and regional connectivity has been supported by countries like USA, Brazil, Australia, Canada and many more such places, that are geographically vast. The markets' powers have been harnessed for the betterment of the public with the unique initiativeUDAN. It is estimated that RCF will collect close to 500 crores which is one-fourth of what the US government would allocate for sponsoring its EAS or Essential Air Service in 2016. This year, the Indian Aviation industry is anticipated to earn revenues close to 0.7 lac crores on domestic flights, and this levy will amount to merely 0.6% of the industry's entire revenues. This levy will be able to actualize 50 lac or 1 crore UDAN seats as a whole in all connecting airports, assuming that the average viability gap fund needed by the industry sums up to Rs. 1000 for each seat.


Flight Talk


GMR Hyderabad International Airport – Pioneering CHANGE

Running into its 9th year of operations, the passengers at RGIA have recently ranked it as World’s # 1 in its category in the survey conducted by Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Service Quality (ASQ) programme, marking the 8th successive year of ranking among the Top 3 airports of the world. ANJU ANNA ALEX


yderabad – the city of Nizams, the capital city of Telangana, India’s youngest and 29th state – carries with it over 400 years of glorious past with a definite moniker of being a Pharma and IT hub. People across the world throng this city either as tourists to explore the rich historical remnants or as prospective investors keen to be part of the resurgent Telangana. As a gateway to the South and Central India, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) warmly welcomes the world to the city of pearls which Hyderabad is. What took shape in 2008 as India’s first greenfield airport under Public Private Partnership model, RGIA developed and operated by GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. (GHIAL), strategically located at the geographical center of India within two hours flying time to all Indian major cities. RGIA is well positioned globally within a five hour radius from all major cities in the Middle East and South East Asia. The airport today is one of the main air travel hubs in India and an important center for destination-cum-transit location for travel between the Eastern and the Western part of the world. Currently the airport is served by 10 domestic carriers connecting 33 domestic destinations; while 15 foreign and 4 Indian carriers are connecting the city with 19 international destinations.

Voyager’s World > March 2017

The growth in business and tourism opportunities in Hyderabad, has led to incremental growth in passenger traffic at RGIA. The airport is poised to receive over 15 million passengers per year by the end of March 2017 with growth rate exceeding 20% YoY. Mr. SGK Kishore, CEO, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. (GHIAL) says, “The surge in passenger growth underlines the growth Hyderabad city is registering, with new businesses, investments are coming in bundles. In this transformational era, we have been continuously working to enhance the passenger experience at Hyderabad Airport. For this we are making the airport future-ready by introducing smart solutions based on technologies that deliver enhanced passenger experience. In line with the ‘Digital India’ initiative envisioned by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, we are aiming to make Hyderabad Airport the first fully tech-enabled airport in India, encompassing the entire spectrum of our business and operations.” As part of the airport’s consistent efforts to leverage technology to deliver a better airport experience for our passengers, GHIAL conceived the e-Boarding platform as a comprehensive, end-to-end solution. It helps automate the entire journey through the airport, tying together diverse systems and inputs from

a variety of stakeholders onto a simple, secure, flexible and easy to use interactive solution for our passengers and airport community members. At the same time, the solution also delivers increased security and verification abilities, which is in line with our belief that all our technology initiatives must also deliver robust and improved security features.

the passenger identity verification more authentic based on biometric validation. Thanks to e-Boarding automation, airlines are now operating with minimum staff at boarding gates. CISF is able to leverage the system to enhance the level of scrutiny and security while being able to focus on its resources and its core objective of aviation security.

The e-Boarding journey at Hyderabad Airport started in 2015. Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) accorded its formal approval for the e-Boarding process in August 2015. On 28th Dec 2015, Hon’ble Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju dedicated the e-Boarding facility, to the nation.

With Implementation of e-Boarding solution, passenger identity, travel verification and authorization have been much easier at various touch points. Now boarding gates can process 180 passengers in just 10 minutes and Self Bag Drop has reduced the queue length at checkin counters by 5% in its pilot mode of operations.

The e-Boarding solution at Hyderabad Airport relies on QR Codes and 2D Bar Codes, which are already an integral part of both electronic as well as paper tickets & boarding cards - thus making the solution more robust yet flexible enough to be compatible for the regular passengers, who do not carry smart phones. The integration with AODB (Airport Operational Database) enables process automation at various touch points making identity and travel validation by CISF much simpler for passengers of all modes of check-in. Aadhar integrated solution makes

The strengths of the system in terms of adaptability, scalability and robustness were underscored recently when SpiceJet chose Hyderabad Airport to launch its Smart Check-in App. Currently, the solution has been implemented for domestic passengers; GHIAL is exploring ways of integrating the system with Immigration and Customs infrastructure also for a seamless e-Boarding process for the international passengers.

While technological interventions are adding delight to passengers,

Flight Talk


RGIA is more than just an airport - it is India’s only airport with a vibrant mix of ancillary businesses along with the core business of airport operations. One of the prime attraction of the airport is the Airport City which is being developed by GHIAL in an sprawling area of approx. 1500 acres of land – which is till date India’s largest Airport City in the offing. Airport City or Aerotropolis is an urban ecosystem that is anchored with an airport at its core. Over the past few years, the development of airport city is gaining substantial momentum and its popularity is spreading rapidly on a global scale. The term ‘aerotropolis’ was coined by Dr. John Kasarda, a noted American academic and airport business scholar, who has published several books and papers on airport cities and aerotropolis. The concept of the aerotropolis, however, has been around for a while. Being a Greenfield project, the master plan of RGIA envisioned creating a world class aerotropolis right from the beginning. Hyderabad Airport City offers an integrated ecosystem covering commercial office space, retail, leisure & entertainment, hospitality, education, healthcare, aerospace and logistics with a core advantage of an all-weather, world-class airside and landside infrastructure with a

Code-F (A380 compatible) runway and a secondary runway. Backed with such robust infrastructural set-up and top-notch service & operational quality, RGIA has been attracting commercial development organically. With the Hyderabad Airport city taking shape, the airport is all the more poised to contribute to the most happening and upwardly mobile State of Telangana. The youngest state of India has been recently declared by the Govt. of India as No.1 state in Ease-of-Doing business (EoDB); its capital city Hyderabad has also been adjudged as the best destination as per Mercer’s Quality of Living Index (2014-16). The scope and size of Hyderabad Airport City echoes Kasarda’s view of airports as “urban central square” offering offices, hotels, exhibition complexes, recreation centers, sports, education, logistics taking shape round RGIA. Complimenting this concept, the Hyderabad Airport City offers some of the best in class infrastructural support for the prospective and existing businesses viz. redundancies built in Telecom, Power & IT infrastructure for 24/7 operations; dedicated power link-up with the state grid for reliable power supply, round the clock security, express connectivity with the city; pollution free and well-planned ecosystem. There is a Notified Area

Committee (NAC) which is a one-stop clearance window for all approvals – thus contributing towards ease of doing business. Hyderabad Airport City offers theme based, anchor-led development zones which include key ports and establishments, viz. Business Port, Health Port, Edu Port, Fun Port, Logistics Park and Aerospace Park. These zones are being developed with a stated vision of ‘not only to contribute directly to the airport business but also to act as the engine of economic growth in the entire region.’ The Business Port at Hyderabad Airport City houses the prominent MICE destination Novotel Hyderabad Airport Hotel - with its 305 rooms and suites, conference halls with wifi access - offers the business travellers, delegates, tourists a right ecosystem to do business, networking with leisure activities offering best-in class facilities for conventions or leisure trips. Noted Sports Retail store – Decathlon is thronged by the travellers and regular visitors exploring the vast sports goods in India’s one of the largest sports stores available at the airport city. GMR Arena has become an attractive destination to host high-end and exciting public and private events, outdoor or indoor. Multi-talented office building at the Business Port houses MNCs like

Invesco, Nipro, Fly Dubai among others. A destination for fun and frolic, the Fun Port at the Hyderabad Airport City offers Go Karting facility for adventure lovers with some of the most adrenaline pumping driving opportunity right in front of the passenger terminal. The Edu Port has - Pratt & Whitney Engine Maintenance Training Centre; Asia Pacific Flight Training Academy for pilot training; a regional engine maintenance training center by The CFM Centre, an Indian subsidiary of CFM International; Canada’s global business school – Schulich School of Business. Ryan International School is also soon to come up here. Being developed as a global health complex, Health Port at Hyderabad Airport City is an upcoming destination for excellence in medicine, research and medical education. Some key facilities and services would include: Global tertiary Referral hospitals; Medical School; Nursing School; Centre of Excellence; Clinical Research; Diagnostics Centre; and Alternative Medicine. Key attraction of Hyderabad Airport City is GMR Aerospace & Industrial Park, which is a modern, stateof-the-art Airport-based multi-


Flight Talk

product Special Economic Zone (SEZ), also consisting of India’s 1st Airport based Free Trade Zone - GIFTZ (GMR International Free Trade Zone). The Aerospace Park offers right infrastructural support for companies dealing in MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) services. GMR Aero Technic (GAT) and Air India’s facility for MRO by Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL) are operating from here. The Aerospace & Industrial park also houses companies like SAAZ Imaging Systems Pvt. Ltd., Global Aerotech India Private Ltd, Turbo Aviation, SAS Applied Research and Lab Materials Pvt. Ltd., Multisorb Technologies India Pvt. Ltd., among others. Developing a strong Logistics Zone, the Cargo Village is the first Cargo complex in India to have implemented the concept of an Integrated Cargo Terminal with both domestic and international facilities under one roof. The Cargo Village also has a Dedicated Cargo Satellite Building (CSB) housing offices of Cargo Agents, Airlines, Regulatory bodies and Warehousing space, all available at a single facility right next to the Cargo Terminal. Datawind has opened its mobile and tablet assembling unit. A Warehousing Park is also being worked on complimenting the Logistics Park at the Hyderabad Airport City. The Hyderabad Airport City with its strong positioning as potential economic growth engine is poised to transform the region by offering diverse industrial, education, tourism and business opportunities and international connectivity. This unique development is all set to drive the growth of Brand Hyderabad on a global scale and contribute

Voyager’s World > March 2017


tremendously for the development of the Region and the State of Telangana and making India proud. Mr. Kishore says, “Hyderabad Airport City is a pioneering effort aligned with the government’s vision of creating new smart cities in India, marking a paradigm shift in the way urban landscape of country is imagined and implemented. With the International airport at its core offering excellent global connectivity and backed up by smart technologies for infrastructure and communications, the Hyderabad Airport City offers speed, agility, connectivity and overall Ease of Doing Business as unique business propositions to its customers. We aspire to grow rapidly and sustainably, bringing about benefits to the airport, its users, businesses, surrounding communities, and the entire region that we serve” Amidst these developments and increasing air traffic and passenger throughput, environment comes as a major area which needs utmost care. Environment sustenance has been at the core of RGIA right from its design and construction phase. That is why the airport has a green passenger terminal building, which his evident from the Silver rating in ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’ (LEED) certification in the year 2008 by the US Green Building Council. Apart from the green terminal building, the entire airport has a well-planned and maintained greenbelt and extensive native vegetation. Optimizing the use of natural resources by conserving water, fuel, electricity and practicing the best waste management procedures, GHIAL involves its stakeholders

including employees, airlines, and other airport communities in effectively implementing these environmental conservation programmes. Reduction of carbon footprint has been one of the key focus areas in environment sustenance measures at RGIA. GHIAL has been consistently reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 2009 by implementing a number of energy conservation initiatives. The airport has implemented Carbon Accounting & Management System (CAMS), which helps to measure, manage and report its GHG emissions and enables the airport to take measures in reducing them even further. RGIA is one of the first airports in Asia Pacific region to account its GHG emissions which is further verified by an external authorized agency in accordance with the requirements of ISO 14064-1:2006. In continuation to this journey towards sustainable airport, GHIAL has adopted the Carbon Neutral concept and joined the “Airport Carbon Accreditation programme”. RGIA is controlling these environmental aspects and reduces its impact by practicing and promoting administrative and engineering controls such as aircraft continuous descent approach while landing, restricted use of thrust reversal, Fixed Electrical Ground Power (FEGP), for the aircraft turnaround operations instead of fuel operated auxiliary power unit (APU) & ground power units (GPU) to avoid noise emanating from APU & GPU. Additionally, introducing battery operated vehicles in place of petroleum engine driven vehicles, regular pollution check for the GSE etc. have contributed in curtailing

emission levels significantly. As part of its energy conservation measures, GHIAL has replaced the halogen lightings with LEDs at the terminal building, apron lighting, street lights and offices and very soon the entire airport will be converted in to 100% LED. A 5 MW solar energy power plant at RGIA, which was commissioned in November 2015 has also led to reducing its thermal electricity consumption. This green energy meets approx. 15% of the airport’s total electricity demand. The airport also has first of its kind captive composting plant for processing food wastes. The organic manure from the plant are extensively used in maintaining the sprawling green cover, which also acts as a natural sink of the carbon emissions absorbing about 240 tonnes of CO2 / annum. Green efforts were recognized by the ACI by accrediting RGIA with the Level 3+: Neutrality status in 2016. By this RGIA has become the first airport in its category to be carbon neutral in Asia Pacific region. Mr.Kishore says, “GHIAL is committed to making every effort to sustain its carbon neutral status. In this regard, we are continuing the best environment practices and amplifying them for better results. There is a plan to expand the existing 5MW Solar Power Plant with an additional 5 MW for airport’s captive energy requirement. We are also exploring and working towards sustainable alternative fuels and also exploring the introduction of hybrid vehicles at the airport to further reduce the carbon footprint. We are fully committed towards environment sustenance and are building up a green airport for the progeny.”


Incredible India


Medical tourism in India goes under observation at IHTC 2017! The two-day event was filled with panel discussions, presentations and workshops on business challenges and possible solutions in the country's medical tourism arena. PRIYAMVADHA BALARAM


he growing interest in the field of medical tourism was substantiated by the presence of several established doctors, healthcare experts, healthcare corporations and professors from across India and abroad, at the second edition of the International Healthcare Tourism Congress (IHTC) which took place on 3 and 4 March in Bangalore. IHTC 2017 brought together several Medical Tourism Agencies (MTAs), tourism experts, medical marketing heads at the venue to discuss the latest developments in healthcare travel. The two-day event was filled with panel discussions, presentations and workshops on

Voyager’s World > March 2017

business challenges, solutions, trends and technological and infrastructure issues in medical tourism in India. It was inaugurated by Ramesh Kumar, Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of Karnataka. The list of speakers included Prof. Ravi Ramamurti, Professor at Northeastern University and the Founding Director of the Centre for Emerging Markets, USA; Maria K Todd, CEO, Mercury Healthcare International; Dr. Shalini Rajneesh, Principal Secretary, MHFW; Girish from Kolot Network; Prof. Joga Rao, Advocate & Faculty NLSIU, Bangalore; Dr. H.V. Madhusudhan; Dr. KR Gangadharan, Heritage

Foundation, Hyderabad; to name a few. India can play a large role in this field mainly due to its huge ready medical infrastructure, good supply source of medical talent including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and lab assistants, cosmopolitan outlook of cities with hotels, welldeveloped ecosystem of partners including allied services like language translators. Some of the source location countries for India are the Middle East and Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Maldives and Myanmar. Medical





sector in India. In October 2015, India's medical tourism sector was estimated to be worth US$3 billion and is projected to grow to $7–8 billion by 2020. India is among the top three medical tourism destinations in Asia, the other two being Thailand and Singapore. This is mainly due to the low cost of treatment, and the availability of quality healthcare facilities. Cost is a major driver for nearly 80% of medical tourists across the globe. The cost-consciousness factor and availability of accredited facilities, have led to emergence of several global medical tourism corridors. IHTC 2017 planned and designed the congress around the MTAs

33>> and the industry prerequisites. Healthcare tourism in India is the next big thing that could shape the future of India’s economy. The government also estimates that the growth of health-related services will be more than 5% for the next 10 years and that is anticipated to further attract more such visitors. Major corporations such as Tata, Fortis, Max, Wockhardt, and Apollo Hospitals have made significant investments in setting up modern hospitals and tourism-related services to cater to the new brand of visitors from abroad. The West has led the world in medical science and in developing drugs and devices, but poor countries like India are leading the way in healthcare delivery. Poverty, inadequate government hospitals, and a serious shortage of doctors and medical equipment is motivating some Indian hospitals to pursue breakthrough innovations in healthcare delivery. In his talk, based on a Harvard Business Review article, the keynote speaker, Prof. Ravi Ramamurti, showed how and why some Indian hospitals are delivering world-class healthcare at a tiny fraction of US prices, while serving a significant number of poor patient and still making good money. They have become leaders in lean healthcare, just as Ford or Toyota blazed the trail in lean manufacturing. Hospitals everywhere can learn useful lessons from them. Improving the competitiveness of individual hospitals will make India an even more attractive destination for medical tourism.

such experiences are cited so that everyone can own the experience." He suggested, as an example, the idea of performing arts medicine for dancers and singers and questioned the possibility of pairing up that kind of an activity as part of their healing therapy. Some of the issues raised during the sessions included the image and identity of India as a medical tourism destination, national reputation, capacity development, taxation, information systems, need to develop a health policy that consists

of telehealth communication, health privacy, continuity of care, professional liability and recourse, medical records. proper accommodation, food and beverage options, amenities, airport readiness, allergy and portion management, special gastronomy, pricing and package development, technologies, specialisation, among others. Maria Todd said, "We have to identify our source market; discern who will be ideal customers for each city such as Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai,

etc. and then go on to understand why we target those customers. All that India is saying is that it offers cheap healthcare; but India must recognise its uniqueness and analyse its competitors. It does not need to own all services. India's strength is its importance to human values." On the whole, the event proved to be a thought-provoking one with the presentations and discussions paving the way for more awareness about our own strengths in medical talent, infrastructure and economies of scale.

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Emphasizing the need for a health tourism master plan in India, Maria Todd said, “People buy not what you sell but why you sell. To start with, we need a state strategy and a national strategy. A framework has to built for the product, be it hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centres, spas, dialysis travel, clinical research labs, etc. Pitching India as excellent providers of treatment, rather than cheap healthcare becomes relevant.� Talking about the need to co-create experiences in medical tourism, Girish, Kolot Network, drew a parallel to the Kochi biennale where three artists came together to create the Muziris heritage from the Spice Route. He said, "Put people at the centre, leverage assets such as culture and heritage; tell a story, have a residual effect on social and cultural and societal aspect. We can also co-opt the community in which

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'Bleisure' suited up to make headway in Indian travel spacE! The concept of 'Bleisure', combining business with leisure, is fast evolving into a separate segment in itself in India. IRENE SUSAN EAPEN

John Nair, Head—business travel, Cox & Kings The business travel market is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5 percent. The market is expected to grow by at least 15 to 20 per cent as the pace of business has grown in the last one year.

Neelu Singh, CEO & Director, Ezeego1 The travel industry witnessed a boom in corporate travel market with India emerging as one of Asia’s fastest- growing corporate travel markets. The Indian business travellers are also one of the highest spenders who prefer staying in premium hotels, spend on shopping and extend their stay for leisure travel.


ravel and tourism in India is a growing industry on account of many factors such as the globalisation of organisations, rising income levels, policies and regulatory support by the government authorities. The industry in India has also witnessed tremendous growth in the area of business travel. John Nair, Head—Business Travel, Cox & Kings, says ,"Globally, India has been identified as one of the top markets in business travel space and if the trend continues in the next couple of decades India will be 2nd biggest market after China surpassing US in the process.” Neelu





Voyager’s World > March 2017

Ezeego1, explains, “India is one of the top five countries in Asia when it comes to the frequency of business travel. The rate at which business travel is picking up with Indians fuelled by technology, will bring India at par or second to China in the next five - 10 years.‘Bleisure’ travel as a trend is quite successfully being set up by Indian business travellers who travel regularly on work and will only grow bigger in the next two years for countries like Dubai, London, Paris, Singapore among the foreign destinations and Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.” According to World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) data in our Economic Impact Report, we expect business travel spending in India

to have grown by 8.7% over 2016 to INR1,302.9bn, and rise by 7.2% pa to INR2,610.3bn in 2026. World Travel & Tourism Council estimates Travel & Tourism in India to continue to grow in all aspects over the next decade which will be a rise in growth in the number of business travellers leaving and visiting the country. According to a report by McKinsey on the Asian business travellers, the Indian business traveller is very technology savvy and has a strong appetite for digital processes. They also are one of the traveller groups with high willingness to spend on ancillary both for business and personal spending. They arealso one of the highest spenders on personal expenses when travelling

for business. Some of the trends that we have noticed are that the business travellers tend to extend their stays after their work to explore various destinations and love to do adventure and other activities. The growth rate in business travellers in the country is likely to grow exponentially over the years as it is developing into a big market day by day in India. Growth in 2016 Neelu Singh states, “The travel industry witnessed a boom in corporate travel market with India emerging as one of Asia’s fastest growing corporate travel

IITM 2017-2018 EVENT'S CALENDAR Chennai: 15, 16, 17 July 2017

Pune: 24, 25, 26 November 2017

Bangalore: 21, 22, 23 July 2017

Hyderabad: 1, 2, 3 December 2017

Delhi: 15, 16, 17 September 2017

Kochi: 18, 19, 20 January 2018

Mumbai: 22, 23, 24 September 2017 Kolkata: 23, 24, 25 February 2018

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Rochelle Turner, Director of Research, World Travel & Tourism Council We are expecting the Travel & Tourism in India for both inbound and outbound to be one of the fastest growing in the world over the next year. India improving visa processing for visitors thsi will be a large factor in the growth. markets with factors like emerging economies, globalisation, company travel policies, cheaper airfares and hotels stays, higher income levels and advanced technology. The incentive travel as a segment has grown tremendously over last one year." John says, “With the Indian economy growing on a faster pace, the growth of business travel from India has been rapid. The market is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5 percent. The growth is expected to rise even further with more of Small and Medium Enterprises also engaging with professional Travel Management Companies.” “Indian business travellers are also one of the highest spenders who prefer staying in premium hotels, spend on shopping and extend their stay for leisure travel which has been capitalised by various tourism boards who are offering various incentives, discounts to lure them to extend their stay and explore sightseeing and other options," Neelu added. In the opinion of Manoj Chacko, CEO - SOTC Business Travel, “Business travellers are driven with various factors such as globalization of organizations, rising income levels, policy and regulatory support by the government authorities. Business

Voyager’s World > March 2017

travel has emerged as one of India’s fastest growing industries. The small and medium enterprises are rapidly adopting corporate booking tools to take the requirements of the user into consideration and create a seamless booking experience within the constraints of availability, cost and time. While traditional industries such as wholesale trade, retail, construction or agriculture are falling behind in terms of growth, the rise of the business travel sector is definitely seen as a prospect for the future of growing Indian economy. The Indian traveller’s profile of the outbound travel includes 40 percent of business travellers." Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C), Yatra. com explains,“The travel and tourism sector is growing rapidly in the country, driven by growth in both leisure and business travel. The Corporate or business travel in India is showing double-digit growth. This has been driven by an amalgamation of various factors such as globalization of Indian organizations, a rising mass of SMEs that are growing rapidly, rising income levels, policy and regulatory support by the government authorities, etc. – all of which have led to business travel becoming one of India’s fastest growing areas.” Future John says, “Travel and tourism are one of the largest and growing service

sectors in India and the economic uptick marks the escalation of corporate travel. The growth is driven by the amalgamation of various factors such as globalisation of organisations, rising income levels, policy and regulatory support by the government authorities etc.” Rochelle Turner, Director of Research, WTTC, says, "WTTC estimates travel & tourism in India to continue to grow in all aspects over the next decade which will be a rise in growth in the number of business travellers leaving and visiting the country." Manoj explains, "India is amongst the fastest growing business travel markets globally and is expected to grow. India’s business travel market is flourishing at a rapid pace and several countries are already working on their part to capitalize on this segment. The role of Corporate Travel Agents (CTAs) has metamorphosed over the years. Corporate travel management is moving to automated solutions like corporate booking tools and centralized service delivery models. "With an upsurge in the corporate travel market in India, it is essential for the market players to keep up with the requirements of consumers through updated technology, availability of services and upbeat infrastructure. This presents real

opportunities for travel managers to demonstrate their value to their companies and the industry as a whole, both financially and through traveler efficiency and safety. As technology progresses and as there are more and more developments in the business travel industry, corporations will need to rely even more on the expertise, experience and insights of the often undervalued corporate travel manager," he added. Sharat observed, "Business travel always blooms the best in a free and robust economic scenario. This concept is mostly driven by a combination of Indian companies going global, increased income, policy and regulatory support by the government authorities, business travel is emerging as one of India’s fastest growing industries." Trends and behaviour patterns Neelu says that most of the Indians ensure that they extend their stay and explore places and indulge in recreational activities. Most Indian business travellers are becoming tech savvy and take their travel services seriously, they are well researched and like to involve themselves in the process of booking travel and hotel services. Most of the business travellers are ready to splurge their own money on leisure activities, sightseeing, spa, food and shopping.

37>> Manoj Chacko, CEO - SOTC Business Travel Business travel is emerged as one of India’s fastest growing industries. The rise of the business travel sector is definitely seen as a prospect for the future of growing Indian economy.

John explains, “The Indian business traveller is always on the move of travelling across the globe which would be either travelling the world for business meetings or attending conferences or world class exhibitions in Europe, China and USA. The softening of air fares has led to choosing direct flights as it saves time and money." According to Manoj, “With the expansion of digital lifestyles and the rise of millennial workforce, business travellers too will heavily depend on their mobile devices and digital travel applications will continue to rise. The growth is driven by mobile’s omnipresence and the proliferation of devices from smartphone to tablets, from laptops to wearables, business travellers are increasingly appreciating the convenience, flexibility and choice afforded by the latest technology. From remotely changing flight bookings to checking in on socioeconomic conditions at the destination, business travellers can leverage technology at their fingertips to enjoy a better business travel experience. Even with the positive growth in business travel, companies are following the cost cutting norm. Travellers remain hesitant to purchase amenities, such as WiFi, unless absolutely necessary. Realizing that efficiency is key to the business traveller, hotels are becoming more competitive by offering complimentary amenities, such as business centers, Wi-Fi and charging stations that were previously only offered for a fee. Travelers are looking to business trips to provide productivity, opportunity and a little bit of fun. They are putting more time aside to immerse themselves in the culture and lifestyle at their destination. Some even go as far as extending their trip, often bringing family along, tacking a couple vacation days on to the front or back end."

differently from earlier generation and consider the business trips as an opportunity to explore the world. They are keen to add a few days pre or post their work, to see the destination as a leisure traveller." Sharat added.





Marketing plans for 2017 Ezeego1 has tied up marketing alliances with key International Tourism boards to identify and market their offering to various corporates and entrepreneurs. A lot of research on destinations and information








gathering is also done using social media platform. It designs online campaigns specifically to engage with millennials via social media platforms in many different ways,. John stated, "With an expansion






INDIA EDITION 2 20 - 25 March 2017 Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai

INDIA EDITION 1 15 - 23 January 2018

“Individuals travelling on business want to combine personal travel with it and take their family along, or extend their own trips by a few days, at their own expense. A lot of younger people who are travelling overseas on business look at business travel



Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C), Yatra.com The Corporate or business travel in India is showing double-digit growth. This sector will continue to grow at a rapid rate in 2017.India is poised to become one of the largest markets for business travel in the years to come.

in the corporate travel market in our country, it is essential for us to keep up with the requirements of consumers through updated technology, availability of services and upbeat infrastructure. As a part of our endeavour to provide the business travellers best rates, seamless bookings, exemplary service standards and ultimate travel experience; we are planning to introduce newer and better products in 2017.We will also enhance our engagement with corporates whom we work with and seek our new business development from the potential clients in the segment. We will continue to provide our customers multiple value added services through our business tie ups with Indian and international suppliers including hotels and venues, national/state tourism organization and destination/event management companies." Rochelle added that publicity and marketing were one of the key priorities of the Ministry of Tourism in India as stated in their ’Strategic Action Plan’. The government has a big focus on overseas marketing and promotion. The Ministry has 14 overseas offices that they use

Voyager’s World > March 2017

to promote India as a destination. It also plans to launch the Incredible India 2.0 Campaign in 2017-2018. The campaign will be a flagship programme of the Tourism Ministry aimed at boosting tourism in the country. It is the second round of the world highly acclaimed campaign that first started in 2002. Campaigns on social media WTTC runs its own social media campaigns promoting the travel and tourism sector as a whole. Its most recent campaign – Redefine Tourism – focuses on sustainable tourism. The campaign and video looks at how our sector and the consumer can work together to ensure that as travel numbers continue to increase we preserve the world’s assets, such as environment, local communities, and cultural heritage. On the other hand, Yatra.com recently launched its webisodes ‘War of the monuments’ last month. The ongoing series is focused on the popularity of famous monuments across the world. The series can be viewed on all digital platforms including Yatra’s facebook, twitter and YouTube channel. Yatra is present across all social media

handles to interact and engage with our customers regularly. Expected growth for 2017 John anticipates the market to expand by at least 15% to 20% as the pace of business had grown in the last one year. Cox & Kings has partnered with Radius which is a consortium of leading travel agents present in more than 3,600 locations spread across 80 countries. Most of the agencies are among the top five players in their national markets. WTTC expects travel and tourism in India, which takes into account both leisure and business travel inbound and outbound, to be one of the fastest growing industries across the world over the next year. "India has made some significant moves to improve visa processing for visitors and this will be a large factor in the growth that we anticipate," said Rochelle. Yatra anticipates the corporate travel sector to continue to grow at a rapid rate in 2017 as well. Sharat feels there is tremendous room for growth and India is poised to become one of the largest markets for business travel in the years to come.

Anticipating a spurt in the spending patterns in the near future, Manoj said, “The spending forecasts for India’s business travel market are expected to be up 11.6% in 2017. The E-visa facility for nationals of 43 countries will spur growth. The growing number of corporate travellers in smaller cities and the demand from small and medium enterprises offer huge potential for growth. Corporate travel is a very critical aspect of the travel ecosystem as it gives stability to the travel industry. The growth rate of business travel in India is on par with other leading industries in the country showing once again business travel playing an important role as a driver of economic growth and jobs. The government’s attempt to improve the ease of doing business in India, combined with positive economic sentiment and globalization, has resulted accelerated the growth in business travel.” On the whole, the graph of the country's business travel sector will go on to evolve dynamically driven by the need to party harder after a hard day's work!


India's incentive movement motivates Singapore for newer products PRIYAMVADHA BALARAM

Adrian Kong, Area Director, South Asia (Mumbai), Singapore Tourism Board, talks about incentive group movements from India to Singapore.


n a visit to Bangalore as part of promotional activities, Adrian Kong, Area Director, South Asia (Mumbai), STB, talks about new initiatives for Indian incentive groups. “Last week we launched the third version of INSPIRE, which is ‘In Singapore Incentive & Rewards’ scheme, for corporates and corporate intermediaries to bring incentives to Singapore. This particular scheme is for group sizes of 50 to 200. We

have about six to seven partners at this point of time, offering different kinds of experiences which cannot be bought off the shelf. In India, you have to qualify for this particular incentive itself. This scheme starts from 1 March 2017 to 31 December in 2018.” Adrian observes that the travel intermediaries in India often play a very strong role in engaging with the corporate. “They share news of our incentive scheme with the corporate. We will directly communicate to those with whom STB has a direct relationship with. Generally majority of the corporate groups go to travel intermediaries in India for news.” Incentive business from south “We do not have specific figures for the south, but in general, India as a whole generates a fair bit of incentive

movements to Singapore because they see the value of our experiences, the quality of our offerings in different attractions, our dining and retail partners. We often showcase interesting venues; for instance, one could choose to do a gala dinner at the Gardens by the Bay instead of one at a hotel. They can also have a simple cocktail reception for 130-150 pax on the Royal Albatross ship which is anchored at Sentosa Island. The graph of experiences for our meetings and incentives (M&I) groups from India constantly re-engages them with new products and experiences. Those Indian travellers who have already visited Singapore before can come back again on incentive trips to experience such new products.” Booking patterns We encourage travel intermediaries


Hong Kong Tourism Board honours top MICE agents in India Meetings & Exhibitions Hong Kong (MEHK), the MICE division of Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) honoured the top MICE agents in India, for bringing meeting and incentive groups to Hong Kong in 2016. The awards were given at an event hosted by HKTB in Delhi, for Top 10 M&I Producers, Best New Comers and Best M&I Year-on-year Growth. 16 agencies were recognised. Cox & Kings topped the list alongside Thomas Cook and Akbar Travels in the Top 10 M&I Producers category.

World PCO Alliance issues official security statement

April 12, 13 Venue Expo Edinburgh, Scotland 16-18 IMEX Frankfurt, Germany

May 16, 17, 18 INDABA Durban

The World PCO Alliance released an official statement on its partners’ commitment to managing security risks for their clients. The “Alliance’s Duty of Care Commitment” is a response to an increasingly adverse international climate, and expresses the provisions that each Alliance partner provides its clients to ensure that they manage and minimize risks associated with international conferences and congresses. They include a customized risk assessment and mitigation plan, assisting with selecting an appropriate insurance policy and venue safety and emergency procedures.

17-19 WTM Connect Asia Penang, Malaysia

Dubai concludes 48th IAPCO Annual Meeting & General Assembly

13, 14, 15 The Meetings Show London, UK

Dubai successfully concluded the 48th International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) Annual Meeting & General Assembly, from 16-19 February at the Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights. Hosted by Meeting Minds Experts, and supported by Dubai Business Events (DBE), the theme of the gathering was ‘Leading the Future, Creating Opportunities’. It brought together 120 IAPCO members and partners from over 30 countries, making it one of the largest IAPCO meetings to be held since its first meeting in 1969.

Mega-size events We have had incentive groups coming in sizes as big as 2000 pax, 5001000 pax, spending a fair share of nights in Singapore and spending on premium experiences in Singapore as well. In general, Indian incentive group movements are quite large and are looking for new experiences and premium products.


New Korea Convention Support Program offers expanded support The expanded ‘Korea Convention Support Program’ by Korea MICE Bureau offers events of at least three days with either over 100 overseas attendees or 50 attendees in total organized by an international body, complimentary banquet, cultural programmes, tours and Korean souvenirs. Events with at least 1,000 attendees can get all this plus digital welcome signage, special concierge desk at Incheon International Airport, on-site cultural booth, pre and post tours. Events with at least 3,000 attendees can get their own immigration checkpoint at the airport.

and corporates to let us know at least three months in advance, if possible, to give us a heads up on what groups are coming over so that we can lend support accordingly. Incentive groups look for from India are gala dinners, better class accommodation and team building elements in their itineraries. Focus Adventures, one of our stakeholders in our INSPIRE programme, is starting to introduce team bonding elements.


14, 15, 16 IBTM America South Florida, USA




ETAA convention witnesses enthusiastic Pan-India participation In an exclusive one-to-one interview, Jagat Mehta, recounts ETAA’s phenomenal journey, from being that of a 10 member group in 1996-97 to being a 750 member group in the year 2017; culminating in Pan-India participation at the second domestic convention with its presence in all states. ANJU ANNA ALEX


nterprising Travel Agent’s Association (ETAA) organized its second Domestic Convention in Hyderabad, from March 3 to 5, 2017, at Leonia Holistic Destination. The

event witnessed the participation of over 200 attendees according to Jagat Mehta, President, ETAA. Notable dignitaries including the likes of Carl Dantas, Chaiman

Emeritus- ETAA; Jagat Mehta, President – ETAA; Abhijit Khadilkar, National General Secretary – ETAA; Dipti Thakoor, National Jt. Secretary; Dharmesh Advani, Treasurer – ETAA; & M. P. Joy, South India Chapter Chairman etc. graced the occasion. This gathering opened up multiple avenues, like site visits, working lunches and gala dinners; for ETAA members to network and for doing business. The convention, held at Moon Valley Hall, also offered a great platform for event sponsors to make presentations about their products and a well organized memento distribution ceremony. ETAA’s growth over the years The association, which was started to ensure the welfare and to protect the interests of the non- IATA travel agents, gained much credibility and respect over the years within the travel community for being a trust worthy platform for travel agents to do business amongst each other. It also generates a sense of bonding between the association members whilst doing business. From 2011, ETAA’s the growth has been tremendous, according to Mr. Mehta. India being a democratic country, the tourism industry is indeed an unorganised sector. Anybody can start any business in the industry. Despite the sector being highly unorganized and despite the low-entry barriers, Mr. Mehta is of the opinion that in the longer

Voyager’s World > March 2017

run, those tour operators, travel consultants without the proper knowledge or know-how will fizzle out and eventually lose out on the competition. Trend towards disintermediation It has given us more motivation. It has taught us how to survive. We had to change our style of working. Experienced travel consultants have in-depth knowledge about the destinations; will take care of the budget, time-frame as well as interests of the clients. Therefore, travellers can be rest assured that they are getting the most value for their money in terms of experiences, within the given time-frame for travel and budget as compared to making their own travel arrangements. Outbound Travel from India Outbound Travel from India is seasonal. USA, Canada and Europe are the popular summer destinations whereas Australia, New Zealand and Fiji Islands are the preferred winter destinations. Less-explored destinations are gaining popularity especially among the younger crowd and honeymooners. Countries like Iceland, Croatia, Vietnam, Cambodia etc. are emerging as popular destinations. However, destinations like Switzerland and France always remain as dream destinations for Indians, being their gateway to Europe for the first time.

Editor's Pick


Rezlive.com launches e-Learning programme for travel partners

The programme will contain study materials that the travel partners can study at their own pace. VW BUREAU


ezLive.com, which is an award winning global reservation system offering access to 250,000+ hotel and apartment rooms worldwide, more than 45,000+ sightseeing attractions and private transfer in over 900 cities exclusively to professionals within the tourism sector i.e. travel agents, tour operators and wholesale travel companies, would like to announce the launch of RezLive.com Specialist programme specially designed for the travel trade. The eLearning programme is offered through an electronic learning platform, for educating the travel partners on practical information related to RezLive.com. The course contains one study material that the travel partner can study at its own pace. To become a RezLive. com Specialist, you need to give the certification exam which consists of -multiple-choice questions, which you

need to answer correctly to pass. On successful completion of the course by scoring the required marks, you will be termed as a RezLive.com Specialist. Below are some unique Benefits a travel partner can avail after becoming a RezLive.com Specialist? - All travel partners who will successfully complete the E-learning program will also receive a certificate terming them a RezLive.com Specialist. - One lucky eligible travel partner will get a chance to win an iPhone through a lucky draw (*T&C Apply). - Rights to use RezLive.com Specialist logo for letters/brochures/website/ Resumes/Business cards. - Receive the latest up-dates of RezLivec.om through the newsletters. So, in order for you to use the world class system i.e. RezLive.com in

the most correct manner, we have developed this E-learning program which will enhance your knowledge about RezLive.com and will help you to maximize the potential and benefits associated with it. Jaal Shah, Group Managing Director, Travel Designer Group says, “The response from the RezLive.com

Specialist program has been phenomenal as on the Launch day/ first day itself we had 100+ travel agents registered for the same. I would like to Thank Travel partners across the globe for their continuous support and patronage in Making Rezlive.com a preferred Global Reservation System.


: 18, 19, 20 August 2017 : 06, 07, 08 October 2017 : 03, 04, 05 November 2017


: 26, 27, 28 January 2018


Start-up Stream


Balancing travel... When work and play come together! IRENE SUSAN EAPEN

Nischal Dua, Founder of The Remote Life, talks about how the challenge of work inspired him to start the programme for all aspiring travel professionals juggling careers.

Remote Life concept Remote Life is a programme that brings together professionals, freelancers and entrepreneurs to work, live and travel. "The Remote Life is the leader in the digital nomad space in India and we plan to build this community extensively," says its Founder Nischal Dua. "We take

care of the research, organization, and booking of your stay, work space, and experience so you can see the world, without leaving your work. The Remote Life is about more than just travel. It is a change in lifestyle where travel is no longer a luxury but a way of living. Remote life helps the millions of millennial globally who aspire to be Digital Nomads and travel the world for a living. Remote Travel is also helping create a long term, sustainable market for the travel industry that represents a very high life time value for each traveller." "I have been traveling extensively for some time and 2016 especially was a good year when I got to trek the Mt. Everest Base camp and skydive in Mauritius. Spending so much time on the road with people from all over

the world brought a major problem to my focus. Most of us want to move out and see the world but end up spending the best parts of our lives in 4X4 cubicles and glass buildings. The idea behind The Remote Life is to get these people out in the real world and give them a platform to setup up a lifestyle where work and travel can happen together." "We have had more than 850 Indians and more than 600 people globally who are willing to join us. We have participants from United States, United Kingdom, France, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. We currently run programmes in Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia. Our plan is to expand to South America and Europe by end of this year. Our participants include entrepreneurs, freelancers

and employees of people of friendly organizations." Kinds of travellers "Most of our participants are in the age group between 22-35 while the millennial travellers travel with a desire to experience the world and to build a better life. We have received the best response from entrepreneurs and freelancers." Marketing in India "We rely entirely on organic marketing and plan to stay on word of mouth and content marketing only. The Indian market is not as smooth as the global one. We have received a great initial response and steady growth because of the lack of infrastructure and processes in India. We are expecting to grow 3.5 times in 2017."

Tourboks bets on India's surging outbound market IRENE SUSAN EAPEN

Chryssa Oikonomidou, General Manager of Tourboks, talks about how the solution and its services can be used to tap India's growing travel market.


ourboks is a young company launched in June 2015, to provide carefully selected and categorized things to do and mustsee attractions, with a view to reduce the time spent on researching online. Its General Manager, Chryssa Oikonomidou, says, "Our

Voyager’s World > March 2017

B2B distribution solutions were fully developed by the end of 2016. Our sales has grown 465%. Comparing our results in January 2016 vs. January 2017,we are expecting that throughout 2017, we will have a similar or even slightly higher growth rate."

decide the agenda of one's next trip. It is a team of Europeans and Asians and it understands the struggles of planning a trip. Its know-how allows them to offer one the best of the world. Its team knows exactly where to go to find out the top things to eat, do and see in a destination.

Tourboks makes it easy for one to find and book all the top things to do in one's vacation; one can find a wide spectrum of activities around the world such as walking tours in world capitals, food and wine activities, shopping and much more. "We also cover a number of exciting activities from our reliable operators in 260+ destinations." My Tourboks is a co-planning tool that lets one interact with friends online and co-

Promotional plans Our vision is to become the number one provider of tours and activities worldwide in the Asian market. Our main goal for 2017 is to expand Tourboks Affiliates & B2B partners across Asia. We are in search of travel agencies, OTAs and travel companies that would like to resell tours and activities worldwide, from one reliable partner in order to increase their profits.

Services in India Tourboks is available for Indian travellers on a B2B level. It is also in contact with some companies in India interested in distributing Tourboks tours and activities and is in search of more Indian travel companies that would like to become its partners. "According to UNWTO, Indian outbound market has the potential to grow to 50mn by 2020. Taking into account these facts, India is a very important market for us. Tourboks is targeting on the travellers from China and Korea. Our future plans are to be more aggressive in other Asian markets that include India being one of the most important market."

Start-up Stream


The new way to a destination is through the palate! IRENE SUSAN EAPEN

Traveling Spoon seeks to provide travellers memorable trips by re-directing them to best hosts and cooks across the world, says its Co-Founder AashiVel.

Concept of Travelling Spoon Traveling Spoon is the new online player seeking to help one experience culture in the best possible way while travelling; by interacting with locals. "And what better way than over food," asks AashiVel, Co-founder of Traveling Spoon, before going on to explain how food has shaped

up travel decisions. "Cooking and sharing a meal together allows people to open up, share stories about themselves and learn from others. Not only learning from our differences but also realizing how similar we all are despite cultural and political differences makes the world a smaller and happier place." "Our mission is to provide travellers with memorable experiences and to achieve this, we commit to finding and personally vetting the best hosts and home cooks around the world. We have over 250 hosts across 40 destinations across the world. We have hosts in 12 cities throughout India and are looking to expand into other regions known for their cuisine like Coorg and Gujarat to Assam." Referring to their hosts as the cultural ambassadors of the particular region, Aashivel says

that food in travel is also inclusive of sharing stories and recipes have been passed down through generations in their family. Travellers "We have a split demographic of travellers like young professionals between the ages of 28-36 and older, luxury travellers 55+ both looking for authentic food experiences. We have also had travellers from India The majority of our travellers are from the USA, Europe and Australia. Our biggest destinations are Kyoto, Bali, Tokyo, Bangkok, New Delhi and Seoul." Services in India In India, Traveling Spoon is present in Agra, Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Goa, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Jaipur and Varanasi. It plans to expand

to Munnar, Thiruvanthapuram and Coorg . It currently markets through content marketing with newsletter and videos, FB ad campaigns and social media. "Most of our traffic is organic through word-of-mouth. "We have seen tremendous growth in 2016 and expect to serve 10 million travellers in five years. Some of the other services include offering garden tours in lieu of market tours. India as a market is accepting the homemade meals concept and this concept is likely to grow across the globe. Some of the best food is homemade. In addition to great, healthy food, you also receive the warmth and hospitality of a local. This is bound to become the way people travel as it offers such a meaningful, cross-cultural connection and food is a great catalyst."

Changing user behaviour drives experiential travel IRENE SUSAN EAPEN

Ankit Jindal ,Co-founder, Trodly, talks about how technological developments in India have shaped people's behaviour, in turn, pushing them to seek newer travel experiences. already seen in e-commerce in early days," notes Ankit Jindal, the Cofounder of Trodly. He observes that users still find it difficult to trust an online booking platform for reasons like marked-up prices, unfriendly cancellation policies, etc.

Growth in experiential travel in India in 2016 The experiential travel sector has started moving now as people are spending more time planning their travel and consider adding new experiences to their travel. "There still a slight reluctance to book online, this is very similar to what we have

The activities or 'things to do' can be as short as a couple of hours, or as long as a whole day or a multi-day complete travel plan, Trodly promises to help people discover and book unique travel experiences across India. Nearly one million people have used Trodly to discover and book thousands of activities and travel getaways. Main locations Most of the businesses and inquiries

usually come from the markets like North India, Goa, Mumbai and Bangalore. We have seen the trends of travellers seeking experiences in offbeat places. Experiential Travel Drawing references to the recent developments in the Indian travel industry, Ankit says that the travel market in the country has already seen two major transformations in the last two decades – in the way we book flights and the way we book our accommodations. "Now travellers have begun to be more experimental both in terms of their stay and the activities that they intend to indulge in while travelling. Travellers these days have started planning their trips better and they even do research to

explore best experiences. So now the experiential travel is not that niche a sector anymore as user behaviour is changing fast. We always knew that we would have different kinds of travellers - young, working professionals - travelling as a couple, family or groups. But we were taken aback when we got a lot of bookings from travellers in 50+ age segment. Marketing plans Ankit says," We look at marketing as a way of Storytelling and we are investing our time exploring new avenues for connecting with our audience. "2016 was a great year for us in terms of Trodly's growth in terms of both users and paying customers. In 2017, we definitely want to grow manifold."


Online Travel


Travellers can now opt for Door-to-door planners IRENE SUSAN EAPEN

Bharatt Kumaar Malik, Founder, Distancesbetween.com, talks about how the portal helps plan the entire trip from the start to finish.

Growth from the Indian market DistancesBetween.com is the latest entrant in the online travel space in the country. Seeking to be a doorto-door intermodal trip planner which plans journey from and to any address in India, it searches for the entire travel from point A to point B including the connection to the airport, train station & bus stop by public transport or car. "We believe India's travel market

is still fragmented and has not yet adopted any multi-modal journey planner. Distancesbetween.com will raise awareness using both on-line and offline channels to reach its customers," says Bharatt Kumaar Malik, its Founder. "We intend to add more transport partners and expand our offerings to hotels, points of interest and local content among other ancillary services as well to provide a holistic door to door journey planner." This journey planner allows you to enter any place of departure and arrival (from cities, towns & even small villages) and finds all the modes of transport to reach your destination. All travel options by plane, train, bus, taxi or car are shown in one comprehensive overview. Once you have selected your preferred

travel route distancesbetween.com will redirect you to the website of the cheapest service provider to complete your purchase. How it works Distancesbetween.com provides an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based intuitive intermodal door-to-door journey planner. "Our search engine contains all the information a traveller needs to compare and choose the best transport options, be it flight, train, bus, rideshare and rental car information, including prices, journey duration and booking details. Our search algorithm has computed more than a billion routes in India with last mile connectivity across 76 airports, 16863 train stations & 16080 bus stops." Currently the Indian market is growing and estimated to be $40 billion by 2020. At present, less

than 1% actually use any door-todoor platform to conduct their initial search. Since the existing travel platforms only allow single mode searches like flights, rail & bus, a quick dip into Google searches show more than 100 million searches by consumers who want to plan their door to door travel which involves combination of multiple modes of travel. "With an increased awareness and internet penetration, multi-modal door to door platforms are apt to handle these requests which will save time &money while providing comfort to the traveller. We will continue to enhance our algorithm by self-learning user generated content along with the addition of more transport providers and modes of travel. Our future plans include adding more travel modes under one integrated booking."

Meet the locals 'behind' the camera! IRENE SUSAN EAPEN

The need for expert photography services while on the move has led to the start of Localgrapher.com, says its Founder & CEO Matej Slezak.

Concept of Localgrapher Localgrapher, a global network of professional vacation photographers, help travellers capture high-quality candid photos while they are enjoying their dream

Voyager’s World > March 2017

holiday in their favourite destination. "Our photographers also double up as local tour guides and can always offer more information on any city that you are planning to travel," says Matej Slezak, its Founder & CEO, while talking about what inspired him to start the portal. "The idea behind Localgrapher came to my mind while I was doing a photoshoot with travellers in the picturesque streets of Prague in the Czech Republic. So providing expert photography services to travellers from around the world seemed like a great idea and sparked the concept for Localgrapher." "We have not had many clients from India. The majority of our clients are from the United States. However, we are eager to get involved with local travel stakeholders to increase our

opportunity to attract the Indian market. We feel the major drawcard is that our clients really get to connect with the local people. Our photographers not only provide top quality photography, but they are true locals who know every inch of their city and can provide insider knowledge to our clients." Localgrapher.com has 148 professional photographers operating in 116 cities in five continents around the world. While it operates mainly in Europe, it also has a good representation of photographers in Asia and South America. It plans to add more destinations in Asia due to a strong demand and Matej aims to cover 250 destinations by the end of 2017.

Professional Vacation Photography "Professional vacation photography is growing daily. There is a huge trend in the travel business for travel photography right now. People are starting to become underwhelmed by the low quality photos that they can take on their phones and they are looking for a way to take real, quality photographs that create long-lasting memories for the future." Promotional Plans Matej reveals that his main goal is to provide seamless, unforgettable service to the clients to encourage great feedback and positive word of mouth. "We also plan to focus on collaboration with hotels, large travel agencies as well as independent travel agents," he concluded.

Incredible India


Religious tours in india gain strength across demographics IRENE SUSAN EAPEN

Rachna Gulati, Founder and Director, Sai Amartya Tourism (myholytour), observes the rapidly growing segment of religious tourism in the country. leisure (fellowship) vacations, faith-based cruising, crusades, conventions and rallies, retreats, monastery visits and guest-stays and faith-based camps.


he objective and passion of Sai Amartya Tourism (myholytour) is to promote religious tourism by giving information about unexplored religious places of India and help pilgrims in their faith based cruise. The key focus of their service is religious tourism, says its Founder and Director Rachna Gulati. Its services comprise many facets of religious tourism such as pilgrimages, missionary travel,

Religious Travel The growth in the religious travel segment is likely to double in 2017. Religious travel is growing at a fast pace. India has been recognised as a destination for spiritual tourism for domestic and international tourists. India is famous for its cultural and religious tourist places that include towns and cities like Allahabad, Ajmer, Ayodhya, Badrinath, Bodh Gaya, Dwarka, Haridwar, Kanchipuram, Kedarnath, Kochi, Madurai, Tirupati, Ujjain, Varanasi and Yamunotri are places of cultural and religious tourism that are visited by numerous domestic tourists as well as tourists from abroad.

Growth in religious tourism for 2016 "We cater to destinations pan-India and have arranged tours in all parts of the country. People have been approaching us for tours across India. Some of the major religious destinations are tours to Amarnath, Tirupati, Shirdi, Vaishno Devi, Golden Temple and Konak Sun Temple. We have noticed all age groups approaching us for religious tours and the government has done enough to encourage hoteliers to invest in religious tourist places. There are also many new properties coming up around religious destinations." Kind of travellers "We have arranged tours for all kinds of travellers in all age groups and income brackets. People from 25 years of age to 60 years of age have travelled through us and their requirements vary right from two star hotels to five star hotels, which

has, in turn, given us a varied type of customer base." Marketing Plans "Being a startup in our first year of operation, we would compare our performance in H2 in comparison with H1 of this financial year. Our H2 sales figures have seen a 88% jump over H1 which is almost two-fold. This is a significant rise which shows that we have been able to make an impact on the market in religious tourism. The growth in 2017 is expected to be four times." "We plan to scale up the operations through digital marketing. Although there is a monetary constraint like every other startup, we plan to collaborate with a brand building company who can partner with us through some kind of strategic alliance and continue doing brand building exercise for us."

Rs. 16,097 crore Forex through tourism in January 2017 PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU


oreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) during the month of January 2017 were Rs.16,097 crore as compared to Rs.13,669 crore in January 2016 and Rs.12,100 crore in January 2015. The growth rate in FEEs in rupee terms during January 2017 over January 2016 was 17.8% as compared to the growth of 13.0% in January 2016 over January 2015. - FEEs during the month of January 2017 were Rs.16,097 crore as compared to Rs.13,669 crore in January 2016 and Rs.12,100 crore in January 2015. - The growth rate in FEEs in rupee terms during January 2017 over January 2016 was 17.8% as compared to the growth of 13.0% in January 2016 over January 2015. While surpassing the growth rate

of 6.8% in Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) observed in January 2016 over January 2015, a significantly higher double digit growth rate of 16.5% has been witnessed correspondingly in the month of January 2017 over January 2016. A similar higher growth rate is also observed in the Domestic Tourist Visits (DTVs) during 2016, recording a marvelous growth rate of 15.5% over 2015. The data for DTVs, every year, is compiled by Ministry of Tourism based on the inputs received from all States/UTs. While complete data for each calendar year from all States/ UTs is received in the Ministry of Tourism sometime around in the months of April- May of the succeeding year, Ministry of Tourism has come out at present

with provisional figures for DTVs on the basis of whatever information/ data is made available thus far by the concerned States/UTs coupled with estimation undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism for the missing/ incomplete data segments. The estimation process basically entails the Methods of prevailing growth rates and proportionate contributions. During 2016, the number of DTVs to the States/ UTs was 1653 million (provisional) as compared to 1432 million in 2015 registering a growth of 15.5 %. The contribution of the top ten States/ UTs during 2016 stands at about 84.2% to the total number of Domestic Tourist Visits as against 83.62% recorded in 2015. The

top 10 States in terms of number of DTVs (in millions), during 2016, were Tamil Nadu (344.3), Uttar Pradesh (229.6), Madhya Pradesh (184.7), Andhra Pradesh (158.5), Karnataka (129.8), Maharashtra (115.4), West Bengal (74.5), Telangana (71.5), Gujarat (42.8) and Rajasthan (41.5). Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh have maintained the first and second rank respectively in terms of DTVs in 2016. Madhya Pradesh has gained several ranks to reach the third position leaving Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra at the succeeding fourth, fifth and sixth positions. West Bengal surpassed Telangana to attain the seventh position rendering Telangana at the eighth, followed by Gujarat and Rajasthan.



Namami Brahmaputra to kick start on 31 March


he biggest river festival of India, 'Namami Brahmaputra' is slated to be held from 31 March to 4 April 2017 in Assam as a tribute to River Brahmaputra. A press conference was held in this regard in Bangalore recently, wherein, Ashutosh Agnihotri, IAS, Commissioner & Secretary for Transport, Industries & Commerce & Skill, Employment & Entrepreneurship, Govt. Of Assam, briefed the media about the event. It is being organised under the leadership of Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister of Assam, across 21 districts along the Brahmaputra in its entire stretch from Sadiya to Dhubri. The opening ceremony will be on March 31, 2017 at the riverfront of Bharalumukh, Guwahati- land of Kamakhya Temple and will include various activities. Ashutosh said, "With the Namami Brahmaputra event, we are expecting a much higher double digit growth for 2017. We have seen a growth of 20% growth as per last year.We have had 50 lakhs tourists every year now we are targeting for one crore tourists."

Sri Lanka Tourism meets Mumbai trade


ri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau recently conducted a road show for the travel trade and wedding planners in Mumbai specially to increase growth to the emerald island. Organised by Blue Square Consultants, the event had 27 participants from Sri Lanka, consisting of leading travel companies and hoteliers along with SriLankan Airlines. Madubhani Perera, Director of Marketing, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau said, “We are planning to conduct roadshows in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune in the year. Some of our promotional plans include joint promotions with international partners and a digital marketing campaign that targets the potential Indian travellers. Sri Lanka received a 12.8% increase in Indian tourist arrivals in 2016 and we are expecting a double digit increase in 2017.”


ITDC offers free Son-Et-Lumiere shows for armed forces


aying an ode to the Indian Armed Forces and their families (Air Force Army, Navy, Coast Guard and all other paramilitary forces), India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) announced free Sound and Light Shows for defence personnel till 31 March, 2017. This is also an initiative in continuation to company’s 50th Golden Jubilee Celebration. ITDC has offered to waive off Entry Fee for Sound and Light Shows for the defence personnel and their immediate family members visiting Red Fort & Old fort for Son-Et-Lumiere (Sound and Light) Shows on or before 31 March, 2017. All servicing defence personnel can visit the shows run by ITDC) as per the show timings free of cost and are required to carry identity cards for themselves and their family members to gain entry.

Amazing Thailand announces new theme for 2017


he Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), announced its theme for 2017 - ‘Discover Unique Local Experiences’- in Mumbai to promote Thailand as a wealth of cultural heritage with a competitive edge in the travel and tourism sector. Srisuda Wanapinyosak, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing (Asia and the South Pacific) and brand ambassador Anusha Dandekar graced the occasion with their presence. TAT promises to offer a touch of Thai Local Experiences through various interesting activities this year. Designed to fit in with the ‘Year of Sustainable Tourism Development’ proclaimed by the UNWTO for 2017, the intention behind the endeavour is to warrant that Thailand remains in people’s minds as a top destination for travelling with ‘purpose’. It also hopes to welcome international visitors to explore and experience a more authentic Thailand by living a local Thai life.


World’s Oldest steam engine ‘Fairy Queen’ to haul heritage train once again


he ‘Fairy Queen’, the oldest surviving functional steam engine in the world is once again ready in this season to haul a heritage train from Delhi to Rewari, Haryana after a gap of five years. The train began service between Delhi Cantt. Station and Rewari from 11 February 2017 for a single day trip.

Built in England, it had reached Kolkata in 1855 during the East India regime and was used to haul light mail trains in West Bengal, then operated during the 1857 rebellion and later on used for line construction duty in Bihar, during the East India regime. It was restored and given a special spot in the newly built National Rail Museum at Chanakyapuri, in New Delhi which was opened to public in 1977. The locomotive was restored to full working order in 1997, in preparation for its first mainline journey in 88 years and its return to commercial service on 18 July. It was certified by the Guinness Book of Records in 1998 as the world's oldest steam locomotive in regular operation. It received a National Tourism Award for the most innovative and unique tourism project from former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

MoT launches pre-loaded Akquasun introduces three Sim Cards for foreign tourists new DMCs


r. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism and Culture, launched the initiative of providing pre-loaded Sim cards to foreign tourists arriving in India on e-Visa, in New Delhi last month. Addressing on the occasion, he said that that unique initiative would facilitate the foreign tourists in communicating with their acquaintances immediately after their arrival in India. The Minister presented the first kit containing Sim to a representative of the travel and tourism sector. The initiative was launched in association with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., (BSNL). The facility will be initially available at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (T3 Terminal), New Delhi and later cover remaining 15 international airports, where e-Visa facility is currently available.


kquasun Group has been engaging in a slew of marketing and promotional activities in India by way of participating in trade shows, exhibitions, organising Fam trips, training sessions and networking events for the travel trade. The group has recently introduced three new DMCs across Europe, Eastern Europe and Morocco last month. It has acknowledged the overwhelming support from its B2B partners, travel agents and tour operators, in welcoming the new destinations into the bandwidth of Akquasun Group.

Badrinath ki Dulhania mark their love affair with Singapore, SilkAir


he Singapore Tourism Board (STB), along with SilkAir, organized a press conference recently to announce their close collaboration with Dharma Productions for the Bollywood movie ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’. The movie features key scenes and songs filmed in Singapore. The film will hit the screens on 10 March across India. Despite filming taking place over Diwali holidays in November last year, the two stars Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan had an enjoyable time shooting in Singapore. They were pleasantly surprised by the destination’s varied offerings in dining, retail, attraction and entertainment.


Travel Trends


50% Indians plan maiden solo trips in 2017: Booking.com

The research, which surveyed over 15,000 people from 20 countries worldwide including India, proves that travelling to new places and opening your mind to different, novel experiences inspires life enriching changes. VW BUREAU


survey by Booking.com on first time travel revealed how the experience contributed to the person's memories and made them more important than having their first pet or their first date. The majority of Indians took their first trip when they were in their 20s (35%) or a teenager (30%) and most had their first travel experience in India (89%). The memories of travelling are some of the strongest Indians hold - 58% remember their first time travelling better than their first pet!

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One in four (24%) started travelling at any early age (10 or under) and were more likely to have travelled domestically (91%) for their first trip. Women (22%) are more likely than men (11%) to have had their first travel experience outside of India. • The majority of travellers (80%) agreed that when they visit the same place, they always seek to discover new things about it. • Indians generally started travelling when they’re a bit older – only 24% had taken their first trip by the age of 10. About half (49%) had their first trip between ages 18 and 34. • Predominantly, travellers started travelling with a trip within India, with 84% saying that their first-time travel experience was domestic and 16% saying the first time they travelled was international. • Family trips were the most common for domestic (44%) and international

(22%) first-time travel. • The most popular domestic travel destinations were Delhi (19%), Mumbai (13%), Bangalore (12%) and New Delhi (12%), while the most popular international travel destinations were all in Australia: Sydney (7%), Adelaide (5%), Brisbane (4%), and Melbourne (4%). • Among the 42% who have been on a solo trip, their first one was a road trip (22%), and among the 76% of those who have been on a family trip, their first one was a cultural trip (18%). • Their first solo trip made them feel excited (23%), as did their first trip with a partner (40%), and their first family trip made them feel happy (45%). Their first business trip, however, made them feel nervous (27%). • Safety concerns (27%), risk of illness (23%) and language barrier (21%) caused the most anxiety when travelling for the first time. However, 74% agreed that while travelling for the first time can be scary, it’s worth it to see a new place. • Positive online recommendations (20%) and securing accommodation ahead of arrival (20%) help make travellers feel comfortable about visiting a new place. • Having new experiences (45%), the food (32%), encountering new people (27%), and the journey itself (27%) were the most exciting parts of travelling for the first time.

• First-time travel experiences can also inspire people when they get home from the trip – 64% say that these experiences have inspired them to visit other new places; 57% were inspired to meet new kinds of people; 50% were inspired to cook and eat new kinds of food; and 49% were inspired to try a new type of travel experience/accommodation. • The most popular tips Indians would give those travelling for the first time are to try the local food (29%), always carry your passport (28%), and research safety advice before arriving (23%). More than anything though? Relax and enjoy every minute (37%)! • Indians found Australia, the USA,

Thailand, and the UK to be the most exciting countries. • Overall, local food (26%), local culture (52%), and scenery (49%) contribute most to making a country exciting. • Their favourite things about travelling to a new place for the first time include trying the local foods (53%), taking in local culture (40%), and being in a new climate (38%). • When it comes to planning a firsttime travel experience for 2017, most are booking a trip with others, whether it’s with a partner (60%) or with family (70%), but more than half (50%) are planning to travel solo for the first time in 2017.

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Voyager’s World > March 2017

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Top Appointments


Jatin Khanna

Rachna Mehra

Multi Property VP Bengaluru & GM Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield

Director of Sales Alila Fort Bishangarh


lila Hotels & Resorts appointed Rachna Mehra as the Director of Sales of Alila Fort Bishangarh, Jaipur. Prior to this, she had worked as the Head of Sales, Leisure at Ananda in the Himalayas. She has also worked with various brands like the Grand New Delhi and the Shangri-La in New Delhi, the Oberoi Hotels & Resorts and the Khyber Himalayan Resort.


atin Khanna joins as the Multi Property Vice President Bengaluru and as General Manager of Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield. He will be in charge of all Marriott properties in Bengaluru. Prior to this, he had worked as the General Manager of the JW Marriott Pune. He also worked with the Renaissance Mumbai Hotel & Convention Centre, Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel, Marriott Beijing City Wall Hotel and other brands like Imperial, IHG and Taj.

Bhawna Verma

Bharat Ratanpal

General Manager Courtyard by Marriott Gurugram Downtown


hawna Verma joins Courtyard by Marriott Gurugram Downtown as the General Manager. She will oversee and implement high operational standards and drive performance across all verticals. She has to her credit more than 16 years in the hospitality industry across various departments like handling operations and guest satisfaction.

Director of Sales & Marketing JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu


W Marriott Mumbai appointed Bharat Ratanpal as the Director of Sales and Marketing. He brings an experience of over 13 years in the hospitality industry. He has worked with various hotels like Grand Hyatt Mumbai, Grand Hyatt Goa. He had earlier worked with Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa as the Director of Sales & Marketing.

S. Karthikeyan

Nitin Sharma

Vice President – Sales Sarovar Hotels

Executive Assistant Manager Crowne Plaza Gurgaon


arovar Hotels appointed S. Karthikeyan as Vice President – Sales. In his new assignment, Karthikeyan will be responsible for implementing sales strategies both at corporate and regional level. He brings with him an experience of over nine years in hospitality sales and marketing. Prior to this, he had worked with ITC Hotels as Director of Sales and Marketing and as a management consultant with Technopak advisors.


itin Sharma the new Executive Assistant Manager of Crowne Plaza Gurgaon who will be responsible for the operations, sales and marketing team. He brings with him an experience of 22 years in the hospitality industry. He has worked with IHG, Nikko Hotels, Uppal’s Orchid, Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces and The Grand New Delhi.

Ibrahim Hakki Guntay

Rajit Sukumaran

General Manager- Western & Southern India, Turkish Airlines


urkish Airlines has appointed Ibrahim Hakki Guntay as the General Manager for Western and Southern India. He will be in charge of driving growth and expansion of the company’s market share in India. He had started his career with Turkish Airlines in Istanbul in 2013 as a marketing and sales specialist and as the General Manager in Niger.

Chief Development Officer AMEA, IHG


nterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®) recently appointed Rajit Sukumaran as the Chief Development Officer in the Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region. In his new role, Rajit will head the Development team and lead the Group’s growth strategy. He brings over 12 years of experience in development, acquisitions, feasibility from his previous role as Senior Vice President, Acquisitions & Development, Asia Pacific at Starwood Hotels & Resorts.



April 2017

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

March 2017 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 Outbound Travel Roadshow Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai

28, 29 Rendez-vous en France Rouen, Normandie

29, 30, 31 Ukraine International Travel & Tourism Exhibition Kiev, Ukraine

April 2017

May 2017

4, 5, 6

7, 8, 9

World Travel Market Latin America Brazil

GTM Germany Travel Mart Nuremberg, Germany

6, 7, 8 Aitf Azerbaijan

16, 17, 18 IMEX Frankfurt/Main, Germany

19, 20, 21 World Travel Market Africa South Africa

16, 17, 18

24, 25, 26, 27

Indaba Durban, South Africa

Arabian Travel Market Dubai

June 2017

July 2017

1, 2, 3, 4

10, 11, 12

KOFTA (Korea World Travel Fair) Seoul - Korea

Asia Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange Bangkok, Thailand

5, 6, 7, 8

15, 16, 17, 18, 19

ILTM (Int'l Luxury Travel Market) Shanghai - China

GBTA Convention 2017 Boston, USA

15, 16, 17, 18

15, 16, 17

ITE (International Tourism Expo) Hong Kong

India International Travel Mart 2017 Chennai

23, 24, 25

21, 22, 23

BITE (Beijing International Tourism Expo) Beijing-China

IITM Bangalore 2017 Bangalore

2 Nights Hong Kong & 2 Nights Macao

Booking period: 27 February - 09 July 2017 | Stay period: 16 March - 09 July 2017

Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central @ USD 330 The Parisian Macao

@ USD 375

The Venetian Macao

@ USD 410

Conrad Macao, Cotai Central

@ USD 420

Above mentioned rates are on twin sharing basis

Hong Kong Inclusions

Macao Inclusions

• SIC coach transfer (Airport - Hotel - Pier)

• Two nights accommodation for two guests

• 2 nights accommodation in Harbour Plaza

• Breakfast or Lunch with a selection of restaurants, or MOP400 Dining Credit (exclusive for 2nd night stay)

North Point for two guests • Daily breakfast at the hotel. • SIC Hong Kong city tour (Peak Tram to Victoria Peak, Aberdeen

Fishing Village,

Stanley Market, Jewellery Factory) • Ferry tickets (Hong Kong - Macao)

• Ice World tickets for two • Choice of 1-way ferry ticket for two (Macao - Hong Kong) or MOP200 Shopping and Dining Dollars • Choice of Eiffel Tower entry or Gondola Ride or Aqua World or Qube/Qube 2/Qube Kingdom entry or Planet J admission for two • DreamWorks Plush Toy • SIC Macao city tour with Lunch (Ruin's St. Paul's Church, Na-Tcha Temple, Mount Fortress, A-Ma Temple, Lunch) Terms and Conditions Apply

Condition: Rate are subject to change without prior notice. Package is subject to availability. Supplement will apply for weekend & peak day arrival. Blackout dates apply.


CORPORATE OFFICE : Options Primo, Unit No. 501/502, Cross Road No. 21, MIDC, Andheri (East), Mumbai-400093 INDIA. TEL : +91-22-6134 1515 FAX : +91-22-6134 1516 CONTACT: contact@akquasun.com WEBSITE : www.akquasun.com


CONTACT: it@akquasun.com

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