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RNI No.: DELENG/2014/59308



Myraid experiences, warm hospitality

Night market bargains to designer labels at a fraction of the cost

Volume III Issue IV January 2017

Annual Subscription ` 660

Need to Know

nature landscapes

Explore the Magnificent Buddhist Sites of


Zipline into new horizons, experiences, that will leave you exhilarated


Buzzing nightclubs, scintillating shows par excellence


Museum Madness in NEVADA


Asia’s Best



Asia’s beating heart, close to home, is waiting to be discovered...






r-4 387 km

Foodie haven

Soups, noodles & dimsums; Taiwan has it all


The new wave of adrenaline pumping action

THINK STRAWBERRIES, Taiwan Tourism Bureau India Office: C-41, Gulmohar Park, New Delhi 110049 Tel: +91 11 2653 1733 l Fax: + 91 11 2653 1735 l Email:

50! 100!

Fastest Now cruising towards fastest

75 HOTELS 16 STATES 02 COUNTRIES Clarks Inn’s S N Srivastava scripting one of the most exciting growth stories of the time

Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Singapore Office: 30 Raffles Place, Cheveron House #10-01, Singapore 048622






16 014/

World’s Leading Hotel Booking Solutions Provider

CONTENTS Editor Rajesh Tiwari +91 9818525672

Correspondents Jai Kishan Kaparwan Nisha

Art Director Mithlesh Gupta

Advertising Commercial Director Dheeraj Anand +91 9560444678 Advertising Manager (North-West) Solomon Saxeana +91 9999810390 Advertising Manager (South-East) Santosh K Mishra +91 8447786636 Marketing & Events Manager Lakshman Vashisth +91 9911907050















Principal Advisor Anil Prakash

Legal Advisor Advocate Brijesh Tiwari

Production & Distribution Production Manager Subhash Distribution Executive Anoop Singh

Accounts CA Rishabh Rana

Cover Story

Clarks Inn Group of Hotels

50! 100! 12

Fastest Now cruising towards fastest

Technical & Web Support Amit Agrahari

All information in Whereabouts is derived from sources, which we consider reliable and a sincere effort is made to report accurate and up to date information. All contents of this publication are reserved worldwide. Reproduction in any manner without prior written permission is prohibited. All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of component courts and forums in Delhi only. Whereabouts is own, printed & published by Rajesh Tiwari. Whereabouts is printed at Pritika Printers, A-21/27, Naraina Industrial Area, Phase-II, New Delhi 110028 and published from E-8/401, Nehru Vihar, Delhi 110094. Editor Rajesh Tiwari

In-conversation with

Manish Pratik

Managing Director Orchard Resort


EDITOR’S NOTE Need to Know

Explore the Magnificent Buddhist Sites of

18 Dear Readers,



First of all we wish you a very happy and prosperous year 2017! We hope this year will become a landmark in terms of growth for tourism industry and its stakeholders.

Museum Madness in NEVADA

Further, this issue of Whereabouts brings an exclusive feature on Clarks Inn Group of Hotels which reached to the 50 hotels portfolio in very short span of time (currently 75) and now cruising towards fastest 100. This meteoric growth of Clarks Inn Group of Hotels is creating a buzz in the industry across the country. So we had an interaction with the President & Co-founder of the Clarks Inn Group of Hotels Mr S N Srivastava to know more about the company and its approach to business. We believe this will be an interesting investigative story for you.



Also, you will have an opportunity to read about the industry updates along with destination feature on Buddhist trail of Bihar and Museum Madness in Nevada. Write to us for your valuable feedback at Thanks

24 Taiwan Tourism Bureau gets plentiful results in the year 2016

Guest Column

Travel Trends in 2017


Keep Visiting, Keep updating J ust one click & ent er into the world of information. All the lat est from Tr avel Business be it T ourism, A viation, Hotels, T echnology, Cruise, OT A, Visa & much mor e... Follow us in:

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Louvre Hotels Group buys into Sarovar Hotels & becomes one of the largest hotel groups in India Louvre Hotels Group, second largest hotel group in Europe, announces its acquisition of a majority stake in Sarovar Hotels, the largest independent Indian hotel chain in terms of hotels and presence. WH Desk


he European hotel group continues to rollout its international expansion plans with this, its first investment of size in the Indian subcontinent. India, with its fast-growing economy, its global tourism potential and a significant under-penetration of branded hotel rooms, represents a new opportunity and a strategic market of more than 1.2 billion inhabitants for the group. After launching a far-reaching scheme to strengthen its positions in China and South-East Asia, Louvre Hotels Group continues to boost its presence in South Asia, keeping up with the region’s constantly growing leisure and business tourism. The group has decided to become a majority stakeholder in Sarovar Hotels, an Indian company made up of 75 hotels on the premium, mid-range and budget sectors, through 3 leading brands Sarovar Premiere, Sarovar Portico and Hometel. In addition to the above three brands, the group also has two well established F&B brands, The Geoffrey’s Pub and the Oriental Blossom, and manages the lodging and catering facilities of various institutions in India. Furthermore, the group manages 10 hotels under the Radisson, Park Plaza and Park Inn brands. Sarovar Hotels was founded in 1994 by Anil Madhok, a hotel industry expert on India, Singapore and Sri Lanka markets. It is also run by Ajay K. Bakaya and Mansoor Adil who have built it into a robust and effective hotel platform combining marketing, human resources, operations, management and technical services. Leveraging its hotel expertise and seasoned management staff, Sarovar has developed significantly over the past 5 years, growing from 4500 to nearly 6000 rooms in over 50 cities. Sarovar has a secured pipeline of over 20 hotels, most of which are due to join the network shortly.

L - R - Saurabh Chawla, Pierre-Frédéric Roulot, Anil Madhok, Ajay K. Bakaya

There will be no change in management of the Sarovar Group and this strong and experienced team will continue to provide its expertise and manage the hotels under its brands. Both hotel groups share the desire to continue developing Sarovar Hotels brands. This powerful platform will also sustain the development of Louvre Hotels Group brand which has been present in the Indian sub-continent since 2007 and currently manages 22 hotels under its Golden Tulip Umbrella brand. This deal clearly demonstrates the ambition of Louvre Hotels Group; boosting its development through strategic deals on high potential markets.“Number 2 in Europe, Number 1 in China, and now a leader in India, we really are a major global player, present in all major markets, and in all the hospitality segments. Sarovar is a fantastic platform, very promising for the future, mostly due to the professionalism and the local expertise of its smart team,” says Pierre-FrédéricRoulot, CEO Louvre Hotels Group. “Over the last two decades, Sarovar Hotels has grown to be one of the fastest growing hospitality chains in India. The association with Louvre Hotels Group will help us to spread our wings further and we will continue to develop our brands. With local and international capabilities, we aim to be the leading brand in the business and bring in major benefits to our guests”, comments Anil Madhok, Executive Chairman, Sarovar Hotels.

PATA inks MoU with South Pacific Tourism Organisation


he Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has signed a landmark agreement with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) that is designed to enhance the promotion and development of sustainable tourism across a broad range of Pacific island destinations. A core element of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is tourism associated data that embraces accurate figures for international arrivals to each member nation of the SPTO. PATA has granted the South Pacific Tourism Organisation special access to the Association’s online data platform known as PATAmPower. In return, the SPTO will be encouraging destinations to provide all relevant statistical informal to enable PATA’s Strategic Intelligence Centre to provide analysis of trends and accurate, long-term forecasts.

6 January 2017

“We continue to encourage tourists to visit lesser-known destinations and we are looking forward to working with SPTO in promoting further the importance of sustainable tourism development,” said PATA CEO, Dr. Mario Hardy. “There are endless possibilities for leisure, adventure and cultural tourism throughout the South Pacific and our partnership with the SPTO will raise awareness about these destinations in many influential source markets.” SPTO Chief Executive, Christopher Cocker said,” SPTO is excited to have established a relationship with PATA. We have a common goal of promoting the Pacific Islands and providing our respective members with benefits and services which will be enriched if we, as regional tourism bodies and associations, share our expertise and experience, and work together. I’m looking forward to the exciting year that is before us when we will collaborate closely with PATA for our Pacific islands.”


ATOAI elects office-bearers & EC members for 2016-2018


he Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) held its Annual General Meeting and Elections for the new office bearer and Executive Committee members on 17th December at The Park Hotel, New Delhi. The office bearers & Executive Committee team of the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) have been elected for next two years un-opposed. The ATOAI office bearer’s team aims to take the association to new heights. Apart from resolving issues for adventure tourism in the country, its main objectives would be to widen its membership base PAN India, making risk assessment for tour operations a priority within the membership, capacity building workshops in First Aid/ CPR etc for adventure guides, staff and for various state tourism departments,

educational seminars and FAM tours for members, opening new avenues of new upcoming products under adventure & active tourism and creating pool of trained human resources available to the membership. OFFICE BEARERS President: Capt. Swadesh Kumar, MD, Shikhar Travels India Sr. Vice President: Ajeet Bajaj, MD, Snow Leopard Adventures Vice President: Tejbir S Anand, MD, Holiday Moods Adventures Secretary: Rajesh Ojha, Co-Founder, Banjara Camps & Retreats Hon. Secretary: Vaibhav Kala, Founder, Aquaterra Adventures EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Mohan Tickoo – MD, Kash Venture Travels Sanjay Basu - MD, Far Horizon Tours Vishwas Makhija - MD, India Insight Touts Shashank Gupta - Director, Rucksack Tours Vinayak Koul - Director, Snow Lion Expeditions Akshay Kumar (Imm Past President) - CEO, Mercury Himalayan Exploration

UTPA announces formation of five sub committees WH Desk


he Uttarakhand Tourism Professional Association (UTPA) announced the formation of five Sub Committees with different task / profiles toward the development of Tourism in Uttarakhand. The association will come up with several new initiatives soon. This announcement was made during its maiden official meet organised at Hotel Aura De Asia, Patel Nagar, New Delhi after formal registration of UTPA as Trust. More than 130 members joined the interactive session on the promotion of Tourism in Uttarakhand. The delegates presented at the meeting shared their views and achievements in field of tourism. Some of the members launched new camp sites, home stays and village tourism etc. Ravi Gosain, President UTPA presided over the meeting with General Secretary Sunil Bahuguna and rest of the office bearers. “We are sure all these effort will help us to generate occupation for village people soon in near future. It was decided to sought meeting with Tourism secretary and CEO of Uttrakahand Tourism soon with a

delegation to present their suggestions for promotion of Tourism and locals in Uttrakhand,” informed Ravi Gosain, President, UTPA. UPTA invites all tourism professionals associated with Uttarakhand to expedite the growth of tourism in this state. The association (UTPA) was formed recently with a mission to develop tourism in Uttarakhand. The professionals who are working in Tourism and Hospitality sector of Uttarakhand are eligible to become its members.

ADTOI launches Rajasthan Chaptre


ssociation of Domestic Tour Operators of India in association with India Travel Mart launched its seventh state Chapter in Rajasthan on 10th, December 2016 in Country Inns & Suites by Carlson in Jaipur.

January 2017 7


Vistara partners with Air France, KLM & Japan Airlines to offer ‘Through Check-In’ WH Desk


uilding on the commitment of offering a seamless flying experience to its customers, Vistara, India’s newest full service carrier launched in 2015 by Tata group and Singapore Airlines, announced an Inter-Airline Through Check-In (IATCI) partnership with Air France, KLM and Japan Airlines. The partnership enables customers to enjoy a seamless ‘Through Check-in’ facility when connecting to or from a domestic Vistara flight in India and more than 100 countries across the globe on these airlines. Customers can now get their boarding passes at the first point of departure for all the travel sectors, both domestic and international, that are on the booking with their baggage checked through to their final destination.

The new partnership comes in addition to an existing through checkin agreement Vistara has with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir that allows this comfort and ease to their connecting passengers. Speaking on the partnership, Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara, said: “The through check-in facility will offer great convenience to customers connecting from domestic routes on Vistara to our foreign airline partners, while allowing inbound passengers to seamlessly ‘fly the new feeling’ on Vistara on their domestic onward flight. “We are delighted to partner with leading global airlines, Air France, KLM and Japan Airlines, in addition to our existing partnership with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, and look forward to working together in providing a hassle-free air travel experience to our joint customers,” he further informed.

Sanjiv Kapoor Chief Strategy & Comm Officer Vistara

Passengers connecting from international flights to a domestic flight in India will also have their bags tagged all the way to the final destination, but will be required to claim their baggage at the first port of entry in India and drop it off to Vistara at the luggage transfer counter after clearing customs.

Etihad to forge new links with Lufthansa

Turkish launches direct service to Zanzibar

WH Desk

WH Desk



The wet-lease agreement between Lufthansa Group and Airberlin – in which Etihad Aviation Group indirectly holds a 29% stake– was also announced recently. Lufthansa’s point-to-point carrier Eurowings and Austrian Airlines, a Lufthansa Group airline, have signed an agreement to wet lease 38 aircraft from airberlin. 33 of these aircraft are to be operated for the Eurowings Group, an additional five aircraft are to be flown for Austrian Airlines. The agreement has a term of sixyears and becomes effective from February 2017 subject to any regulatory requirements. The leases have been agreed at competitive rates.

Ahmet Olmuştur, Chief Marketing Officer at Turkish Airlines, said: “Turkish Airlines is proud to transport people around the globe to experience new cultures, share ideas and create memories that will stay with them for a lifetime. We are delighted to open the new route to Zanzibar, a truly remarkable destination. We continually seek out opportunities to expand our network and look forward to welcoming our passengers on their way to Zanzibar in the near future.”

tihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates and Lufthansa German Airlines, part of Europe’s largest airline group, announced the conclusion of a codeshare agreement. The arrangement is set to start in January 2017, subject to government approval.

Under the codeshare agreement, the German airline will place its ‘LH’ code on Etihad Airways’ twice daily non-stop flights between its home base of Abu Dhabi and Frankfurt and its twice daily non-stop services between Abu Dhabi and Munich, the biggest city in southern Germany. The UAE’s national airline will, in turn, put its ‘EY’ code on Lufthansa’s long-haul, non-stop intercontinental services between its home base of Frankfurt, the business and commercial capital of Germany, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as well as Bogota, Colombia.

8 January 2017

urkish Airlines has launched its direct flights between Istanbul and Zanzibar. Following the addition of Zanzibar, Turkish Airlines will now be flying to 293 destinations worldwide; 50 of which are in Africa. These include the east African city hubs of Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Nairobi, Mogadishu, Djibouti, Asmara, Addis Ababa, Kigali, Entebbe and Zanzibar.

The Zanzibar flights will be operated three times per week as Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays in both directions. Introductory round trip fares are available from Istanbul to Zanzibar starting at 636 US Dollars (including taxes and fees). Additionally, for the operations to Zanzibar –till 12th June 2017-, Miles&Smiles members will be able to earn 25% extra status miles.*

To view the flight schedules visit


WH Desk

Air India launches direct flight from Chandigarh to Pune


ir India will connect Pune to Chandigarh for the first time with a direct flight from January 16, 2017. This new flight is yet another move to promote regional connectivity by the national carrier. The flight, AI 813 will take off from Chandigarh at 1050 hrs and arrive in Pune at 1320 hrs. The return flight AI 814 from Pune will depart at 1400 hrs and land in Chandigarh at 1630 hrs on all days except Saturday and Sunday.

and South-East Asia and the Gulf. The airline’s domestic network covers 50 destinations, including far-flung areas of the North-East, Ladakh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Air India, today, flies one of the youngest, state-of-the-art, fleet of aircraft comprising a mix of the wide-body Boeing B777s, B747s, its latest acquisition- the B787 Dreamliner and the narrow body Airbus A321s, A320s and A319 aircraft.

Air India enhances free check-in baggage on B747 Delhi-Mumbai route

The non-stop flight will operate with an Airbus A-320 aircraft on the Pune-Chandigarh-Pune route. It will provide a much needed connectivity between the two cities and will help to promote industrial development and at the same time also give a fillip to tourism as passengers can avail of good connectivity to holiday destinations such as Kulu, Shimla and Manali in the north and Lonavala and Shirdi near Pune.


Air India occupies a special place in the global and Indian aviation scenario. It pioneered the aviation in India and its history is synonymous with the history of civil aviation in India. Air India is not a mere airline that transports passengers, baggage and cargo. It is a multi-faceted organization. The aviation infrastructure it has created over the years is a testimony of its contribution. Apart from servicing of all its aircraft in-house with its own engineering facilities, Air India also undertakes ground handling services of many airlines in many cities in India.

Presently, Air India allows 25kg in economy class and 35kg in business class of free check-in baggage on its flights as compared to 15kg offered by other airlines.

Air India has grown to become a mega international airline with a network of 34 destinations across the USA, Europe, Far-East

ollowing it successful decision to deploy the iconic Boeing 747 on Delhi-Mumbai route Air India added on customer delight by allowing up to 40kg and 50kg of free check-in baggage for economy and business class passengers respectively on Boeing 747 Delhi- Mumbai service. Passengers flying on Delhi-Mumbai route will have an opportunity to experience flying the airlines’ legendary ‘Queen of the Skies’ and can avail this facility from 7th January, 2017.

Air India is the only carrier to operate the 423 seater, four engine jumbo jet wide body aircraft called, B747 on the busiest route of India. The aircraft offers a premium value to passengers with the most private and exclusive accommodation in the sky with 26 business class and 12 First class seats on the upper deck.

Garuda Indonesia launches Mumbai-Jakarta service WH Desk


aruda Indonesia further strengthens its global presence by launching a new service from Jakarta to Mumbai via Bangkok. Mumbai serves as the airline’s first gateway in the region, and by launching the three times weekly service to Mumbai, Garuda Indonesia is now able to provide the first direct link between Indonesia and India. The opening of Garuda Indonesia’s flight to Mumbai is part of its international network development programme, especially in the South Asia region, as well as the manifestation of the airline’s strong commitment to continuously support the Indonesian government’s programme to double the number of international tourists visiting the country by 2019.

President and CEO of Garuda Indonesia, M. Arif Wibowo said: “There are strong economic partnerships as well as numerous social, cultural, and tourism relations between Indonesia and India, and we believe this new service will further boost those activities amongst the two countries, whilst offering easier access for travelers between India and Indonesia.” He continued, “Today, India remains a partner in growth as well as an important market for Indonesia, and Garuda Indonesia’s fights on

the Jakarta-Mumbai route will establish an important direct link between the two countries in friendship. We place great belief that the opening of our service to Mumbai will forge an even more solid bridge in enhancing the future partnership between India and Indonesia, which are now two of Asia’s new economic powerhouses.” Meanwhile, Assistant Deputy of The Asia Pacific Market Development, Ministry of Tourism Vincencius Jumadu said: “The direct link flight of Jakarta – Mumbai can contribute to increasing the number of India tourist visit to Indonesia up to one million visitors in 2017.” Bangkok was chosen as a connecting hub for Jakarta - Mumbai considered of the potential double leisure opportunity on the flight of Jakarta – Mumbai which connected through Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok.

January 2017 9


WH Desk

Ethiopian Airlines to Link Chengdu with Africa


frica’s largest airline group, Ethiopian Airlines, announce that it has concluded preparations to start new flight to Chengdu, China three times weekly as of June 3, 2017. Chengdu is the capital of China’s Sichuan province and is the 7thlargest city in China. Chengdu is the country’s western center of logistics, commerce, science and technology, as well as a hub of transportation, manufacturing and communication. Chengdu is also a major hub for Air China, Ethiopian Airlines’ Star Alliance partner. With this new flight, passengers from Ethiopian vast and growing network in Africa will be able to quickly connect to dozens of cities in China partnership with Air China, including Shenzhen, Kunming, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Wuhan, Changsha, and Urumqi. Group CEO Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde GebreMariam, said: “Since our first flight 43 years ago, China has been a key market and it is now the largest per country market in our system. Using the geocentric location advantage of our hub in Addis Ababa we are connecting China, the world’s second largest economy and Africa’s biggest trade and investment partner, with 52 cities in the continent of Africa.”

“With the addition of Chengdu, we shall offer the best and fastest connectivity options with a total of 34 weekly flights to China, operated with the latest and most comfortable B787 and B777 aircraft. Our Chinese customers will also enjoy seamless connection on Ethiopian vast intra African network and farther to São Tewolde GebreMariam Paulo in Brazil,” he added. Group CEO Ethiopian Airlines,

Ethiopian is investing to make Addis Ababa a Chinese friendly hub airport for the continent. We now have Mandarin translators and signage available at the airport transit area and in the Cloud Nine Business Class Lounge. Chinese New Year is also marked every year at Addis Abba Airport. Ethiopian was the first African carrier and the fourth in the world to fly to China back in 1973. In addition to the three weekly flights to Chengdu to be launched in June, Ethiopian currently operates daily nonstop flights to Beijing, 10 weekly nonstop to Guangzhou, and 6 weekly nonstop to Hong Kong.

Aviareps launches Aviacollect

flydubai certifies 100th batch of Cabin Crew

WH Desk


VIAREPS has launched AVIACOLLECT, an online payment solution that allows small to medium offline airlines, hospitality brands, including standalone hotels and resorts, Destination Management Companies (DMCs), and providers of travel services, such as visa application, ground transportation, airport lounge access, car hire, attractions, sightseeing and travel insurance, to economically and effectively extend their international consumer and travel agent sales networks around the world. AVIACOLLECT was launched in response to the urgent business development needs of many small to mid-size tourism related companies to extend their sales distribution channels and presence internationally, in a manner that respects their unique brand, and is cost effective to ensure a return on investment given limited resources. Each AVIACOLLECT portal is also tailored to the consumers and travel agents of each particular market, so that language, currency payments and even visa and Edgar Lacker Chief Executive Officer other information is specific to that specific AVIAREPS country or region. Clients too can tailor seasonal and promotional offerings to each individual market. Edgar Lacker, Chief Executive Officer, AVIAREPS said: “Through AVIACOLLECT, and AVIAREPS’ global network of self-owned offices, our clients can now not only present their brands in a way that is directly relevant to the targeted markets, but comes with the inmarket expertise and know-how of our sales and PR professionals on the ground to help spread the unique sales points of that brand.”

10 January 2017

WH Desk


lydubai has announced the successful graduation of its 100th batch of certified Cabin Crew members from the flydubai Training Centre. The batch of 27 candidates will join flydubai’s community of 1,650 Cabin Crew members who represent more than 100 nationalities. The graduates of the training programme received their certificates from Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer for flydubai, Jilly Sims, Senior Vice President, In-Flight Services for flydubai and Carolyn O’Brien, flydubai’s Cabin Crew Training Manager. Speaking at the ceremony, Ghaith Al Ghaith said: “Over the past eight years, flydubai has trained thousands of Cabin Crew who have applied their learnings to make flying a pleasant experience for the millions of passengers who travel with us each year. I would like to congratulate each graduate on their achievement and the highly skilled and professional trainers who have helped us reach this important milestone.” The five-week programme trains candidates in a wide range of subjects, including customer service, medical care, safety and security. Candidates must pass all of their practical and theoretical exams, along with their assessments, to complete the training course and graduate as a flydubai Cabin Crew member.


ITQ launches 4th edition of Student of the Year contest

WH Desk


nterGlobe Technology Quotient (ITQ) with its initiative to bring top talents to the travel trade, launches its 4th edition of Student of the Year contest, inviting entries from all travel schools across India, from students who have been trained on Travelport’s Galileo GDS (Global Distribution System). Student of the Year contest has entered its fourth year. It’s time again to celebrate the joy of searching and finding the best talents for the industry. Throughout the last few years, with extensive support from the travel fraternity, media, and travel trade academies, InterGlobe Technology Quotient (ITQ) has been able to provide this platform of recognition to students across India. ITQ with its strong association with esteemed members of the travel trade ensures the best performing individuals get a place to kick start their career and make the best of what the industry has to offer. “This year too, we are set to venture on the journey of looking for the finest talents and make the ride one of the best educational experiences for the travel industry professionals. We are inviting nominations from Travel Academies PAN India for Galileo trained students who aspire to be recognised for their abilities at the very beginning of their professional careers, said Sandeep Dwivwdi, COO, ITQ.

WH Desk

Student of the Year 2017 – A Patron of Recognising Talent First launched in 2013, Student of the Year has grown through the years with extensive support from the travel industry and the academies. It has received stupendous success by bringing in best professionals, thereby reducing the gap of potential talent finding its way to companies.

Sandeep Dwivwdi COO ITQ

The contest has offered a unique platform to the travel industry aspirants to test their skills, confidence and knowledge by delving deeper into the intricacies of the trade and redefining their abilities as travel professionals. They are also given a clear view of the limitless possibilities, the future holds. Student of the Year, since its inception, has been an exclusive event designed to specifically select students who thrive in knowledge and are eager to show it to the world. With this platform we not only boost the confidence in the Students, but also bridge the gap between deserving talent and companies in need of it. OTA

Travkart launches Android introduces one-tap app to enable customised registration by integration with travel plans Truecaller


ith a vision to unravel exceptional travel experiences and make them easily accessible and feasible for everyone, Travkart, the comprehensive travel service portal by Holidays by Sahibji Pvt. Ltd. has launched its mobile app. The 5.08 MB app will allow travellers to choose fixed departure packages from the live inventory with instant confirmations as well as to book activities and tours on the go. In addition, users can refer the app to friends on social platforms and earn discounts and cash backs. Incorporated jointly by Manheer Singh Sethi and Gursahib Singh Sethi, Travkart was incepted under the aegis of one of the top consolidators in the North Indian travel business and IATA license holder Sahibji Travels & Tours Pvt Ltd (established in 1993). The duo formed the travel-tech company after spotting a gap in the form of a missing platform to sell the inventory created by them. They were unable to find a system that could help them in selling the fixed departure inventory which has a complex structure of airline seats, hotel rooms, and seat-in-coach arrangements. Commenting on the launch, Manheer Singh, Co-founder, Travkart. com said, “Our app is here to make beautiful holidays more accessible than ever before, at irresistible prices. Our simple and user-friendly processes are designed keeping in mind the comfort and convenience of the customer, whereas the unique features like booking themed holidays, viewing booking details, making payments online via credit points and instant confirmations promise to make the entire experience with Travkart simply delightful.”

Y has tied up with Truecaller allowing new users to sign up on Yatra’s Android mobile application using their Truecaller account providing a convenient and seamless experience. Through this integration of TrueSDK, Yatra now offers phone number based on boarding and verification, which significantly reduces friction in user on-boarding. Any user having the Truecaller app and signing up to Yatra for the first time, will have a completely seamless experience with their userdetails being auto-filled in the Yatra app. Adding another layer of convenience and security, integration of TrueSDK on Yatra’s mobile app will make mobile number verification a simple and easy process. Speaking on the partnership Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C),, said, “At Yatra, we are constantly thinking of new and innovative ideas to make user interface simple and convenient for our customersand the partnership with Truecaller is a firm step in that direction. Truecaller’s TrueSDK will help in instant user verification, hence simplifying the app onboarding experience. It will make the authentication more swift and secure for our users.”

Commenting on this partnership, Priyam Bose, Director of Worldwide Developer Relations, Truecallersaid, “Enabling users to plan their travel needs from last minute business trip to a holiday or a daily commutation in a frictionless manner is an absolute necessity. Minimising this friction becomes even more critical especially when users are fulfilling their diverse travel needs via mobile apps- from user registration to last mile booking.

January 2017 11


Clarks Inn Group of Hotels

50! 100!

Fastest Now cruising towards fastest

India was offering new opportunities of growth and development to hotel companies in it’s burgeoning tourism and hospitality sector at the turn of the new millennium. The industry saw several new entrants, some home grown and other including international hotel companies making aggressive pitch for a bigger slice of the new opportunity. The financial crisis of 2007-2008 tested most of the resolves and many caved. There were, and are, yet others who gloriously weathered the challenges and have come on top. The making of Clarks Inn Group of Hotels sits right at the top of this illustrious league of extraordinary growth stories on India’s hospitality landscape. 12 January 2017


S N Srivastava, President & Co-founder, Clarks Inn Group of Hotels Rajesh Tiwari


larks Inn Group of Hotels ventured in the business of managing hotels in 2006 with the opening of Clarks Inn Suites Pacific Mall in Ghaziabad in Delhi NCR. The company had its share of challenges in the first few years with limited growth. But patience, perseverance and hard work began to pay in the latter half with Clarks Inn today managing a portfolio of 75 hotel properties, including 40 in operation, across 16 states in India and one hotel in the neighbouring Nepal. What makes this debut singularly unique is the sheer size and scale and industry response that the company has been able to achieve in a short span of 10 years that few can boast of. This meteoric growth of Clarks Inn Group of Hotels is creating a buzz in the industry across the country. Whether it is the decades old company or a new kid on the block, the level of excitement among the hotel companies is equally high to learn and know more about the company and its approach to business. The man on the mission who is scripting one of the most exciting hotel industry growth stories of the times is S N Srivastava, President & Cofounder along with his boss Anoop Kumar, Managing Director, Clarks Inn Group of Hotels and one of the promoters of Clarks Group of Hotels, one of the oldest hotel companies in India. The docile and soft-speaking and unlike most of his ilk, Srivastava, draws attention to the fact that his company was the fastest in reaching 50 hotel portfolio, and currently at over 75 properties he is eyeing to clock the 100 hotel milestone by the end of 2017! In business for just over 10 years, but with a legacy that pre-dates India’s independence, the Clarks Inn Group of Hotels is probably emerging as the biggest success story on India’s hospitality landscape. And ‘Sunflower’, the company’s logo, Srivastava insists, “will bloom everywhere in a not so distant future.”

When starting a venture you have to go through a plenty of obstructions. However, with measured and consistent approach you are bound to succeed. No obstruction can prevent you from reaching your goal. January 2017 13


The Shrewd-vastava Factor Srivastava had joined Clarks Awadh, Lucknow, way back in 1979-80 and worked his way up across departments. It was chance telephone call that he received in 2004 to manage one of the hotels being developed at Ghaziabad in Delhi NCR that changed the course of his career. A shrewd professional, man of clear understanding and sound judgment that he is, Srivastava was quick to spot an opportunity that can shape up into something big. He not only took this proposal to his boss and one of the promoters of Clarks Group of Hotel, Anoop Kumar, but also convinced him to take up the new challenge. That hotel opened door in 2006 and with that began the journey of Clarks Inn Group of Hotels. So what brought such growth in just over ten years? Srivastava, says, “the consistent approach and out of the box thinking.” “When starting a venture you have to go through a plenty of obstructions. However, with measured and consistent approach you are bound to succeed. No obstruction can prevent you from reaching your goal,” he says in simple terms but resolutely nevertheless, a trait masked behind his soft and docile demeanour. Unlike others of his rank and file, Srivastava has largely kept himself away from any limelight and preferred to spend time with his team developing resources and back-room strategies that has brought his company thus far. But with the company now fast moving towards 100 hotel landmark, that is changing amidst increasing industry recognition, awards and accolades that have followed in the last few years.

The Clarks Inn Factor It was virtually a one-man team to begin with in 2006. But that has changed. Today, in Srivastava’s own word, his most prizedpossession is his “Great Team” that he has built and nurtured over the last 8-10 years. His team of aggressive go-getters, be it at corporate or unit level, work in tandem and smartly collaborate on aspects of operation, driving business to properties and new development and expansions. Furthermore while elaborating on the remarkable achievement of the company he says: “Since we started from the scratch we are well-versed with the ground realities. We understand our investor and guest better than anyone else. We believe that while the brand delivers real value, it is not just only about the price; it is about Uncompromising Care. Care for every aspect of the guest experience. Care for comfort and convenience. Care, so that a guest is not just a room number, but someone we always enjoy having with us.”

According to him, meeting the expectations of an investor is not an easy task as he gets in touch with several management companies and connect the dots before signing a deal. “The investor comes with a certain frame of mind and believes that our expertise will help him in achieving his goals with better management and return on investment. For a successful and profitable venture we do concentrate on optimum investment and maximum ROI in shortest possible period. Therefore, rather than imposing the burden of unnecessary expenditure that would not impact the ARR in any way, we suggest our investor to be cost effective. We take care of all aspects of the project,” says Srivastava. Besides, another Clarks Inn differentiator is a highly effective communication channel that the company has put in place with the owners, reason why Srivastava boasts of better strike rate when it comes to converting an enquiry into profitable and long-term alliance. “Clarks Inn concentrates on two way communication; take care of investors and respects their suggestions which probably becomes the biggest advantage for the company. Not falling prey to the corporate red-tapism and unnecessary hierarchy disciplines, easy accessibility to the core team member of Clarks Inn further strengthens the relationship between the company and the investors.”

14 January 2017


Different Strokes Today, while well established hotel companies are clearly hesitant in running hotel in smaller tier and lesser heard far-flung areas and towns, Clarks Inn has clearly shown courage in opening many new destinations like Gadag (Karnataka), Deogarh (Jharkhand), Ara, Buxor (Bihar) and many others such markets where other older and well-established companies have only followed it later. Clearly, it seems they have the best strategy to build a hotel and make it a profitable venture. Srivastava’s voice brims with a vary palpable sense of pride and achievement for his team when he speaks of opening such new destinations to organised hospitality and world-class services and creating new employment opportunities for the local youths. “We are looking at a number of no less than 6000 jobs in our fold by the year end and I am more happy about the fact that a great number of these new opportunities will happen in small towns and far-flung areas,” he said. I tried understanding what makes Clarks Inn hotels tick in even smaller towns whereas hotels in metros are often seen struggling to recover their RoI. Srivastava’s take is, “In terms of RoI, the investment cost is key, the primary factor, while the location becomes secondary. The gestation period or RoI will only take longer if the investment is high, which creates a lot of financial stress for the developers. We make sure that our developers do not incur unnecessary cost. We make sure that investment is only proportionate to potential of return in the given market.”

Future Perfect

Quickfire Q. How would you describe yourself? A. I am a team player and consider myself as a co-worker in our company. Besides, I love interacting with my colleagues and business partners and therefore very accessible.

Q. Kindly give us a short background of your journey in Hospitality Industry?

A. My entry into hospitality was a sort of about turn in the sense that I am a law graduate. I came to know about an opening at Clarks Awadh through a friend, applied, was interviewed and selected in the Accounts department. Yes I have volunteered to work across departments and was always assisting my colleagues in Operations, Front Office to Kitchen. I was promoted a number of times, recognised for my effort. I topped it up with PGD in Tourism Management. Opportunity to get into managing hotel came around 2004. My boss Mr Kumar and I discussed it. We had our share of doubts but finally we consented and the rest is history.

Q. What are some important lessons that you have learnt from your experience? A. Never, never be scared of the challenges and eventually you will be the winner. If you want to build a long term legacy, your approach should always be honest.

Q. How do you keep the morale of your team running high; especially during high pressure moments?

Clarks Inn opened its first property in 2006. And in a span of a little over 10 years the company has emerged as one of the fastest growing hotel companies in the budget market space with a portfolio of 75 hotels spread across 16 states in India and one in Kathmandu, Nepal. The company, informs Srivastava, has set sight to reach 100 hotel milestone in 2017. And if achieving the three-digit figure looks ambitious than the last few years are a good testimony to what lies ahead for the company.

A. I love being with the team. If you are there together, no crises and pressures are big enough. Q. How do you keep reinventing yourself in your current profile? A. Reinventing, learning new things and unlearning are traits you can’t do without. I keep thinking, discuss new ideas with the team and set new goals. Monotony doesn’t exist in my life.

Q. Where do you see the Clarks Inn Group of Hotels in next couple of years?

The company witnessed one of its biggest growth years in 2015 as it signed and opened a total of 21 new properties. Last year was equally good. And if projections and pipelines are anything to go by, the company is looking forward to a strong start to the year 2017.

A. We will be managing a portfolio of well over 100 properties. Nepal is our first foray internationally. I see our international footprint increasing. And of course we would love to have some of our own hotels.

And as the company looks well set to reach its first three-digit figure in the months to come, Srivastava hardly looks like somebody who would waste himself on laurels and recognitions that’s raining to his company and let complacency set in.

Q. What revenue-enhancing strategies have you adopted at

Living a life out of suitcase, Srivastava is only around for a couple of days at his office in Noida before he is jet-set criss-crossing the country, and probably also internationally as he seemed eager to expand overseas, meeting owners and developers and his team of professionals, eyeing both, new businesses and consolidation. The Sunflower has entered a phase of verdant bloom.

Fast Facts Number of Years in Operation

10 Years

Total Number of Hotels

75 Hotels

Number of Hotel in Operation

40 Hotels

Average Inventory Size

45 Rooms

Clarks Inn?

A. This is one of the key focus areas. Besides expanding our sales team at the corporate, we have appointed regional sales offices and this is increasing. We are also leveraging new digital technology to maximise revenue. Q. What are some positive changes that you have witnessed in the industry in the recent years?

A. There are many. Industry is increasingly being recognised for its employability and that’s creating domino effect on aspects like policy support. Besides, there is far greater acceptance of home grown hotel brands. Q. What are your some of memorable experience at Clarks Inn? A. That first call that I received with offer to take up management of hotel in 2004. That one call changed so much. Later, when we had signed that property. And more recently, the signing of our latest addition in Udaipur.

January 2017 15


‘Responsibility of Kerala’s youth to protect traditional art forms’: Kadakampally Surendran The Minister for Tourism, Govt of Kerala Kadakampally Surendran along with the Director Tourism, U. V. Jose inaugurated the ninth edition of annual cultural fiesta the ‘Utsavam 2017’.

Collector Amith Meena IAS, Councillor Saleena Razzak, CPM District Secretary P.P. Vasudevan, C.P. Radhakrishnan, Veekshanam Mohammed, Kerala Congress (M) District President Johny Pullanthani, DTPC executive members Paloli Kunhimohammed, V.P. Anil and Adv. K. Mohandas addressed the gathering.

WH Desk


ith the growing popularity of contemporary art forms, it is the responsibility of Kerala’s youth to protect and promote the state’s many traditional art forms, says Minister for Tourism Kadakampally Surendran. Inaugurating the state-level annual folklore festival and cultural fiesta ‘Utsavam 2017’ organised by Kerala Tourism and Kerala Folklore Academy at Kottakunnu Ground here, the Minister said that Utsavam, which is in its ninth edition, has been able to provide a livelihood for several practitioners of traditional art forms. While addressing the gathering Kadakampally Surendran said: “The artistes being honoured at Utsavam have spent their entire lives keeping their respective art forms alive in Kerala. These artistes need to be given opportunities to spread these disciplines to other parts of Kerala and other states.” Folk artistes including V.M. Kutty, Narayanaperuvannan, Eranjoli Moosa, Athiyadam P.P. Kannaperuvannan, P.K. Panicker, Smt. Narayaniswami, P.P. Madhavan Panicker, V.P. Damodaran Panicker, Peer Mohamed, and M. Kannan were honoured at the inaugural function. The opening ceremony was presided over by Malappuram MLA P. Ubaidulla. District Panchayat President P. Unnikrishnan, District

Kadakampally Surendran Minister for Tourism Govt. of Kerala

Kerala Tourism Director U.V. Jose welcomed the gathering while Tourism Department Joint Director (Kozhikode) M.V. Kunhiraman delivered the vote of thanks. Kerala Folklore Academy secretary Dr A.K. Nambiar presented the festival report.

Over its seven day run, Utsavam 2017 has seen around 3,500 artistes presented some 100 traditional art forms at various venues across the state’s 14 districts. Performances of art forms ranging from ‘Arjuna Nritham’, ‘Adivasi Kalakal’, ‘Chavittukali’, ‘Gaddhika’, ‘Irula Nritham’, ‘Kanyarkali’, ‘Kethrattom’, ‘Kolkkali’, ‘Kooliyattom’, ‘Margam Kali’, ‘Mayilattom’, ‘Nadanpattu’, ‘Oppana’, ‘Pakkanar Kali’, ‘Paoorakkali’, ‘Portatu Nadakam’, ‘Sanghakkali’, ‘Seethangan Thullal’, ‘Theyyam’, ‘Thirayum Poothanum’, ‘Thudipattu’, ‘Velakali’, ‘Vilpattu’ to ‘Yakshaganam’ will be staged.

Jal Mahotsav-Utsav Dil Se WH Desk


he second edition of Jal Mahotsav, a festival of adventure tourism in Central India has unfolded on December 15, 2016 at Hanuwantiya Khandwa , a serene destination by the banks of the Indira Sagar Dam- one of the biggest man-made dams and is attracting adventure lovers with its unmatched scope for adventure sports. The one month long festival will be end on January 15, 2017. The one month long adventure carnival is a treat for all thrillseekers. A wide range of water , land and air activities like parasailing, para motoring, hot air ballooning, wind surfing, para -sailing, island camping, jet -skiing, artificial climbing wall, Burma bridge, night camping, bird watching are on offer. Para-motoring and hot air ballooning will make you reach out for your cameras to freeze the thrilling moment of your life up in the air. The islands in the Indira Sagar dams are sites of island camping which translates the thrill of sea water island camping into fresh water island camping .The wildlife, avifauna and botanical riches of Boriyamaal island adds it into the must do activities of the Carnival House boats are yet another novelty to be explored in this Jal Mahotsav. Madhya Pradesh Tourism becomes the proud owner of 2 house boats with AC rooms, restaurant and an open deck which offers an unparallel experience of luxury coupled with adventure.

16 January 2017

The house boats and cruise are a permanent service offered by the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Corporation. This quiet, secluded place has been transformed into a tented city with spa and yoga zone to host the guests from India and abroad. Month long cultural extravaganza every day, after sun down including the ne w year eve -party are added attractions Craft bazaar, food bazaar, cycle rides and many more recreational activities are waiting to be explored.

Fact File:Nearest Railhead – Khandwa Nearest Airport – Indore Tourist Helpline- 18002337777


In-Conversation with

Manish Pratik

Managing Director Orchard Resort

The concept of tented accommodations was thought to be more amiable to nature with minimum carbon foot print. We wanted to build a truly eco-resort both from the perspective of surrounding local flora fauna and experience to guests. Rajesh Tiwari


Give us a short background of Orchard Resort? How has been the growth in last couple of years?


Idea behind Orchard was to build a tented eco resort run with the support of local community in complete harmony with nature. It came up almost ten years back when there were very few quality resorts in Pushkar which is in the heart of Rajasthan known for its temples and annual cattle fair. The concept of tented accommodations was thought to be more amiable to nature with minimum carbon foot print. We wanted to build a truly eco resort both from the perspective of surrounding local flora, fauna and experience to guests. There are already plenty of usual resorts, heritage properties in Rajasthan with Orchard the idea was to provide a completely different experience to guests with the help of local community. We also wanted to make sure that the benefits of tourism should reach to the local community.

Q. Do you have any expansion plan in development pipeline? A. We are working towards expansion in the mid-term but not yet decided on locations. Reason being we do not want to move away from tented concept which needs right climatic conditions to be successful.

Q. What changes did you initiate at the resort recently? A. We changed all our tents few years back and also added new

activities like bar-be-cue, culinary experience for guests who can participate as well. Additionally, we have focused in enhancing the outdoor options like cycling tours, walking tours and archery etc. in the vicinity of Orchard.

Q. What revenue-enhancing strategies have you adopted at the property?

A. Unfortunately revenue enhancement has been a challenge

due to many resorts which have opened in recent years. Having

said so, Orchard has been able to create a niche for itself. We have enjoyed first mover advantage particularly in the nature lover segment, clients who are looking for different kind of experience do recommend us to their friends / families which has been rewarding.

Q. How do you keep the morale of your team running high especially during high pressure moments?

A. Right from the beginning we have been able to develop a sense

of belongingness in our staff members which are mostly locals. They are always motivated irrespective of workload due to the fact that they consider it to be their own place. If you are able to develop such sense in your team members you don’t need particularly formal motivation training sessions. Whenever I am there I make sure to spend quality time personally with the team to understand their challenges and convey our expectations to make sure all our guests go back thrilled with Orchard experience.

Q. What are some positive changes that you have witnessed in the industry in the recent years?

A. The biggest positive change has been the growth of domestic

market which has been increasing manifold for the last few years. More importantly now there are mature Indian travellers who appreciate such concept resorts like Orchard. To start with, almost all our guests were from inbound segment but in recent years the numbers of Indian traveller have increased, as a result we have 30% Indian guest. OTAs, internet direct sales are other areas where we have seen consistent growth in recent years.

January 2017 17


Explore the Magnificent Buddhist Sites of

BIHAR The legendary spiritual enlightenment site of the Buddha under the holy Bodhi tree has become the magnetic point for human congregation ever since. The magnificent Mahabodhi temple that had been declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO is a great source of peace. The Kesaria Stupa, highest among the excavated Buddhist stupas is also situated in Bihar. Whereabouts brings more on this. Compiled by WH Desk


oday, Bihar is home to numerous industries and premier educational institutions that emphasise its contemporary strides. The heritage monuments and generous landscape add to its prominence and explicate the reason for the bustling tourist activities that the state witnesses round the year. Let’s explore the world renowned Buddhist sites of the state

18 January 2017

Gaya Situated 100km south of Patna, Gaya is the second largest city of Bihar. This ancient city grew on the banks of Phalgu River (Niranjana, as mentioned in Ramayana). This place is considered holy among the Hindus, the Buddhists and the Jains. It is surrounded by small rocky hills (Mangla-Gauri, Shringa-Sthan, Ram-Shila and Brahmayoni) by three sides and the river flowing on the fourth (eastern) side. Gaya derives its name from the mythological demon Gayasur. The district boasts a number of Buddhist sites; Mahabodhi Temple, Thai Monastery, Durgeshwari Temple, Sujata Garh, Kauva Dol are among them. 80’ Buddha Statue: The Great Buddha Statue popularly known as 80’ Buddha Statue was unveiled and consecrated on November 18, 1989 with a ceremony graced with the presence of His Holiness the XIV the Dalai Lama, who blessed the 25 meter statue. It was the first great Buddha statue built in the modern history of India. The statue


Zuan Zang Memorial Hall, Nalanda

Nalanda The name Nalanda resonates as an inspiration to anybody who heard about this place as the nurturing ground of the first residential international university of the world for great learning during the era when most of the other countries of the world were at the very nascent stage of development. Today, even as the ruins of that glorious past continue to mesmerise the present. The district, well -connected by network of roads and railways, had been a cradle of multiple religious evolutions.

80 Feet Buddha Statue

is situated next to Mahabohdi Temple at Bodhgaya. Under the slogan ‘Spread Buddha’s Rays to the Whole World’ Daijokyo spent seven years on construction of the Great Buddha Statue. Visiting Hours: 7:00 to 12:00, 14:00 to 18:00 (to 17:30 in winter)

Nalanda University Ruins

Apart from Buddhism, the Jainism, Sufism and Hinduism have also flourished in this region with the patronage from the generations of benevolent rulers. The district situated at the south of Patna. Bimbisara Jail, Girlyak Hill, Satparni Hills, Venuvan, Vishwa Shanti Stupa, Gridhkuta Hill, Maniar Math etc. are among the prominent sites in Nalanda. Nalanda University Ruin: It is the ruins of one of the oldest residential international university which thrived from around 5th or 6th century till 13th century. The current excavated site spreads across around 14 acres of land. However, if the description of Zuanzang, the 7th century Chinese traveller is to be correlated the excavated part is only about 10% of the actual area on which the original institute was spread over. Presently, the restoration of the ruins of Nalanda ensures a good security system for the monument and a well maintained garden area around the space. The huge remaining section of the main stupa that was charred and destroyed by the Turk invader Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1193, still stands tall to tell the tale of the height of knowledge for which once this region was famous worldwide. A walk through the red brick structures of other votive stupas, temples, dormitories for students and teachers where

January 2017 19

NEED TO KNOW once famous as ‘Silk City’. The jade coloured majestic river Ganga with the silvery sand banks flows next to the NH- 80 (connecting Bhagalpur with Patna and other cities) for a considerable stretch which renders a marvellous panoramic view to the travellers. The fertile river plain consists of the greenery of abundant mango groves, lychi trees and stretch of cornfields that spread across the horizon. Only the sprouting chimneys of the brick making industry on the banks of the river stir a premonition of the impending pace of urbanisation.

Ruins of Vikramshila University Bihar

about 10,000 students and 2000 teachers lived and learned is truly a stimulating experience. Zuan Zang Memorial Hall: His Holiness Dalai Lama and the Panchem Lama of Tibet requested Govt. of India to build a memorial hall for Zuanzang in 1957. A relic of Zuanzang along with his biography was received by the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru along with the noble request of enhancing the cultural relationship between the countries. This marvellous monument was completed in 1984. The relics are preserved in Patna Museum. This magnificent hall with a spread of splendid garden is decorated with mural paintings and carvings. The metal relief mural art work depicting Zuanzang’s life is a fabulous piece along with the marble relief behind the huge statue of Zuanzang. A stone piece with the carving impression of Buddha’s feet that used to be worshipped by Zuanzang himself is kept on the pedestal. There is also a mural painting of his teacher Sheelbhadra on the left wall of the hall. The Buddhist motifs colourfully painted on the ceiling is also remarkable.

Bhagalpur Located at the Southern part of Bihar, it is one of the oldest districts of Bihar known for producing very good quality silk fabric and was Buddha Smriti Park or Karuna Stupa

20 January 2017

Ruins of Vikramsila University: The Vikramsila University which flourished from 9th century CE till 13th century CE was established by the Dharmapala from Pala Dynasty. This Buddhist University had more than hundred teachers and above thousand students. Subjects like theology, philosophy, grammar, metaphysics, logic etc. were taught here but the most important branch of learning was tantrism. A huge square remain of the main double storied stupa with a cruciform structure in its centre, a library building and cluster of votive stupas have been excavated. To the north of monastery a number of scattered structures including a Tibetan and a Hindu temple have been found. The entire spread is over an area of more than hundred acres. The highly decorated terraces with the mouldings and terracotta plaques testify the excellent and skilful art practices during Pala Dynasty. A structure attached with the monastery is identified as library that was air conditioned by the water of the adjoining lake through the vents, presumably to restore the delicate manuscripts. Entrance Fee: Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) - Rs. 5 per head. Others: US $ 2 or Indian Rs. 100/- per head (Free entry to children up to 15 years)

Patna The capital city of Bihar located at the southern bank of the river Ganga, Patna is the largest town of the state. The history of this city stretches beyond 2500 years back. The ancient name of this city

NEED TO KNOW The Buddhist legend for this place goes as the Buddha reached the bank of the Anoma River after leaving behind his family and this is the place he exchanged his royal robes for an ascetic’s garb and chopped off his elegant hair locks. It is believed that Ashoka erected these pillars to commemorate this important event of the Buddha’s life.

Jehanabad Jehanabad is mentioned in the ‘Ain-i-Akbari’, written by Mughal emperor Akbar’s court historian and poet Abul Fazl. It says that in the 17th century the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb established a relief centre for the famine affected people at this place and named it as ‘Jahanara’. Jahanara Aurangzeb’s sister supervised the Mandi herself and spent a lot of time at this place. Later, the area became known as Jehanabad. Rampurva

was Pataliputra which remained as the capital of Magadha under multiple dynasties for about thousand years. Buddha Smriti Park: The state museum of Bihar is an important place not to be left out of the itinerary of anybody visiting the State Capital. Located at the heart of the city it boasts of the innumerable heritage collections found in the region replete in glorious historical settings. Built by the British rulers in 1917 the grand building is a fine example of the Indo-Saracenic architectural style. The relic found in the excavation of the Vaishali stupa, believed to contain the Buddha’s last mortal remains is preserved in this museum. The most prized collection of the museum is the famous Dibarganj Yakshini discovered at the bank of Ganga in 1917.The beautiful highly polished stone sculpture is a marvellous specimen of the past glory of Indian sculptors. The numerous archaeological objects like coins, artefacts, sculptures adorn the displayed galleries of the museum.

Vaishali Located at the border of Nepal the northern region of Bihar, Champaran, is presently divided into separate districts as East and West. The name Champaran originates from Champa-aranya meaning forest of Champa trees. Besides a lot of forest land, this district has many rivers and plenty of streams flowing from the Himalayas. East Champaran Located at the border of Nepal the northern region of Bihar, Champaran, is presently divided into separate districts as East and West. The name Champaran originates from Champa-aranya meaning forest of Champa trees. Besides a lot of forest land, this district has many rivers and plenty of streams flowing from the Himalayas. The tourist Places are as follows West Champaran Rampurva: Two gigantic Ashokan pillars were unearthed from the region close to the river Harbora, known as Anoma River during Buddha’s time. One of the pillars has the six edicts engraved on it and that part is protected by a concrete canopy. There is a peacock and another bird etching on the pillar. A lion capital that formed the part of one pillar is now preserved at the Museum of Kolkata. The other pillar had the famous Bull Capital which adorns the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi.

Next to a humble village lies one of the fantastic archaeological sites yet to be discovered from the grave of the past. Under a huge peepal tree the tiny shrine protects the 8’ black stone Buddha sculpture which was found at this place. Outside, below the tree, the glorious past lay silently with few pillars strewn around and rest only partly visible from underneath the earth. A few yards walk towards the nearby hill the amazing engravings of Hindu gods and goddesses are found along the rocks of the base of the hills. Goddess Durga and Devi forms are predominant among other Shivlinga and Ganesha images. It is quite a unique experience to see all the images of the deities without any intention to enshrine those inside a structured temple boundary but just spread across the nature as if to imagine the Omnipresent beyond any man-made borders.

Reaching Here Bihar is well connected with major cities of India by air, rail and road. It stands bordered by the neighboring states of Bengal, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Nepal in the north. By Air: The two key air terminals in Bihar that facilitate air travel are located in the capital city of Patna and Gaya. All the important public and private domestic airlines operate regular flights from these airports to the major air destinations in India. The ‘Jaiprakash Narayan International Airport’ at Patna has international airlines that fly to various cities of the world including Singapore, Bangkok, and Colombo. By Rail: Railway junctions at Patna, Gaya and Bhagalpur are the key railhead of the state. Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, and trains going for Kolkata and northeast pass through the state. Railway link connects the entire Buddhist Circuit into a network where traveling one destination to another has become a lot easy. By Road: Extensive network of National Highways and State Highways interlink in Bihar helps visitors in reaching the place by roads. These highways connect Bihar to adjoining areas within and outside the state. Places like Gaya, Rajgir, Nalanda, Purnia, Bhagalpur and other cities of the state are well connected and easily accessed by road. Buses, carriages, express buses, autos and taxis are popular local transport modes

Bihar State Tourism Dev. Corp. Hotel Kautilya Bihar, Bir Chand Patel Path, Patna 800 001, Bihar Tel: +91-612-2225411

January 2017 21


Jammu & Kashmir Craft, Food & Culture Festival WH Desk


omestic and International Tourist, kids, parents, families and their friends celebrated Christmas Day (on December 25, 2016) with three Santas came all the way from Jammu & Kashmir. Activities like dancing, drawing, selfie, photo sessions were done by kids and families at Jammu & Kashmir Food, Craft & Culture Festival 2016 organise by the state Tourism Department and JKTDC at Dilli Haat, Opp. INA Market, New Delhi. Main Attraction

ÂÂDaily Cultural Programmes ÂÂDaily Food Festival at J&K Wazwan Stall ÂÂKids Drawing Competition

Arunachal Pradesh: Capture the Natural Splendour of this North East Jewel WH Desk


ravelyaari announces an adventurous journey to Arunachal Pradesh, one of the best places to visit in North East in February. There are many species of flora and fauna found in Arunachal Pradesh, which you may not find anywhere else on this planet. If there is a Garden of Eden in the Himalayan kingdom hidden from the world and to be discovered, it would be Arunachal Pradesh. The weather is favorable for trekking in Arunachal Pradesh and those of you who love nature in its raw form, beauty untouched, Arunachal Pradesh welcomes you with an open heart. While trekking through West Siang district, one of the oldest hilly districts of the state situated on the south bank of river Yomgo, you will be surrounded by sheer beauty. The hills of West Siang district presents a panoramic view of the magical Brahmaputra Valley and definitely serves as an ideal destination for trekking, hiking, and angling. In the 9 days visit to ‘Unchartered Arunachal’, travellers can trek through untouched jungles starting at moderate altitudes

of 2000 feet and go up to 5000 feet, camp by the river side in tents, enjoy home stays at the traditional Galo Homes, explore traditional exotic food mithun meat and pluck and dine on organic vegetables and herbs. Package Details:

Validity: February 1- 9, 2017 Price: 19,529 per persons (without Porter) and 22, 319 (with porter) *T&C applies Package Inclusions:

Stay in comfortable, clean and hygienic accommodation All three meals All permits, entries etc Internal travel during the trip All activities, gears and instructors English speaking guides Package Exclusion:

Shopping & Personal Purchases Alcohol Anything not mentioned in the Inclusions Lunch on all days unless mentioned in itinerary Excess stay & meals due to bad weather conditions/strikes, resulting in flight delays or any other form of transport Tour Specifics

Adventure quotient: 60% Leisure quotient: 10% Tradition and Culture quotient: 30% To book your journey, please contact 1800 103 4482 or visit: http://

22 January 2017

January 2017 23


Neon Museum

Museum Madness in NEVADA

It’s true, Nevada is a land of many things full of diversity you’d never see coming. And if there’s one thing we’re not lacking around here, it’s History. As the nation’s seventh largest state, Nevada certainly has a lot of ground to cover, with rich history oozing out of all 16 counties. Buzz worthy neon, a mecca of mining ruins, amazing American Indian presence, military bases to marvel at, lovable locomotives, ranching to write home about and even a little bit of Nuclear Nevada finds its way in there too. Check out these eight relics you didn’t know you could find at these Nevada museums. Whereabouts brings more on this. Compiled by WH Desk

All the Neon Nevada is, without a doubt, the neon capital of the world, but this is far from a modern-day sort a thing. Standing under all its modernistic glowing glory, it is hard to not be completely consumed with, but getting up close to some of these iconic gems is an experience unlike any other, trust me. Peruse what the Neon Museum calls their Bone Yard to appreciate some quintessential Vegas you might otherwise, overlook. Relish some crazy-amazing photo ops next to iconic beauties [like Lady Luck, my personal fave] and be sure to grab on to this pro tip: take the night tour. An excursion so paralysing that even the Rat Pack would approve.

Seriously Cool Adobe Huts The best thing about Nevada history is that in most cases, it’s not just one layer of stuff, it’s multiple. The Lost City Museum definitely attests to that with its replicated adobe huts, designed to mimic those inhabited by Ancestral Pueblo that called the Moapa Valley home over 800 years ago. The original adobe huts community established by the Ancestral

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Pueblo was originally down the road from modern day Overton. Then, in the 1860s after they were long gone, white settlers occupied the area creating a town called St. Thomas, which was then gobbled up by the Hoover Dam initiative during the 1930s [meaning the whole town was submerged with the water of Lake Mead.] This was a huge bummer for all St. Thomas occupants for more than one reason, but especially because they cherished the remaining original adobe huts so much—they even used them to put on pageants! So, the Civilian Conservation Corps swooped in during the 1930s and built the Lost City Museum that still stands today, along with the replicated adobe huts.

Historic Fourth Ward School The Fourth Ward School is one of the only lasting examples of a Victorian-era school from the 1800s, and is right in the heart of Virginia City. Once referred to as “The finest structure of the kind in Nevada” by Mark Twain himself, you can imagine that the interesting relics to savor are far too great to call out individually. By today’s standards, it seems quite normal to have things like heating and water, but during the 1870s this was quite the opulent feature. The Fourth Ward School boasted state-of-the-art heating, ventilation and sanitation systems, as well as water piped to all of the - you guessed it - four floors. When touring this fabulously restored historical jewel today, take note of the original, individual student desks or The Fourth Ward School

WHEREABOUTS one of the drinking fountains that’s managed to last 140 years.

Central Nevada Museum The Central Nevada Museum has more than one thing to brag about, that much is certain, but there is one glaring section that’s difficult to ignore. None other than, some truly extraordinary remains from the Tonopah Air Base which was headquartered not far from downtown Tonopah for eight short years in the 1940s. The base was set up as a World War II training base with a freshly acquired 3,000,000 acres of land, and by the time it was occupied, was outfitted with runways, barracks, mess halls and a hospital, among other facilities. Just after WWII came to a close, the Tonopah Air Field was placed on inactive status and abandoned almost immediately. It’s difficult to imagine the area as home to one of the Army Air Force’s largest WWII training bases, but the Central Nevada Museum luckily got their hands on some truly fascinating pieces of history. Old wreckage from 1940s era planes is

Nevada Northern Railway

built the house himself, and as a working ranch, he and his family needed some durable clothing that lasted. So what did they get their hands on? Some of the very first Levi Strauss overalls ever made. They belonged to his son, Dwight Dangberg, and they can be enjoyed with an in-person visit to the Dangeberg Ranch today.

Night at the Museum, But For Real

Central Nevada Museum something to send any aviation nut into oblivion, but the true score is if you can catch Allen Metscher while you’re there. A living breathing snippet of Tonopah history, this guy has every last factoid on the Tonopah Air Base dialed in [and then some] and can spin a yarn unlike any other.

A Complete Press Room from the 1800s Ever wonder where the expression ‘Mind your P’s and Q’s’ comes from? Home of the Eureka Sentinel Newspaper, this same location houses a modern-day museum and is a damned good place to start. The Eureka Sentinel is still in production today, but first sprung to life in this wildly historic building and operated at this location from 1879-1960. If you’ve got an appetite for history, this museum has all kinds of goodies dating back to Eureka’s early booming days. The real forte is the complete pressroom, found in the basement. Admire an authentic 1870s letterpress, original posters that rolled right off it, and complete type cases. Historical artifacts this amazing might just prompt you to holler out ‘Eureka!’ for yourself.

Some of the Very. First. Levi’s Here’s a page out of the Reno history books that many wouldn’t dare dream of: Levi Strauss denim jeans were invented right in the heart of the Biggest Little City. Jacob Davis, a Latvian Jewish immigrant, set up shop in Reno as a tailor and came up with the idea to use copper rivets to reinforce points of strain on trousers. Working on a meager tailors wage, he then contacted Strauss [in San Francisco] to help patent the idea and the whole thing went off without a hitch.

If wondering what it would be like to actually spend a night at a museum surrounded by 100-plus-year-old history has been getting your goat, search no further, we’ve got just the ticket. Marvel at living history at not only one museum, but Two (!!!) at the East Ely Depot Museum and Nevada Northern Railway in Ely. The depot, which was constructed in 1905, was integral in serving nearby copper mining and still, mystifyingly enough runs today. Check out many original features like the East Ely Depot and the train yard itself is considered to be an actual, working museum. Keep safety in mind, as the trains will likely be operating when you swing by, but get right to it by exploring the 70 buildings and structures that sit on this mile-long, outdoor museum. If these locomotives are lulling you into a lover’s trance, you are in luck! It’s here, that can extend your stay with a night in the Caboose [recommended for summer nights] or the original 1905 bunkhouse, which originally served as the engineer’s quarters. Bonus: your roommate will be the modern-day train master.

The Goldwell Ghosts This place is not your typical museum by traditional standards, but after all, Nevada tends to have its own way of doing things. The other-worldly, always enchanting Mojave Desert is one of the most unique places out there, so it’s safe to say that Albert Szukalski hit the nail on the head when braining the idea to have a permanent outdoor museum. So it is in fact is true what they say: the Goldwell Open Air Museum is one of the most unique places to experience art installations. This exotic landscape inspired Szukalski so much, that each sculpture is designed to have a relationship with the landscape, and should be interpreted with that in mind. The outdoor museum covers an unsuspecting eight acres of land with tons many installations to marvel at [like a giant pink cinderblock lady and a mosaic tile couch,] but the ghostly, lifesize version of The Last Supper is without a doubt, the crown jewel of this museum. Goldwell Open air Museum

This went down in 1853 [right around the time when Nevada’s first establishment set up shop] and a few years later, the Dangberg Ranch became rooted in Minden. Heinrich Dangberg

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NTO dynasty (618–907 AD), the emperors would celebrate the festival by ordering hundreds of beautiful women to sing and dance with lanterns in the brightly lit plaza. These festive activities gradually spread to the common people and developed into the most popular festival in the year after Chinese New Year. The festival is also called the Little New Year. In 1990, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau held the first Taipei Lantern Festival. Every year a gigantic lantern is installed in the middle of the plaza of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. The lantern installation is followed by performances like laser lights, music and sculptural arts. On the four sides of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, smaller lantern installations depict folklore and historical events.

Visit Taiwan during the Lantern Festival for a celebration like no other!

The Bright & Beautiful Taiwan Lantern Festival The most celebrated festival of Taiwan ‘Lantern Festival’ will be held from February 11-19, 2017. Like Indians, the Taiwanese also celebrate festivals with fervor and festivities and it’s the best time for family and friends to get together and celebrate. The festival is held across Taiwan in different cities every year like Taipei, Kaohsiung, Pingxi and Yenshui. Compiled by Jai Kishan Kaparwan


he Taipei Lantern Festival is held for several days at the Taipei Expo Park, reaching its peak on the day of the Lantern Festival itself. There are many traditional lanterns, electromechanical lantern displays, and large themed lanterns sponsored and designed by different companies. The Kaohsiung Lantern Festival is held along the Love River. During the festival period, both sides of the river as well as Wufu Rd., Heping Rd., Guangzhou St., and other thoroughfares have lantern exhibitions. There are also musical performances, helping to throw the whole city into a festive mood.

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The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is one of the most colorful activities of the Lantern Festival. Pingxi is a remote hillside town. In the past, those who worked or farmed in the mountains faced the risk of being robbed or killed, and they used lanterns to inform their families they were safe. The lanterns do not function as signals anymore, but are now used as symbols of peace and good fortune.

You can also find interesting live folk performances such as lion and dragon dances, acrobatic acts, folk art skits, mock battles, and booths that demonstrate and sell traditional handicrafts such as fan painting, lantern making, dough sculpture, candy-figure blowing, paper cutting, Chinese knot work, and many delicious snacks and sweets. During the festival period, a tunnel of lights is put up on the roads of Taipei, dressing up the whole city with glittering lights. The Taiwan Tourism Bureau is encouraging visitors to attend the 2017 Taiwan Lantern Festival (February 11-19, 2017) in Yunlin and Lantern Festival activities in other cities and counties.

Origin of Lantern Festival

Special Offers For Group Visitors

The Lantern Festival is an ancient Chinese tradition that dates back more than 2,000-years. During the Tang

All visitors who purchase a full-package product that includes a Lantern Festival event in Taiwan from an overseas travel


Taiwan Tourism Bureau gets plentiful results in the year 2016

The year 2016 has been a successful year for Taiwan Tourism Bureau in India. The various sales, marketing and PR activities throughout the year have helped increase the arrival figures from India to Taiwan. The board plans to focus on consumer and trade activities in 2017. WH Desk


he Taiwan Tourism Bureau was successful in reaching out to the B2B segment and the B2C market this year with sales calls, joint promotions and aggressive promotions to educate the potential Indian traveller. While elaborating on the achievements, Arthur Hsieh, Director, Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Singapore Office said, “The 2016 was a productive year for Taiwan Tourism Bureau. Our participation in various marketing activities and other initiatives to increase the number of Indian tourists in Taiwan has given us fruitful results.”

agent (not including visitors who buy just flight and hotel accommodation) will be given a 2017 Year of the Rooster small handheld lantern; if the itinerary includes attending the 2017 Lantern Festival in Yunlin, a limited edition local Yunlin gift and viewing-stand ticket will also be given (the viewing-stand ticket cannot be used during the opening and closing ceremonies). Each person may receive only one of each gift, available only while stocks last.

Collection Method The local Taiwanese travel agent entrusted by a foreign travel agent shall apply to the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, MOTC, by e-mail ( or fax (022771-7036). After approval, notification to collect the gifts will be given.

For Independent Visitors International independent travelers who attend the 2017 Lantern Festival will be given a 2017 Year of the Chicken small handheld lantern, a limited edition local gift from Yunlin and a viewing-stand ticket (viewing-stand tickets cannot be used during the opening and closing ceremonies). Each person may receive only one of each gift, available while stocks last.

Collection Method Visit the organizer’s No. 1 service counter at the 2017 Taiwan Lantern Festival in Yunlin venue between 16:00 and 21:00, February 11-19, 2017 and show passport or entry document to collect the gifts.

“The main focus of Taiwan tourism was to diversify into varied consumer and B2B activities to increase the positive image of Taiwan in the Indian consumer mind-set and more healthy growth figures in terms of Indians travelling to Taiwan,” he added. Talking on the initiatives taken to increase the Indian travellers to Taiwan, Hsieh added that Media FAM trips with SCOOT airlines and other media and Bloggers FAMs were also organised to maintain a positive image of Taiwan in the Indian media. “As Indians aspire for out of the box wedding destinations, Taiwan is home so some breathtaking destinations which have the potential to host Indian wedding ceremonies. Therefore, we are also promoting Taiwan as a leading wedding destination in India. A wedding Planners FAM to Taiwan was organised and prominent wedding planners from Delhi, Jaipur, Ahemdabad, Mumbai and Kochi attended the FAM,” said Hsieh.

Event Participation The recent participation of Taiwan Tourism Bureau in India’s first full-fledged travel mart, Business and Luxury Travel Mart (BLTM), focused on specialised sellers and buyers from Business, MICE and Luxury Travel segment from all over the world. BLTM was a platform for Taiwan Tourism to meet corporate MNC buyers from around Delhi and National Capital Region like Godrej, Reliance, SBI, HDFC, Adani Wilmar etc, which was a great opportunity of future business prospects.

Arthur Hsieh Director Taiwan Tourism Bureau

Taiwan bestowed with the best MICE Destination Award at the exhibition. Arthur Hsieh, Director of Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Singapore Office received the award. To capitalise on their presence in BLTM, Taiwan Tourism Bureau also held an educational workshop for the travel fraternity and the media at Taj Mahal Hotel. The workshop started with a B2B session between the Indian travel agents and the stake holders from the Taiwanese Travel industry including its National carrier China Airlines, Princess Cruise, destination management companies Good Time Vacations and hotels like Grand Hyatt Taipei.

Consumer, Trade Activities & Visa Updates The tourism board plans to focus on consumer and trade activities in 2017 after easing out visa policies for Indian travellers. Indian nationals are now entitled to free Taiwan visa which can be applied online, so its now even easier to plan a leisure holiday or MICE event to Taiwan. Visa exempt entry into Taiwan for Indian Passport Holder for 30 days via online system - the applicant must have at least one of the following visas issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand or any of the Schengen countries, UK or USA: ÂÂValid resident or permanent resident card ÂÂValid entry visa (may be electronic visa) ÂÂResident card or visa that has expired less than 10 years prior to the date of arrival in Taiwan Online Group Visa - Visa Exemption for Indian passport Holders with minimum 5 or more people travelling in a group to Taiwan via online system for 30 days.

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Thailand The Ultimate Golf Paradise WH Desk


very year, a whopping 600,000 visiting golfers criss-cross this golfing paradise to try their hand in some of the 300odd designer golf courses dotting in Thailand. The courses most of them in fact, are designed by the biggest names in the business from Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Peter Thomson, Phil Ryan to a host of American, Japanese, Australian and British designers. Thai designers too have taken to the trade in a big way and the Banyan Golf Club in Hua Hin, the finest in all Thailand is designed by a Thai Golf architect. Most of golf courses are the sheer size and majesty of the club houses. No other country has such elaborately designed and perfectly maintained club houses. The indulgent luxury of some of the locker rooms is breath-taking; beside superbly equipped showers and change rooms some has a few heated and ice-deep pools inside the locker room! Some provide Saunas, massage centre. But no mention of Thailand golf would be complete without mention of their caddies. Yes, there are caddies and caddies. But what makes Thailand special is that the caddies are all women. Most of the better golf courses have these smartly dressed young women caddies who make a world of difference to your golfing experience.

Well known Golf Course in Thailand Central Region: Bangkok & Beyond

Krungthep Kreetha Sports Club President Country Club Royal Golf & Country Club

Thai Country Club MuangKaew Golf Club Lam Lukka Country Club Suwan Golf & Country Club HuaHin

Black Mountain Golf Club Springfield Royal Country Club Banyan Golf Club North: Chiang Mai

Chiangmai Highlands Golf and Spa Resort Chiang Mai Inthanon Golf and Natural Resort Alpine Golf Resort Chiang Mai North East: Khao Yai & Beyond Kirimaya Golf Club Rancho Charnvee Resort & Country Club East: Chonburi /Pattaya

Bang Phra International Golf Club Laem Chabang International Country Club Pattana Golf and Sports Resorts Pattaya Country Club & Resort Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course West &South: Phuket

Mission Hills Phuket Golf Resort and Spa Phuket Country Club Blue Canyon Country Club Red Mountain Golf Club Loch Palm Golf Club Koh Samui Santiburi Samui Country Club

Drive around Yas Island in a Ferrari WH Desk


ver saw F1 race and wondered how the pit crew managed to quickly change the tyre of cars in just a few seconds at the pit stop? A mere view of it gives us an adrenaline rush. Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi, a one of a kind Ferrari branded indoor theme park gives you a fun filled opportunity to feel that rush yourself. The Tyre Change Show at Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi features two comical Italian mechanics on a mission to fulfil their dream of becoming pit crew for Scuderia Ferrari. Watch them clown around and attempt to change a tyre of a F1™ car, and then try and do it yourself in the quickest time.

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Not only that, the theme park also gives you an opportunity to live your dream of driving a Ferrari! Yes right, you can drive around Yas Island behind the wheel of a Ferrari California. For your safety, you will be supervised during your experience, and you must follow the instructions of your pilot at all times You’ll receive a lesson into how to drive the car from one of their trained pilots, and a Ferrari expert will be on hand to give you some insider tips. With space in the back seat for up to two passengers, it’s the perfect adventure to share with family or friends.


Australia receives 250,000 Indian travellers in the year 2016 For year ended October 2016, the India market recorded a growth of 11.3% in visitor arrivals vis-a-vis the same period of the last year. WH Desk


ustralia has notched an impressive 253,100 arrivals from India as of year ended (YE) October 2016. This number reflected a growth of 11.3% vis-a-vis the same period last year, making India the 9th largest inbound market for arrivals to Australia. The month of October 2016 alone saw 20,400 Indian arrivals to the destination, an impressive growth of 24% over the same period in 2015. Most importantly, the holiday purpose of visits have driven the overall market growth with an impressive 20% and 19% increase in arrivals and spend respectively. Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager, India & Gulf, Tourism Australia, said: “We are elated that arrivals from India into Australia have witnessed a consistent growth trajectory over the years. The recent arrival statistics are a testimony to the fact that Australia’s diverse tourism offerings have been recognised and appreciated by the Indian traveller, and the Nishant Kashikar country is gaining momentum as Country Manager India & Gulf the preferred holiday destination Tourism Australia for the market. Leveraging the continually increasing interest in Australia, we will continue to drive innovative and focused promotional activities.” Marketing activities, in collaboration with key distribution and airline partners, an increased thrust on digital initiatives, integration on leading television shows, and improved air connectivity between the two countries, have been key factors in boosting travel to Australia. To support the travel trade distribution network, Tourism Australia runs the ‘Aussie Specialist Program’, an online training initiative aimed at building confidence and knowledge levels of travel representatives on the destination.

Indian travel enthusiasts can to check out some exciting itineraries to explore Australia with trusted travel advisors such as Kulin Kumar Holidays,, Mercury Travels, SOTC, Thomas Cook, TUI India, Veena World, D’Pauls, and Flightshop. The Tourism Forecasting Committee (TFC) has predicted 265,000 visitors from India for the July 2016 - Jun 17 period, a 9.6% increase over 2015-16. Arrivals from India are expected to perform well with an average annual financial year growth rate of 6.4 per cent through to the financial year 2021-22.

Masterchef India serves up a feast in Sydney Sydney’s culinary credentials were the highlight of this weekend’s MasterChef India Season 5’s semi-final episodes, as the judges and remaining six contestants cooked their way across the Harbour city’s most iconic locations. From Bondi Beach to the Harbour foreshore, and the Sydney Cricket Ground, judges Chef Vikas Khanna, Chef Kunal Kapur and Zorawar Kalra put the contestants through a series of Master Classes, Pressure Tests and a Mystery Box challenges that saw Dinesh Patel, Kirti Bhautika, Ashima Arora and Mirvan Vinayak through to the season 5 grand finale. Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said: “Sydney was the perfect destination to host the important MasterChef India semi-finals. Home to the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and world-famous beaches, particularly with our food scene dominated by an abundance of local, fresh produce. Sydney really is a haven for food lovers and is one of the world’s favourite culinary capitals. “Combining food and wine experiences, including visiting the Sydney Cricket Ground, shopping for local produce at Bondi Beach, and taking in the beautiful harbour and surrounds, the MasterChef India crew has showcased some of New South Wales’ quintessential produce such as South Coast Oysters, Macadamias, John Dory Fish and Lemon Myrtle. Fans of the show are able to add these food and tourist experiences to their own itinerary when planning their visit to Sydney and New South Wales,” she further added.

MMPRC launches brand new ‘VisitMaldives’ website


aldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation launched the brand new ‘VisitMaldives’ website with new interactive features at a recent event. The event was attended by representatives of various stakeholders of the Maldivian tourism industry. Haris Mohamed, the Acting Managing Director of MMPRC gave a detailed explanation of the new outlook and features of the website. The website was launched by the Minister of Tourism, Hon. Moosa Zameer.

Speaking at the event Haris Mohamed said: “We are very excited to launch this brand new website. It has a very sleek and user-friendly outlook. The new website consists of new innovative and interactive features which includes a live chat feature, front end registration for guests as well as search listings by atoll. We

have also completely revamped the Members Area with members now being able to have greater creative autonomy, make online payments in the future, get easier access to our market reports as well as obtain discounted rates for advertising.” “We experienced over 1 million visits to the former ‘VisitMaldives’ website for the year 2016 inspite of the website being only available in 4 languages. Now, we have included 15 languages and also hope to add extra 15 languages in the future bringing the grand total to 30 catering to key target markets of the Maldives. Therefore, we strongly believe that we will be able to attract significantly higher visits and engagements to our website in the years to come,” he added.

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NYC receives 60 million visitors for first time WH Desk


ayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and NYC & Company announced that the City will welcome an all-time record 60.3 million visitors by year’s end, surpassing the 60 million visitor milestone for the first time ever, and representing the seventh consecutive year of travel and tourism growth for the City. The new figure is 600,000 visitors higher than the original forecast of 59.7 million announced earlier this year, and 1.8 million more visitors than last year’s revised year-end figure of 58.5 million. Travel and tourism now sustains more than 375,000 jobs in New York City, representing a gain of 15,000 jobs over the last year. “Not only has 2016 brought the largest number of visitors in New York City history, but it also caps off seven years of strong tourism growth and 15,000 more jobs for New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “More tourism means we have more people investing in New York City and are able to create more sustainable jobs for more people. New York is a culturally rich and diverse city, with so much to offer those who visit. I look forward to continue promoting this beautiful city and welcoming all those who visit in the future.” “We are very excited to host a record high number of visitors who are interested in learning about the vibrant culture of our wonderful city,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Visiting New York City can mean the trip of a lifetime, and we want to offer everyone the opportunity to truly have the full experience. I look forward to working with the Mayor and NYC & Company to continue fostering the growth of New York City’s important tourism industry.” To continue welcoming record visitation and boost winter travel in 2017, NYC & Company unveiled a new ‘Nonstop NYC’ programme comprising its popular vibrancy programmes NYC Restaurant Week®, NYC Broadway WeekSM, NYC Off-

Broadway WeekSM and an all-new NYC Attractions Week. The organisation is also expanding its ‘See Your City, See it for Yourself’ and Official NYC Family Ambassador campaigns to further encourage travel during the first quarter and beyond. This year, visitors from the United States will represent a forecasted 47.6 million visitors while travellers from international markets will comprise an estimated 12.65 million international visitors, both all-time highs. Among all visitors, meetings delegates will comprise 6.15 million people. In 2017, NYC & Company is forecasting the City will welcome approximately 61.8 million visitors with 48.7 million domestic travelers and 13.1 million international visitors. Hotel demand in the five boroughs has grown this year by 1.2 million, generating 34.9 million hotel room nights sold by year’s end, an all-time record. Home to more than 111,000 hotel rooms, the City is also expected to add 24,000 new hotel rooms by the end of 2019, reflecting the nation’s most robust hotel development pipeline. A significant contribution to the City’s economy, hotel and sales taxes are estimated to contribute over $1 billion in revenues this year.

Visit California conducts Luxury Workshops in New Delhi & Mumbai WH Desk


n the effort to continue inspiring story telling and expand luxury products for California, Visit California in partnership with FRHI Hotels & Resorts conducted a Luxury Workshop in Delhi and Mumbai this December 2016. The workshop targeted travel companies focusing on luxury and high-end travellers. Senior agents from selected travel companies in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai & Ahmedabad were invited to be part of the workshop. It was a closed door session to discuss various high end destinations and experiences in California including what’s new. The focus of the workshop was to give product update to agents who are specialised in handling niche travellers. The workshop included product updates from destinations like Palm Springs, Los Angeles County (Including Beverly Hills/ Santa Monica), Big Sur, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Napa, and Orange County etc. A total of 38 agents attended the workshop. Pampering just comes with the territory in California. The golden state offers an incredible range of ways to spend the holiday in style.

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There is the scenery, of course, and accommodations as spectacular as their settings. California’s pamper-perfect destinations make sure that you have that dream getaway that you deserve, with choices ranging from kasbah-like desert retreats to endless ocean views from your private balcony. Toss in top golf and amazing spas and you may never leave.

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JC Residency Resorts in Kodai & Madurai affiliates With RCI WH Desk


CI, the global leader in holiday exchange and a division of the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands, along with JC Residency announces an agreement to affiliate JC Residency resorts in Kodaikanal and Madurai to the RCI network. Located on the lofty mountains of Kodaikanal and in the heart of Madurai, these resorts are ideal for weekend getaways. “We are delighted to welcome onboard JC Residency Resorts in Kodaikanal and Madurai to our growing RCI family,” says Pali Badwal, Managing Director, RCI India. “This affiliation will enable us to provide an experience of holistic wellness to our members amidst the tranquil hills of the south and help them discover the charm of the temple city.” Situated on the mountains of Kodaikanal, the JC Residency is the perfect retreat to unwind and relax. With 22 super deluxe rooms and 12 regal suits, the hotel is backed with a proactive team, multi cuisine restaurant, conference halls, banquet facilities, amphitheater and kids play area. The gushing brooks and serene

Radisson Blu Hotel enters in Coimbatore WH Desk


entrally located on Avinashi Road and a mere seven kilometres away from Coimbatore International Airport and Coimbatore Junction, the city’s primary railway station, Radisson Blu Coimbatore l is also close to textile and engineering industries, educational institutions and multi-specialty hospitals. Stylish, sophisticated and comfortable, guests will enjoy the brand’s internationally renowned Yes I Can!SMservice philosophy together with the property’s contemporary design and facilities. Raj Rana, Chief Executive Officer, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group said: “Radisson Blu Coimbatore is set to raise the bar on the city’s upper-upscale hospitality landscape and bring new hospitality standards to the city. We are honored to be partnering with GBJ Hotels Pvt. Ltd and appreciate their trust in our brand and expertise. With 140 hotels in operation and under-development, this hotel will be a valued addition as we expand and grow our footprint in South India.” G. Balasubramaniam, Managing Director, GBJ Hotels Pvt. Ltd., added, “This is our first hospitality venture and we are happy in the strong leadership of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and its South Asia team. We are confident that their proven experience and marketing expertise will benefit the hotel and I look forward to a mutually rewarding long-term association with the Group.” Designed to welcome modern and savvy travellers, Radisson Blu Coimbatore offers 135 rooms and suites with amenities, a relaxing well-appointed retreat for corporate and leisure guests. The hotel has an array of meeting spaces including a 9,400-sq. ft. banquet hall with additional pre-function area and a lawn for preevent entertainment.

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hills make it the ideal place to spend lazy misty mornings and laid back days visiting estates, embarking on treks or just wandering. The hotel rooted in the heart of the city, the JC Residency in Madurai is within easy reach of the historical landmarks, tourist destinations, business areas and shopping hubs. With 83 executive rooms and 9 regal suits, JC Residency Madurai offers a blend of business and luxury. Equipped with upscale amenities, genial personalized services, premium meeting and event facilities, it draws both business and leisure travellers. “We look forward to our affiliation with RCI. Our association with RCI will certainly open the doors to a whole new world of committed travelers, for whom we will continue to provide the best local flavors they can experience” said C. Jayapaul, MD, JC Residency. Pali further adds, “We strive hard to provide unique and best in class services for our members through our continuous affiliations. We are committed towards enhancing our resort portfolio and expanding our growth by affiliating with quality resorts and hotels throughout the Indian subcontinent.”

ITDC outshines at Governance Now PSU Awards 2016 WH Desk


ndia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has been bestowed with ‘Best PSU award for CSR Initiative’ in Miniratna Non Financial Category at the 4th Edition of Governance Now PSU Awards 2016. The award was presented to ITDC at a star studded award ceremony in New Delhi, where Umang Narula, Chairman & Managing Director, ITDC and Piyush Tiwari, Director Commercial & Marketing, ITDC received the esteemed award from Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister of Food and Public Distribution and renowned actor Jeetendra. ITDC has adopted Qutub Minar as a part of its CSR initiative under the aegis of Government of India’s Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and organizes regular cleanliness drives at the monument’s premises. It has provided a dedicated workforce to supplement the staff of ASI involved in maintaining cleanliness of the monument.


Sheraton Hotels & Resorts opens second Grand property in India WH Desk


heraton Hotels & Resorts announced the opening of Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden Hotel, a newly renovated property set to welcome business and leisure guests visiting this bustling IT and industrial hub. The new hotel joins a portfolio of 36 Sheraton Grand properties, the brand’s premier tier of hotels recognized for its exciting destinations, distinguished designs, and excellence in service and guest experiences. Owned by BrahmaCorp, Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden Hotel is the second ‘Sheraton Grand’ hotel in India and the fourth Sheraton hotel in the country. “We are thrilled to expand the Sheraton Grand presence in India with the opening of our second premier-tier hotel in the country. As Pune continues to make it possible for business travellers to find success as the IT capital of India, Sheraton is committed to delivering luxury to guests through excellence in service,” said Jaswinder Narang, Complex General Manager of Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden Hotel. “Through this renovation and opening, we have worked diligently to solidify Sheraton as a leading global hotel brand of choice.”

Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden Hotel recently completed an extensive rebranding and renovation, featuring a complete transformation of its 177 well-appointed guest rooms, lobby and public spaces as well as added meeting facilities. A stay in one of the 28 Sheraton Club Rooms gives guests exclusive access to the Sheraton Club Lounge, a relaxing, upscale space featuring complimentary American breakfast, afternoon cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, and a variety of beverage options. The hotel’s signature restaurant, Feast, boasts a lively, fun and family-friendly atmosphere, offering international cuisines at the

all-day buffet. Bene, an upbeat and friendly Italian trattoria features a rustic menu of salads, soups, antipasti, pastas, rotisserie meats and homemade bread that can be savored within the old-world ambience. Explore the exotic flavors of North India while enjoying the cool breeze atop the rooftop at Chingari, an all-Indian cuisine restaurant featuring local delicacies. Guests can also experience Sheraton’s inventive lobby bar menu concept, Paired which offers unexpected and innovative pairings of small plates and premium wines and beers. The hotel also offers a range of function spaces including elegant venues, state-of-the-art-facilities and conference rooms. Its 6,100 square foot Majestic Hall and Sovereign Room both add undeniable character to any event at hand with its intricate murals as a centerpiece. Pairing elegance with convenience, all of the rooms are equipped with state of the art audio-visual technology and high speed internet, ideal for corporate and social gatherings. “Pune has seen a growing demand for internationally-branded hotel experiences in recent years, says Ajay Aggarwal, Managing Director, Brahma Corp. “We are confident that the Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden will become a preferred destination for both business and leisure travelers to the city of Pune.”

Melia Hotels marks entry into Bangkok WH Desk


elia Hotels International, Spain’s leading hotel group, announced the signing of Melia Bangkok, marking the group’s first property in Bangkok and second overall in the country. Melia Bangkok forms part of Melia’s strategic focus on international growth – one that has made Melia the first Spanish hotel group to open hotels in markets, such as China, the U.S. and the U.A.E. Managed under the Melia Hotels & Resorts brand, the brand-new, upscale hotel will bolster the group’s already strong portfolio of urban resorts around the world. Melia Bangkok will feature a total of 315 luxurious guest accommodations, and offer exceptional F&B outlets, spa amenities, a fitness center and meeting facilities, complementing the mixed-use development of retail and office space. With a central location in the heart of Sukhumvit plied by thoroughfares of the city, and 30 minutes from Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Melia Bangkok will grant guests easy access to Bangkok Mall, an ultra modern complex housing entertainment (including two theme parks), commercial, residential and office spaces; Terminal 21; and Benjasiri Park.

Melia Hotels & Resorts, the most international brand of the group, has 126 properties worldwide and over 30 years of presence in Asia; and Melia Bangkok is yet another reaffirmation of the group’s commitment to the region. The brand is highly valued by travellers worldwide and characterized by the personalised experiences provided through the Passion for Service culture. In 2016 Melia Hotels International celebrates its 60th Anniversary and maintains its robust momentum in Asia, where the group will double its portfolio of new hotels by 2020: At present there are 13 hotels open and another 21 hotels in the pipeline; Melia Bangkok brings the total number of properties in the region to 35. “It gives us great confidence to partner with Asset World to launch the Melia brand in a thriving destination such as Bangkok,” said Bernardo Cabot Estarellas, Senior Vice President Asia Pacific of Melia Hotels International. “Our growth strategy must be accompanied with major local partners who share our vision, philosophy and culture – even more so when we’re entering the second most visited country in Southeast Asia. I believe Melia’s impeccable track record of 60 years in hotel management and Spanish service culture will stand us in good stead to achieve growth while delivering an unmatched guest experience.”

January 2017 33


Cox and Kings owned Meininger Hotels set to open second property in Brussels WH Desk


ox & Kings-owned Meininger Hotels signed a lease contract with Nelson Canal for a hotel in Brussels. The hotel will have 150 rooms and 668 beds and will be located on Rue Bara 101 close to the main railway station in Brussels. The hotel is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2018 and will be Meininger’s second hotel in Brussels. Due to its location next to the biggest train station in Belgium, Gare du Midi, the hotel’s connection to public transport is excellent. High-speed trains from major European cities like Paris, London and Amsterdam stop here. The train station, streetcar stop and subway station are within walking distance. The city center is also very close. The Grand Place is a 20-minute walk from the hotel. The new building acquires a gross floor area of 6,700sqm. The room types will range from standard double rooms, to private rooms with multiple beds through to a bed in a dormitory. All public spaces including the reception, lobby, lounge, breakfast room and bar as well as guest kitchen and games room, which are all typical features of a MEININGER hotel, will be located

on the ground floor. The basement area will offer 30 private underground parking spaces next to the public parking that is being created. Hannes Spanring, CEO of Meininger Hotels, said, “In two years’ time MEININGER will have two hotels in Brussels. The location of the new hotel at Gare du Midi is excellent. We are looking forward to welcoming the typical MEININGER guest mix of families, tourists and business travelers.” Meininger is a subsidiary of Holidaybreak Ltd, a travel group specialising in educational and activity holidays. Holidaybreak Ltd is a subsidiary of Prometheon Holdings (UK) Ltd, which is a part of Cox & Kings Ltd. Cox & Kings Ltd, is listed on the National Stock Exchange, the BSE Ltd and also on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Meininger currently operates 16 hotels in Europe, with a total of 7,025 beds in 10 European cities, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne, London, Munich, Salzburg and Vienna. The unique hybrid concept of MEININGER is based upon combining the service and comfort of a hotel with the uncomplicated nature of a hostel; top locations, high-quality amenities, flexible room structure and reasonable prices.

Iconic Atlantis Resort to open in Ko Olina On O’ahu, Hawaii WH Desk


hina Oceanwide (together with its subsidiary, ‘Oceanwide Resort Paradise HI LLC’) entered into a management agreement with subsidiaries of Kerzner International Holdings Limited, a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts and ultra-luxury hotels, for a new, Atlantis resort in Ko Olina, a 642 acre development on the white sand beaches of the island of O’ahu in Hawaii. “Hawaii is the perfect location for our next Atlantis destination resort. This resort is set to quickly become a new landmark in Hawaii and will introduce the fun, interactive entertainment experiences at the heart of the Atlantis philosophy,” said Serge Zaalof, Chief Operating Officer, Atlantis Resorts. The addition of Atlantis will further position Ko Olina as a premier mixed-use destination offering a sophisticated collection of upscale hotels, luxury resort residences, fine dining, alongside four crescent beach lagoons. This will be the first Atlantis resort in the United States, along with the brand’s flagship in Dubai, Atlantis, The Palm and the new icon in China, Atlantis, Sanya Hainan which will open in 2017, as well as The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences in Dubai. Kerzner has plans to continue to grow and develop the Atlantis brand globally.

“Atlantis resorts are iconic entertainment destinations that significantly contribute to the surrounding community, and Hawaii will be no exception,” commented Jean-Gabriel Pérès, President and Chief Executive Officer, Kerzner International. “Ko Olina is an incredible project with exceptional partners in global leaders China Oceanwide and

34 January 2017

The Resort Group. Atlantis will astonish and amaze, as well as celebrate the history and culture of Hawaii. An unsurpassed location will provide endless wonders, with its magnificent sense of discovery, whilst also pioneering previously unseen experiences. I am proud we are bringing Atlantis, a must-see resort, to O’ahu.” Overlooking both the stunning Honu and Kohola Lagoons, Atlantis will offer a sense of awe-inspiring discovery, encompassing over 26 acres of unparalleled excitement and larger than life experiences, revolutionary water play in Aquaventure Waterpark, The Ambassador Lagoon and The Lost Chambers Aquarium and incredible dining experiences. Already a leading holiday destination, the addition of Atlantis to Ko Olina will continue the area’s transformation as the new centre for entertainment in Hawaii with the addition of this new trailblazing landmark. “Oceanwide is honored to partner with The Resort Group and Kerzner in bringing one of the world’s most prestigious and quality resorts – Atlantis – to the state of Hawai‘i. We believe strongly that Atlantis will bolster the already strong tourism market, increasing visitor spending and adding much-needed hotel rooms to the island,” said Steven Wang, Senior Vice President, Oceanwide Resort Paradise HI LLC.


Glorious moment for Centara Nova Hotel & Spa Pattaya & Centara Pattaya Hotel Centara Nova Hotel & Spa Pattaya took home Green Hotel Gold Award 2016 while sister hotel Centara Pattaya Hotel was bestowed the Silver. WH Desk


entara Hotels & Resorts announced its latest accolades following the country’s most prestigious environmental awards ceremony for tourism industry operators. At the Thai Environment Day Event, held recently at IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Centre in Nonthaburi, Centara Nova Hotel & Spa Pattaya received its first ‘Green Hotel Gold Award 2016’ from Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment. Winning this prestigious national award is a testament to the hotel’s persistence and dedication to promote several of its green initiatives, as well as to the tireless work of all employees and involved industry partners. Throughout the year, Centara Nova Hotel & Spa Pattaya has integrated green initiatives into every aspect of the hotel operations, from overall energy and water saving, utilisation of renewable energy – namely turning sunlight into electricity by solar cells, to social initiatives that promote recycling of material waste from the hotel, expanding green areas for the community and campaigning for hotel guests to participate in several environmental programmes. Its sister hotel, Centara Pattaya Hotel, located on the same road as Centara Nova Hotel & Spa Pattaya secured the ‘Green Hotel Silver Award’ this year, a result of knowledge transfer and hands-on implementation from one hotel managed by the

same General Manager and team of operations staff to the other. “The awards were the results of every little thing we do,” said Jonas Sjöstedt, General Manager of Centara Nova Hotel & Spa Pattaya and Centara Pattaya Hotel. “To reinforce cost-saving with many of our green initiatives while making both hotels live up to visitors’ expectations has meant a lot of planning, implementing, evaluating and improving. I am particularly pleased that both hotels have been recognised by the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment with their first environmental awards, especially the Gold Award for Centara Nova Hotel & Spa Pattaya for the first time.”

Privy launches Treebo Hotels in talks consumer website with VC funds to WH Desk


rivy, a bespoke ensemble of independent luxury boutique hotels and resorts in the Indian Subcontinent has announced the launch of its consumer website ‘’. The brand website features a vibrant and responsive design, and offers real time availability and instant reservations at some of the finest boutique hotels in the country. Privy is designed to bridge the gap between the discerning Indian traveller and the finest independent luxury hotels and resorts available across the subcontinent. For Privy member hotels, the platform creates a unique combination of price sensitivity vs. quality and strengthens their revenue potential through integrated support in sales, marketing, revenue management and electronic distribution.

On the launch of, Yeishan Goel, CEO said: “At Privy, we celebrate the innate urge to travel with your loved ones while assuring them of an inimitable experience. We are pleased to announce the launch of our dynamic consumer centric website that would further aid in carving a competitive advantage for our growing portfolio of member hotels as well as enable our customers with instant reservations at some of the finest boutique hotels in the subcontinent.”

raise USD 25mn WH Desk


reebo Hotels, a budget hotel room-booking platform, has begun talks with venture capital funds to raise around USD 25 million (around Rs l70 crore), two people aware of the development said. Treebo raised USD 17 million in July in a round led by Bertelsmann India Investments (BII), the strategic investment arm of German media conglomerate Bertelsmann SE and Co. KGaA. Existing investors Matrix Partners India and SAIF Partners also participated in the funding round. In June 2015, Treebo raised $6 million from SAIF Partners and Matrix Partners India. Announcing its previous fund-raising in July, Treebo said that it plans to expand its presence to more than 60 cities, and take its inventory from 3,000 rooms to more than 12,000 across 450 properties over the next 12 months. These cities will include a mix of business and leisure destinations, it said. The company also plans to launch new brand extensions, including a midscale brand and a leisure brand.

January 2017 35


Ghungroo The Sounds of Yore Ghungroo – The Sound Yore, introducing the first of its kind, immersive reality experience to bring some colour and glow to Delhi evenings. Conceptualised and created keeping the most authentic and the best in mind, Ghungroo is an endeavour to deliver something out of the ordinary. WHAT: Delhi or ‘Dehleez’, the doorway to India has a past as glorious, varied and colourful as the nation it represents. This festive season, embark with Yamuna, the meandering river that has forever patronised the city, on a journey that is filled with enchanting tales of power, conquests, revenge, devotion and love that (as Sir Walter Scott said) ‘Swells like the Solway and ebbs like a tide’. Join this magnificent show every evening on this extra ordinary saga of romance with the bygone era, a Kathak Dance musical narrative, followed by an authentic, straight from fire, Indian Barbeque. WHEN: Daily 6:15pm – 9:00pm (until the 30th April 2017) WHERE: Parsi Anjuman Hall, Bahadur Shah Zafar Road, LNJP Colony (Near Maulana Azad College) Delhi 110002. Pick and drop from hotel (Available on request)

PRICE (Based on per Person/child): Regal (Royal Sitting, Front Rows) INR 3500 (Adult), INR 2500 (10-14 years). Regular INR 3000 (Adult), INR 2000 per child (10-14 years) INCLUSION: ÂÂAn immersive Dance Narrative. (Please be seated by 6:20 pm) ÂÂAn Authentic, Hand Crafted, Barbeque Dinner. ÂÂLocal Taxes


An Impulse Planning paradox is the emerging trend amongst Indian travellers WH Desk


YO’s year-end analysis of hotel-bookings in 2016 confirms that a majority of Indian travellers are increasingly driven by impulse. Impulsively planned trips emerged as the top driver for outstation trips both in business and leisure travel segment. Almost 61% of all the bookings made on OYO platform were made within 24 hours prior to check-in. The research further highlights that despite the last-minute bookings, travellers’ expectations in terms of service, facilities and experience are pre-determined and non-negotiable. WiFi, Breakfast and Hygienic rooms are the three biggest priorities for guests. With 7000 hotels in over 200 cities, OYO is India’s largest hotel-network and has effected over 5 million check-ins to date. Commenting on the insights, Kavikrut, Chief Growth Officer, OYO, said, “We are witnessing a travel awakening in India. Along with the surge in bookings from impulse travelers both within leisure and business segments, we see an emerging paradox in that even as travel-planning cycle reduces further, the expectations from onground suppliers and agents is of delivering a non-negotiable and predetermined experience.” OYO’s Research Identified

Using its cutting-edge data science and pricing technology, OYO also identified the most-expensive and most-affordable localities for budget hotels in top travel destinations. Average tariff (in INR)

Most Affordable Locality

Average tariff (in INR)

Most Expensive Locality



GIDC Vatva





Indiranagar Extension


Bangalore Airport










Pragati Maidan








Sohna Road













Sindhi Camp

ÂÂChennai, Goa and Gurgaon as the top-contributors to hotelbooking via app.


Ruby Hospital 2014 Kolkata



ÂÂShillong, Coorg, Darjeeling, Vishakhapatnam, and Munnar as most popular winter-holiday destinations in 2016



South Mumbai


36 January 2017



TRAVEL TRENDS IN 2017 People from all around the world have had one thing in common this year, the realisation of investing more in experiences than investing in tangible products. This mass understanding especially amongst the millennials has helped grow the travel and tourism industry multifold. Rakshit Desai


ike 2016, 2017 will also be full of exciting itineraries with top travel destinations of the year. As per our internal research and analysis, 2017 will witness a number of international and domestic destinations that will hit the charts with tourist attractions.

INTERNATIONAL TRENDS Short Haul Destinations Short haul destinations are always a favourite with Indian travellers. One long weekend is stimulant enough to accomplish travel instincts. Year 2016 saw an upsurge of as high as 22% for short haul destinations. Destinations that will see a continuous uptake in 2017 include Vietnam, Bali and Dubai. Vietnam surely is on every travellers list, particularly for the ones who choose to take the road less travelled. Unlike other holiday destinations Vietnam is mostly popular as a stress-free destination with Visa on Arrival for Indians and improved flight connectivity. Additionally, Vietnam offers a value-for-money package with affordable eateries and low exchange rates with a stronger rupee, thereby making the destination the most popular choice of value-conscious Indian travellers. Its top attractions include Halong Bay, Hanoi, Sapa, Nha Trang, Mekong Delta etc. Another evergreen destination that is most likely to make place in the Indian traveller’s bucket list in 2017 is Bali. Bali doesn’t necessarily have a peak season nor does it need any occasion as the weather is always travel friendly. The beautiful villas and resorts with breath-taking views of Seminyak and Kuta Beach is a complete game-changer for travellers looking for cost effective accommodations. Luring tourists both for its serenity and culture, buzzing energy and adventure activities such as

water sports and cycling holidays, Bali is expected to be one of the hottest tourist spot in 2017. Long Haul Destination Europe, the prized holiday destination of Indian travellers, will be the favourite Long Haul Destination, especially for honeymoon couples and solo travellers. The most popular trio, France, Switzerland and Austria accounts for a large number of Indian travellers, as observed in 2016. From sports activities in the Alpine Lakes to Skiing holidays and tobogganing, cycling, paragliding and hiking amid the beautiful and fresh mountain ranges, the European belt is expected to see an uptake of 12 to 15% in 2017. Scandinavian countries (Norway and the Nordic Finland) too will steal the limelight for its mesmerising Aurora Borealis famously known as ‘The Northern Lights’ and Nordic walking. The spine chilling winters, bundled in sleeping bags and lying under the magnificent northern lights is an experience for many and will continue to attract a lot of travellers. Self-Drives Another interesting trend which is most likely to be hot in 2017 is Self-Drives. Self-drive holidays have seen an upsurge with today’s travellers wanting to explore more about their travel destinations. These will continue to gain great traction as the new age voyagers are constantly looking for raw and authentic experiences. Apart from being economical, self-drive breaks allow travellers to discover new and offbeat paths and tread their own. With an adventurous and thrilling vibe to the idea of experiencing the trails first hand, self-drive holidays are a hit with not just experienced travellers but also youngsters. The most beautiful and exotic getaways to trend in 2017 are Europe, New Zealand and UK with some breath-taking driveways. USA and Australia are expected to see a fair amount of takes, too. Having said that, Self-drive escapes will surely be a trendsetter in 2017!

Rakshit Desai Managing Director FCM Travel Solutions, India

DOMESTIC TRENDS Incredible India is a favourite destination for both inbound and domestic travellers. Down South of India famous for its lush green hills and rich heritage, is expected to be a part of every group’s plan – honeymoon couples, families, group of friends, solo travellers, etc. Domestic destinations saw an upsurge of 25% in 2016 and we are sure of it soaring even higher in 2017. Places like Coorg, famous for its blue colour clean beans, also attract travellers owing to its rich wildlife and scenic locales. Activities like trekking, water sports, camps under the stars, jeep safaris, etc., Coorg is set to attract large number of Indian travellers especially between the months of November and April. Talking about evergreen destinations, Goa will continue to be in trend in 2017. Starting with the beautiful beaches, one can be adventurous with water sports activities, sun bathe for long hours and enjoy refreshing cocktails under the sun. Rajasthan is another destination that will be one of the top hotspots for Indian travellers in 2017. The land of Maharajas and royalty is always blessed with wealth and fortune. Rich in all aspects of tourist attractions i.e. food, culture, heritage, wildlife and scenic places, it has recently been highly popular amongst the youth with music festivals, the biggest one being ‘Magnetic Fields’. Top destinations in Rajasthan that people are sure to visit are Jaipur famously known as the Pink City, Jaisalmer in the midst of the Thar desert, Jodhpur also known as the sun city and Udaipur which is the city of lakes

January 2017 37


Saraswathi Naveen Hotel Manager Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park

Vijay Krishnan General Manager Alila Fort Bishangarh, Jaipur

Rasika Mathur Sr. Sales Manager India Reunion Island Tourism Board

Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park has appointment Saraswathi Naveen as Hotel Manager. She has over 15 years of experience in managing and leading the Sales and Marketing division and has been associated with Starwood Hotels & Resorts (now Marriott International Inc.) since August 2011. Her expertise lies in developing talent, creating business development plans, sales operational policies and guidelines for maintaining market leadership. Prior to moving to Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Park, Saraswathi was the Director of South division leading the Starwood Sales Organisation.

Alila Hotels & Resorts announced the appointment of Vijay Krishnan as the General Manager of Alila Fort Bishangarh, Jaipur. Drawing on more than a decade of experience in the hospitality business, he will be responsible for all operations at this beautifully restored 59-suite fortress. Prior to his appointment with Alila, Vijay was the General Manager of Four Points by Sheraton Jaipur and where he had successfully completed the conversion of The Anya, Gurgaon – Member of Design Hotels to Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Rasika Mathur has been appointed as Sr Sales Manager-India, Marketing & Promotion, Reunion Island Tourism Board. She comes with 15 years of comprehensive experience, mixed with remarkable stability in travel and airline industry. Proficient in managing a wide range of travel operation with high level of expertise in Aviation sector Rasika is excellent in team building and client relationship management skills. Her area of excellence is customer relationship management, product promotion, sales and marketing.

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