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Volume IV Issue II November 2017

In Focus

ADTOI Convention Domestic tourism stakeholders all set to highlight key concerns P-20


VIZAG Unforgettable On the Cover : Bora Caves




Taiwan’s Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability P-31






CONTENTS Editor Rajesh Tiwari +91 9818525672

Correspondents Jai Kishan Kaparwan Nisha Awasthi

Art Director






Mithlesh Gupta




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

36 WORLD 37




We have practised dynamic pricing and generating more stay reviews: Ravi Rai

Principal Advisor Anil Prakash

Legal Advisor Advocate Brijesh Tiwari

Production & Distribution


Production Manager Subhash Solanki Distribution Executive Anoop Singh



CA Rishabh Rana

Technical & Web Support

ADTOI Convention

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

Domestic tourism stakeholders all set to highlight key concerns




VIZAG Unforgettable Experience


Dear Readers,


As we all know the Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) is organizing its 8th Annual Convention in Vizag, Andhra Pradesh. While I interacted to the President of ADTOI Mr PP Khanna he was very confident to make it one of the most successful conventions in the history of ADTOI. He asked the members of the association to participate in a large number. Furthermore, it’s good to hear that the stakeholders of this segment are set to highlight the key concerns and exchange of ideas for further growth of domestic tourism. Well, as I have seen, apart from brain storming sessions and effective communication between the Government (centre/state) and industry stakeholders, the travel-trade Conventions are providing best opportunities for skill enhancement and education of their participants. I believe taking a clue from other important events, the association (ADTOI) will come up with concrete ideas and adopt best practices to make the upcoming Convention a fruitful event for industry stakeholders. I wish the convention a grand success.


Taiwan’s Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability


9th Annual Clarks Inn Leadership Summit 2017

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32 MoT organizes PARYATAN PARV

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Nakul Anand to continue as FAITH Chairman

The Annual General Meeting also recommended creation of an additional position of the Vice Chairman. Sunil Kumar, nominated by Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has stepped into that role. Subhash Goyal takes over as Honorary Secretary, nominated by Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO). WH Desk


ederation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) has elected its new team of Office Bearers. The new team is Nakul Anand – Chairman, nominated by Hotel Association of India (HAI), Akshay Kumar - Vice Chairman, nominated by Adventure Tour Operators Association of Nakul Anand India (ATOAI), Chairman Subhash Goyal FAITH – Honorary Secretary, nominated by Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), Garish Oberoi

– Treasurer, nominated by Federation of Hotels & Association of India (FHRAI).

The Annual General Meeting also recommended creation of an additional position of the Vice Chairman. Sunil Kumar, nominated by Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has stepped into that role.


he Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. Group declared strong consolidated Financial Results for the Quarter ended September 30, 2017, with a growth in total Income from Operations of 27% from Rs. 21192Mn. to Rs. 26906Mn. and a PAT increase from Rs. 200Mn. to Rs. 740Mn. Thomas Cook (Travel Services Group): The Travel Services Group (excluding Quess & Sterling) registered a 31% growth in Revenue from Operations from Rs. 10235Mn. to Rs. 13433Mn. The period saw the acquisition of Kuoni’s global Destination Management (DMS) network across 17 countries being completed and factored for the first time, into the results of this quarter.

Quess Corp Limited: Revenue grew 25.2% to Rs. 1,2740Mn.from Rs. 1,0177Mn., EBITDA grew 20.5% to Rs. 665Mn. from Rs. 551Mn. PAT grew 366.7% to Rs. 1406Mn. from Rs. 301Mn.

6 November 2017

WH Desk

All the five positions have been unanimously elected by the FAITH Board. Aashish Gupta continues as the Consulting CEO of FAITH. The FAITH Board has acknowledged the contribution of all the founder members of FAITH who have created a national platform for the whole industry and which is now an inevitable strategic think tank for tourism, partnering proactively with the Centre and the State Governments. The FAITH Board profusely thanked the outgoing Vice Chairman, Sarab Jit Singh for his immense personal commitment and contribution to FAITH. The FAITH Board also thanked the outgoing Honorary Secretary, Saeed M. Shervani for aligning FAITH very strongly for all the internal compliances among the ten member associations.

TCI announces strong results for the quarter ended Sept 2017 WH Desk

GST on restaurants reduced to 5% across categories without ITC

Sterling Holiday Resorts Limited: Room nights and resort revenues grew by 11% & 10% respectively, in spite of nil occupancy in Darjeeling and Gangtok resorts, due to regional disturbances. The EBITDA loss reduced, due to various cost rationalization initiatives undertaken. Madhavan Menon, Chairman and Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. said, “The mid and long term growth opportunity in travel - from and to Asia, is crystal clear. To leverage this opportunity, our focus remains on Risk Diversification – with our acquisition of Kuoni’s global Destination Management, Consolidation – via our just completed acquisition of Tata Capital’s Travel & Forex businesses and Productivity – with increasing investments in technology across digitization, automation and analytics. This three pronged strategic approach, will ensure we are in the best position to leverage the global network we have created, to maximize stakeholder value”


he 23rd GST Council meeting concluded at Guwahati in Assam has decided to bring down the GST rates on all sorts of restaurants from the current 18% and 12% to 5%. While the hotel and restaurant industry has been demanding uniform 12% tax incidence on restaurants of all categories, the government considering all sides has decided to give a big relief to the industry by rationalising the GST incidence at a uniform 5%. While giving this big relief to the industry, the GST Council has taken away the Input Tax Credit (ITC) extended earlier to the sector. The Council after deliberations has decided to move 13 items from the 18% to 12% GST bracket, 6 items from 18% to 5%, 8 items from 12% to 5%, 6 items from 5% to nil. Announcing the decisions of the Council meet, the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley has said that there has been a consensus to bring down the maximum tax incidence from the current 28% to 18% over a period of time taking into account the implications on the overall revenue collections. The hotel and restaurant industry has widely welcomed the GST Councils decision to reduce the GST rate on restaurants and bring it at a uniform 5%. The new rates will come into effect from November 15.


Tourism Minister KJ Alphons elected MoT organizes Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan ‘Paryatan Parv’

from 5th to 25th October

WH Desk


he Tourism Minister Government of India, K J Alphons has been elected unopposed as Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan. The bypoll was necessitated after former MP Venkaiah Naidu vacated the seat following his election as the country’s Vice President. Secretary of the legislative assembly Prithvi Raj confirmed that Alphons has been elected unopposed. In the recent Cabinet reshuffle, K.J. Alphons from Kerala was appointed Minister of State for Tourism (I/C) on September 4th, 2017. “I thank Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi ji, Amit Shah ji, Vasundhara ji, MLAs and the people of Rajasthan for electing me as the Member of Parliament” the Union Minister of State for Tourism (I/C) said in a tweet. “I am from Kerala and now I am happy to be a Rajasthani,” the bureaucratturned-politician said while addressing party leaders and workers at BJP state headquarters in Jaipur. KJ Alphons said his objective was to ‘establish Rajasthan on number one position in world tourism map’. Detailing his journey from a village in Kerala to the Parliament, Alphons said, “I lived and studied in a village, where there was no electricity. My scores weren’t that good in Class 10 examination, but I topped civil services in 1979. Over the year, I held many

posts as an IAS officer before deciding to join politics. Many people told me that there weren’t many good people in politics, and I told them that is why I will join it.” He quit the civil services, in 2006 and joined politics. “I was elected as independent MLA (from Kanjirapally in Kottayam district) and was supporting the Left front,” Alphons, who joined BJP in 2011, said. “I felt that India needs a good and powerful Prime Minister, and decided to support Narendra Modi.” News Source: Hindustan Times.

AI to start Chandigarh-Bangkok direct flight from Dec 11 WH Desk


ir India plans to start a direct flight from Chandigarh to Bangkok from December 11, 2017, which will operate thrice a week. The airline’s latest aircraft – Airbus A320 Neo, will operate on this route and will offer 12 Business Class seats and 150 Economy Class seats. This aircraft will operate every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This was informed by R K Negi, Local Manager, Air India. He said, “The round trip initially will cost Rs. 22,000, while the rest of the cost will depend on the demand.” Negi also added that The Chandigarh-Bangkok flight will be the

third international flight operating from the Chandigarh International Airport. At present Indigo’s Chandigarh-Dubai and Air India Express’ Chandigarh-Sharjah flights are the only two international flights operating from Chandigarh.

WH Desk


inistry of Tourism, Government of India in collaboration with other Central Ministries, State Governments and Stakeholders has organized a ‘Paryatan Parv’ across the country from 5th to 25th October 2017. The event was organized with the objective of drawing focus on the benefits of tourism, showcasing the cultural diversity of the country and reinforcing the principle of ‘Tourism for All’. The Paryatan Parv was inaugurated at the Humayun’s Tomb on 5th October 2017. As a grand finale to the 21 day Paryatan Parv, a three day event has been organised at the Rajpath Lawns, New Delhi (between Rafi Marg and Janpath) from 23rd to 25th October 2017.The event was opened to the public from 12 noon to 10 pm on all three days and includes Cultural Performances, a Crafts Bazaar multi-cuisine Food Court and other interactive activities to keep visitors engaged at the event venue. Union Minister for Home Affairs Rajnath Singh, inaugurated the Paryatan ParvGrand Finale. Arun Jaitley, Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister presented the ‘Letters of Intent’ to seven shortlisted companies under ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’ of Ministry of Tourism at the closing ceremony of ‘ParyatanParv’.

November 2017 7


TrawellTag Cover-More plans further growth after acquisition by Zurich WH Desk


rawellTag Cover-More reported ongoing strong growth for their business six months after their acquisition by Zurich Insurance Group. In April 2017, Zurich successfully acquired Cover-More Group, a leading global travel insurance and assistance solutions provider and parent company of TrawellTag Cover-More.

According to Dev Karvat, CEO of TrawellTag Cover-More the steady growth and success of TrawellTag Cover-More in India is Dev Karvat attributable CEO in part to the TrawellTag ownership by Cover-More Group and the subsequent integration into Zurich’s global travel insurance business. “The Zurich brand is well-recognised and has an excellent reputation worldwide. We plan to further leverage the association with Zurich to drive more innovation into our business and achieve stronger growth in the travel insurance market in India,” he said.

Cover-More together represent the third largest travel insurance provider in the world and that future growth will follow from the strength of customer value propositions and distribution partnerships.“Our business in India is now multi-channel and very well positioned for the ongoing emergence of tech-savvy digital travellers,” Emmett said. According to leading market research company, Finaccord Ltd, the market for travel insurance policies in India is expected to reflect continued trip growth over the period up to 2019, and to grow at a faster rate than previously. Finaccord estimates a compound annual growth rate of 10.6% in outbound trips with gross written premiums expected to grow to USD 235.0 million in 2019, equal to a compound annual growth rate of 20.8% in nominal terms. Karvat said the India market represented great opportunity for travel insurance providers prepared to focus on customer value and, increasingly, online innovation. “The acquisition by Zurich gives our business the ability to pursue our growth ambitions with the strong backing of Zurich’s brand. We expect the next six months to show the continuing evolution of our customer value proposition,” he added.

Group CEO of Cover-More Group, Mike Emmett said that Zurich and

SOTC launches Pay just Rs 1 and go on your dream holiday WH Desk


n an endeavor to leverage the current festive holiday season and provide best value deals to customers on their bookings, SOTC has announced ‘Pay just Rs 1 and go on your dream holiday’ limited offer for value seeker Indian travellers. The offer enables the consumers to avail of a holiday right away by paying just Rs. 1 and paying off the rest over the next six months. The packages will be of no cost EMI with no processing fee and includes airfare, accommodation, sightseeing, meals, transfers as per itinerary and GST. To reach out to customers; digitally, native and retail, and ensure convenience and easy access, this offer is available across SOTC’s Omni-channel network – its online platforms (mobile & website), call centers and extensive offline outlets. Speaking about the offer Daniel D’souza, Head Sales, India and NRI Markets, SOTC Travel said, “With the shift from lump sum payment to EMI now cutting across industries from electronics to realty and automobiles, travel and tourism is no exception. Holidays are clearly heading to a ‘non-negotiable’ factor for Indian consumers. In an endeavour to lower financial barriers associated with family travel, the new EMI offering provides convenience and flexibility to travel enthusiasts. Through this campaign we seek to reiterate our position that “We are for holidays” giving shape to the dream holidays of millions of Indians.”

Aitken Spence & Sri Lankan Airlines conducts FAM tour WH Desk


itken Spence Hotels and Aitken Spence Travels Sri Lanka, which is represented by Nijhawan Group in India, in association with Sri Lankan Airlines, recently hosted prominent travel agents from Mumbai, India on a familiarisation tour from 29th October to 2nd November, 2017. Priyanka Nijhawan, Director, Nijhawan Group commented, “The FAM trip was a good opportunity to let

8 November 2017

the agents experience the hotels along with other popular attractions in the city, which will help them advice clients planning a trip to Sri Lanka accordingly.” The four-day tour to Sri Lanka showcased some of the premium hotels from the collection of Aitken Spence Hotels. The delegation led by Vineet Bangera, Sales Manager, Nijhawan Group consisted of prominent travel agents, who experienced the products with a stay at Heritance Ahungalla, Heritance

Negombo, Heritance Kandalama, Earl’s Regency and Turyaa Kalutara enabling them to promote the properties better.

November 2017 9


It’s time for Retreat Taiwan WH Desk


aking cues from the success of the health conscious new wave, Sunny Arora, entrepreneur and Fitness Enthusiast has recently launched India’s premium and organized fitness revolution through Fitness tourism. Retreat Taiwan is the second stop in its International fitness tour the core vibe of the tour focuses on the idea of celebrating fitness and travel. From calming aquatic exercises to rejuvenating hot spring massages, beach workouts and boot camps this tour is tailor made to unwind and rejuvenate. Top 5 Indian TV actresses Barkha Bisht Sengupta, Mrunal Thakur, Kanchi Singh, Tejaswi Prakash and Priyanca Talukdar accompanied by young and dapper actor Rohan Mehra and lifestyle blogger Santoshi Shetty, under the able guidance of fitness expert Ritesh Sahiwal participated in this journey through Taiwan to experience the boot-camp to revive and refresh through a dexterous programme of Fitness & Travel. Collaborating fitness, healthy lifestyle and nutritional eating – we present Retreat Taiwan as never before. Watch these fit & fab TV stars and influencers rejuvenate and relax in the tranquil serenity of Taiwan. This

trip is tailor-made to explore Taiwan like never before through the lens of meditative leisure. We look forward to create and generate re-energized testimonials,” said, Dr. Trust Lin, Director, Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Singapore Office. “Taiwanese people are very humble, down to earth and very friendly. I felt very safe here and thoroughly enjoyed my time here,” said Barkha Bisht. Mrunal Thakur thoroughly enjoyed the food in Taiwan which she found very healthy and tasty. Kanchi Singh was awed by the beauty and natural assets of Taiwan which were world-class and took the retreat to another level. Tejaswi Prakash and Priyanca also enjoyed the trip through Taiwan and deemed it perfect for a family holiday as its very safe and easy to travel through the country. The main motivation behind the trip was to build a like-minded community of health enthusiasts and curate a responsible health driven attitude in the society. The core aim is to bring together an interactive platform to exchange healthy living concepts and promote wellness and fitness with a quintessential global approach. Fitness is no longer synonymous to body building and muscles, today it’s all about

stamina, flexibility, body movement, healthy mind and maintaining a good body proportion. “In immediate future, we plan to extend our vision of healthy living and curate a hand-picked range of healthy and natural products and introduce the world to the super foods of India. We also dedicate our efforts in collaborating Ayurvedic science with modern nutrition take for healthy Living,” said Dr. Lin. The activities on the trip included: Poolside fitness party, Reikei Hot Spring Resort, Movement raining on grass, Parkour, Free Run at Landis Resort, a Parachute Run at Yangminshan National Park, Beach boot camp, Cycling at Old Caoling Tunnel, Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates, Dance as therapy and a 5kms run in Taipei.

Singapore Tourism Board launches ‘Passion Made Possible’ WH Desk


he Singapore Tourism Board unveiled to the Indian audiences the country’s unified brand, ‘Passion Made Possible’. This is the first time that the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) have come together to develop a unified brand to market Singapore internationally for tourism and business purposes. The agencies GB Srithar are taking a Regional Director bold move STB to put forth Singapore’s unique attitude and mindset: a passion-driven, never-settling spirit of

10 November 2017

determination and enterprise that constantly pursues possibilities and reinvention. GB Srithar, Regional Director – South Asia Middle East & Africa of the STB announced the official launch of the brand in India. He said, “With Passion Made Possible, STB and EDB are presenting a brand that can tell a fuller Singapore story beyond just tourism. The brand articulates what we stand for as a country and supports the telling of many stories about this destination and its people. It brings to the international audiences stories from Singapore through the voices of Singaporeans. He informed that Singapore remains a highly popular travel destination among Indian travellers. The country welcomed a record 1.1 million visitors from India in 2016. The unveiled brand will allow STB to build a deeper and more personal connection between Singapore and its fans and friends in India, even when they are not actively thinking about travel. In the development of the unified brand, STB

and EDB had embarked on qualitative and quantitative research with close to 4,500 respondents on what Singapore stands for, reaching out to residents, industry stakeholders, and international audiences in Singapore and across ten (10) countries, including India. Yuemin Li-Misra, Area Director, South Asia (New Delhi) said, “We have lined up a multi-faceted brand promotional campaign to reach out to audiences across India. This includes a comprehensive multi-modal media campaign, on-ground consumer and trade-facing events and roadshows, stories by influential Indian public figures experiencing Singapore with our local brand personalities, and collaborations with strategic trade partners to promote brandrelated travel packages to Singapore.” GB Srithar added, “STB has been fortunate in having many travel agent and airline partners collaborating with us over the years to bring Singapore’s offerings and experiences to the Indian travellers.


Belarus appoints Salvia Promoters as its India tourism office WH Desk


ne of Eastern Europe’s most exotic destinations, Belarus has appointed Delhi based Salvia Promoters, a destination marketing company, as its tourism representation office in India. A country of pristine nature and rich wildlife, Belarus’ appointment of Salvia as its India tourism office is aimed at growing its share of India’s burgeoning outbound travel market. Belarus current share of Indian arrivals are about 2000 visits a year, with an estimated 75 per cent of these visits comprising business travel. An MoU in this regard was signed in the presence of Vladimir Semashko, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus in New Delhi recently on the sidelines of the state visit of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenku to India in September marking 25 year of diplomatic relation between the two countries this year. The agreement was signed by Filipp Guly, Chairman of Belarusian Touristic Union and Prashant Chaudhary, Managing Director, Salvia Promoters, representing Belarus Tourism and Salvia respectively.

Commenting on the appointment of Salvia Promoters as Belarus Tourism’s India office, Guly said, “With close to 23 million annual overseas visits, India as a tourism source market is already huge and (L-R) Salvia Promoters’ Prashant Chaudhary and Filipp Guly of Belarusian Touristic Union signing is recording strong the MoU growth year-on-year. Besides Indian travellers are big spender and a major contributor to tourism economy of the host destination. It was high time we established our presence in India and this could not have come at a better time as the two countries celebrates 25th anniversary of diplomatic relation this year. Going forward we are looking at considerably increasing our promotional activities in India in order to create greater awareness about Belarus.” Outlining Salvia’s plan towards creating greater awareness about Belarus in India and increasing Indian arrivals into the country, Chaudhary, said, “Our expertise in Russia and former Soviet Union countries like Belarus is unparalleled. We opened Russian market to Indian travellers 15 years ago and today there are about 100,000 Indian travelling to Russia every year. As Belarus tourism representative office in India our primary objective would be to grow Indian arrivals into the country.” He further added, “Going forward, both trade and consumers would see a lot more of Belarus through participation in travel exhibitions and marts and road shows in not just the bigger cities like Delhi and Mumbai but also smaller tier cities. Besides, our outreach programme will also include aggressive media and PR activities, digital promotion, familiarisation tour of trade and media, among others.”



Go Green, Go Peru

Indians are becoming increasingly conscious of the environment, both around them and that which they hope to be in. With the rise in popularity of ecotourism, especially amongst the Indian public looking to travel as a source of release, relaxation and revival, Peru serves as a one-stop destination that provides all this and more. Environmental issues such as the progressive deterioration of natural ecosystems and the disappearance of species from their natural habitats is what encouraged Peru to adopt an ecofriendly and sustainable development model. Whether it’s an experienced traveller or an enthusiastic backpacker, thousands of tourists visit Peru every year for all that it has to offer. Be it scenic beauty, delicious delicacies, or the hidden treasures waiting to be explored, Peru is a country rich in culture. Recently, another feather has been added to Peru’s already overflowing hat- it has been awarded South America’s Leading Green Destination 2017


Oman relaxes visa rules

Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) has announced the revised terms and conditions issued by the Omani authorities on the granting of non-sponsored tourist visa for the Citizens of India, China and Russia who reside in or who hold an entry visa to one of the these countries – United States of America, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and Schengen States to enter the Sultanate of Oman. The issued statement indicated that the visa shall be granted for a period of one month for a fee of OMR 20. Speaking about the recent development, Salim Adi Al Mamari, Director General of Tourism Promotion, from the Ministry of Tourism in Oman said, “With the revision in visa regulations, we are expecting that Indian arrivals across all segments will grow exponentially - especially leisure and visitors to conventions and exhibitions. Oman has gained immense popularity with mature and evolved travellers in the recent years. We aim to expand our travel and tourism offerings and are certain that the revised policies will offer expediency and convenience to travelers and will encourage more impromptu trips to the Sultanate.” Lubaina Sheerazi, India Representative, Ministry of Tourism, Oman, said, “The outbound segment in India is on a rise with the Indian economy booming and increasingly better standards of living. Most Indians typically travel for three to five nights as they want to experience Muscat and beyond. We are certain that the recent change in policies will be favorable for the Indian travellers and Sultanate will see a positive growth in this upcoming festive and holiday season.”

November 2017 11


TripShelf partners with Abu Dhabi WH Desk


ripShelf announced a strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi to encourage outbound tourism in the city. Abu Dhabi is the capital of United Arab Emirates and a popular travel destination in the middle-east region with over 4.5 Mn tourists visiting it in 2016. As a part of this partnership Tripshelf will encourage online discovery of Abu Dhabi’s exotic locations and provide the online traveller a variety of packages to choose from a Bejan Dinshaw large number of Country Manager Abu Dhabi T&C Authority verified sellers. Speaking about the partnership, Bejan Dinshaw, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority

Country Manager said, “We, at the Tourism and Culture Authority India Office, are very excited to partner with TripShelf as part of our ongoing efforts and promotions. We have noticed that more and more Indian customers are now venturing online for travel experiences. As a holidays marketplace, TripShelf offers more than 1,500 packages from over 350 verified sellers to Abu Dhabi, making them an ideal partner for us as we look forward to welcoming more Indian tourists to experience our country.” Dhruv Raj Gupta, CEO, and Founder, TripShelf said, “The tour operator industry has for long felt neglected; they are now finally excited to embrace the change and sell their packages online. Abu Dhabi’s modern outlook towards the online world has us excited and makes them an ideal partner for our ongoing Diwali sale from 20th September 2017 to 20th October 2017.” He added, “At TripShelf, we are relentlessly looking for ways to promote quality tour packages from verified sellers to our customers at competitive prices through automation, chatbots and machine learning.

In the global travel space, India has been the number one source market for Abu Dhabi. Indians are also among the top spenders in Abu Dhabi, so tying up with them was a natural choice for us.” TripShelf is a tech-enabled online marketplace that empowers more than 350 tour operators through technology and helps them offer their budget and luxury services to travelers across India. The one-year old startup provides a personalized experience to travelers by helping them discover, compare, enquire and buy tour packages from verified tour operators across the world. A consumer can now compare apple to apple how each package is different and see within the crevices to identify the best. TripShelf stands apart from other online travel agencies by their unique feature of the chatbot, a technology that captures traveller interest, shows them package details, offers a range of highly-personalized options at the click of a button.

Tower of David Museum gets M-Vision Laser projectors WH Desk


he first of its kind M-Vision Laser 18K projectors by British company Digital Projection have recently been installed at the Tower of David Museum, Jerusalem. This is the largest installation of 18,000 Lumen Single Chip M-Vision Laser projectors in the world. The 18 projectors are being used to project the successful Night Spectacular onto the ancient walls of the citadel. The Night Spectacular tells the story of Jerusalem in breathtaking cinematography showing 3000 years of the city’s history in huge colorful film and images. The projectors have been chosen for the quality of their high definition projection and their ability to map images on the historical Tower of David. Proprietary features, such as ColourBoost technology, coupled with a 10,000:1 contrast ratio brings out new dimensions in The Night Spectacular that had never been seen before with sharp high resolution cinematography, bold color and crisp lines.

12 November 2017

The 18 laser projectors and their associated accessories, a hardware investment of close to $750,000, were part of a total investment of $2.2 million by the Tower of David, underlining their commitment to continue providing the world’s premier permanent AV visitor experience. With a staggering 18,000 lumens of laser-powered brightness, the latest introduction to the M-Vision series by British company Digital Projection is the

brightest single chip DLP projector on the market worldwide. The Night Spectacular is shown multiple times a week outside in the courtyard of the beautifully restored ancient citadel at the Jaffa Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City. The show takes place outside. It is advised to purchase tickets in advance and to bring warm clothing.


Think Strawberries partners with Yas Marina Circuit – Abu Dhabi WH Desk


hink Strawberries has been appointed as the PR & Media Representative of the Yas Marina Circuit which is on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi (UAE). The Formula 1Grand Prix is one of the most glamorous sporting events in the world and is the focal point of this world-class circuit ring! The annual Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the main featured event hosted at this state of the art racing track. The opening of the circuit was inaugurated a week before the much-awaited Abu Dhabi Grand Prix held in 2009. “We are very excited with the new partnership – and plan to promote Yas Marina Circuit with its glamourous offerings very aggressively in India, as it’s an aspirational and much desired destination among the young cash rich Indians who are fond of experential travel, and we are confident we will be able to tap into the burgeoning potential of India’s outbound market on behalf of Yas Marina Circuit,” commented Shikha Mishra, VP, Media & PR, Think Strawberries.

This year the 2017 Formula 1® Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be held from 23-26 November. The 2017 FORMULA 1® ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX Yasalam After-Race concerts line-up includes CALVIN HARRIS on Thursday 23 November; KENDRICK LAMAR on Friday 24 November; MUMFORD & SONS on Saturday 25 November and P!NK on Sunday 26 November. The Yas Marina Circuit is established on a man-made island of Yas, which apart from the grand circuit has a water world, shopping arcades, a Ferrari World and has scores of five-star hotels like the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi and world-class chain of Yas Plaza Hotels. The Marina Circuit is one of the only two circuit courses in the entire Middle-East, the other being in Bahrain. Abu Dhabi is the capital and the second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates. The man-made island of Yas in Abu Dhabi was initiated in 2006 with the aim of turning the island into a multi-purpose leisure, shopping, and entertainment center at an estimated cost of over 40 billion dollars.

Apart from the F1 Grand Prix, the Marina Circuit offers a wide range of activities to people to participate; both as leisure participation or competitive races. People can enjoy activities like ‘DriveYAS’ which includes an array of sports cars one can choose to pick and drive on the Formula 1 Circuit or ‘Arrive and Drive’ where one can have the pleasure of even Go-Karting or simply the joy of cycling and jogging on the track if someone wishes. Competitive events include Drag Races, Car Track Day and Bike Track Day.

Australia records 15 percent growth WH Desk


he land of Kangaroos, Australia, leads list of most preferred holiday destination by Indians. In the latest report released by Tourism Australia, the arrival figures for the year ended (YE) June2017 have reflected over 277,100 tourists visiting Australia from India. This significant growth of 15 percent related to the same period of last year, making India the 9th largest inbound market for tourist arrivals. This increase also marks a double digit growth for the fourth consecutive year.

Nishant Kashikar Country Manager India & Gulf, Tourism Australia

As per the report, the state of Maharashtra ranks as the leading

source market for Australia. For the year ended June2017, over 59,000 tourists from Maharashtra Pradesh visited Australia spending AUD 310 million (approx. Rs.1, 550 crores) on their Australian holiday. Maharashtra contributed to a growth of 18 per cent and 41 per cent in arrivals and spend respectively, for the year ended June 2017. Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager, India & Gulf, Tourism Australia, said, “Over the years, we have undertaken several focused campaigns as part of our consumer outreach efforts. Our collaboration with Zee Marathi’s popular show, ChalaHawaYeuDya, over the past two years, has definitely helped us to not only build awareness, but also drive visitation from our number one state.” “We also work closely with our key Aussie Specialist Agents and airline partners to offer a compelling reason for potential travellers to choose Australia as their next holiday destination. Visitors from Maharashtra are

looking forward to experiences, including aquatic & coastal (beaches), self-drive, nature, wildlife and adventure on their Australian sojourn. With a growing penchant for travel, we expect growth from our top metro cities to continue over the years to follow,” he added. Tourism Australia has come a long way as it recently celebrated its 50th year of existence. The destination has witnessed a continuous growth in tourist arrivals from India in the recent years. To enhance the tourism experiences of Indian travelers in Australia and to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the tourism board has collaborated with several key distribution partners in India, offering tactical packages with significant value-additions. Recognizing the potential of the Indian market, the Tourism Board recently appointed Bollywood actress Parineeti Chopra, as a ‘Friend of Australia’, making her the first Indian woman celebrity to receive this honor and be associated with the destination.

November 2017 13


Top Nine Reasons to Play Golf in Thailand WH Desk


ne of the world’s leading tourism destinations, Thailand is a land of secrets and surprises for everyone. Adventure and outdoor enthusiast will find plenty of activities to be indulged. For Golfers it is the paradise as the Kingdom is renowned as Asia’s most popular Golfing destination. Golf has been played in Thailand for almost a century, with games recorded at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club as early as 1905. Over the years Thailand has greeted millions of tourists to experience the beautiful scenery as well as welcomed golfers around the world to tee-off as swing on the superb courses nationwide. Golf Courses: The world class Golf Courses of Thailand – designed and developed by internationally recognized Golf course architects is the prime reason for Golfers to travel to a premier destination. Affordability: Thailand provides tremendous value in all areas that really matter for golfers. From wide range of hotel accommodation, shopping in local markets or high-class departmental stores to the breadth of dining options and nightlife Thailand is an ideal destination for Golf enthusiast. Weather: The winter season especially from November to February, Thai climate offers light breeze, constant sunshine and great conditions for a golfing holiday.

People & Attractions: Thai people are known to be the friendliest in the world. With a smile on their faces Thai people are very welcoming to visitors. Apart from Golf there is so much to do such as visiting amazing temples, stunning beaches, experiencing world class spas and much more. Accommodation: No matter where you are staying in Thailand, you can find accommodation to meet your budget. From stunning 5 star hotels to modest Thai style bungalows are available in large numbers.

Locations: From the bustling capital city of Bangkok to the beautiful mountainous countryside of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, from stunning beaches in Phuket to Ko Samui to the bright lights and amazing nightlife of Pattaya, from the quieter seaside town of Hua Hin, to the waterfalls and stunning scenery of Khao Yai, Thailand has an amazing assortment of golf courses.

Infrastructure: Many firsttime visitors will be surprised to find that Thailand has created a thoroughly modern, world class infrastructure for its guests.

Caddies: A unique and truly memorable part of playing Golf in Thailand. Predominantly female Thai caddies provide a level service that will stun many first-time visitors.

ŠŠ Chiang Mai Golf Festival May – June

Food: A truly mesmerizing fusion of Asian, Indian and Western influences and varieties of Thai food.

Golf Events in Thailand: ŠŠ Pattaya Golf Festival March – April ŠŠ Hua Hin Golf Festival August – September ŠŠ Lady Golf Challenge August ŠŠ Thailand Golf Travel Mart (Phuket 2018) July

Lord of the Rungs waterfall New Zealand’s newest adventure thrill

WH Desk


t’s wild, wet and 450metres high Wildwire Wanaka’s Lord of the Rungs is the world’s highest via ferrata waterfall climb and New Zealand’s newest adventure thrill. New Zealand’s connection with adventure tourism is well known – from AJ Hackett and the bungy to high-speed jet boat thrills and ski planes landing on mountain sides and much more. Latest on the menu, the seriously cool Lord of the Rungs – the highest via ferrata waterfall climb in the world opened in September. Alongside the spectacular Twin Falls shooting down a sheer rocky hillside,

14 November 2017

near the South Island alpine resort town of Wanaka, the via ferrata system of rungs and cables rises a near perpendicular 450m above the valley floor taking climbers on a 6 to 7-hour adventure that ends with a heli flight descent. The route to the top follows a kilometre of cables, weaving over, above and behind the waterfalls, and crosses a 35-metre Tyrolean traverse* using a pulley. Add the breath-taking backdrop of sweeping views to the valley below and the surrounding mountains to the exhilaration of being on a mountainside, and there’s drama at every twist and turn.


We have practised dynamic pricing and generating more stay reviews: Ravi Rai For the upcoming quarters, we intend to offer strategic local stay packages and are banking upon new feeder markets’ support towards maintaining the target occupancy, says Ravi Rai, General Manager, Novotel Visakhapatnam Varun Beach and The Bheemili Resort managed by Accor Hotels in an exclusive interaction with Whereabouts. Rajesh Tiwari

Q. Give us short background of your journey in the hospitality industry? A. I started my career as a Restaurant Manager and was promoted as a Banquet Manager in Vivanta by Taj, Pune. Subsequently I moved to Kerala to handle the role of a F&B Manager with Vivanta by Taj, Kovalam. My next role was as an Executive Assistant Manager in Park Plaza, Bengaluru, from where I shifted to Novotel Visakhapatnam as a General Manager.

Q. What changes did you initiate after taking charge as the GM of Novotel Visakhapatnam Varun Beach? A. I have taken a number of initiatives at Novotel Visakhapatnam some of them are mentioned below: I. Dynamic Pricing Strategy was introduced to ensure higher sale and maximum the ADR II. Strengthened the control measures on rate parity and thereafter made it mandatory

III. Weekly team bonding activities were introduced IV. Once in a month ‘Super Fun Friday’ activity is conducted V. Monthly campaigns/training on employee health, external speaker talk shows etc. are held as support program

Q. Kindly throw some light on your clientele; which segment is generating more business for this hotel? A. We have a Business mix of 25% from MICE, 35% from contracted corporates and rest 40% from our Online channels/FITs and members.

Q. How has been the business so far in 2017? Kindly throw some light on your plans for the year ahead any special package or discount for B2B partners? A. This year has been a little challenging for a luxury hotel like ours post the GST era our market share has been a bit impacted by the price sensitivity of the city. However, we are confident to grow in the coming year with some healthy looking MICE queries. For the upcoming quarters, we intend to offer strategic local stay packages and are banking upon new feeder markets’ support towards maintaining the target occupancy. Lastly, in our forthcoming peak period, we would look forward to capitalising from the opportunities across Festive Holidays/ Leisure Holidays with an expected set back

In our forthcoming peak period, we would look forward to capitalising from the opportunities across Festive Holidays/Leisure Holidays with an expected set back from the early announcement of General elections in the country. from the early announcement of General elections in the country.

Q. What revenue-enhancing strategies have you adopted at the property? A. We have practised dynamic pricing and generating more stay reviews to drive online revenue, maximizing ADR opportunities across MICE/destination weddings, local stay package promotions across Festive Holidays and focusing on high yielding corporates.

November 2017 15


Marriott International launches Fairfield By Marriott, Visakhapatnam WH Desk


arriott International announced the opening of the Fairfield by Marriott, Visakhapatnam. As the Financial Hub of India’s Andhra Pradesh state, situated next to the Bay of Bengal, Visakhapatnam is known for its scenic beaches, historic maritime culture and Buddhist relics. Since opening the first property in Asia in 2013, Fairfield by Marriott is a leader in the select service tier - catering to the needs of India’s next generation travellers who are looking for a stress-free stay at a great value. Fairfield by Marriott, Visakhapatnam is the latest addition to the brand’s footprint in South Asia, with four hotels in India

currently open, including Fairfield by Marriott Bengaluru Rajajinagar, Fairfield by Marriott Bengaluru Outer Ring Road, Fairfield by Marriott Lucknow and Fairfield by Marriott Belagavi. “Recognized as one of the ‘Smart Cities’ in India, Visakhapatnam holds tremendous potential for high economic growth, infrastructure development and further evolution of the services sector, we are excited to open our 5th Fairfield by Marriott in India. With our hospitality expertise, in conjunction with our astute owners K. Subba Raju, CMD, KSR Developers., we are confident in delivering a seamless hotel experience at great value,” said Neeraj Govil, Area Vice-President, South Asia, Marriott International Inc. Fairfield by Marriott Visakhapatnam offers 121 spacious rooms designed with modern comforts in mind. Kava, the all-day dining restaurant, serves authentic local Indian favourites and international cuisine. The Bar and Lobby Lounge provides a lively atmosphere for guests to enjoy freshly brewed coffees, as well as a variety of evening cocktails. The hotel also features The Market, a unique 24/7 convenience store within the hotel, where guests can purchase snacks and beverages at any time of the day.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group signs first Radisson in Mumbai WH Desk


arlson Rezidor Hotel Group announced the entry of its upscale hotel brand Radisson in Mumbai, Maharashtra with the signing of a 112key hotel located in the Andheri suburb of the city. The signing of Radisson Mumbai Andheri MIDC, in the key, strategic city of Mumbai is set to accelerate Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s overall growth and expansion plans in the country. The hotel is being developed in partnership with GHV Hospitality India Private Limited, and will be managed by Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “Radisson is a firmly established global brand with over 200 hotels in operation and development throughout the world. The brand inspires service standards of the highest level and is very well positioned to serve the bustling market of Mumbai. I thank GHV Hospitality India Private

16 November 2017

Limited for partnering with us in this unique opportunity to introduce the brand to Mumbai,” said Raj Rana, chief executive officer, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “We are happy with the professionalism and market expertise demonstrated by the brand and confident of the operational competence that Carlson Rezidor brings to the table. We are looking forward to successful returns on our investment overtime,” said Mehttab Siddiqui, chief operating officer, GHV Hospitality India Private Limited. Radisson Mumbai Andheri MIDC is located in MIDC; one of the prominent industrial zones of Mumbai and home to numerous successful manufacturing units. The hotel is located 2.5 kilometers from the Mumbai International Airport and is expected to generate corporate as well as leisure demand due to its excellent location.

TUTC announces launch of Jaagir Lodge Dudhwa WH Desk


he Ultimate Travelling Camp (TUTC) is all set to extend its philosophy of Luxury to Lodges and Palaces. The luxury camping company is expanding its footprint with the launch of a rebranded luxury lodge experience – Jaagir Lodge Dudhwa, nestled deep in the rainforests of the Terai, Uttar Pradesh, India.

TUTC’s Jaagir Lodge, Dudhwa invites guests to an enchanting jungle safari experience that emulates tranquility through the colonial luxury and contemporary comforts. Located in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, the colonial structure built in the 1940’s is a gateway to India’s four distinct forests reserves - Dudhwa, Katarniaghat, Kishanpur and Pilibhit. Within close proximity of the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, the lodge is a witness to the long-standing Bengal Tiger conservation programme ‘Project Tiger’ championed by well-known conservationist, Billy Arjan Singh. The Dudhwa National Park, a part of the reserve is located near Indo-Nepal border and within a 5-hour driving distance from Lucknow airport. For the ultimate luxury travel experience, one can charter an aircraft from Delhi to Ballia airstrip which is just 12 kilometers away from the lodge. Talking about the new addition, Rajnish Sabharwal, COO, TUTC said “With this, TUTC aims to enter the untapped luxury wilderness tourism space while we continue to acquaint travelers with new experiences and exceptional locations in India. TUTC’s Jaagir Lodge Dudhwa is infused with the same warmth and exceptional services as our other luxury camping properties.”


Hyatt Regency Delhi launches exclusive business club ‘The Council’ WH Desk



The Council is touted to be the ultimate amalgamation of a corporate boardroom and a networking carouse. By creating an intimate yet diverse environment for corporates to conduct work and leisure at one address, The Council seeks to provide a niche space for achievers across industries.

Our members’ privacy is of utmost importance. Our endeavor is to provide

guests the privacy of their space in a stimulating environment together with unobsequious service to remain fully engaged. Located at the lobby level, The Council offers a restaurant, private meeting rooms, social working space, and an exclusive wine and cigar room.”

VITS Hotels Worldwide launches property in Agra WH Desk


oping to cash in on the growing leisure travellers in the city of Taj, VITS Hotels Worldwide has launched its 4 star property ‘VITS Agra’. Prominently located on NH 2, the hotel is well connected by air, road and rail. VITS Agra offers 60 rooms with 3 categories deluxe room, Suite room and executive deluxe room each boasting of tastefully adorned décor, luxurious ambience and modern services. With major tourist attractions namely the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Akbar Tomb and Jama Mosque in close proximity, the hotel boasts of aesthetically designed rooms & suites ideal for business and leisure alike. Announcing the launch, Chandrakant Shetty, Chief Executive Officer, VITS Luxury Business Hotels says, “We are delighted to launch our property in the city that

WH Desk he Anaheim Convention Center (ACC) unveiled the largest and most significant expansion in nearly two decades – ACC North, making it the largest Convention Centre on the West Coast of the United States of America. The seventh expansion adds 200,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, allowing for a variety of event uses under one roof in one of the nation’s premier destinations.

yatt Regency Delhi has recently launched a by- invitation, a members-only business club for leaders of the industry, catering to a network of entrepreneurs and professionals from across the business world.

Speaking on the occasion, Aseem Kapoor, General Manager, Hyatt Regency Delhi had this to say – “Increasingly we have guests who desire an exclusive space outside their office environment for conducting their business productively in a comfortable and luxurious setting. With our prime central location and multi faceted offerings, we believe The Council will help address this need of our business guests.

Anaheim Convention Center opens ACC North Building

would enable us tap the growing potential of tourist inflow. VITS Agra with a perfect blend of contemporary amenities rooted in customary elegance will make every guest’s stay a pleasurable experience.”

Anaheim Convention Center currently hosts an average of nearly one million attendees a year. ACC North has already had 75 definite meetings and conventions bookings. The first groups include American Heart Association, Oncology Nursing Society, Society for Science & the Public and International Society for Technology in Education. With the addition of the new building, Anaheim Convention Center will officially join the 1 million-squarefoot-club, becoming the 11th largest convention center in the U.S. “This is a transformative event for the Anaheim Convention Center, said Tom Morton, executive director of Anaheim’s Convention Sports & Entertainment Department. “Not only is this our largest expansion since 2000, it is one of the most significant in terms of the features and innovation it brings to Anaheim.”

VITS situated 2.2 Km from Mariam’s Tomb and 9.6 Km from Agra City Railway Station. Major tourist attractions include Tomb of Akbar the Great (3.6 Km), Dayal Bagh Temple (9.1 Km), Agra Fort (11.2 Km) and Taj Mahal (13.8 Km).

November 2017 17


ITDC inks MoU with CGDA to provide online Air Travel Solutions WH Desk


ndia Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (ITDC) the public sector undertaking under the aegis of Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India signed a MoU with Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) to provide customised E-ticketing solutions to CGDA on pan- India basis. Under this collaboration, ITDC’s travel wing Ashok Travels and Tours (ATT) will conduct the complete procedure for CGDA to create an e-ticketing platform to ensure smooth functioning of air travel needs. The MoU was signed by Piyush Tiwari, Director (Commercial & Marketing), ITDC and Manish Tripathi, Joint CGDA in the presence of Ravneet Kaur, IAS, Chairperson & Managing Director (CMD), India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and Veena Prasad, IDAS, Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) along with senior officials from both the organisation at Headquarters of Controller General of Defence Accounts, New Delhi. Speaking on the occasion Ravneet Kaur, IAS, Chairperson & Managing Director (CMD), India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) said, “It’s an honour for

WH Desk

R ITDC to be associated with CGDA. We are delighted that CGDA, one of India’s oldest government organisations has shown their confidence in our services. Our talented team of Ashok Travels and Tours (ATT) will put their best foot forward to meet the expectations of CGDA.” Association with CGDA is a step towards progressive development of travel solutions. Very soon we are going to tie up with more organisations.” Kaur added. Other dignitaries present on the occasion were Upendra Shah, Addl.CGDA; Sham Dev, Jt. CGDA; A K Pradyot, Jt. CGDA; Kanwaldeep Singh, Jt. CGDA; Hari Har Mishra,Jt. CGDA; Dr. S Sunish, ACGDA; Jayant Budhiraja, GM, Ashok Travels and Tours; Sanjeev Poswal, Sr. Manager, ATT; Janvi Mehta and many more.

Lemon Tree Hotels expands presence in Patna and Alwar WH Desk


emon Tree Hotels announced the formal opening of its two refreshing hotels, Lemon Tree Premier, Patna and Lemon Tree Hotel, Alwar, marking their entry into these historic cities. Signaling the group’s focus on Bihar, and their overall expansion plans across India, Rattan Keswani, Deputy Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels and Director Carnation Hotels said, “These hotels are a first for us and present an exciting branded alternative to the city residents as well as our existing customer base. Both cities imbibe a rich cultural heritage and attract business and leisure travellers alike. We invite guests to discover our unique brand and enjoy the same refreshing experience, quality and consistency that Lemon Tree is known for.” Together with 105 plush and spacious rooms and suites, Lemon Tree Premier, Patna

18 November 2017

Royal Orchid Hotels announces partnership with UK’s Bespoke Hotels

boasts of plush and stylish interiors and charms its visitors with large glass doors and a beautiful fountain in the driveway, a contemporary lobby accentuated by a serene Buddha sculpture and remarkable modern art. Designed to offer both comfort and convenience to its guests being located in the heart of the commercial and entertainment hub of the city, just 5 minutes from the railway station, it’s proximity to prominent office near Gandhi Maidan such as, RBI, Biscomaun Bhavan, FCI, NABARD, and city landmarks like Vidhan Sabha, Patna Secretariat and Patna High Court, is also an advantage. Encompassing 40 contemporary rooms and suites, Lemon Tree Hotel, Alwar is a stylish midscale hotel and appeals to both business and leisure travellers alike.

oyal Orchid Hotels announce that it has reached an agreement to represent Bespoke Hotels Ltd in India. With this strategic partnership, Bespoke and Royal Orchid shall work together to enhance each other’s revenues and brand presence in their respective markets. Royal Orchid now has the ability to offer its guests hundreds of hotel options across multiple global markets. Bespoke, in turn, shall promote this new partnership in the Indian subcontinent to its guests. Bespoke Hotels has grown to represent and manage over 200 properties worldwide, with over 50 represented hotels in India, and stands as the UK’s Largest Independent Hotel Group. Founded in 2000 by Haydn Fentum and Robin Sheppard, Bespoke has consistently grown to the point where they now manage over 9,500 hotel rooms, 8,000 employees and £815 million of assets. Admired as India’s fastest growing hotel chain with over 47 hotels under management and ownership, Royal Orchid Hotels Chender Baljee encompasses Founder Royal Orchid Hotels a range of luxury and five star properties in the popular regions of Bangalore, Jaipur, Mumbai, and Goa. “We are delighted to have reached agreement to represent Royal Orchid and welcome them to our burgeoning international portfolio,” commented Robin Sheppard, Founder of Bespoke Hotels. “They boast a portfolio in some of India’s finest locations, with a commitment to the highest standards of hospitality.” Chender Baljee, founder of Royal Orchid Hotels, added: “We are thrilled to have Bespoke Hotels on board, to offer our guests 100’s of hotels abroad, and to market our hotels to inbound International travellers. We are looking forward to growing and reinforcing the standing of both brands in the future.”

November 2017 19


ADTOI Convention

Domestic tourism stakeholders all set to highlight key concerns

The Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) is all set to organize its 8th Annual Convention in Vizag from 17 to 19 November. Domestic Tourism: Explore India – One Country, Many Worlds has been chosen as theme of the Convention. While speaking exclusively to Whereabouts at the outset of the convention curtain raiser PP Khanna President of ADTOI said in an attempt to make it one of the most successful conventions in the history of ADTOI I urged ADTOI members to participate in a large number. Rajesh Tiwari Q. How do you look at Visakhapatnam as the Convention venue? A. ADTOI is always looking for the destinations which have a huge potential of tourism but somehow not explored, Vizag is one of them. With longest coastline, neat and clean beach Vizag is the third cleanest city in India. The city has everything that can engage a tourist; but need of the hour is to market and spreading awareness among the industry stakeholders that is what the ADTOI is looking for. I am very much sure the ADTOI convention will bring Vizag in the list of prominent tourist destinations of the country. Q. What are your suggestions to leverage the potential of Andhra Pradesh Tourism especially in Domestic Tourism segment? A. Vizag is one of the fast emerging and most potential city of Andhra Pradesh which can attract a large number of tourists from national and international fronts. Apart from having numerous attractions such as VUDA Park, Lawson’s Bay, Tyda, Dolphin’s Nose & the Port, Submarine Museum, RamaKrishna Beach, Kailasagiri Hill, Araku Valley and Borra Caves etc, the city boast a number of hotels in five and four star category. It can attract a huge chunk of business from MICE segment as well. During ADTOI convention and pre/ post FAM Tours our members will have

20 November 2017

a firsthand experience of the tourism products and facilities available. This will help us in designing our itineraries. In case of further enhancement of facilities and infrastructure ADTOI will submit its suggestion to the concern department. Q. Kindly throw some light on the theme chosen for the 8th Annual Convention of ADTOI? A. Explore India: One Country -Many Worlds has been opted as the theme for the upcoming convention. India is a vast country which has everything from breath taking wildlife to spectacular beaches, snow capped mountains to soothing backwaters, great history, heritage, culture and much more. Therefore we as domestic tourism stakeholders aim targeting the related key concerns and highlighting the solutions. Q. How has been Government’s (Ministry of Tourism) response towards promoting Domestic Tourism? A. The Ministry of Tourism has always been very supportive in promotion of Domestic Tourism. MoT has extended a remarkable assistance and guidance to the state tourism departments in improving infrastructure, connectivity, roads, airports etc .which ultimately promotes Domestic Tourism. The Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with other Central Ministries, State Governments and stakeholders has organized a ‘Paryatan Parv’ across the country from the 5th to 25th October 2017. The prime objective of this event was drawing focus on the benefits of tourism, showcasing the cultural diversity of the country and reinforcing the principle of Tourism for All. There has been an overwhelming response and participation from state tourism departments and industry stakeholders Q. ADTOI has launched a special drive to enhance the membership base by opening new chapters across the country; how has been the impact? A. We are aggressively working towards increasing our membership base across

During ADTOI convention and pre/ post FAM Tours our members will have a firsthand experience of the tourism products and facilities available. This will help us in designing our itineraries. In case of further enhancement of facilities and infrastructure ADTOI will submit its suggestion to the concern department.. PP Khanna President ADTOI the country. Therefore our prime focus is on opening new chapters in different parts of the country. We have added one more chapter to our list recently which is impacting the increasing of our membership. We will launch more chapters in near future Visakhapatman will be one of them. Q. How has been the growth of Domestic Tourism in 2016 and so far in 2017? A. Domestic Tourism is growing and has touched about 1.60 B as per Data avilable and expecting to grow more and more due new destinations are been explored by States/UT.

IN FOCUS Rajat Sawhney Vice President & Chairman Convention ADTOI Vizag is popularly referred to as the Goa of the East Coast and the city of destiny. As per the Swachha Bharat rankings of 2017, it is the third cleanest city in India. Located along the shores of Bay of Bengal Vizag has a rich and vibrant culture and heritage. As out theme suggests ‘Domestic Tourism: Explore India - One Country, Many Worlds’ from breath taking wildlife to spectacular beaches, snow capped mountains to soothing backwaters, India has it all. Therefore ADTOI aims targeting the related key concerns and highlighting the solutions .This year’s ADTOI Convention aims to encourage our members to promote India (or Domestic Tourism) like never before.

Rajesh Arya Hony Treasurer ADTOI In an attempt to promote our destinations and firsthand experience for our members we do organize convention cum exhibition at the appropriate time. This time we have chosen Vizag as the venue for our upcoming convention. This is the one of the best city in Andhra Pradesh having natural beauty, hills, beaches along its coastline and valley. State Government’s keen interest to promote and explore this destination has helped us to have our convention here. Since Vizag is one of the fast emerging tourist destinations of the state, Andhra should focus on developing other segments of tourism such as multi cuisines food courts, nightlife, fun village apart from the beaches for further growth.

8th Annual Convention of ADTOI


November 2017 21


Lufthansa Group signed strategic partnership agreement with WH Desk


ufthansa Group signed a strategic partnership agreement with Fliggy. com, Alibaba’s travel platform, and launched its official flagship store on From now on, passengers can enjoy the same price and privilege they get on also at the Fliggy store when buying tickets from Lufthansa German Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines and Austrian Airlines.

four European hubs Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich and Vienna. “Lufthansa Group has a long standing history in China with more than 90 years of presence. We pay close attention to the needs of our local passengers and their preferences”, introduced Dieter Vranckx, Vice President Sales Asia Pacific Lufthansa Group Airlines.

With this partnership, Lufthansa Group sets to continue the digital sales drive aiming for in China. Dieter Vranckx, Vice President Sales Asia Pacific Lufthansa Group Airlines, Veli Polat, Senior Director Sales Greater China Lufthansa Group Airlines, Chenjie Hu, Vice President of Alibaba Group and Vice President of, and Wells Zheng, Vice President of attended the signing ceremony in Shanghai.

“ is a very popular online travel platform among young people in China. With this cooperation, it does not only help Lufthansa Group tapping into the interests of younger generation who are more digital savvy and boost sales, but this initiative also makes travel bookings easier and more convenient. This is also the promise of Lufthansa Group especially for 2017 where we aim to incorporate digital and innovative elements into our customers’ journey, making their travel experience with us more attractive.”

As the leading European airline group in Greater China, Lufthansa Group has been in China for 91 years and currently offers direct flights from five Chinese destinations, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Qingdao and Hong Kong to the

According to the report of China National Tourism Administration, a large part of China’s 122 million outbound tourists in 2016 are from the young generation, which is internet and digital savvy. The strategic partnership shows the deep

understanding of Lufthansa Group of this young consumer group and the internet ecosystem. Currently, 88% of the Fliggy. com-users belong to the Generation Post-1985. The Alibaba-backed Fliggy can share the traffic of more than 500 million active users on mobile devices. Lufthansa Group is convinced that the strong market power of will drive its Direct Connect business. “As airlines are one of the most important elements for outbound tourism, we are delighted that Lufthansa Group along with its three airlines launches its flagship store on” remarked Chenjie Hu, Vice President of Alibaba Group and Vice President of

Brussels Airlines continues to invest in Mumbai market WH Desk


ince opening a direct flight connection between Brussels and Mumbai last March, Brussels Airlines has welcomed over 60,000 travellers on its flights and notes increasingly satisfying results on the new route. The airline now increases its flight offer from 5 to 6 weekly flights during the winter season, offering more flexibility and choice to and from the Indian metropolis. This week, Brussels Airlines participates to the Belgian Royal State Visit to India and partners up with other Belgian organizations to organize a dance event at the Gateway of India. On March 30, Brussels Airlines inaugurated its direct flights between Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji airport and Brussels Airport and has since seen its results on the route growing more and more. After a positive 7-month period

22 November 2017

with an average seat load factor of almost 80%, the airline has decided to invest even more in the route, by adding an extra flight on Saturday, bringing the total to 6 flights per week. Schedule (in local time) Flight number Days of the week From Departure To Arrival Aircraft type SN601 1.34567 BRU 10h20 BOM 23:25 A330 SN602 12.4567 BOM 01h15 BRU 06h35 A330 Additional flight frequency on Saturday “Our new service received a warm welcome here in the Indian market and we are very happy with the results. Adding this 6th weekly flight confirms our investment in the Indian market. We are therefore very happy to participate to the Belgian Royal State Visit here in Mumbai. With this spectacular event at the iconic gate of India, we are proud to bring the best of Belgium to India and to emphasize on the importance of the economic bonds

between our two countries, said Bernard Gustin, CEO of Brussels Airlines. As an ambassador of Belgium, Brussels Airlines wants its Indian guests to discover the best of Belgium. That’s why Brussels Airlines participates to the State Visit to the Republic of India of Their Majesties the King and Queen of the Belgians from 8 to 11 November in Mumbai.


Jet Airways introduces three new international services WH Desk


et Airways introduces three new international services to its already extensive global network this winter, besides reinforcing six existing routes with additional frequencies to meet growing travel demand. The carrier introduced its first non-stop service between the capital cities of New Delhi and Riyadh. It will also deploy additional frequencies on the MumbaiRiyadh, Mumbai-Kuwait, DelhiDoha and Delhi-Dammam sectors as it deepens presence and connectivity between key Indo-Gulf cities. Effective October 29, 2017, new nonstop flights will commence connecting Bengaluru and Chennai to the airline’s gateways in Amsterdam and Paris, respectively, as part of the carrier’s strategy to connect more cities, especially in the South of the country to destinations in Europe and North America. The airline is the first to operate flights on these routes which, along with a third daily flight on the increasingly popular Mumbai-London sector, will give guests a greater choice of convenient connections to other European cities and destinations in North America.

The new intercontinental services to Amsterdam and Paris will operate in codeshare with KLM, Air France and Delta Air Lines. Guests who are members of Frequent Flyer programmes of the codeshare partners - JetPrivilege (JP), Flying Blue and SkyMiles will also be able to easily accrue and redeem points on each other. Jet Airways will deploy its Airbus A330 aircraft on the Chennai-Paris and Bengaluru-Amsterdam routes for a relaxed and enjoyable flying experience. Responding to growing demand, Jet Airways is also adding new frequencies on certain select routes, including the extremely popular MumbaiLondon Heathrow as well as Delhi-Singapore, further enhancing connectivity and choice for guests travelling between North India, United Kingdom and South East Asia. The airline will deploy its biggest aircraft – Boeing 777-300ER with a three-class configuration including, its awardwinning ‘First Class’ Private Suites, 180° lie-flat beds for Business travellers and ergonomically designed Economy seating, on the new frequency.

SWISS to launch second Flying Film Festival


WISS will be featuring the Flying Film Festival in its inflight entertainment programme on all long-haul services from the beginning of November until the end of this year. The festival showcases ten short documentaries from all over the world that will offer an extra dimension of entertainment on board in addition to the regular inflight programme. The best of these will also be awarded a special Judges’ Prize in January 2018. The festival has been jointly devised by SWISS and the Le Système D association, which is based in Fribourg, Switzerland; and this is its second manifestation after the début event in 2015. The aim of the Flying Film Festival is to support promising young directors all over the world and make their brief but powerful documentaries available to a broader audience by including them in the inflight entertainment programme on SWISS’s long-haul flights..

THAI Smile opens direct route Bangkok – Mumbai – Bangkok WH Desk


HAI Smile Airways announced yet another milestone by launching its new flights on route Bangkok – Mumbai – Bangkok. THAI Smile has already been operating since last quarter of 2016 direct flights from Bangkok to Jaipur, Lucknow, Gaya and Varanasi. Recently, the direct flight from Bangkok Mumbai (Bombay), an important and old Indian seaport, which is a popular tourist attraction, has been opened. This new route will help all segments like - leisure, corporate and MICE travellers and its excellent timings allow passengers to reach Bangkok just at the right time for meetings and catch flights beyond. THAI Smile operates its BangkokMumbai flights five times a week under the flight no. WE335 Bangkok - Mumbai (BKK-BOM) on Tuesday, Thursday and

Saturday at 22.15-01.35 (+1), WE335 Bangkok - Mumbai (BKK-BOM) on Friday and Sunday at 23.55-03.10) and WE336 Mumbai - Bangkok (BOM-BKK) on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 02.4008.55 and WE336 Mumbai - Bangkok (BOM-BKK) on Monday and Saturday at 04.40-10.55. All flights are served in full service of excellence with complete course of foods and beverages. The foods on board are divided into vegetarian (Vegetarian Jain Meal) and common foods (Non-Vegetarian Jain Meal). Baggage loading is up to 40 kg for Premium Economy Class or Smile Plus and 30 kg for economy class passengers or Smile Class. Both classes have spacious seats that passengers can select seats without additional charges and can also earn mileages with Royal Orchid Plus (ROP).

Mumbai has many interesting and diverse attractions including architecture, religious sites of worship, natural and cultural places. The city is considered as one of safest city in India and people are often seeing enjoying the night life. This city if also called Financial capital of India as it has the most billionaires and millionaires of India.

November 2017 23


Arun Jaitley presents Letters of Intent to seven shortlisted companies under ‘Adopt A Heritage Scheme’ WH Desk


run Jaitley, Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister presented the ‘Letters of Intent’ to seven shortlisted companies under ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’ of Ministry of Tourism at the closing ceremony of ‘ParyatanParv’ at Rajpath Lawns, New Delhi on October 25. He also presented Certificates to the ‘Best Participating Central Government Ministry and Best Participating State Government’. K.J. Alphons, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism presided over the function. The Paryatan Parv was organized by Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with other Central Ministries, State Governments and Stakeholders across from 5th to 25th October 2017. Ministry of Youth Affairs was given the Certificate of Best Participating Ministry and M/o DONER was given the Runner Up Certificate. Madhya Pradesh was given the Certificate of Best Participating State and Gujarat was given the Runner Up Certificate. Addressing on the occasion, Arun Jaitley said that the Paryatan Parv is an event to show India’s tourism potential which is available in our country. Geographically India has so many explored and unexplored tourism destinations. Normally religion, Nature and History attract tourism and India has all these. India’s cultural heritages and shrines are remarkable. It has largest sea shore in the world besides forests, wild life and many historical monuments. Whereas many countries in the world have one or two historical monuments to attract tourists, India has a plenty of these. But India lacks in connectivity and large sized airports. But very soon, regional connectivity scheme of Ministry of Civil aviation will start and which will boom tourism in our country. He opined that historical monuments need to be properly maintained and ‘Adopt a Heritage scheme’ is a very good step in this direction. He emphasized

24 November 2017

that we need an atmosphere of hospitality in our country. In his address, K.J. Alphons said that ‘Paryatan Parv’ is a celebration of art, culture and tradition and incredible performing arts of India. Many Central ministries and State Governments have participated in this Parv. He said that Tourism contributes to 6.8% of India’s GDP. He opined that there is much more scope for promotion of domestic tourism in our country. He expressed his concern that still there is huge shortage of hotel rooms in our country. He called upon foreigners to come to India to see and experience it. He congratulated all award winners of ‘Best Participating Ministries and State Governments as well as of ‘Dekho Apna Desh Contests’. The ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’ of Ministry of Tourism was launched on World Tourism Day i.e. 27th September, 2017 by the President of India. Thereafter, Ministry of Tourism invited Private Sector Companies, Public Sector Companies and Corporate individuals to adopt the sites and to take up the responsibility for making our heritage and tourism more sustainable through conservation and development. This scheme is a unique endeavour of Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which envisages developing monuments, heritage and tourist sites across India and making them tourist friendly to enhance their tourism potential and cultural importance, in a planned and phased manner. The Inter-Ministerial oversight and vision committee members appreciated the positive response received from reputed organisations in the Initial phase, wherein Fifty Seven (57) responses have been recorded and fourteen (14) monuments have been opted through seven (7) Expression Of Interest(s). After detailed scrutiny, the following stakeholders ranging from hospitality industry, travel industry and banking

industry have been shortlisted for vision biding for final selection of Monument Mitras: ŠŠ SBI Foundation shortlisted for the adoption of JantarMantar, Delhi. ŠŠ TK International Limited shortlisted for the adoption of Sun Temple, Konark, Raja Rani Temple, Bhubaneshwar, Ratnagiri Monuments, Jajpur, Odisha ŠŠ Yatra Online Pvt. Limited shortlisted for the adoption of Hampi – Karnataka, Leh Palace – Jammu & Kashmir, Qutub Minar – Delhi, Ajanta Caves – Maharashtra ŠŠ Travel Corporation of India Ltd. shortlisted for the adoption of Mattancherry Palace Museum – Kochi, Safdarjung Tomb, Delhi ŠŠ Adventure Tour Operator Association of India shortlisted for the adoption of Gangotri Temple Area and Trail to Gaumukh, Mt. StokKangri – Laddakh, Jammu and Kashmir ŠŠ Special Holidays Travel Pvt. Ltd. (with) Rotary Club of Delhi shortlisted for the adoption of Agrasen ki Baoli, Delhi ŠŠ NBCC shortlisted for the adoption of Purana Quila, Delhi These seven shortlisted companies will be the future Monument Mitras who would associate pride with their CSR activities. The projects aim to develop synergy among all partners.


Goa is just not for its Beaches but Birding as well! WH Desk


oa that is known as a beach tourism destination which attracts millions of tourists every year also attracts tourists for its unexplored hinterlands dotted by wildlife and bird sanctuaries. Goa offers the perfect setting for ornithologists and bird-watchers and has attracted attention in recent years as an environmentally-friendly destination all across the world. Goa hosts over 458 bird species and the state promotes AviTourism on a large scale that attracts high-end tourists through an inherent strength the tropical state always had, but never capitalized on. Over the years the concept of birding in Goa has picked up with a lot of new birding sites across the State. Goa has now seven Important Bird Areas (IBAs) identified - namely the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary and Carambolim Lake, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary and Navelim Wetlands in Bicholim in addition to the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. A lot of bird trails are being organised during the birding season starting from October to February to boost Avi- Tourism in Goa and to promote ornithological interest in the state. Many tourists prefer spending their weekends in the hinterlands and subsequently a lot of eco-resorts have opened up in the state of Goa to give tourists a rejuvenating experience. Director of Tourism, Govt. of Goa, Menino D’souza says, “Avitourism is one of Goa’s popular facet attracting tourists to what the State is getting to be known as a birders paradise. Thousands of tourists now throng to Goa to catch a glimpse of some of the exotic bird species found in the State. The state also has many birding sites in addition to wildlife sanctuaries which are encouraging young and enthusiastic ornithologists to come and spot these unique birds thereby giving a boost to avitourism in Goa. Bird trails, bird festivals, books on Birds of Goa are making it more convenient and experiential for bird fans.” Parag Rangnekar, Founder President of Goa Bird Conservation Network (GBCN) and presently part of Mrugaya Xpeditions

says, “Goa is one of the best State’s in the country for birders and Avi-tourism has picked up in a big way over the years. The inclusions of new Important Bird Areas and Goa’s rich biodiversity make it the first choice for not only ornithologists but for bird fans from across the globe and country.” He further said that “We have introduced a new community tourism project which provides village stays for tourists interested in Avi-tourism in Netravali. This concept which is nature based gives tourists an opportunity to explore and experience Goa’s rich bio-diversity in the Western Ghat Complex. We are hoping to introduce this project at other IBAs as well and will give a big boost to Avi- tourism in Goa.” Some of the wide range of migratory birds which flock to Goa’s wetland hot spots include the Painted Stork, Asian Openbill, Woolly-Necked Stork, White Stork, Northern Pintail, Northern Shovellor and the like. The state’s exotic avian list also includes the Sri Lanka Frog Mouth bird, Blue-eared kingfisher, Collared kingfisher, Malabar grey hornbill, Grey-headed Bulbul, Rufous babbler and the state bird - the Ruby- throated Yellow- Bulbul.

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Kerala Chief Minister launches Responsible Tourism Mission WH Desk


he Responsible Tourism initiatives in the state woke up to a new dawn, with the Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan launching the dedicated Mission for it. The world’s first Responsible Tourism Mission is all set to lead Kerala Tourism through people-friendly, local community-friendly and environment-friendly, initiatives ensuring rural development, employment opportunities and women empowerment. Kadakampally Surendran, Minister of Tourism, presided over the function. Dr Venu V, IAS, Principal Secretary, Kerala tourism delivered the welcome speech and P Bala Kiran, IAS, Director of Tourism presented the Responsible Tourism Mission project. K Rupesh Kumar, coordinator, State Responsible Tourism Mission announced the new Responsible tourism destinations. Dr Venu V IAS Principal Secretary Kerala Tourism said that Responsible Tourism that started off in Kumarakom is now a world renowned concept and a point of discussion across the globe. It’s definitely a proud moment for us to be a pioneer in setting up this concept so effectively. “Within a span of 9 years, 16 crores is the profit Kumarakom could gain through tourism. Around 1.16 crore revenue is generated by the localities.

The reason behind this growth is the involvement as a group by the communities around. The aim of RT is to create 1.5 lakh jobs in the future, he added. Kadakampally Surendran, Minister of Tourism, said, “Apart from improving the functioning of the elite class, the government also aims to use tourism as a tool for village development and women empowerment. Their aim is to make Responsible Tourism more beneficial to the localities.” Inaugurating the Responsible Tourism Mission of the state, speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister- Pinarayi Vijayan said, “Waste management should be a prime consideration in any development program. The tourist spots and places around the state should be kept clean at all times without asking for additional cost. It should be a practice by itself. The tourism department should make enough arrangements to accommodate the n number of tourists coming in to the state. With a bunch of new projects under the new mission, the state aims at expanding Responsible Tourism across the state by incorporating a set of new destinations. Currently it is carried out only in seven destinations in the state, viz. Kumarakom, Thekkady, Vythiri, Ambalavayal, Kumbalangi, Bakel and Kovalam.

Turning these baby steps into big leaps, the Mission takes Responsible Tourism to all 14 districts. The government plans to create 1, 50,000 employment opportunities in the tourism sector alone through the Responsible Tourism Mission, in a span of 5 years. Vocational training will be provided to at least 50,000 local natives. This year, as a part of Responsible Tourism, at least 20 Village Life Experience Packages will be opened. It has been proven that Village tourism packages attract a lot of tourists because of the conventional experience of rope-making, handloom, earthenware and toddy tapping in these packages. This project will take the responsibility of ensuring more ways of income to the local community by means of keeping traditional jobs, handicraft activities and classical art forms as part of tourism. The next 4 years will focus on formation of widespread workshops, tourism planning with popular participation and many more.

Foreign Exchange Earnings (in Rupee & US $) through Tourism in India in September 2017 was 19.1% compared to growth of 11.8% in September 2016 over September 2015.

23.5% compared to the growth of 10.9% in September 2016 over September 2015.

ŠŠ FEEs during the period JanuarySeptember 2017 were Rs.1, 29, 871 crore registering a growth of 16.8% over same period of previous year. The FEEs during January-September 2016 were Rs.1, 11, 229 crore and registered a growth of 13.7% over January- September, 2015.

ŠŠ FEEs during the period JanuarySeptember 2017 were US$ 19.884 billion registering a growth of 20.1% over same period of previous year. The FEEs during January-September 2016 were US$ 16.562 billion and registered a growth of 20.1% over January- September 2015.

Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) Through Tourism (USD $)

Estimates of FEEs are based on following factors:-

ŠŠ FEEs during the month of September 2017 were Rs. 13,867 crore as compared to Rs.11, 642 crore in September 2016 and Rs.10, 415 crore in September 2015.

ŠŠ FEEs in US$ terms during the month of September 2017 were US$ 2.153 billion as compared to FEEs of US$ 1.744 billion during the month of September 2016 and US$ 1.573 billion in September 2015.

I. IPer capita FEEs during July-September 2016= RBI’s credit figure for travel (JulySep 16)/FTAs (July-Sep 16)

ŠŠ The growth rate in FEEs in rupee terms in September 2017 over September 2016

ŠŠ The growth rate in FEEs in US$ terms in September 2017 over September 2016 was

WH Desk


inistry of Tourism estimates monthly Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through tourism in India, both in Rupee and Dollar terms based on the credit data of travel heads from Balance of Payments of RBI. The highlights of the estimates of FEEs from tourism in India for September 2017 and Jan-September 2017 are as below:Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) Through Tourism (INR)

26 November 2017

II. FTAs for September 2017. III. Inflation factor based on CPI (U) for September 2017.

November 2017 27


VIZAG Unforgettable Experience Vizag is blessed with natural beauty, hill ranges, pristine beaches along its coastline and lush natural valleys. The city is surrounded by three hills, Sri Venkateswara Konda, Ross Hill and Dargah Konda. Each hill is home to a shrine, dedicated to three different religions. The Venkateswara Konda is home to the Venkateswara Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva; Ross Hill houses the Church of Virgin Mary; and the Dargah Konda is home to the tomb of a Muslim saint called Baba Ishaq Madina Dargah.


isakhapatnam, which is popularly referred to as Vizag, is named after God Vaishaka. Visakhapatnam is a port city, located along the shores of Bay of Bengal and is headquarters to the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy. Although considered to be an industrial city, Vizag has a rich and vibrant culture and heritage. The city was part of the ancient Kalinga Empire and was ruled by renowned kings, such as Ashoka and Krishnadeva Raya. During the 18th century, the city was a Dutch colony. Today, Vizag embraces its past and present seamlessly, making it an interesting and attractive city to spend holidays.

Araku Valley Located at a height of 3,200 feet in the midst of the hills of Anantagiri, Araku Valley is a beautiful and enchanting hill station. The salubrious climate, musically gurgling streams, the rainbow-creating waterfalls and lush green landscape can

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offer a memorable escape from the city life. The valley is located about 112kms from Visakhapatnam. Araku Valley is home to 19 indigenous tribes and offers a wonderful opportunity to get insights into the lifestyle of these tribes and their culture and traditions. Dhimsa dance, a kind of folk dance, is a major attraction for its rhythmic beats and colourful costumes. Itika Pongal is a popular festival that is celebrated in the region and is worth experiencing.

Borra Caves These caves are located 1,400 metres above sea level in Visakhapatnam’s Anantagiri area. The caves are famous for their beautiful stalagmite and stalactite formations. Borra Caves have both religious and historical significance. The locals flock to the caves to worship a Shivalinga and an idol of Kamadenu, the divine bovine goddess of Hindu mythology. This idol is located deep inside caves.


of Bengal. It is adjoining the Lawson’s Bay Beach and offers awe-inspiring natural views and vistas. The beach is perfect for catching mesmerising sunsets and sunrises. The beach is home to the Kali Temple, VUDA Park, a submarine museum and several roadside eateries and restaurants. There is a poignant war memorial on the beach called the Victory at Sea. This memorial is dedicated to the memory of brave soldiers, who laid down their lives during the 1971 Indo-Park War.

Submarine Museum

Kailasagiri Hill It offers an awe-inspiring view of the Bay of Bengal and is home to the beautiful Rushikonda Beach and Rama Krishna Beach (RK Beach). The surrounding hills are lush and green and offer a wonderful respite from the concrete jungle of Visakhapatnam. One of the attractions of Kailash Giri is its huge park called the Floral Watch. However, the main attraction is undoubtedly the massive statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati made from white marble. These statues are located on the hill, on a platform. As the base of Lord Shiva’s statue, there is a stream that flows all the way to the foot of the hill. There is a ropeway service that allows visitors to access the hill and offers stunning view of the city and the Bay.

One of the innovative attractions of the city is the submarine museum. Located on the Ram Krishna Beach, this museum is housed inside a real submarine. INS Kurusura is a Soviet-built submarine which was decommissioned on February 28, 2001 after serving the nation for 21 glorious years. The submarine with all its weaponry and fittings was hauled on to the beach and placed on a concrete foundation at the Gajapathi Raju Marg on the beachfront.

Dolphin’s Nose & the Port Dolphin’s Nose is a huge rocky headland, around 174 metres in height. It is located in the southern part of Vizag. The rock gets its name because of its resemblance to a dolphin’s nose and is located 358 metres above sea level. It projects majestically out into the Bay of Bengal and is a natural formation that attracts many visitors. On top of rock formation is a huge lighthouse, which is renowned for its powerful beam. The light beam can be seen far out in the sea, about 64 kilometres from land. This is the oldest lighthouse in the city and offers stunning and panoramic view of the Bay and the city.

Tyda The AP Tourism Development Corporation joined hands with the State Forests Department to create an ecotourism project and the result was Tyda. Located on the Visakhapatnam-Araku Ghat Road, Tyda is home to an extremely attractive forest resort called Jungle Bells,

Rama Krishna Beach Located along the coast of Vizag, Rama Krishna Beach is known for its pristine sands and crystal clear waters of the Bay

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DESTINATION which is located at a height 2,000 feet above sea level. The road leading to this beautiful eco-tourism project is equally enchanting and alluring. There is even a train ride that visitors can take to reach the forest resort. Jungle Bells is spread over an area of five acres and boasts of 18 beautifully furnished cottages.

Rushikonda Located just 8kms from the port city of Visakhapatnam, Rushikonda Beach is known as the Jewel of the East Coast. The unspoiled beauty of the beach is its main attraction and offers a unique opportunity to relax and enjoy the golden sands and gentle ocean currents. The beach is a haven for water sports lovers and is popular among windsurfers and jet skiers.

Lawson’s Bay Also known as the Pedawaltair Beach, Lawson’s Bay is a picturesque beach in Visakhapatnam. It is located close to Ramakrishna Beach (RK Beach), on the road leading to Kailasgiri. The Bay boasts of crystal clear and shallow water, making it is the perfect beach for swimming, surfing and sunbathing. Visitors also can enjoy other activities here, such as sailing and boating. The beautiful surroundings and the peaceful ambience makes Lawson’s Bay an ideal picnic area. The beach is extremely popular amongst the locals, but even visitors to Visakhapatnam should make it a point to enjoy the breathtaking beach.

was one of the venues for the 32nd National Games.

Indira Gandhi Zoological Park Located on the national highway and covers an area of 250 hectares this is the second largest zoological park in the state, after Hyderabad Zoo. The Park has more than 400 varieties of fauna. The Park opened its doors to the public in 1972 and today offers deer safari, has five enclosures for monkeys and primates, special dens for lions and tigers, six enclosures for deer and eight specially designed enclosures for small mammals. The main attraction of Indira Gandhi Zoological Park is undoubtedly the big cats, in particular the white tiger.

Hindu Epic, Mahabharatha, and was named after Bheema. However, archaeological evidence discovered in the region puts the origins of the tow to about 3rd century BCE and shows that the town was closely associated to early Buddhism. The town is home to the beautiful and tranquil Bheemunipatnam Beach, which is located at the confluence of Gosthani River and the Bay of Bengal. Visitors can visit the remains of a 17th century fort and cemetery which were constructed by the early Dutch settlers. Visitors can find remains of the Dutch East India Company here, in particular a port, which is not in ruins.




Spread over an area of 55acres, the VUDA Park is renowned for its well-landscaped lawns and an array of plants. The Park has a variety of flowering plants, 2,500 trees and hedge plants. This urban park is located at the beachfront and is a popular destination in the city for leisure activities. The Park is extremely well-equipped and boasts of playpens, a boating club, yoga centre, multi-gymnasium, pagodas, musical fountain and Kala Vedika. In addition, the Park is home to the MGM Dizzy World. One of the main attractions in the Park is its roller skating ring, which

Also known as Simhadri, the suburb of Simhachalam is located close to Visakhapatnam, about 16kms away. It is home to a Hindu temple, which is dedicated to an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple shows a synthesis of Oriya and Dravidian styles of architecture. It is considered as one of the eighteen shrines of Lord Narasimha.

Haritha Hotel, Visakhapatnam: Located on Beach Road, the hotel has airconditioned suites, air-conditioned rooms and standard rooms, which are located on the ground floor. This hotel is perfect to enjoy the wonders and attractions that the city has to offer.

Bheemunipatnam Bheemunipatnam is a town located close to Vijayawada and is known for its historical heritage. Local legend claims that the town was established during the days of the

Haritha Beach Resort, Visakahapatnam: Located on Bhimli Road, Rushikonda, this beautiful beach resort has a presidential suite, 10 luxury rooms, air-conditioned executive and deluxe rooms and standard air-conditioned rooms. Guests can enjoy the beautiful waters of the Bay of Bengal and the pristine sandy beach while staying at this resort. Haritha Jungle Bells: This unique and idyllic resort has wooden cottages, with and without air-conditioning and wooden log huts. It has a wonderful restaurant and a fabulous view tower. It is the perfect place for trekking on trails in the forests, bird watching, and enjoying tribal dances and sports. It is the resort for a rural holiday in Andhra Pradesh.

30 November 2017


Taiwan’s Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability WH Desk


t a time when the LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) trend has become popular throughout the world, Taiwan offers its visitors an endless number of ways, with an Oriental flair and a uniquely Taiwanese character, to stay healthy. Come to Taiwan and feel ‘LOHAS’ the Taiwanese way, in the island’s cuisines, sports, leisure activities, and traditional health care therapies. In Taiwan, you can give your taste buds a treat and stay healthy at the same time by enjoying your fill of medicinal foods and healthful organic cuisine. If you are anxious to achieve a physical and mental balance, then you might try yoga, Zen Meditation, Martial Arts, or Tai Chi to bring you tranquility the Oriental way. If you just want to relax a bit during your trip, then a visit to one of Taiwan’s popular spas, a soak in a hot spring bath, or a soothing cup of traditional tea might be just the thing for you. Spas Taiwan offers a wide variety of spa services for all kinds of different needs. There is far more than just functional hydrotherapy on offer here; these services extend to cover the entire field of leisure esthetics, encompassing essential oils, aromatherapy, skin treatment, music, yoga, meditation, and everything else you need for a beautiful, relaxing, and healthful experience. Foot Massage Foot massage uses stimulation of the feet to improve blood circulation and to remove wastes and toxins from the body. The

human feet can directly affect the organs, and so massaging the feet makes the whole body feel comfortable and completely relaxed. The ‘Father Wu Foot Massage’ is especially popular in Taiwan, with salons area of Xingtian Temple, Section 2 of Zhongshan N. Rd., and Jiuquan St. in Taipei Hot Springs Taiwan is known for its dense of hot springs (and rare cold mineral springs as well), with more than 100 hot-spring areas all over the island. This makes Taiwan one of the best places in the world for enjoying a healthful and relaxing soak in refreshing mineral waters. Acupuncture Acupuncture has a history of several thousand years in China, and its effectiveness is widely recognized. Taiwan has a high-quality environment for this kind of treatment. Needles are inserted at acupoints to stimulate the nerves. The World Health Organization of the United Nations has determined that acupuncture is effective for a wide variety of ailments, including headache and stomachache. Since acupuncture is a medical procedure, be sure to choose a legal clinic for your needle treatment. NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TAIWAN Administrative and Commercial Capital: Taipei Geography: Located 180kms off the southeastern coast of China, Taiwan has an area of 35,881km2 (13,853.7sqmi). Demography: A population of close to 23 Million. Climate: The best time to travel is between October to April as the average temperature in Taipei, Taiwan is 21.6 °C (71 °F). Language: Taiwanese Hokkien, commonly called Taiwanese, is the language with the most native speakers. English is widely spoken and the Taiwanese are very mild, polite and friendly people.

November 2017 31


9th Annual Clarks Inn Leadership Summit 2017


ndia’s leading hotel chain Clarks Inn Group of Hotels recently organised its 9th Annual Clarks Inn Leadership Summit at Khajuraho. The annual calendar event was attended by Clarks Inn’s corporate team along with the General Manager of all its units from across the country. The event serves as a platform where Clarks Inn’s key managers and unit heads get together to evaluate performances and growth, learn from each other, chalk out strategies and the future course of action as well as unwind and relax. The coveted ‘GM of the Year’ was bestowed on Rabindra Kumar Singh, GM of Clarks Inn Moradabad. Rajesh Chander, GM, Clarks Exotica Zirakpur and M. Praveen, Resident manager, Clarks Inn Badami, were the Ist and IInd Runner up respectively. In operation since 2006, Clarks Inn has emerged as the fastest growing hotel company in India in the budget market segment. The hotel company boasts of a portfolio of over 80 hotel properties including over 40 hotels currently under operation. Its presence has expanded to more than 50 destinations across 17 States in India and one in Kathmandu, Nepal.

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inistry of Tourism, Government of India in collaboration with other Central Ministries, State Governments and Stakeholders has organized a ‘Paryatan Parv’ across the country from 5th to 25th October 2017. The event was organized with the objective of drawing focus on the benefits of tourism, showcasing the cultural diversity of the country and reinforcing the principle of ‘Tourism for All’.

Ravneet Kaur, Chairperson & Managing Director of ITDC receiving the award from President of India.

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Minister of State for Tourism Art & Culture- Krishnendra Kaur along with NC Goel- Additional Chief Secretary Tourism, receiving the award.

November 2017 35


SITE announces 2018 Board of Directors and Foundation Trustees


hicago, Illinois, USA October 26 October 2017: Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) has announced a distinguished list of experienced and diverse global incentive travel leaders from 11 countries who will serve on the SITE International Board of Directors and SITE Foundation Board of Trustees effective 1 January 2018.

Annamaria Ruffini President SITE Int. Board of Directors

John Iannini President SITE Foundation

Annamaria Ruffini, CIS, CMP, President and CEO Events In & Out S.R.L., Rome, Italy will serve as President of the SITE International Board of Directors. “We strive to ensure that our board is globally-balanced and represents every region of the world, and I am proud to be serving with such a diverse, young and futureoriented group of industry leaders. I am especially humbled to kick off my presidency at the SITE + MPI Global Forum in Rome, the eternal city where it all began. As a Florentine, I believe that 2018 will be a “Renaissance” year for our European members and a great opportunity to grow our membership and influence in the region.” John Iannini, CIS, CTC, Vice-President Meetings & Events North America, Melia Hotels International will serve as SITE Foundation President. “This year the Foundation altered our approach to meet the demands of our members and the industry with a focus on igniting passion for incentive travel through knowledge sharing. In July, we introduced Motivate, a dynamic online intelligence hub that serves as a repository of content for the incentive travel industry. While research will continue to be an important component of what we do, our greatest opportunity is centered on creating compelling content for incentive professionals that is relevant timely and thought provoking. We are also committed to the development of new curriculum to enhance the knowledge and professional growth of our members in this ever-changing global environment.”

Dr Mario Hardy to continue as PATA CEO for next three years WH Desk


he Executive Board of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has extended the contract of Chief Executive Officer Dr. Mario Hardy for a period of three years commencing January 1, 2018. PATA Chairperson Sarah Mathews said, “I am delighted that Mario has agreed to continue as our Chief Executive Officer. Under his outstanding leadership, the Association has made considerable progress and I am confident he will continue to lead PATA and support the needs of our members. PATA remains an association dedicated to all its members and will continue to assist them in the ever-evolving landscape of tourism and travel. Mario and his team are best placed to help drive a continued period of growth.”

Dr. Mario Hardy Executive Officer PATA

36 November 2017

Dr Hardy said, “I am delighted to have an opportunity to work with our outstanding

management team in building upon the PATA successes of the past three years. We still face many challenges as a membership organisation but our determination to add value to the many benefits of PATA membership is being recognised in the public and private sectors. We shall continue with our primary mission of promoting sustainable and responsibly tourism development throughout the world as we encourage travel to, from and within the Asia Pacific region.” Mario Hardy joined PATA in 2012 as Chief Operating Officer and was appointed Chief Executive Officer on November 1, 2014. He is a past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PATA Foundation, a nonprofit organisation with a focus on the protection of the environment, the conservation of culture and heritage, and support for education. He worked for 26 years in specialised aviation businesses with a focus upon data analytics and technology, occupying leadership roles in Montreal, Vancouver, London, Beijing and Singapore. In 2016, he received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Capilano University for his philanthropic work in Cambodia where he helped develop a school for underprivileged children and for his support in the development of a Community Based Tourism (CBT) project in Vietnam. In January 2017 Mario Hardy graduated from the Singularity University, Executive Program on the subject of Exponential Technologies.


Travelport global survey puts India top of digital traveller rankings WH Desk


ravelport the leading Travel Commerce Platform, published the results of a Global Traveller Survey of 11,000 travellers in nineteen countries that highlights the use of digital tools when planning, booking and experiencing a journey. It shows that Indian travellers are the most digitally-advanced of the 19 countries analyzed, outpacing many of the world’s leading travel markets.

When at the destination:

ŠŠ 83% feel staying virtually connected to friends and family is important ŠŠ Indian travellers use an average of 19 different categories of apps, three more than the global average ŠŠ 92% post hotel and restaurant reviews online The Digital Traveler Rankings

Based on a sample of 1,000 people in India who took at least one round-trip flight last year, the highlights are:

The report also includes the world’s first Digital Traveller Rankings, with India crowned champions. The table is based on a combination of the main indicators of digital usage for travel-related purposes by travelers in each country.

When planning a trip:

The league table shows the following rankings:

ŠŠ 91% of Indian travellers use peer-to-peer reviews when researching a trip

The 2017 Digital Traveler Rankings Rank




ŠŠ 87% use videos and photos posted by their friends as part of their research




United States





ŠŠ 85% use price comparison sites to help them find a good price or package









ŠŠ 67% use voice search, utilising devices such as Siri or Amazon Echo, when researching a trip – 20% more than the global average


Saudi Arabia








South Africa


United Kingdom

ŠŠ 51% of Indian travellers make their bookings via their smartphones


United Arab Emirates



ŠŠ 74% feel that a good digital experience is important when choosing an airline







When booking a trip:

ŠŠ 82% prefer digital boarding passes and e-tickets ŠŠ 66% see the digital experience as a key influencer of hotel choice ŠŠ 69% avoid hotels that charge for wifi ŠŠ 60% would like mobile apps that allow them to check-in without having to visit reception

At the launch of the Survey in New Delhi, Rabih Saab, President and Managing Director EMEA of Travelport, commented, “These findings demonstrate the significance of digital tools for Indian travellers before and during their journeys, though the result is frankly unsurprising for those of us who have been following the digital market here for some time.” He further said, “The findings highlight the need for the $7.6 trillion global travel and hospitality industry to adapt continually to provide responsive, relevant and timely services for customers. Whether young or old, and in whichever continent, providing relevant and timely digital tools and content is no longer an accessory but an essential means of reaching and satisfying the modern traveler in India from the moment they search to the moment they return from their trip.” According to him, “Travelport’s platform stands ready to provide the industry here with the means to do this. As a technology company and a world leader in digital and mobile capabilities, we aim to make the experience of selling, buying and managing travel continually better.” Alongside the Global Report, Travelport is publishing separate detailed country reports as well as four regional reports based on the same data.

November 2017 37


Christoph Mares Chief Operating Officer Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Garima Nagpal Head – Quality OYO

Abhirath Sah Director of Sales & Mktg. The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

Christoph Mares has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group effective 1, January 2018 and will be responsible for global hotel operations as well as overseeing the operational functions of Food and Beverage, Rooms and Quality, as well as Spa and Wellness. Christoph will be based at the Group’s Hong Kong corporate office, moving from his current position in London as Executive Vice President, Operations Director, Europe, Middle East, Africa and India (EMEAI).

Garima Nagpal, a seasoned hospitality professional with over four decades of experience has joined OYO. In her new role as Head of Quality, Garima will be responsible for network-wide upgradation of OYO hotels to ensure highest levels of quality, including hygiene and ambience. The appointment is in line with OYO’s commitment to solve supply-demand imbalance and offer beautiful and quality living spaces. Garima has spent nearly 30 years as the Head of Housekeeping across several hotel chains. She has worked with marquee brands including The Oberoi, Taj, Hyatt, Le Meridien and India Habitat Center.

The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace has announced the promotion of Abhirath Sah to the position of Director of Sales and Marketing. Hailing from Nainital in Uttarakhand, Abhirath successfully completed a 3 year B.Sc. degree in Hospitality and Hotel Administration from the Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology & Applied Nutrition, in Bangalore.

Christoph has over 25 years’ experience in luxury hotel management around the world. He first joined Mandarin Oriental in 2000.

His journey in the hospitality industry began in 2008 with the Carlson Group of Hotels as the Account Manager in the Sales & Marketing department. With a strong and varied skill set, Abhirath brings almost a decade of experience in the hospitality industry.

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Volume IV Issue II November 2017

In Focus

ADTOI Convention Domestic tourism stakeholders all set to highlight key concerns P-20


VIZAG Unforgettable On the Cover : Bora Caves




Taiwan’s Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability P-31






November 2017